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Great, O senators, is the name, great is the honour, great is the dignity, great is the majesty of a consul. Your narrow mind, O Piso, your paltry soul, your spiritless heart, is unable to comprehend that greatness. The weakness of your intellect cannot grasp it; your inexperience of prosperity cannot support so dignified, so solemn a character. Seplasia,1 in truth, as I heard said, the moment that it beheld you, refused to acknowledge you as the consul of Campania. It had heard of the Decii, of the Magii, it knew something also about Jubellius Taurea; and if those men did not display all the moderation which is usually found in our consuls, at all events there was a pomp about them, there was a magnificence, there was a gait and behaviour worthy of Seplasia and of Capua. [25] Indeed, if those perfumers had beheld your colleague Gabinius as their duumviri; 2 they would sooner have acknowledged him. He at least had carefully-dressed hair, and perfumed fringes of curls, and anointed and carefully-rouged cheeks, worthy of Capua,—of Capua, I mean, such as it used to be. For the Capua that now is is full of most excellent characters, of most gallant men, of most virtuous citizens, and of men most friendly and devoted to me; not one of whom ever saw you at Capua clad in your praetexta without groaning out of regret for me, by whose counsels they recollected that the whole republic and that city in particular had been preserved. They had paid me the honour of a gilded statue; they had adopted me as their especial patron; they considered that it was owing to me that they were still enjoying their lives, their fortunes, and their children; they had defended me when I was present against your piratical attacks, by their decrees, and by their deputations; and when I was absent they recalled me, when that great man Cnaeus Pompeius submitted the motion to them, and tore the weapons of your wickedness out of the body or the republic.

[26] Were you consul when my house on the Palatine Hill was set on fire, not by any accident but by men applying fire brands to it at your inspiration? Was there ever before any conflagration of any great extent or importance in the city without the consul coming to bring assistance? But you at that very time were sitting in the house of your mother in law, close to my house; you had opened her house to receive the plunder of mine; you were sitting there not for the purpose of extinguishing, but as the originator of the fire and you—I may almost say—were yourself as consul supplying burning firebrands to the Furies of Clodius's party.

1 The Seplasia was a street at Capua, full of perfumers and hairdressers, and much frequented.

2 Duumvir was the title of the chief magistrate in the colonies and municipal towns in Italy.

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