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20.

He, forsooth, before he arrives in Pontus, will send letters to Cnaeus Pompeius, of which I suppose a copy has already been composed in these terms:—“Publius Servilius Rullus, tribune of the people, decemvir, to Cnaeus Pompeius, the son of Cnaeus, greeting.” I do not suppose that he will add “Magnus;” for it is not likely that he will grant him by a word that dignity which he is endeavouring to diminish. “I wish you to take care to meet me at Sinope, and to bring me assistance, while I am selling, in accordance with the provisions of my law, those lands which you acquired by your labour.” Or will he not invite Pompeius? Will he sell the spoils of the general in his own province? Just place before your eyes Rullus, in Pontus, holding his auction between your camp and that of the enemy, and knocking down lands surrounded by his beautiful band of surveyors. [54] Nor does the insult consist solely in this, though this is very preposterous, and very unprecedented, that anything which has been acquired in war, while the general is still carrying on the war, should be sold, or even let. But these men have something more in view than mere insult. They hope, if it is allowed to the enemies of Cnaeus Pompeius, not only to stroll about other countries, but even to come to his very army with absolute authority, with a power of sitting as judges in every case, with boundless power, and with countless sums of money, that some plot may be laid against him himself; and that something may be taken from his army, or power, or renown. They think that, if the army reposes any hope in Cnaeus Pompeius with respect to either lands, or any other advantages, it will do so no longer when it sees that the supreme power in all those matters is transferred to the decemvirs. [55] I am not concerned at those men being so foolish, as to hope for these things; and so impudent, as to attempt to cause them. What I do complain of is, that I am so much despised by them, that they should select the period of my consulship, of all times in the world, for seeking to bring about such prodigious absurdities.

And in the sale of all these lands and houses leave is given to the decemvirs “to hold their sales in whatever places they think fit.” Oh their perverted senses! Oh their licentiousness, so necessary to be checked! Oh their profligate and wicked intentions!


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