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After allowing only a short time to pass and watching for an opportunity when Clodius was absent from the city, Cicero went up with a great company to the capitol, and there tore away and destroyed the tablets of the tribunes, in which were the records of their administration. When Clodius brought charges against him for this and Cicero argued that it was illegal for Clodius to pass from the ranks of the patricians into the tribunate,1 and that therefore none of his acts was valid, Cato was indignant and spoke against Cicero;

1 Clodius had secured an adoption into a plebeian family in order to become a candidate for the tribuneship. Cf. Cicero, pro domo sua, 29, 77.

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