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In the consulship of Publius Marius and Lucius Asinius, Antistius, the prætor, whose lawless behaviour as tribune of the people I have mentioned, composed some libellous verses on the emperor, which he openly recited at a large gathering, when he was dining at the house of Ostorius Scapula. He was upon this impeached of high treason by Cossutianus Capito, who had lately been restored to a senator's rank on the intercession of his father-in-law, Tigellinus. This was the first occasion on which the law of treason was revived, and men thought that it was not so much the ruin of Antistius which was aimed at, as the glory of the emperor, whose veto as tribune might save from death one whom the Senate had condemned. Though Ostorius had stated that he had heard nothing as evidence, the adverse witnesses were believed, and Junius Marullus, consul-elect, proposed that the accused should be deprived of his prætorship, and be put to death in the ancient manner. The rest assented, and then Pætus Thrasea, after much eulogy of Cæsar, and most bitter censure of Antistius, argued that it was not what a guilty prisoner might deserve to suffer, which ought to be decreed against him, under so excellent a prince, and by a Senate bound by no compulsion. "The executioner and the halter," he said, "we have long ago abolished; still, there are punishments ordained by the laws, which prescribe penalties, without judicial cruelty and disgrace to our age. Rather send him to some island, after confiscating his property; there, the longer he drags on his guilty life, the more wretched will he be personally, and the more conspicuous as an example of public clemency."

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