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At Rome meanwhile, without any motive then known or subsequently ascertained, Cneius Nonius, a Roman knight, was found wearing a sword amid a crowd who were paying their respects to the emperor. The man confessed his own guilt when he was being torn in pieces by torture, but gave up no accomplices, perhaps having none to hide. During the same consulship, Publius Dolabella proposed that a spectacle of gladiators should be annually exhibited at the cost of those who obtained the quæstorship. In our ancestors' days this honour had been a reward of virtue, and every citizen, with good qualities to support him, was allowed to compete for office. At first there were no distinctions even of age, which prevented a man in his early youth from becoming a consul or a dictator. The quæstors indeed were appointed while the kings still ruled, and this the revival by Brutus of the lex curiata plainly shows. The consuls retained the power of selecting them, till the people bestowed this office as well as others. The first so created were Valerius Potitus and Æmilius Mamercus sixty-three years after the expulsion of the Tarquins, and they were to be attached to the war-department. As the public business increased, two more were appointed to attend to affairs at Rome. This number was again doubled, when to the contributions of Italy was added the tribute of the provinces. Subsequently Sulla, by one of his laws, provided that twenty should be elected to fill up the Senate, to which he had intrusted judicial functions. These functions the knights afterwards recovered, but the quæstorship was obtained, without expense, by merit in the candidates or by the good nature of the electors, till at Dolabella's suggestion it was, so to speak, put up to sale.