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16. [34]

But let us now examine the rest of the clauses of the answers of the soothsayers.—“That ambassadors have been slain contrary to all divine and human law.” What is this? I see here a mention of the deputies from Alexandria; and I cannot refute it. For my feelings are, that the privileges of ambassadors are not only fenced round by human protection, but are also guarded by divine laws. But I ask of that man, who, as tribune, filled the forum with judges whom he took out of the prisons,—by whose will every dagger is now guided and every cup of poison dispensed,—who has made a regular bargain with Hermarchus of Chios,—whether he is at all aware that one most active adversary of Hermarchus, of the name of Theodosius, having been sent as ambassador to the senate from a free city, was assassinated with a dagger? and I know to a certainty that that cannot have appeared less scandalous to the immortal gods than the case of the Alexandrians. [35] Nor am I now attributing every action of this sort to you alone. There would be greater hope of safety if there were no other wicked man but you; but there are more, and on this account you feel more confidence, and we almost distrust the protection of the law. Who is there who is not aware that Plato, a man of high character and high rank in his own country, came from Orestis, which is a free part of Macedonia, to Thessalonica, as an ambassador to our general, as he called himself? and this great general of ours, being angry at not being able to extort money from him, threw him into prison, and sent his own physician to him, who in a most infamous and barbarous manner cut the veins of an ambassador, an ally, a friend, and a freeman. He did not wish his own forces to be made bloody by crime; but he polluted the name of the Roman people with such guilt that it cannot be expiated by any means but his own punishment. What sort of executioner must we think that this man has in his train, when he uses even his physicians not to procure health but to inflict death?

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