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29. [68]

But those slaves have been emancipated by the advice of her relations,—most highly born and illustrious men. At last then we have found something which that woman is said to have done by the advice and authority of her own relations,—men of the highest respectability of character. But I wish to know what proof there is in that emancipation of slaves, so that either any charge against Caelius can be made out of that, or any examination of the slaves themselves by means of torture prevented, or any pretext found for giving rewards to slaves who were privy to too many transactions which it is desired to keep secret? But her relations advised it. Why should not they advise it, when you yourself stated that you were reporting to them a matter which you had not received information of from others, but which had been discovered by yourself? [69]

Here also we wonder whether any most obscene story followed the tale of that imaginary box. There is nothing which may not seem applicable to such a woman as that. The matter has been heard of, and has been the subject of universal conversation. You have long ago perceived, O judges, what I wish to say, or rather what I wish not to say. For even if such a crime was committed, it certainly was not committed by Caelius; for what concern was it of his? It may perhaps have been committed by some young man, not so much foolish as destitute of modesty. But if it be a mere fiction, it is not indeed a very modest invention, but still it is not destitute of wit;—one which in truth the common conversation and common opinion of men would never have sealed with their approbation, if every sort of story which involved any kind of infamy did not appear consistent with and suited to that woman's character. [70]

The cause has now been fully stated by me, O judges, and summed up. You now understand how important an action this is which has been submitted to your decision; how serious a charge is confided to you. You are presiding over an investigation into a charge of violence;—into a law which concerns the empire, the majesty of the state, the condition of the country, and the safety of all the citizens;—a law which Quintus Catulus passed at a time when armed dissensions were dividing the people, and when the republic was almost at its last gasp;—a law which, after the flame which raged so fiercely in my consulship had been allayed, extinguished the smoking relics of the conspiracy. Under this law the youth of Marcus Caelius is demanded, not for the sake of enduring any punishment called for by the republic, but in order to be sacrificed to the lust and profligate pleasures of a woman.


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