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I should not mention a very trivial decree of the Senate which allowed the city of Syracuse to exceed the prescribed number in their gladiatorial shows, had not Pætus Thrasea spoken against it and furnished his traducers with a ground for censuring his motion. "Why," it was asked, "if he thought that the public welfare required freedom of speech in the Senate, did he pursue such trifling abuses? Why should he not speak for or against peace and war, or on the taxes and laws and other matters involving Roman interests? The senators, as often as they received the privilege of stating an opinion, were at liberty to say out what they pleased, and to claim that it should be put to the vote. Was it the only worthy object of reform to provide that the Syracusans should not give shows on a larger scale? Were all other matters in every department of the empire as admirable as if Thrasea and not Nero had the direction of them? But if the highest affairs were passed by and ignored, how much more ought there to be no meddling with things wholly insignificant." Thrasea in reply, when his friends asked an explanation, said "that it was not in ignorance of Rome's actual condition that he sought to correct such decrees, but that he was giving what was due to the honour of the senators, in making it evident that those who attended even to the merest trifles, would not disguise their responsibility for important affairs."