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[12arg] A highly memorable passage from a speech of Gracchus, regarding his frugality and continence.

WHEN Gaius Gracchus 1 returned from Sardinia, he delivered a speech to an assembly of the people in the following words: 2 “I conducted myself in my province,” said he, “as I thought would be to your advantage, not as I believed would contribute to my own ambitions. There was no tavern at my establishment, nor did slaves of conspicuous beauty wait upon me, and at an entertainment of mine your sons were treated with more modesty than at their [p. 91] general's tent.” Later on he continues as follows: “I so conducted myself in my province that no one could truly say that I received a penny, or more than that, 3 by way of present, or that anyone was put to expense on my account. I spent two years in my province; if any courtesan entered my house or anyone's slave was bribed on my account, consider me the lowest and basest of mankind. Since I conducted myself so continently towards their slaves, you may judge from that on what terms I lived with your sons.” Then after an interval he goes on: “Accordingly, fellow citizens, when I left for Rome, I brought back empty from the province the purses which I took there full of money. Others have brought home overflowing with money the jars which they took to their province filled with wine.”

1 The celebrated tribune of 123 and 122 B.C. He was famous as an orator; cf. i. 11. 10 ff.

2 O.R.F., p. 231, Meyer2.

3 One is reminded of the story of the politician who declared that he had never received a penny in bribes, but that it was as well to say nothing about thousand dollar bills.

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