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It1is certainly true, I tell you, that he has been acquitted—I was in court when the verdict was announced—and that, too, by all three orders, and by a unanimous vote in each order. "Well, that is entirely their concern," 2 say you. No, by Hercules ! For nothing ever happened so unexpected, or so scandalous in the eyes of everybody. Nay, even I, though I countenanced him with all my might for friendship's sake, and had prepared myself to condole with him, was thunderstruck when it occurred, and thought I must be under some hallucination. What do you suppose, then, was the feeling of others? Why, they attacked the jurors with a storm of disapproving shouts, and made it quite plain that this was more than they could stand. Accordingly, now that he is left to the mercies of the Licinian law, he seems to be in greater danger than ever. 3 Besides this, on the day after the acquittal, Hortensius came into Curio's theatre 4 —I suppose that we might share in his rejoicing ! Whereupon you had “ Tumult sore,
Wild uproar,
Thunder bellowing in the clouds,
Tempest hissing through the shrouds.
” This was the more noticed from the fact that Hortensius had reached old age without ever having been hissed, but on this occasion 'got it heartily enough to serve anyone for the whole of his life, and to make him sorry he had won his case. Of politics I have nothing to tell you. The active proceedings of Marcellus have died away, not from lack of energy, as it seems to me, but from policy. As to the consular elections, public opinion is quite at a loss. For myself, I have chanced upon one competitor who is noble and one who acts the noble : for M. Octavius, son of Gnaeus, and C. Hirrus are standing with me. I tell you this because I know that it was on account of Hirrus that you were anxiously waiting for news of my election. However, as soon as you learn of my having been returned, I beg you to be taking measures as to the panthers. 5 I recommend Sittius's bond to your attention. I gave the first batch of notes on the events in the city to L. Castrinius Pietus, the second to the bearer of this letter.

1 I have followed Messrs. Tyrrell and Purser in placing this letter in June instead of July, principally because it appears to have been written a considerable time before the elections.

2 Reading viderint modo. This is very likely not the true reading, but nothing can be made of vide modo of the MSS. Another suggestion is ride modo, "well, pass it over with a smile." The acquittal referred to is that of M. Valerius Messalla (consul B.C. 53), on a charge of bribery (ambitus).

3 Having been acquitted on the charge of ambitus, the only thing to be done with Messalla was to accuse him of having used his political club (sodalitas) for corrupt purposes. The lex Licinia de sodalitus (B.C. 55) was a harsher law than others de ambitu in regard to the composition of the jury pro Planc. 36). Caelius therefore thinks that Messalla will have less chance under it.

4 Two wooden theatres that swung round, with spectators sitting in them, to form an amphitheatre for gladiators. Curio had therefore determined on giving the funeral games against which Cicero advised him. See Letter CLXVIIL

5 The office Caelius was seeking was that of curule aedile; as aedile he and his colleague had charge of the ludi Romani and Megalensia, as well as in some degree other games. It was the fashion to endeavour, in some way, to make their office notable by something fresh or costly; and one of the most popular features of such games was the venatio, a killing of wild animals. Caelius wants these panthers to exhibit in this way.

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