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[44]

Now, in the first place, shall decemvirs give a decision about the inheritance of the Roman people, when you require centumvirs to judge in the case of private inheritances? In the next place, who is to plead the cause of the Roman people? Where is the cause to be tried? Who are those decemvirs whom we think likely to adjudge the kingdom of Alexandria to Ptolemy for nothing? But, if Alexandria was the object, why did not they at this time proceed by the same course which they adopted in the consulship of Lucius Cotta and Lucius Torquatus? Why did they not proceed openly, as they did before? Why did they not act as they did when they before sought that country, in a straightforward and open manner? Did they, who, when they had a fair wind, could not hold their course straight on to the kingdom they coveted, think that they could reach Alexandria amid foul mists and darkness? 1


1 This sentence and the succeeding one are considered very corrupt, and there is a great variety of readings proposed; for qui Etesiis some read quietis iis; for directo, decreto. Unaque is quite unintelligible.

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