Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
But they did not refuse themselves the pleasure, on the one hand, of punishing a man notoriously timid and belonging to the class of political weathercocks for the conservative energy which he displayed, and, on the other hand, of investing the bitter opponent of all interferences of the burgesses in administration and of all extraordinary commands with such a command conferred by decree of the burgesses themselves; and with similar humour the proposal respecting Cato was based on the ground of the abnormal virtue of the man, which made him appear pre-eminently qualified to execute so delicate a commission, as was the confiscation of the considerable crown treasure of Cyprus, without embezzlement.
Both proposals bear generally the same character of respectful deference and cool irony, which marks throughout the bearing of Caesar in reference to the senate. They met with no resistance. It was naturally of no avail, that the majority of the senate, with the view of protesting in some way against the mockery and censure of their decree in the matter of Catilina, publicly put on mourning, and that Cicero himself, now when it was too late, fell on his knees and besought mercy from Pompeius; he had to banish himself even before the passing of the law which debarred him from his native land (April 696). Cato likewise did not venture to provoke sharper measures by declining the commission which he had received, but accepted itand embarked for the east.(12) What was most immediately necessary was done; Caesar too might leave Italy to devote himself to more serious tasks.
12. Cf. V. IV. Cyprus Annexed
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