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46. [120]

What next? Suppose any one like that fellow,—for there will not be wanting men who will be willing to imitate him,—should by violence oppress some one who does not resemble me, to whom the republic does not owe as much as it does to me, and should dedicate his house by the agency of one priest; will you determine by your authority that a deed done in that manner ought to stand? Will you say, “What priest will such a man be able to find?” What? Cannot a tribune of the people be himself a priest also at the same time? Marcus Drusus, that most illustrious tribune of the people, was a priest also. Therefore, if he had taken hold of a door-post of the house of Quintus Caepio his enemy, and had uttered a few words, would the house of Caepio have been dedicated to the gods? I say nothing here about the privileges of the priesthood, nor about the language of the dedication itself; [121] I say nothing about religion, or religious ceremonies; I do not deny that I am ignorant of those matters, of which I should conceal my knowledge, even if I were acquainted with them, that I might not appear troublesome to others, and over curious to you; although many particulars of your usages do escape, and often reach the ears of the laity. I think, for instance, that I have heard that at the dedication of a temple, a door-post must be taken hold of. For the door-post is there where the entrance to the temple and its folding-door are. But no one ever took hold of the posts of a promenade in dedicating that; but if you have dedicated a statue or an altar, that cannot be moved from its place afterwards without impiety. But you will not be able now to allege this, since you have said that the priest did lay hands on the post.

Although, why do I say anything about the dedication? or why do I discuss your right and the religious features of the case, contrary to my original intention?

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