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50.

The Papirian law forbids any building to be consecrated without the command of the people. Grant that that law refers to our houses, and not to the public temples. Show me one word of consecration in that law of yours—if it is a law, and not merely an expression of your wickedness and cruelty. [129] But if then, at the time of that shipwreck of the republic, everything necessary had occurred to you, or if the man who drew that law for you at the time of that general conflagration of the state had not been making contracts with the Byzantine exiles and with the royal ambassadors, but had his mind at leisure to attend to (what I will not call the ordinances, but) the monstrous papers which he was drawing, then you would have done what you wanted, if not in fact at all events as far as regular legal language went. But at one and the same time bonds for money were being drawn, treaties with provinces were being entered into, titles of kings were being put up for sale, the numbering of all the slaves was going on over the whole city street by street enemies were being reconciled, new commands were being given to the Roman youth, poison was being prepared for that unhappy Quintus Seius, designs were being formed for assassinating Cnaeus Pompeius, the bulwark and protector of the empire, and to prevent the senate from having any power, and to cause the good to mourn for ever, and to reduce the captive republic, by the treachery of the consuls, to a state of subjection to the violence of the tribunes. When such numerous and such important designs were all on foot, it is no wonder, especially while you were both in such a state of frenzy and blindness, that many things escaped both his notice and yours. [130]

But take notice now, what the effect of this Papirian law is in such a case as this; not such a case as you bring forward, full of wickedness and frenzy. Quintus Marcius the censor had made a statue of Concord, and had erected it in a public place. When Caius Cassius the censor had transported it into the senate-house, he consulted your college, and asked whether there was any reason why he should not dedicate that statue and the senate-house to Concord.


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