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As for Calidius, I will only state this in answer to you, which I saw myself. That Quintus Metellus Pius, when consul, at the comitia for the election of praetors, for which office Quintus Calidius was standing, addressed supplications to the Roman people, and did not hesitate—though he was consul at the time, and a man of the very highest rank—to call him his patron and the patron of his most noble family. [70]

And now I ask of you whether you think that, if Calidius had been on his trial, Metellus Pius, if he had been able to be at Rome, or his father, if he had been alive, would have done for him what I am doing on the trial of Cnaeus Plancius? I wish, indeed, that the misfortune of Opimius could be eradicated from men's memories. But it is to be considered as a wound inflicted on the republic, as a disgrace to this empire, as the infamy of the Roman people, and not as a judicial verdict. For what more terrible blow could those judges—if indeed they deserve to be called judges, and not parricides of their country—inflict on the republic, than they did when they drove that man out of the state, who as praetor had delivered the republic from a war waged against it by its neighbours, and as consul, from one carried on against it by its own citizens?

[71] But you say that I make out the kindness done me by Plancius to have been greater than it really was, and as you say, I exaggerate it in speaking of it as if I were bound to regulate my gratitude by your estimate and not by my own. “What great service was it after all that he did you? Was it that he did not put you to death?” Say rather that he prevented me from being put to death. And, while speaking on this point, O Cassius, you even acquitted my enemies and said that no plots had been laid by them against my life. And Laterensis advanced the same assertion. Wherefore I will presently say a little more on that head. At present I only ask of you whether you think it was but a slight hatred which my enemies had conceived against me? Did any barbarians ever entertain such savage and cruel feelings against an open enemy? Or do you suppose that there was in those men any regard for fame or any fear of punishment when you saw them during the whole of that year brandishing their swords in the forum, menacing the temples with conflagration, and disturbing the whole city with their violence? Unless, perhaps, you think that they spared my life because they had no apprehension of my return. Do you think that there was any one so wholly destitute of sense as not to think that if these men were permitted to live, and if the city and the senate-house were allowed to remain standing, I also ought certainly to be restored if I too remained alive? Wherefore you, being such a man and such a citizen as you are, ought not to say that my enemies were too moderate to attack my life, when the fact is that it was preserved by the fidelity of my friends.

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