26.  I say nothing about that law which at one swoop destroyed all religious observances, all the privileges attached to the auspices, to the civil magistrates, and all the enactments which refer to the common law, and to the time of proposing laws; I say nothing about all the internal misfortunes which afflicted us; we saw even foreign nations shaken by the insanity of that year. By a law proposed by a tribune of the people, the priest of the Mighty Mother at Pessinus was expelled and stripped of his priesthood; and that shrine of the most holy and most ancient of all religious ceremonies was sold for a large sum to Brogitarus, a profligate man, and unworthy of any such sacred character; especially as he had desired it not for the purpose of doing honour to the goddess, but only of profaning her temple. People were styled kings by the people, who would never have even asked for such a title from the senate: condemned exiles were brought back to Byzantium at the very time when citizens, who had not been condemned, were being driven from the city.  King Ptolemaeus, who, if he had not as yet been himself styled an ally by the senate, was at all events the brother of that king, who, while his cause was identical with his, had long since received that honour from the senate; and was of the same family, sprung from the same ancestors as his brother, and had the same claims from the antiquity of his alliance; who, lastly, was a king, and if not yet an ally, still most certainly not an enemy; was enjoying the kingdom which had belonged to his father and his grandfather in peace and quiet, relying on the sovereign power of the Roman people in a condition of royal ease and tranquillity. While he was never thinking of any such thing, never suspecting any such thing, a motion was made and put to the vote of the same troop of labourers and artisans that he while sitting on his throne, with his purple and sceptre and all the other ensigns of royal authority, should be placed at the mercy of a public crier;—a motion was made, I say that the Roman people, which has been in the habit of restoring their kingdoms even to those kings whom they have subdued in war, should order that a king who was a friend of the nation, who was not even said to have done them any injury, who had never had any claim preferred against him or any demand for the restitution of anything, should have all his property confiscated and sold with his own person and liberty.
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Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF PUBLIUS SESTIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
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