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L. Cornelius Balbus came to Rome at the close of the wars, and being ambitious and pushing, as well as a thorough man of the world, he cultivated assiduously and to a great extent secured the friendship of the leading Romans connected with all the political parties. He increased his intimacy with Pompeius, from whom he received rich presents, among them a landed estate1. Through the influence of Pompeius, Balbus was adopted by Theophanes of Mitylene, a Greek historian and intimate friend of the general, by whom, like Balbus, he had been enfranchised 2. Theophanes had apparently been in Spain with Pompeius and had contracted some alliance with the family of Balbus. When this speech was delivered Theophanes had died, and his adopted son had inherited from him a large property3.

In the year 70 there was a census, when Balbus was probably enrolled as a citizen, but only in one of the tribus urbanae. As the tribus rusticae ranked much higher in public esteem, Balbus took care to secure admission to one of the most aristocratic, the tribus Clustumina (or Crustumina). This he was enabled to do by the provisions of the Roman criminal law, which assigned various rewards to those prosecutors who procured the conviction of certain classes of offenders. These rewards seem to have depended partly on the rank of the prosecutor, partly on that of the criminal. Those who were not citizens already became so, those who were citizens might attain a higher rank. Senators might rise to a higher grade in the senate, while non-senators might gain admission to a more important tribe, provided that the offender were in that tribe. This was the case with Balbus, though we know nothing of the criminal at whose expense he obtained advancement4.

In the early years of his residence at Rome, Balbus became closely allied with Caesar, who took him to Spain as praefectus fabrum (chief of the engineers), when he went there himself to govern Hispania ulterior as propraetor (61 B.C.). When Caesar became proconsul of Gaul in 58, Balbus was again his praefectus

1 Cf. Att. 7, 7, 6 with 9, 13, 8. Arch. 24; see below, p. 13 n. See § 57, n.

4 Cf. nn. on § 57, also on § 54; Zumpt, Criminal Process d. Röm. Rep. pp. 54-64.

fabrum'. The connexion of Balbus with Caesar was of the utmost advantage to Gades. A new quarter was laid out by Balbus and Caesar, which soon rivalled in importance the old city. The political and legal system there underwent a thorough reform. The powerful influence of Caesar at Rome was also productive of great benefit to the Gaditanes, and in 49 B. C. they received from him the gift of the Roman civitas. At some time anterior to the speech of Cicero, the Gaditanes, in gratitude for all the advantages they had received from or through Balbus, appointed him their patronus at Rome.

As early as 60 B. C. Balbus had become the private secretary of Caesar, and his confidential political agent, a character which he retained till his patron's death. He had a great share in the negotiations which resulted in the first triumvirate, and during the campaigns in Gaul Caesar often sent him to Rome to manage political affairs.

It was to be expected that a naturalised foreigner who was so prominently before the public at Rome, who was high in the favour of all the members of the triumvirate, and who was rapidly rising in honour and in wealth, should find many enemies. There were not a few among the leading politicians of the day who bore him no good will. Their hostility led in 56 B. C. to the prosecution which produced the speech now before The circumstances and merits of the case will be examined later. Although the history of Balbus in the time subsequent to the prosecution does not closely concern us, it will be convenient to know its leading facts.


During the remainder of Caesar's wars in Gaul Balbus continued for the most part with him, but occasionally visited Rome. He endeavoured to pay the debt he owed to Cicero for his defence, by drawing the orator nearer to Caesar, and also by advancing the fortunes of Quintus, the orator's brother, who was then on 1 § 63. 3 Dio Cassius 48, 32, Strabo 169. 4 n. on § 43.

2 § 43. Caesar was already well acquainted with Gades, having been there as quaestor in 68, when he had been chiefly employed as judge in the courts. See Suet. Iul. 7, Vell. 2, 43, 3, Bell. Hisp. 42.

5 Columella 8, 16. The Gaditani are called by Plin. N. H. 4, 119 Augustani urbe Iulia Gadi

7 Att. 2, 3, 3.


6 § 41.

Caesar's staff in Gaul1. Balbus had his hands constantly full of Caesar's business. In 54 B. C. he made two journeys between Rome and Gaul2. About this time the friendly feeling between Cicero and Caesar was greater than it had ever been, and it was probably in this year that Caesar lent the orator a large sum of money, which remained unpaid for many years, and caused the borrower, much trouble. With this business Balbus was mixed up. When matters began to drift towards civil war Balbus frequently appeared on the scene as Caesar's agent. In 51 he was at Rome and expostulated with Scipio, Pompeius' father-inlaw, who had broached a proposal for depriving Caesar of his command in Gaul". Again in 50 Balbus was negotiating with Pompeius and Scipio on behalf of Caesar. In the same year he tried to remove the dissensions between the tribune Curio and the consuls, which had prevented the supplicatio in honour of Cicero's military achievements in Cilicia from being carried out, though actually decreed by the Senate'. At the end of 50, when war had become inevitable, Balbus wrote "blandas litteras" to Cicero, in the hope of securing him for Caesar's side. When the war actually broke out Balbus left Caesar's camp for Rome, partly because he could do more for Caesar's interests there than in the army, partly from a reluctance to fight against his patron Pompeius and the other consul of the year, a Lentulus, to whom also he was indebted. At Rome Balbus looked after the private interests of Lentulus as well as those of Caesar, and pursued his old policy of standing well with all parties. At this time he wrote frequent letters to Cicero, urging him to make peace between Caesar and Pompeius, more with the view of preventing Cicero from joining Pompeius than in the expectation that any action in favour of peace would be possible. Some of these letters have been preserved. Cicero felt that Balbus

1 Ad Qu. Fr. 3, 1, 9.

See Ad Qu. Fr. 2, 12, 4; Fam. 7, 5, 2; ib. 6, 1; ib. 7, 1; ib. 9, 2; ib. 16, 3; ib. 18, 3.

3 Att. 5, 1, 2; ib. 10, 4.

See the comical passage in Att. 7, 3, II.

5 Fam. 8, 9, 5.

6 Att. 7, 4, 2.

7 Fam. 8, 11, 2.

8 Att. 7, 3, II.

9 Att. 9, 7B, 2, a letter from Balbus to Cicero.

was merely mocking him (so he puts it) in asking him to step in between the combatants1, yet he says that the letters and conversation of Balbus really kept him from seeing until it was too late that it was his duty openly to side with Pompeius 2.

When the Pompeian party had abandoned Italy to Caesar, Balbus did his best to obtain further honours by the aid of his powerful patron. He coveted a seat in the Senate, and probably obtained it at this time. Cicero calls it a monstrosity that an alien born should think of becoming a Roman senator3. During the dictatorship, Balbus and Oppius were Caesar's agents, with carte blanche to act for him in all his concerns1; Caesar also took counsel with Balbus on his most important public affairs. After Cicero returned to Rome, at the end of the Alexandrine war, he was obliged to go to Balbus as a suitor for Caesar's good-will. A bitter trial it must have been for the great orator to ask favours of the Gaditane, now become one of the tyrants". Yet Balbus remained on friendly terms with Cicero till the death of the latter. When Caesar was murdered, Balbus left Rome. From the first public appearance of Octavianus he gave that commander his support'. In 43 or 42 he became praetor, and in 40 gained the consulship, being the first man of alien birth who attained that honour. The date of Balbus' death is not known. He left by his will a legacy of 25 denarii to every citizen of Rome9. The eighth book of the bellum Gallicum is dedicated to him, and he left behind him a diary containing memorials of his own life and that of Caesar 10.


b. The connexion of Cicero with the case.

At the time of his recall from exile (57 B.C.) Cicero had taken especial pains to stand well with all the members of the first triumvirate-Caesar, Pompeius and Crassus. The first of

1 Att. 8, 15, 3.

2 Att. 9, 5, 3.

3 Att. 10, II, 4. 4 Fam. 6. 8, I.

Tac. Ann. 12,


5 Fam. 6, 18, 1; 9, 17, I. 6 Fam. 9, 19, I.

7 Att. 14, 10, 3.

8 Plin. 7, 136. The statement
in Val. Max. 2, 5, 11 that Balbus
had held no office before his consul-
ship, is probably incorrect.

9 Dio Cassius 47, 32.
10 Suet. Iul. 81.

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the three had been his enemy during the events that led to the exile. Cicero now took every opportunity of shewing that he bore no ill-will. Even in the speech in defence of Sestius, spoken in 56, he deals only in the gentlest of reproaches, and assumes that the misunderstanding between himself and Caesar was due to misrepresentations of facts made by interested parties. In the same year Cicero pronounced his splendid oration entitled De Provinciis Consularibus, a large part of which is occupied with eulogy of Caesar's conquests in Gaul1.

With the conduct of Pompeius Cicero had every reason to be dissatisfied. He had solemnly declared that not a hair of Cicero's head should be harmed by Clodius, and had then coolly abandoned him. But Cicero was determined to forget this, though Cato did his best to keep alive the recollection, and by violent speeches in the Senate to sow dissensions between the orator and Pompeius. Cicero chose rather to dwell on the services the triumvir had rendered him in securing his recall from exile.

As regards Crassus, Cicero had no reason whatever for gratitude to him. That thoroughly contemptible politician was particularly fond of coquetting with Clodius and his crew, and had moreover in earlier years opposed Cicero at every turn. Caesar had had great trouble to keep Pompeius and Crassus from quarrelling; in 56 he had met them in Ravenna and had arranged the misunderstanding between them. Cicero therefore, besides furthering his own interests by attaching Crassus to himself, could please Caesar and Pompeius by acting with him and eulogising him as he did in his speech for Balbus. It will be seen from what has been said that Cicero's defence of Balbus must be regarded as a bid for the favour of the triumvirate.


Circumstances of the case.

The attack on Balbus was partly directed against him personally, and partly through him against the triumvirs, whose trusted friend he was. The case has therefore in this respect great resemblance with that of Archias, where Lucullus was the 1 Cf. § 6

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