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58. [123]

And since my speech has carried me on to this point the actor bewailed my misfortune so repeatedly, while he was pleading my cause so mournfully, that his beautiful voice was hindered by his tears. Nor were the poets, whose genius I have always had an affection for, wanting to my necessities at that time, and the Roman people approved of their words, not only with their applause, but even with their groans. Ought then Aesop or Accius to have said these things on my behalf of the Roman people had been free, or ought they to have left them to the chief men of the state to say? In the Brutus, I was mentioned by name: “Tullius, who had established the liberty of the citizens.” It was encored again and again. Did the Roman people appear to be giving slight indications that it had been established by me and by the senate, though profligate citizens accused us as having destroyed it? [124] But above all other times the sentiments of the entire Roman people were declared at the exhibition of the gladiatorial games. For they were the gift of Scipio, worthy both of him and Quintus Metellus, in whose honour they were given. And they are a spectacle of that sort which is attended by immense numbers and by every class of men, and with which the multitude is delighted above all things into that crowd of spectators came Publius Sestius as tribune of the people when during his whole period of office he had been nothing whatever but serving my cause and he went among the people, not from any personal desire of applause but that our enemies might themselves see the inclinations of the universal people. He came, as you know, to the Maenian pillar, and such great applause ensued from all the places for beholding the spectacle all the way from the Capitol, and such universal clapping of hands from every seat, that it was said that there had never been in any cause whatever, greater or more manifest unanimity on the part of the Roman people. [125] Where at that time were those regulators of the assemblies, those masters of the laws, those expellers of citizens? Or have these wicked men any peculiar people of their own to whom we have given offence, and by whom we are hated?

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