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 THIRTEEN
ANXIOUS YEARS

62 B. C.

ON January 1st, 62 B. C., Murena and Silanus were inducted on the Capitol. The surviving Catiline in the North, the legality of the recent executions in the Tullianum: these matters still engaged public opinion in Rome. The impending return of Pompey too loomed up more and more as time went by. In fact the question everywhere was what he would do, what attitude he would assume in home politics, from which he had been so long and so far removed. With the Tribune Metellus Nepos the consular dealt sharply. Cicero attempted to head off the new Tribune;1. even before Dec. 10th, 63, it seems, the man of affairs had attempted to bring some pressure to bear through ladies of high rank. These were Clodia (Claudia), the wife of Metellus Celer, then in the north, and Mucia, half sister of these Metelli and consort of the distant Pompey. Nepos had been a legate of Pompey in the pirate war and afterwards in Asia. What moved Nepos? He certainly left Pompey's headquarters to engage in the political game in Rome. Was it that Pompey lacked servitors there? Cicero above all was deeply concerned with one thing: the world should not think that his dealing with the great conspiracy was due to a mere juncture of circumstances, that it was a mere momentary flash or passing impulse; not mere luck or chance had favored him, but the policy of his administration had been one of settled conviction. His later discourse against Nepos he published and thereby enraged Metellus Celer in the North, the brother of Nepos, either by the speech itself or by the publication.2. The great families of Rome still had the consciousness of a certain solidarity. The aristocracy of Rome still persisted in seeing in Cicero a political parvenu and resented his freedom of political discussion. Nepos' arrival from the East and his Tribunate had seemed some-

____________________
Fam. 5, 2, 4
It was entitled: contra contionem Metelli

-170-

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