Cicero of Arpinum: A Political and Literary Biography Being a Contribution to the History of Ancient Civilization and a Guide to the Study of Cicero's Writings

By E. G. Sihler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
THE TOUR ABROAD

79-78 B. C.

IN the year 79 B. C. the most eminent or rather the ablest of the proscribed Marians began his brilliant resistance to the Optimates, by disputing with them the possession of Spain. Against him was sent the elderly and comfort-loving Metellus Pius, and later young Pompey; their cooperation was almost always defective. In this year Cicero at twenty-seven undertook a case, which even more than the preceding ones, had a political aspect. He defended the "freedom" (or should we say the claim to full standing within her civic relations to Rome as they were before Sulla's return) of a woman of Arretium. ( Arezzo). In so doing he called in question the inferences which his antagonist Aurelius Cotta made. Sulla had deprived this municipium (as he did Volaterrae) of Roman citizenship, because it Had resisted him. Cicero claimed that this sweeping act of disfranchisement could not deprive his client of her personal civil status. Sulla indeed was then in the private station which he had voluntarily assumed in resigning his dictatorship. Cicero was not a little gratified that he ultimately won his contention before the ten commissioners, although the distinguished Cotta was on the other side, and although Sulla was living (Caecina 97).

This, like pro Quinctio, was in a preliminary hearing: i. e. to determine this question: Could the lady of Arretium sue and be sued like any other citizen? Could she, in advance of the case, offer and demand security like any other citizen, by a sworn affidavit?1 Cicero won in the second hearing.

The young advocate had now, within two brief years, measured his forensic powers against the foremost men at the Roman bar, a Philippus, a Hortensius, a Cotta. However solid or brilliant their professional attainments, young Cicero through pub

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1
sacramentum, cf. Gaius Institut. 4, 12-16. HeumannHandlexikon zu den Quellen des röm. Rechts s. v. "In Bezug auf die Legis actio per sacramentum bedeutet dieses Wort die Summe Geldes, welche die streitenden Teile für den Fall des Unterliegens an das Aerarium zu zahlen hatten".

-54-

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