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The attack would that day have prevailed over the defence had they not protracted the debate to a late hour. When the House rose, the general opinion was that it would in all likelihood refuse the triumph.  The next day the friends and relatives of Cn. Manlius exerted their utmost efforts, and the authority of the older senators prevailed.  They said that there was no instance on record of a commander who had brought back his army, after subjugating a dangerous enemy and reducing his province to order, entering the city in an unofficial and private capacity without the chariot and laurels of triumph. The sense of the indignity of such a proceeding was too strong for the aspersions of his enemies, and a full senate decreed to him a triumph.  All discussion and even recollection of this dispute were lost in the outbreak of a more serious controversy with a greater and more distinguished man.  We are told on the authority of Valerius Antias that the two Petillii instituted proceedings against P. Scipio Africanus. Men put different interpretations on this according to their various dispositions.  Some blamed, not the tribunes only, but the whole body of citizens, for letting such a thing be possible;  the two greatest cities in the world, they said, had proved themselves, almost at the same time, ungrateful to their foremost men. Rome was the more ungrateful of the two, for whilst Carthage after her defeat drove the defeated Hannibal into exile, Rome would banish the victorious Scipio in the hour of her victory.  Others again took the ground that no single citizen should stand on such an eminence that he could not be required to answer according to law. Nothing contributed more towards maintaining liberty for all than the power of putting the most powerful citizen on his trial.  What business, it was asked-not to mention the supreme interests of the State-could be entrusted to any man, if he had not to render an account for it? If a man cannot submit to laws which are the same for all, no force which may be employed against him is unlawful.  So the matter was discussed until the day of trial came. Never before had anyone, even Scipio himself when he was consul or censor, been surrounded by a greater concourse of people of all sorts and conditions than on the day when he was conducted into the Forum to make his defence.  When he was called upon to plead, he made no allusion whatever to the charges brought against him, but spoke of the services he had rendered in such a lofty tone that it was universally felt that no man had ever deserved higher or truer praise.  He described his actions in the spirit and temper in which he had performed them, and he was listened to without any impatience because they were recounted not in self-glorification but in self-defence.
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