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43. [111]

But from whence was that Liberty brought? for I sought for her diligently. She is said to have been a prostitute at Tanagra. At no great distance from Tanagra a marble image of her was placed on her tomb. A certain man of noble birth, not altogether unconnected with this holy priest of Liberty, carried off this statue to decorate his aedileship. He had in truth cherished the idea of surpassing all his predecessors in the splendour of his appointments. Therefore he brought away to his own house, like a prudent man as he was, all the statues and pictures, all the decorations of any sort, that remained in the temples and public places, out of Greece and out of all the islands, for the sake of doing honour to the Roman people. [112] After he understood that he might give up the aedileship, and still be appointed praetor by Lucius Piso the consul, provided he had any competitor whose name began with the same1 letter as his own, he stowed away what he had prepared for his aedileship in two places, partly in his strong-box, and partly in his gardens. He gave the statue which he had taken from the prostitute's tomb to that fellow, because it was much more suited to such people as he is than to Public Liberty. Can any one dare to profane this goddess, the statue of a harlot, the ornament of a tomb, carried off by a thief; and consecrated by a sacrilegious infidel? Is it she who is to drive me from my house? Is she the avenger of this afflicted city? Is she to be adorned with the spoils of the republic? Is she to be a part of that monument which has been erected so as to be a token of the oppression of the senate, and to keep alive for ever the recollection of this man's infamy? [113]

O Quintus Catulus! (Shall I appeal rather to the father, or to the son? The memory of the son is fresher, and more closely connected with my exploits.) How greatly were you mistaken when you thought that I should find the greatest possible reward—a reward, too, becoming every day greater in this republic when you said that it was impossible for there to be at the same time in this city two consuls hostile to the republic. Two have been found who gave over the senate bound hand and foot to a frantic tribune; who, by edicts and positive commands, prohibited the conscript fathers from entreating the people and coming to it as suppliants on my behalf; who looked on while my house was being sacked and plundered; who ordered the damaged relics of my property to be carried off to their own houses. [114] I come now to the father. You, O Quintus Catulus, chose the house of Marcus Fulvius, though he was the father-in-law of your own brother, to be the monument of your victories, in order that every recollection of that man who had embraced designs destructive of the republic should be entirely removed from the eyes and eradicated from the minds of men if, when you were building that portico, any one had said to you that the time would come when that tribune of the people, who had despised the authority of the senate and the opinion of all virtuous men, should injure and overthrow your monument, while the consuls were not looking on only, but even assisting in the work, and should join it to the house of that citizen who as consul had defended the republic in obedience to the authority of the senate; would you not have answered that that could not possibly happen, unless the republic itself was previously overthrown?


1 In voting at the election of magistrates, the ballot tickets given to the voters were only marked with the initial of each candidate's name.

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