Now, since the law did not permit a commander to enter the city before his triumph, Pompey sent a request to the senate that they should put off the consular elections, asking them to grant him this favour in order that he might personally assist Piso in his candidacy.
But Cato opposed the request, and Pompey did not get what he wished. However, Pompey admired Cato's boldness of speech and the firmness which he alone publicly displayed in defence of law and justice, and therefore set his heart on winning him over in some way or other; and since Cato had two nieces, Pompey wished to take one of them to wife himself, and to marry the other to his son.
But Cato saw through the design, which he thought aimed at corrupting him and in a manner bribing him by means of marriage alliance, although his sister and his wife were displeased that he should reject Pompey the Great as a family connection. In the meantime, however, wishing to have Afranius made consul, Pompey spent money lavishly on his behalf among the tribes, and the people went down to Pompey's gardens to get it.
As a consequence, the matter became notorious and Pompey was in ill repute; the office of consul was highest of all, and he himself had therefore received it as a reward for his successes, and yet he was making this office a thing to be bought by those who were unable to win it by merit.
‘In these reproaches, however,’ said Cato to the women,
‘we must have taken our share, if we had become allied to Pompey.’ And when they heard this, they agreed that his estimate of the fit and proper was better than theirs.1