Words or Deeds?

Sallust, Bellum Jugurthinum (85)

[Marius speaking:] 

“Now citizens, compare me – a new man – with their arrogance. They are accustomed simply to hear and read about things, some of which I have seen myself, others of which I have actually done. What they learned in letters, I learned in fighting. Now make a judgment, whether deeds or words be worth more. They scorn me for being new, but I scorn their worthlessness. People object to my fortune, but their own shameful actions are objections to them. Although I think that we all share in one communal nature among us, I consider the bravest person to be the most noble. If one could ask the fathers of Albinus or Bestia whether they would have preferred to have had fathered their own sons or me, what do you think they would say except that they wished to have the best children possible?”

Marius Glyptothek Munich 319.jpg

Comparate nunc, Quirites, cum illorum superbia me hominem novum. Quae illi audire aut legere solent, eorum partem vidi, alia egomet gessi; quae illi litteris, ea ego militando didici. Nunc vos existimate, facta an dicta pluris sint. Contemnunt novitatem meam, ego illorum ignaviam; mihi fortuna, illis probra obiectantur. Quamquam ego naturam unam et communem omnium existimo, sed fortissimum quemque generosissimum. Ac si iam ex patribus Albini aut Bestiae quaeri posset, mene an illos ex se gigni maluerint, quid responsuros creditis nisi sese liberos quam optimos voluisse

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