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While the State was preoccupied by serious wars, some hardly yet over and others threatening, an incident occurred which though unimportant in itself resulted in a violent party conflict.  Two of the tribunes of the plebs, M. Fundanius and L. Valerius, had brought in a proposal to repeal the Oppian Law.  This law had been made on the motion of M. Oppius, a tribune of the plebs, during the consulship of Q. Fabius and Tiberius Sempronius, when the strain of the Punic War was most severely felt. It forbade any woman to have in her possession more than half an ounce of gold, to wear a dress of various colours or to ride in a two-horsed vehicle within a mile of the City or of any Roman town unless she was going to take part in some religious function.  The two Brutuses-M. Junius and T. Junius-both tribunes of the plebs, defended the law and declared that they would not allow it to be repealed;  many of the nobility came forward to speak in favour of the repeal or against it; the Capitol was crowded with supporters and opponents of the proposal; the matrons could not be kept indoors either by the authority of the magistrates or the orders of their husbands or their own sense of propriety.  They filled all the streets and blocked the approaches to the Forum; they implored the men who were on their way thither to allow the women to resume their former adornments now that the commonwealth was flourishing and private fortunes increasing every day. Their numbers were daily augmented by those who came up from the country towns.  At last they ventured to approach the consuls and praetors and other magistrates with their demands. One of the consuls at all events was inexorably opposed to their request-M. Porcius Cato. He spoke as follows in defence of the law:
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