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When he had nodded assent, they began to plead their cause. "Who," they asked, "can be so arrogant as to anticipate in hope an eternity of renown? It is for the needs and the business of life that the resource of eloquence is acquired, thanks to which no one for want of an advocate is at the mercy of the powerful. But eloquence cannot be obtained for nothing; private affairs are neglected, in order that a man may devote himself to the business of others. Some support life by the profession of arms, some by cultivating land. No work is expected from any one of which he has not before calculated the profits. It was easy for Asinius and Messala, enriched with the prizes of the conflict between Antony and Augustus, it was easy for Arruntius and Æserninus, the heirs of wealthy families, to assume grand airs. We have examples at hand. How great were the fees for which Publius Clodius and Caius Curio were wont to speak! We are ordinary senators, seeking in the tranquillity of the State for none but peaceful gains. You must consider the plebeian, how he gains distinction from the gown. Take away the rewards of a profession, and the profession must perish." The emperor thought that these arguments, though less noble, were not without force. He limited the fee which might be taken to ten thousand sesterces, and those who exceeded this limit were to be liable to the penalties of extortion.