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Dare now, O you Fury to describe yours; the beginning of which was the Compitalitian games, then first celebrated since the time that Lucius Metellus and Quintus Marcius were consuls, contrary to the inclination of this order: games which Quintus Metellus (I am doing injury to a gallant man who is dead when I compare him, to whom this city has produced few equals, to this ill-omened beast)—but he, being consul elect when a certain tribune of the people, relying on his own power, had ordered the master of the games to celebrate them in contempt of a resolution passed by the senate, though still a private individual, forbade it to be done, and he carried that point by the weight of his character, which he had not as yet any power to enforce. You, when the day of the Compitalitia1 had fallen on the first of January, permitted Sextus Clodius, who had never before filled any office which entitled him to wear the pratetexta, to celebrate the games, and to strut about in a praetexta like a profligate man, as he was, a man thoroughly worthy of your countenance and regard.

1 The compitalicii ludi, or compitalia, as they are called a few lines after, were a festival celebrated once a year in honour of the lares compitales, to whom sacrifices were offered at places where two ways met. It is said to have been instituted by Tarquinius Priscus, in honour of the birth of Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus is said to have sacrificed boys at them to Mania the mother of the Lares; but after his expulsion this custom was abolished, and the offerings were garlic and poppies. The exact day on which the games were celebrated varied, but it was always in the winter. In one of Cicero's letters to Atticus, (vii. 7,) he speaks of them as falling one year on the second of January. According to some editions the proper reading here is the thirtieth of December. Smith, Dict. Ant. p.279, v. Compitolia.

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