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35. [75]

While the senate was being hindered by every sort of delay, and mockery, and false pretence, there came at last the day appointed for the discussion of my case, the twenty-fifth of January. The chief proposer of the motion, a man most friendly to me, Quintus Fabricius, occupied the temple some time before daybreak. On that day Sestius was quite quiet, the very man who is now on his trial for violence. He, the advocate and defender of my cause, takes no step at all, but waits to see the maneuvers of my enemies. What next? How do these men conduct themselves by whose contrivance Publius Sestius is now put upon his trial? As they had occupied the forum, and the place for the comitia, and the senate-house, at an early period of the night, with a number of armed men and slaves, they fall on Fabricius, lay violent hands on him, slay some men, and wound many. [76] They drive away by force Marcus Cispius, a most gallant and virtuous man and a tribune of the people, as he was coming into the forum; they make a great slaughter in the forum; and all of them, with drawn and bloody swords, looked about with their eyes for, and demanded with their cries, my brother, a most virtuous man, a most brave one, and one most devoted to me. And he willingly, such was his grief, and so great his regret for me, would have exposed his body to their weapons, not with a view of resisting them, but with the object of meeting death, if he had not preserved his life in the hope of my return. However, he endured some violence from those wicked robbers; and as he had come down for the purpose of begging the safety of his brother from the Roman people, having been driven from the rostra, he lay down in the place of the comitia, and covered himself with the corpses of slaves and freedmen, and defended his life that day by the protection which night and flight afforded him, not by that of the laws or courts of justice. [77] You recollect, O judges, that on that day the Tiber was filled with the corpses of the citizens, that the sewers were choked up; that blood was wiped up out of the forum with sponges; so that all men thought that such a vast number and such a magnificent show of gladiators could not have been provided by any private individual, or plebeian, but must be the exhibition of some patrician and man of praetorian rank.

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