Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Attacks on the Senatorial Tribunals
Complaints also, only too well founded, prevailed respecting the bad administration of justice by the senatorial jurymen. The condemnation of a man of any influence could hardly be obtained. Not only did colleague feel reasonable compassion for colleague, those who had been or were likely to be accused for the poor sinner under accusation at the moment; the sale also of the votes of jurymen was hardly any longer exceptional.
Several senators had been judicially convicted of this crime: men pointed with the finger at others equally guilty; the most respected Optimates, such as Quintus Catulus, granted in an open sitting of the senate that the complaints were quite well founded; individual specially striking cases compelled the senate on several occasions, e. g. in 680, to deliberate on measures to check the venality of juries, but only of course till the first outcry had subsided and the matter could be allowed to slip out of sight.
The consequences of this wretched administration of justice appeared especially in a system of plundering and torturing the provincials, compared with which even previous outrages seemed tolerable and moderate. Stealing and robbing had been in some measure legitimized by custom; the commission on extortions might be regarded as an institution for taxing the senators returning from the provinces for the benefit of their colleagues that remained at home.
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