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BEFORE the passage of the law which is now observed in the proceedings of the senate, the order in calling for opinions varied. Sometimes the man was first called upon whom the censors had first enrolled in the senate, sometimes the consuls elect; some of the consuls, influenced by friendship or some personal relationship, used to call first upon anyone they pleased, as a compliment, contrary to the regular order. However, when the usual order was not followed, the rule was observed of not calling first upon any but a man of consular rank. It is said that Gaius Caesar, when he was consul with Marcus Bibulus, 1 called upon only four senators out of order. The first of these was Marcus Crassus, but after Caesar had betrothed his daughter to Gnaeus Pompeius, he began to call upon Pompeius first. 2 Caesar gave the senate his reason for this procedure, according to the testimony of Tullius Tiro, Cicero's freedman, who writes 3 that he had the information from his patron. Ateius Capito has made the same statement in his work On Senatorial Conduct. 4 [p. 347] In the same treatise of Capito is this passage: 5 “The consul Gaius Caesar called upon Marcus Cato for his opinion. Cato did not wish to have the motion before the house carried, since he did not think it for the public good. For the purpose of delaying action, he made a long speech and tried to use up the whole day in talking. For it was a senator's right, when asked his opinion, to speak beforehand on any other subject he wished, and as long as he wished. Caesar, in his capacity as consul, summoned an attendant, 6 and since Cato would not stop, ordered him to be arrested in the full tide of his speech and taken to prison. The senate arose in a body and attended Cato to the prison. But this,” he says, “aroused such indignation, that Caesar yielded and ordered Cato's release.”
1 In 59 B.C.
2 See Suet. Jul. xxi., who adds the information that it was the custom for the consul to maintain throughout the year the order with which he had begun on the first of January.
3 Fr. 1, Peter; p. 6, Lion.
4 Fr. 18, Huschke; 1, Bremer.
5 Fr. 18, Huschke; 2, Bremer.
6 According to Suet. Jul. xx. 4, it was a lictor.
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