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For after the powers of the tribunes, in the consulate of Cneius Pompey and Marcus Crassus, had been fully restored,1 certain young men, of an ardent age and temper, having obtained that high office,2 began to stir up the populace by inveighing against the senate, and proceeded, in course of time, by means of largesses and promises, to inflame them more and more; by which methods they became popular and powerful. On the other hand, the most of the nobility opposed their proceedings to the utmost; under pretense, indeed, of supporting the senate, but in reality for their own aggrandizement. For, to state the truth in few words, whatever parties, during that period, disturbed the republic under plausible pretexts, some, as if to defend the rights of the people, others, to make the authority of the senate as great as possible, all, though affecting concern for the public good, contended every one for his own interest. In such contests there was neither moderation nor limit; each party made a merciless use of its successes.

1 XXXVIII. The powers of the tribunes--had been fully restored] “Tribunicia potestas restituta.” Before the time of Sylla, the power of the tribunes had grown immoderate, but Sylla diminished and almost annihilated it, by taking from them the privileges of holding any other magistracy after the tribunate, of publicly addressing the people, of proposing laws, and of listening to appeals. But in the consulship of Cotta, A.U.C. 679, the first of these privileges had been restored; and in that of Pompey and Crassus, A.U.C. 683, the tribunes were reinstated in all their former powers.

2 Having obtained that high office] “Summam potestatem nacti.” Cortius thinks these words spurious.

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