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Besides his former consulship, he held the office afterwards four times; the first two successively, 1 but the following, after an interval of four years each;2 the last for six months, the others for two; and the third, upon his being chosen in the room of a consul who died; which had never been done by any of the emperors before him. Whether he was consul or out of office he constantly attended the courts for the administration of justice, even upon such days as were solemnly observed as days of rejoicing in his family, or by his friends; and sometimes upon the public festivals of ancient institution. Nor did he always adhere strictly to the letter of the laws, but overruled the rigour or lenity of many of their enactments, according to his sentiments of justice and equity. For where persons lost their suits by insisting upon more than appeared to be their due, before the judges of private causes, he granted them the indulgence of a second trial. And with regard to such as were convicted of any great delinquency, he even exceeded the punishment appointed by law, and condemned them to be exposed to wild beasts.3
1 A. U. C. 795, 796.
2 A.U.C. 800, 804
3 "Ad bestias" had become a new and frequent sentence for malefactors. It will be recollected, that it was the most usual form of martyrdom for the primitive Christians. Polycarp was brought all the way from Smyrna to be exposed to it in the amphitheatre at Rome.
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