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[31] Suddenly a false rumor came that Cæsar had crossed the Alps and was marching on the city, whereupon there was a great tumult and consternation on all sides. Claudius moved that the army at Capua be turned against Cæsar as a public enemy. When Curio opposed him on the ground that the rumor was false he exclaimed, "If I am prevented by the vote of the Senate from taking steps for the public safety, I will take such steps on my own responsibility as consul." After saying this he darted out of the Senate and proceeded to the suburbs with his colleague, where he presented a sword to Pompey, and said, "I and my colleague command you to march against Cæsar in behalf of your country, and we give you for this purpose the army now at Capua, or in any other part of Italy, and whatever additional forces you yourself choose to levy." Pompey promised to obey the orders of the consuls, but he added, "unless we can do better," thus dealing in trickery and still making a pretence of fairness. Curio had no power outside of the city (for it was not permitted to the tribunes to go beyond the walls), but he publicly deplored the state of affairs and demanded that the consuls should make proclamation that nobody need obey the conscription ordered by Pompey. As he could accomplish nothing, and as his term of office as tribune was about expiring, and he feared for his safety and despaired of being able to render any further assistance to Cæsar, he hastily departed to join the latter.

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