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As for Marcellus Eprius, whom I have just mentioned, and Crispus Vibius (it is pleasanter to me to cite recent and modern examples than those of a distant and forgotten past), I would venture to argue that they are quite as great men in the remotest corners of the world as at Capua or Vercellae, where they are said to have been born. Nor do they owe this to the three hundred million sesterces of the one, although it may seem that they must thank their eloquence for having attained such wealth. Eloquence itself is the cause. Its inspiration and superhuman power have throughout all times shown by many an example what a height of fortune men have reached by the might of genius. But there are, as I said but now, instances close at hand, and we may know them, not by hearsay, but may see them with our eyes. The lower and meaner their birth, the more notorious the poverty and the straitened means amid which their life began, the more famous and brilliant are they as examples to show the efficacy of an orator's eloquence. Without the recommendation of birth, without the support of riches, neither of the two distinguished for virtue, one even despised for the appearance of his person, they have now for many years been the most powerful men in the state, and, as long as it suited them, they were the leaders of the bar. At this moment, as leading men in the emperor's friendship they carry all before them, and even the leading man himself of the State esteems and almost reverences them. Vespasian indeed, venerable in his old age and most tolerant of truth, knows well that while his other friends are dependent on what he has given them, and on what it is easy for him to heap and pile on others, Marcellus and Crispus, in becoming his friends, brought with them something which they had not received and which could not be received from a prince. Amid so much that is great, busts, inscriptions, and statues hold but a very poor place. Yet even these they do not disregard, and certainly not riches and affluence, which it is easier to find men denouncing than despising. It is these honours and splendours, aye and substantial wealth, that we see filling the homes of those who from early youth have given themselves to practice at the bar and to the study of oratory.

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