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28. [73]

For what deliberative assembly is there in the whole earth, whether great or little, which has not expressed that opinion of my exploits which is most desirable and most honourable for me? The greatest council of the Roman people, and of all peoples, and nations, and kings, is the senate. That decreed that all men who desired the safety of the republic should come forward to defend me alone, and showed its opinion that the republic could not have been saved if I had not existed, and could not last if I did not return. [74] The next in rank to this dignified body is the equestrian order. All the companies of public contractors passed most favourable and honourable decrees respecting my consulship and my actions. The scriveners, who are much connected with us in matters relating to public registers and monuments, took good care that their sentiments and resolutions respecting my services to the republic should not be left in doubt. There is no corporation in all this city, no body of men either from the higher or lower parts of the city,1 (since our ancestors thought fit that the common people of the city should also have places of meeting and some sort of deliberative assemblies,) which has not passed most honourable resolutions, not merely respecting my safety, but relating also to my dignity. [75] For why need I mention those divine and immortal decrees of the municipal towns, and of the colonies, and of all Italy, by which, as by a flight of steps, I seem not only to have returned to my country, but to have mounted up to heaven? And what a day was that when the Roman people beheld you, O Publius Lentulus, passing a law respecting me, and felt how great a man and how worthy a citizen you were. For it is well known that the Campus Martius had never on any comitia seen so vast a crowd, or such a splendid assembly of men of every class, age, and order. I say nothing of the unanimous judgment and unanimous agreement of the cities, nations, provinces, kings,—of the whole world, in short,—as to the services which I had done to the whole human race. But what an arrival at and entry into the city was mine! Did my country receive me as it ought to receive light and safety when brought back and restored to it, or as a cruel tyrant, as you, you herd of Catiline, were accustomed to call me? [76] Therefore that one day on which the Roman people honoured me by escorting me with immense numbers and loud demonstrations of joy from the gate to the Capitol, and from the Capitol home, was so delightful to me, that that wicked violence of yours which had driven me away appeared not to be a thing from which I ought to have been defended, but one which it was worth my while even to purchase. Wherefore that calamity, if it deserves to be called a calamity, has put an end to the whole previous system of abuse, and has prevented any one for the future from daring to find fault with my consulship, which has now been approved of by such numerous, and such important, and such dignified decisions, and testimonies, and authorities.

1 The Latin is pagani aut montani, and whether it refers to portions of the city, or to people in the suburban districts, Graevius professes himself quite ignorant, saying that this is the only mention of such classes. Riddle translates it (v. paganus) “countrymen and mountaineers.” Yet the next words, plebei urbanae, seem to show that they refer to some division of the citizens of the city itself.

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