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26. Perpenna, accordingly, having now more accomplices in his attempt upon Sertorius, brought into their number Manlius also, one of those in high command. This Manlius was enamoured of a beautiful boy, and as a mark of his affection for him told him of the conspiracy, bidding him neglect his other lovers and devote himself to him alone, since within a few days he was to be a great personage. But the boy carried the tale to another one of his lovers, Aufidius, to whom he was more devoted. [2] And Aufidius, on hearing the story, was astounded; for though he himself was a party to the conspiracy against Sertorius, he did not know that Manlius was. But since the boy mentioned by name Perpenna, Gracinus, and sundry others of those whom Aufidius knew to be among the conspirators, Aufidius was confounded, and after making light of the story to the boy and exhorting him to despise Manlius as an empty braggart, he himself went to Perpenna, told him of the sharpness of the crisis and of their peril, and urged him to attempt the deed. The conspirators were persuaded, and after providing a man to act as the bearer of letters, they introduced him to Sertorius. [3] His letters made known a victory of one of the generals serving under Sertorius, and a great slaughter of the enemy. At this Sertorius was overjoyed and offered a sacrifice of glad tidings, during which Perpenna proposed a banquet for him and his friends who were present (and these were of the conspiracy), and after much entreaty persuaded him to come.

[4] Now, the suppers at which Sertorius was present were always marked by restraint and decorum, since he would not consent to see or hear anything that was disgraceful, but held his associates to the practice of indulging only in mirth and merriment that was decorous and restrained. On this occasion, however, when the drinking was well under way, the guests, seeking occasion for a quarrel, openly indulged in dissolute language, and, pretending to be drunk, committed many indecencies, with the hope of angering Sertorius. [5] But he, either because he was vexed at their disorderly conduct, or because he had become aware of their purpose from the boldness of their talk and their unwonted contempt for his wishes, changed his posture on the couch and threw himself upon his back, as though he neither heard nor regarded them. But when Perpenna, after taking a cup of wine in his hands, dropped it as he was drinking and made a clatter with it, which was their signal, Antonius, who reclined above Sertorius on the couch, smote him with his sword. [6] Sertorius turned at the blow and would have risen with his assailant, but Antonius fell upon his chest and seized both his hands, so that he could make no defence even, and died from the blows of many.

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