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[67] The same respect is on occasion due to persons of high rank, and it may be necessary to offer justification for our freedom of speech to avoid giving the impression that we have shown ourselves insolent or ostentatious in our attack upon such persons. Consequently Cicero, although he intended to speak against Cotta1 with the utmost vehemence, and indeed the case of Publius Oppius was such that he could not do otherwise, prefaced his attack by pleading at some length the necessity imposed upon him by his duty to his client.

1 Cp. v. xiii. 20. P. Oppius, quaestor to M. Aurelius Cotta in Bithynia, was charged by Cotta in a letter to the Senate with misappropriation of supplies for his troops and with an attempt on his life. The speech in which Cicero defended Oppius (69 B.C.) is lost.

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