Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Article excerpt

NOW that Roy Hattersley has admitted in the Guardian that he was responsible for the Charleroi football riots during Euro 2000, it is time to ask cui bono?

Cicero tells us this question originated with Lucius Cassius Longinus (tribune of the people, 137 BC). As a presiding judge, Cassius was always instructing the jurors to ask cui bono fuerit lit. `To whom was it for an advantage?', i.e. `Who stood to gain?'

Cicero brought up the principle when he was defending Milo on a charge of murdering Clodius. At a time when the late Republic was sliding into anarchy, Clodius had established a following among Rome's urban population and was able to call mobs on to the streets to advance his political career. Rival politicians did the same, with inevitable consequences. Milo was one such rival, and when the two gangs met Clodius was killed and a murder charge brought against Milo. …

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