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15. [39]

I come now to the augurs and if they have any secret books I do not inquire into them; I am not very curious about inquiring into the principles of the augurs. I know, what I have learnt in common with all the people, what answers they have frequently given in the public assemblies. They say that it is contrary to divine law for any public business to be brought before the people when any proper officers observing the heavens. Will you venture to deny that, on the day when the Lex curiata1 concerning you is said to have been passed, the magistrates were observing the heavens? A man is here present in court, of the most eminent wisdom, and dignity, and authority, Marcus Bibulus. I assert that on that very day he, as consul, was observing the heavens. “What then,” you will say, “are then the acts of Caius Caesar, that most admirable citizen, invalid in your opinion?” By no means; for there is not one of them which concerns me in the least, nor anything else except these weapons which by that man's proceedings are hurled at me. [40] But the matter of the auspices, which I am now touching on with extreme brevity, has been handled in this manner by you. You, when your tribuneship was in danger and was falling to pieces as it were, all of a sudden came forward as a patron of the auspices; you brought forward Marcus Bibulus and the augurs into the assembly; you questioned the augurs, and they replied that when any magistrates was observing the heavens, no business could be transacted in the assembly of the people. You questioned Marcus Bibulus, and he told you in reply that he had been observing the heavens; and he also said in the public assembly, when he was brought forward there by your brother Appius, that you were no tribune of the people at all, because you had been adopted contrary to the auspices. In the succeeding months your language constantly was, that everything which Caius Caesar had done ought to be rescinded by the senate, because they had been done in disregard of the auspices; and if they were rescinded, you said that you would bring me back on your own shoulders into the city as the guardian of the city. See now, O priests, the insanity of the man when by means of his tribuneship he was connected to such an extent with the acts of Caesar. [41] If the priests deciding according to the law relating to sacrifices, and the augurs according to the religious observance due to the auspices, upset your whole tribuneship, what more do you ask? do you want some still more evident argument drawn from the rights of the people and the laws?

1 A Lex curiata was a law passed by the comitia curiata. And these comitia were held (among other causes) for the purpose of carrying into effect the form of adoption called arrogatio. When the question to be proposed had relation to sacred things, the pontifices presided in them.

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