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30. [71]

And even in this place the condemnation of Marcus Camurtius1 and Caius Caesernius is brought up again! Oh the folly, or shall I rather say, oh the extraordinary impudence! Do you dare,—you prosecutors,—when you come from that woman's house, to make mention of those men? Do you dare to reawaken the recollection of so enormous a crime, which is not even now dead, but is only smothered by its antiquity? For on account of what charge, or what fault did those men fall? Forsooth, because they endeavoured to avenge the grief and suffering of that same woman caused by the injury which they believed she had received from Vettius. Was, then, the cause of Camurtius and Caesernius brought up again in order that the name of Vettius might be heard of in connection with this cause, and that that farcical old story, suited to the pen of Afranius, might be rubbed up again? For though they were certainly not liable under the law concerning violence, they were still so implicated in that crime, that they deemed men who ought never to be released from the shackles of the law. [72]

But why is Marcus Caelius brought before this court? when no charge properly belonging to this mode of investigation is imputed to him, nor indeed anything else of such a nature that, though it may not exactly come under the provisions of my law, still calls for the exercise of your severity. His early youth was devoted to strict discipline; and to those pursuits by which we are prepared for these forensic labours,—for taking part in the administration of the republic,—for honour, and glory, and dignity
* * * * and to those friendships with his elders, whose industry and temperance he might most desire to imitate; and to those studies of the youths of his own age: so that he appeared to be pursuing the same course of glory as the most virtuous and most highly-born of the citizens. [73] Afterwards, when he had advanced somewhat in age and strength, he went into Africa, as a comrade of Quintus Pompeius the proconsul, one of the most temperate of men, and one of the strictest in the performance of every duty. And as his paternal property and estate lay in that province, he thought that some knowledge of its habits and feelings would be usefully acquired by him, now that he was of an age which our ancestors thought adapted for gaining that sort of information. He departed from Africa, having gained the most favourable opinion of Pompeius, as you shall learn from Pompeius's own evidence.

He then wished, according to the old-fashioned custom, and following the example of those young men who afterwards turned out most eminent men and most illustrious citizens in the state, to signalise his industry in the eyes of the Roman people, by some very conspicuous prosecution.


1 It is quite unknown to as what these allusions of Cicero to passing events refer to.

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