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Volturcius, being questioned concerning his journey, concerning his letter,1 and lastly, what object he had had in view,2 and from what motives he had acted, at first began to prevaricate,3 and to pretend ignorance of the conspiracy; but at length, when he was told to speak on the security of the public faith,4 he disclosed every circumstance as it had really occurred, stating that he had been admitted as an associate, a few days before, by Gabinius and Cæparius; that he knew no more than the deputies, only that he used to hear from Gabinius, that Publius Autronius, Servius Sylla, Lucius Vargunteius, and many others, were engaged in the conspiracy. The Gauls made a similar confession, and charged Lentulus, who began to affect ignorance, not only with the letter to Catiline, but with remarks which he was in the habit of making, "that the sovereignity of Rome, by the Sibylline books, was predestined to three Cornelii; that Cinna and Sylla had ruled already ;5 and that he himself was the third, whose fate it would be to govern the city; and that this, too, was the twentieth year since the Capitol was burned; a year which the augurs, from certain omens, had often said would be stained with the blood of civil war."

The letter then being read, the senate, when all had previously acknowledged their seals,6 decreed that Lentulus, being deprived of his office, should, as well as the rest, be placed in private custody.7 Lentulus, accordingly, was given in charge to Publius Lentulus Spinther, who was then ædile; Cethegus, to Quintus Cornificius; Statilius, to Caius Cæsar; Gabinius, to Marcus Crassus; and Cæparius, who had just before been arrested in his flight, to Cneius Terentius, a senator.

1 XLVII. His letter] “Litteris.” His own letter to Catiline, c. 44. So præter litteras a little below.

2 What object he had had in view, etc.] “Quid, aut quâ de causâ, consilii habuisset.” What design he had entertained, and from what motive he had entertained it.

3 To prevaricate] “Fingere alia.” “"To pretend other things than what had reference to the conspiracy."” Bernouf.

4 On the security of the public faith] “Fide publicâ.” “"Cicero pledged to him the public faith, with the consent of the senate; or engaged, in the name of the republic, that his life should be spared, if he would but speak the truth."” Bernouf.

5 That Cinna and Sylla had ruled already] “Cinnam atque Syllam antea.” "Had ruled," or something similar, must be supplied. Cinna had been the means of recalling Marius from Africa, in conjunction with whom he domineered over the city, and made it a scene of bloodshed and desolation.

6 Their seals] “Signa sua.” “"Leurs cachets, leurs sceaux."” Bernouf. The Romans tied their letters round with a string, the knot of which they covered with wax, and impressed with a seal. To open the letter it was necessary to cut the string: "nos linum incidimus." Cic. Or. in Cat. iii. 5. See also C. Nep. Paus. 4, and Adam's Roman Antiquities. The seal of Lentulus had on it a likeness of one of his ancestors; see Cicero, loc. cit.

7 In private custody] “In liberis custodiis.” Literally, in "free custody," but "private custody" conveys a better notion of the arrangement to the mind of the English reader. It was called free because the persons in custody were not confined in prison. Plutarch calls it ὔδεσμον φυλακήν, as also Dion., cap. lviii. 3. See Tacit. Ann. vi. 3. It was adopted in the case of persons of rank and consideration.

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