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 EIGHT
AFTER THE CLASSICAL TOUR

77-76 B. C.

WHEN at last Cicero once more returned to Rome and its Forum and its courts, he had begun his thirtieth year. It was in the consulate of D. Junius Brutus and Aemilius Lepidus Livianus. And yet no doubt he was firmly resolved to hold aloof from the political factionalism of the day. He was to resume exactly where he had left off, to go on matching himself in the forensic life with those men then reputed leaders; we have met them; chiefly now they were Cotta and Hortensius. In his own biographical retrospect he speaks of "famous cases" in which he pleaded.1 We know of none that possibly might be assigned to this time but the case of the actor Roscius.2 The very fact that Cicero published his pleading is an adequate reason for assuming that it impressed the Forum as a fine performance.

As to the time, it is quite unthinkable that Cicero in 68 after the Verrines and after his aedileship at 38 should so strongly have emphasized (44) his youthfulness in contrasting himself with two senators, should actually have spoken of his "adulescentia," four years only before he offered himself to the Roman electorate for consular honors. Manutius and Drumann note that the referee (index 43) Cluvius was a Roman knight. Such a one, they claimed, could not have sustained this function before the Aurelian Law of 70 B. C.

Exordium and conclusion are lost. Cicero always felt warmly for each and every one who had aided him in the acquisition of personal and professional culture. His willingness to help the famous actor who had taught him delivery and all the graces bound up with it, was prompted by motives quite similar to those which later on induced him to defend Archias. It was a civil case.

____________________
1
Brut. 318. Unum igitur annum, cum rediissemus ex Asia, causas nobiles egimus.
2
Drumann 5, 346 sq. prefers 68 B. C. as does Morris H. Morgan, in a paper in the volume of collected disquisitions, but cf. W. Sternkopf in Fleckeisen Jahrb. 1895, p. 41 sqq.

-60-

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