For I think that I ought not to pass over the instance of that most eminent and most illustrious man, Publius Africanus; who, when he was censor, and when Caius Licinius Sacerdos had appeared on the register of the knights, said with a loud voice, so that the whole assembly could hear him, that he knew that he had committed deliberate perjury and that if any one denied it, he would give him his own evidence in support of this assertion. But when no one ventured to deny it, he ordered him to give up his horse. 1 So that he, with whose decision the Roman people and foreign nations had been accustomed to content themselves, was not content with his own private knowledge as justifying him in branding another with ignominy. But if Habitus had been allowed to do this, he would have found it an easy matter to have resisted those very judges themselves, and the false suspicion, and the odium excited in the breasts of the people against him.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
1 “If the censors considered a knight unworthy of his rank, they struck him off of the list of knights, and deprived him of his horse, or ordered him to sell it, with the intention, no doubt, that the person thus degraded should refund to the state the money which had been advanced to him for its purchase. (Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome, vol. i. p. 433.)”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 895, v. Equites.
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