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31. [75]

I wish that I had leisure enough to read the decree of the Smyrnaeans, which they made respecting the dead Castricius. In the first place, that he was to be brought into the city, which is an honour not granted to others; in the next place, that young men should bear his coffin; and lastly, that a golden crown should be put upon the dead body. These honours were not paid to that most illustrious man, Publius Scipio, when he had died at Pergamus. But what language, O ye immortal gods, do they use concerning him, calling him “the glory of his country, the ornament of the Roman people, the flower of the youth.” Wherefore, O Decianus, if you are desirous of glory, I advise you to seek other distinctions. The men of Pergamus laughed at you. [76] What? Did you not understand that you were being made sport of, when they read those words to you, “most illustrious man, of most extraordinary wisdom, of singular ability.” I assure you they were joking with you. But when they put a golden crown at the head of their letters, in reality they did not entrust you with more gold than they would trust to a jackdaw; could you not even perceive the neatness and facetiousness of the men? They, then,—those men of Pergamus,—repudiated the advertisements which you produced. Publius Orbius, a man both prudent and incorruptible, gave every decision that he did give against you.


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