« PreviousContinue »
Mithridates took Murena again to Asia to join the army of L Lucullus. The official dispatches of his commander gave testimony to the great services rendered by him as legatus in those victorious campaigns ($ 20).
Without having held the aedileship ($ 37), Murena obtained in 65 BC the praetorship, again with Sulpicius for a colleague ; but had been more fortunate than the latter in the duties given him by the lot: for while he had got the iuris dictio urbana, the irksome task of conducting the enquiries de peculatu had fallen to Sulpicius (S$ 35-42). Already at that time animated by the wish to bring the consulship into his family, Murena celebrated the Apollinarian games, the conduct of which belonged to the praetor urbanus, with splendour all the greater that by reason of his having missed the aedileship he had found no opportunity of winning popularity by magnificent shows. After the Praetorship, he received in 64 B C as propraetor the government of Transalpine Gaul ($$ 42, 89). Before the expiration of his second year, leaving his brother and legatus C Murena behind as his deputy, he returned to Rome to accompany the triumph of Lucullus, and stand for the consulship (§ 89, Sallust Cat 42). It having become notorious that Catiline's band of conspirators had decided to carry through this election with violence, and to kill the presiding consul and the rivals of their leader, the election appointed for the 22nd of September was put off, and the consul employed the time thus gained in forming for himself a strong escort of young men, under whose guard the election was held without disturbance (about the middle of October) and resulted in favour of D Silanus and Murena. For the sequel of this, see below on the trial and the pleaders for the prosecution and defence. One thing more remains to be said of the accused; he was clearly a man of good temper and judgement, if we may trust the account in Plutarch Cato 28 of his rescuing and protecting Cato in a riot, or 21 åropuyor de ο Μουρήνας ου πονηρού πάθος ουδε άφρονος έπαθεν ανθρώπου προς τον Κάτωνα και γάρ υπατεύων έχρητο συμβούλο των μεγίστων και τάλλα τιμών και πιστεύων διετέλεσεν.
ii. For the Prosecution.
(1) Servius Sulpicius QF Lemonia Rufus, a famous jurist, was born probably in 105 B C (Cic Brutus § 150). His early devotion to improving studies was remarkable : he went to study at Rhodes (ib § 151), and on his return to Rome seemed to have chosen rather to take the first place among jurists than the second among orators (ib § 151). He is compared with Cicero himself, and the pair are matched with Scaevola and Crassus ; for while Sulpicius, like Scaevola, cultivated his powers of oratory to back a knowledge of case-law, his eloquent contemporary and friend learnt enough of case-law to be a complement of his oratorical skill (ib $ 150). He studied law under two eminent jurists, Lucius Lucilius Balbus and C Aquillius Gallus, but soon surpassed the latter in painstaking accuracy and the former in despatch; combining, says Cicero (ib § 154), the merits of both in himself. Sulpicius and Cicero went up the ladder of office step for step (ib § 156): and as we know that Cicero held each office at the earliest age permitted by law (anno suo), we can find the dates of Sulpicius'quaestorship (viz 74 B C) and praetorship (65 B C) with tolerable certainty. In both these offices he had for colleague L Licinius Murena (pro Mur $$ 18, 35—42). In B C 63 both came forward as candidates for the consulship of the following year : neither had, so far as we know, held the aedileship, but Murena had become popular as praetor urbanus, while Sulpicius had had no chance of winning favour. Besides, during the canvass it became apparent that the latter had given himself up to the design of prosecuting Murena for corrupt practices under the new law of the consul Cicero (lex Tullia de ambitu, pro Mur S$ 5, 46, 47, 67, Dion XXXVII 29). The result of the election was that out of the four candidates (Decimus Junius Silanus and L Sergius Catilina being the other two) the choice fell upon Silanus and Murena. The subsequent rebellion and death of Catiline will be found treated in the introduction to Mr Wilkins' edition of the Catilinarian speeches. Sulpicius brought Murena to trial, with what result will be presently seen. He himself did not attain to the consulship until the year 51 BC. In the civil war he took the side of Caesar, and was appointed by him to the government of the province of Achaia in B C 46 (Cic ad fam IV 3, 4, 5): but he was greatly troubled at this time by the state of affairs and the manifest collapse of the Commonwealth (ad fam IV 1, 2, 3); in fact, though taking part with Caesar, he was, from his slowness of disposition (ad fam VIII 10 $ 3) and want of decided views (ad Att XI 7 $ 4), long unable to make up his mind as to the course he should follow. In B C 43 he was sent to the camp of Antonius on an embassy, which he undertook from patriotic motives, though at the time 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 BC. 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 highly he valued 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 BC 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 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 i 18 § 7, 11 I § 8, IV 16 $ 12, XI 7 § 4, and de off III § 88, 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, III 24, A P 14, Virg 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 (11 380 foll) also deserve quotation :
... hi mores, haec duri immota Catonis
nec sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo. And again (11 388, 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 speecb. 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, $$ 54, 56, 57, 69.
iii. For the Defence,
(1) Marcus Tullius M F M N Cicero was born at Arpinum BC 106. To attempt any remarks on his character would be out of place here. The facts connected with him which have most to do with the present case are these. In the year of his consulship (B C 63) he was brought face to face with one of the most serious dangers that ever threatened Rome, the foul conspiracy of Catiline. His watchfulness and energy thwarted all the plans of the band of traitors, and without doubt saved the State, as he is never weary of telling us. The story is written in Roman history and needs no repetition here. Early in the same year, following the declared will of the Senate, he had carried a law to supplement the lex Calpurnia de ambitu, imposing more stringent penalties and defining more accurately the practices regarded by the law as 'corrupt' (see notes on $$ 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 urning 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. $$ 5, 67–77. (e) One who had risen to be praetor and consul by his
efforts as a pleader could not refuse the brief. f$ 8, 9, 10. (f) The safety of the State demanded the acquittal of the
consul-elect. $$ 4, 78--85. Cic. pro L Mur.