For what can be so unprecedented as for a young man in a private capacity to levy an army at a most critical time of the republic? He levied one.—To command it? He did command it.—To succeed gloriously in his undertaking? He did succeed. What can be so entirely contrary to usage, as for a very young man, whose age 1 fell far short of that required for the rank of a senator, to have a command and an army entrusted to him? to have Sicily committed to his care, and Africa, and the war which was to be carried on there? He conducted himself in these provinces with singular blamelessness, dignity, and valour; he terminated a most serious war in Africa, and brought away his army victorious. But what was ever so unheard of as for a Roman knight to have a triumph? But even that circumstance the Roman people not only say, but they thought that it deserved to be thronged to and honoured with all possible zeal.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF THE PROPOSED MANILIAN LAW.
1 “As regards the age at which a person might become a senator, we have no express statement for the time of the republic, although it appears to have been fixed by some custom or law, as the aetas senatoria is frequently mentioned, especially during the latter period of the republic; but we may by induction discover the probable age. We know that according to the law of the tribune Villius the age fixed for the quaestorship was thirty-one. Now as it might happen that a quaestor was made the senator immediately after the expiration of his office, we may presume that the earliest age at which a man could become a senator was thirty-two. Augustus at last fixed the senatorial age at twenty-five, which appears to have remained unaltered throughout the time of the empire.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 851, v. Senatus.
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