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15. [36]

But let us at last come to the merits of the case; in which, under cover of the Licinian law, which relates to treating,1 you have embraced all the laws relating to bribery. Nor have you had any other object in view in dwelling on this law, except the power which it gave you of selecting your judges. And if this sort of tribunal is an equitable one in any other case except that of bribing the tribes, I do not understand why, in this one description of prosecution alone, the senate has allowed the tribes from which the judges are taken to be selected by the prosecutor, and has not given the same power of selection in other cases also. In actual prosecutions for bribery, it has directed the tribunal to be formed by each party striking off judges alternately; and though it omitted no other species of severity to the defendant, still it thought it ought to omit this. [37] What? Is the reason of this conduct still obscure? was it not mooted when that matter was discussed in the senate, and argued most abundantly by Hortensius yesterday, who carried all the senate with him? This, then, was our opinion, that if he had bribed any tribe by means of this hospitality—which the treating would be called by people more solicitous to give it a respectable name than a true one;—if he had, I say, corrupted any tribe by disgraceful bribery, he must be known to have done so by the men who belonged to that tribe above all others. Accordingly, the senate thought that when those tribes were selected is the judges of the accused person, which he was said to have corrupted by bribery, they would serve both as witnesses of the truth and as judges. It is altogether a very severe sort of tribunal; but still, if either his own tribe, or one with which he was especially connected, was proposed to a man as that which was to judge him, it could hardly be refused.


1 The Latin word is sodalitium. “Especially a feasting club; at these parties conspiracies were frequently hatched, and so they obtained a bad name. Cic. Planc. 15.”—Riddle, Lat. Dict. in voc. “Lex Licinia was specially directed against the offence of sodalitium or the wholesale bribery of a tribe by gifts and treating.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 36, v. Ambitus.

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    • Cicero, For Plancius, 15
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