12.  But remark how carefully he preserves the rights of the tribunitian power. The consuls are often interrupted in proposing a lex curiata, by the intercession of the tribunes of the people. Not that we complain that the tribunes should have this power; only, if any one uses it in a random and inconsiderate manner, we form our own opinion. But this tribune of the people, by his lex curiata, which the praetor is to bring forward, takes away the power of intercession. And while he is made to be blamed for causing the tribunitian power to be diminished by his instrumentality, he is also to be laughed at, because a consul, if he be not invested with the authority by a lex curiata, has no power to interfere in military affairs; and yet he gives this man whom he prohibits from interceding, the very same power, even if the veto be interposed, as if a lex curiata had been passed. So that I am at a loss to understand either why he prohibits the intercession, or why he thinks that any one will intercede; as the intercession will only prove the folly of the intercessor, and will not hinder the business.  Let there then be decemvirs, appointed neither by the genuine comitia,—that is to say, by the votes of the people,—nor by that comitia convened in appearance, to keep up an ancient custom, by the thirty lictors for the sake of the auspices. 1 See now, also, how much greater honours he confers on these men who have received no authority from you, than we have received, to whom you have given the most ample authority, He orders the decemvirs, 2 who have the care of the auspices, to take auspices for the sake of conducting the colonies. “According,” says he, “to the same right which the triumvirs had by the Sempronian law.” Do you venture, O Rullus, even to make mention of the Sempronian law? and does not that law itself remind you that these triumvirs have been created by the suffrages of the tribes? And while you are
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THE THIRD SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN OPPOSITION TO PUBLIUS SERVILIUS RULLUS, A TRIBUNE OF THE PEOPLE, CONCERNING THE AGRARIAN LAW. DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE.
1 “In after times, when the comitia curiata were little more than a matter of form, their suffrages were represented by the thirty lictors of the curiae, whose duty it was to summon the curiae when the meetings actually took place.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 273 a, v. Comitia.
2 The Latin has, “decemviri pullarii”. Pullarius was the officer appointed to feed and take care of the sacred chickens that were kept for the purpose of taking the auspices; and much was inferred from the way in which they took their food, or perhaps refused it.
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