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During ten years he acted as one of the triumvirate for settling the commonwealth, in which office he for some time opposed his colleagues in their design of a proscription; but after it was begun, he prosecuted it with more determined rigour than either of them. For whilst they were often prevailed upon, by the interest and intercession of friends, to show mercy, he alone strongly insisted that no one should be spared, and even proscribed Caius Toranius, 1 his guardian, who had been formerly the colleague of his father Octavius in the edileship. Junius Saturnius adds this farther account of him: that when, after the proscription was over, Marcus Lepidus made an apology in the senate for their past proceedings, and gave them hopes of a more mild administration for the future, because they had now sufficiently crushed their enemies; he, on the other hand, declared that the only limit he had fixed to the proscription was, that he should be free to act as he pleased. Afterwards, however, repenting of his severity, he advanced T. Vinius Philopoemen to the equestrian rank, for having concealed his patron at the time he was proscribed. In this same office he incurred great odium upon many accounts. For as he was one day making an harangue, observing among the soldiers Pinarius, a Roman knight, admit some private citizens, and engaged in taking notes, he ordered him to be stabbed before his eyes, as a busy-body and a spy upon him. He so terrified with his menaces Tedius Afer, the consul elect, 2 for having reflected upon some action of his, that he threw himself from a great height, and died on the spot. And when Quintus Gallius, the praetor, came to compliment him with a double tablet under his cloak, suspecting that it was a sword he had concealed, and yet not venturing to make a search, lest it should be found to be something else, he caused him to be dragged from his tribunal by centurions and soldiers, and tortured like a slave: and although he made no confession, ordered him to be put to death, after he had, with his own hands, plucked out his eyes. His own account of the matter, however, is, that Quintus Gallius sought a private conference with him, for the purpose of assassinating him; that he therefore put him in prison, but afterwards released him, and banished him the city; when he perished either in a storm at sea, or by falling into the hands of robbers. He accepted of the tribunitian power for life, but more than once chose a colleague in that office for two lustra 3 successively. He also had the supervision of morality and observance of the laws, for life, but without the title of censor; yet he thrice took a census of the people, the first and third time with a colleague, but the second by himself.
1 A great and wise man, if he is the same person to whom Cicero's letters on the calamities of the times were addressed. -- Fam. Epist. c. vi. 20, 21.
2 A.U.C. 731.
3 The Lustrum was a period of five years, at the end of which the census of the people was taken. It was first made by the Roman kings, then by the consuls, but after the year 310 from the building of the city, by the censors, who were magistrates created for that purpose. It appears, however, that the census was not always held at stated periods, and sometimes long intervals intervened.
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