A Short History of Roman Interactions with Kings by M. Tullius Cicero

From his Pro Sestio (Latin here):

57 King Ptolemaeus, who, if he had not as yet been himself styled an ally by the senate, was at all events the brother of that king, who, while his cause was identical with his, had long since received that honour from the senate; and was of the same family, sprung from the same ancestors as his brother, and had the same claims from the antiquity of his alliance; who, lastly, was a king, and if not yet an ally, still most certainly not an enemy; was enjoying the kingdom which had belonged to his father and his grandfather in peace and quiet, relying on the sovereign power of the Roman people in a condition of royal ease and tranquillity. While he was never thinking of any such thing, never suspecting any such thing, a motion was made and put to the vote of the same troop of labourers and artisans that he while sitting on his throne, with his purple and sceptre and all the other ensigns of royal authority, should be placed at the mercy of a public crier;—a motion was made, I say that the Roman people, which has been in the habit of restoring their kingdoms even to those kings whom they have subdued in war, should order that a king who was a friend of the nation, who was not even said to have done them any injury, who had never had any claim preferred against him or any demand for the restitution of anything, should have all his property confiscated and sold with his own person and liberty.

58 That year was a year of many cruel, of many shameful, of many turbulent proceedings, but I know not whether I ought not deservedly to call this the nearest in iniquity to that crime which their wickedness committed against me. Our ancestors determined that that celebrated Antiochus called the Great, after he had been subdued in a long and arduous struggle by land and seas, should be king over the districts within Mount Taurus. They gave Asia, of which they deprived him, to Attalus, that he should be king over that district. With Tigranes, king of the Armenians, we waged a serious war of very long duration; he having, I may almost say, challenged us, by inflicting wanton injuries on our allies. He was not truly a vigorous enemy on his own power and on his own account, but he also defended with all his resources and protected in his territory, that most active enemy of this empire, Mithridates, after he had been driven from Pontus; and after he had been defeated by Lucullus that most excellent man and most consummate general, he still remained in his former mind, and kept up a hostile feeling against us with the remainder of his army. And yet this man did Cnaeus Pompeius—after he had seen him in his camp as a suppliant and in an abject condition—raise up and placed on his head again the royal crown which he himself had taken off, and, having imposed certain conditions on him, ordered to continue king. And he thought it no less glorious for himself and for this empire, that the king should be known to he restored by him, than if he had kept him in bonds.

59 Therefore, Tigranes—who was himself an enemy of the Roman people, and who received our most active enemy in his territories, who struggled against us, who fought pitched battles with us, and who compelled us to combat almost for our very existence and supremacy—is a king to this day, and has obtained by his entreaties the name of a friend and ally, which he had previously forfeited by his hostile and warlike conduct.

That unhappy king of Cyprus—who was always our ally, always our friend, concerning whom no single unfavourable suspicion was ever reported to the senate or to our commanders in those parts—has now, as they say, while alive and beholding the light, been seized and sold with all his means of support, and all his royal apparel. Here is a good reason for other kings thinking their own fortunes stable, when by this example, handed down to recollection from that fatal year, they see that one tribune and six hundred journeymen have power to despoil them of all their fortunes, and strip them of their whole kingdom!

In sum, a kingdom for every king, a chicken it every pot, and whoa, oh whoa how much worse we are than our fore-bearers.  Damn Demagogues.

 

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