Valerius Antias, as one who had never read the speech of Cato and had accepted the story as if it were nothing but a story anonymously circulated, gives another version,1
similar, however, in its lust and cruelty.
He writes that at Placentia a notorious woman, with whom Flamininus was desperately in love,2
had been invited to dinner. There he was boasting to the courtesan, among other things, about his severity in the prosecution of cases and how many persons he had in chains, under sentence of death, whom he intended to behead.
Then the woman, reclining below him, said that she had never seen a person beheaded and was very anxious to behold the sight. Hereupon, he says, the generous lover, ordering one of the wretches to be brought to him, [p. 359]
cut off his head with his sword.
This deed, whether3
it was performed in the manner for which the censor rebuked him, or as Valerius reports it, was savage and cruel: in the midst of drinking and feasting, where it is the custom to pour libations to the gods and to pray for blessings, as a spectacle for a shameless harlot, reclining in the bosom of a consul, a human victim sacrificed and bespattering the table with his blood!
At the end of the speech a challenge of Cato to Quinctius is reported: if he would deny this act and the other things which Cato had charged, he should defend himself by legal methods,4
but if he confessed it, would he think that anyone would grieve at his disgrace, since he himself, mad with drink and desire, had played with a man's blood at a feast?