The Protagonists


1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Born in 106 BC, Cicero was elected quaestor for 75, curule aedile for 69, praetor for 66 and consul for 63, during which crowning moment of glory he became the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your point of view) of the Catilinarian crisis. ((Cicero, in Catilinam 1-4, Appian, Bellum Civile 2.2-6, Plutarch, Life of Cicero 10-23.)) Cicero held each office suo anno, ‘in his year’, that is at the minimum age required by the lex Villia annalis (‘the Villian Law on Minimum Ages’), ((Promulgated in 180 BC, the lex Villia annalis seems to have fixed the sequence of compulsory magistracies that held, the so-called cursus honorum (‘course of offices’: first quaestorship, then praetorship, and finally consulship), the two-year gap (biennium) between tenure of each magistracy (and ten years between repeat holding of the consulship, which was then banned in 151 BC), and minimum age requirements at least for the praetorship and consulship. For further details, see e.g. Hopkins (1983) 47, Evans and Kleijwegt (1992) 181-82, Lintott (1999) 145, and Brennan (2000) 168-70. The conditions of the lex Villia annalis were reinstated and tightened up by Sulla’s lex annalis of 81 BC (see Lintott (1999) 145 and Flower (2010) 123-24), so that by this point the minimum ages for each magistracy are thirty for the quaestorship, thirty-six for the non- compulsory aedileship, thirty-nine for the praetorship, forty-two for the consulship: Lintott (1999), Patterson (2000).)) which was a remarkable achievement for a homo novus, a ‘new man’ from Arpinum, who lacked senatorial ancestors in his family tree. His heroics in 63, however, included the execution without trial of a number of the ‘Catilinarian Conspirators’, including the praetor Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura. When Cicero’s inimicus (‘political enemy’) Publius Clodius Pulcher was elected tribune of the plebs in 58 and promptly passed legislation to remind everyone about the lex Sempronia, which banished anyone who did precisely this, Cicero hurried off into exile and was only recalled in 57 by a vote of the senate. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.15-16, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 49 and Life of Cicero 28-33.)) For the rest of the decade, his political activity was constrained by the activities of the greater political monsters: Pompey, Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar. Crassus fell in battle against the Parthians in 53 and civil war broke out when Caesar crossed the Rubicon to invade Italy in 49. After much dithering, Cicero took Pompey’s side; stayed until Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus in 48; accepted Caesar’s clementia (‘mercy’), then praised Caesar’s assassination during the Ides of March 44, and was finally chopped down in 43 as a prize scalp in the proscriptions of the ‘Second Triumvirate’ (consisting of Caesar Octavianus (the future Augustus), Marcus Antonius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus). ((Plutarch, Life of Cicero 37-48.))

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Cicero’s political career, which lasted from his first really prominent legal case in 80 (the defence of Sextus Roscius on a charge of parricide ((Cicero, pro Sexto Roscio Amerino, Plutarch, Life of Cicero 3.))) to his death in 43, was based not least on oratorical ability and way with words more generally. He left behind a corpus of more than 75 texts (and that’s just the ones that have survived) including speeches, philosophical dialogues and treatises, some poetry, and a massive collection of letters to and from friends, family and political acquaintances.

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Pompey (106-48 BC)

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Family background: Pompey’s father was Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (135-87 BC), homo novus (‘new man’) and yet consularis (‘a former consul, i.e. someone who has reached the consulship in his career’) who for some less than obvious reason is regularly labelled sneaky and untrustworthy even though not noticeably showing a great deal more of either trait than your average successful Roman politician of this era. (Apparently the consul of 105 Publius Rutilius Rufus, known for his moral uprightness and commitment to Stoicism, had a go at him; ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 37.)) and Cicero slates him as cruel and money-grasping as well, Brutus 47.) He was consul in 89, i.e. the middle of the Social War, during which he was perfectly competent (see § 28 of the set text); ((Appian, Bellum Civile 1.40, 1.47-8, 1.50, 1.52.)) got involved in the political mess left behind by Sulla; ((Appian, Bellum Civile 1.63: benefits from the death-by-soldier-riot of successor and Sulla’s colleague Quintus Pompeius; 1.66-7: is summoned by Octavius to deal with Cinna, but basically just sits next to the Colline Gate looking shifty while Cinna and Marius roll up; 1.68, does eventually give Octavius a hand expelling Cinna and Marius from Rome, to which they had been admitted by treacherous military tribune Appius Claudius.)) and died struck by lightning in 87, leaving his most interesting offspring to run the family’s fiefdom in Picenum at the tender mid-twenties age. ((Cf. Hillard (1996) for an overview and discussion of the sources on Strabo’s death.))

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Pompey’s Career till his first consulship (70 BC): strictly speaking, as the son of a consularis, Pompey was therefore nobilis from 88 onwards, but the family was far from distinguished at Rome and Strabo doesn’t seem to have made a great many friends during the course of his career. Pompey in fact was prosecuted during the 80s on account of some irregularity to do with Strabo’s war booty; he got off with the help of a friendly praetor, whose daughter Antistia he married. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 4.)) According to Plutarch, the lady’s father was killed for his family-alliance with Pompey; her mother committed suicide. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 9; Leach (1978) 22, 27-8.)) Then Sulla came back from his war against Mithridates VI in 83, at which point Pompey, who was 23 years of age and a privatus at the time (i.e. someone who did not hold a public office), raised an army from his father’s veterans in Picenum and joined Sulla (along, it must be said, with several other privati with private armies). ((Cicero, pro lege Manilia 61; Appian, Bellum Civile 1.80.366; Plutarch, Life of Pompey 10; Seager (2002) 26.)) This proved to be a winning move, since Sulla won: Pompey divorced Antistia, married Sulla’s stepdaughter Aemilia (already pregnant by her own divorced spouse, Aemilia died shortly afterwards in childbirth), ((Haley (1985) 50.)) and was given a string of commands against Marian generals on the run in Sicily (82), Africa (81) and Spain (77-71). (Cicero glosses these appointments in §§ 28-30 of the set text). These commands he held as an unelected holder of (dummy) praetorian imperium. Along the way, he was involved in suppressing Lepidus’ rising in 78, celebrated unprecedented triumphs as an equestrian (i.e. non-senator ) in 81 or 80 and again in 71, ((Cf. Leach (1978) 24-59, Greenhalgh (1980) 13-67, Seager (2002) 26-36.)) got married for the third time to Mucia, the relative of various prominent Romans, ((Haley (1985) 50, Leach (1978) 34.)) contributed to Crassus’s defeat of Spartacus’s slave war, and was eventually elected to the consulship of 70 at the age of thirty-six, six years too young and (unlike Cicero) having held none of the prerequisite offices. ((Cicero, pro lege Manilia 61-2; cf. Sherwin-White (1956) 5-8.)) So much, then, for the stipulations of the various leges annales (‘Laws of Minimum Age Requirements’) detailed in footnote 2 above.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 In addition to military successes, Pompey was popular with the people, not least because he got involved in removing the final restrictions Sulla had placed on the tribunate during his consulship. ((Stockton (1973) 209-12, Keaveney (1982) 54-61, Vasaly (2009) 101-02.)) (Sulla had removed the right of the tribunes of the plebs to veto the legislation of other magistrates, to summon the senate or propose legislation, and he had made the office a dead end on the cursus honorum. ((Keaveney (1982) 169-70, Hantos (1988) 74-9, 130-47.)) In 75 the tribunate was put back on the cursus honorum and in 70 Pompey and Crassus restored its other functions.)

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 The wars against the pirates and Mithridates: Post-consulship, Pompey seems to have taken a break (as far as we can tell) for a few years. Then, when people started jumping up and down and crying to high heavens about the latest piratical incursions in 67, it was Pompey who was assigned the task of suppressing the menace thanks to the lex Gabinia. Ill-disposed people floating around on boats were a major issue for everyone living on the Mediterranean coast, and had been for centuries, not least because cities like Rome and Athens depended on imported grain from places like Egypt and the Black Sea region. You can be cynical about this if you want; Philip de Souza, for example, argues that in the third to second century BC, ‘the Rhodians encouraged other Greeks to see Rhodes as their naval protector. By virtue of this role they claimed the right to intervene with their naval forces in order to suppress what they deemed to be acts of piracy. In effect they were using the suppression of piracy as a justification for making war’. ((de Souza (2008) 76. On piracy in the Greco-Roman world see more generally de Souza (1999).))

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 With the rise of Rome as a naval power in the second century, however, and the establishment of Delos as a free port in 166, Rhodes went into decline along with its ‘naval protection racket’, ((Gabrielsen (2001).)) leaving the policing of the Mediterranean up to the new boss. On Rome’s progress in that area, we could do worse than quote Plutarch (Life of Pompey 24):

The power of the pirates had its seat in Cilicia at first, and at the outset it was venturesome and elusive; but it took on confidence and boldness during the Mithridatic war, because it lent itself to the king’s service. Then, while the Romans were embroiled in civil wars at the gates of Rome, the sea was left unguarded, and gradually drew and enticed them on until they no longer attacked navigators only, but also laid waste islands and maritime cities. And presently men whose wealth gave them power, and those whose lineage was illustrious, and those who laid claim to superior intelligence, began to embark on piratical craft and share their enterprises, feeling that the occupation brought them a certain reputation and distinction. There were also fortified roadsteads and signal-stations for piratical craft in many places, and fleets put in here which were not merely furnished for their peculiar work with sturdy crews, skilful pilots, and light and speedy ships; nay, more annoying than the fear which they inspired was the odious extravagance of their equipment, with their gilded sails, and purple awnings, and silvered oars, as if they rioted in their iniquity and plumed themselves upon it. Their flutes and stringed instruments and drinking bouts along every coast, their seizures of persons in high command, and their ransomings of captured cities, were a disgrace to the Roman supremacy. For, you see, the ships of the pirates numbered more than a thousand, and the cities captured by them four hundred.

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11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Plutarch goes on to provide a list of sacked sanctuaries, abducted Romans (including two praetors and a daughter of the orator Marcus Antonius, c.143- 87 BC), and the ‘crowning insolence’ of the pirates’ mockery of anyone who thought Roman citizenship would save them. In addition, the pirates made travel and commercial activity by sea impossible. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 24.)) Notably, Plutarch slots pirates into the ‘side-effect of civil war’ category, although he is probably just indulging in one of this particular Life’s running themes here, since a former Roman attempt to police the pirates out of the water had been run by M. Antonius, father of the abducted Antonia and grandfather of the future triumvir, Marcus Antonius, who had been fighting those pirates back in 102, well before the civil wars. ((Ehrenberg (1954) 116-17, de Souza (2008) 78.)) Antonius earned a triumph for his efforts in 100, but evidently those efforts were not very long-lasting, since P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus was active in Cilicia in 78-74, ((de Souza (2008) 82.)) then Antonius’s son M. Antonius Creticus had an unsuccessful go as praetor in 74, ((Ehrenberg (1954) 117, Jameson (1970) 547, de Souza (2008) 82-3.)) and finally in 67 the tribune Aulus Gabinius, Pompey’s friend, proposed a law to give Pompey an extraordinary command against said pirates.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 It might be tempting to think, with Philip de Souza, that these pirates sound less like ‘pirates’ and more like ‘the navy of a country that Rome, for some reason, refuses to acknowledge as such’: ‘Roman campaigns against maritime enemies were presented as the suppression of piracy because that suited contemporary political needs, especially when the Roman aristocracy wanted to convince reluctant allies that they should fight with or for the Roman cause’. ((de Souza (2008) 71; cf. further 78-81, 84-5.)) He argues that the Cilician ‘pirates’ under attack here are not so much ‘mundane pirates’ (which certainly existed ((de Souza (2008) 85, defining ‘mundane pirates’ as ‘armed robbers with ships who owed no particular political allegiance and whose actions were motivated only by thoughts of immediate material gain’.)) ) as organised opponents of Roman power, and that Cicero in the pro lege Manilia transforms them into colourful pirate-stereotypes to justify Roman imperial aggression – the ancient equivalents, as it were, of ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’. ((de Souza (2008) 86. For ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Dread_Pirate_Roberts))

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 According to Plutarch, the lex Gabinia gave Pompey ‘dominion over the sea this side of the Pillars of Hercules [cf. § 33 of the set text], over all the mainland to the distance of four hundred furlongs from the sea. These limits included almost all places in the Roman world, and the greatest nations and most powerful kings were comprised within them. Besides this, he was empowered to choose fifteen legates from the senate for the several principalities, and to take from the public treasuries and the tax- collectors as much money as he wished, and to have two hundred ships, with full power over the number and levying of soldiers and oarsmen’. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 25.)) One classic question concerning the lex Gabinia is just what sort of command (imperium) Pompey received relative to the local pro-magistrates: whether, like Antonius in 74, he was given imperium equal (aequum) to that of the local proconsuls, or if it was greater (maius) and allowed him to overrule his colleagues in the region. ((Last (1947) 160-61, Ehrenberg (1954) 115-22, Jameson (1970), Seager (2008) 46.)) This is an issue that may never be resolved; the sources disagree and the great and influential nineteenth-century classicist Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) did not help matters by taking a firm stance that has resulted in complications ever since. The war itself was over within a record three months ((Cicero, pro lege Manilia 34-5, de Souza (2008) 83-4.)) and Philip de Souza suggests that Pompey’s secret was his ‘remarkable willingness to come to terms with the enemy’: unlike his predecessors, ‘Pompey, wary of the demands such a campaign would make on Roman and allied resources yet anxious to obtain a quick victory to further his own political career, offered a general amnesty in return for immediate surrender’. ((de Souza (2008) 83-4.)) This stellar progress left Pompey with about two years outstanding on his imperium (whatever the precise nature of that imperium) and nothing much to do with it, putting him in an excellent position to usurp Lucullus’s command against Mithridates with the help of another handy tribune, Manilius. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 30.))

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Lucullus had been having problems since 69 or so: it had been a long war and everyone was getting tired of it, not least Lucullus’s soldiers. ((Seager (2008) 42.)) Mithridates VI Eupator, the king of Pontus, had first made trouble while the Social War (90-88) was ongoing: in 89 he invaded Bithynia and Phrygia and in 88 he prompted the Asiatic Vespers, a genocidal slaughter of all the Italians (not just Roman citizens) in Asia Minor. ((Cicero, pro lege Manilia 37; Appian, Bellum Civile 1.55; Plutarch, Life of Sulla 11; Santangelo (2007) 31-2.)) This, in addition to the defection of large parts of the Greek East was naturally inflammatory, but at the time Rome was distracted by (1) the end of the Social War and (2) the unexpected post-Social War outbreak of political discord sparked by the tribune Publius Sulpicius’s attempt to transfer command of the war against Mithridates from the consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla to the privatus and six- times-consul Gaius Marius. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 1.55-61, Plutarch, Life of Sulla 7-10.)) After Sulla and his colleague had occupied Rome, decapitated Sulpicius, put Marius and various friends on a ‘kill on sight’ list, laid down their preferred version of the law and overseen the election of consuls for the following year (Cinna and Octavius, who swore to uphold the new status quo), Sulla marched off to deal with Mithridates (88-84). ((Plutarch, Life of Sulla 11-21.)) Since the situation back home very quickly went sour, however, ((Appian, Bellum Civile 1.64-75.)) his iteration of the Mithridatic Wars ended in a deal, ((Plutarch, Life of Sulla 22-4.)) leaving Mithridates in place to rearm while the Romans sorted out their own problems.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 By 74, the Romans were back thinking about another Eastern war, ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 5.)) which (after some manoeuvring involving the then popular favourite Cethegus’s disreputable girlfriend Praecia, if Plutarch is to be believed ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 6.))) was handed over to the late Sulla’s lieutenant Lucius Licinius Lucullus, a tough disciplinarian and highly competent general who knocked the local Roman troops into good shape ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 7.)) and spent the next four or five years hammering Mithridates and his friend/relative Tigranes one battle at a time. ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 7-32.)) Unfortunately Lucullus’s soldiers weren’t as tough as he was and turned against him (disaffected officers include Lucius Quinctius, who as praetor in 67 is stirring things up at Rome, and Cicero’s future bête noire, Publius Clodius), ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 33-5.)) while back at home, various people were at work on getting what remained of the command transferred to Pompey, hence our speech in favour of the controversial lex Manilia, which did just that.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 The lex Manilia added to Pompey’s existing imperium the provinces of Cilicia and Bithynia. ((Ehrenberg (1954) 120, Jameson (1970) 558, Seager (2008) 49.)) There was a chilly meeting between Pompey and Lucullus in a Galatian village; ((Plutarch, Life of Lucullus 36, Life of Pompey 31.)) Lucullus, not unreasonably, felt he had been robbed of his war and Pompey had sneaked in to snatch the credit after the heavy lifting had already been done (not for the first time, either, as Crassus might have pointed out: see our commentary on § 28 of the set text). Briefly (perhaps not quite as briefly as Appian’s version at Bellum Civile 2.1, which may be summarised as ‘Pompey beat up the pirates and then he beat up Mithridates’), Pompey spent several years out East, wrapping up the war and massively reorganising the whole area. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 32-43.)) Then he came home. According to Plutarch, everyone back in Rome got very nervous over whether he might choose to march in and take over in true Sullan style, ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 43.)) but in fact he disbanded his army at Brundisium (and why not? There was no need to do anything else, despite various Italian troubles in his absence) and rolled home peacefully to a hero’s reception. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 43.))

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Till the beheading: It was at this point, when Pompey submitted his entire Eastern programme (and promises of public land for his veterans) for senatorial approval, that he ran into trouble. The senate was difficult. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.9, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 46.)) Simultaneously, Pompey divorced his Metellan wife Mucia, ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 42.)) but without lining up a replacement; his attempt to marry into the Catonian faction was not very well received. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 44, Leach (1978) 112-13, Haley (1985) 52-3.)) The senate dragged its heels; Pompey got frustrated; eventually he teamed up with his former colleagues Crassus and Caesar, whose attempt to stand for the consulship in absentia while waiting for a triumph for fighting various Spanish tribes as praetor (which meant he had to wait outside the official city boundary, the pomerium, in order to avoid forfeiting his imperium and thereby losing his triumphant army) was maliciously delayed by Cato. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.8, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 47, Life of Caesar 13.)) Caesar, giving up his triumph in the interests of gaining the consulship of 59, sorted out everyone’s immediate problems in exchange for an extraordinary command in Gaul. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.10-14, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 47-8, Life of Caesar 14.)) The deal was the so-called ‘First Triumvirate’, a wholly unofficial arrangement cemented by Pompey’s marriage to Caesar’s daughter Julia. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 47, Life of Caesar 14, Appian, Bellum Civile 2.43, Leach (1978) 126.))

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 In 57 Pompey picked up a specially contrived grain supply command (Praefectus Annonae for five years). Plutarch (probably unfairly) blames the post-exilic Cicero for showing his gratitude towards Pompey (whose involvement in Cicero’s departure had not been altogether commendable ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 46.))) by reconciling Pompey with the senate. Moreover, ‘by his advocacy of the corn law he in a manner once more made Pompey master of all the land and sea in Roman possession. For under his direction were placed harbours, trading-places, distributions of crops – in a word, navigation and agriculture’. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 49.)) The political agreement between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar, by now fraying, was renewed in 56 via the ‘Conference at Luca’, ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.17, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 51, Life of Caesar 21.)) following which Crassus and Pompey stood successfully for the consulship of 55. They arranged the extension of Caesar’s command, allotted Spain and Africa to Pompey (but to be governed by proxy), and gave Crassus a chance to distinguish himself with yet another extraordinary command, this time against the Parthians. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.18.)) Unfortunately this bombed at the Battle of Carrhae in 53, ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 52.)) with Crassus’ death collapsing the triad; and once Julia had died in 54, ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.19, Plutarch, Life of Pompey 52.)) Pompey’s ties to Caesar were weakened. ((Leach (1978) 151-52.)) Pompey’s next wife, married in 52, was a Cornelia, the daughter of Metellus Scipio and the widow of Crassus’s son (slain with his father at Carrhae), indicating a political shift away from Caesar (who had failed to convince Pompey to marry his niece Octavia) and towards Caesar’s senatorial enemies. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 55, Leach (1978) 154, Haley (1985) 55.))

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 The political situation in Rome generally was chaotic. To quote Appian (Bellum Civile 2.19),

The magistrates were chosen by means of money, and faction fights, with dishonest zeal, with the aid of stones and even swords. Bribery and corruption prevailed in the most scandalous manner. The people themselves went already bought to the elections. A case was found where a deposit of 800 talents had been made to obtain the consulship. The consuls holding office yearly could not hope to lead armies or to command in war because they were shut out by the power of the triumvirate. The baser among them strove for gain, instead of military commands, at the expense of the public treasury or from the election of their own successors. For these reasons good men abstained from office altogether, and the disorder was such that at one time the republic was without consuls for eight months, Pompey conniving at the state of affairs in order that there might be need of a dictator. ((Cf. also Plutarch, Life of Pompey 54.))

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 And then Titus Annius Milo (canvassing for the consulship) killed the popularis darling Publius Clodius Pulcher (canvassing for the praetorship) on the Appian Way. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.20-22, Plutarch, Life of Cicero 35.)) The situation exploded; indeed, the riotous people burnt down the senate-house along with Clodius’s body. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.21.)) Riots ensued. ‘The Senate assembled in consternation and looked to Pompey, intending to make him dictator at once, for they considered this necessary as a remedy for the present evils; but at the suggestion of Cato they appointed him consul without a colleague, so that by ruling alone he might have the power of a dictator with the responsibility of a consul. He was the first of consuls who had two of the greatest provinces, and an army, and the public money, and autocratic power in the city, by virtue of being sole consul’. ((Appian, Bellum Civile 2.23; cf. also Plutarch, Life of Pompey 54.))

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 This unprecedented sole consulship was arguably the crowning moment of Pompey’s career. We recap Sherwin-White’s summary of Pompey: he ‘would bluff up to the limits of legality, but he never marched on Rome or crossed a Rubicon in his life. He disbanded his legions at Brundisium on his return from the East. In his own phrase he would take a sword, but only if the consuls placed it in his hands; if someone else drew a sword he would raise a shield’. ((Sherwin-White (1956) 8.)) The consuls did place a sword ceremoniously into his hand when Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49, thereby handing Pompey command of ‘the Republicans’ against Caesar. Pompey, whose real strength was in his foreign clientela (‘networks of dependents’), made the strategically sound but politically upsetting choice to evacuate Rome, and fought a good campaign until he lost the battle of Pharsalus, chose the wrong former client to run to, and was unceremoniously murdered and decapitated thanks to the young Ptolemy XIII’s advisers when he disembarked in Egypt. ((Plutarch, Life of Pompey 77-80.)) (Caesar is said to have shed crocodile tears when presented with Pompey’s head and seal ring: unlike Sulla, he did not go in for decapitation. Well, not the decapitation of fellow Roman citizens, at any rate. ((Plutarch, Life of Caesar 48.)))

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24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Compared with Cicero and Pompey, Gaius Manilius, the proposer of the lex Manilia, casts a very slight shadow. This has something to do with the fact that he was a popularis tribune of obscure family who proposed two controversial laws: a law to distribute freedmen throughout the 35 voting tribes of the comitia tributa (they were currently confined to the four urban tribes, thus limiting the value of their votes): it was passed through violence and afterwards annulled; ((Phillips (1970) 595, Ward (1970) 546.)) and the law that forms the subject of the pro lege Manilia, that is the transfer of Lucullus’s command against Mithridates to Pompey, which was also passed and remained in place. Towards the end of his term as tribune (and Cicero’s as praetor ), Manilius found himself facing a charge of extortion. Plutarch reports as follows (Life of Cicero 9):

Two or three days before Cicero’s term of office expired, Manilius was brought before him on a charge of fraudulent accounting. This Manilius had the good will and eager support of the people, since it was thought that he was prosecuted on Pompey’s account, being a friend of his. On his demanding several days in which to make his defence, Cicero granted him only one, and that the next; and the people were indignant because it was customary for the praetor to grant ten days at least to the accused. And when the tribunes brought Cicero to the rostra and denounced him, he begged for a hearing, and then said that he had always treated defendants, so far as the laws allowed, with clemency and kindness, and thought it an unfortunate thing that Manilius should not have this advantage; wherefore, since only one day was left to his disposal as praetor, he had purposely set this day for the trial, and surely it was not the part of one who wished to help Manilius to defer it to another praetor’s term. These words produced a wonderful change in the feelings of the people, and with many expressions of approval they begged Cicero to assume the defence of Manilius. This he willingly consented to do, chiefly for the sake of Pompey, who was absent, and once more mounting the rostra harangued the people anew, vigorously attacking the oligarchical party and those who were jealous of Pompey.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 It may be that the extortion charge was connected to Manilius’s totally unknown quaestorship rather than his tribunate, since tribunes generally lacked the opportunity to extort anything (a charge of public violence, vis, would be more likely, especially given Manilius’s activities). ((Phillips (1970) 597, Ramsey (1980) 325-6.)) Cicero’s role in the affair remains unclear: whether his excuse to the tribunes was sincere or whether he had been caught out trying to hamstring Manilius’s case is a matter of debate. ((Phillips (1970) 597-6-1, Ward (1970) 546-47, Ramsey (1980) 323-24, 328-31.)) Manilius’s first trial in 65 was riotous (literally) ((Phillips (1970) 548-49.)) and the senate passed a senatus consultum instructing the consuls to keep the peace during the second trial. ((Phillips (1970) 603-05 argues that this trial was for the same charge, rather than ‘treason’ (maiestas) as had sometimes been thought of; cf. also Ward (1970) 548 n. 15.)) Cicero perhaps refused to defend Manilius the second time round and Manilius was condemned. ((Phillips (1970) 607, Ward (1970) 552-54, Ramsey (1980) 331.)) Following which, we hear no more of Manilius.

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