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[17]

Although I now thought, O judges, that it had been brought about by my labours, that a want of nobleness of birth should not be objected to many brave men, who were neglected, though men were praising not only the Curii, the Catos, the Pompeii, those ancient new but most distinguished men, but also, these more modern new men, the Marii, and Didii, and Coelii. But when I, after so great an interval, had broken down those barriers of nobility, so that entrance to the consulship should hereafter be opened, as it was in the time of I our ancestors, not more to high birth than to virtue, I did not think when a consul-elect of an ancient and illustrious family was being defended by the son of a Roman knight himself a consul, that the accusers would say anything about newness of family. In truth it happened to me myself to stand against two patricians, one a most worthless and audacious man, the other a most modest and virtuous one; yet I surpassed Catiline in worth, Galba in popularity. But if that ought to have been imputed as a crime to a new man, forsooth, I should have wanted neither enemies nor detractors.


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