In the same year, many distinguished men strove for the censorship; and this business, as if it furnished in itself insufficient grounds for dispute, gave rise to another contest of a much more violent nature.
The candidates were, Titus Quintius Flamininus, Publius Cornelius Scipio, son of Cneius, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, Marcus Porcius Cato, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and Manius Acilius Glabrio, who had defeated Antiochus and the Aetolians at Thermopylae.
The favour of the people inclined to the last in particular, because he had given many largesses, by which he had bound a great number of men to him.
When so many nobles could ill brook that a man of no family should be so much preferred to them, Publius Sempronius Gracchus and Caius Sempronius Rutilus, tribunes of the people, commenced a prosecution against him, on a charge, that he had neither exhibited in his triumph, nor lodged in the treasury, a large part of the royal treasure, and of the booty taken in the camp of Antiochus. The depositions of the lieutenants-general and military tribunes were at variance.
Beyond all the other witnesses, Marcus Cato was remarkable, whose authority, acquired by the uniform tenor of his life, the fact of his being a candidate diminished.
He, when a witness, affirmed, that he had not observed, in the triumph, the gold and silver vessels which, on the taking of the camp, he had seen among the other spoils of the king.
At last Glabrio declared, that he declined the election, chiefly to throw odium on Cato; since he, a candidate of an origin as humble as his own, by an abominable perjury, attacked that which men of noble birth bore with silent indignation. A fine of one hundred thousand asses1
was proposed to the people against him.
Twice there was a contest on the subject. On the third hearing, as the accused had declined the election, and the people were unwilling to vote about the fine, the tribunes also dropped the business. The censors elected were, Titus Quintius Flamininus and Marcus Claudius Marcellus.