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8. [23]

In the meantime, Oppianicus being, as you will have proved to you by many circumstances, a man of singular wickedness and audacity, by means of some Gaul, his intimate friend, first of all corrupted that informer with a bribe, and after that, at no great expense, managed to have Aurius himself got out of the way and murdered. But they who had gone to seek out and recover their relation, send letters to Larinum, to the Aurii the relations of that young man, and their own intimate friends, to say that the investigation was very difficult for them, because they understood that the man who had given the information had been since bribed by Oppianicus. And these letters Aulus Aurius, a brave and experienced man, and one of high rank in his own city, the near relation of the missing Marcus Aurius, read openly in the forum, in the hearing of plenty of people, in the presence of Oppianicus himself, and with a loud voice declared that he would prosecute Oppianicus if he found that Marcus Aurius had been murdered. [24] The feelings, not only of his relations, but also of all the citizens of Larinum, are moved by hatred of Oppianicus, and pity for that young man. Therefore, when Aulus Aurius, he who had previously made this declaration, began to follow the man with loud cries and with threats, he fled from Larinum, and betook himself to the camp of that most illustrious man, Quintus Metellus. [25] After that flight, the witness of his crime, and of his consciousness of it, he never ventured to commit himself to the protection of a court of justice, or of the laws,—he never dared to trust himself unarmed among his enemies; but at the time when violence was stalking abroad, after the victory of Lucius Sulla, he came to Larinum with a body of armed men, to the great alarm of all the citizens; he carried off the quatuorviri, 1 whom the citizens of that municipality had elected; he said that he and three others had been appointed by Sulla; and he said that he received orders from him to take care that that Aurius who had threatened him with prosecution and with danger to his life, and the other Aurius, and Caius Aurius his son, and Sextus Vibius, whom he was said to have employed as his agent in corrupting the man who had given the information, were proscribed and put to death. Accordingly, when they had been most cruelly murdered, the rest were ale thrown into no slight fear of proscription and death by that circumstance. When these things had been made manifest at the trial, who is there who can think it possible that he should have been acquitted?

1 “The highest magistrates of a colonia were the decemviri or quatuorviri, so called as the numbers might vary, whose functions may be compared with those of the consulate at Rome, before the establishment of the praetorship. Their principal duties were the administration of justice.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 259, v. Colonia.

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