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[2] The Romans were at war with the people of Tarentum, who, being able neither to carry on the war, nor yet, owing to the rashness and villainy of their popular leaders, to put an end to it, wished to make Pyrrhus their leader and summon him to the war, believing him to be most at leisure of all the kings, and a most formidable general. Of the elderly and sensible citizens, some who were directly opposed to this plan were overborne by the clamour and violence of the war party, and others, seeing this, absented themselves from the assembly.

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