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21. You produce a letter of Siricius31803180    Bishop of Rome in succession to Damasus. (a.d. 385–398) and succeeded by Anastasius. who now sleeps in Christ, and the letter of the living Anastasius you despise. What injury you ask, can it do you that he should have written (or perhaps not written at all) when you knew nothing of it? If he did write, still it is enough for you that you have the witness of the whole world in your favor, and that no one thinks it possible that the bishop of so great a city could have done 530an injury to an innocent man, or even to one who was simply absent. You speak of yourself as innocent, though your translation made all Rome shudder; you say you were absent, but it is only because you dare not reply when you are accused. And you so shrink from the judgment of the city of Rome that you prefer to subject yourself to an invasion of the barbarians31813181    The Goths under Alaric passed through Aquileia to invade Italy in 401. than to the opinion of a peaceful city. Suppose that the letter of last year was forged by me; who then wrote the letters which have lately been received in the East? Yet in these last the pope Anastasius pays you such compliments that, when you read them, you will be more inclined to set to work to defend yourself than to accuse me.

I should like you to consider how inevitable is the wisdom which you are shunning and the Attic Salt and the eloquence of your diction in religious writing. You are attacked by others, you are pierced through by their condemnation, yet it is against me that you toss yourself about in your fury, and say: “I could unfold a tale as to the manner of your departure from Rome; as to the opinions expressed about you at the time, and written about you afterwards, as to your oath, the place where you embarked, the pious manner in which you avoided committing perjury; all this I could enlarge upon, but I have determined to keep back more than I relate.” These are specimens of your pleasant speeches. And if after this I say anything sharp in answer to you threaten me with immediate proscription and with the sword. You are a most eloquent person, and have all the tricks of rhetoric; you pretend to be passing over things which you really reveal, so that what you cannot prove by an open charge, you may make into a crime by seeming to put it aside. All this is your simplicity; this is what you mean by sparing your friend and reserving your statements for the judicial tribunal; you spare me by heaping up a mass of charge against me.


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