The young man had no sooner inherited from his father the money gained in this kind of occupation than he felt encouraged to hope for a more liberal career, and resolved to enter public life;
and by declaiming on behalf of ignoble men and causes against the property and reputation of persons of the better sort achieved first notoriety [p. 291]
and then office.
He had held the quaestorship and1
both aedileships —plebeian and curule —and finally even the praetorship. He now ventured to aspire to the consulship, and with considerable shrewdness sought to capture the favour of the populace by
exploiting their animosity against the dictator, with the result that he alone reaped all the popularity growing out of the plebiscite.
Everyone, whether in Rome or with the army, whether friend or foe, looked on the passing of this bill as an insult to the dictator —everyone,
that is, but the dictator himself, who with the same unruffled spirit with which he had borne the slanders uttered against him before the multitude by his adversaries now bore the injustice of the infuriated people.
While still on the way he received a dispatch from the senate about the equal division of command, but fairly confident that though the authority of the commanders had been equalized, their abilities had not, he returned to the army with a spirit that neither fellow citizens nor enemies could daunt.