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17. [38]

We know that Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, the most eminent man of our city, was accused by Marcus Brutus. The orations are extant by which it can be seen that many things are alleged against Scaurus himself, no doubt falsely; but still they were alleged against him and urged against him by an enemy. How many things were said against Manius Aquilius on his trial? How many against Lucius Cotta? and, lastly, against Publius Rutilius? who, although he was condemned, still appears to me to deserve to be reckoned among the most virtuous and innocent men. Yet that most upright and temperate man had many things attributed to him on his trial, which involved suspicion of adultery, and great licentiousness. [39] There is an oration extant of a man, by far (in my opinion, that is,) the ablest and most eloquent of all our countrymen, Caius Gracchus; in which oration Lucius Piso is accused of many base and wicked actions. What a man to be so accused! A man who was of such virtue and integrity, that even in those most admirable: times, when it was not possible to find a thoroughly worthless man, still he alone was called Thrifty. And when Gracchus was ordering him to be summoned before the assembly, and his lictor asked him which Piso, because there were many of the name, “You are compelling me,” says he, “to call my enemy, Thrifty.” That very man then, whom even his enemy could not point out with sufficient clearness without first praising him; whose one surname pointed not only who he was, but what sort of man he was; that very man was, nevertheless, exposed to a false and unjust accusation of disgraceful conduct. [40] Marcus Fonteius has been accused in two trials, in such a way, that nothing has been alleged against him from which the slightest taint of lust, or caprice, or cruelty, or audacity can be inferred. They not only have not mentioned any atrocious deed of his, but they have not even found fault with any expression used by him.

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