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8. [17]

Although I now thought, O judges, that it had been brought about by my labours, that a want of nobleness of birth should not be objected to many brave men, who were neglected, though men were praising not only the Curii, the Catos, the Pompeii, those ancient new but most distinguished men, but also, these more modern new men, the Marii, and Didii, and Coelii. But when I, after so great an interval, had broken down those barriers of nobility, so that entrance to the consulship should hereafter be opened, as it was in the time of I our ancestors, not more to high birth than to virtue, I did not think when a consul-elect of an ancient and illustrious family was being defended by the son of a Roman knight himself a consul, that the accusers would say anything about newness of family. In truth it happened to me myself to stand against two patricians, one a most worthless and audacious man, the other a most modest and virtuous one; yet I surpassed Catiline in worth, Galba in popularity. But if that ought to have been imputed as a crime to a new man, forsooth, I should have wanted neither enemies nor detractors. [18]

Let us, therefore, give up saying anything about birth, the dignity of which is great in both the candidates; let us look at the other points. He stood for the quaestorship at the same time with me, and I was appointed first. We need not answer every point; for it cannot escape the observation of any one of you, when many men are appointed equal in dignity, but only one can obtain the first place, that the order of the dignity and of the declaration of it are not the same, because the declaration has degrees, but the dignity of all is usually the same. But the quaestorship of each was, given them by almost an equal decision of the lots: the one had by the Titian law a quiet and orderly province; you had that, one of Ostia, at the name of which, when the quaestors distribute the provinces by lot, a shout, is raised,—a province not so much pleasant and illustrious as troublesome and vexatious. The name of each was together in the quaestorship. For the drawing of the lots gave you no field on which your virtue could display itself and make itself known. [19] The remaining space of time is dedicated to the contest. It was employed by each in a very dissimilar fashion.

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