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There were some officers at Larinum called Martiales, the public ministers of Mars, and consecrated to that god by the old institutions and religious ceremonies of the people of Larinum. And as there was a great number of them, and as, just as there were many slaves of Venus in Sicily, these also at Larinum were reckoned part of the household of Mars, on a sudden Oppianicus began to urge on their behalf, that they were all free men, and Roman citizens. The senators of Larinum and all the citizens of that municipality were very indignant at this. Accordingly they requested Habitus to undertake the cause and to maintain the public rights of the city. Habitus, although he had entirely retired from public life, still, out of regard to the place and the antiquity of his family, and because he thought that he was born not for his own advantage only, but also for that of his fellow-citizens, and of his other friends, he was unwilling to refuse the eager importunity of all the Larinatians. [44] Having undertaken the business, when the cause had been transferred to Rome, great contentions arose every day between Habitus and Oppianicus from the zeal of each for the side which he espoused. Oppianicus himself was a man of a bitter and savage disposition; and Habitus's own mother, being hostile to and furious against her son, inflamed his insane hatred. But they thought it exceedingly desirable for them to get rid of him, and to disconnect him from the cause of the Martiales. There was also another more influential reason which had great weight with Oppianicus, being a most avaricious and audacious man. [45] For, up to the time of that trial, Habitus had never made any will. For he could not make up his mind to bequeath anything to such a mother as his, nor, on the other hand, to leave his parent's name entirely out of his will. And as Oppianicus was aware of that, for it was no secret, he plainly saw, that, if Habitus were dead, all his property would come to his mother; and she might afterwards, when she had become richer, and had lost her son, be put out of the way by him, with more profit, and with less danger. So now see in what manner he, being urged on by these desires, endeavoured to take off Habitus by poison.

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