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[99] But fictitious suppositions are also exceedingly useful when we are concerned with the quality of an act1: “If [p. 257] Catiline could try this case assisted by a jury composed of those scoundrels whom he led out with him he would condemn Lucius Murena.” It is useful also for amplification2: “If this had happened to you during dinner in the midst of your deep potations”; or again,3 “If the state could speak.”

1 pro Mur—. xxxix. 83. Cicero argues that Murena's election as consul is necessary to save the state from Catiline. If the jury now condemn him, they will be doing exactly what Catiline and his accomplices, now in arms in Etruria, would do if they could try him.

2 Phil. II. xxv. 63. “This” = vomiting. Cicero contimes “who would not have thought it disgraceful.”

3 Probably an allusion to Cat. i. 7, where Cicero makes the state reproach Catiline for his conduct.

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