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34. [91]

By the aid of this people, if there had then been real consuls in the republic, or if there had been no consuls at all, I should without any difficulty have resisted your headlong frenzy and impious wickedness. But I was unwilling to take up the public cause against armed violence, without the protection of the people. Not that I disapproved of the late rigour of Publius Scipio, that bravest of men, when he was only a private individual; but Publius Mucius the consul, who was considered somewhat remiss in defending the republic, immediately defended, and, more than that, extolled the action of Scipio in many resolutions passed by the senate. But, in my case, I, if you were slain, would have had to contend by force of arms against the consuls, or if you were alive, against both you and them together. [92] There were many other circumstances also to be feared at that time. The contest, would, in truth, have reached the slaves. So great a hatred of all good men had still got possession of the minds of impious citizens, being burnt as it were into their wicked minds by that ancient conspiracy.

Here, too, you warn me not to boast. You say that those things are intolerable which I am accustomed to assert concerning myself; and being a witty man, you put on quite a polite and elegant sort of language. You say that I am accustomed to say that I am Jupiter; and also to make a frequent boast that Minerva is my sister. I will not so much defend myself from the charge of insolence in calling myself Jupiter, as from that of ignorance in thinking Minerva the sister of Jupiter. But even if I do say so, I at all events claim a virgin for my sister; but you would not allow your sister to remain a virgin. Consider rather whether you have not a right to call yourself Jupiter, because you have established a right to call the same woman both sister and wife.


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