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 TEN
FROM THE AEDILESHIP TO THE THRESHOLD OF THE CONSULATE

69 B. C.

CICERO'S defeated rival was consul in this year, while he himself was Curulian Aedile.1 The chief function of this magistrate originally was to care for the temples and other public buildings. Further he and his colleague had to supervise the markets2 and streets, and the order therein. As chief authority over the visible Rome he had to adorn, so to speak, the face of the town, and provide and supervise certain games, which, in a manner peculiar to classical antiquity, were bound up with the anniversaries of the state religion. Also (legg. 3, 6) he was entrusted with some supervision of the price of bread and the grain supply (annona). The checking of fires also belonged to him. In connection with games Aediles had a certain power and discretion as to plays. Decorum and decency on the surface of life, no less than proper regulation of trade and traffic, was in their department also. It was not easy for a man of moderate wealth to please the populace of Rome in this office. For this was the occasion and service in which a candidate for higher honors strove to commend himself to the electorate and lay up its good-will for future candidacies. Besides, in this office, the spectacular part thereof brought on a veritable competition between the different Aediles. Here such a one3 could sow a harvest to be reaped later on. The pleasant remembrances of stage and arena often levelled the way to the consulate. To Cicero certain games were assigned soon after his election ( July-August 70 B. C.). Even in advance of his entrance upon the office he spoke of these with a certain gravity and seriousness, not quite free from the manner of one wooing public favor (Verr. 5, 36): "I am to produce most venerable games with great care and ritual precision

____________________
1
Suringarp. 80. v. Aedilis in Latin Thesaurus. Verr. 5, 36.
hence ἀϒορανóμος
3
Muren. 38 sqq.

-92-

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