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There were some, at that time, who said that Catiline, having ended his speech, and wishing to bind his accomplices in guilt by an oath, handed round among them, in goblets, the blood of a human body mixed with wine; and that when all, after an imprecation, had tasted of it, as is usual in sacred rites, he disclosed his design; and they asserted1 that he did this, in order that they might be the more closely attached to one another, by being mutually conscious of such an atrocity. But so some thought that this report, and many others, were invented by persons who supposed that the odium against Cicero, which afterward arose, might be lessened by imputing an enormity of guilt to the conspirators who had suffered death. The evidence which I have obtained, in support of this charge, is not at all in proportion to its magnitude.

1 XXII. They asserted] “Dictitare.” In referring this word to the circulators of the report, I follow Cortius, Gerlach, Kritzius, and Bernouf. Wasse, with less discrimination, refers it to Catiline. This story of the drinking of human blood is copied by Florus, iv. 1, and by Plutarch in his Life of Cicero. Dio Cassius (lib. xxxvii.) says that the conspirators were reported to have killed a child on the occasion.

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