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21. [51]

You ask also, O Laterensis, what answer you can make to the images of your ancestors; how you are to excuse yourself to that most accomplished and excellent man your deceased father? Never think about those things. Take care rather lest that querulousness and excessive grief of yours be reproved by those men of consummate wisdom. For your father saw that Appius Claudius a most noble man, even in the lifetime of his own father a most influential and most illustrious citizen, Caius Claudius, failed in his endeavour to obtain the aedileship, and yet that he was afterwards elected consul without a repulse. He saw that a man most closely connected with himself a most illustrious citizen, Lucius Volcatius, and he saw that Marcus Piso too, having both sustained a slight defeat in the matter of the aedileship, received afterwards the very highest honours from the Roman people. But your grandfather could tell you also of the rejection of Publius Nasica, when he stood for the aedileship, though I am sure that a greater citizen has never existed in this republic, and of Caius Marius too, who was twice rejected when a candidate for the aedileship, and yet was seven times made consul, and of Lucius Caesar and of Cnaeus Octavius and of Marcus Tullius, every one of whom we know were beaten for the aedileship, and were elected consul afterwards. [52]

But why am I hunting up instances of men having failed as candidates for the aedileship, when it is an office which has often been discharged in such a way that the people appeared to have been doing a kindness to the men who had been passed over. Lucius Philippus, a man of the highest truth and most distinguished eloquence failed in his election to military tribune. Caius Caelius, a most illustrious and admirable young man, was beaten for the quaestorship. Publius Rutilius Rufus, Caius Fimbria, Caius Cassius, Cnaeus Orestes all stood in vain for the tribuneship of the people. And yet we know that every one of these men were afterwards made consuls. And your father and your ancestors will of their own accord tell you this not with the object of comforting you, nor to excuse you from any fault which you fear that you must seem to have been guilty of, but with a view of encouraging you to persevere in that course which you have followed from your earliest youth. No credit believe me, O Laterensis, has been lost by you. Lost, do I say? I declare solemnly, if you were to come to a right appreciation of what has happened, an especial testimony has been borne to your virtue.

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