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[30] Sedition broke out in the comitia. Those who attempted to prevent the passage of the laws proposed by the tribunes were assaulted by Saturninus and driven away from the rostra. The city folks exclaimed that thunder was heard in the assembly, in which case it is not permitted by Roman custom to finish the business that day. As the adherents of Saturninus persisted nevertheless, the city people girded themselves, seized whatever clubs they could lay their hands on, and dispersed the rustics. The latter were rallied by Saturninus; they attacked the city folks with clubs, overcame them, and passed the law. When this was done Marius, in his capacity as consul, forthwith proposed to the Senate that they consider concerning taking the oath. Knowing that Metellus was a man of fixed opinion and firm in whatever he might believe or commit himself to, he gave his own opinion publicly, but deceitfully, saying that he would never willingly take this oath himself. When Metellus had agreed with him in this, and the others had praised them both, Marius adjourned the Senate. On the fifth day thereafter (the last day prescribed in the law for taking the oath) he called them together in haste about the tenth hour, saying that he was afraid of the people because they were so zealous for the law. He saw a way, however, to avoid it, and he proposed the following trick--to swear that they would obey the law as far as it was a law, and thus at once disperse the country people by stratagem. Afterward it could be easily shown that this thing, which had been enacted by violence and in spite of thunder, contrary to the custom of their ancestors, was not a law.

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