Verbis conceptis deierare ausim, praeterquam qui Tiberium Gracchum necarunt, neminem inimicum tantum molestiae tantumque laboris quantum te ob has res mihi tradidisse, quem oportebat omnium eorum, quos antehac habui liberos partis tolerare, atque curare ut quam minimum sollicitudinis in senecta haberem, utique quaecumque ageres, ea velles maxume mihi placere, atque uti nefas haberes rerum maiorum adversum meam sententiam quicquam facere, praesertim mihi quoi parva pars vitae superest. ne id quidem tam breve spatium potest opitulari quin et mihi adversere et rem publicam profliges? denique quae pausa erit? ecquando desinet familia nostra insanire? ecquando modus ei rei haberi poterit? ecquando desinemus et habentes et praebentes molestiis insistere? ecquando perpudescet miscenda atque perturbanda re publica? sed si omnino id fieri non potest, ubi ego mortua ero, petito tribunatum: per me facito quod lubebit, cum ego non sentiam. ubi mortua ero, parentabis mihi et invocabis deum parentem. in eo tempore non pudebit te eorum deum preces expetere, quos vivos atque praesentes relictos atque desertos habueris? ne ille sirit Iuppiter te ea perseverare nec tibi tantam dementiam venire in animum! et si perseveras, vereor ne in omnem vitam tantum laboris culpa tua recipias, uti nullo tempore tute tibi placere possis.
(Cornelius Nepos, De Viris Illustribus fr. 2 Winstedt)
I would take a solemn oath that apart from those who killed Tiberius Gracchus no enemy has given me so much trouble and so much pain as you in this matter, who ought to undertake the part of all the children I have ever had, and to make sure that I should have as little worry as possible in my old age, and that, whatever your schemes might be, you should wish them to be agreeable to me, and that you should count it a sin to take any major step against my wishes, especially considering I have only a little part of life left. Cannot even that brief span of time aid me in preventing you from opposing me and ruining our country? Where will it all end? Will our family ever cease from madness? Will bounds ever be set to it? Shall we ever cease to dwell on affronts, both causing and suffering them? Shall we ever begin to feel true shame for confounding and harassing our country? But if that is quite impossible, when I am dead, then seek the Tribunate. Do what you like as far as I am concerned, when I am not there to know it. When I am dead, you will offer funerary sacrifices in my honour and invoke me as your hallowed parent At that time will you not be ashamed to seek the intercession of those hallowed ones whom, when they were alive and present, you abandoned and deserted? May Jove above not let you persist in this nor let such lunacy enter your mind! But if you do persist, I fear that through your own fault you will encounter so much trouble throughout your whole life that at no time you will be able to rest content. (tr. Edward J. Kenney, adapted by Emily Hemelrijk)