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For think not that there was not a great impression made by the circumstances of your offering yourself as a candidate for that office from all competition for which you subsequently withdrew, rather than swear to a particular thing. You then, being quite a young man, declared plainly what were your sentiments about public affairs: speaking more boldly, indeed, than some men who had already attained the honours of the state, and more undisguisedly than regard to your ambition, or to your age, required. [53] And, therefore, among the people so disparaged your pretensions, you must not think that there were none who had taken offence at the intrepid spirit which you then displayed; who were able, perhaps, to keep you, incautious as you were, from arriving at that rank, but will never be able to move you when you are on your guard and watchful against them.

Have these arguments had any influence with you? “Have you any doubt,” says he, “that a coalition was entered into against me, when you see that Plancius and Plotius gained the votes of the majority of the tribes?” But could they have acted in concert if the tribes did not give their votes in concert? But some of the tribes gave almost the very same number of votes for each of them. Yes, when at the preceding comitia those two had been already almost elected and declared. Although even that fact would not necessarily involve any suspicion of a coalition. For our ancestors would never have established a rule of casting lots for the aedileship, if they had not seen that it was possible that the competitors should have had an equal number of votes. [54] And you say that at the preceding comitia the tribe of the Anio was given up by Plotius to Pedius, and the Terentian tribe by Plancius to you; but now, that they are taken away from both Pedius and you, lest they should run the contest too fine. What a probable story it is, that before the inclination of the people was ascertained, those men, who you say had already joined their forces, should have thrown away their own tribes in order to assist you, and that the same men should afterwards have been close and stingy, when they had tried and found out how strong they were. They were afraid, I suppose, of a close contest. As if the matter could come to a close point, or as if there could be any danger. But nevertheless, do you bring the same charge against Aulus Plotius, a most accomplished man? or do you admit that you have only attacked the man who never requested you to spare him?1 For as for your having complained that you had more witnesses concerning the case of the Voltinian tribe, than you had received votes in that tribe, you show by that, either that you are bringing forward those men as witnesses who passed you over because they had taken a bribe, or else that you could not get their votes though they were paid nothing for them.

1 Orellius and all editors consider this passage corrupt, and correct it in different ways.

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