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But to proceed. If that most disturbed period, when I was forced to depart from the city, is superior to the time of your greatest triumph, why need I compare our other circumstances, which in your case were all full of disgrace, and in mine of dignity? [34] On the first day of January,—that first day of hope which dawned on the republic after my setting and eclipse,—the senate, in a very full house, amid a crowd gathered together from all Italy, on the motion of a most illustrious man, Publius Lentulus, with one voice and one consent pronounced my recall. The same senate recommended me to all foreign nations, and to all our own magistrates and lieutenants, by its authority and by letters under the hand of the consuls, not (as you, you Insubrian, have dared to say) an exile from my country, but (as the senate itself styled me at the very time) a citizen who had been the saviour of the republic. The senate thought it right to implore, by the voice and letters of the consul, the assistance of all the citizens in all Italy, who were desirous of securing the safety of the republic to assist also in promoting the safety of me, a single individual. For the sake of the preservation of my life and rights, the whole of Italy assembled at Rome at one time, as if in obedience to a signal which had been given. [35] Concerning my safety most magnificent and admirable speeches were made by Publius Lentulus a most excellent man and a most admirable consul by Cnaeus Pompeius, that most illustrious and invincible citizen, and by the other leading men of the city, and concerning me the senate passed a resolution, at the instigation and on the especial motion of Cnaeus Pompeius, that if any one hindered my return in any manner, he should be considered as an enemy of the state, and the authoritative opinion of the senate concerning me was declared in such language that no triumph was ever decreed to any one in a more complimentary or more honourable manner than that in which my safety and restoration to my country was provided for.

When all the magistrates had concurred in the law respecting me, with the exception of one praetor from whom it was not reasonable to ask it as he was the brother of my great enemy, and with the exception also of two tribunes of the people, who had been bought like slaves,1 then Publius Lentulus the consul passed a law concerning me in the comitia centuriata, acting with the consent of his colleague, Quintus Metellus, whom the same republic, which had alienated us from one another in his tribuneship, reconciled to me again in his consulship, in consequence of the virtue of one most excellent and most sensible man. [36] And why need I tell you how that law was received? I hear from you yourselves that no pretext was admitted in the case of any one whatever as sufficiently reasonable to excuse him from being present; that at no comitia that ever were held was there either a more numerous or a more respectable number of men assembled; and this I can certainly see for myself,—what the public records prove,—that you were the movers of the vote, that you were the distributors and keepers of the voting tablets,—and that you did of your own accord for the sake of ensuring my safety, though no one requested you to do so, what, when the honours of your own relations are at stake, you avoid doing under the plea either of your age, or of your rank.

1 The Latin is de lapide emptos, the lapis being a raised stone on which the praeco or auctioneer stood when slaves were sold with reference to which Plautus says: “ O stulte, stulte! nescis nunc venire te,
In eo ipso slas lapide ubi praeco praedicat.

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