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[7] Catiline had assembled about 20,000 troops, of whom
B.C. 62
one-fourth part were already armed, and was moving toward Gaul in order to complete his preparations, when Antonius, the other consul, overtook him beyond the Alps1 and easily defeated the madly conceived adventure of the man, which was still more madly put to the test without preparation. Neither Catiline nor any of the nobility who were associated with him deigned to fly, but all perished at close quarters with their enemies. Such was the end of the uprising of Catiline, which almost brought the city to the extreme of peril. Cicero, who had been hitherto distinguished only for eloquence, was now in everybody's mouth as a man of action, and was considered unquestionably the saviour of his country on the eve of its destruction, for which reason the thanks of the assembly were bestowed upon him, amid general acclamations. At the instance of Cato the people saluted him as the Father of his Country. Some think that this appellation, which is now bestowed upon those emperors who are deemed worthy of it, had its beginning with Cicero. Although they are in fact kings, it is not given to them with their other titles immediately upon their accession, but is decreed to them in the progress of time, not as a matter of course, but as a final testimonial of the greatest services.

1 The battle was fought at Pistoria, at the southern base of the Apennines. The Roman army was commanded, not by the consul Antonius, but by his lieutenant Petreius, who is described by Sallust as one who had "served with great reputation for more than thirty years as military tribune, prefect, lieutenant, or prætor." Moreover it was a desperate and bloody engagement. (Cat. 57-61.)

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