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suffering from severe illness. He died on this service in the lines before Mutina, and Cicero with sincere grief delivered a splendid eulogy on the life and merits of his departed friend, the speech known to us as the ninth Philippic. His intimate friendship with Cicero is perhaps best shewn by two letters that passed between them in the year 45 B.C. Early in February Cicero had lost his daughter Tullia, who died suddenly in childbirth. When Sulpicius heard of this, he wrote to Cicero a letter (ad Fam. IV. 5), conveying with diffident and tender delicacy the consolations he could offer in so great a trouble. Cicero replied (ad Fam. IV. 6) in a letter which, though mournful and querulous in tone, shews how truly he appreciated the kind-hearted platitudes of his friend, which, if not new, were still grateful to him. The two letters are well worth reading, and should be read by every one in connexion with the ninth Philippic and the speech for Murena.
(2.) M. Porcius Cato, great-grandson of the famous censor of the same name, was born B. C. 95. The main details in connexion with his life will be found in any biographical dictionary. He was celebrated chiefly for a rugged firmness of character, which shewed itself early in him, and was further developed by his acceptance of the stern doctrines of the Stoic school. A man whose name stood for uprightness itself, and for unflinching devotion to duty, for morality of life and frugal simplicity, in an age of time-serving and corruption, an age of extravagance and immorality, when to be patriotic was to be a marked man, exposed to the ridicule of the careless and the knife of the traitor, he stood out among his feeble contemporaries as one who though with them was not of them. For this reason he was unable to exert any great or lasting influence on his fellow-citizens: most admired without following him. Cicero, who was intimate with him, seems to have valued his worth very highly, but to have generally looked upon his plans as unpractical, in fact as a useless protest against the degeneracy of the times (ad Att. 1. 18. 7, II. 1. 8, de Off. 111. § 88, ad Att. IV. 16. 12, XI. 7. 4, de Divinat. I. § 24, Parad. § 1, pro Mur. passim, etc....). In the year B.C. 46, when the Pompeian cause in Africa had been lost at the battle of Thapsus, Cato withdrew to Utica, and after deliberation slew himself, feeling that he had no further mission to perform. Even under the Caesars the praises of Cato were sung by the poets in their choicest lines; see in particular Hor: Carm. I. 12: 35, II. 1. 24, A. P. 14, Verg. Aen. VIII.
670; a 'speech of Cato when at the point to die' formed a favourite rhetorical exercise in the schools (Persius III. 45): but his true epitaph was written by Lucan (Phars. I. 128),
victrix causa deis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
The following lines (II. 380 foll.) also deserve quotation:
And again (II. 388—9),
..urbi pater est, urbique maritus; iustitiae cultor, rigidi servator honesti.
Such was the man who declared before this consular election that he would prosecute any candidate whom he found to have been guilty of corrupt practices as defined by the existing law (pro Mur. § 62, Plut. Cato 21). But Catiline fled from Rome to join the rebel band of Gaius Manlius, which section of the conspirators had already raised in Etruria the standard of open revolt. One of the successful candidates, Silanus, was married to Cato's sister, and Cato yielded so far as to spare a brother-in-law. The course which he finally adopted was, to join forces with Sulpicius, then getting up his case. The latter then gave up his designs against Silanus, took Cato to be a subscriptor, and the two directed their whole strength against Murena. Cato was at this time tribuneelect. Though a Stoic, he was a fine speaker (Brutus § 118).
(3.) Servius Sulpicius Rufus, another subscriptor in this case, is generally represented as the son of the accuser. But had this been so we must have found some allusion to it in the speech. Halm then is right in leaving his identity undefined. In § 57 the titulus speaks of him as adulescens, and from § 56 we learn that his father was a friend of Murena.
(4.) Gaius Postumus seems to have been the name of the third subscriptor, about whom nothing more seems to be known than is to be found in the speech, §§ 54, 56, 57, 69.
iii. For the Defence.
(1.) Marcus Tullius M.F.M.N. Cicero was born at Arpinum B. C. 106. To attempt any remarks on his character would be
out of place here.
The facts connected with him which have most to do with the present case are these. In the year of his consulship (B. C. 63) he was brought face to face with one of the most serious dangers that ever threatened Rome, the foul conspiracy of Catiline. His watchfulness and energy thwarted all the plans of the band of traitors, and without doubt saved the State, as he is never weary of telling us. The story is written in Roman history, and needs no repetition here. Early in this same year, following the declared will of the Senate, he had carried a law to supplement the lex Calpurnia de ambitu, imposing more stringent penalties and defining more accurately the practices regarded by the law as 'corrupt.' (See notes on §§ 46, 47.) When Murena was accused of ambitus, the consul, to the surprise of some, came forward to defend him. His reasons for this course were,
(a) He had been returning officer at the election, and felt bound to support the man whom he had declared duly elected. §§ 1, 3.
(b) He had been exposed to great dangers in his own year of office, and must needs feel for his successor, who would have to carry out what he had begun. §§ 3, 4.
(c) Murena was an old friend. §§ 5, 8, 10.
(d) Murena was innocent. §§ 5, 67–77.
(e) One who had risen to be praetor and consul by his efforts as a pleader could not refuse the brief. §§ 8, 9, 10. (f) The safety of the State demanded the acquittal of the consul-elect. §§ 4, 78-85.
These are stated in the speech with more or less sincerity, and some serve as arguments for the defence. But from his own admissions (see note on § 79) it is pretty clear that only (f) and perhaps (c) can really have had much weight with him.
(2.) Quintus Hortensius, who seems also to have borne the name Hortalus (ad Att. II. 25. I, IV. 15. 4), the famous rival of Cicero in the forum, was born B. C. 114, and early gave proofs of great talent (Brutus § 228). At the age of 19 he made his first appearance as a speaker, and won the approval of even the most exacting connoisseurs (ib. § 229). His reputation increased with his experience (ib. § 301), and he became the leading orator of the day. He was noted for almost preternatural powers of memory (ib. § 301), for intense interest in and application to his profession
(ib. § 302), and for the nicely-balanced arrangement both of his opening speeches and replies (ib. § 302). His style of oratory is characterized as tasteful finished and rich, the result of great ability strengthened by constant practice (ib. § 303). He never failed to bring out all the points of his argument and make the best of his case (ib. § 303). His voice was ringing and clear, his delivery pleasing; but he was inclined to overdo movement and gesture (ib. § 303). He died in B. C. 50 (ib. § 229). He had ranked above Cicero as a pleader until the great Verres case (B.C. 70), after which Cicero stood out with a decided superiority (see Mr Forsyth's life of Cicero, ch. 4, for the tactics of the Defence in the trial). When Cicero became consul he changed his politics and supported the party of the optimates. This is why we find the latter pleading on the same side as Hortensius in the present trial.
(3) Marcus Licinius P. F. Crassus, a contemporary of Hortensius (Brutus § 233), with little learning and less ability, rose by his diligent mastery of cases and by his personal influence to the front rank of advocates (ib. § 233), à position which he maintained for many years. His language was terse and correct, the matter handled with care; but he lacked brilliancy of diction. Though he got very excited, he never betrayed it in his voice, but spoke in a passionless unvarying tone (ib. § 233), which may perhaps be accounted for by his deafness (Tusc. D. v. § 116). Though not born to wealth (Plut. Crass. 1), he attained by frugality and judicious speculation to a vast fortune, so that he was nicknamed 'millionaire' (dives) and is spoken of proverbially (Crasso invidere, Cic. ad Att. II. 4. 2) as the wealthiest man of his day. He fell B. C. 53 in an ambuscade during his expedition against the Parthians (Lucan I. 104), and is placed by Plutarch alongside of the Athenian Nikias as an instance of an awful end following upon a moderate and circumspect life.
iv. The Trial.
Murena was tried in the latter half of November, B. C. 63. Catiline had left Rome (§§ 78, 83), and this was on Nov. 7th, (Mr Wilkins' Ed. of Catil. speeches, intr. §§ 18, 19); again, Cato had not yet entered on his office of tribune (§§ 58, 81), and this took place on Dec. 10th. Cases of ambitus were dealt with by one of
the quaestiones perpetuae (first established B. C. 149 in cases of repetundae, Cic. Brutus § 106), the jury being presided over by one of the praetors. For the state of the laws concerning bribery, see notes on § 46, and for the composition of the jury, Appendix B. The names of the pleaders on both sides and a short notice of each are given above. Murena was also supported by the appearance in court of several men of mark, the most prominent being Lucius Licinius Lucullus (§ 20). Whether the accused was guilty of the charges brought against him is not certain; but from the stress laid by Cicero on the political exigencies of the time (§§ 4, 79), and the orator's own boast (pro Flacco, § 98, cf. Quintil. VI. i. 35), we naturally infer that he was. At any rate he was acquitted, for he held the consulship in the following year.
C. Remarks on the Speech.
Mr Forsyth well says 'it is a striking proof of the elastic energy of Cicero's mind that, at the very moment of the explosion of the conspiracy, and in the midst of the most awful danger, he was able to deliver in defence of one of his friends a speech distinguished by its light wit and good-humoured raillery.' If we put ourselves for a moment at that point of the case where the consul rises to speak we see that
(1) He had been charged with inconsistency and with condoning illegal acts by undertaking the defence.
(2) Murena's life had been painted in glaring colours as profligate and unworthy of the consulship.
(3) Murena had been charged with corrupt practices at the election.
(4) Sulpicius had been held up as a model candidate, who would have been elected but for these practices; and Cicero himself had supported his candidature.
It was clear that the first three of these points would only bear very gentle handling, and (3) had been dealt with in detail by the juniors. The case was otherwise with regard to (4). Sulpicius had taken a false step when he made light of Murena's services in the field it was easy to retort on him with double force by attacking the 'nice sharp quillets' of the jurists in a tone of bantering raillery. There was also an opening for retort in (3); for Cato had put forward the specific charges not merely as open CIC. pro L. Mur.