previous next
[96] With what flattering words Gaius Papirius1 not long ago insinuated himself into the favour of the assembly, when he was trying to carry a law making the people's tribunes eligible for reelection! I spoke against it—but I will not talk of myself, it will give me more pleasure to talk about Scipio. Ye gods! What weight and majesty there was in his speech on that occasion! One would have said, without hesitation, that he was the leader of the Roman people, not their comrade.2 But you both were present; besides, his speech is published. As a result this “people's law” was rejected by the people's votes.

[p. 203] Again—and pardon me for referring to myself—you remember when Lucius Mancinus and Scipio's brother, Quintus Maximus, were consuls,3 how popular apparently was the proposed law of Gaius Licinius Crassus regarding the priestly offices—for the right to co-opt to vacancies possessed by the college was being converted into patronage for the people. (By the way, Crassus was the first man to begin the practice of facing towards the forum in addressing the people.4 ) Nevertheless, through my speech in reply, reverence for the immortal gods easily prevailed over the plausible oration of Crassus. And this took place while I was praetor and five years before I was elected consul. Thus the cause was won more by its own merit than by the influence of one holding a very high official rank.

1 See §§ 37 and 41. The bill referred to was proposed by him in 130 B.C., and failed to pass, but at some time after the time of this dialogue (129) was again offered and carried.

2 i.e. merely one of them; he was at the time a private citizen.

3 i.e. in 145 B.C.

4 Plutarch, Vit. Grac. 5, makes C. Gracchus the author of this practice.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: