Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
The Agrarian Law Carried - Passive Resistance of the Aristocracy
Notwithstanding all the chicanery and all the blustering of the nobility, the agrarian law, the confirmation of the Asiatic arrangements, and the remission to the lessees of taxes were adopted by the burgesses; and the commission of twenty was elected with Pompeius and Crassus at its head, and installed in office. With all their exertions the aristocracy had gained nothing, save that their blind and spiteful antagonism had drawn the bonds of the coalition still tighter, and their energy, which they were soon to need for matters more important, had exhausted itself on these affairs that were at bottom indifferent.
They congratulated each other on the heroic courage which they had displayed; the declaration of Bibulus that he would rather die than yield, the peroration which Cato still continued to deliver when in the hands of the lictors, were great patriotic feats; otherwise they resigned themselves to their fate. The consul Bibulus shut himself up for the remainder of the year in his house, while he at the same time intimated by public placard that he had the pious intention of watching the signs of the sky on all the days appropriate for public assemblies during that year.
His colleagues once more admired the great man who, as Ennius had said of the old Fabius, "saved the state by wise delay," and they followed his example; most of them, Cato included, no longer appeared in the senate, but within their four walls helped their consul to fret over the fact that the history of the world went on in spite of political astronomy. To the public this passive attitude of the consul as well as of the aristocracy in general appeared, as it fairly might, a political abdication; and the coalition were naturally very well content that they were left to take their farther steps almost undisturbed.
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