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[2]

It is also a great set-off to your "newness," that the nobles who are your competitors are of a such a kind that no one can venture to say that their nobility ought to stand them in greater stead than your high character. For instance, who could think of P. Galba and L. Cassius, though by birth of the highest rank, as candidates for the consulship? You see, therefore, that there are men of the noblest families, who from defect of ability are not your equals. But, you will say, Catiline and Antonius are formidable. Rather I should say that a man of energy, industry, unimpeachable character, great eloquence, and high popularity with those who are the ultimate judges, should wish for such rivals—both from their boyhood stained with blood and lust, both of ruined fortunes. Of one of them we have seen the property put up for sale, and actually heard him declare on oath that at Rome he could not contend with a Greek or obtain an impartial tribunal. 1 We know that he was ejected from the senate by the judgment of genuine censors : in our praetorship we had him as a competitor, with such men as Sabidius and Panthera to back him, because he had no one else to appear for him at the scrutiny. Yet in this office he bought a mistress from the slave market whom he kept openly at his house. Moreover, in his canvass for the consulship, he has preferred to be robbing all the innkeepers, under the disgraceful pretext of a libera legatio, rather than to be in town and supplicate the Roman people. But the other! Good heavens what is his distinction ? Is he of equally noble birth ? No. Is he richer? No. In manliness, then? How do you make that out? Why, because while the former fears his own shadow, this man does not even fear the laws!—A man born in the house of a bankrupt father, nurtured in the society of an abandoned sister, grown to manhood amidst the massacre of fellow citizens, whose first entrance to public life was made by the slaughter of Roman knights For Sulla had specially selected Catiline to command that band of Gauls which we remember, who shore off the heads of the Titinii and Nannii and Tanusii : and while with them he killed with his own hands the best man of the day, his own sister's husband, Quintus Caecilius, who was a Roman eques, a man belonging to no party, always quiet by inclination, and then so from age also.


1 C. Antonius, impeached by Caesar for plundering Macedonia, appellavit tribunos iuravitque se forum eiurare, quod aequo jure uti non posset (Ascon. 84). His offences in Macedonia, where be had been left by Sulla, were in B.C. 83-80; his impeachment, B.C. 76; his expulsion from the senate, B.C. 70.

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