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[78] Is it probable that a Roman citizen, or that any free man, should have descended with a sword into the forum before daybreak, in order to prevent a law from being passed respecting me, unless he were one of those men who have been fattened up this long time on the blood of the republic by that destructive and wicked citizen?

Here now I ask the prosecutor himself, who complains that Sestius used to keep a great multitude and a large guard about him during his tribuneship, whether he had them with him on that day? Certainly, most undeniably, he had not; and therefore the party of the republic was defeated; and it was defeated, not by unfavourable auspices, not by any exercise of the veto, not by the suffrages of any assembly, but by violence, by force of arms, by bloodshed. For if the praetor had given notice to Fabricius, and had said that he was observing the auspices, the republic would have received a blow, but still one which it could have lamented. If his colleague had interrupted Fabricius with his veto, he would have injured the republic, but still he would have injured the republic in a legal and regular manner. Are you to send raw gladiators, got together in expectation of the aedileship, with a pack of assassins let loose out of the jails, into the forum before dawn? Are you to drive the magistrates down from the temple? Are you to cause a great massacre? to desolate the forum? and then, when you have carried everything by violence and arms, to accuse a man who has protected himself with a guard, not for the purpose of opposing you, but of defending his own life?

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