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34. [84]

“But a great and intolerable injury was done to Andrus Sextilius.” As, when his wife Valeria had died without a will, Flaccus managed the business in such a way as if the inheritance belonged to himself. And in that I should be glad to know what you find fault with,—is it, that he asserted anything which was false? How do you prove it? “She was,” says he, “a person of good family.” O man, learned in the law! What? cannot inheritances legally come from women of good family? “She was,” says he, “under the power of her husband.” Now I understand you; but was she so by use 1 or by purchase? It could not be by use for legitimate guardianship cannot be annulled except by the consent of all the guardians. By purchase? Then it must have been with the consent of all of them; and certainly you will not say that that of Flaccus was obtained. [85] That alternative remains which he did not cease asserting loudly; “that Flaccus ought not, when he was praetor, to have attended to his own private concerns, or to have made any mention of the inheritance.” I hear, O Lucius Lucullus, that very great inheritances came to you, to you who are about to decide as judge on the case of Lucius Flaccus, on account of your exceeding liberality and of the great services which you had done your friends, during the time that you were governing the province of Asia with consular power. If any one had said that those inheritances belonged to him, would you have given them up? You, O Titus Vettius, if any inheritance in Africa comes to you, will you abandon it? or, will you retain it as your own, without being liable to the imputation of avarice, without any sacrifice of your dignity? “But the possession of the inheritance of which we are speaking was demanded in the name of Flaccus, when Globulus was praetor.” Well then, it was not any sudden violence, nor the idea of any favourable opportunity, nor force, nor any peculiarity of time, nor the possession of command and of the forces which induced Flaccus to commit this injury. [86]

And, therefore, it is to this point that Marcus Lurco also, a most excellent man, and a great friend of mine, has especially addressed the sting of his evidence. He said, that it was not becoming for a praetor in his province to claim money from a private individual. Why, I should like to know, O Lurco, is it not becoming? It is not becoming to force or extort money, or to receive money contrary to the laws; but you will never convince me that it is not becoming to claim it, unless you can show that it is not lawful to do so. Is it right to accept of honorary lieutenancies for the sake of exacting what is one's due, as you yourselves have done lately, and as many good men have often done, (and I, indeed, find no fault with such conduct; I see that our allies complain of it;) and, do you think a praetor, if he, being in his province, does not abandon an inheritance which comes to him, is not only to be blamed but even to be condemned?

1 The marriage per coemptionem has already been explained. “Marriage was also effected by usus, if a woman lived with a man for a whole year as his wife.” Smith, Dict, Ant. p. 604 v. Marriage, q. v.

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