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[20] When the people heard these charges they were in a state of alarm until Scipio, after placing near his couch at home one evening a tablet on which he intended to write during the night the speech he intended to deliver before the people, was found dead in his bed without a wound. Whether this was done by Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi (aided by her daughter, Sempronia, who was married to Scipio, and was unloved and unloving because she was deformed and childless), lest the law of Gracchus should be abolished, or whether, as some think, he committed suicide because he saw plainly that he could not accomplish what he had promised, is not known. Some say that slaves, who were subjected to torture, testified that unknown persons were introduced through the rear of the house by night who suffocated him, and that those who knew about it hesitated to tell because the people were angry with him still and rejoiced at his death. So died Scipio, and although he had been of immense service to the Roman power he was not honored with a public funeral; so much does the anger of the present moment outweigh gratitude for the past. And this event, sufficiently important in itself, took place as an incident of the sedition of Gracchus.1

1 It is uncertain whether Scipio was murdered or not. Cicero alludes to the event in one of his letters (Ad Fam. ix. 21), in which, speaking of one Gaius Carbo, he says that he was thought to have laid violent hands upon Africanus. Velleius says that marks of strangulation were found on his neck, yet adds in the same paragraph that most people thought he died a natural death.

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