The day of the trial now drew near, and it was clearly the general opinion that liberty depended on Caeso's condemnation. Then at last he was obliged, though greatly disdaining such a course, to sue for the support of individuals.
He was accompanied by his friends, the chief men of the state. Titus Quinctius Capitolinus, who had thrice been consul, rehearsed the many honours which had come to
himself and his family, and declared that neither in the Quinctian clan nor in the Roman state had there ever been such native qualities, so early ripening into manly worth; Caeso had been his best soldier, and had often fought under his own eyes.
Spurius Furius testified that Caeso had been sent to him by Quinctius Capitolinus, and had come to his aid when he was in a dangerous plight; that there was no single person whose services he considered to [p. 45]
have been more effectual in saving the day.
Lucretius, the consul of the year before, in the splendour of his new-won renown, shared his glory with Caeso, told of the young man's combats, and recounted his wonderful exploits on raids or in the field of battle;
he earnestly advised the people to prefer that a distinguished youth, endowed with every advantage of nature and of fortune, and sure to be an important factor in the affairs of any state which he might join, should rather be their own than the citizen of another nation.
Those qualities in him which gave offence, impetuosity and rashness, were diminishing each day, as he grew older: that in which he was deficient, namely prudence, was daily increasing. They should suffer a man of his greatnesshis worth maturing as he outlived his faults — to grow old in the possession of his citizenship.
The young man's father, Lucius Quinctius, surnamed Cincinnatus, was among his advocates. He did not dwell on Caeso's praises, lest he should add to his unpopularity; but, craving indulgence for his errors and his youth, he begged them to acquit the son as a favour to the father, who had offended no man either in word or deed.
But some turned away from the petitioner, through either embarrassment or fear; while others complained of the injuries which Caeso had inflicted on themselves or their friends, and showed by their harsh replies how they meant to vote.