Beyond Populares and Optimates. Political Language in the Late Republic

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Beyond Populares and Optimates. Political Language in the Late Republic

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HISTORIA Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte Revue d'histoire ancienne Journal of Ancient History Rivista di storia antica

EINZELSCHRIFTEN Herausgegeben von Kai Brodersen/Erfurt Mortimer Chambers/Los Angeles Martin Jehne/Dresden François Paschoud/Genève Aloys Winterling/Berlin

HEFT 213

M. A. Robb

Beyond Populares and Optimates Political Language in the Late Republic

Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart 2010

Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek: Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über abrufbar. ISBN 978-3-515-09643-0 Jede Verwertung des Werkes außerhalb der Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist unzulässig und strafbar. Dies gilt insbesondere für Übersetzung, Nachdruck, Mikroverfilmung oder vergleichbare Verfahren sowie für die Speicherung in Datenverarbeitungsanlagen. © 2010 Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart Gedruckt auf säurefreiem, alterungsbeständigem Papier. Druck: Offsetdruck Bokor, Bad Tölz Printed in Germany

CONTENTS Acknowledgements Conventions and abbreviations Preface

7 9 11

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

15

2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio 2.1 Cicero and Clodius 2.2 The Pro Sestio 2.2.1 Pro Sestio 1-95 2.2.2 Pro Sestio 96-135: populares and optimates 2.3 Conclusions

35 36 42 44 55 65

3 Populares according to Cicero 3.1 A lexicographical analysis of the word popularis 3.2 Contextual analysis of the word popularis 3.2.1 The De lege agraria 3.2.2 Philippic VIII 3.2.3 The Lucullus 3.2.4 The De haruspicum responso 3.2.5 Two letters to Atticus 3.3 Conclusions

1

69 69 71 72 76 77 87 89 91

4 Optimates according to Cicero 4.1 A lexicographical analysis of the word optimas 4.2 Contextual analysis of the word optimas 4.2.1 Optimates in the De republica 4.2.2 Optimates in the De legibus 4.2.3 Optimates in Cicero's letters 4.3 Conclusions

95 95 96 96 99 103 109

5 Populares and optimates in the works of Cicero's contemporaries and their successors 5.1 Cornelius Nepos 5.2 Sallust 5.3 Velleius Paterculus 5.4 Asconius 5.5 Livy 5.5.1 Spurius Cassius 5.5.2 Spurius Maelius 5.5.3 M. Manlius Capitolinus 5.5.4 The 5 th century Decemvirate

113 113 114 116 122 127 128 130 132 135

6

Contents

5.5.5 The Periochae 5.5.6 Conclusions about Livian usage 5.6 The Commentariolum Petitionis 5.7 General conclusions

138 140 141 145

6 Language and politics in the late Republic 6.1 Consensus and opposition 6.2 Seditio and seditiosi 6.2.1 Seditio according to Cicero 6.2.2 Three problematic 'populares' 6.2.3 Seditiosi according to Cicero's close contemporaries 6.2.4 Two more problematic 'populares' 6.3 Conclusions 6.4 A brief return to the Pro Sestio

147 148 150 152 158 160 163 164 165

7 Postscript: Sallust- beyond populares and optimates 7.1 Three digressions on late Republican politics 7.2 Four speeches about liberty 7.3 Conclusions

167 168 170 175

Appendix A: Lexicographical Analyses A.l References to the word popularis (C3 BC - AD 284) A.l.l References to the word popularis in Cicero A.1.2 References to the word popularis in Livy A.2 References to the word optimas (C3 BC - AD 284) A.2.1 References to the word optimas in Cicero A.2.2 References to the word optimas in Livy

179 179 182 184 185 187 188

Appendix B: C. Gracchus and his legislation

189

Bibliography

193

General Index

211

Index of Ancient Sources

220

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This book is a revision of my doctoral thesis, completed at King's College London. My profound thanks go to my supervisor, Professor Henrik Mouritsen, for his unfailing enthusiasm and inspiration. I would also like to thank Professor Dominic Rathbone for his insightful comments on this revision. I am grateful to the AHRC for funding my doctoral research. I am also indebted to Dr. J. Blundell and Dr. Yelena Baraz at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae for making a draft copy of the forthcoming article on the word popularis available to me. This project would have been impossible without the support and patience of my husband, Jon, and the valuable assistance and encouragement of Professor Roland Mayer, Professor Martin Jehne, Dr. Fiona Haarer and Sylvia Salt.

CONVENTIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS CONVENTIONS To avoid confusion, I refer to the modern constructions of populares and optimates: by using quotation marks: 'populares' and 'optimates'. References to the Latin words themselves are denoted by the use of italics: populares and optimates. For what I hope are obvious reasons, I do not translate the two terms when providing English translations of passages under discussion. When quoting directly from modern works containing the terms, I retain the italics or quotation marks of the original. My translations are generally based on the Loeb, volumes, amended where it seems appropriate. Kaster's 2006 translation and commentary of the Pro Sestio was of great help in Chapter 2. Brittain's work on the Lucullus and McGushin on Sallust's Histories were also invaluable. All dates are BCE unless otherwise stated. General references to the triumvirs/triumvirate signify the members of the coalition formed by Caesar, Pompey and Crassus in 60. Where reference is made to the three members of Gracchan land commission, this is noted in the text. All unattributed references are to the works of Cicero.

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ANRW

BTL-4 C CAH2 7.1 CAH 9 CAH2 9 CEF CEQ CIL CLA M

H. Temporini & W. Haase (eds.). Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Ges. chichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung. Berlin & New York, 1972Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina (BTL 4). 4 th CD ROM edition, edited by K. G. Sau r Verlag München & Leipzig / Brepols Publishers Tumhout, 2006. A. C. Clark (ed.). Q. Asconii Pediani orationum Ciceronis quinque enarratio. Oxford, 1907 F.W. Walbank, A.E. Astin, M.W. Frederiksen, R.M. Ogilvie (eds.). The Cambridge Ancient History vol. 7.1, The Hellenistic World, Cambridge, 1984 S.A. Cook, F. E. Adcock & M. P. Charlesworth (eds.). The Cambridge Ancient History vol. 9, The Roman Republic, 133^14 B. C. Cambridge, 1932 J. A. Crook, A. Lintott, E. Rawson (eds.). The Cambridge Ancient History (2 nd edn.) vol. 9, The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B. C. Cambridge, 1994 D.R. Shackleton Bailey (ed.). Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiäres, 2 vols. Cambridges, 1977 D.R. Shackleton Bailey (ed.). Cicero, Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem et Brutum.. Cambridge, 1980 Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. 17 vols. Berlin, 1863D. R. Shackleton Bailey (ed.). Cicero, Letters to Atticus. 7 vols. Cambridge, 1965-70 B. Maurenbrecher (ed.). C. Sallusti Crispi Historiarum reliquae. 2 vols. Leipzig, 1891-3

10 MRR OCD3 OLD ORF3 RE TLL

Conventions and abbreviations T. R. S. Broughton. Magistrates of the Roman Republic. 3 vols. New York & Atlanta, 1951-86 S. Hornblower & A. Spawforth (eds.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd edn. (revised). Oxford, 2003 P. W. Glare (ed.). Oxford Latin Dictionary. Oxford, 1982 E. Malcovati (ed.). Orationum Romanorum Fragmenta. 3rd edn. Torino, 1967 A. Pauly, G. Wissova & W. Kroll (eds.). Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Stuttgart & Munich, 1893Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Leipzig, 1900-

PREFACE 'In this state, there have always been two kinds of men who have wanted to engage - and distinguish themselves - in public affairs. One of these types wanted to be considered, and to be, populares, the other, optimates. Those who wanted their words and deeds to be pleasing to the many were considered populares and those who acted in such a way that their policies were approved of by the best sort of men were considered optimates,,'' This passage from Cicero's Pro Sestio begins a lengthy excursus on the nature of the politicians of the late Roman Republic and forms the fullest extant description of what he describes as two different categories of politician. How far this may be taken as an objective judgement is hard to ascertain since Cicero was writing at a time of great personal crisis. Returning from exile in September 57, his reputation was in severe need of rehabilitation and it was essential for him to rally his supporters to bolster his public position. That Cicero devotes what amounts to almost one third of the Pro Sestio to his political 'definitions' raises an initial concern about the extent to which these descriptions can be taken as familiar and everyday political terms. Modern scholars have already remarked on the contingent nature of the Pro Sestio.2 Nevertheless, its descriptions form the basis of the models of late Republican life which have dominated the last century and a half.3 The conflict between 'populares' and 'optimates' has been explained in terms of parties, ideological principles and dispassionate political strategy.4 However, each model has its problems. 1

1

3 4

Sest. 96, Duo genera semper in hac civitate fiterunt eorum qui versari in re publica atque in ea se excellentius gerere studuerunt; quibus ex generibus alteri se popularis, alteri optimates et haberi et esse voluerunt, qui ea quae faciebant quaeque dicebant multitudini iucunda volebant esse, populares, qui autem ita se gerebant ut sua consilio optimo cuique probarent, optimates habebantur. To cite but a few, Strasburger 1939: 774 suggests that Cicero's definition of optimates is unusual and based on his personal circumstances, Meier 1965: 570 questions how typical Ciceronian rhetoric might be given the orator's status as a homo novus, Gruen 1974: 310 describes the trial as 'a forum for propaganda and a vehicle for political ambition and rivalry.' On the polemical nature of the definition in Sest. 96 see Mackie 1992: 49, Seager 1972a: 328 and Wiseman 2002: 287. Kaster 2006: 35 terms the digression on optimates 'a tendentious and deceptive part of a tendentious and deceptive speech'. Notable exceptions which do not make use of the categories are Gelzer 1912 and Münzer 1920. Major contributors include Mommsen, Gelzer, Münzer, Strasburger, Taylor, Syme, Scullard, Meier, Perelli, Brunt, Burckhardt and Mackie. Most recently Millar, Mouritsen and MorsteinMarx have revived the debate over the place of democracy, oratory and ideology in Roman politics. On the use of the word partes in explanations of Roman politics see Strasburger 1939: 775-9. He concluded that these fell into three types: those which did not use the word at all, those which used it without the modern meaning and those which used the word in the full modern sense. He traced this final usage to the second half of the 18th century. .

12

Preface

" Ferrary has remarked on the mismatch between the ideological claims of both 'populares' and 'optimates' and the realities of their political actions.5 The identification of 'populares' and 'optimates' is certainly far from straightforward since only a handful of men are referred to as either in the literary record. Another difficulty is presented by the consideration that while some Roman politicians were happy to claim to be populares, they also used the word to express disapproval of their opponents.6 It is now universally accepted that populares and optimates were not political parties or groups in the modern sense. Today, political parties tend operate on the basis of defined ideologies and generally identify themselves with capitalised names. Some familiar examples include Conservative, Liberal, Democratic and Republican. In addition, we often make a general distinction between Left- and Rightwing politics. The competition to attract the (sometimes apathetic) modern voter often results in one party adopting the most popular ideas of another in order to win the middle ground.7 Politicians of all persuasions may claim that modern politics has progressed beyond mere Left- and Right-wing divisions. Nonetheless, the debate between politicians of different parties does not result in a Conservative politician, no matter the issue under discussion, claiming to be the 'true' Liberal and his opponent the 'false' one.8 To return to the politics of the late Republic, it is thus difficult to correlate Cicero's assertions in his defence of Rabirius and his speeches against the Rullan bill that he is the 'true' popularis and his opponent the 'false' one with a bi-polar view of populares and optimates. Morstein-Marx argues for an 'ideological monotony' necessary for success in the contio, suggesting that the senate was the place where an '"optimate" rhetorico-ideological discourse' would be found.9 Yet, as will be discussed below, Cicero makes explicit claims to be a 'true'popularis in his senatorial speeches.10 Perhaps the most commonly accepted modern view of a 'popularis' is Meier's: a politician of the late Republic who adopted a particular political style, advancing his own affairs by using the people's assembly, promoting himself as a champion of the people and using arguments relevant to the masses.11 A similarly wide-ranging view of 'optimates' was put forward by Brunt who described them as those whose beliefs about senatorial control over political power coincided with their own class interests about retaining this power for themselves.12 Nevertheless, as Alexander points out in a recent review of Burckhardt's work on the political strategies of the 'optimates', major problems remain:

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Ferrary 1997: 229. E. g. Cic. Leg. Ag. 2.10 & passim, Rab. Perd. 11 ff. Morstein-Marx 2004: 228-9. Morstein-Marx 2004: 229-30. Morstein-Marx 2004: 239-^0. In particular the Seventh and Eighth Philippics. See Chapter 3 below. Meier 1965: 549. Brunt 1988: 53.

Preface

13

'By what criterion can one distinguish between the two groups [the binary division of populares and optimates]! Burckhardt himself argues that in times of crisis the Senate could count on the support of the majority of the citizenry, especially the knights, so it cannot be a clear division between Senate and People. Nor can membership in the Senate, nobility or even the patriciate constitute the criterion of 'optimate' status, since some populares could claim some or all of those ranks. In looking to see whether there were any optimates who were willing to appeal to the people, how can we distinguish between a senator who proposed popular measures for their own sake, and a senator who proposed them for the benefit of the senate unless we have specific testimony to that effect, as is the case for the younger Livius Drusus (Asc. 69C)?13 Strasburger stressed the further difficulty in that most 'populares' were identified on the basis of one or very few deeds.14 Moreover, as a group, these 'popularis' deeds span a variety of concerns, from land distribution to the politicisation of the equestrian class to extra-ordinary military commands. Commenting on the contrast between the tWo terms, Riggsby astutely observes that 'every time Cicero discusses this distinction [betweenpopulares and optimates] at any length he does so to collapse it.' 15 The two following passages serve to show that Cicero's own wider use of the term popularis is contradictory: 'The difference between the fickleness of those who speak at public meetings and a mind that is truly popularis, taking the people's welfare into consideration, is well known.' 16 'A popular assembly, although it consists of uneducated people, usually manages to judge the difference between a popularis - a fickle citizen who says what his audience wants to hear [assentator] - and one who is consistent, genuine and dignified.'17

13

14 15 16 17

Alexander 1992: 142 reviewing Burckhardt 1988. Similarly Wistrand 1979: 32 who notes that the term optimates sometimes refers to the governing senatorial class as a whole and at other times to 'the coterie of nobiles traditionally in control of Roman politics.' M. Livius Drusus (RE 18). Strasburger 1939: 794. Riggsby 2002a: 183. Cicero's words in Catil. 4.9, intellectum est quid interesset inter levitatem contionatorum et animum vere populärem saluti populi consulentem. The words of C. Laelius (RE 3) in Lael. 95, contio, quae ex imperitissimis constat, tamen iudicare solet, quid intersit inter populärem, id est assentatorem et levem civem, et inter constantem et verum et gravem. Powell 1990b: 116 notes, 'As is now realised, this word does not refer to a party or an ideology, but simply to any politician who courted the favour of the popular assembly, and used it in preference to the Senate as his political base. Like many political labels, "popularis" could be used either favourably or perjoratively; Cicero, in the latter part of his career at least, tends to use it with a nuance of disapproval, and here he refuses to admit that a "popularis" can be anything other than a demagogue who flatters the people insincerely in order to build up his own power.' ,.• .>*»

14

Preface

In both these examples, Cicero quickly follows up his use of the word popularis with a clarification of exactly what he means by using the term. That the explanation in each case is clearly rather different suggests the manipulation of a rather imprecise term rather than the use of a clear and well-defined one. Given the nature of our source material, the Ciceronian corpus underpins much of what we know about late Republican politics. An examination of this material forms the basis for Chapters 2-4. In order to provide comparisons with the conclusions drawn from the works of a single, superbly skilled yet undoubtedly often partisan author, the writings of his contemporaries and their immediate successors are also be scrutinised in the later chapters. This study does not seek to deny that there are observable patterns of behaviour among late Republican politicians, for example the tendency of many senators to oppose issues such as land distribution. Nor does it suggest that Republican politics was devoid of ideology. On the contrary, its conclusions extend Hölkeskamp's arguments about the centrality of the sovereignty of the people to the self-definition of the nobility.18 The primary focus is terminology and its application. This provides a new angle for tackling the problem of defining late Republican politicians as either 'populares' or 'optimates'. Do the two terms actually define political groups, traditions, strategies or ideologies? Has modern scholarship been chasing a mirage? The starting point, therefore, is an examination of this modern scholarship.

1 'POPULARES'AND 'OPTIMATES': MODERN MIRAGES? 'Populares' and 'optimates' are central concepts in most modern models of late Republican political life. These models fall into two main groups: those which interpret the conflict between 'populares' and 'optimates' in ideological terms and those which do not. Some models do not even use the terms at all. In general, they have tended to build on each other, responding to and incorporating elements from earlier proposals. Nevertheless, fundamental problems remain. The fact that the reforms of the 'populares' did not include dismantling the aristocratic constitution but actually tended to stabilise the government sits at odds with the ideologically-based interpretations.1 Just as significantly, those explanations which concentrate on the methods used by senators to achieve their political ambitions, altruistic or self-serving, note that the same methods are sometimes adopted by their opponents.2 The example of C. Sempronius Gracchus is a good illustration of this variety in interpretation.3 His laws dealt with many subjects including grain and land distribution, the creation of colonies, the right of appeal and the extension of the Roman franchise as well as reforms to the judicial system and senatorial procedure. Those who see his programme as a set of reforms conceived to limit the power and partiality of the senate and to benefit the poorer classes, often consider him the 'ideal type' of a 'popularis'. Nevertheless, some scholars have regarded him as an exception to the general typology. Taylor distinguished both Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus from other 'populares' on the basis of their intentions to establish the iura populi. Meier remarked that his democratic purposes marked C. Gracchus out as an exception. Brunt stressed the view that it was his legislation, put forward in opposition to the senate, which earned him his identification as a 'popularis'. 4 C. Gracchus thus seems to be both the oddity and the archetype at one and the same time. The current chapter reviews the historical tradition of these modern models to highlight how varied and inconclusive they are. It also draws attention to the important point that the only clear and unambiguous characteristic these views of late Republican political action agree upon is the existence of conflict between the senatorial majority and those other members of the political class who, for whatever reasons, chose to oppose it. In the 19th century, Mommsen identified 'populares' and 'optimates' as parliamentary-style political parties, using the word 'party' in the full modern sense. He suggested that the 'Struggle of the Orders' resulted in the formation of aristocratic 1 2 3 4

Noted by e. g. Strasburger 1939, Meier 1965. Two major examples of this are the proposals of the elder M. Livius Drusus (RE 17) and the grain law of M. Porcius Cato Uticensis (RE 16). On Drusus' laws see Chapter 6 section 6.2.4. On Cato's, see Chapter 3 n. 19. RE 47. For more on C. Gracchus and his legislation see Appendix B. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (RE 54). Taylor 1949: 21, Meier 1965: 557, Brunt 1988: 33.

16

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

and democratic parties. The rise of the aristocracy resulted in the rise of a democratic nemesis. In Gracchan times, this metamorphosed into a 'democratico-monarchical revolution'. He suggested that the labels populares and optimates started to be used in Gracchan times.5 The latter referred to those who wanted to give effect to the will of the best while the former identified those who represented the community.6 These categorisations are squarely based on the definitions put forward in the Pro Sestio.1 Mommsen injected a certain cynicism to his views, however, when he added that 'a change of party was more a change of political tactics than of political sentiments'.8 In Die Nobilität der Römischen Republik, Gelzer put forward a different kind of model in which the balance of power was controlled by relationships of fides, patronage, amicitia and obligatio. He suggested that political power was concentrated among nobiles who competed between themselves for personal power, the most politically powerful man being the one who could muster the largest number of votes. Fledgling politicians needed the protection of powerful men in order to progress and political power, based on membership of the senate, was bestowed by popular election.9 This model did not make use of the terms populares and optimates. Instead, it relied on information about electoral support found in the Commentariolum petitionis and Cicero's speeches on behalf of Murena and Plancius.10 The Commentariolum advises the candidate to seek support in many areas: men of noble and consular rank by persuading them of his 'optimate' views, Pompey, young noblemen, friends and publicam. The urban multitude and those who control contiones can be attracted by praising Pompey and supporting Manilius and Cornelius.11 Fur5 6 7

1

8 9 10 11

Lapyrionok 2005, on the other hand, proposes that 'optimates' can be defined as a political coalition opposed to 'populares' only in the period 64—54. On Mommsen's presentation of the people's assembly in his Römisches Staatsrecht see Jehne 2005. Th. Mommsen, History of Rome (trans. W. P. Dickson, Everyman's Library London [1911]), vol. 1: 304-5 on the 'new' party which opposed the aristocratic government, vol. 2: 295 on the rise of new aristocratic and opposition parties after the 'abolition of the patriciate', 339 on the beginnings of the 'democratico-monarchical revolution', vol. 3: 71-3 on the use of party names for the 'degenerate oligarchy' and an undeveloped but already corrupted democracy. Mommsen's interpretation owes much to nineteenth century German liberal thought. Mommsen, ibid. vol. 3: 72. Gelzer 1912. For suggestions of the influences behind this work see Bleicken, Meier & Strasburger 1977, Ridley 1986 and Simon 1988. On patronage see Rouland 1979, Wallace-Hadrill 1990, David 1992. On clientela see Deniaux 1993 and Brunt 1988: 382^42. L. Licinius Murena (RE 123), Cn. Plancius (RE 4). The Commentariolum will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 section 5.6 below. Comm. Pet. 4, 5, 50, 51. Cn. Pompeius Magnus (RE 31), C. Manilius (RE 10), C. Cornelius (RE 18). In the prefatory note to his 2002 Loeb translation of this work, Shackleton Bailey notes that there still seems to be no consensus on the question of authorship. Contributors to the debate include Henderson 1950, Nisbet 1961, Till 1962, Balsdon 1963, Nardo 1970, Richardson 1971, Nicolet 1972, David etal. 1973. Morstein-Marx 1998 comments that whether it is authentic or not, it nevertheless provides much useful source material on late Republican politics.

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

17

ther, the candidate is advised not to take a stand on policy.12 Gelzer compared this information with the details in the two defence speeches. Cicero claims that Murena was successfully elected due to his wide circle of supporters including senators, publicam, clients, neighbours, members of his tribe and the soldiers of Lucullus.13 Similarly, Plancius apparently owed his position to his cultivation of friendships, his generosity, public presence and volunteering nature as well as the efforts he made to avoid arousing envy.14 Gelzer concluded that an electoral candidate could not rely on the support of an organised party but had instead to cultivate a wide range of personal relationships extending both upwards and downwards in society.15 Personal relationships were more important than particular policies. In his later work on Caesar, Gelzer restated his initial theories about the importance of patronage and amicitia in the oligarchic system, observing that political struggles took place within the oligarchy and were due, as often as not, to personal differences. He also made note of the tendency of the senatorial oligarchy to obstruct the rise of powerful individuals.16 However, in contrast with his earlier work, Gelzer now added concepts of ideological conflict between political parties to his model. He described Ti. Gracchus as a man of high principles who perished for his 'revolutionary' attempt to improve the lot of the assidui by distributing public land. He proposed that Gracchus was the first of a new type of politician, the 'populares', who wanted to serve the interests of the people, challenging the rule of a senate which was failing in its responsibilities. The opponents of these 'populares' defended the traditional rule of the nobility and the security of property. They used the words boni or optimates to refer to themselves.17 He suggested that the divisive issue was whether political decisions should remain in the hands of the senate or be transferred to the popular assembly. Nevertheless, Gelzer observed that claims made by the 'populares' about governing from the Forum were unrealistic due to the small number of citizens who actually participated in the political process. Concluding, therefore, that the 'populares' were more concerned about gaining the authority of the people for their plans than implementing the will of the people, he suggested that an appropriate translation of the term popularis was 'demagogue'.18 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Comm. Pet. 53. Mur. 69. L. Licinius Lucullus (RE 104). Plane. 67. See the summary in Gelzer 1912: 115-6. Note, however, that Cicero, Murena and Plancius are all novi homines. Gelzer 1921:9-14. Hellegouarc'h 1963: 489 cites ORF3: 178, Cic. De orat. 2.170, Har. Resp. 41 & Brut. 103 as evidence that the word boni was applied both to the supporters of the Gracchi and to their political opponents. Although this suggestion for translating the word popularis appears in the editions published in 1960 (p. 12) and later as well as Needham's 1968 English translation (p. 13), it is not found in the original 1921 edition. See also Vanderbroeck 1987: 174-92 on the translation of popularis as demagogue. He highlights the positive images of demagogues in 5th and 4th century Athens, equating this meaning with the positive/neutral usage of the word popularis to describe Roman politicians. Contra Bottéri & Raskolnikoff 1983: 81 who conclude that the word popularis is not equivalent to onjiaYOyoc,.

18

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

Gelzer presented the conflict as one between creative politicians who sought to implement innovative solutions by attracting support from the people in the face of opposition from a traditional and hide-bound senate.19 Adifferent sort of evidence formed the basis of Münzer's model. He studied the names in the consular fasti and proposed a theory based on relationships rather than policies. The recurring family names suggested to him that Roman politics was controlled by groups or parties of aristocratic gentes. He proposed that alliances between the dominant families were based on commitments to the various gentes as well as marriage and kinship ties. The gentes acted as stable political identities with common purposes and leaders.20 The earliest family-based 'parties' were the patricians and the plebeians.21 Gradually these metamorphosed into groups such as the Scipionic circle and the cluster of families, led by Cato from the late 60s, which included the Metelli, Claudii, Servilii Caepiones and Porcii. For Münzer, Cicero's description of the tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus in De republica 1.31, with its details of the relationships between Ap. Claudius Pulcher, P. Crassus and P. Mucius, and the Gracchi, as well as the group's opposition to Scipio Aemilianus, was important evidence for the control of particular policies by family groups rather than political parties.22 He saw the Gracchan measures as representative of a democratic movement which aimed to tear away the privileges of birth and class.23 Like Gelzer 's initial model, that of Münzer made no overt use of a political division between 'populares' and 'optimates'. By basing their explanations on personal relationships such as patronage and ties of kinship, the models of Gelzer and Münzer introduced a more flexible and complex view of late Republican politics than the ideological one typified by Mommsen. Syme expanded on Münzer's theories, using them to attribute motives to the actions of power-seeking individuals who were supported by factione s in a feudal society.24 He summed up his views as follows, 'The political life of the Roman Republic was stamped and swayed, not by parties and programmes of a modern and parliamentary character, not by the ostensible opposition between Senate and People, Optimates and Populares, nobiles and novi homines, but by the strife for power, wealth and glory. The contestants were the nobiles among themselves, as individuals or in groups, open in the elections and in the courts of law, or masked by secret intrigue.'25

19 20 21 22 23 24

25

Gelzer 1921: 9-22. At least in the middle Republic. On patricians and plebeians see Smith 2006: 168-76, 235-6, 251-278. Münzer 1920: 257-81. P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (RE 335), Ap. Claudius Pulcher (RE 295), P. Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus (RE 72), P. Mucius Scaevola (RE 17). Münzer 1920: 302,422 describes the movement as a 'Gracchischen Bewegung'. Syme 1939. Münzer's prosopographical model was also followed by Schur 1927, Scullard 1951, Briscoe 1982 & 1992. Badian 1958, Astin 1967 andGruen 1968 & 1974 all make some use of Münzerian groups centring on powerful individuals but see them more as informal, fluid arrangements than rigid factions or parties. Syme 1939: 11.

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

19

For Syme, political success depended on retaining a sufficient number of powerful and influential backers. He saw the contributing factor in Cicero's exile, his failure as a politician, as his lack of family connections and clientela. The orator was the leader of neither a factio nor a 'Ciceronian party'. 26 Similarly, Tiberius Gracchus came to grief when he lost the support of his influential sponsors.27 Syme credited this 'party of the Gracchi' with being the first to use the tribunate as 'a means of direct political action'. Thenceforth, the tribunate became a weapon which was used by aristocratic demagogues, who styled themselves populares, against their rivals in power who invoked the 'specious and venerable authority of the senate.'28 Syme described the politics of the late Republic as a conflict between a dominant oligarchy drawn from a set of powerful families, and their opponents. In his view, the senate governed by virtue of its auctoritas and was ruled by a clique of nobiles (he takes Gelzer's meaning) who also controlled access to the consulate.29 His model proposed that late Republican politicians were motivated less by policies than by feuds between factions. He saw 'optimates' as the members of the ruling clique ox factio of post-Sullan times.30 His view of 'populares' was a simple one based primarily on demagogic tactics and strategy: they were tribunes, or men who used them, who advanced their own personal ambition in opposition to the ruling clique.31 Picking up the thread of cynicism from Mommsen's model, he too cast doubt on the sincerity of political claims made by late Republican politicians about the balance of power. Scullard also described Republican politics in terms of a Mtinzerian model of family parties. He proposed that there were three fairly stable groups centring on the Fabii, the Aemilii and the Claudii. The two latter families formed alliances with others giving rise to an Aemilio-Scipionic group and a Fulvio-Claudian group.32 He suggested that the intensity of the struggles between family groups declined in the period leading up to the tribunate of Ti. Gracchus. From this point on, divisions between 'optimates' and 'populares' became more important. He defined 'opti26 27 28 29

30 31 32

Syme 1939: 16. Also 60, 'Without a party, a statesman is nothing. He sometimes forgets that awkward fact. If the leader or principal agent of a faction goes beyond the wishes of his allies and emancipates himself from control, he may have to be dropped or suppressed.' Syme 1939: 60. Syme 1939: 16. Syme 1939: 18. Gelzer 1912: 22-32 defined nobiles as those possessing a consular ancestor. Thus also Shackleton Bailey 1986a. Contra Brunt 1982 who proposed that the nobiles included all those possessing the ius imaginum. See also Bleicken 1981, Burckhardt 1990. On the permeability of the oligarchy see Hopkins 1983, Badian 1990. Gruen 1995: ix sees the predominance of nobiles as 'an unassailable fact' and disputes over the exact definition as unfruitful. Jehne 2006a: 16 makes the point that since the politicians of the Republic regularly needed to succeed in popular elections and although descendants of ancient noble families had a statistically higher chance of doing so, 'new men' were also successful. The term 'aristocracy' is thus a perfectly acceptable label for the senatorial political class. This view was based on Cic. Rep. 3.23 where the character of Philus (L. Furius Philus (RE 78)) notes that factio is the name given to a state where men rule by means of wealth, birth or other advantage and adds that these rulers are called optimates. Syme 1939: 65 also identifies 'populares' as those who adopted 'the Marian tradition.' Scullard 1951 on the period 220-150. See also Gelzer 1962: 201-10.

mates' as those who controlled the senate and forced their opponents, the 'populares', to seek support from the assembly. As a group, the 'optimates' upheld the oligarchy. The 'populares', on the other hand, shared common tactics and backgrounds but varied in motive. Some sought to bring down the dominant oligarchy, while others were reformers harbouring a genuine wish to improve the lot of the people.33 In his article on optimates for the Real-Encyclopädie, published in the same year as Syme's Roman Revolution, Strasburger challenged the view that 'optimates' and 'populares' represented political parties. He argued that any ideological antithesis between 'populares' and 'optimates' was quite lost in its application to the opposing sides in civil war (Marians-Sullans, Caesarians-Pompeians) since it was the armies which played the major parts in such conflicts.34 Senators and équités appeared on both sides: there was no 'class war' in these situations. On the basis of an examination of the literary sources, Strasburger argued that the word populares did not denote an identifiable group or collective.35 Rather, individual 'populares' formed a series of predecessors and successors, linked on an intellectual level by particular goals and tactics and giving rise to a concept of a 'popular' tradition. However, the characteristics of such a tradition were very wideranging since most 'populares' were identified on the basis of one or very few deeds.36 Furthermore, he noted that the reforms of individual 'populares' tended to stabilise the government, strengthening the authority of the aristocracy.37 Strasburger concluded that 'optimates' could not be defined as a group in conflict with a group of 'populares' since the latter did not exist. He suggested that although it was harmless to identify an 'optimate' party in terms of class interest, there was no 'optimate' political programme.38 Similarly, since there was no 'popularis' party, there was also no 'popularis' programme. In a response to Strasburger's view that optimates and populares did not exist as political parties, Taylor returned to a model of ideological conflict between 'upholders of senatorial authority' and 'proponents of the people's rights.' She defended Mommsen's party-based picture of Roman politics, explaining that he was perfectly aware of the lack of principle or programme among the 'populares' and that the parties he described were amorphous, as were the political parties of his 33 34

35

36 37 38

Scullard 1959: 7. C. Marius (RE 14; supb. 6), L. Cornelius Sulla (RE 392), C. Julius Caesar (RE 131). Bennett 1928 comes to the same conclusion. Strasburger 1939: 786 noted that the sources made clear the personal rivalry between Manus and Sulla. Contra Taylor 1949: 18 who sees the conflict as primarily between 'optimates' and 'populares', adding that the personal rivalry between Marius and Sulla served to complicate it (my italics). He suggests, 783-^4, that the factio popularis described by Valerius Maximus (Numidicus autem Metellus populari /actione patria pulsus in Asiam secessit, 4.1.13), refers simply to the coalition formed by Marius, L. Appuleius Saturninus (RE 29), and C. Servilius Glaucia (RE 65). Strasburger 1939: 794. Strasburger 1939: 797. Followed by Meier 1965: 557, Martin 1965: 223. Strasburger 1939: 793. Followed by Gruen 1974: 50, 'The term 'optimates' identified no political group.'

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

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own times: the problem for modern historians was that the word 'party' had changed in meaning since the nineteenth century.39 She equated Sallust's references to divisions between senate and people with the 'optimates' and 'populares' of the Pro Sestio despite remarking on Cicero's tendency to use the word partes to refer not to political groups but to personal parties centred on 'revolutionary' leaders such as Marius, Sulla, Sertorius and Caesar.40 She also pointed out a marked variation in Cicero's attitude to those he described as populares before and after his exile. In the earlier period he made a distinction between 'good'populares who served the state and demagogic 'bad' populares, while on his return populares were almost always presented in a bad light.41 Taylor defined 'optimates' as a clique of powerful nobles who controlled the senate and who 'were determined to uphold or regain the constitution of their ancestors and to keep for themselves and their associates the great gains of empire'. She suggested that they could be called a party on the grounds of their interest in senatorial politics and legislation. These 'optimates' were united by family ties and bonds of amicitia. Defining their opponents, the 'populares', was more complex. Using the example of the restoration of the tribunate by Pompey and Crassus, after which both men employed tribunes to achieve rival purposes, she characterised the two as leaders of 'two rival "popular" parties'.42 Grain distributions, agrarian legislation and the extension of the citizenship were put forward as the chief elements of the programme of the 'popular' party which had a serial rather than a continuous existence.43 However, she observed that 'the best indication of the lack of organized parties at Rome was that there were no generally accepted names for special parties.'44 Taylor suggested that ideological conflict between 'optimates' and 'populares' arose not only in the senate but also in legislative campaigns in the tribal assembly. Elections, however, were conducted on a different basis. In the campaign for office, ideological differences were put aside and support was mustered along the lines indicated by the Commentariolum petitionis. Nevertheless, despite attributing political programmes to both 'optimates' and 'populares', Taylor added that there were large numbers of 'middle of the road' senators who tried not to align with either party. On the occasions when such alliances were formed, she saw the basis as personal rather than ideological.45 Taylor's model thus incorporated the concepts of ideological party conflict between senate and people as well as familial groups and personal parties centring on

39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Taylor 1949: 12. C. Sallustius Crispus (RE 10), Q. Sertorius (RE 3). Taylor 1949: 11-12. She criticises (p. 10 n. 39) Strasburger's 'stress on what he calls the abstract meaning of partes.' Taylor 1949: 14. M. Licinius Crassus (RE 68). Ward 2004: 105 stresses that '"populares" competed with each other as much as with "optimates" and vice versa.' Taylor 1949: 22. Taylor 1949: 13. Taylor 1949: 7-8, 13, 15. She thus proposed that elections were fought in Gelzerian terms about the mobilisation of personal support.

22

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

military leaders and dynasts. She saw the true goal of the 'popular' leaders (with the exception of the Gracchi) as personal supremacy and admitted that although the conflict between the two parties was theoretically based on programmes, what it actually amounted to was a difference in method.46 Her model thus combined those of Mommsen, Münzer and Gelzer but restored an emphasis to the concept that 'optimates' and 'populares' were parties with programmes. Like Syme, she saw Cicero's presentation of 'good' and 'bad' populares as a consequence of his rhetoric. Meier took issue with Taylor's assertion that ideologically-based divisions between groups of 'optimates' and 'populares' occurred only in certain political situations.47 He disputed both Miinzer's model of family-based parties and Mommsen's ideological division, building instead on the views of Strasburger and Gelzer that neither type of party existed at Rome.48 His concept of Gegenstandsabhängigkeit, formalised in the second edition of Res publica amissa, proposed a fluid model of issue-based political division and transitory allegiances.49 At the beginning of his article on populares in the Real-Encyclopädie, Meier admitted that the phenomenon of 'popular' politics was very difficult both to understand and to describe.50 He noted that the people itself had no political initiative but was 'directed' by the aristocratic magistrates it elected. 'Popular' politics was thus the province of politicians not the people. He observed that the word popularis was used to describe senators of various types: reformer, adventurer, parvenu, aristocrat, moderate and radical.51 Only a few of these 'populares' appeared to embrace longterm goals and most acted in a way described as popularis for only a short time. He saw this complexity as the main stumbling block to the drawing of general conclusions about 'populares' and their politics.52 Rather than trying to attribute motives and intentions to their actions, Meier concentrated on the demands and claims made by those described as populares by the ancient sources. He suggested that while some, especially in the second half of the second century, had aims which were clearly democratic, 'populares' did not aim at the démocratisation of the Roman constitution. With the exception of C. Gracchus, no 'popularis' wanted to alter the essential fundamentals of the political or social order. Nor did any want to make notable improvements to the lot of the urban plebs or the political position of the people's assembly. Meier saw the underlying aim of the 'populares', or more precisely, those men who were temporarily acting in a 'popular' manner, as the improvement of the position of those to whom they were obliged or whose support they wanted to win. This might include indi46 47 48 49 50 51 52

Taylor 1949: 13, 22. Meier 1965: 567-8 criticised as absurd the consequence that minority factions within the senate would put aside their differences in elections. Meier 1966: 182 singled out Syme, Taylor, Scullard and Badian for their adoption of Miinzer's principles. Meier 1965: 554 acknowledges the fundamental parts played by Strasburger 1939 and Gelzer 1912 in his work. Meier 1980: xxxviii-xxxix. Meier 1965: 549. Martin 1965: 222 identifies three types of 'popularis': 'Reformtribun, der Demagoge und der nach persönlicher Macht strebende Feldherr und Politiker'. Meier 1965: 554-5. See also Meier 1966: 116-50 on the 'popular' method.

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

23

viduals, powerful politicians or communities or sections of them such as veterans or the equestrian class.53 He observed that 'popular' action claimed a fundamental division between senate and people and its common, identifying feature was opposition to the senate. However, not every issue taken before the people could be classified as 'popularis'. The assembly dealt with many day-to-day matters which were not undertaken in opposition to the senate. Meier thus drew a distinction between day-to-day, smallscale politics and the exceptional situations which became more frequent in the last years of the Republic.54 He identified a 'popular' tradition based on a series of claims and slogans and rooted in a conflict in which the people had sought to restore their liberty from the arbitrary rule of the senate. He also distinguished between pre-Sullan politicians such as the Gracchi who appeared to exhibit real concern for the rights of the people and those of the post-Sullan age for whom the origins of the 'popular' tradition formed no more than rhetorical claims used to manipulate the crowd.55 From a survey of the application of the word popularis to individuals, Meier suggested four categories of meaning. Firstly, the term referred to politicians who placed themselves in the 'popular' tradition and acted as champions of the people against the senate, using 'popular' methods and working for 'popular' goals. A second sense was used of politicians who manipulated the people's assembly using appropriate arguments and skills while a third described those who took up the matters and politics of the people, parading them before the plebs urbana, embracing the causa populi. The fourth referred to the manner adopted by a politician who used 'popular' means to prolong a political career. Meier found that the most common meaning was the third, the emphasising of the causa populi before the urban plebs.56 This led him to define a 'popularis' as a politician of the late Republic who adopted a particular political style, advancing his own affairs by using the people's assembly, promoting himself as a champion of the people and using arguments relevant to the masses.57 As part of his analysis of the claims and arguments put forward by 'populares', Meier examined 'popularis' legislation. He divided it into three groups dealing with different but interconnected subjects: the restoration of libertas, the removal of arbitrary rule by the senatorial clique and the improvement of conditions for the poorer classes through the enlargement of their political rights. These subjects, like the claims which underpinned the 'popular' tradition, provided goals and arguments for the 'populares'.58 He noted that the social order and the mos maiorum were not targets of such legislation. Nor were the rights of the senate, magistrates and priests, the structure of the assemblies and the principles of voting.59 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

Meier Meier Meier Meier Meier Meier Meier

1965: 557. 1965: 590-91. 1965: 558. 1965: 569. 1965: 549. 1965: 598. 1965: 611.

i ropuiares ana "optimates': modern mirages?

Meier perhaps sidestepped the issue of whether a 'popularis' ideology existed by claiming that although there were groups of themes and justifications used by 'populares' which fulfilled the function of an ideology, these did not actually constitute an ideology.60 Nevertheless, by creating several strands in his definition, his model allowed a set of behaviours and measures with varying features to be categorised as 'popularis'. 61 Meier's theory, like that of Gelzer before it, emphasised the importance of the networks of public and private ties on which senatorial politicians relied. By concentrating on the methods and claims adopted by those who opposed the senatorial majority, he provided a behavioural model which did not concern itself with attributing motive to political action. He thus established the popularis ratio as a method-based interpretation of the way in which opposition politics worked in the late Republic. Nonetheless, this concentration on method exposed the main difficulty of the model: namely, that it could be adopted by 'optimate' politicians.62 The defining characteristic of 'popularis' activity was therefore opposition to the senate.63 Brunt's analysis of the parts played by amicitia, patronage and factio in late Republican politics questioned not only the validity of Münzer 's theories but also those of Gelzer and Meier.64 He saw the many examples of laws 'passed or carried in conformity with popular demands against the will of the senate' as evidence that the aristocratic control mechanism of clientela, certainly after the Social War, was unable to deliver sufficient reliably loyal voters.65 The reduced importance of patronage implied that the formation of factions among the nobility, either long- or short-term was also not a reliable means of manipulating the vote.66 Furthermore, although the term amicitia was used to describe political relationships, it was used in many other different ways from a simple courtesy title to a reference to the harmonious accord of Scipio and Laelius. Although he demonstrated that the theories about aristocratic control put forward by Münzer and Gelzer were not sufficient by themselves as models of late Roman political life, Brunt did allow that there were collaborative 'coteries' surrounding particular politicians such as Cato, Scipio Aemilianus and L. Crassus.67 However, he suggested that by Ciceronian times, politicians entered into 'shifting 60 61 62 63

64

65 66 67

Meier 1965: 592. Followed by Tatum 1999: 1-31. Meier 1965: 556, 578, 580. His primary examples are the two Livii Drusi. Thus Meier: 1965: 594, 'Alle p. haben sich gegen den Senat gestellt.'Thus also Tatum 1999: 11, 'For us, given the nature of our sources, the 'popularis' exists in the exercise of his opposition to the senatorial leadership, usually in a conflict brought to an extreme pitch.' Brunt 1988. See particularly 351-81 on amicitia, 382-442 on clientela and 443-502 on factions. Meier 1966: 169-74 analysed Pompey's political relationships in the 60s and 50s and showed that families did divide on political issues. Gruen 1995: viii also comments on the 'fragility of constructs that interpret Roman politics as dependent on a network of mutual obligations.' Brunt 1988: 28-32. Thus also Mouritsen 2001: 67-79. Brunt 1988: 32-45. Brunt sees patronage as the reason behind the domination of the nobility over elections to higher office. See also Burton & Hopkins 1983. L. Licinius Crassus (RE 55).

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

25

combinations to promote their preferred personal or public ends at a given moment. ' 68 Clients had loyalties to different patrons. Their actions were also governed by their personal interests as well as views about moral duty to the public good. Groupings thus tended to be small and transient. His view of politics thus highlighted the role of decisions made by individuals and the assertion that concerns over the public good had 'a moral claim transcending all private obligations.'69 Rejecting the view that Roman politics centred on power struggles between members of the elite, Brunt stressed the involvement of other classes and sections of Roman society. He defined his model in terms of a conflict of principle between 'optimates' who upheld the authority of the senate and 'populares' who were prepared to oppose the senate in the name of the public good.70 These men were not reformers aiming at the démocratisation of the system but if they 'saw or professed to see a need for the people to intervene' they would resort to the popular assembly. Their common characteristic was the assertion of 'the sovereign right of the people to take decisions without prior sanction of the senate, but in the public interest, as they saw it.' He proposed that it was fundamentally plausible to suppose that 'optimates' believed that political power should reside with the senate and that the supremacy of the senate coincided with their own class interests about the retaining of power among themselves.71 He conceded that although some 'populares' may have acted out of altruistic motives about benefiting the state, for many, their claims about the defence of popular sovereignty were more likely to have been a means to an end. Brunt saw the acceptance of the designation popularis by some politicians as an indication of the inaccuracy of Cicero's descriptions in the Pro Sestio.12 He also pointed out the moral judgement implicit in the use of the word optimates to describe 'good' men. Their opponents, by contrast, were characterised as 'wretched' and 'needy'. 73 Brunt emphasised the view that shifting alliances and loyalties between senators precluded the existence of durable or cohesive groups which could be identified as 'optimates' or 'populares'. 74 This transitory nature meant that differences between such factions or groups were far less significant than the conflicts of principle over what constituted the public good which divided 'optimates' and 'populares'.75 These arguments drew on Brunt's earlier work on social conflicts and, in many ways, the emphasis he placed on the role of individuals' views about what constituted the public good typified a growing concern over

68 69

70 71

72 73 74 75

Brunt 1988: 38. Brunt 1988: 30, 38-9. The conclusions of Achard 1982 support this view. He observes that Romans of the late Republic tended to describe themselves in terms of both their obligation to a party/the state as well as to powerful individuals rather than to one or the other. Brunt 1988: 32. Brunt 1988: 53. Similarly Ward 2004: 105 who defines 'optimates' as 'those who sought to limit the role of popular institutions in the elite competition and keep decision-making within the cozy confines of the noble-dominated senate as much as possible.' Brunt 1988: 32 n. 62. Brunt 1988: 53-4. Brunt 1988: 36-45. Brunt 1988: 38-9.

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the role of the people in Republican politics which was to dominate the latter part of the twentieth century.76 Perelli sought to explore the role played by the needs and demands of the commons in political affairs.77 He took his definition of 'populares' from Cicero's Pro Sestio, seeing them as those who strove to please the masses. He found Strasburger's observations that 'popularis' leaders had no intention of democratising the constitution and that their reforms tended to stabilise the aristocratic system paradoxical.78 He proposed that there was a 'popularis' programme or movement centred on issues concerning the powers of the tribunes and the extension of the citizenship as well as land and grain distributions.79 Those who championed this 'popular' movement, whether or not their motives grew from genuine concern for the people, were 'populares'. 80 By considering the beneficiaries of the proposals brought forward by these 'populares', Perelli identified a base of support coming from various sections of society: disaffected rural and urban dwellers, veterans, soldiers, Italians and équités?1 His model emphasised attitudes among the aristocracy towards reform as the fundamental dividing factor in post-Gracchan politics. By identifying the differ-

76

77 78 79 80 81

Brunt 1971b. On the Gracchan 'reform' and the reaction to it see 74-111. On the role of the people see Nicolet 1976, Ste Croix 1981: 350-62, Finley 1983, Hopkins & Burton 1983: 107-116, Beard & Crawford 1985: 49-52. There are differing views over the extent of 'democracy' and popular participation in late Republican politics. North 1990: 9-10 describes the combination of views that Rome was controlled by an effectively closed oligarchy, that voters were controlled via patronage and ties of mutual obligation, that the ruling elite consisted of stable alliances formed on the basis of family allegiances, that the assemblies were manipulated by rival groups and therefore that voter opinions on issues had no relevance, as 'the frozen waste theory of Roman politics.' He agrees (p. 13) with Millar on the importance of the role of the orator in Roman politics but questions the extent to which the word 'democratic' can be applied to Rome. Millar 1998 proposed that the public nature of Republican politics and the efforts orators made to persuade the people was evidence that the people had a great influence over politics and that their opinion was important. Yakobson 1992 suggested that in addition to wealthy citizens, the first class also contained citizens of more modest means. Also the votes of the 'lower' centuries were important even if they did not carry as much weight as those of the 'higher' ones. In combination, this meant that the vote of the 'ordinary' citizen was important and it was therefore fought over. Mouritsen 2001 argued that political participation was small, due both to the physical size of the voting enclosures and the associated time constraints. Further, little leisure time among the urban plebs and a lack of relevance of the subject matter meant that contiones were more likely to be attended by members of the propertied classes. In the late Republic, although participation increased, the contio tended to become 'closer to a partisan manifestation than to a public debate' (p. 52). Jehne 2006b, on the other hand, argues for the existence oî a plebs contionalis drawn from a mixed social background. For further views on the issue of democracy see also the 1995 volume Demokratie in Rom? Die Rolle des Volkes in der Politik der römischen Republik, edited by M. Jehne. On the contio, see Pina Polo 1996, on the role of the urban plebs see Laser 1997. Perelli 1982. Perelli 1982: 9 on Strasburger 1939: 797. Meier 1965: 566 reprises Strasburger's comments. Perelli 1982: 26-7. Perelli 1982: 11 accepts the view of Serrao 1970 that the motivation of 'popularis' leaders was not important. It was their claims and actions that counted. See also the analysis of Meier 1966: 64-115, Martin 1965.

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ent groups who were targeted by 'popularis' activity, he highlighted the broad and varied nature of its audience.82 Burckhardt, on the other hand, explored the methods and tactics which typified 'optimate' politics.83 He defined 'optimates' as that part of the nobility which acted against popular tribunes or military men supported by their armies.84 Although he found no evidence of a coherent conservative strategy, Burckhardt identified 'optimate' policies as those dealing with legislative subjects such as repetundae, ambitus and sumptuaria. Their political methods included the use of the veto, religious obstruction and the senatus consultum ultimum}5 However, as Gruen notes, Burckhardt's analysis still provided 'no clear criteria for discerning the size, makeup or organisation of this shadowy cluster of personages.'86 In the early 1990s Mackie responded to the models of 'aggressive individualism' in Roman politics, questioning the view that 'populares' were simply adopting a particular political 'style'. She set out by observing that the division of politicians in Pro Sestio 96 and Cicero's related comments in the post reditum works were polemical in nature. Further, they did appear to confirm the view that the term popularis identified a certain, cynical political method.87 Nevertheless, she proposed that there were two phenomena explained neither by Cicero's definitions nor by modern ones: firstly, that the Romans themselves could distinguish between 'true' and 'false' populares, and secondly, that the popularis ratio covered 'substantial elements of ideological legislation and justification.'88 She concluded that these phenomena could not be explained, '... except on the hypothesis that there was a real debate between populares politicians and their opponents; meaning by that a debate based on shared values which made the arguments of each side worthy of serious consideration 82

83 84

85 86 87 88

See also Kühnen 1991 on the diverse make-up of the urban plebs. Tatum 1999: 3 cites the application of the 'popularis' label to laws which benefited the equestrian order, 'a very limited and privileged portion of the populus' as an illustration of the danger of considering 'populares' as the champions of the poor. Burckhardt 1988. Burckhardt 1988: 10-12. See 18-9 for the exception of Sulla. Burckhardt notes that although his reforms strengthened the position of the aristocracy, the arbitrary methods Sulla employed to gain and secure his position were disapproved of by the 'optimates'. This was because these methods emphasised Sulla's own personal power, separating him from the aristocratic collective and damaging its cohesiveness. On obstructive methods employed by the senate see also Mouritsen 2001: 69-70 and De Libero 1992. Gruen 1995: xii. Mackie 1992:50-51. Mackie 1992: 51. The first point is based on Yavetz 1969: ch. 3. The second refers to the findings of Seager 1972a. Kaster 2006: 34 notes that 'important distinction lay not between optimates and populares but between 'true' and 'false' populares - those who really had the interests of the people at heart and those who claimed to do so out of self-seeking motives. There are two separate arguments visible here. As will be argued in detail below, the ancient division between 'true'and 'false'po/>«/a/-e.sisbasedon an assessment of whether or not something is in the popular interest. The modern argument is about whether a particular individual can be categorised according to certain criteria that are identified as 'popularis' in some way.

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1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

by the other, and a debate in which the popular assembly and its members actually played a part. On an ideological level it was a debate about the rights and powers of populace versus senate, about what constituted legitimate government at Rome.' 89 So in order for political debate between 'populares' and their opponents to be meaningful, it must have been based on a shared ideological ground. Mackie proposed that this common ground was based on common values of res publica, senatus auctoritas, libertas populi, mos maiorum and leges. She observed, however, that this did not make the identification of the two sides any easier since their arguments were not based on two different value sets. The opponents in such debates tended to carefully compose 'equivalent or superior arguments of their own' rather than simply rejecting those of the other side.90 Furthermore, the reaction of the listening crowd showed that the arguments used had meaning and were not just a game of words.91 Although she noted that 'popularis' activity appeared most effective at times of particular economic difficulty, it was not limited to offers of material benefits for the populace.92 Mackie suggested that along with such legislation, 'populares' put forward an ideology 'supporting the transfer of power from senate to people'. 93 The range of issues implemented under the 'popularis' umbrella showed the effectiveness of this ideology and its power as a persuasive tool.94 She objected to the argument that 'populares' were simply self-interested manipulators of the populace since the ability of the Romans themselves to distinguish between 'true' and 'false' populares suggested that not all had ulterior motives.95 She concluded that true 'populares' were not identified on the basis of a style of speaking or legislating aimed at pleasing the people. Nor, indeed, did the criterion hinge on the passing of 'concrete' legislation in the people's favour. Nor was the identification made on an assessment of motive. Instead, she suggested that it was 'public commitment to this abstract [ideological] theme [of popular rights and powers] that gave the popularis politician his identity'.96 Mackie thus proposed that 'populares' could be identified on the basis of a commitment to a particular ideology and that the power of this ideology lay in its capacity to persuade and convince the audience at which it was aimed: the Roman populace. In his 1997 article on the problems of the role played by ideology in the late Republic, Ferrary criticised the theories of Meier and Gelzer. He suggested that 89 90 91 92 93 94

95 96

Mackie 1992: 51-2. Mackie 1992: 58-9. See also Martin 2003. Mackie 1992: 65-6. Mackie 1992: 64-5. Mackie 1992: 61-2. Mackie 1992: 65 cites provocatio, privilégia, praetorian and popular justice, election of priests, popular sovereignty in foreign affairs as examples of these varied issues. Also Tatum 1999: 5 who sees the very variety of 'popularis' legislation as the reason why it 'defies neat definition. ' Mackie 1992: 70. Mackie 1992: 71.

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

29

there was no reason to deny the existence of political ideology just because it was often subverted in the interests of personal ambition. Nor was it sufficient to deny its existence because there were no political parties.97 Strasburger had observed the existence of a 'popular' tradition. Ferrary now proposed that in the pattern of repeated issues and the repeated refusals of the senate to accept reform lay two different and coherent visions about the hierarchy and wielding of power. On one side was the authority of the senate and on the other, the rights and powers of the people. The debate between the two could be seen in the juxtaposition of two value systems such as the public good and the benefit of the people or in the manipulation of common values like libertas in divergent ways. He extended the theory of Martin who had suggested that 'popularis' ideology had come about as a reaction to the reforms of Sulla, dating it instead to the time of the Gracchi.98 Ferrary saw one of the ambiguities of 'popularis' politics as the imbalance between the practical goals it pursued, which never fundamentally changed the aristocratic nature of power, and an ideology and method which seemed far more radical in nature. It was significant that the methods adopted by the Gracchi were seen as more dangerous than their aims. He viewed the ideology claimed as justification for these actions as more dangerous still. This danger was rooted in the senate's refusal to consider reform and resulted in the adoption of a method and ideology quite out of proportion with the task at hand. Ferrary perceived a similar incongruity between the political actions and ideology of the senate, commenting that the authority of the senate was eroded by its resistance to reform and its inability to respond to the changing circumstances which came with the extension of Rome's domination over Italy and the Mediterranean.99 The effect of these observations was to highlight the inconsistency between the ideological claims of both 'populares' and 'optimates' and the realities of their political actions. Hölkeskamp added to this argument, suggesting that too great an emphasis had been placed not only on the ephemeral nature of political groupings but also on the view that the 'popular' method was simply a style of political action used to oppose the senatorial majority. This emphasis had led to the perception that conflicts between 'populares' and 'optimates' were a series of exceptions, isolated from each other by their individual circumstances.100 He agreed with Ferrary's views about the patterns of repeated political issues and proposed that the gulf between political claims and political actions raised further important questions about the nature of senatorial politics. Firstly, the senate's refusal to endorse 'popular' projects and also its attempts to prevent permission being given by the assembly highlighted the autonomy of the latter.101 Secondly, these repeated refusals by the senate were characterised by its opponents as partial and unlawful. This characterisation was fuelled both by a latent discontent and a growing expectation that things would never change. The senate was thus perceived, and portrayed by 'populares', as the party 97 98 99 100 101

Ferrary 1997: 227-8. Ferrary 1997: 228-31. Martin 1965. Ferrary 1997: 229. Hölkeskamp 1997: 232-3. Hölkeskamp 1997: 234.

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1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

of refusal, the 'no' party, and seen as favouring an aristocratic subset of the people rather than the whole community. This in turn threw into question the legitimacy of the senate's governmental role.102 Hölkeskamp suggested that these questions were damaging to the entire aristocratic structure. This was due to the central role played by the concept of popular sovereignty not only in the identity of the res publica itself but also in the identity and public role of the political class. He concluded that the plausibility of 'popularis' propaganda lay both in the 'popular' method and in a 'popular' ideology founded on the traditional role of the populus. Both the method and the ideology claimed to represent the people as a whole and thus accentuated arguments about senatorial partiality. Wiseman returned to the arguments in favour of a political model based on ideological conflict between senate and people.103 He suggested that it was the premise of Cicero's argument in the Pro Sestio that should be believed rather than its content.104 He pointed out the links between the words popularis and optimas and Greek political language, relating popularis to populus and thus the ôfjuoç, and optimates to optimi and thus the äpirjTOi.105 Wiseman proposed that a fundamental division between aristocratic and democratic 'camps' had characterised the history of the Republic since Gracchan times.106 In particular the violent deaths of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, Saturninus, Drusus, Sulpicius and Clodius were evidence that the adoption of their example simply as a political strategy or method was not a likely career choice.107 The publication of Morstein-Marx' book on mass oratory and political power provided a further twist to modern interpretations about 'popularis' behaviour. Millar's democratic interpretation of late Republican politics had highlighted the role of the orator and the value Cicero placed on the importance of public opinion.108 Morstein-Marx expanded on this by focusing on the speeches given against the Rullan land proposal in 63 in which it is clear that both Cicero and Rullus made claims to be populares. He observed that legislative debates did not pit claims of 'optimate' policy against 'popularis' ones.109 Instead, each side claimed to be a 'true'popularis and accused their opponent of being a 'false' one. He saw this kind of discourse as indicative of an 'ideological monotony' in which both sides competed to be seen as 102 103 104 105 106 107 108

109

Hölkeskamp 1997: 234-5. Wiseman 2002, 2009. Wiseman 2002: 287. Contrast the views expressed in Wiseman 1985b. Wiseman 2002: 285. On links with Greek terminology see also Lintott 1999: 173-4, 'Cicero's terminology reflects that found earlier in the Greek world.' He proposed that a cause of 'conservatism' linked boni with 'optimates'. Wiseman 2002: 286-93. Wiseman 2002: 307-9. P. Sulpicius (RE 92), P. Clodius Pulcher (RE 48). Millar 1998. Jehne 2000 observes that senators adopted a particular way of communicating in popular assemblies. They emphasized their own duty to the state and the competence of the people to make decisions, in order to 'level' the difference in status between speaker and audience. He terms this behaviour 'Jovialität'. Morstein-Marx 2004: 160-203 on political debate, 204-40 on the invisible 'optimale'. Achard 1981 argues for the existence of an 'optimate' rhetoric. See also David 2006.

1 'Populares' and 'optimates': modern mirages?

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the 'true' representatives of the same 'popular' ideology.110 He therefore suggested that the style and topics of speech appropriate for the contio should be understood as constituting an ideology themselves. To describe this, Morstein-Marx coined the term 'contional ideology'.111 On the basis of his analysis of late Republican debates, he suggested that in the context of the contio and its centrality to political life, no politician could afford to present himself as anything but acting in the people's interests, that is as popularis in the positive sense of the word.112 This variation in the way that the term popularis is used in an oratorical context adds yet another layer of complexity to categorisations of late Republican politicians as 'optimates' or 'populares'.113 Having considered various ways in which the political life of the late Republic has been modelled, it is now time to draw together some of the key points and problems of the theories examined so far. In brief, Mommsen's initial thesis that 'optimates' and 'populares' represented political parties was challenged by the views of Gelzer and Münzer. Their models gave rise to two 'schools'. Those who followed Münzer interpreted late Republican politics in terms of family parties. Gelzer's model, on the other hand, proposed that the balance of power was not governed by parties, either family- or ideologically-based, but by the bonds of patronage, obligation and amicitia. Strasburger further challenged the view that the terms optimates and populares referred to political parties or programmes. Taylor proposed that elections were governed by personal relationships whereas ideological differences 110 Morstein-Marx 2004: 229. He explains the behaviour of P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica (RE 354) who while opposing a grain distribution in 138, told the crowd to be silent because that he knew better than they what was good for the state (V. Max. 3.7.3) as aristocratic arrogance which quickly became anachronistic. Mackie 1992: 54 sees this incident as an example of the justification of the authority of the senate on the basis of its superior judgement about the good of the state. David 2006: 424 notes that Nasica's words gave him an 'air of authority'. 111 Morstein-Marx 2004: 31 claims that the contio was central to political life. However, he does not believe that this made 'the political system more than minimally responsive to popular needs.' For an alternative, and perhaps less cynical, view of the importance of presenting oneself in a contio see Hölkeskamp 1995. In response to Millar's proposal that the public nature of Republican politics served to ensure that policies were tailored to the demands of the people, Hölkeskamp saw the people as an essentially passive participant in the political process. He suggested that the contio formed the most important vehicle for communication between the political class and the populus which bestowed office and honours in return for service and duty to the state. See Flaig 1995: 77-91; 2003: 155-74, 184-93 for the view that the popular assemblies were not decision making bodies but vehicles for producing and consolidating consensus. 112 This model is followed by Harries 2006: 239 who notes that '"optimates" were senators whose politics favoured the elite. In practice most senators represented themselves as being accountable to the people and therefore "populares".' 113 This lack of clarity is reflected in a tendency among modern scholars to relegate the problem to a simple paragraph, footnote or glossary item. Lewis 2006: 310-11 simply provides a single entry for 'optimates'. Other typical examples include Keaveny 1982: 3, Evans 1994: 141 n. 5, Canfora 1999: 484-5, Lintott 1999: 173-6, Everitt 2001: xiii, Harries 2006: 239, North 2006: 266, Tatum 2006: 191. Lobur 2008: 47 follows the same pattern: 'populares' are radicals while 'optimates' are conservatives. Tan 2008 makes a division between 'populares' and 'anti-populares'.

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between 'optimates' and 'populares' dominated debates in the senate and over legislation. Brunt disputed the existence of long-lived, stable family groups, preferring a vision of ephemeral alliances which were dependent on a variety of factors including individual views about what was in the interest of the Republic. Meier continued this emphasis on issue-based politics and proposed a new theory which defined 'populares' in terms of their political style and methods. Nevertheless, the recent views of Wiseman, Ferrary, Hölkeskamp and Morstein-Marx testify to the fact that late Republican political ideology is still a 'hot topic'. There is less controversy over identifying 'optimates' than 'populares'. Their identification ranges from the members of an 'aristocratic party' to the upholders of senatorial authority to the supporters of the class interests of the wealthy. Perhaps the most wide-ranging view is that of Brunt who combines the two latter characteristics, describing 'optimates' as those whose beliefs about senatorial control over political power coincided with their own class interests about retaining this power for themselves.114 However, as Gruen and Alexander comment, clear identification of 'optimates' remains a major problem.115 The intricacies involved in defining 'populares' are more complex still. Modern views have characterised 'populares' as members of a 'popular', 'democratic' or 'reform' movement. They have also been seen as individuals who adopted a certain political 'style'. Their actions have been attributed to a variety of motives ranging from self-seeking personal ambition to an altruistic desire for reform. Some scholars propose that this difference in motivation is a characteristic by which true 'populares' can be identified.116 Others argue that sincerity of motive mattered little and it was sufficient simply to 'walk the walk' and 'talk the talk' in order to be considered 'popularis'.117 Importantly, discerning the motives behind the actions of late Republican senators is fraught with difficulty, primarily due to the nature of our source material and its heavy reliance on the Ciceronian corpus.118 Further major problems stem from the wide range of meaning of the word popularis and the way in which Ciceronian rhetoric exploits this.119 Meier pointed out that the word popularis was applied in a different sense to individuals than to legislation and other matters. In the first case, the term denoted the use of a particular political method while in the second, it was less specific and described the (variable) attitude of the people to a particular matter.120 Syme devoted an entire chapter to an examination of political invective and the use of common ideology and 'political catchwords' as propaganda by both sides of a conflict. He concluded that categories and values

114 115 116 117 118 119

Brunt 1988 cited above p. 25. Alexander 1992: 142 cited in the Preface. E.g.Mackiel992. E. g. Meier 1965, Serrao 1970, Perelli 1982. Tatum 1999: 7 proposes that this divination of motive is the 'insurmountable difficulty'. The word varies widely in meaning covering both positive and negative qualities and reflecting its derivation from the word populus. Unlike the polarities in meaning that we see between libertas and licentia or populus and volgus, popularis covers the entire spectrum from popular to populist. See Chapter 3 below. 120 Meier 1965: 571.

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suggested by Cicero were 'very far from corresponding with definite parties or definite policies'.121 On the subject of the words as political labels, Taylor commented, "There is nothing to show what they called themselves, but it is significant that neither Caesar nor Sallust uses, populares to describe Caesar's party.'122 To conclude, modern models which describe late Republican politics as a conflict between 'optimates' and 'populares', interpret these terms in widely different ways. Much debate remains over whether the terms refer to political groups, traditions, strategies or ideologies. Whether the models attempt to explain late Republican politics using arguments about ideological principles concerning the balance of power between senate and people or about the adoption of particular political methods or behaviour, the single common characteristic appears to be conflict between the senatorial majority and their political opponents.

121 Syme 1939: 153. 122 Taylor 1949:14.

2 POPULARES AND OPTIMATES IN THE PRO SESTIO Cicero's description of a division between two types of politician in the Pro Sestio underpins the models of late Republican politics discussed in the previous chapter. As has already been noted, many scholars have questioned the extent to which the speech reflects contemporary politics.1 In order to understand Cicero's constructions of populares and optimates the speech must be considered with particular reference to the circumstances of the trial, the relationship between Cicero and Clodius, and the influence of these factors on its rhetoric and goals. In this chapter I will argue that Cicero's descriptions of the two categories, populares and optimates, are no less distorted than his presentation of Clodius as a violent madman backed by a rabble consisting of the worst parts of society. Before exploring the background to Cicero's exile, his changing relationship with Clodius and the latter's growing political power and influence in the 60s and early 50s, some traditional views of Clodius as a 'popularis' must be considered.2 Meier singles out both Clodius and Caesar as prominent exceptions to the general rule that 'populares' acted in a way described as popularis for only a short time.3 Wiseman also links the two men, describing the consulship of Caesar followed by the tribunate of Clodius as 'the triumph of the populares' on the grounds of the legislation they implemented which included 'Gracchan' land and grain laws, the exile of Cicero and the construction of a shrine to Liberty on the site of his house.4 Clodius' laws expanded the grain distribution and made it free, removed the ban on collegia, amended the senate's allocation of the consular provinces, limited censorial powers and the use of obnuntiatio, and also exiled anyone who executed a Roman citizen without trial. These measures combine various elements categorised as 'popularis' according to the models discussed in Chapter 1. Traditionally, those concerning the grain distribution and the collegia are viewed as ways of attracting support from the urban plebs while those affecting the consular provinces and the censorial nota are understood to be curbs on senatorial decision-making. The prescription of exile for the execution of citizens without trial was a re-enact-

1 2

3 4

See Preface n. 2. Tiersch 2002 suggests that while the primary focus of the speech is the defence of Sestius, it nevertheless does reflect the wider political crisis and its underlying message is about the creation of consensus. For detailed studies on Cicero's relationship with Clodius and the events summarised here, see especially Gruen 1966, Rundell 1979 and Tatum 1999. Also Pocock 1924, Lintott 1967, Stockton 1971, Gruen 1974, Benner 1987, Spielvogel 1997. On Clodius' organisation of the urban plebs and collegia see Lintott 1968: 77 ff., Vanderbroeck 1987. For sources see MRR 2. Meier 1965: 567, 574 on Clodius, 601, 603, 606 on his laws, 615 on his use of the collegia. Wiseman 2002: 292.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

ment of a law of C. Gracchus.5 According to traditional interpretations, this measure reflects the view that 'populares' were the defenders of the people and their liberty.6 Clodius' political style and methods thus appear to fit modern views about 'popularis' behaviour well. There are also additional factors at work. The target of Clodius' law about executing citizens without trial was quite clearly Cicero. In a similar way, his measure on obnuntiatio seems a clear indictment of the manner in which Caesar's fellow consul, Bibulus, had tried to obstruct the former's consular legislation in 59.7 An ulterior motive of gaming favour with the consuls of 58 also underlies the changes to the allocation of their provinces. Thus personal motives appear to lie behind a substantial part of Clodius' legislation. As a patrician Claudius, Clodius was a member of one of the most powerful gentes in Rome and, as will be discussed below, was clearly supported by his aristocratic connections.8 There is no recorded opposition from the senate to Clodius' measures and many of his activities as tribune were undertaken in opposition to the 'triumvirs', Crassus, Pompey and Caesar, who were themselves at odds with the senate at this time.9 These observations complicate the attempt to categorise Clodius as a 'popularis' in conflict with senatorial 'optimates'.

2.1 CICERO AND CLODIUS The 60s saw Cicero, a homo novus from Arpinum, rise steadily up the cursus bonorum to reach the ultimate magistracy: the consulship. This achievement was crowned by his coming first in the election.10 In a speech given before the people, against the land proposal put forward by the tribune, P. Servilius Rullus, soon after his election,

5

6

7 8 9

10

The Gracchan law reaffirmed the right of appeal to the people in capital cases and provided for the prosecution of those who contravened it. It appears to have been aimed at those who had condemned the supporters of Ti. Gracchus. Thus Kelly 2006: 226 notes that this law 'fit in with Clodius' overall popularis position.' Gruen 1974: 246 makes what is perhaps a clearer judgement which avoids the label 'popularis', observing that 'the principle lodged in the bill had broad significance. Magistrates armed only with senatorial directives would not be so ready to contravene the laws of the people. The effect of the lex Clodia transcended the dubious motives of its author.' M. Calpurnius Bibulus (RE 28). As Bibulus stepped down from office, Clodius obstructed his 'farewell' speech just as Nepos had obstructed Cicero in 63. On the power and influence of the Claudii see e.g. Syme 1939, Scullard 1951, Wiseman 1985a. On the lack of senatorial opposition see Tatum 1999: 114. Lacey 1970: 6 notes that Cicero's testimony presents a senate more ready to support Clodius than Pompey. Brunt 1988: 474 sees no significant bloc of support within the senate for either the 'triumvirs' or for Pompey from 59 onwards. Cicero had also been elected in first place when he became curule aedile in 69 and praetor in 66. May 2002a: 7 summarises, "The story of Cicero's early career is, most significantly, a story of the struggle of a very gifted, very well-educated, very hard-working young "outsider" among the city's noble "insiders."'

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37

Cicero took pride in extolling this signal favour of the Roman people.11 The political career of P. Clodius Pulcher, born to an ancient and illustrious patrician family, did not run so smoothly over the same period. While serving under L. Lucullus in Nisibis, Clodius was responsible for inciting a mutiny among the soldiers during the winter of 68/7. This paved the way for the assignment of the eastern command toPompey.12 Both Cicero and Clodius undertook prosecutions during the early parts of their careers. Cicero's case against Verres was a resounding success. Clodius, taking on the prosecution of Catilina in 65 on charges of extortion in Africa, lost his case.13 He left Rome to serve under Murena in Gaul, returning to the city in time to witness the crisis of Cicero's consulate: the Catilinarian conspiracy. Plutarch describes that at this point, Clodius was a friend of Cicero and very concerned to help and protect him.14 As Cicero stepped down from his consulship, he was prevented from addressing the people in the customary manner by the tribune Q. Metellus Nepos (later eos. 57) who claimed that executing the conspirators without trial had violated their citizenship.15 Despite this, Cicero's oâth that he had saved the city was received with great approval from the assembled people. Later in the year, the fortunes of Clodius took an upward turn when he was elected quaestor for 61. In December 62, Clodius infiltrated the festival of the Bona Dea, held at the house of Caesar.16 Caesar himself did not press charges but the matter was referred to the Vestals and the pontifices who decreed it nefas}1 The senate instructed the consuls to take action and a proposal concerning the formation of a special quaestio, its jury members to be selected by the presiding praetor, was put forward by the consul Pupius Piso.18 Clodius and his supporters were sufficiently influential to

11 12 13 14 15 16

17

18

Leg. Ag. 2.1-5. P. Servilius Rullus (RE 80). For more on his proposal see Chapter 3 section 3.2.1 below. Plut. Luc. 34 describes Clodius as the "soldiers' friend." Tatum 1999: 44-9 disagrees with the view that Clodius' mutiny made a difference to the final outcome. L. Sergius Catilina (RE 23). Alexander 1990 trial 212. Cicero also appears to have considered undertaking the case, Att. 1.2.1. Plut. Cic. 29.1. Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos (RE 96). On the trial see Balsdon 1966; Stockton 1971: 159-61; Gruen 1974: 248-9, 273-5; Lacey 1974; Rundell 1979; Moreau 1982; Alexander 1990 trial 224; Riggsby 1999: 89-97; Tatum 1999: 62-86. Dio 37.45.1 records that Caesar knew Clodius would be able to secure his own acquittal. Schol. Bob. 85 St. describes Clodius as potentissimus homo. Tatum 1999: 71 is of the opinion that at this time, Clodius had sufficient power and prestige not to need to resort to bands of hired thugs. He also suggests that Caesar may have been considering a future alliance. Gruen 1966: 121 proposes that Clodius was not dependent on either Caesar, Pompey or Crassus at this point. Plut. Caes. 10.6 tells us that Caesar had no wish to antagonise the powerful Clodius. Rundell 1979: 303 suggests that this observation is a retro-jection of Clodius' later popularity among the plebs - at this point he had no 'popular' career in Rome. Balsdon 1966: 67 notes that it is impossible to tell what motivated Caesar's refusal to testify against Clodius. M. Pupius Piso Frugi (RE 10).

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succeed in changing the means of jury selection and also to secure his acquittal.19 In the lead up to the trial, Clodius and Cicero traded insults in public meetings and at the trial itself, Cicero gave evidence which damaged Clodius' alibi.20 Writing afterwards, he told Atticus that Clodius owed his freedom to a bribed jury.21 He also attacked Clodius in a set speech in the senate.22 Thus in the years before the formation of the triumvirate, the aristocratic Clodius built on his family connections. He played no small part in having Lucullus relieved from the Asian command which soon after fell to Pompey, he supported Cicero during the Catilinarian conspiracy and successfully achieved the quaestorship. At the time of his trial in 61, he was able to wield sufficient influence to change the composition of the jury and to get himself acquitted. However, Pompey and Cicero, two of the most powerful men in Rome at the time, failed to reciprocate his favours. Cicero, in particular, continued to attack and belittle Clodius with what appears to be little thought of possible consequence.23 Nevertheless, his letters betray a certain anxiety about his own growing isolation from the boni, prompting thoughts of alliance with Pompey.24 In 60, Clodius tried to have himself adopted into a plebeian family so that he could stand for office as tribune of the plebs. He was unsuccessful but the following

19

20

21

22

23

24

Cicero, Att. 1.14.5, describes how operae Clodianae prevented the passing of the senatorial recommendation for the selection of the jury. The change in jury composition was suggested by Hortensius and accomplished by Fufius, Att. 1.16.2. Clodius' supporters included C. Scribonius Curio (RE 10), the consul of 76 who stood as Clodius' patron at the trial, and his son. See McDermott 1972 on the political independence of Curio pater. Also on Clodius' side were the consul M. Pupius Piso, Ap. Claudius Pulcher (RE 297) and Q. Fufius Calenus (RE 10). Those against Clodius included Cicero, Cato, the other consul, M. Valerius Messalla (RE 266), L. Lucullus, Q. Hortensius Hortalus (RE 13) M. Favonius (RE 1) and mulli praeterea boni (Att. 1.14.5). On identifying these men as 'optimates' see Chapter 4 below. Att. 1.14.5, 1.16.1. Balsdon 1966: 71 suggests that Clodius never forgave Cicero's harsh invective and that it was this rather than his trial evidence that made the two such enemies. Cf. Rundell 1979: 302^4, Tatum 1999: 79-80. For other suggestions on the turning point in the relationship between the two see also Stockton 1971, Lacey 1974, Moreau 1982. Lintott 2008: 157-8 remarks on the way that Cicero associates Clodius with Catilina. Att. 1.16.5. Stockton 1971: 160 (also Shackleton Bailey in his Loeb translation) identifies the 'paymaster' who settled the jury in favour of acquittal as M. Licinius Crassus. Wiseman 1968 argues for the orator Calvus. Tatum 1999: 85 doubts that Crassus played much of a role. See Lacey 1974: 87, Mitchell 1991: 86 and Tatum 1999: 78 for the position that the issue at stake was that of the senate's authority to discipline one of its own members. Att. 1.16.1-2, 8-10. See Crawford 1984: 106-10 and 1994: 227-63 for discussion of these and their relationship with the speech In Clodium et Curionem which was later leaked while Cicero was in exile. Att. 2.1.5 describes how Cicero and Clodius bantered and joked together quite familiarly and relates a conversation between them as they were escorting a candidate to the Forum one day. The same letter details how Cicero had made fun of Clodius' quaestorship in Sicily and his intention to become a plebeian tribune. He claims that even if Clodius were to succeed in becoming a tribune, he would be no more permitted to ruin the state than patricians of his ilk had been during Cicero's consulship (the comparison is between Clodius and Catilina). A«. 1.18.6, 1.20.3, 2.1.7.

2.1 Cicero and Clodius

39

year, he was able to prevail upon Caesar and Pompey to ratify the process.25 However by April 59, Cicero notes a distinct cooling of the relationship between Caesar and Clodius (Att. 2.7.3) and expresses the hope that Clodius will be able to cause disagreement between the triumvirs (Att. 2.9.1).26 The same month he observes that Clodius has declared himself Caesar's bitterest enemy and that Caesar, for his part, is apparently regretting allowing Clodius' adoption (Att. 2.12.2). The unpopularity of the triumvirs and the opposition of the senate towards Caesar's legislation certainly suggest that Clodius would have found senatorial support by opposing Caesar. His successful election to the tribunate of 58, therefore, may not have been backed by the triumvirate.27 Once in office Clodius swiftly began to implement legislation including a law to exile anyone who had executed Roman citizens without trial.28 This law, which echoed the objections Metellus Nepos had made as Cicero stepped down from his consulship, was a call to the defence of the liberty of Roman citizens. Its target was clearly Cicero who, with the backing of a senatus consultum ultimum, had executed the Catilinarians in 63. The orator chose to leave Rome voluntarily.29 Shortly afterwards, Clodius published a measure de exsilio Ciceronis.30 This was later modified to limit the zone of exile to a radius four hundred miles outside Italy. Cicero's villas at Tusculum and Formiae were looted and destroyed. His house on the Palatine was torn down and in its place Clodius erected a shrine dedicated to the goddess Liberty.

25

26 27

28

29 30

Opposition to the first attempt had been led by Pompey (Har. Resp. 45). See Stockton 1971: 168-9 and Gruen 1974: 289 for the view that attacks Cicero made on the triumvirs in his defence speech for C. Antonius Hybrida (RE 19) were the reason why Caesar (as consul) and Pompey (as augur) (Att. 8.3.3) ratified Clodius' adoption by the plebeian P. Fonteius. Att. 1.12.1 reports Cicero's initial reluctance to involve himself with Antonius' case. On the speech Pro C. Antonio collega in senatu see Crawford 1984: 97-8. Continued reports of this kind occur throughout the correspondence of April 59. Gruen 1966: 123^1. By contrast, Rundell 1979: 308-9 suggests that Clodius was rather uncomfortable and ineffectual at this point and certainly not powerful enough to disregard the triumvirs. Nevertheless he sees Clodius' declaration of hostility towards Caesar as making him 'instantly acceptable to the establishment', 324. Tatum 1999: 113 sees Clodius as 'the triumvirs' man'. Alternatively, the quarrel between Clodius and Caesar may have been pretended as Gardner 1958 (Loeb): 11 suggests. For Cicero's remarks on the unpopularity of the triumvirate in 59, see Att. 2.19 and 2.20, discussed in Chapter 3 below. See Tatum 1999: 114-36 for further details on Clodius' 'balanced package' of legislation. Also Benner 1987: 48-71. Rundell 1979: 311-3 remarks that this legislation was not nearly as outrageous as Cicero's descriptions suggest. Stockton 1971: 187 remarks that Att. 3.15.4 shows that both Atticus and Cicero thought the restoration of the collegia could be to the orator's advantage. See Mouritsen 2001: 88, 149-51 on the aims of the lex Licinia de sodalitatibus. He notes that no attempt was made to legislate against Clodius' restoration of the collegia. Gruen 1966: 125-7 suggests that the triumvirs were not behind Cicero's 'elimination' but were outmanoeuvred by Clodius. As Cicero himself records in Sest. 40, they were unwilling to alienate a popular plebeian tribune. On Cicero's exile see Kelly 2006: 110-125, 190-2. For a clear discussion of these two laws and their precedents, clauses and penalties, see Kelly 2006: 225-37. See also Levick 1979: 371-2 and Lintott 1967: 164 for the suggestion that the first law (de capite civis) did not specify that a trial was necessary.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

Clodius then returned to his persecution of the triumvirs. He soon alienated Pompey by arranging the escape of the son of Tigranes of Armenia who was being held as a hostage in Rome following his appearance in Pompey's triumph.31 In August 58, the rift with Pompey was deepened when a slave of Clodius confessed that he had been sent to assassinate the general.32 In the face of constant and systematic harassment from Clodius and his gangs of supporters, Pompey retired from public life for the remainder of the year. Clodius' next target was Caesar's consular legislation.33 The years 60-58 were thus very successful and rewarding for Clodius. Having used Caesar and Pompey to secure his adoption into a plebeian family, he turned on the triumvirs, exploiting their unpopularity and winning support for himself within the senate. His proposals were voted into law without recorded opposition and he was not only able to intimidate Pompey but also to attack Caesar's laws.34 The first steps towards recalling Cicero had been taken within months of his departure from Rome. Then, on June 1st 58, the tribune L. Ninnius Quadratus proposed Cicero's recall to the senate.35 The measure received unanimous backing but was vetoed by Aelius Ligus.36 The senate went further and refused to consider any other business unless the consuls brought a motion concerning Cicero's exile - a measure banned under Clodius' lex de exsilio Ciceronis?1 However, until the end of Clodius' time in office, attempts to recall the orator were stymied. The elections for the following year appeared more promising. P. Lentulus Spinther, a friend of Cicero, was to be consul.38 His colleague, Metellus Nepos, who as tribune had obstructed Cicero as he stepped down from office in 63, was persuaded to support the orator. Of the tribunes elected for 57, eight were supportive of Cicero.39 Sestius, one of the tribunes-elect who had served under C. Antonius, Cicero's colleague in the consulship of 63, was sent to Cisalpine Gaul by Pom31

32 33 34

35 36 37 38 39

Another target was Cato, who had opposed Caesar's plea for clemency for the Catilinarians. He had also contested Caesar's land law for the settlement of Pompey's veterans in 59. Clodius commissioned him to annex Cyprus, a task which kept him away from Rome until late 56. See Badian 1965. Tatum 1999: 150 suggests that one of Clodius' motives for confiscating Ptolemy's property was revenge for not having helped when he had been captured by pirates, Dio 38.30.5, App. B Civ. 2.23. Sest. 69, Dom. 129, Har. Resp. 49, Pis. 28, Mil. 18, Plut. Pomp. 49. This included his own adoption by Fonteius. Dom. 40, Har. Resp. 48, Prov. Cons. 43. Gruen 1966: 127 remarks on the tremendous power which Clodius had in the year 58. Rundell 1979: 319 observes that 'Clodius had thus achieved an almost unimaginable position: a popular tribune wielding substantial power, yet backed - or at least indulged - by some of the senate's most venerable members.' L. Ninnius Quadratus (RE 3). Aelius Ligus (RE 83). Sest. 69, Att. 3.12.1, 3.15.6. Brunt 1988: 480 suggests that this was not done out of fondness for Cicero but because its own authority was at stake. P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther (RE 238). The friendly tribunes were T. Annius Milo (RE 67), C. Cestilius (RE 1 ), M. Cispius (RE 4), M. Curtius Peducaeanus (RE 23), Q. Fabricius (RE 7), T. Fadius (RE 9), C. Messius (RE 2), P. Sestius (RE 6). The remaining two, Sex. Atilius Serranus Gavianus (RE 70) and Q. Numerius Rufus (RE 5), were hostile. So too was the praetor Ap. Claudius Pulcher, Clodius' brother.

2.1 Cicero and Clodius

41

pey to intercede with Caesar on the matter of Cicero's recall. Quintus Cicero gave the triumvirs assurances on behalf of his brother.40 At the end of October a further motion for his recall was put forward. This too was vetoed by Aelius Ligus. On the 1st of January 57, the new consul P. Lentulus Spinther proposed yet another motion for Cicero's recall. It was vetoed by Serranus and it was a month before he could be persuaded to withdraw his veto. At Pompey's suggestion, the senatus consultum was taken before the assembly where Serranus employed his veto once again. When Q. Fabricius attempted to bring a proposal on the matter before the assembly, Clodius' gangs, who had occupied the Forum, the comitium and the curia, caused an armed riot in which Cicero's brother nearly perished. In another clash, Sestius was attacked and left for dead in the Temple of Castor after announcing an obnuntiatio.41 Although his attackers confessed and were jailed by Milo, another of the tribunes of 57, they were soon set free by Serranus. Milo tried to prosecute Clodius on charges of public violence (vis) but with the support of a tribune, the praetor Ap. Claudius and the consul Metellus Nepos, proceedings were blocked.42 Milo resorted to street violence against the Clodiani. Measures for Cicero's recall continued. Pompey persuaded Capua to pass a decree in Cicero's favour and spoke on his behalf in several Italian towns.43 The senate also passed several favourable decrees and there was a demonstration in his honour in the theatre at the ludi Apollinares.44 Finally, on 4 th August 57, the comitia centuriata voted to recall him. A month later Cicero returned to Rome. Milo's charge against Clodius was revived in the autumn of 57 and in an attempt to avoid further prosecution, Clodius announced his candidature for the aedileship of 56.45 Milo, for his part, obstructed the aedilician elections and in November a senatorial resolution was passed to the effect that Clodius' trial should take place before the elections. A month later, however, the senate reversed its decision: the trial would not go ahead. Clodius was elected aedile for 56. He brought proceedings against Milo, now aprivatus, on charges of vis and of using gladiators to bring a rogatio de Cicerone. The charges were eventually dropped.46 On 10th February 56, two charges (de ambitu and de vi) were brought against P. Sestius.47 The charge of v« was based on his use of an armed bodyguard while tribune. Clodius remained in the background, leaving the prosecution to others.48 Sestius was defended by Q. Hortensius Hortalus, M. Licinius Crassus and Cicero. Pompey gave a laudatio in favour of the accused and a deputation from Capua also supported his character. Cicero undertook the closing section of the defence, relating 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Q. Tullius Cicero (RE 31). Fam. 1.9.9; Prov. Cons. 43. Sest. 79; Q. Fr. 2.3.6. Alexander 1990 trial 261. On the crime of vw see Lintott 1968; Yavetz 1969; MacMullen 1974; Nippel 1984, 1995; Cloud 1988, 1989; Riggsby 1999: 79-84; Harries 2007: 106-117. Mil. 39; Pis. 25; 80; Red. Sen. 29. Sest. 115f. Gruen 1974: 294-8; Alexander 1990 trial 262; Mitchell 1991: 161-2. Gruen 1974: 298-9; Alexander 1990 trial 266. Alexander 1990 trial 270 (ambitus) and 271 (vis). Vat. 41, Schol. Bob. 125 St. identify Clodius as the initiator of the prosecution. Tatum 1999: 206-7 questions his position as the 'mastermind' behind the trial. Contra Gruen 1974: 301-2.

42

2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

Sestius' part in his own recall from exile and devoting the final third of this speech to an extended digression on populares and optimates, their qualities and behaviours. The defence was successful: on the 14th March 56, Publius Sestius was unanimously acquitted.49 Throughout 57, then, Clodius retained his influence despite holding no elected office. Cicero's recall was obstructed and the ex-tribune was able to forestall his own trial. By exploiting resentment towards the triumvirate he succeeded in carving out an unprecedented position for himself. The protracted discussion over whether Clodius should stand trial shows that his use of violence was viewed with concern by the senate. The decision to let him stand for election suggests that he was certainly accepted by some of the senate and perhaps, on balance, he was not seen as too much of a threat. His electoral success demonstrates that his popularity was still formidable.50 This brief summary has shown that Clodius was far from being the ineffectual demagogue backed only by hired thugs that Cicero would have us believe. He seems instead to have been able to rely on the extensive support of many sections of the community from the senatorial aristocracy to the urban plebs.5i Further, he was sufficiently powerful to attack Cicero and Pompey who had both failed to support him in 61. Personal motives varying from the settling of old scores to the attraction of support from various different groups certainly seem to play a part in the legislation that Clodius put forward. The theme of personal vendetta is also apparent in his attempts to prosecute Milo and Sestius, both of whom had been instrumental in restoring Cicero.

2.2 THE PRO SESTIO Before beginning to examine the speech, the nature of the text must be considered.52 The Pro Sestio is a published version of a speech made in the year 56. It defends a man who had been instrumental in Cicero's recall from the exile which had been brought about by his political enemy, Clodius. While the audience of the actual oration would have been the jury (a mix of senators, équités and tribuni

49

50

51 52

For the unanimous acquittal see Q. Fr. 2.4.I. Gardner (Loeb) 1958: 34, Alexander 1990, Shackleton Bailey 1991: 138, MacKendrick 1995: 198 & Raster 2006 favour the 14th as the date of the acquittal, Gruen 1974: 304, Tatum 1999: 206 favour the 11 th . Tatum 1999: 193-9. Gruen 1974: 294 sees Cicero's recall as a means for the senate to humble Clodius. Rundell 1979: 321 puts it in less dramatic terms as 'a setback'. Wiseman 2002: 292 describes Cicero's recall and the restoration of the site of his house as an 'optimate' triumph. Mouritsen 2001: 88 remarks on the exceptional nature of the senate's response to Clodius' control of the comitia tributa which included the encouragement of Italian voters. Rundell 1979: 327 observes, 'Clodius' power rested on a novel formula combining aristocratic connexions with mass popular support.' For a bibliographic summary of recent scholarship on the Pro Sestio see Craig 2002: 594. See also Kiosses 1995, Riggsby 1999: 89-97, Stone 2005, Kaster 2006. On some textual problems see Shackleton Bailey 1987: 277-9. See also the discussion in Lintott 2008: 194-9.

44

2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

2.2.1 Pro Sestio 1-95 The exordium begins with a preface of Cicero's reasons for speaking in Sestius' defence.58 Directly addressing the jurors, he emphasises the topsy-turvy nature of present times when men such as themselves, the best and bravest citizens (fortissimi atque optimi cives), are having to defend their rights from the depredations of robbers and brigands. These evil men no longer even have to hire their own men but are able to effect their havoc on the best citizens (optimi cives) by manipulating the best men (optimi viri).59 He describes the goal of his speech as a comprehensive and general defence, undertaken out of gratitude. He apologises in advance in case his own indignation leads him to speak overly sharply.60 Sections 6-13 comprise a review of Sestius' character and career. His family background is dealt with first in a standard fashion. Sections 8-13 describe in some depth his contributions, as the quaestor of C. Antonius, to Cicero's dealings with the Catilinarians.61 Cicero asserts that his client should be seen as an optimus civis for his actions.62 Resolutions in favour of P. Sestius from the decurions of Capua, whom Cicero describes as optimi atque fortissimi viri, were read out.63 References to optimi cives and optimi viri occur throughout the speech.64 The portrayal of Sestius (whose noble ancestry extends as far as being the son of a plebeian tribune) as one of these himself, praised and approved of by other optimi cives, lays the foundations for Cicero's later characterisation of optimates - a term which, it should be noted, is not used until section 96. Section 15 begins a lengthy and self-justificatory account of the events leading to Cicero's exile.65 He describes Clodius' adoption into a plebeian family as a bow seemingly bent against himself alone but in reality aimed against the entire state. In this part of the speech Cicero characterises Clodius as a mad and deranged man, angry with Cicero but far more hostile to peace and public safety. He is an abomination, born from the dregs of every crime, a foul and monstrous beast, a sexual part-

58

59 60 61 62 63 64

65

On the structure, strategy and arguments of the speech see May 1988: 90-105, Kiosses 1995: 15-74, MacKendrick 1995: 198-237, Riggsby 1999: 89-97, Craig 2001, Kaster2006: 22-31. On suggestions for the prosecution's arguments see Alexander 2002: 206-17. Sest. 1-2. Riggsby 1999: 92 comments that this asserts 'an unbearable irony of political conservatives convicting one of their own number and thus doing'the work of their enemies.' Sest. 4-5. For Cicero's gratitude to Sestius see Q. Fr. 2.3.5-6. On the role played by the Catilinarian conspiracy in this speech and the Pro Murena see Pape 1992. Sest. 8. Sest. 10-12. M. Porcius Cato receives the same epithet (fortissimus et optimus civis) as the Capuan decurions. Sest. 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 29, 32, 39, 49, 67, 76, 96, 97, 104, 110, 115, 122, 125, 131, 145, 147. Stone 2005: 67-81 associates the label viri optimi with the ordo equester and postulates that optimus quisque refers only to the elite: senators and équités. Cicero allocates sections 15-54 to this subject - over 25 % of the whole speech. Kaster 2006: 144—5 proposes that this lengthy treatment 'does for events what invective does for individuals, making the worst features appear larger, more repulsive, or more terrifying.' On section 15 see Wimmel 1974, Evrard 1979.

2.2 The Pro Sestio

45

ner of his own brothers and sisters and a tribune who, due more to luck than his own strength, was able to overthrow the state.66 This tirade is then expanded to encompass the vilification of the consuls of 58, A. Gabinius and L. Calpurnius Piso, under whose auspices Clodius had been able to bring about Cicero's exile. Gabinius is mocked for his feminine appearance, his drunkenness, gluttony and adultery, the debts he had accrued in his early career, his lack of respect for the equestrian order and the senate, as well as his 'selling out' to hired thugs (operae) in order to circumvent the Gracchan law on the allocation of provinces. The orator claims that Gabinius only managed to become consul due to the influence of others. Turning his attention to the other consul, Cicero describes Piso's old-fashioned countenance and style of dress as a façade by which he was able to project an image of trustworthiness. His noble birth and family name added to the expectation that he would prove a worthy consul. However, the truth was laid bare by his lazy and idle lifestyle, his lack of philosophical knowledge and his devotion to personal pleasure.67 Having made clear the dishonest and irresponsible natures of the two consuls, Cicero returns to the theme of identifying himself with the state with a description of the way in which Clodius was able to bribe them with promises of particular provincial commands.68 They in turn were to hand over the state, prostrate and bound (adflicta et constricta). The bargain was to be sealed with Cicero's blood: in effect, he would become a martyr for the res publica.69 A great number of men decided to wear mourning: senators by public resolution, all the 'good men' {omnes boni) by common consent.70 Cicero continues, making clear the danger posed to the senate and omnes boni by Gabinius and Piso and detailing how L. Lamia was banished from Rome without trial for trying to intercede on Cicero's behalf. The emphasis is on the way that this infringed Lamia's rights as a Roman citizen.71 In his consular speech on behalf of Rabirius, given in 63, Cicero adopts a similar argument against the prosecutor Labienus whom he attacks on the basis that he

66

67

68

69 70

71

Sest. 15-16. The phrase in evertenda re publica echoes Cicero's speeches De lege agraria discussed in Chapter 3 below. Rundell 1979: 328 concludes that Cicero's portrait of Clodius is 'created out of spurious invective and closer to caricature than anything else.' On invective in Republican oratory, see Arena 2007. Sest. 18-24. The invective used here against the consuls of 58 fits normal categories of attacks on femininity, appearance, family heritage, etc., identified by Corbeill 2002b. The descriptions of Clodius as a foul and violent monster are of a different style and form a striking contrast with those found in the speech Post reditum ad Quirites 11-13 where Cicero describes Clodius as someone he himself had honoured with the greatest kindness. This demonstrates that invective is tailored to circumstance, audience and strategy. Gabinius was to get Syria, Piso, Macedonia. Tiersch 2002: 284 ff. observes that Cicero uses the examples of Piso, Gabinius and Clodius to show how the mos maiorum has been destroyed. Sest. 24. Sest. 26-7. Though note Cicero's despair over his abandonment by the boni and his trusted friends, Att. 3.9.1, 3.13.2, 3.15.3 etc. It is also worth noting that Cicero makes a separation between senators and boni here. Sest. 29-30. L. Aelius Lamia (RE 75). See Kelly 2006: 60-65.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

is violating the rights of Roman citizens.72 In the Pro Rabirio, he uses the word popularis to draw a distinction between himself and Labienus. After some introductory remarks on his purpose in defending Rabirius and Labienus' restriction on the time allowed for the defence speech, Cicero sharpens his attack. He begins by reminding his audience that in reducing the penalty, which had been crucifixion, for those found guilty of perdue Mo (broadly, crimes against the state), he has safeguarded the liberty of the Roman people.73 He asks Labienus directly which one of them is popularis in this matter.74 Cicero then answers his own question, describing how his opponent has threatened Roman citizens with an executioner and chains and ordered a cross to be erected on the Campus Martius.75 He himself, meanwhile, refuses to allow such things to defile the public spaces of the city. He accuses Labienus, a 'popularis man' of violating the rights protected under the lex Porcia and the Sempronian law which protected citizens from being condemned to death without the consent of the people.76 Cicero continues, wondering aloud how Labienus dares to mention the Porcian law or that of C. Gracchus or indeed, the laws of any popularis man.77 He accuses him in a sarcastic manner of being popularis and merciful {clemens popularisque), and mild and popularis (lenis ac popularis) for his fondness of torture and capital punishment. The orator concludes by asking how Labienus dares to call himself popularis and Cicero an enemy of people's interests.78 The central issue of the argument here is the preservation of the liberty of Roman citizens. Rabirius' liberty has been violated by a death sentence imposed without the consent of the people. Cicero portrays himself as a defender of liberty for his support of the defendant and Labienus as its enemy. He uses the word popularis in a narrow and consistent sense to describe those who act in the interest of the people by protecting their rights and defending liberty.79 When he uses it to refer to Labienus he does so in a sarcastic way. 72

73 74 75 76 77 78 79

T. Labienus (RE 6), C. Rabirius (RE 5). For a bibliographic summary on the Pro Rabirio Perduellionis see Craig 2002: 593. Cape 2002: 131 makes a telling point when he remarks on Cicero's 'distinctive approach' to auctoritas and libertas in this speech. He suggests that because Cicero was speaking before the people, he could not just defend the SCU and the authority of the senate, but needed to combine this with a defence of the liberty of Roman citizens. See also Ramsey 2007: 132 on the tailoring of the content and style of a speech depending on the type of audience. Rab. Perd. 10. On perduellio see Brecht 1938, Bauman 1970. Rab. Perd. 11, quam ob rem uter nostrum tandem, Labiene, popularis est? Rab. Perd. 11. The leges Porciae forbade the scourging of a Roman citizen. See Chapter 3 below. Rab. Perd. 11-14. Rab. Perd. 14-5. A similar approach is also found in the speeches De lege agraria (1.23, 2.9,2.102) which will be examined in further detail in Chapter 3 below. Robinson 1994a identifies Leg. Ag. 2.10 and Rab. Perd. 12-15 as the only two places where Cicero paints an entirely positive picture of the Gracchi. This is done to bolster his argument against both Rullus and Labienus by comparing them with their great predecessors. On the flexibility of the Gracchi as exempla see van der Blom 2007: 84—7. It is important to note that the ancient argument about what is truly popularis is a debate over what is in the popular interest. This is not the same as the modern argu-

2.2 The Pro Sestio

41

In the Pro Sestio, however, no such argument is made and Cicero makes no attempt to claim this positive sense of the word for himself. Instead, he concludes his support of Lamia's cause in a rather long-winded fashion, questioning the right of a consul to drive a Roman citizen from home and country, to disregard the views of the equestrian order and to overthrow the rights and liberty of all citizens.80 At section 31, Cicero elucidates the reasons he has been dwelling on events prior to Sestius' tribunate. He explains that he has done this in order to show just how afflicted and ruined the state was at the time and thus to illustrate how instrumental Sestius would be in healing it. Once again, Cicero links his own cause with that of the state, telling his audience that they and omnes boni have concluded that his own personal disaster was the greatest wound the republic had suffered (maximum vulnus rei publicae) and that Sestius is not a defendant on his own account but for Cicero.81 Since Sestius exerted himself on Cicero's behalf during his tribunate, Cicero's cause must be linked with Sestius' defence.82 Section 32 summarises the situation in 58: the senate was grieving, all citizens wore mourning, and throughout Italy every group or company with the power to do so had issued decrees about Cicero's welfare. He accuses the consuls of tyranny for publishing an edict that senators should resume normal dress and, making a direct link between the authority of the senate and the views of whoever is best (optimus quisque), charges Piso with disregarding both.83 Cicero then elaborates on the theme of escalating violence in the city which formed the backdrop to the charge against Sestius. He terms Clodius' removal of the ban on collegia a pretext for the formation of gangs of roughs, details how arms were openly carried into the Temple

80 81

82

83

ment about what a 'true' 'popularis' is. Mackie et al identify a 'true' 'popularis' on the basis of a commitment to ideological principles about the sovereignty of the people. Lintott 2008: 125 suggests that Cicero's defence of Rabirius gave him the chance to put forward his own 'genuinely felt sentiments that reflected the optimate position he had adopted as consul.' Sest. 30. Kaster 2006: 188 notes the tautology in the phrase 'rights and liberty of all citizens'. References linking Cicero's cause to the state occur throughout, e.g. Sest. 31, Warn meam cladem vos et omnes boni maximum esse rei publicae vulnus iudicastis; 33, civis florentissimi benivolentia bonorum et optime de salute patriae meriti periculum, coniunctum cumpericulo civitatis; 41, quem studiosum me cupidissimum rei publica conservandae; 42, pro me ac pro re publica; 49, si causam publicam mea mors peremisset, neminem umquam fore qui auderet suscipere contra improbos civis salutem rei publicae; 53, mihi reique publicae pernicies; 60, meum et rei publicae casum; TI, P. Sestius ... pro mea salute suscepit ... rei publicae causa suscepit; 129, ex tota Italia salutis meae causa. May 1981: 311 singles out Sest. 15-31 as 'the most artful use of patron-client identification in combination with Cicero's identification with the state.' Riggsby 2002a: 191 expands on this, explaining that Cicero's defence of Sestius is that the latter used vis pro re publica rather than contra rem publicam. The orator's task is thus to explain politically why Sestius' actions do not attack the state (and why those of Clodius do). See May 1981: 311-3 for the links between Cicero and Sestius, and those between Cicero and the state. Two metaphors are used to identify Cicero with the state: the res publica as a wounded body together with the shedding of Cicero's blood, and, secondly, his recall as the causa rei publicae. Cicero also constructs a theme in which the res publica is his own patron and thus, at one remove, the patron of Sestius. Sest. 32, ut neglegeres auctoritatem senatus, optimi cuiusque consilio contemneres.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

of Castor and how the Forum and contiones were controlled by armed men. In short, he presents a view of the city at war, dominated through violence and fear by Clodius.84 Continuing his account of the events of 58, Cicero moves on to provide his audience with the reasons and motives behind his own actions.85 He compares his situation with that of another consular forced into exile by a tribune: Q. Metellus Numidicus who refused to swear an oath to uphold Saturninus' measures for the settlement of Marius' veterans.86 He firstly contrasts the relative popularity of his own cause with that of Metellus. Cicero's cause appears to have enjoyed support from all quarters, whereas that of Metellus only had the backing of all 'good men' {omnes boni)?1 He ventures to tell his audience that his own cause, supported by the wishes of everyone, concerned the welfare of all citizens, even all nations, leading him to expect that everyone would defend and uphold his actions. Cicero attributes the lack of support for Metellus' cause to a somewhat selfish motive of adhering to personal morals at the expense of the state's welfare.88 This is mitigated to an extent, he claims, by the fact that Metellus had Marius, backed by his army, as an enemy. He suggests two possible reasons for Metellus' motivation in yielding to Saturninus: fear of defeat by brave men or fear of causing the deaths of many brave citizens if victorious.89 Cicero's own self-justificatory claims are complex. Firstly, he belittles the enemies he faced: two dishonourable consuls and a mad tribune. He was not threatened by a worthy and heroic enemy like Marius. His plight was not brought about by a tribune incited by an honourable motive but one born to all kinds of madness

84

85

86

87 88 89

Sest. 33-6, urbem ... captam atque oppressant. However, since Gracchan times, at least, violence had not been the sole preserve of demagogues. See Sherwin White 1956, Lintott 1968, Rundell 1979: 325-6. On the image of warfare and other metaphors in the speech see Fantham 1972: 131-6. Sest. 36-52. Canter 1931: 353 notes this as the first of six digressions in the Pro Sestio. The others are sections 60-63 on Cato's part in the dethronement of Ptolemy, section 91 on the development of civilisation from savagery, sections 96-131 on the optimates, sections 132-5 denouncing Vatinius and sections 136-43 which form a eulogy on the virtues and sacrifices made by optimates. He sees (357) the function of these digressions, in particular sections 96-131, as providing relief for Cicero's audience from the monotony of the orator's concentration on his own services to the state. He adds that the digressions also served to familiarise the audience with general and philosophical ideas. See May 1981: 310-15, 1988: 88-9 on Cicero's attempts to rehabilitate his public persona in the Pro Sestio and the post reditum speeches in general as a struggle 'to reassert his authority in the state.' Kelly 2006: 143-5 suggests that there were two traditions about Metellus' exile: a positive 'optimate' interpretation and a negative 'popularis' one. As this study will suggest, it may be more useful to categorise the split on the basis of agreement or disagreement with Metellus' views about the issue. On Saturninus see Cavaggioni 1998. Sest. 36-9. Cicero's cause is supported by senate, omnes boni and tota Italia. All are united 'consensu incredibili.' Harries 2006: 196 comments that this presents Metellus as having 'failed to live up to one of Cicero's tests for true glory, concern for the collective welfare of the res publica.' Sest. 37.

2.2 The Pro Sestio

49

and vice.90 However, he then backtracks rather, in what appears to be a tacit admission of Clodius' power, observing that Pompey was persuaded to drop his appeal to the consuls on Cicero's behalf by threats of assassination. He also mentions Clodius' claim to have the backing of Caesar's army, currently in Italy.91 The orator suggests that by going into exile voluntarily he prevented needless bloodshed: the inevitable result of any violent retaliation against Clodius.92 In sections 43 - 47 he describes the conflict not in terms of populares and optimates but boni and improbi.93 Further, he presents his own survival as absolutely necessary to the survival of the res publica which at the time was in such a forlorn and desperate situation that no-one else could possibly save it. Thus he saved himself in order to save the state.94 However, as Cicero makes clear, this is not to suggest that he was afraid of death and he cites some historical exempta of those who were not afraid to die for their state.95 He further illustrates the theme of preserving one's life for the sake of the state with the example of Marius, his fellow Arpinate who, when forced to flee Rome by Sulla, took refuge in tire swamps of Minturnae before escaping to Africa.96 The use of these exempla, Metellus and Manus, with whom Cicero compares himself, raises some interesting points. Metellus, in terms of traditional political models, is an 'optimale'. He is exiled by the 'popularis' tribune Saturninus. Metellus' other opponent is Marius, traditionally another 'popularis'. In the context of this speech, and its use in identifying 'populares' and 'optimates' as polar opposites, then, it is more than a little surprising that Cicero associates himself with both 'popularis' and 'optimate' exempla.91 90

91

92

93 94 95 96

97

Sest. 38-9. Saturninus was indignant at the transfer of the cura annona to M. Aemilius Scaurus (RE 140). Cicero also suggests that he himself was at the mercy of violence rather than the due process of law and trial. Sest. 40. A claim suggested to be false by Gruen 1966: 126. See Riggsby 2002a: 172-9 on Cicero's presentation of the triumvirs in the post reditum speeches. Lintott 2008: 196 notes the special treatment of the Caesar and Pompey in the way that Cicero puts forward a picture of Clodius as an enemy of the triumvirs as well as himself. But, surprisingly, violence was the option urged by the optimi et fortissimi cives, Sest. 39. Rundell 1979: 326 observes that the boni did not stand for law and order but had always been ready to employ violence to protect their own privileges. e.g. Sest. 43, vicissent improbos boni, Sest. 47, vidi essent improbi ... sin victi esSent boni. On boni and improbi see Hellegouarc'h 1963: 484-95, 528-30; Lacey 1970. See May 1988: 97-8 on this 'symbolic devotio'. Sest. 48. The particular examples are the daughters of King Erechtheus, C. Mucius in the camp of Lars Porsenna, P. Decius Mus & son and the father of M. Crassus. Sest. 50. Kaster 2006: 205 notes that Marius is Cicero's 'favourite historical exemplum, and the most ambiguous.' The ambiguity arises from two points. Firstly, Marius, like Cicero, was a novus homo. Secondly, Marius was disapproved of for his alliances with politicians such as Saturninus and for his part in the civil war against Sulla. Cicero's treatment of Marius is generally positive. On the way Cicero's presentation of Marius varies with audience, see Kelly 2006: 152-3. Of course, it may be argued that Cicero is shoring up his own case with every example he can and trying to show that anyone would have done what he did. On Cicero's use of Metellus and Marius as exempla see van der Blom 2007: 157-66, 201-6. Cicero contrasts the reasons each went into exile with his own. By criticising Metellus' selfish motives and noting that Marius

50

2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

It is in this section of the speech that we find the first use of the word popularis. In the context of Cicero's explanations about why the triumvirs had failed to prevent his exile, Clodius is described as a popularis tribune.98 Cicero elaborates: the measures enacted under Caesar's consulship were currently under attack from the praetors, the senate and the principes civitatis, and the triumvirs did not want to alienate him." It is clear from the context that Cicero is using the word popularis here to refer to popularity. The orator rounds off the justification of his decision to leave Rome claiming that he was being punished for having defended, with the backing of the senate, omnes boni. He gives his reasons for fleeing as firstly, the preservation of the sole remaining hope of the res publica and secondly, the prevention of civil bloodshed. Having put forward examples to demonstrate the heroic and honourable side of exile, he concludes with a metaphorical description of the wounded state, reiterating the identification of the res publica with himself, 'As soon as I was struck down, they [the consuls] flew to drain my blood and to plunder the res publica for spoil while it still breathed.'100 In section 55 Cicero returns to the theme of the ruined state in 58 and begins to recount the rest of the events of that terrible year. He begins with a discussion of the legislation of Clodius, claiming that the restriction of the censorial nota was an attack on the res publica since it curbed the authority of the censors. He presents the removal of the ban on collegia as a reversal of a previous senatorial decision and the lex frumentaria as a device to reduce tax revenues. He asserts that the final measure, which Tatum calls the lex Clodia de agendo cum populo, not only abolished all laws concerning religion, the auspices and magisterial power but also those determining the formalities for proposing legislation. Furthermore, through the agency of Clodius, the consuls were able to bypass the lex Sempronia de provinciis consularibus and to choose their own provinces.101 Thus Cicero presents the leges Clodiae as undermining specific elements of Roman society: the authority of the senate, the treasury, religion, the auspices, the power of the magistrates, laws and their associated formalities as well as the provinces. He then describes the expulsion of the priest of the Magna Mater at Pessinus and how the shrine of that most holy and ancient cult was sold to Brogitarus. The

98 99 100 101

preserved himself so that he might later take revenge on his enemies, the orator emphasises his own selfless motivation and thus glorifies his cause. Sest. 40. On this tacit support for Clodius by the triumvirs see also Red. Sen. 32, Har. Resp. 47, Prov. Cons. 42, Pis. 79 f. Contrast Pompey's promises of support in Att. 2.20.1, 2.21.6, 2.22.2. Sest. 54. statim me perculso ad meum sanguinem hauriendum, et spirante etiam re publica ad eius spolia detrahenda advolaverunt. Sest. 55-6. Cicero's version of the lex Clodia de censoribus, which presents the virtual abolition of the censorship, is described in far less inflammatory terms in Asc. 8.24-6C. The Clodian measure required the agreement of both censors before a senator could be expelled. That these laws are far less outrageous and revolutionary has been questioned above n. 28. On the relationship of the fourth measure to the leges Aelia et Fufia see Sumner 1963: 351-8. On the lex Sempronia de provinciis consularibus see Appendix B below.

2.2 The Pro Sestio

51

stability and honourable conduct of the empire is brought into question as he describes the contrast in treatment between Ptolemy of Cyprus and Tigranes of Armenia. He relates how Pompey had confirmed Tigranes as a client king in order to enhance both his own glory and that of the empire. Tigranes was also made a socius of Rome. By contrast, Cicero claims, Ptolemy was 'put up for auction together with all his possessions' at the order of the Roman people.102 These examples, he suggests, are sufficient to make other kings query the security of their own positions and demonstrate the damage done to Rome's relationships with her dominions and allies and the consequent stain on the fidelity of the res publica.103 Returning to his own personal situation, Cicero describes how Clodius failed to observe the sacred laws and the Twelve Tables when he confiscated his [Cicero's] property and abrogated his rights as a citizen.104 To summarise, then, the events of the year 58 saw attacks on the following elements of Roman life: the authority of the senate, the treasury, religion, the auspices, the power of the magistrates, laws and their associated formalities, the provinces, relationships with foreign states, Rome's reputation and her allies, and finally the mos maiorum. Crucially, this list is an exact match (with the single exception of res militaris) of the one that will be put forward at section 98 as the fundamental principles supported by all optimates. The next part of the speech returns to events directly connected with Cicero's recall, continuing the association of his own cause with that of the state. He details the involvement of Pompey whom he portrays as a hero of the Roman people who could not bear to see the crimes of the few overthrow the res publica. Accordingly, he took up the state's cause.105 However, following death threats, Pompey retired from the fray, remaining at home until Clodius' tribunate ended. In section 68, Cicero marks the upturn in his own fortunes, describing the senate's unanimous passing of a decree for his return. He notes another cause for celebration: if anyone who had taken part in the 'Clodian crime' entered a court, he was condemned.106 Finally, at section 71, after a break of over fifty paragraphs, Cicero resumes his account of Sestius' career and details his journey to ask for Caesar's support, a journey made in the interest of the state. 102

103 104

105 106

The implication is that the people had been misdirected in their decision. Section 55 describes Ptolemy as not yet having been formally declared a socius. However, at section 77 he has become semper amicus, semper socius. At Sest. 59, Tigranes, acerrimus hostis, obtained his status as socius by entreaty. Sest. 59. The precarious nature of Rome's foreign links is reiterated at sections 64 and 66. Sections 60-63 form a eulogy of Cato. Sest. 65. Traditionally such measures were put before the centuriate assembly. Note also that Clodius, before his transitio ad plebem, was held back by the auspices, the mos maiorum and the leges sacratae (Sest. 16). Sest. 67. See May 1981: 313. Riggsby 1999: 92 notes that the phrase scelus Clodiani does not refer to a 'recognizable criminal offence'. Thus Cicero presents the courts as condemning people on the basis of 'Clodian affiliations.' This allows the orator to suggest that it might be appropriate to acquit a person on the basis of being a supporter of Cicero and an enemy of Clodius, that is, on the basis of a political affiliation.

52

2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

Cicero then returns to the events of 57, describing how, on the first day of his consulship, P. Lentulus started a debate about the possibility of recalling Cicero. His colleague, Q. Metellus Nepos, who, as tribune for 62, had spoken against Cicero's treatment of the Catilinarians, declared that he would defer to the wishes of senate and state in the matter. L. Cotta (eos. 65) voiced his opinion that the actions taken against Cicero had been unjust, against ancestral custom and unlawful. Right and justice had been overthrown. Further, since Cicero had not been banished by a law, it was unnecessary for his recall to be sanctioned by a law: a senatorial resolution would suffice. Pompey, however, suggested that it would be prudent to have the decision ratified by the people.107 After almost a month, the senate finally persuaded Serranus to withdraw his veto and the day appointed for dealing with Cicero's case in the assembly finally arrived. Rioting broke out in the Forum. Cicero paints a picture of blood and murder, violence and horror, as the Forum was reduced to a gladiatorial arena and the Tiber became choked with bodies. His brother Quintus hid among the dead, taking a leaf from Cicero's own book and preserving his life in order to fight another day. Cicero laments that Sestius was not surrounded by his bodyguard that day, since if he had been, the cause of the state (i. e. that of Cicero) would not have been defeated.108 Despite the precarious and violent times, Sestius, relying on the sanctity of his office as tribune, went to announce unfavourable omens to the consul but was attacked by Clodian forces. Cicero continues, dramatising the struggle which left Sestius severely wounded and left for dead.109 The orator addresses his audience, declaring that if Sestius had died, a statue would certainly have been raised in honour of his death in the service of the res publica."0 He repeats the charge levelled against Sestius: that he bought, collected and prepared a force of men. He does not deny these accusations but, having detailed the circumstances which led his client to employ an escort, questions the use to which this force of men was put. Sestius, he claims, did not gather a force of arms with intent to attack the fabric of the state: her citizens, their property or the senate. He did so out of necessity.111 These assertions form the basis of Cicero's defence against the charge of vis. Sestius' use of a

107

108

109 110 111

Sest. 70-74. L. Aurelius Cotta (RE 102). See Riggsby 2002ac 167-72 on Cicero's constructions and denials centred on the legal, or otherwise, nature of his exile and the presentation of his glorious return. Briefly, Riggsby explains that a glorious return from exile implies an honourable return from something and thus the admission that Cicero was actually exiled in the first place. On the other hand, if Cicero was exiled by no valid law, he is not returning from exile but from a self-imposed and voluntary removal. In order to present this as honourable, he presents his flight as motivated by the desire to save the state and his return as its salvation. For the Pro Sestio as a defence of lex and ius against vis, see Lacey 1962. Sest. 75-8. The extent of the slaughter points to a rather large opposition! Cicero is at pains to point out that the atrocities were committed not by citizens but by the mad and frenzied followers of Clodius. Sest. 79. Sest. 83. , . Sest. 84. • *

2.2 The Pro Sestio

53

bodyguard had been in the state's interest and simply to preserve his own life since the traditional sanctity of his office was no barrier to Clodius.112 To add to the case for the defence, Cicero turns to the example of Milo, also tribune in 57 and also accused on charges of vis in 56. Milo had used armed men to defend his home, an action apparently praised by Sestius prosecutors (Vat. 40, Sest. 86). Cicero argues that the use of force by Milo and Sestius is no different. Sestius, therefore, should not be prosecuted but praised, just as Milo has been. He then defends the principle of using force to defend life and libertas against those who would overthrow the state. Milo, like Sestius, is described as a defender of the causa rei publicae, intent on achieving Cicero's restoration. He acted with the example of boni ac fortes cives in mind and was backed by the unanimous support of everyone - the senate, the équités Romani, Italia.113 As discussed earlier in this chapter, Milo twice tried to bring Clodius to trial in 57. The first time, Ap. Claudius and Q. Metellus Nepos refused hear the charges. In order to hamper Clodius' attempt to avoid prosecution by virtue of holding office, Milo then resorted to violence in order to postpone the aedilician elections for 56. The senate met to discuss the matter and passed a decree to the effect that Clodius would be tried before the elections. The senate met again in November to discuss whether Clodius' trial should take place before the elections. This meeting was inconclusive and the matter was reopened yet again in December. This time the senate reversed its earlier decision, decreeing that Clodius would not stand trial. In a letter of 54 to Lentulus Spinther, Cicero laments that it was the same men who recalled him that freed Clodius (Fam. 1.9.15).114 It is this decision to which Cicero refers in section 95 as he brings his remarks justifying Sestius' use of force to a close: Milo had resorted to the law and failed to bring Clodius to justice - what else could Sestius have done? The orator concludes, 'By contrast, this man [Milo], who protected himself in this way so that he could defend his household gods as a private individual, and the rights of the tribunate and the auspices in his public capacity, by the senate's authority was not permitted to accuse in an appropriate way the man by whom he has been accused outrageously. No doubt this is the reason why, in your prosecution speech, you asked me, in particular, what "nostra natio optimatium" is - for those are the words you used.'115 112 113

114 115

Riggsby 1999: 90 notes that Cicero defends the use of vis pro re publica by presenting the state as being in such a crisis that such action is necessary. Sest. 87-92. Again, note that in e. g. Rab. Perd.. Leg. Ag., the defenders of libertas are called populares. Here, Cicero is careful not to use the word in this sense. Alexander 2002: 209 notes that the trials of both Milo (most likely a iudicium populi) and Sestius were conducted concurrently. That Clodius would be tried Att. 4.3.2-5, Har. Resp. 15. For the inconclusive meeting see Q. Fr. 2.1.2-3. That the senate changed its mind, Sest. 95. Sest. 95-6, hic qui se est tutatus sic ut in privata re deos penatis suos, in re publica iura tribunatus atque auspicia defenderet, aecusare eum moderate a quo ipse nefarie aecusatur per senatus auctoritatem non est situs, nimirum hoc illud est quod de me potissimum tu in aecusatione quaesisti, quae esset nostra "natio optimatium"; sie enim dixisti.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

Thus, the direct context of the question about the nature of optimates, which Cicero spends the rest of the speech answering, is the senate's decision to allow Clodius to escape prosecution. Kaster makes a suggestion for what the prosecution's question may have been: 'You [Cicero] claim that Clodius' violence justified Sestius' resort to an armed gang, yet how terrible could that violence be when the breed of the Best Sort itself blocked Milo's prosecution?'116 This explanation identifies the natio optimatium, translated as 'the breed of the Best Sort', as the senate.117 Kaster proposes that the 'sting' of the prosecutor's question lies in his use of the term natio which is most often used to refer to foreign tribes. He explains that the choice of the term was probably due to 'ethnic associations' of the suffix (-as, -ates) of the word optimates. The pairing therefore suggests a status acquired by birth rather than achievement.118 However, Raster's suggestion for the prosecutor's question shows the prosecutor himself using the phrase natio optimatium to describe and thus insult the senate. This surely cannot be right. Understanding the next section of the speech involves working out what has prompted the prosecution's question and why it leads to the digression. Cicero states that the prosecution have asked him about nostra natio optimatium. The use of the possessive pronoun surely suggests that Cicero has already staked some sort of claim about 'his optimates'. It is the prosecution that has inserted the derogatory term natio.n9 In short, Cicero has clearly used the word optimates in a novel and unusual way and it is this that has prompted the prosecution's sneering question. The orator has already described Sestius as an optimus civis (Sest. 8) and exclaimed over the dearth of men courageous enough to undertake the defence of the best interests of the state (and himself), the optima causa (Sest. 93). He has also developed a theme about such optimi cives praising and approving the actions of other optimi cives and he is about to describe optimates as those who seek the approval of optimus quisque. It does not, therefore, seem too great a step to understand the prosecutor's question as belonging to a discourse similar to that below, Cicero: 'You have praised Milo for using armed men to defend his home. How does this differ from the way Sestius chose to protect his own person? Both are optimi viri and have the support and backing of the optimates.

116 Kaster 2006: 317. He notes, 31 n. 68, that is impossible to know 'the exact tack the prosecutor took'. 117 It also minimises claims from the defence about the extent of Clodius' violence. Gardner 1958 (Loeb) also translates natio as 'breed'. Tatum 1999: 1 prefers 'race'. 118 Kaster 2006: 318. Cicero's digression, of course, includes as optimates those who achieve nobility by achievement, Sest. 136, see p. 63 below. 119 Sest. 97, quam tu "nationem" appellasti, Sest. 132, non est "natio" ut dixisti. Alexander 2002: 216-7 argues that the prosecution employed the phrase natio optimatium in order to discredit the defenders of Sestius by associating them with 'the diehard opponents of the triumvirs'. Cicero's response to this tactic is to construct an inclusive definition.

2.2 The Pro Sestio

55

Albinovinus: 'Now we all know that it was the senate itself that blocked Milo's prosecution of Clodius. What sort of "optimates" are you talking about? Who are these "optimates" of yours?' I suggest that this is the line of questioning that Cicero then refutes with his digression on optimates and his insistence that the term applies just as much to the right sort of followers as the right sort of leaders. I2° 2.2.2 Pro Sestio 96-135: populares and optimates121 Cicero's answer begins with his famous division of politicians into two categories: on the one hand, those who seek the approval of the multitude and the name popularis; on the other, those who seek the approval of optimus quisque and the name optimas.122 He then expands on the nature of optimus quisque, claiming that they are innumerable and encompass the leaders of the state and their followers, those eligible to stand for election to the senate, Romans from town and country, businessmen and even freedmen.123 This wide-ranging and inclusive definition makes no discrimination on birth or position. Furthermore, it reverses our usual political associations: here it is the optimates who are the many and the populares who are the few.124 Cicero asserts that the goal of the principes civitatis and the state's most influential men - both defenders of optimates and optimates themselves - is cum dignitate otium.125 The fundamental elements of this 'peace with dignity' are religion, the auspices, the power of the magistrates, the authority of the senate, laws, the customs of the ancestors, public courts, private law, integrity, the provinces, the allies, the

120 121

122

123 124

125

Sest. 97. On this section see Lacey 1962; Weische 1970; Kiosses 1995; Alexander 2002: 214-7, Kaster 2006: 31-7, 319-78. Both Kiosses 1995: 29-31 and Kaster 2006: 36-7 see the digression as part of the original speech. Douglas 1968: 15, Wiseman 2002: 292 suggest that it was a later addition. For others holding this view see Stroh 1975: 51 n. 89. Sest. 96. Up until this point in the speech, Cicero has not used the words optimas or optimates, choosing instead omnes boni, optimi viri, optimi cives. According to his definition, a particular example of optimates from the early part of the speech, therefore, are the decurions of Capua, optimi atque fortissimi viri (Sest. 9) who sent decrees registering their approval of Sestius. Sestius himself is thus also an optimas. Sest. 97. Lacey 1970: 14-5. Stone 2005: 60 also makes note of Cicero's 'artful elision' of the distinction between rulers and ruled as well as suggesting that the inclusive nature of this definition appears only to have been introduced in order to provide the opportunity of explanation. Sest. 98. A sensible and no doubt popular aim, given the violent atmosphere of contemporary politics. Zetzel 1999: xli notes astutely that the phrase cum dignitate otium 'like all slogans, has numerous meanings, depending on which meaning of otium one chooses.' On the meaning of the phrase see Boyancé 1941, Wirszubski 1954, Fuhrmann 1960, Baisdon 1960, André 1966: 279-334, Adomeit 1980 (with Lübtow 1984-5), Christes 1988, Takahata 1999, Dalfen 2000.

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2 Populares and optimates in the Pro Sestio

reputation of the empire, the army and the treasury.126 In section 40, Cicero remarks on Clodius' claim to have the backing of Caesar's army. If we make the connection between this and the element res militaris, it is clear that the ' opümate' fimdamenta correlate directly and precisely with the earlier accusations made against Clodius (all but one of them in sections 25-65, discussed above p. 50-51). 127 The list is a broad one which notably excludes libertas and popular rights.128 However perhaps some light can be shed on these omissions. Libertas was a sensitive subject for Cicero at the time. A Roman citizen's right to trial lay at the heart of the law which prompted Cicero to flee into exile and Clodius' construction of a temple to Libertas on the site of the orator's home, was a gesture full of symbolic meaning.129 By executing the Catilinarians, Cicero had violated their rights and liberty. Unlike his consular defence of Rabirius, Cicero does not make any direct claim to be a defender of libertas in the Pro Sestio.m Given the circumstances of his exile, his oratorical credibility would be somewhat undermined by the inclusion of libertas and popular rights in his list of fundamental principles.131 In section 97, Cicero states that optimates are neither destructive nor treacherous by nature, neither mad nor held back by domestic troubles. This statement, with its emphasis on personal qualities, is no more helpful in defining a political group or programme than the fundamental2 Furthermore, recalling the venomous descriptions of Piso, Gabinius and Clodius made earlier in the speech (Sest. 18-24) it is clear that this further elaboration on the qualities of optimates is also manifestly tailored as an attack on those Cicero holds responsible for his exile. In particular, he 126 religiones, auspicia, potestates magistratuum, senatus auctoritas, leges, mos maiorum, iudicia, iuris dictio,fides,provinciae, socii, imperii laus, res militaris, aerarium. Note the inclusion of senatus auctoritas despite the senatorial decree about Clodius' trial which introduces the digression on optimates. 127 A second, implicit link is with Clodius' earlier incitement of rebellion in Lucullus' army. On the practical relevance of Cicero's list and its connection to the Augustan regime see Brunt 1988: 55-68. 128 Despite this, Brunt 1988: 56 suggests that it would, in general terms, be acceptable to 'even populares.' Similarly Mackie 1992: 53-9 who proposes that the values appealed to by populares were identical to those used by their opponents. On libertas in Roman politics see Wirszubski 1950, Brunt 1988: 281-350, Mouritsen 2001: 9-14, Arena 2003a. 129 Clodius described Cicero as a tyrant and destroyer of libertas, Sest. 109. 130 The extent of his claims in the Pro Sestio extend to a single association of himself with Servius Tullius who established the safety of the people's liberty, Sest. 123. All other connections are indirect and constructed via claims made about, e. g., Sestius, Milo. 131 That is not to say that Cicero does not make claims about the protection of liberty. The speech opens with a comment on the difficulty of finding men brave enough to stand up for the state and common liberty (Sest. 1). Cicero claims the senate (Sest. 137) and Milo (Sest. 89, 144) as defenders of libertas and also justifies force where it is used to protect life and liberty (Sest. 86). The consuls of 58 (Sest. 30) and Clodius (Sest. 118) are described as enemies of liberty. Compare also Sallust's speeches of Lepidus (Hist. 1.55M) and Philippus (Hist. 1.77M), discussed in Chapter 7 below, both of which utilise libertas as a slogan. 132 Lacey 1970: 4 points out the obvious - 'optimates includes everyone who is honest and sane, which rather rules out the passage as a serious attempt at political analysis'. Riggsby 1999: 93 sees this clarification 'more as a community of character and interest and less as one of political belief (much less economic class).'

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57

has already specifically accused Piso of defying the authority of the senate and scorning the advice {consilio) of optimus quisque}^ Cicero then moves on to provide three historical examples of men who defended the state: M. Aemilius Scaurus (eos. 115), Q. Metellus Numidicus (eos. 109) and Q. Lutatius Catulus (eos. 78).134 He celebrates these men for their steadfastness and dignitas in the face of danger.135 Scaurus wins praise for having resisted all seditiosi from C. Gracchus to Q. Varius.136 Metellus is singled out for his attempt to expel Saturninus from the senate, his refusal to recognise L. Equitius as the son of Ti. Gracchus and his choice to go into exile rather than uphold the law of Saturninus.137 While Scaurus and Metellus are defined as optimates in terms of political conflict, Catulus is not referred to for particular deeds but described in moral terms and praised for his constantia.138 Not one of these men is described as an advocate of a particular policy but each, like Cicero himself, had to deal with troublesome tribunes and each is lauded for innate aristocratic virtues. The orator urges his audience to imitate the examples set by these men. Cicero also introduces an extended discussion oft the nature of populares. He declares that the 'optimale' fundamenta are at risk when that section of the community which is motivated by desire for revolution, upheaval or civil discord finds leaders.139 These leaders are the opponents of the optimates. Their opportunities occur when the desire of the multitudo is at odds with what is advantageous for the res publica. The label Cicero appropriates for these enemies of the optimates is populares: those who want their deeds and words to be pleasing to the multitude. He claims that populares have always existed and competed with optimates for position.

133 134

135 136

137

138

139

Sest. 32. Sest. 101. Q. Lutatius Catulus (RE 8). All three consuls appear later in the speech in the context of expressions of the approval of the Roman people (Scaurus in section 116, Metellus in section 124, Catulus in sections 121-2). On the increased authority and moral strength incurred by fortitude in adverse reception, see Morstein-Marx 2004: 169-70. On Q. Varius Severus Hibrida (RE 7) see Gruen 1965b, 1968: 216-220, Badian 1969. For Scaurus' authority over Varius' accusation, see Asc. 22C. Kaster 2006: 325 notes that Scaurus' opposition to C. Gracchus is unattested although he is counted as a supporter of L. Opimius (RE 4) in De vir. ill. 72.9. In 105 or 104, the senate chose to replace Saturninus as the overseer of the grain supply at Ostia with Scaurus (see MRR 1: 560, 3: 20-23). Burckhardt 1988: 244-5 suggests that the appointment of Scaurus in place of Saturninus was intended to prevent the rise of another C. Gracchus. L. Equitius (RE 3) The example of Metellus' decision to go into exile rather than swear to uphold Saturninus' legislation has already been used earlier in the speech. As censor in 102, Metellus had placed the nota by the names of Saturninus and Glaucia. Catulus opposed various tribunes including Q. Opimius (RE 11) in 75, C. Licinius Macer (RE 112) in 73 and C. Manilius in 66 over matters varying from the restoration of the tribunate to Pompey's extra-ordinary commands. Kaster 2006: 326 notes that Clodius' destruction of Catulus' father's portico on the Palatine forms a link with the razing of Cicero's house. Lacey 1962: 70 observes that the theme of this section is constantia. Sest. 99.

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Commenting that in previous times, those who defended the state faced great danger since the desire of the masses and the advantage of the people did not always coincide with the public good, he introduces three examples designed to illustrate the point.140 The first is the lex tabellaria of L. Cassius. The people thought that this law dealt with the principle of their liberty. On the other hand, the leaders of the state feared that the interests of the optimates would be compromised by the recklessness of the masses and licence of the ballot. The second example is the agrarian law of Ti. Gracchus.141 Again, the view of the people is given first - the law was welcomed and it would benefit the poorer classes. The optimates opposed it on the grounds that it would encourage discord and endanger the private property of the champions of the state. The third example is the grain law of C. Gracchus. This too was welcomed by the masses. However, the boni were against it because it would promote idleness at the expense of industry and drain the treasury.142 The first law addresses the rights of the Roman people while the other two, which are described as welcome {grata) and pleasing (iucunda) respectively, deal with the provision of material benefits. The first law is opposed by the principes on behalf of the optimates, the second by the optimates themselves while it is the boni who are against the final one. All three laws are described in terms of their appeal to the people and each example is set in the context of disagreement between the people and their chosen leaders.143 It is noteworthy that Cicero uses the words optimates and boni interchangeably in making his point. The effect of this is to strengthen the inclusive nature of his definition of optimates.144 Cicero then expands on the theme that at the current time there is no disagreement between people and principes. The people rejoice in their own peace and the dignity of optimus quisque and seditious men cannot inflame them with promises of bounty.145 He thus characterises the Roman people as supporters of optimus quisque: that is as optimates.146 To provide a contrast with Clodius and his contiones packed with hired men, the Gracchi and Saturninus are offered as examples of populares from the past. Cicero states explicitly that the Gracchi and Saturninus had no need 140 Sest. 103. Contrast the discussion above on Rab. Perd, where populares are those who protect the rights of the people. 141 Brunt 1988: 74 sees this law as an example of the power of the popular assemblies, noting that its importance cannot be overestimated and that the challenge it posed to senatorial authority 'set the precedent for all future popular movements. ' 142 On these laws see also Chapter 3 and Appendix B below. 143 Sest. 103^1. Brunt 1968: 232 notes 'the latent disaffection of the people to the senate ... effective when members of the ruling class, whether nobles or new men, were ready to be popular champions.' Also North 1990: 18, 'the popular will of the Roman people found expression in the context, and only in the context, of divisions within the oligarchy.' 144 Riggsby 1999: 93 n. 42 observes that this presentation forms a contrast with that found in the speeches against the Rullan land proposal where populares are those who defend 'the interests, defined largely in terms of stability, of the people'. Stone 2005: 60 n. 7 observes that 'in this chapter, therefore, the principes and the optimates and the boni are virtually identical: they all reflect governmental concern for the well being of society.' 145 Sest. 104. This neatly ties into Cicero's identification of his own cause with that of the state: he has been recalled, to universal joy, by a decree of the senate ratified by the people. 146 Cf. Sest. 114 discussed below.

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of bribery but their promises of largitio and advantage (commodi) gained them great public approval.147 In short, these populares of the past acted in a demagogic fashion and won popularity in so doing. Their opponents, although highly esteemed by the senate and boni, did not find favour with the multitude. However, claims Cicero rather awkwardly, these unpopular optimates were the chief influence on the people when it came to matters of the highest importance.148 Having defined populares in terms of popularity, Cicero turns his hand to a discussion of the nature of popularity, combining this with a demonstration of the approval of the populus Romanus for his own cause. He begins with an exploration of the places at which the opinions of the Roman people can be expressed: contiones, comitia (both legislative and electoral), the theatre and the games.149 The first and most important are contiones and he contrasts those of Clodius, attended by hired men, the corrupt and dishonest, with one held by the consul Lentulus, thronged by the populus Romanus - the whole of Italy, in fact. The primary association of the word popularis with popularity continues as he describes how the speech of P. Lentulus on his own [Cicero's] behalf was met with such approval that it seemed that nothing so popularis had ever reached the ears of the Roman people. Clodius' speech against Cicero's recall, at a meeting held on the Campus Martius, however, was met with complete disapproval from the verus populus}50 Cicero thus, in a rather circular manner, defines the nature of 'true' popularity in terms of the audience which is appealed to: 'true' popularity comes from the 'true' people.151 Moving on to legislative comitia, Cicero makes a comparison between the laws which exiled and recalled him, asking which measure was genuinely popular and truly reflected the desires of the Roman people.152 He then moves on to begin an attack on the character of the prosecution witness L. Gellius.153

147

148 149 150

151

152 153

Meier 1965 592 describes largitio as one of the underhand (but probably exaggerated) means employed by 'populares'. However, contrast this with the views of the utility of largitio in suitable measure found in the second book of De officiis. See Veyne 1976: 375^-90 on Republican 'euergetism'. Sest. 105. Sest. 106. Sest. 107-8. De orat. 2.338, Lael. 97 describe the contio as the greatest stage for an orator. Cicero's claim about the presence of the whole of Italy at Lentulus' contio is, however, rather implausible. By his own definition, Cicero presents himself as an 'optimate' since he has won support without seeking it out specifically. Riggsby 2002a: 184 remarks that this expression of consensus is a denial of Cicero's exile. If everyone was in favour of recall, how could he have been exiled in the first place? Cicero, of course, makes no mention of the votes of Clodius, his associates and 'hired men' against his recall. See Mouritsen 2001, Hölkeskamp 2004a, 2004b on the symbolism of the populus Romanus in public meetings and elections. The same argument about a 'true' and a 'false' people is used against Antony in Phil. 1. Sest. 109. However, Cicero elsewhere (Prov. Cons. 18, Cael. 59, Pis. 72) admits to having left Rome in response to a storm of popular protest. Meier 1965: 580 notes Gellius as an exception - the only Roman eques to be described as popularis. On the identification of Gellius see Wiseman 1974, Evans 1983, Raster 2006: 337-8.

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'Or wherever Gellius appears, a man unworthy both of his brother, a most distinguished man and excellent consul, and of the equestrian order, of which he retains the title but has squandered the trappings - will that be popularis? Yes, for he's a man devoted to the Roman people. I have never seen anyone more so. As a young man, he might have prospered from the high offices of his stepfather, Lucius Philippus, a most eminent man, but he was so far from being popularis that he squandered his whole estate all by himself.'154 The section begins by extending Cicero's comparison of the relative popularity of the laws concerning his exile and his recall. He links the decision about which is 'truly' popular with the role of Gellius, asking whether the latter's support is sufficient to guarantee popularity. Cicero firstly compares Gellius with his brother, an optimus consul. He then explains just how twisted any application of the word popularis to Gellius is. This assessment is based on the assertion that rather than donating his estate to the Roman people, Gellius has spent every penny on himself. At one level, the comparison is with the behaviour of 'olden-day' populares who had no need for bribery. At another, Gellius is also being separated from contemporary populares for not even being able to hire supporters due to his own excessive consumption.155 At a third, Cicero clearly links the word popularis with devotion to the people. However, his extended description of Gellius' rabble-rousing and rioting demonstrates further that this is an ironic reference.156 The verdict is that Gellius is yet another unpopular demagogue. Turning to electoral comitia, Cicero expands on his theme of 'true' popularity by considering the tribunes of 59 in terms of whether they were considered populares or not.157 Two of those who were not populares are now praetors and very well regarded by the Roman people.158 Cicero then draws a distinction between the two popularis tribunes. C. Alfius Flavus is moderate and esteemed by the boni viri, despite having held unexpected opinions about the state. Unfortunately, his career has ground to a halt because he mistook the views expressed at a contio for the opinion of the Roman people. Had he not done so he would have been very successful.159 On the other hand, the other popularis, Vatinius, has neglected the aus154

155 156

157

158 159

Sest. 110, an sicubi aderit Gellius, homo etfratre indignus, viro clarissimo atque optimo consule, et ordine equestri, cuius ille ordinis nomen retinet, ornamenta confecit, id eritpopulare? 'est enim homo iste populo Romano deditus. ' nihil vidi magis;- qui, cum eius adulescentia in amptissimis honoribus summi viri, L. Philippi vitrici, florere potuisset, usque eo non fuit popularis ut bona solus comesset. Cicero has already defined populares as bankrupts, Sest. 97. Sest. 110-12. To summarise, Gellius married a freedwoman in order to appear a 'plebicola.' His family disapproved of his actions and he only achieved the prominence he did through inciting hatred of both Cicero and the res publica. Sest. 113-14. The tribunes of 59 were C. Alfius Flavus (RE 7), Q. Ancharius (RE 3), Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica (RE 99), C. Cosconius (RE 5), Cn. Domitius Calvinus (RE 43), C. Fannius (RE 9), P. Vatinius (RE 2) and possibly P. Nigidius Figulus (RE 3), MRR 2: 189-90. On Alfius Flavus see Ryan 1997. On Nigidius Figulus see MRR 2: 193 n. 5, 3: 147. Cn. Domitius, Q. Ancharius. Cicero thus constructs Alfius Flavus as an optimas on the basis of such approval from the boni viri.

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pices, the lex Aelia, the authority of the senate, Bibulus' objections to the implementation of Caesar's legislation, his own colleagues and the opinion of the boni. Consequently, Cicero explains, when Vatinius stood for the aedileship of 57, he failed even to carry the vote of his own tribe. The orator concludes, 'Thus you see that the people themselves, if I may say so, are not now popularis, since they so vehemently reject those who are considered populares}160 This statement reinforces his earlier presentation of the people themselves as optimates.161 Additionally, in these examples Cicero uses the word popularis to combine popularity with the public mandate inherent in magisterial office. The tribunes are not described for their policies or laws but in terms of the success of their subsequent careers and the views of the Roman people towards them. Most importantly, the word popularis is not used here in connection with supporting the political interests of the Roman people. The content, purely and simply, is popularity and the seeking of it. Cicero's point, yet again, is that it is the approval of the verus populus that conveys true popularity. Finally, he moves on to the opinions expressed at games and theatres.162 Although the treatment in this section is rather more light-hearted than the preceding two, the people's reception of political figures is important and one to which Cicero refers again and again in his correspondence.163 He begins by pointing out that although applause may be trivial to optimus quisque, it is of vital importance to those who seek the favour of the people.164 By way of illustration, he provides several examples designed to contrast his own popularity with Clodius' lack of it.165 He declares that genuine popularity comes only by the judgement of the whole people and reminds his audience of the declaration of goodwill made at a play by the universus populus Romanus towards himself, a man who is not popularis}66 Cicero thus adds a further twist to his argument about the nature of popularity. 'True' pop-

160

161 162 163 164 165

166

Sest. 114, videtis igitur populum ipsum, ut ita dicam, iam non esse populärem, qui ita vehementer eos qui populares habentur respuat. A rather tortuous sentence which flatters the discernment of the Roman people which has chosen to bestow its favour on those it considers most worthy of office. Compare the same sentiment in Lael. 96, 'Thus this popularis law [the rogatio Papiria de tribunis plebis reficiendis] was rejected by the votes of the people. ' 'They delight in their own peace and in the dignity of optimus quisque.' Sest. 104. Se^f. 115-9. E.g. Att. 1.19.4 on the approval of Cicero's amendments to the rogatio Flavia, Att. 2.19 on the different receptions of Caesar and Curio at the ludi Apollinares in 59. Sest. 115. Sest. 117 describes how Clodius barely escaped with his life when a senatorial decree in Cicero's favour was read out at the games given by Lentulus. The decree was greeted with unanimous applause and a standing ovation. Sest. 118-26 details audience reaction to various lines from plays, construed as having direct political relevance. Sest. 122. Compare Vat. 6 where Cicero states that his election to the consulship had been not only with the complete approval of the universus populus Romanus but also with the remarkable enthusiasm of optimus quisque.

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ularity is now not just rooted in the approval of the 'true' people but in the support of the 'whole' people. Cicero does not (quite) forget to demonstrate the popularity of his client who was applauded rapturously at a gladiatorial show given in honour of Q. Metellus Pius in 57. The orator describes how Sestius went to the games not to seek out applause for himself but to show his enemies (and, of course, those of Cicero) that the whole Roman people was against them.167 He comments on the conspicuous absence of his enemies from this show, asking whether they had some populus of their own.168 This question thus turns the tables on the prosecution's line of questioning. They had asked Cicero who his optimates were; he now asks them who their populus is.169 To drive home his point, the orator describes a contio held by Appius Claudius to discuss his recall. The verdict was not in favour of a recall. Appius Claudius claimed the support of the Roman people; Cicero disputes this, declaring that this support came from half-dead hirelings.170 These distinctions between his own supporters as the 'true' Roman people and the supporters of his opponents as the worst sort of depraved men serves to underline the orator's self-justificatory argument that the 'true' people desires what is best for the state. This, of course, is Cicero's return. In these sections, therefore, the orator is effectively transferring the concept of popularity away from populares and attributing it instead to their opposites: optimates }1X Cicero then reiterates the singular nature and universal popularity of his recall, detailing the decrees of the senate in his favour, the support he was shown by tota Italia, the thanks the senate decreed to those who had come from far and wide to help his cause and the softening of Metellus' previous animosity towards him. He rounds off this account with a description of his glorious procession from Brundisium to Rome, borne along by the cheers of a great multitude.172 Returning to the prosecutor's question about the natio optimalium, he denies that optimates are a 'breed', claiming that this term is the invention of Vatinius. The next sections (132-5) form a vituperative attack on Vatinius himself.173 Cicero begins by accusing his opponent of having told Caesar that he would never succeed 167 168

169 170 171

172 173

Sest. 124. Sest. 125, aliusne estaliquis improbis civibus peculiaris populus. Again we see the concept of Cicero supported by the 'true' people and his opponents supported by a 'fake' people. See Mouritsen 2001: 52 on the partisan nature of the contio in the late Republic. Morstein-Marx 2004: 143^t notes a 'schizophrenia' resulting from quite separate groups attending different meetings. See also Laser 1997. This kind of claim and counter-claim about who is 'truly' popular form the backbone of the arguments of Morstein-Marx 2004 and will be extended in the following chapters. Sest. 126. Raster 2006: 32 notes that Cicero's argument that it is optimates who are the' truly' popular serves to further isolate populares. See also Feeley 2006 on the universal desirability of popularity. Sest. 128-31. Raster 2006: 37 sees this celebration of the orator's recall as a powerful argument that the digression on optimates was part of the original speech and not a later addition. See Kiosses 1995: 64 on the rhetorical structure and impact of inserting this invective against Vatinius here.

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while the natio optimatium existed. As argued above, the prosecution's question implies that Cicero has used the word optimates in an unusual way, bearing little or no relation to contemporary usage. This additional association of Cicero's optimates with the opponents of Caesar illuminates the situation further.174 It is not difficult to interpret Vatinius' words as being a warning to Caesar about 'this sort of "optimate"' and having meant by the phrase 'those senators who are opposed to you' rather than a more complex ideologically-based construct.175 The orator also charges Vatinius with implicating certain distinguished men, including Cicero himself, in Vettius' plot to assassinate Pompey and with being the only one who had rejoiced at his own (Cicero's) departure. He then describes how Vatinius has violated various laws, all in the interest of currying favour with the people in order to advance his own career.176 As he has already done with Gellius, Cicero thus presents Vatinius as a demagogue of the worst sort. Cicero concludes his explanation about the nature of optimates, their leaders and the defenders of the state, with an exhortation to the young. He addresses those who are nobiles by birth and those who can achieVe it through ingenium and virtus, urging them to seek the approval of boni viri and to uphold the traditional organisation of the state wherein the senate, supported by the classes closest to it, should act to protect the liberty and advantage of the plebs. He declares that all those who defend these principles to the best of their ability are optimates}11 His explicit inclusion of those who can achieve nobilitas through talent and virtue rather than by right of birth forms a direct contrast with the prosecution's use of the word natio. The optimates of the Pro Sestio are a group wider than any hereditary ruling class. I have already mentioned the way in which Cicero exploits the word popularis in the Pro Rabirio perduellionis, claiming the positive sense for himself. In that speech, the central issue of his argument was the preservation of the liberty of Roman citizens. Rabirius' liberty had been violated by a death sentence imposed without the consent of the people. Cicero portrayed himself as a defender of liberty for his support of the defendant and Labienus as its enemy. Throughout the Pro Rabirio the word popularis is used in a consistent and positive sense to describe those who act in the interest of the people by protecting their rights and freedom. In the Pro Sestio, however, Cicero ascribes this positive sense to optimates, reserving the demagogic sense for those he describes as their opponents.

174 175

176 177

Compare his description of the supporters of Caesar as optimates in the letters of 49 discussed in Chapter 4 below. Cicero's assertion that Caesar was at odds with the natio optimatium is a further claim for support from the senate by playing on the unpopularity of Caesar. Alexander 2002: 217 argues that the reference is to the opponents of the triumvirs. Sest. 133-5. Sest. 136-8. See also Pis. 2 where nobilitas is found in actions not ancestry. Sallust (see Chapters 5 & 7 below) also extends the concept of nobility to include novi homines. Lacey 1962: 69 n. 1 remarks that this is the sole reference to nobilitas in the entire speech. In a later article, he suggests that this is because nobiles is the name the Sullani took for themselves and Cicero is disinclined to use it (1970: 7, 9).

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The next sections (138^10) constitute what is essentially a call to good, honourable and selfless behaviour: the defence of the state at the expense of the self. However, lest this path seem too perilous, Cicero presents further historical exempla to demonstrate that most adherents of these principles have not suffered as a consequence. He suggests that the only example who met with undeserved disaster was Opimius.178 In comparison, every man who has ignored the advice of the senate, the authority of the boni and the traditional ways in order to woo the masses, has been punished by the state. Furthermore, compared with the Athenian people, who tended not to restore those it banished, the populus Romanus has a much greater strength of character.179 Despite this, great men such as Themistocles, Miltiades and Aristides were not deterred from defending their state and as a result their glory remains while their opponents are lost to history. How much greater it is then, to defend not Athens but the res publica. Cicero's final exemplum is Hannibal. Despite being valued for his wisdom, virtus and achievements - single-handed against so many Roman generals - he too was exiled by his countrymen, yet his name is remembered. ' 80 These examples are used to demonstrate that exile is not ignominious but honourable, and form part of Cicero's bid to rehabilitate his public persona.181 The rousing peroration concludes with an exhortation to imitate the great and good from Roman history: the Bruti, Camilli, Ahalae, Decii, Curii, Fabricii, Maximi, Scipiones, Lentuli, Aemilii and innumerable others. Cicero calls finally on the example of Hercules, who was immortalised after his death, to inspire his audience with the thought that defenders of the res publica attain eternal glory.182 Returning to the present and the theme of his own cause as the cause of the state, Cicero picks out Sestius and Lentulus, sitting in the audience with their sons. He addresses Milo as 'the restorer of your liberty, the guardian of my life' (vindex vestrae libertatis, custos saluas mea), before commenting on the melancholy attire worn by many as an expression of sorrow at his own predicament. He makes a final plea for himself and his client - for love of his country he saved it from the conspiracy of Catilina. He has suffered enough. His defenders should not be punished. Sestius should be acquitted.183

178

179 180 181 182 183

L. Opimius (eos. 121) was responsible for the death of C. Gracchus. He was prosecuted for this in 120 and acquitted. However, in 110 he was accused under the quaestio Mamilia and exiled to Dyracchium where he died. Cicero juxtaposes two views of the Roman people when he makes the rather paradoxical statement (Sest. 140) that although Opimius was violently hated for the death of Gracchus, he was set free from his danger by the Roman people itself. See Kelly 2006: 76-7, 170. On Cicero's views of Athens (and Sparta) see La Penna 1975. Sest. 140^12. Pliny records that there were three statues of Hannibal in Rome (AW. 34.32). May 1981. Sest. 143. Sest. 144-6.

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2.3 CONCLUSIONS The first part of this chapter argued that Cicero's presentation of Clodius as an uncontrollable monster, supported only by mercenaries and slaves, and holding Rome at his mercy, was a distortion. The second part has put forward the case that the vision of populares and optimates found in the Pro Sestio is no less inventive. As Chapter 4 will argue, the most usual meaning of the word optimas identifies a member of the senatorial aristocracy - the äptoxoi - a meaning certainly entirely applicable to the patrician P. Clodius Pulcher. In the Pro Sestio, as we have seen, he creates a new and far broader definition of optimates by manipulating the rather nebulous phrase, optimus quisque. He links them with a set of qualities and virtues which are constructed to correlate precisely and coherently with other parts of the speech. We cannot know for certain whether Cicero constructed the list to correlate with the charges he brings against Clodius, Gabinius and Piso in the first part of the speech or whether their actions are described in such a way as to correlate to the list. Nevertheless, this correspondence raises a fundamental question about whether we should consider these 'optimate',/undamenta as possessing any separate existence outside this speech. Optimates, then, are the many; they are honourable, honest and upright; they oppose the events brought about by Piso, Gabinius and Clodius in 58. Further, optimates are not afraid to face death or exile in order to safeguard the interests of the state and the liberty of its citizens. The exempla Cicero uses to illustrate 'optimate' behaviour are not described in terms of policy but in terms of their steadfast behaviour in the face of opposition by seditious tribunes. This forms a direct link with Cicero's own experience and he, of course, presents himself as the ultimate optimas}M Additionally, the optimates of the Pro Sestio are described in terms of a relationship with populares. As we have seen, in the Pro Rabirio perduellionis Cicero uses the word popularis to identify those who act in interest of the res publica, in particular, those who defend the rights of its citizens.185 This usage of the word is completely absent from the Pro Sestio and notably neither Sestius nor Milo, despite being described as defenders of libertas, are called popularis in this speech. Here, Cicero argues that his exile had been a mortal blow to the state, his return, its only hope of salvation and that his cause was the causa reipublicae. Sestius' actions had thus been in the interest of the res publica. Cicero's presentation of optimates must thus necessarily encompass this meaning. Therefore that of their opponents, populares, cannot.186 184 Hellegouarc'h 1963: 503 sees the optimates of the Pro Sestio as a sort of social elite suggesting that it was to defend against the accusation of being a natio and to press forward his idea of a consensus omnium bonorum that Cicero gave a new sense to the word at variance with contemporary terminology. Stone 2005: 60 notes that in this speech, Cicero uses optimates to replace his usual inclusive term boni. I am not sure that the boni are much more easily identifiable as a group - Cicero uses the word to refer specifically to his supporters in some places (e.g. Fam. 1.9) and as a blanket term in others (e. g. Att. 1.12.1, 1.14.5). 185 A sense also clear in the passage from the Fourth Catilinarian cited in the Preface. 186 Alexander 2002: 217 notes that it is the prosecution's introduction of the 'political slant' to the trial that allows Cicero to insert his successful gambit of presenting the attack on Sestius as an attack on himself and the state thereby avoiding specifics about 'fact and law relating to vis'.

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In this speech, Cicero's descriptions of populares centre not on popular rights but on popular appeal and essentially, he uses the word popularis to make a point about the popularity of popularity-seekers and demagogues. His definition of a popularis - someone who both wants to be one and who is regarded as one - is two-fold and the two separate parts form the basis of his subsequent arguments. This dual construction allows the orator to create a division between the popularity-seekers of his own day and those of earlier times. The division, however, is not on the grounds of method or motivation since all are described in terms of demagogic behaviour and all desire to be popular. His deconstruction, based on the manipulation of two senses of the word, allows Cicero to present those of his contemporaries that he labels populares as failed demagogues since they fall short of satisfying the second half of his definition: not one of them is popular in the eyes of the Roman people. He argues that these individuals have lost all popularity by means of a further deconstruction of the Roman people into two parts, the 'true' populus and the 'false'. He thus removes any remaining vestige of positive meaning from the label he uses for his enemies. A second and no less important aim underlying Cicero's representation of populares as failed and unpopular demagogues is also aimed at discrediting his opponent by demonstrating that he, Cicero, has already won the battle for the support of the universus populus Romanus. The broad and inclusive definition of optimates in this speech has more to do with rallying personal support than the presentation of a political manifesto.187 Cicero's construction of a group which is opposed to the actions of his enemy and whose membership is not defined by noble birth is clearly aimed at excluding Clodius. 188 By removing from the word popularis the meaning which refers to those who act in the best interests of the state and instead combining this with the identification of his own cause as that of the state, Cicero conceptualises optimates as his own supporters. I believe that it is this new usage and its unusual and personalised nature which prompts the prosecution's question about Cicero's kind of optimates, the natio optimatium. The phrasing of this query and its relationship to the senate's decision on Clodius' trial illuminates the 'normal' meaning of the word optimates which refers to the wealthy senatorial aristocracy. On his return from exile, Cicero's public persona lay in shreds. The orator needed to rehabilitate his reputation and rally his supporters.189 The senate, which had lent its authority to Cicero's actions against the Catilinarians, had not prevented his exile. Moreover, its decision to allow Clodius to stand for election to the aedile-

187

188

189

The repeated apostrophes to the senate, equestrian order and omnes boni certainly read as a plea for unity but the goal put forward is the preservation of the things that Clodius has attacked. Cicero had of course reached the consulship not by virtue of birth but was a 'new man.' Kiosses 1995: 68 observes that by demonstrating that the goal of the group is the welfare of the state, Cicero shows that the trial of his client has no foundation. On Cicero's concern to justify his exile in honourable terms and the importance of moral standards of behaviour in extremity to the leaders of the Republic see Rosenstein 1990.

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ship and the indictment of Sestius and Milo formed a personal challenge.190 However, in the face of Clodius' demonstrable support both from within the aristocracy and from the masses, it would have been political suicide for Cicero to alienate either section of the community. Thus, although it is the senate's prohibition of Milo's suit that prompts Cicero's digression on populares and optimates, senatorial authority forms a large part of his self-justification as well as the rehabilitation of his own authority and standing. In the interest of preserving support outside senatorial circles, he attacks his opponent Clodius as a popularis but concentrates on the demagogic sense of the word, rather than risking attack on the rights of the people. Combining this with the claim that populist action in the current climate is detrimental to the state, Cicero casts Clodius as an outsider and an enemy of the state, while putting himself forward as a conservative traditionalist.191 The ambiguity of the word popularis thus serves Cicero's purpose perfectly and suggests the reason why he chooses it to label his opponents. He exploits both the negative, demagogic sense and the positive sense which refers to popularity in his quest to construct Clodius as a rogue and himself as a responsible and admired servant of the state. The principle charge he makes against his enemies is their failure to achieve popularity. The creative artistry involved in doing so is highlighted when we consider Clodius' political mobilisation of large sections of the urban populace.192 The digression on optimates in Pro Sestio has been interpreted as a call for unity in the state, a political manifesto aimed at reviving the concordia Ordinum.193, While there is certainly a call for unity, given the extent of Cicero's identification of himself with the res publica and the centrality of this concept to the arguments he puts forward, I do not think that we should assume a separate existence for such a manifesto outside the speech. Importantly for modern, ideologically-based models of politics in the late Republic, the Pro Sestio does not pit the authority of the senate against the sovereignty of the people. Its aim is limited and precise - to persuade the jurors that acquitting Sestius is the right thing to do and that in doing so, they will 190

191

192 193

Kiosses 1995: 21-6 sees the personal challenge to Cicero himself and the senate's decision to allow Clodius to stand for election as the two most important political aspects of Sestius' trial. He interprets the digression as a call to rally the state to unite against the enemies of public welfare as well as a manifesto of the orator's own political ideas. May 1988: 105, 'Cicero's plan for an alliance of the "best men" actually presents a plea for support of himself, his client Sestius, and all who support the senatorial and constitutional government of the Republic against a band of gangsters and revolutionaries, supporters of men like Clodius, who call themselves populares.' I therefore disagree with Seager 1972a: 338 who suggests, 'It would probably be wrong to suppose that Cicero's treatment of populares displayed any real originality.' Kaster 2006: 33-6 identifies several 'formal flaws' in the digression which hamper its consideration as a 'serious exercise in political thought.' He includes the broad nature of optimates which bears no relation to the contemporary usage of the word, the omission of the comitia tributa from the discussion on legislative assemblies, the failure to provide any reason for the contemporary unity among the people (excepting Clodius' henchmen) which renders the exhortation 'at best beside the point, if not actually contradictory.' While I agree with Raster's first point, I think Cicero presents his own cause as the uniting factor and therefore the final exhortation is a further call for personal support.

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be able to feel good about themselves. Cicero's argument focuses on shoring up his own position while at the same time attacking that of Clodius. His descriptions of populares and optimates and the presentation of conflict between the two is clearly a contingent and personalised construction, created with definite authorial goals to which the political aspects and circumstances of Sestius' trial hold the key. How far Cicero is manipulating an underlying contrast between the terms is the subject of the next three chapters.

194 Thus Lintott 2008: 199 'an ideal vision, suited to the appeal that Cicero was making to a jury of senators and équités'.

3 POPULARES ACCORDING TO CICERO The Pro Sestio puts forward a very subjective division between populares and optimates. The next three chapters will therefore expand the scope of the investigation and consider how the terms are used outside this text. How often are they contrasted with each other and in what senses? Where no direct contrast made, to what extent is it possible to infer one and how well does this match our models of Republican politics? The current chapter focuses on the way Cicero uses the word popularis. Since it is apparent that the word has several distinct meanings, the place to start is with a lexicographical analysis. After establishing a semantic framework, some examples from the Ciceronian corpus will be examined in order to assess how consistently the word is used in a political context. These examples include several of the 'key' texts which underpin traditional models of late Republican politics as well as some of those which have been highlighted as problems for these models.1

3.1 A LEXICOGRAPHICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WORD POPULARIS2 The Oxford Latin Dictionary lists nine meanings for the adjective popularis: 1) of, belonging to, or involving the whole people or a majority of it, popular; 2) available to, directed towards the community, public; 3) of the common people (as opposed to the senate etc.) either socially or politically; 4) supporting or professing to support the interests of the people politically; 5) of words and actions likely or intended to win the support of the general public, popular in appeal; 6) liked or admired by the general public, popular; 7) common, ordinary; 8) of or concerned with the organisation of a people; 9) of the country to which one belongs, native. It identifies three meanings for the word when it used as a noun: 1) a member of the same community, fellow citizen, compatriot, a partner or associate in an activity; 2) a member of a given community; 3) a member of the 'popular' party, a promoter of 'popular' policies. 1

2

Meier 1965: 568-72 cites several paradoxical references to populares which do not match concepts about opposition to the senate including Fam. 12.4.1, in re salutari populares sumus, Phil. 1 A, idem in re una maxime populari, quod eadem salutaris rei publicae sit, improbos se quam popularis esse malint? The following analysis is supported by Appendix A which contains information about all the references to the words popularis and optimas both in the works of Cicero and in the canon of Latin literature from the 3 r d century BC to end of the 3 rd century AD. The source for these references is the BTL-4 database of Latin literature. The major lexicographical treatments of the word popularis can be found in OLD: 1403^t and Hellegouarc'h 1963: 518-25, 534-41. The ILL article on popularis remains to be published. However, a draft copy of the forthcoming article was kindly made available to me by Dr. J. Blundell and Dr. Yelena Baraz of the ~ Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

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3 Populares according to Cicero

The word is most often found in its singular form. It occurs less in Cicero's letters and more in his speeches.3 Outside the Ciceronian corpus, the most common meaning of the word is 'compatriot' or 'fellow citizen,' yet Cicero uses popularis in this sense very few times.4 Other meanings he uses infrequently are 'common,' 5 'a member of a certain community'6 and the sense which describes the organisation of a people.7 He also uses the word only once to make a distinction between civilians and the military.8 Overall Cicero most often uses the word popularis to refer to the seeking of popularity (22 %). Most of these instances occur in his speeches (forty of a total of fifty-four). The next most frequent meaning denotes the whole or a majority of the people (20%). In third place comes the sense which refers to actual popularity or, in other words, genuine public favour as opposed to the courting of it (18 %). The sense that identifies action in the popular interest appears forty-two times (17%) and almost all of these instances appear in Cicero's speeches (thirty-eight of fortytwo).9 In his letters, Cicero most often uses the word popularis to refer to genuine popularity, to matters or individuals who are liked or admired by the general public (52 %). A straightforward example appears in a letter to C. Cassius in Syria. Cicero advises his correspondent to consider carefully whether he should come to Rome to support Q. Cassius at his trial. If C. Cassius thinks he can be successful, nothing will be more laudable and popular.10 A similar example, drawn this time from Cicero's speeches, is his description of the way in which the censorship was viewed in 70. He states that while it had previously been out of favour, the corrupt conduct of

3 4

5 6 7 8 9

10

Two hundred and forty-four instances. One hundred and thirty-three appear in the speeches, eighty-six in the philosophical works and twenty-five in the letters. One hundred and fifty-six out of five hundred and eighty-three instances. Cicero uses it only in Att. 10.1.2, Brut. 58, Luc. 118 & N.D. 1.13. In the earliest literature of the Republic, the word is only found with the following meanings: 'compatriot' (Ace. Carm. fr. 23; Caecil. Com. 211; Cato Orat. 66; Enn. Ann. 2.136, 9.306; Naev. Poen. fr. 46; Ter. Ad. 155, Eu. 1031, Ph. 35; Pl. Am. 193, Aul. 406, Poen. 906, 965, 1039, Rud. 605, 615, 740, 1080, 1268), 'common' (Cato Agr. 88.1) or 'public' (Pl. Trin. 470). Meier 1965: 568 observes that the first use of the meaning which refers to actions intended to win popular appeal occurs in the Verrines {Verr. 2.1.151-3, 2.3.48-9). Mackie 1992: 49 notes that L. Quinctius is the first politician to be described as popularis (Clu. 77). Cael. 52, De orat. 2.159, Dom. 49. Leg. 1.61. Fin. 5.66, Leg. 2.9. Leg. 2.21. The exceptions are Luc. 13 (twice), 72 and Rep. 2.54. A particular example is Rab. Perd. 1 1 17 which was discussed in detail in Chapter 2 section 2.2.1 above. Further examples include Leg. Ag. which is considered below in section 3.2.1 and also Catil. 4.9-10. This general pattern supports the theory of Morstein-Marx that public debate was concerned with presenting oneself as acting in the interest of the people and one's opponent as failing to do so. For a treatment of Cicero's speeches against the Rullan law as exercises in the creation of a 'rhetorical self-image' see Morstein-Marx 2004: 204-40. C. Cassius Longinus (RE 59), Q. Cassius (RE 70). Fam. 15.14.4, laudabile atque populare.

3.2 Contextual analysis of the word popularis

71

senatorial jurors meant that it was now being clamoured for and was seen as popular and praiseworthy. ' ' In his philosophical works, Cicero most often uses the word popularis to refer to the whole or the majority of the people (30 %). It tends to qualify positive qualities such as reputation (fama),12 praise (laus),13 favour (gratia)14 and fame (gloria)15. These positive associations with the opinions of the Roman people as a whole complement the ideology of the sovereign populus Romanus from whom all magisterial power derived. Cicero also often uses the word in these works to describe matters suitable for ordinary people and in particular, the style of speech most useful for public speaking (22 %). 16 By examining the categories of meaning used in the three types of literary source material (speeches, philosophical works and letters) it is apparent that the predominant meanings vary according to the type of work Thus in the orations the most frequent meanings refer to popularity-seeking (30 %), supporting the popular interest (29 %) and simple popularity (19 %). This distribution reflects oratorical goals about winning support by the skilful presentation of both oneself and the matter under discussion. In the Philosophia, which are concerned with the idealisation of skills and behaviour, the most common meanings are 'of the people as a majority' (30 %) and 'public' (12 %). In Cicero's letters, we find more candid expressions concerned with the importance of personal standing and reception by others and this corresponds with his frequent use of the word popularis to refer to popularity. In summary, the word popularis varies widely in meaning, covering a broad spectrum of meaning from popular to populist and Cicero makes full use of this range. As will be argued below, this wide semantic range has important implications for our views about 'populares'.

3.2 CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF THE WORD POPULARIS Having discussed Cicero's usage of the word popularis in broad terms, the next section will consider several passages in greater detail. Particular attention will be paid to the question of how far these descriptions match traditional views of 'popularis' behaviour.

11 12 13 14 15 16

Div. Caec. 8, populare et plausible. e.g. Fin. 2.50, Tusc. 1.110. e.g. De orat. 3.117. e.g. Off. 3.81. e.g. Luc. 4. 'public' - ten occurrences, 'of, or suited to, ordinary people' - nine. Examples include Brut. 165, 247, Parad. 4, de Orat. 1.108. See Narducci 1997, David 2006.

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3 Populares according to Cicero 3.2.1 The De lege agraria

The first examples to be considered come from Cicero's speeches against the Rullan proposal of 63. The three speeches form the most extended debate over land distribution, traditionally a 'popularis' topic, in the Ciceronian corpus.17 As such we may hope to find Cicero using the word popularis in them not only in a consistent way but one that matches our views about 'popularis' behaviour. Rullus' proposal has been classified as 'popularis' in various ways, the most straightforward of which concerns its subject matter. By providing material benefits for the poorer classes it conforms to one of the three groups of 'popularis' legislation identified by Meier.18 Nevertheless, a major problem with this sort of content-based classification is the fact that laws dealing with the same subjects are also passed with senatorial backing.19 Other scholars have categorised the Rullan proposal as 'popularis' on the basis of Pompey's involvement.20 However, whether or not it is possible to do so, there are also major difficulties with this approach since there is disagreement over whether the measure was intended to benefit the general or not. Badian suggests

17 18

19

20

On the complexity of detail in these speeches and the nature of the debate see Morstein-Marx 2004: 190-203. For a bibliographic summary of recent scholarship on the three speeches see Craig 2002: 593. See also Fontanella 2005. Meier 1965: 598-612. Brunt 1988: 32-3 agreed that there was no real element of democratic reform in the legislation of the 'populares'. He allowed that while some acted from altruistic motives about the necessity of reform, others simply mouthed claims about popular sovereignty in order to achieve personal ends. He observed that the word popularis was applied notably to legislation proposed to alleviate social distress and carried against the will of the senate. Such measures included land, grain and ballot laws as well as those which defended the liberty of the people. Perelli also agreed that core 'popularis' issues centred on subjects such as the powers of the tribunes and the extension of the citizenship as well as land and grain distributions. See also Lintott 1994b: 52 who suggests that the 'standard popularis themes' dealt with land distribution, the secret ballot and limits on the money and power of the wealthy. E. g. the proposals of the two Livii Drusi. Another example which is often cited in this context is the grain proposal put forward by Cato in 62. Taylor 1946: 127 observes that this was a timely measure which capitalised on the recent failure of Catilina and was intended to attract popular support for the senate. Although it may be seen as a senatorial attempt to 'head off' a solution they saw as less acceptable, in terms of content it does not appear to differ materially from other grain laws which are described as popularis. For a discussion of Catilina's failure being due to his not having potestas contionandi, see Pina Polo 1996: 44—8. On 'optimate' grain policy see Burckhardt 1988: 240-56. Cato (together with his fellow tribune of 62, L. Marius (RE 19)) also passed a law which set a penalty on falsely reporting battle casualties and required triumphators to swear an oath on the numbers they reported (V. Max. 2.8.1). Meier 1965: 579 notes that Cato and Manus must have used 'popularis' methods and arguments in order to implement this law but cautions against the assumption that they spoke of a division between senate and people. Pompey is categorised as 'popularis' in various ways - for his restoration of the tribunate (see e.g. Taylor 1949 cited in Chapter 1 above), for his extra-ordinary commands, for his great reputation among the people as well as for his association with Caesar. See Meier 1965: 587 ff.

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73

that the measure, probably supported by Caesar and Crassus, may have been intended as a 'bargaining counter to hold against Pompey'. He suggests that Cicero presents himself as 'popularis' in order to defend Pompey's interests.21 This interpretation thus places 'populares' on both sides of the measure.22 Given these problems, can an in-depth examination of the way Cicero uses the word popularis in these speeches clarify matters? In the first speech, given before the senate, Cicero sets out the basis for his argument: 'Rullus, you and some of your colleagues have made a big mistake in hoping that you would be considered populares for opposing a consul who is not just pretending to be but really is popularis. I challenge you; I call you to a public meeting; I want to use the Roman people to decide between us. For when we look around at everything which is pleasant and dear to the people, we will find nothing so populare as peace, harmony and quietness.'23 In the first sentence, Cicero contrasts himself with Rullus and his colleagues. The issue is whether Rullus' proposal a threat to the state and therefore not in the best interests of the Roman people. He challenges the Roman people to decide between himself and Rullus on the basis of what they find pleasing {iucunda populo).24 In the final sentence, populare is thus used clearly to identify values which Cicero suggests are 'pleasing to the people.'25 He rounds off his speech by exhorting the other tribunes to join together with himself and the boni in the defence of the state.26 Importantly, even in this first speech, given in the senate, he asks his audience to decide between himself and Rullus on the basis of an assessment about what is popularis. In his second speech on the matter, given before a contio, Cicero begins by 21

22

23

24 25 26

Badian 2003a. Similar is the view of Morstein-Marx 2004: 206 who sees Cicero 'usurping the honourable title of "People's Man'". Implicit in this observation is the positive aspect of the word popularis. On the measure's lack of benefits for Pompey see Ward 1972. Contra Sumner 1966 who explains Cicero's opposition to the proposal as a reflection of his own political principles about land distribution. Also Gruen 1974: 389-95 who sees little evidence that Caesar and Crassus were behind the proposal and also suggests the measure was intended to benefit Pompey's veterans. Morstein-Marx 2004 uses this to advance his theory of 'contional ideology'. Mackie 1992: 51 cites the speeches as evidence that the Romans could distinguish between 'true' populares and 'false' ones. Leg. Ag. 1.23, errastis Rulle, vehementer et tu et non nulli collègue tui, qui sperastis vos contra consulem veritate, non ostentatione populärem posse in evertenda re publica populares existimari, lacesso vos, in contionem voco, populo Romano disceptatore uti volo. etinem, ut circumspiciamus omnia quae populo grata atque iucunda sunt, nihil tarn populare quam pacem, quam concordiam, quam otium reperiemus. The chiastic contrasts provided by the sentence which follows, sollicitant mihi civitatem suspicione suspensam metu perturbatum vestris legibus et contionibus et deductionibus tradidistis add further emphasis to the qualities Cicero holds up as popular: sollicitant, suspensam and perturbam with pacem, concordiam and otium. Contrast iucunda multitudo in Sest. 96. See also Lig. 37, nihil est tarn populare quam bonitas. Leg. Ag. 1.22, 26.

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3 Populares according to Cicero

staking his own claim to being popularis: the popular mandate he holds as an elected consul.27 He also distances himself from others who may have reached the same position but have tended to avoid appearing before the people.28 This assertion that he is a different kind of consul is extended by Cicero's explicit claims to be at ease with the concept of agrarian legislation and his positive view of the Gracchi whom he describes as two most illustrious, talented and admired men.29 He then opens a debate on the nature of the word popularis, rhetorically asking his audience for their views, their help and their wisdom.30 Cicero accuses Rullus and his colleagues of perpetrating an attack on the very safety and security of the Roman people and in so doing, trying to appear populares. In contrast, he will be a popularis consul, the bringer of peace, liberty and quietness (pax, libertas and otium). Again, the emphasis laid on these qualities is their pleasing and welcome nature.31 He calls on the people again and again to recognise the threats Rullus' proposal makes on their liberty.32 In these speeches, the word popularis is used on many levels to draw contrasts between many things. Essentially, Cicero compares himself with Rullus, asking which of them is popularis?3 The context makes clear that the fundamental debate is about acting in the interests of the Roman people but we should note the ambiguities in meaning and usage carefully. Cicero makes no mention of changing his own political tactics. His claims to be a popularis consul encompass his popular mandate, the popularity demonstrated by his prime position in the consular elections and his professed intent to act in the best interests of the Roman people by giving them what they want. Rullus is also described as popularis but in an ironic way to imply that he is not acting in the interest of the Roman people. His plans of deception and fraud are unbecoming to a tribune and Cicero claims that Rullus' motive is avarice.34 27 28 29

30 31

32

33 34

Leg. Ag. 2.1-5. For an excellent deconstruction of this speech see Vasaly 1993: 218-243. Leg. Ag. 2.6. Leg. Ag. 2.10-11. Lintott 1994a: 9 observes that Cicero exploits the names of the Gracchi in order to 'disparage other demagogues by comparison and to assert his own adherence to popular principles'. Ramsey 2007: 132 remarks on the different presentations of the Gracchi in the first (senatorial) speech and the second, given before the people. Leg. Ag. 2.7. Leg. Ag. 2.9 claims that pax is enjoyed not only by men and animals but even houses and fields, libertas is set above everything else by man and beast alike, otium is pleasing to the audience, the Roman ancestors and the bravest men. Leg. Ag. 2.15-17, 'libertas will be torn away ... by a tribune of the plebs, created by our ancestors to be the protector and guardian of libertas ... a plot is being hatched against your libertas ... libertas which has been handed down to you ... to see how you will bear the lessening of your libertas ... to usurp your libertas by means of the lot.' Also 2.17, Rullus has acted without fairness towards the people and their liberty, 2.24, 'your liberty is being entirely abolished by this law', 2.25, 'this law will prevent Pompey from guarding your liberty', 2.29, the decemviri as kings who 'will sweep away your liberty', 2.71, 'listen to me and keep your liberty,' 2.75, 'surely it is clear that your liberty is being destroyed.' popularis consul/Cicero (1.23, 2.6, 2.7, 2.9, 2.15, 2.102), popularis tribune/Rullus (1.23, 1.25, 2.7, 2.10, 2.17, 2.27,2.63) Leg. Ag. 2.20, 2.63.

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75

The orator makes no explicit contrast between populares and optimates. Instead, he employs a similar argument to that used in the Pro Rabirio perduellionis, discussed in Chapter 2 above.35 He uses various meanings of the word popularis, discrediting Rullus with the negative ones and claiming the positive implications for himself, the ancestors of the Roman people and 'true' tribunes.36 He makes no claim that there was a subset of Roman ancestors who were populares. The description applies to them all and forms a complete contrast with his assertions in the Pro Sestio. Although in the second speech Cicero admits that claiming to be a popularis consul is more difficult in the senate that on the rostra (2.6), this can be seen as part of a rhetorical strategy of flattering and bonding with his audience, an example of the 'joviality' which Jehne identifies as such an important part of speaking in popular assemblies.37 He clearly does make the claim to be popularis in his senatorial speech and our judgment about how 'difficult' this may have been must surely take into account the consideration of how likely Cicero was to have started off his consular career by behaving in an unusual or even inflammatory way on his first day in office.38 There is no discernable difference in the way Cicero uses the word popularis between the speech given before the senate and that before the people.39 His tactic of asking for the help of his audience to define the meaning of the word popularis (Leg. Ag. 2.7) recalls the way in which he provides swift explanations for the sense of the word in the passages from the Fourth Catilinarian and the De amicitia cited in the Preface above. It is evident that he is happy to make use of the word popularis in several different ways and play on various meanings. Unfortunately, this complex usage makes identifying a consistent political meaning difficult.

35 36 37 38

39

Section 2.2.1. This same highly positive use of the word to describe the maiores also appears in Cicero's speech on his house. Here he calls the Roman ancestors populares, not falsely and deceitfully but truly and wisely, for having protected the rights of Roman citizens (Dom. 77-80). Jehne 2002. Cape 2002: 128 makes the intriguing observation that Cicero makes arguments that 'run counter to his audiences' traditional interests.' In the first speech he claims to be a popularis consul who will work for what the people want while in the second he opposes legislation that is favourable to the people. Ramsey 2007: 133^t notes that a comparison of the two speeches shows that Cicero did not 'talk down' to the people. Although he substitutes the quality concordia used in his senatorial speech for libertas when speaking in the contio, the positive sense in which he uses popularis to describe both is the same. Cape 2002: 128 makes the intriguing observation that Cicero makes arguments that 'run counter to his audiences' traditional interests.' In the first speech he claims to be a popularis consul who will work for what the people want while in the second he opposes legislation that is favourable to the people. Ramsey 2007: 133-4 notes that a comparison of the two speeches shows that Cicero did not 'talk down' to the people.

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3 Populares according to Cicero

3.2.2 Philippic VIII The next example adds to this complexity considerably.40 This speech was delivered the day after the envoys who had been sent to Antony returned to Rome bearing his 'intolerable demands'. 41 The senate passed a resolution declaring a state of tumultus.42 Cicero declared that a tumult could not exist unless there was a war and claimed that this indeed was the situation.43 In the early parts of the speech he attacks Antony for his threats to the Republic, to the temples and gods, homes and hearths, the laws and liberty of the Roman people.44 He then turns his attention to Fufius (the former tribune of 61 and Antony's partisan in Rome) and, echoing his earlier speech against Rullus, claims always to have defended peace and otium. In a sentence which calls to mind both the ' optimate' fimdamenta put forward in the Pro Sestio and the goals of the popularis consul in De lege agraria, Cicero puts himself forward as the champion of libertas, leges, iura, iudicia, imperium orbis terrae, dignitas, pax and otium.45 He accuses Fufius of preferring his own interests to those of the state and of aiming at regnum.46 To counter Fufius' claim to desire the safety of all citizens, Cicero provides a selection of historical examples of men who accepted that when the state itself is in danger, the taking of life is sometimes necessary. His examples are Q. Metellus Macedonicus; P. Nasica who led the attack on Ti. Gracchus; L. Opimius and P. Lentulus who were involved in the killing of C. Gracchus; C. Marius, the Scauri, Metelli, Claudii, Catuli, Scaevolae and Crassi who all took part in the attacks on Glaucia and Saturninus. Cicero includes himself for his execution of the Catilinarians.47 He then makes a bitterly sarcastic reference to Fufius' earlier support for Clodius.48 Finally, Fufius is taken to task for his attitude towards the Massilians whose steadfastness and good faith had previously mitigated the anger Caesar had felt towards them. Cicero is of the opinion that a friend of the res publica cannot be an enemy to Massilia and claims to be at a loss as to Fufius' position on the matter. Cicero rounds off his attack, declaring,

40 41 42 43 44

45

46 47 48

For a bibliographic summary of recent scholarship on the Philippics see Craig 2002: 596-7. See also Manuwald 2007. M. Antonius (RE 30). Fam. 12.4. Phil. 8.7. Phil. 8.8, quae est igitur in medio belli causa posita? nos deorum immortalium templa, nos muros, nos domicilia sedesque populi Romani, aras, focos, sepulcra maiorum; nos leges, iudicia, libertatem, coniuges, liberos, patriam defendimus: contra M. Antonius id molitur. Phil. 8.10. As in the Pro Sestio, all these elements correspond to charges Cicero raises against Antony and his partisans. Most are contained in the list in Phil. 8.8 above n. 44. Other links are the attacks on Mutina and Gaul (Phil. 8.5) and property rights (Phil. 8.9). Phil. 8.12. Phil. 8.13-15. Phil. 8.16. See Chapters 2 and 4 for Fufius' part in the Bona Dea trial. Hall 2002: 294 comments that in the Philippics this kind of sarcasm is most often directed at Antony.

3.2 Contextual analysis of the word popularis

11

'Previously we could not deter you from being popularis, yet now we cannot persuade you to be popularis.'49 The main thrust of Cicero's argument up to this point is that Fufius' support for Antony will lead to the destruction of the state and the rise of the guilty at the expense of the innocent. In the sentence above he plays on the ambiguity of the word popularis to point out inconsistencies in his opponent's actions. The first occurrence of popularis refers to Fufius' earlier behaviour which, in the context of this speech, is his support for Clodius. Given the previous history between Fufius and Cicero, it is hard to interpret the word in any positive sense here. It seems fairly straightforward to understand that Cicero is using the word negatively to present his opponent as an enemy of the state or an opponent of the status quo rather than a defender of the people's rights. The second occurrence is highly intriguing. Cicero's argument has been that supporting Antony is incompatible with the preservation of citizens' lives. He explicitly claims that he wants Fufius to be a popularis. Even at first glance it seems unlikely that Cicero means the word to be understood in the same negative way as in the first part of the sentence. He is clearly exhorting Fufius to act in the right way, in the public interest. There is, however, no suggestion that this is to be undertaken in opposition to senatorial or 'optimate' wishes. The immediate context here is Cicero's criticism of Fufius' attitude towards the Massilians. However, in the wider context of the speech, the orator's stated wish for Fufius to be a popularis is clearly linked to the historical examples of men who have saved the state by killing its enemies, in particular, to Nasica, Opimius, Marius and Cicero himself. The orator's inference is that Antony should meet the same fate as their opponents: the Gracchi, Saturninus and Catilina. This is a fundamental and striking reversal of our 'normal' labelling of Nasica, Opimius and the other examples Cicero cites in sections 14-15. 50

3.2.3 The Lucullus Yet another problematic example is drawn from the second book (the Lucullus) of Cicero's treatise on epistemology, the Academica. As a whole, the work deals with the bases of human knowledge and the extent to which the senses can be trusted.51 49

50

51

Phil. 8.19, antea deterrere te, ne popularis esses, non poteramus; exorare nunc, ut sis popularis, non possumus. See Manuwald 2007: 841-3 & 980 who notes the play on the different meanings of popularis. Although she interprets one meaning as a reference to a party (allegedly) supporting the interest of the people, I agree with her conclusion that the positive and negative senses Cicero uses here are mutually exclusive. This antithesis hampers the attempt to understand the word as a label for a particular kind of politician. Wiseman 2009: 181, 208-9 sees Cicero's presentation of Nasica as a liberator of the Republic as justification for the arbitrary bypassing of 'the rule of law' by 'optimates'. This does not take accoun of Cicero's claim that Fufius can become popularis (someone who acts in the public interest) by joining him against Anthony. On the Academica see Reid 1885, Levy 1992, Schäublin et al. 1995, Powell 1995, Griffin 1997, Haltenhoff 1998.

3 Populares according to Cicero

Written after the death of Cicero's daughter in 45, the first versions were dedicated to Catulus and Lucullus. However, within months he was revising the books and the final versions were dedicated to Varro. The first book of the final version and second book of the first version (the Lucullus) survive. The first book of the original version, the Catulus, seems to have contained speeches supporting scepticism by Catulus and Cicero and, in opposition, an account of the philosophy of Antiochus by Hortensius.52 The discussion of the Lucullus is set at the villa of Hortensius at Bauli, sometime between 62 and 61, and its subject matter falls into two parts: an attack on scepticism by Lucullus and a defence of the same by Cicero, himself an adherent of Carneades and the New Academy.53 Lucullus argues against Arcesilas' overthrow of established philosophy, beginning as follows: 'When he had said this, Lucullus started again as follows: "First, it seems to me," - here he addressed me by name, - "what you are doing in citing the early natural philosophers is exactly what seditious citizens usually do when they list a selection of famous men from the past, who they say were populares, in order to make themselves look like them. For they start with Publius Valerius, who was consul in the first year after the expulsion of the kings; and they list all the others who, as consuls, proposed popularis laws about rights of appeal. Then they turn to better-known cases: to Gaius Flaminius, who proposed an agrarian law against the will of the senate a few years before the Second Punic War, when he was tribune of the people, and who afterward became consul twice; to Lucius Cassius; and to Quintus Pompeius. Indeed they usually count even Publius Africanus in this number. They say that those two very wise and distinguished brothers, Publius Crassus and Publius Scaevola, were the sources of Tiberius Gracchus' laws (the former openly, as we see, the latter more obscurely, as they suspect). They also count Gaius Marius in - and they are certainly not wrong about him. Once they have set out this long list of names of remarkable people, they claim that they are pursuing what these men began.'" 54 52 53

54

Griffin 1997: 16-27. The dramatic date, soon after Cicero's consulship, allows the characters to speak to each as consulars of equal rank. The Catilinarian conspiracy is a recent event. Arcesilas, the founder of the New Academy, had championed scepticism and suggested that it was impossible to trust any impression of sense since the arguments for and against trusting this impression would cancel each other out. Certitude was thus impossible. His successor Carneades modified this theory, arguing that although absolute certitude was impossible, there were degrees of possible certitude. Luc. 13, quae cum dixisset, sic rursus exorsus est: 'primum mihi videmini - me autem nomine appellabat - cum veteres physicos nominatis, facere idem, quod seditiosi cives soient, cum aliqvos ex antiquis claros viros proferunt, quos dicant fuisse popularis, ut eorum ipsi similes esse videantur, repetunt enim a P. Valerio, qui exactis regibus primo anno consul fuit, commémorant reliquos, qui leges popularis de provocationibus tulerint, cum consules essent; tum ad hos notions, C. Flaminium, qui legem agrariam aliquot annis ante secundum Punicum bellum tribunus plebis tulerit invito senatu elpostea bis consul factus sit, L. Cassium, Q. Pompeium; Uli quidem etiam P. Africanum referre in eundem numerum soient. Duos vero sapientissimos et clarissimus fratres, P. Crassum et P. Scaevolam, aiunt Ti. Graccho auctores legum fuisse, alterum quidem,

3.2 Contextual analysis of the word popularis

79

Lucullus' remarks are specifically directed at Cicero {me autem nomine appellabat) and thus refer to an argument the orator's character must have put forward in favour of scepticism in the Catulus. He draws a comparison between an earlier citation of philosophers by Cicero and the arguments put forward by seditious citizens who claim statesmen of the past as populares in order to lend weight to their own arguments.55 The character of Lucullus explains that Saturninus, a family enemy, who used to make just this kind of rhetorical claim, had nothing in common with the famous men of antiquity.56 The first point to be made regarding this passage is that since the seditiosi are claiming the famous historical characters as exempla, the word popularis must be meant in a positive way here. It would make no sense to claim to be imitating bad examples. A second important point is that there appear to be notable absences from this list of populares, namely the Gracchi, Saturninus and Sulpicius.57 The exclusion of Tiberius Gracchus is directly connected with Lucullus' argument against Academic scepticism: just as Arcesilas overturned the established foundations of philosophy, Ti. Gracchus started a revolution in1 the state.58 The omission of C. Gracchus, whom Cicero elsewhere describes as unus maxime popularis {Dom. 24) and as a defender of citizen rights {Rab. Perd. 12-15) passes without comment. It is, however, immediately apparent that all the members of Lucullus' list were consuls and this is certainly a part of their importance as historical exempla. The rest of this section will consider each of the examples in the list in order to clarify the reasons they are described as populares. The first member of the list of distinguished statesmen is P. Valerius {eos. 508, 507, 504) who gained the cognomen Publicola for his 'people-friendly' policies.59 In addition to instituting the practice of lowering the fasces when speaking before a contio, he proposed a law of appeal. He also passed laws prohibiting the assumption of any magistracy not bestowed by the people, removing the restrictions on candidacy, cutting taxes and reducing the fine for disobeying a magistrate. Furthermore, he razed his house on the Velia to the ground in order to allay the people's fears that

55

56

57

58 59

ut videmus, palam, alterum, ut suspicantur, obscurius. addunt etiam C. Murium; et de hoc quidem nihil mentiuntur. horum nominibus tot virorum atque tantorum expositis eorum se institutum sequi dieunt. Luc. 72 repeats the basis of the rhetorical strategy - see p. 85-86 below. Note that Lucullus claims that Saturninus had nothing in common with the examples he is said to have cited, Luc. 14. For a very detailed commentary on sections 13-15 see Haltenhoff 1998: 85-106. They do this in the interest of appearing to be populares. The list of philosophers (claimed as forerunners of Academic scepticism) for comparison comprises Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Parmenides, Xenophanes, Plato and Socrates, Luc. 14. See Haltenhoff 1998: 91-101. Luc. 75, videorne tibi non ut Saturninus nominare modo inlustres homines, sed etiam imitari numquam nisi darum, nisi nobilem? Saturninus had prosecuted Metellus Numidicus who was Lucullus' uncle. Meier 1965: 573 terms them 'die vier grossen, klassischen populares.' Cicero groups them together in Har. Resp. 41, 43; Corn 2 fr. 5; Leg. 3.20; Rhet. Her. 4.31 and with Drusus, Cinna and none other than L. Cornelius Sulla in Vat. 23. This last passage is discussed in Chapter 6 section 6.2.1 below. Luc. 15. P. Valerius Volusi Publicola {RE 302).

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3 Populares according to Cicero

he was acting like a king. Significantly, neither Cicero nor the other ancient sources ever present him acting in conflict with the senate.60 Although Publicola's legislation is not specifically mentioned here, the phrase commémorant reliquos qui leges populares de provocationibus tulerint suggests an emphasis on Publicola's law of appeal in order to provide a link with the next members of the list. The other consular laws dealing with the subject that we know of are the Valerio-Horatian law of 449, the leges Porciae and one passed by M. Valerius Corvus (eos. 300).61 The Valerio-Horatian law was implemented after the fall of the Decemvirate and specified that there should never be a magistrate whose decisions would be exempt from appeal. Cicero suggests that a desire for concord was the motivation behind this law and elsewhere describes the consuls responsible for it, L. Valerius PotituS and M. Horatius Barbatus, as populares homines.62 Livy portrays the pair, entrusted by the senate with the responsibility of restoring harmony in the state, as champions of popular liberty who managed to safeguard the libertas plebis without offending the patres.63 He notes that the appeal law passed by Valerius Corvus was the third time such a measure had been re-enacted since the expulsion of the kings and suggests that the reason for these successive re-enactments was the danger posed to the libertas plebis by a few powerful men.64 None of these Valerian laws is described as being passed in the face of senatorial opposition. The Porcian laws are problematic as it is not known when they were implemented or by whom. In the De republica, Cicero notes that three Porcian laws were proposed by three different members of the gens Porcia.65 Rotondi conjectured that the author of one of them may have been L. Porcius Licinius (eos. 184).66 Broughton suggests that P. Porcius Laeca (tr. pl. 199) may be the author of another.67 As we do not know the circumstances under which these laws were passed, it is difficult to define in which specific ways they might conform to modern theories about 'popularis' legislation. The only identifiable characteristic is their provision, like that of the Valerian laws, for the protection of the rights of Roman citizens. The example of C. Flaminius seems to conform to modern 'popularis' characteristics in a straightforward manner. As tribune in 232 he proposed a measure to divide the land of the Senones between Roman citizens.68 Cicero describes the law as being passed contrary to the wishes of the senate and omnes optimates.69 He also 60 61

62 63 64

65 66 67 68 69

For details and sources see MRR 1: 2. M. Valerius Maximus Corvus (RE 137). On this law see Rotondi 1912: 235-6, MRR 1: 172. On provocatio see Staveley 1955, Bleicken 1959a & 1959b, Kunkel 1962, Martin 1970, Lintott 1972. On the evolving significance of provocatio see Jehne 2002. Rep. 2.54. On the law see Rotondi 1912: 204, MRR 1: 47. Liv. 3.53-5. Liv. 10.9. Bleicken 1959: 357 suggests that the both the law of Publicola and that of PotituS and Barbatus are falsifications of later laws. Also Jehne 2002: 62-3,68. Contra Cornell 1995: 276-7 who argues for the historicity of the other laws, the Valerio-Horatian law in particular. Rep. 2.54. C. Flaminius (RE 2). Rotondi 1912: 268-9. MRR 1: 327 citing Niccolini, G., Fasti dei Tribuni della Plebe, Milan 1934: 424. Rotondi 1912: 247-8, MRR 1: 225. Inv. 2.52. •-•:•-.*