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21.

Now for your colleague; he, having dissipated an enormous booty which he had acquired by draining the fortunes of the farmers of the revenue, and the lands and cities of the allies, after his insatiable lusts had swallowed some portion of that booty, his new and unexampled luxury had devoured part, when part had gone in purchases in those districts where he plundered everything, and part had been spent in effecting exchanges of property for the purpose of heaping hill upon hill in this Tusculan estate of his; after he had become needy, and after that intolerable mass that he was heaping up had been interrupted and had come to a standstill,—be, I say, then sold himself, and his fasces, and the army of the Roman people, and the oracular consent and prohibition of the immortal gods, and the answer of the priests, and the authority of the senate, and the commands of the people, and the name and dignity of the Roman empire, to the king of Egypt. [49] Though he had the boundaries of his province as extensive as he had desired, as he had wished, as he had procured them to be, by purchasing them at the price of my existence as a citizen, still he could not contain himself within them; he led his army out of Syria. How could he lead it out of his province? He let himself out as a hired comrade to the king of Alexandria.

What can be more shameful than this? He came into Egypt. He engaged the men of Alexandria in battle. When was it that either this senatorial body or the Roman people undertook this war? He took Alexandria. What else are we to expect from his frenzy, but that he should send letters to the senate concerning such mighty exploits? [50] If he had been in his senses, if he had not been already paying to his country and to the immortal gods that penalty which is the most terrible of all, by his frenzy and insanity, would he have cared, (I say nothing of his leaving his province, of his taking his army out of it, of his declaring and carrying on war of his own accord, of his entering a foreign kingdom without any command from the people or from the senate to do so; conduct which many of the ancient laws, and especially the Cornelian law concerning treason, and the Julian law concerning extortion, forbid in the plainest manner; but I say nothing of all this,)—would he, I say, if he had not been most outrageously mad, have dared to take to himself the province which Publius Lentulus, a man most sincerely attached to this order, had abdicated from scruples of religion, though he had obtained it both by the authority of the senate and by lot when even if there were no religious obstacles in his case, still the usage of our ancestors, and all precedents, and the severest penalties of the laws forbade it?


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