The senate resolved to call Lucretius before them, that he might argue the matter in person, and exculpate himself.
But when he appeared, he heard many more crimes alleged against him than had been mentioned in his absence; and two more weighty and powerful accusers stood forth in support of the charges, Manius Juventius Thalna and Cneius Aufidius, plebeian tribunes.
These not only arraigned him bitterly in the senate, but dragged him out into the assembly of the people, and there, after reproaching him with many heinous crimes, they instituted a legal prosecution against him.
By order of the senate, the praetor, Quintus Maenius, gave this answer to the ambassadors of Chalcis: that “the senate acknowledged their account of the good offices done by them to the Roman people, both on former occasions and during the present war, to be true; and that their conduct met with gratitude, as it ought:
that as to the ill treatment, which they complained of having received formerly from Caius [p. 2041]
Lucretius, and now from Lucius Hortensius, Roman praetors, who could suppose that such things were done with the approbation of the senate, who would consider that the Roman people had made war on Perseus, and, before that, on his father Philip, for the express purpose of asserting the liberties of Greece, and
not that their friends and allies should receive such treatment from their magistrates:
that they would give them a letter to the praetor, Lucius Hortensius, informing him that the proceedings, of which the people of Chalcis complained, were highly displeasing to the senate; charging him to take care that all free persons, who had been reduced to slavery, should be sought out as soon as possible, and restored to liberty; and commanding that no seamen, except the masters of vessels, should be permitted to lodge on shore.” Pursuant to the senate's order, a letter to this purport was written to Hortensius.
A present of two thousand asses
was made to each of the ambassadors, and carriages were hired for Miction, at the public expense, to carry him commodiously to Brundusium.
When the day of Caius Lucretius's trial came, the tribunes pleaded against him before the people, and demanded that he should be fined in the sum of one million of asses;1
and an assembly of the people being held, every one of the thirty-five pronounced him guilty.