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Now at last the consuls went to their province and took over the army from M. Popilius.  He did not venture to return to Rome, where the senate were hostile, and the people still more so, for fear of having to stand his trial before the praetor who had submitted to the senate the resolution against him.  His refusal to appear was met by the tribunes of the plebs with the menace of a second resolution to be submitted to the effect that if he had not entered the City of Rome by November 13, Licinius should judge and determine his case in his absence.  Dragged home by this chain he found himself the object of universal odium in the senate.  After many of the senators had lashed him with bitter invectives, the House passed a resolution that the praetors C. Licinius and Cn. Sicinius should make it their business to restore to liberty all Ligurians who had not been in arms against Rome since the consulship of Q. Fulvius and L. Manlius, and that the consul C. Popilius should make them a grant of land on the other side of the Po. By this resolution many thousands recovered their freedom and [6??] they were transported across the Po where land was assigned to them. M. Popilius, under the Marcian Decree, appeared on two occasions before C. Licinius.  On the third day of his trial the praetor, out of regard for his brother the consul, and yielding to the entreaties of the Popilian family, ordered the defendant to appear again on March 15, the day on which the new magistrates would enter upon office, so that he might not have to adjudicate, being no longer a magistrate.  In this way the decree respecting the Ligurians was evaded by a subterfuge.
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