As soon as Strabo was dead, Pompey, as his heir, was put on trial for theft of public property. And although Pompey discovered that most of the thefts were committed by Alexander, one of his father's freedmen, and proved it to the magistrates, still he himself was accused of having in his possession hunting nets and books from the booty of Asculum. Now, he did receive these things from his father when he took Asculum1
, but he lost them when Cinna's guards, on that general's return to Rome, broke into his house and ransacked it.
He had many preliminary bouts in the case with his accuser, and since in these he showed an acumen and poise beyond his years, he won great reputation and favour, insomuch that Antistius, the praetor and judge in the case, took a great liking to him and offered him his own daughter in marriage, and conferred with his friends about the matter.
Pompey accepted the offer and a secret agreement was made between them, but nevertheless the people got wind of the matter, owing to the pains which Antistius took to favour Pompey. And finally, when Antistius pronounced the verdict of the judges in acquittal, the people, as if upon a signal given, broke out in the ancient and customary marriage acclamation,
The origin of the custom is said to have been this. At the time when the daughters of the Sabines, who had come to Rome to see a spectacle of games, were haled away by the most distinguished Romans to be their wives, certain hirelings and herdsmen of the meaner sort seized a fair and stately maiden and were carrying her off. In order, therefore, that no one of their betters, on meeting them, might rob them of their prize, they shouted with one voice as they ran,
Talasius being a well-known and popular personage. Consequently, those who heard the name clapped their hands and shouted it themselves, as if rejoicing with the others and approving what they did.
From this circumstance, they say,—and indeed the marriage proved a happy one for Talasius,—this acclamation is used in mirthful greeting of the newly wedded. This is the most credible of the stories told about Talasius.2
But be it true or not, a few days afterwards Pompey married Antistia.