It is in accordance with the customs and established usages of our ancestors, O Romans, that those who, by your kindness, have overtaken the images of their family,1 should, the first time that they hold an assembly of the people, take an opportunity of uniting thanks to you for your kindness with a panegyric on their ancestors, and in the speech then made, some men are, on some occasions, found worthy of the rank of their ancestors. But most men only accomplish this,—namely, to make it seem that so vast a debt is due to their ancestors, that there is something still left to be paid to their posterity.
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THE THIRD SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN OPPOSITION TO PUBLIUS SERVILIUS RULLUS, A TRIBUNE OF THE PEOPLE, CONCERNING THE AGRARIAN LAW. DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE.
1 “Those Romans who had passed through one of the high offices of aediles, praetor, or consul were allowed to have their likenesses handed down to posterity. These likenesses were, according to Casaubon, busts; but according to Schweighauser, masks; they were kept in the hall of the house, in niches appropriated for their reception, and were brought forth on occasions of funerals, together with their robes of office, to impersonate the dead. Whoever had such images in his possession was nobilis.”—Riddle, Lat. Dict. v. Imago.
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