Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero

Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero

Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero

Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero

Synopsis

Students and scholars of Latin, history, and literature will find this to be an outstanding book that offers insights into the lives of Cicero and Asconius, as well as a fascinating look at Rome in the first century B. C. Commentaries by Asconius are included with the text and translation of these speeches by Cicero: In Pisonem, Pro Scauro, Pro Milone, Pro Cornelio, and In Toga Candida.

Excerpt

Cicero's invective against L. Calpurnius Piso Caeso
ninus, father of Iulius Caesar's wife Calpurnia,
survives nearly intact except for the beginning - the
quotations concerning Placentia (A. pp. 7f.), for
example, are not found anywhere in the principal
manuscripts of the speech. Cicero's [masterpiece of
misrepresentation] (Nisbet p. xvi) needs to be seen
against the background of the formation in late 60 of
the so-called [First Triumvirate]. (The use of this
label is in fact misleading, since the alliance of Iulius
Caesar, Pompey, and M. Crassus was not brought into
being by legal process, and was not an office of
state, unlike for instance that of M. Antonius, M.
Lepidus, and the future emperor Augustus, which
dominated the struggles of the 30s. Nevertheless, like
most other modern writers, I shall use this title for
-convenience of reference.)

In essence, the First Triumvirate was an elec
toral pact, not unlike the one which backed Catilina
in the elections of 64 (see the Exposition to In Toga
Candida, A. p. 129). It aimed to secure the election of
Iulius Caesar as consul for 59, against the bitter
opposition of optimates such as M. Calpurnius Bibulus;
in the pursuit of this objective it naturally sought to
attract new supporters and reward existing ones;
Cicero himself was at first invited to be included in
the clique, although he in fact declined to join.

Then in 58 B.C. P. Clodius Pulcher, tribunus
plebis, arranged for Cicero's exile by exploiting the
dubious legality of Cicero's handling of the conspi
racy of Catilina in 63. Clodius' action no doubt was
intended to reassert the principle that a Roman
citizen could not be put to death without due legal
process; but it was also part of a personal vendetta,
since Cicero had in 62 undermined Clodius' alibi in
the Bona Dea trial (in which Clodius was acquitted
amid much scandal). Cicero probably hoped that the
First Triumvirate would protect him against Clodius,
but the legislation passed in 59 B.C. was vulnerable . . .

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