at the auction of Claudius and Sempronius,Literally, to their spear, since a spear was the sign of an auction; at the censors' auction contracts for public works and for collecting the revenues were to be made, cf. XXXIX. xliv. 8 and the note. or should be a partner or sharer in the contracting.
When, after many complaints about this decree, the veteran tax-gatherers were unable to induce the senate to set a limit to the censors' power,Compare the Pyrrhic victory of the contractors in 184 B.C., XXXIX. xliv. 8. at last in a tribune of the people, Publius Rutilius, who was angry with the censors over a dispute concerning a private matter, they found an advocate for their cause.
A freedman client of Rutilius had been ordered by the censors to pull down a house-wall on the Sacred Way opposite the public temples, because the wall was built on state land.
An appeal was made by the citizen to the tribunes. When no one but Rutilius intervened in his behalf, the censors sent a