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[24] He says also, in order that some alarm may be mingled with the exertion of his influence, that there are certain men on the bench to whom he wishes their tablets to be shown, and that that is very easy, for that they do not give their votes separately, but that all vote together; and that a tablet, 1 covered with the proper wax, and not with that illegal wax which has given so much scandal, is given to every one. And he does not give himself all this trouble so much for the sake of Verres, as because he disapproves of the whole affair. For he sees that, if the power of prosecuting is taken away from the high-born boys whom he has hitherto played with, and from the public informers, whom he has always despised and thought insignificant (not without good reason), and to be transferred to fearless men of well-proved constancy, he will no longer be able to domineer over the courts of law as he pleases.

1 “The judges were provided with three tabellae, one of which was marked with A, i.e. absolvo, I acquit; the second with C, i.e. condemno, condemn; and the third with N L, i.e. non liquet. It is not clear to me, why Cicero (pro Mil. 6) calls the first litera salutaris, and the second litera tristis. It would seem that in some trials the tabellae were marked with the lettera L, libero, and D, damno, respectively.” Smith's Dict. Ant. v. Tabella. In trials like this between Cicero and Caecilius it is probable that the two tabellae had the names of the different candidates inscribed on them. The circumstance alluded to in the text was that a short time before this Terentius Varro had been accused of extortion and defended by Hortensius, who bribed the judges, and then in order to be sure that they voted as they had promised, caused tablets to be given to them smeared with coloured wax, so that he could easily recognize their votes in the balloting urn.

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