[66] Now it's time to turn to the letters of Pudentilla, or rather to go a little further back in the sequence of events. This way it may be crystal clear to all that I, whom they accuse of invading Pudentilla's house because of my greed for gains, if I thought of any gain, should have fled from that house at every opportunity. Because that marriage is so unprosperous in other ways that it would be harmful to me if the woman herself did not compensate through her own virtues for so many inconvenient matters.

For no other cause (except for blind jealousy) can be found which could have kindled this lawsuit (and many previous dangers throughout my life) against me. Otherwise why would Aemilianus be stirred up? Even if he had really ascertained that I was a magician, a man whom I haven't harmed by any deed or even so much as a word -- why would he think he attacks me deservedly, for the sake of vengeance? Furthermore, he doesn't accuse me for the sake of fame, as
Marcus Antonius accused Gnaeus Carbo,
Gaius Mucius accused Aulus Albucius,
Publius Sulpicius accused Gnaeus Norbanus,
Gaius Furius accused Manius Aquilius,
and Gaius Curio accused Quintus Metellus.
Of course, these very learned young men first took on the study of forensic rhetoric in pursuit of praise, so that they might be recognized by their fellow citizens for some famous lawsuit. This custom, which the ancients allowed to adolescents so they might demonstrate the flower of their genius, has been obsolete for a long time. But even if it were current today, it would nevertheless be alien to Aemilianus. For the display of eloquence doesn't suit one so coarse and uneducated, and the desire for glory doesn't suit a country hick or an uncultivated man, and beginning to practice the art of advocacy doesn't suit a coffin-bound curmudgeon.

Unless by chance Aemilianus has given an example of his austerity and, hostile to evildoers, has taken up this accusation for the integrity of his character. But I would hardly believe this even of another Aemilianus, not this African here, but of that man who conquered Africa and Numantia, and, moreover, was a censor. And I couldn't believe that in the mind of this blockhead there is not only the hatred of crimes, but even so much as ignorance of them.

[67] So what is it, then? It is so clear to anyone that nothing other than jealousy provoked this man and Herennius Rufus, the instigator, about whom I shall soon speak, and other enemies of mine to invent the false accusations of magic. There are five charges which I must refute. For if I remember correctly, those that pertain to Pudentilla are as follows:

*The first charge, so they said, is that she never wanted to marry after her former husband died, but was enchanted by my spells.
*Another charge concerns her letters, which they think are an acknowledgement of my magic.
*The third and fourth are that she married from desire at the age of sixty, and that the nuptial contracts were signed in the villa and not in the town.
*The last and most invidious accusation was about the dowry. Here they strive with all their force to spread the poison, here they were most greatly threatened, so they said that I extorted an enormous dowry soon after the beginning of the union with my loving wife, who was at the villa, far removed from counsel.
I shall now show that all these charges are so false, so empty, and so senseless, and I shall refute them so easily and without any contradiction, that, by the gods, Maximus and you who sit in council, I fear that you may think I secretly incited my unassuming accuser, so that I'd have an opportunity to quash all resentment of me openly. Believe now what will soon be understood: it will be a lot of work for me to prevent you from thinking that such a weak accusation was arranged cleverly by me rather than stupidly by my enemies. [68] Now I'll briefly run through the sequence of events and, once the matter is understood, I'll make this Aemilianus think he has to confess that he was induced mistakenly to be jealous of me and has wandered far from the truth. While I do so, I ask that you, as you have done so far, to attend unfailingly -- even more attentively if you are able -- to the very source and foundation of this case.

Aemilia Pudentilla, now my wife, bore to a certain Sicinius Amicus, to whom she was formerly married, the boys Pontianus and Pudens. For almost 14 years with memorable dutifulness she diligently nurtured those orphans who had been left in the power of their paternal grandfather -- for Amicus had died while his father was still alive -- yet, in the very flower of her age, she remained a widow for so long unwillingly. But the grandfather of the boys wanted to marry her to his son Sicinius Clarus (though she was unwilling), and frightened other suitors away. Meanwhile he threatened that if she married someone unrelated, he would leave her children none of their father's possessions. When this wise woman of exceptional dutifulness saw that this condition was being obstinately enforced, she drew up a marital agreement with the man whom she was ordered to marry, Sicinius Clarus, so she wouldn't inconvenience her children, but she avoided the wedding by means of various frustrations until the grandfather of the boys yielded to his fate and left the boys their inheritance. Pontianus, who was older, became the guardian of his brother.

[69] Once freed from this concern, since her hand was sought by the most important men, she resolved that she wouldn't remain a widow any longer. She might be able to bear the tedium of solitude, but she was unable to endure her bodily suffering. A woman of blessed chastity, after so many years of widowhood without fault or gossip, languishing without conjugal care and made ill by the long inactivity of her organs -- the insides of her uterus were damaged -- she was exhausted by sudden pains, often to the very edge of death. The doctors agreed with the midwives that the cause of the disease could be found in the absence of a marriage, that the evil would grow day by day, and the suffering would get worse. While any health remained, her health was to be healed by marriage.

Others approved of this decision, and so did this Aemilianus himself, most emphatically, who a little earlier in the brashest lie asserted that Pudentilla never thought about marriage before I bewitched her with evil magic and that I was the only one to be found who violated her widowhood (as if it were some kind of virginity) with incantations and poisons. I've often heard it said -- and not for nothing, either -- that a liar should have a good memory. But evidently it didn't cross your mind, Aemilianus, that before I came to Oea you wrote some letters to her son Pontianus, who was then an adult and spending time in Rome, suggesting that she should marry. Give me the letter, or rather, give it to him to read it, so that in his own voice and with his own words he may convict himself.
******* **** ******** ******** ****** .....
Is this your letter? Why did you turn pale? Because you are unable to blush. Is this your signature? I ask that you read it out more clearly, so that all may understand how much his tongue disagrees with his hand, how much smaller his disagreement is with me than with himself.
******* **** ********* ******** ******* ....

[70] Did you, Aemilianus, write these things which have just been read? "I know she wants to and ought to marry, but I don't know whom she will choose." You were right: you didn't know. For Pudentilla, who knew your dangerous malevolence back to front, said only so much concerning this matter, but nothing concerning her suitor. But you -- while you thought that she was even then about to marry your brother Sicinius Clarus -- led on by false hope you made her son Pontianus agree as well. So if she had married Clarus, a decrepit old bumpkin, you would then have said that she had married him by her own free will, without any magic. But since she chose a young man such as you describe, you allege that she was forced and, in addition, that she always refused marriage. You didn't know, you wicked man, that your letter on this matter was saved, you didn't know that you would be refuted by your very own testimony. But Pudentilla wanted to hold on to that letter as a witness and a sign of your will, rather than to send it on, because she knew that you are as flighty and fickle as you are deceitful and shameless.

At any rate, she wrote about it to her son Pontianus in Rome, she even listed fully the reasons for her plan. She said everything about her health: there was no further reason why she ought to hold out any longer, she had kept hold of his grandfather's inheritance by her long widowhood to the detriment of her own health, she had augmented that same inheritance by the greatest diligence. Now, by the will of the gods, he was himself ready for a wife and his brother ready to receive the toga virilis. Finally, she asked them to deign to relieve her loneliness and ill-health at some point. Moreover, they had nothing to fear regarding her loyalty and judgement. She would be such a woman when married as she had been as a widow. I will order a passage from the letter sent to her son to be read:
******* ***** ********** ******* *********** **** *****

[71] I think it's quite possible from that letter for anyone to see that Pudentilla wasn't driven from a resolute widowhood by my incantations, but that she, at no point ever being hostile to marriage, chose to marry me of her own free will, perhaps over others. I don't understand why the choice of such a dignified woman must be brought against me as a charge rather than as an honor. But I'm still amazed at the fact that Aemilianus and Rufinus bear the judgment of this woman badly, although these men who sought Pudentilla's hand in marriage bear calmly her preference for me.

The fact is that she did this complying with her son's wishes rather than with her feelings. Aemilianus can't deny that this is true. For Pontianus, after he recieved his mother's letter, immediately sped off from Rome, fearing that if she chose some greedy man, she would bring all her possessions to her husband's house, as often happens. This anxiety was tormenting him immoderately, because all hope of riches for himself and his brother depended on the resources of his mother. Their grandfather had left a little bit, but their mother had four million sesterces, out of which she owed a sum of money to her sons guaranteed not in writing, but merely by her word, as was fair. He bore this fear in silence; he did not dare to resist openly lest he seem to distrust her.

[72] When the matter was in this state between the decision of the mother and the fear of the son, by chance or by fate I arrived there on my way to Alexandria. By Hercules, I would have said "would that it had never happened," if respect for my wife did not prevent me from doing so. It was winter. Exhausted by the harshness of my journey, I was resting for a few days at the home of my friends the Appii, whom I name out of personal affection and to do them honor. Pontianus came to me there, for a few years earlier in Athens we had met through certain mutual friends, and afterwards we had become intimate by close association. He paid me every attention, inquiring anxiously about my health and cleverly bringing up the subject of love. In fact, it seemed to him that he had found an extremely suitable husband for his mother, to whom with slight risk he could entrust the entire fortune of his house. At first he tested my desires in a roundabout manner, since he saw that I wanted to return to the road and that I was not inclined towards marriage. He asked me to remain there for a little while, saying that he wanted to set out with me. Since illness had deprived me of the current winter, he continued, I would have to wait for the next on account of the heat of the Gulf of Sidra and the wild animals. With many entreaties to my friends the Apii, he took me off to shift me to his mother's house. It would be a healthier place for me to stay. In addition, from there I could more freely enjoy a view of the sea, which was most welcome to me.

[73] Relying on all of these arguments with earnest zeal, he pursuaded me and recommended to me his mother and his brother, that boy there. I helped them a little with our common studies and our friendship increased significantly. Meanwhile, I recuperated. Because my friends requested it, I gave a public speech. All those who were present thronging the basilica that was serving as an auditorium in a huge crowd shouted among other things with a unanimous voice "excellently done," asking that I stay there and become an Oean citizen.

Soon after the audience had left, Pontianus approached me and first interpreted the decision of the public as a divine auspice and then he revealed his plan. If I was not unwilling, he would marry his mother (whom many coveted) to me. For he said he trusted me and relied on me alone in all these matters. If I didn't accept this burden (since it was not some beautiful orphan, but a plain-faced mother of children he offered to me) -- if in considering these matters, for the sake of beauty and riches, I was saving myself for another arrangement, I wouldn't be acting as a friend or a philosopher.

The conversation was too long, even if I wished to recount how I responded to him, for how long and how many times there were exchanges between us, with how many and what sort of prayers he entreated me. He didn't stop before he finally succeeded. I had observed Pudentilla well in the past year's closeness and I had noted the gifts of her virtues, but, be that as it may, I was reluctant to take on the encumbrance of marriage, because of my longing for travel. But soon I began to love this woman no less passionately than if I had sought her in marriage of my own accord. Pontianus had persuaded his mother in the same way, so that she preferred me to all others and with unbelievable eagerness she longed to complete the matter as soon as possible. We barely obtained a slight delay from Pontianus while he himself first took a wife and his brother put on the toga virilis. Next we would be married.

[74] By Hercules, I wish I could skip over what has to be said now without serious cost to my case, so that I wouldn't seem to be reproaching Pontianus's fickleness. (I unconditionally forgave him, you know, when he begged pardon for his error.) For I confess, because this was an accusation against me, that after he took a wife, Pontianus suddenly switched his loyalties and changed his mind. The thing which earlier he'd urged on too eagerly, he now fought against against just as stubbornly. In the end, he was prepared to do anything and endure anything to keep our marriage from taking place.

Nevertheless, this despicable change of heart and the feud (which we know about) with his mother shouldn't be blamed on him, but on his father-in-law, who's here today: Herrenius Rufinus -- there's no one in this land more evil, more wicked, or more unjust than him. In a few words, as modestly as I can, I'll say what I have to about this man, so that, if I'm generally silent about him, he will not have wasted the pains he took and incredible strength he used to bring this matter against me.

For this man instigated the little boy,
originated the accusation,
guided the lawyers,
procured his witnesses,
forged of the entire slander;
served as Aemilianus's torch and whip,
and he boasted rather excessively in front of everyone that I've been accused because of his devices. And in fact, he's got something he can pat himself on the back for here: he is the overseer of all the lawsuits,
the inventor of all the lies,
the engineer of all the pretexts,
the breeding-ground of all the evils.

Similarly, his house is a haunt!

a den!

a lair!

of lust and prostitution. Already from an early age he was widely known for all sorts of wickedness: first in his youth, before he was disfigured by baldness, he cheerfully went for unspeakable things thanks to his ***johns. Then in his adolescence, he had a weakness for dancing, plays, and other soft activities, but , as I hear it, he was untaught and crudely effeminate. For it is said that he had none of an actor's qualities except shamelessness.

[75] Even at his current age -- may the gods ruin him! (and may your ears excuse me) -- his house is Pimp Central, his whole family is diseased! He himself is a disgrace, his wife is a whore, and their children are much the same. Day and night he's made an ass of***:
his door is smashed with young men's kicks,
his windows are beseiged by the sounds of singers,
his couches buzz with wild revelry,
his bedroom is the Route 66 of adulterers: no one's afraid to go in, unless he doesn't pay his toll to the husband.

So this is how an insult to his own bed earns this guy money. Once he earned it skillfully with his own body; now he brazenly earns it with his wife's. I kid you not: many people bargain with him -- with that man, I'm telling you -- for nights with his wife. Now, this was the tacit understanding between the husband and his notorious wife: if you bring a healthy fee to the woman, no one will bother you, and you can come and go as you please. But if you arrive empty-handed, you'll be arrested for adultery at a pre-arranged signal -- and as if you were in school, you can't leave without writing out a little something.

What, after all, could the wretched man do, since after he had lost his nice little*** fortune which anyhow he'd gotten through his father's deceit? His father, who'd borrowed money from many creditors, preferred money to self-respect: when IOU's rained down on him, money was demanded from him from every side. He was seized by everyone he met as if he were a madman. But his answer was "take it easy" and said he couldn't pay. But he disposed of his gold rings and other marks of nobility, and settled with his creditors.

But then, in an wickedly clever fraud, he transferred a healthy chunk of his family property into his wife's name. Rufinus, needy, naked, and protected by his own disgrace left for himself 3,000,000 sesterces -- no kidding -- to be squandered. This amount came to him free and clear, from the property of his mother -- in addition what which his wife gave him in her garden-variety dowry. But nevertheless, this glutton has diligently deposited all this into his belly in a few years and has digested it with all sorts of gluttonizations.

You might think that his father's deceit makes him afraid to keep anything, in case it might occur to someone that he beears a bit of his father's fraud.

This just man of upstanding character made sure that what was ill-gotten would be ill-spent, and that there'd be nothing left of that great fortune beyond a wretched display and a huge gut.

[76] At any rate, his wife, who was weak and already an old woman, shied away from so many insults against the house, but then her daughter was brought around to all the rich young men, at her mother's invitation -- but in vain. Although she was sent to certain suitors for a trial run, she might have sat at home, a widow before ever being a bride, if she had not come upon the opportunity of Pontianus. Although we tried a great deal to dissuade him, he gave her the fairy-tale-false title of "bride," though he knew that previously, she'd been abandoned with disgust by a certain respectable young man of a good family whom she had been engaged to, and who'd had enough of her.

So Pontianus's new bride came to him calm and fearless, with her chastity ruined, her maidenhood broken in, her bridal veil worn out, an "innocent girl" again after a recent divorce, with the name, not the bloom, of a maiden. She was carried by eight slaves, and you who were present clearly saw how wickedly she leered at all the youths. How brazenly she displayed herself! Who wouldn't recognize her as a student of her mother's teaching, when he saw her made-up mouth, painted cheeks, and seductive eyes? The whole dowry, down to the last penny, was borrowed from a creditor the day before, and in fact, it was much greater than would be demanded from a house so drained of money and so full of children.

[77] But although that man is modest in his means, he's immodest in his expectations. With equal greed and need he'd devoured the 4,000,000 sesterces of Pudentilla with vain presumption. Figuring that I had to be disposed of, so that he could take advantage of Pontianus's good nature and Pudentilla's loneliness more easily, he began to scold his son-in-law for having betrothed his mother to me. He advised him to get himself out of this danger as quickly as possible, while he still could, and hold on to his mother's property rather than knowingly transfer it to some stranger. The old fox threatened the young lover: if Pontianus wouldn't do this, Rufinus would take back his daughter.

What more is there? Rufinus took a naive young man, one who was captured by the attractions of a new wife, and turned him from his path and decision. He went to his mother with Rufinus's words, but in vain, since the dignified woman chided him for fickleness and inconsistency. He brought no soft words back to his father-in-law: thanks to his demands, his mother was beside herself with anger, who was resolute beyond her easy-going nature, and it would be a fair encouragement to her stubbornness. Finally, she answered that it was no secret that this claim was made through Rufinus -- which meant that she had to help her husband even more against the hopeless greed of that man.

[78] Annoyed at what he heard, Rufinus swelled up so much with anger and burned with such rage that he said things more fit for his own bedroom to my most innocent and chaste wife in the presence of her own son -- Rufinus, a man who prostitutes his own wife. He declared in the presence of many people (and I'll name them, if you like) that she's a slut and that I'm a magician and a poisoner, and that he would deal my death with his own hands. By Hercules! I can hardly control my rage, my head is swimming with anger. You girl, do you threaten any man with death by your hand? And pray, what hand would that be? The hand of Philomela, or Medea, or Clytemnestra? After all, when you play these parts, you perform without a blade, since you're so weak-spirited and terribly afraid of swords.

And now, Part Seven.