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****** Do you not see now, do you not feel, O you beast, what complaints men make of your impudence? No one complains that a Syrian, that a man whom nobody knows, that some one of that body of lately emancipated slaves, was made consul. For that complexion, like that of slaves, and those hairy cheeks and discoloured teeth, did not deceive us: your eyes, your eyebrows, your brow, in short your whole countenance, which is, as it were, a sort of silent language of the mind, led men into error, this it was which led those to whom this man was unknown into mistake and error, and blunders. There were but few of us who were acquainted with those foul vices of yours; few of us who knew the deficiency of your abilities, your stolid manner, and your embarrassed way of speaking. Your voice had never been heard in the forum; no one had had any experience of your wisdom in counsel: you had not only never performed any, I will not say illustrious exploit, but any action at all that was known of either in war or at home. You crept into honours through men's blunders, by the recommendation of some old smoke-dried images, though there is nothing in you at all resembling them except your colour. [2] Will he also boast to me that he obtained even magistracy without one repulse? I am able to make that boast concerning myself with true exultation; for the Roman people did confer all its honours on me in that way-on me, a new man. But when you were made quaestor, even men who had never seen you gave that honour to your name. You were made aedile. A Piso was elected by the Roman people; but not the Piso that you are. The praetorship also was conferred in reality on your ancestors. They, though dead, were well known; but no one had as yet known anything of you, though you were alive.

When the Roman people made me quaestor among the first of the candidates, and first aedile, and first praetor, as they did by a unanimous vote, they were paying that compliment to me on my own account and not to my family,—to my habits of life, not to my ancestors,—to my proved virtue, and not to any nobleness of birth of which they had heard. [3] For why should I speak of my consulship? whether as to the manner in which it was obtained, or in which it was conducted? Wretched man that I am! am I comparing myself to this disgrace and plague of the republic? But I will say nothing with the view of drawing any comparison; but I will bring together those circumstances which are very widely separated. You were declared consul (I will say nothing more severe than what all men admit to be true) at a time when the affairs of the republic were in a state of great embarrassment, when the consuls Caesar and Bibulus were at variance, when you had no objection to those men by whom you were declared consul thinking you undeserving of the light of day if you did not prove more worthless than Gabinius. All Italy, all ranks of men, the entire city declared me the first consul with acclamation even before they gave in their voting tablets.


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