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[23] The Senate assembled in consternation and looked to Pompey, intending to make him dictator at once, for they considered this necessary as a cure for the present evils; but at the suggestion of Cato they appointed him consul without a colleague, so that by ruling alone he might have the power of a dictator with the responsibility of a consul. He was the first of consuls who had two of the greatest provinces, and an army, and the public money, and the one-man power in the city, by virtue of being sole consul. In order that Cato might not cause obstruction by his presence, it was decreed that he should go to Cyprus and take the island away from King Ptolemy--a law to that effect having been enacted by Clodius because once, when he was captured by pirates, the avaricious Ptolemy contributed only two talents for his ransom. When Ptolemy heard of the decree he threw his money into the sea and killed himself, and Cato settled the government of Cyprus. Pompey proposed the prosecution of offenders and especially of those guilty of bribery and corruption. He thought that the seat of the public disorder was there, and that by beginning there he should effect a speedy cure. He brought forward a law, that any citizen who chose to do so might call for an accounting from anybody who had held office from the time of his own first consulship to the present. This embraced a period of a little less than twenty years, during which Cæsar also had been consul; wherefore Cæsar's friends suspected that he included so long a time in order to cast reproach and contumely on Cæsar, and urged him to straighten out the present crookedness rather than stir up the past to the annoyance of so many distinguished men, among whom they named Cæsar. Pompey pretended to be indignant at the mention of Cæsar's name, as though he were above suspicion, and said that his own second consulship was embraced in the period, and that he had reached back a considerable time in order to effect a complete cure of the evils from which the republic had been so long wasting away.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), AM´BITUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CONSUL
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), DICTA´TOR
    • Smith's Bio, Cu'rio
    • Smith's Bio, Ptolemaeus
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