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This man, O Publius Lentulus, was present at all your counsels, while you were thinking of nothing day and night except my safety. He cooperated with you as a most influential adviser in planning the conduct to be pursued, as a most faithful ally in preparing for it, and as a most fearless assistant in executing it. It was he who visited all the municipalities and colonies; it was he who implored the assistance of all Italy, which was eager to afford it; it was he who in the senate was the first person to deliver his opinion, and when he had delivered it there, he then also entreated the Roman people to preserve me. [31] Wherefore, you may desist from that language which you have been using, namely, that the dispositions of the priests were changed after my delivering the opinion which I did about the corn. As if they had any different opinion from what I myself had about Cnaeus Pompeius, or as if they were ignorant what I ought to do either with regard to the expectation of the Roman people, or to the services which I have received from Cnaeus Pompeius, or to my own circumstances and condition; or as if even, if my sentiments had perchance been offensive to any one of the priests, though I know for a certainty that the contrary was the case, any priest was on that account going to decide about religion, or any citizen about the republic, in any other manner than the laws respecting religious ceremonies compelled the one, or the interests and safety of the republic compelled the other.

[32] I am aware, O priests, that I have said more things which are foreign to this cause, than either your opinion is likely to approve of, or than my own inclination prompted. But I was anxious to be acquitted in your eyes; and, further, your kindness in listening to me with attention carried me on to say more than I had intended. But I will make amends for this by the brevity of that part of the speech which relates to the actual matter now brought under your examination; and as the affair is divided into two heads,—one relating to the laws of religion, and the other to the laws of the state, —I will pass over the question of religion, which would take a longer time to discuss, and speak to the point of what is the law of the state. [33] For what can be so arrogant as for a layman to endeavour to lecture the college of priests about religion, about divine affairs, and ceremonies, and sacrifices; or so foolish as for a man, if he has found anything of consequence in your books, to take up time in detailing it to you; or so superfluous, as to seek to acquire learning on those points concerning which our ancestors have laid down the principle that you alone have knowledge, and that you alone ought to be consulted?

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