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[25] Now the people were assembled, and Fulvius had begun speaking about the business in hand, when Gracchus arrived at the Capitol attended by a body-guard of his partisans. Disturbed by what he knew about the extraordinary plans on foot he turned aside from the meeting-place of the assembly, passed into the portico, and walked about waiting to see what would happen. Just then a plebeian named Antyllus, who was sacrificing in the portico, saw him in this disturbed state, seized him by the hand, either because he had heard something or suspected something, or was moved to speak to him for some other reason, and asked him to spare his country. Gracchus, still more disturbed, and startled like one detected in a crime, gave the man a piercing look. Then one of his party, although no signal had been displayed or order given, inferred merely from the very sharp glance that Gracchus cast upon Antyllus that the time for action had come, and thought that he should do a favor to Gracchus by striking the first blow. So he drew his dagger and slew Antyllus. A cry was raised, the dead body was seen in the midst of the crowd, and all who were outside fled from the temple in fear of a like fate. Gracchus went into the assembly desiring to exculpate himself of the deed. Nobody would so much as listen to him. All turned away from him as from one stained with blood. Gracchus and Flaccus were nonplussed and, having lost the chance of accomplishing what they wished, they hastened home, and their partisans with them. The rest of the crowd occupied the forum throughout the night as though some calamity were impending. Opimius, one of the consuls, who was staying in the city, ordered an armed force to be stationed at the Capitol at daybreak, and sent heralds to convoke the Senate. He took his own station in the temple of Castor and Pollux in the centre of the city and there awaited events.

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