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15. [38]

You see now one kind of sale, which I am aware appears very important to you; but pray give your attention to what follows, and you will see that this is only a kind of step and road to other measures. “Whatever lands, whatever places, whatever buildings.” What is there besides? There is much property in slaves, in cattle, in bullion, in money, in ivory, in robes, in furniture, in all sorts of other things. What shall that say? Did he think it would cause unpopularity to name all these things? He was not afraid of unpopularity. What then was his motive? He thought the catalogue a long one, and he was afraid of passing over anything; so he wrote in addition, “or anything else;” by which brief formula you see that nothing can be omitted. Whatever, therefore, there is out of Italy, that has been made the property of the Roman people by Lucius Sulla and Quintus Pompeius in their consulships, or afterwards, that he orders the decemvirs to sell. [39] By this clause, I say, O Romans, that all nations, and people, and provinces, and kingdoms, are given up and handed over to the dominion, and judgment, and power of the decemvirs. This is the first thing; for I ask what place there is anywhere in the world which the decemvirs may not be able to say has been made the property of the Roman people? For, when the same person who has made the assertion is also to judge of the truth of it, what is there which he may not say, when he is also the person to decide in the question? It will be very convenient to say, that Pergamus, and Smyrna, and Tralles, and Ephesus, and Miletus, and Cyzicus, and, in short, all Asia, which has been recovered since the consulship of Lucius Sulla and Quintus Pompeius, has become the property of the Roman people. Will language fail him in which to assert such a doctrine? or, when the same person makes the statement and judges of the truth of it, will it be impossible to induce him to give a false decision? or, if he is unwilling to pass sentence on Asia, will he not estimate at his own price its release from the dread of condemnation? [40] What will he say—(and it is quite impossible for any one to argue against this, since it has been already settled and decided by you, and since we have already voted it to be our inheritance,)—what will he say to the kingdom of Bithynia? which has undoubtedly become the public property of the Roman people. Is there any reason why the decemvirs should not sell all the lands, and cities, and military stations and harbours, and in short all Bithynia?

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