of his reputation and his fortunes, and would not have allowed it to pass with
The deposition of Lucceius was then read, and Cicero
" What more do you expect? Can you believe it possible for truth itself to
speak differently ? This is the defence which innocence makes. This is the lan-
guage of the cause itself. This is only the voice of truth."
But posterity will judge otherwise. We do not know, and
cannot now ascertain, whether Ccelius was innocent or guilty,
but assuredly the testimony of Lucceius could prove little or
nothing to the point. All he could say would be that he
had never heard of the attempted crime, and did not believe
it possible. He was called to prove a negative, which is
simply an impossibility. The real defence of Ccelius, accord-
ing to our notions, and they are those of common-sense, con-
sists in the few words that follow, of the force of which Cicero,
however, seems to have been unconscious. It does not appear
to have occurred to him that the onus probandi lay wholly
on the prosecution ; they were bound to make out their case
by evidence, and if that failed his client must be pronounced
not guilty. But, as I before said, logical strictness was un-
known in the Roman courts of justice. Rhetorical flourishes
were accepted instead of proof, and the most rambling charges,
if enforced by eloquence, were sufficient to place a man's life
and liberty in jeopardy. In the next passage we find the
point on which an English advocate would have triumphantly
relied, or rather, if what Cicero says is true, he would not
have been called upon to address the jury at all; for the case
for the prosecution would have broken down.
' ' In the facts which are said to have happened there is not a trace of words
spoken, or place or time : no one is called as a witness to prove them ; no one was
privy to the crime. But that family where so nefarious a deed is said to have been
committed is distinguished for its uprightness, its virtue, and its piety from that
family you have heard an authoritative voice speaking under the obligation of an
oath so that you have to balance in a matter, which really admits of no doubt,
which of the two things is most likely whether that an enraged woman has
trumped up the charge, or that a grave, wise, and respectable man has given his
evidence with due regard to the sanctity of an oath."
There remained the charge of attempting the life of Clodia
by poison. Cicero asked,
"But as to the poison Where was it procured? how prepared? to whom
given, and where ? They say that he kept it at home, and made an experiment of
its effects upon a slave, by whose speedy death he was assured of its fatal strength.
242 DEFENCE OF CCELIUS. CHAP. xiv.
. . . They say that the poison was given to Licinius, a modest and excellent young
man, and friend of Coelius that an appointment was made with the slaves to come
to the Xenian baths that Licinius was to go there and hand over to them the
box of poison. Now here I first ask with what object the poison was carried to
that place ? Why did the slaves not come to Ccelius at his own house ? If such
intimacy still existed between Coelius and Clodia, what cause of suspicion could
there have been if one of the woman's slaves were seen at his house ? But if ill
feeling had arisen between them, if their familiarity was at an end, and a quarrel
had taken place then I say, hinc illce lachrymal, and this is the cause of all these
criminal charges. She says, forsooth cunning woman that she is that when
her slaves informed her of Ccelius's nefarious design, she told them to promise him
everything ; but that the poison might be openly seized when it was in the act of
being given to Licinius, she ordered them to appoint as the place of meeting the
Xenian baths, where she would send friends to remain concealed, who would, when
Licinius came, rush forward and take him in the act."
Of course all this was capable of proof. If witnesses had
come forward who swore that they were at the baths, as
Clodia averred, and had seized Licinius with the poison in
his hand, it would have gone a long way to establish the
charge. But it appears that up to the time when Cicero
addressed the jury no witnesses had been named who could
speak to these facts, and he resorts, as usual, to presumptive
evidence to disprove that of which the prosecution had given
" Why," he asked, " did she appoint public baths, of all places in the world, for
the meeting? I know of no lurking-place there where grown-up men can hide
themselves. For if they were in the vestibule of the baths they would not be con-
cealed ; but if they wished to retire into the interior, they would find it very incon-
venient to do so with their clothes and sandals on. And perhaps they would not
be admitted unless indeed this influential woman, from her habit of using the
halfpenny public baths, had become friends with the bathman." As to the
witnesses he ironically said, " They must, no doubt, be respectable men who were
intimate with such a woman, and consented to lie in ambuscade in a public bath
for such a purpose."
It was further alleged that they had rushed forward too
soon, and that Licinius escaped with the poison in his hand;
but Cicero treated this as an absurd and improbable story,
for it was not likely that men who had been posted there for
the very purpose of seizing him would have let him slip.
The whole thing looked, he said, like a stage plot, where the
hero escapes and at the same moment the curtain falls. 1
He then urged, what to us seems the most obvious remark
to have been made at the outset, that the whole case de-
pended on witnesses, the presumptive evidence being the
other way. In a tone of bantering ridicule he said :
1 Attlaa tolhinlur literally "the the stage of the ancient theatres the
curtain rises," but, as is well known, on curtain was pulled ///, not down.
^T. 51. DEFENCE OF C (ELI US. 243
" I am anxious to see first the fashionable youths who are the friends of this
rich and noble lady ; and next the brave men who were posted by their female
commander in the ambuscade and garrison of the baths. I will ask them in what
manner and where they lay hid whether it was in a Trojan horse which con-
cealed so many invincible heroes carrying on a woman's war. But I will compel
them to answer how it was that so many and such kind of men did not either seize as
he stood, or catch as he fled, this one individual who was alone, and defenceless as
you now see him. They will assuredly never be able to make good their story
if they get into that witness-box (si istum in locum processerinl), however witty
and talkative they may be at feasts, and sometimes even eloquent over their
wine. The forum is one thing, the dining-room another ; the benches of a court
of justice are not the couches of a saloon ; the presence of jurymen is not the
same as the presence of boon companions ; the light of the sun is very different
from the light of torches or of lamps. If, therefore, they come forward I will
sift them to the uttermost.
" Their weaved-up follies
I will unravel."
But if they will listen to me I advise them to take to another trade, win favour in
another way, and display themselves in another fashion. Let them be cherished
by that woman for their good looks, let them command her purse, let them cling
to her lie at her feet and be her slaves ; but let them spare the life and fortunes
of an innocent man." He appealed to the jury not to suffer a law of which
Catulus was the author at a time when the state was in imminent danger, and
which was directed against state offences, to be perverted to gratify a woman's
lust and feminine revenge.
He concluded by a sketch of Ccelius's past life, showing
how unlikely it was that he should be guilty of so great a
crime. He had faults, but they were the faults of youth,
and such as time would cure.
"Preserve therefore," he exclaimed, appealing to the jury, " preserve to the
republic a citizen of virtuous pursuits and good qualities, and the friend of good
men. This I promise you and guarantee to the state, that his mode of life will
not differ from mine if I may speak of myself as having done good service to the
state. . . . When you think upon his youth, think also on the age of his unhappy
father who is before you, and who leans for support upon this his only son. . . .
Consent not that the one, whose sun is already setting in the course of nature,
shall be crushed by a blow from you sooner than by his own destiny ; or that the
other, now for the first time blossoming with the leaves of hope, and when the
stem of virtue is growing strong, shall be overthrown as it were by a whirlwind
or a tempest. Preserve the son to the parent, the parent to the son, lest it should
be thought that you despised old age in its despair, or crushed instead of saving
youth when it was full of the greatest promise. If you do preserve him for your-
selves, his friends, and the republic, you will have him devoted to you and to
your children, and you, above all others, will reap the rich and lasting fruits of
his industry and exertions."
Whatever we may think of the argument of this speech,
it had the merit of success. Ccelius was acquitted, and the
prediction of his advocate was fulfilled. He became after-
wards a distinguished man.
Domitius Ahenobarbus was one of the candidates for the
consulships of the ensuing year, and he made no secret of
POMPEY & CRASS US CONSULS. CHAP. xiv.
his intention, if he succeeded, to use all the influence of his
office to deprive Caesar of his command in Gaul. Caesar
therefore took measures to prevent his election. After
gaining the series of victories which are related by him in
the third book of his Commentaries, he came to Italy and sent
for Pompey and Crassus to have an interview with him at
Lucca. We may feel surprise at finding these two men, who
had lately been so hostile to each other, again acting together;
but they both seem to have been overawed by the genius of
Caesar, whose energy and strength of will they were unable
to resist. He persuaded them to become candidates for the
consulship, each for the second time, in order to baffle Do-
mitius. But the difficulty was, that they had not declared
themselves sufficiently soon to be elected this year. It was,
however, adroitly got over by employing the tribune Cato
and others to prevent any consular comitia from being held,
so that no consuls could be elected within the required
period. This led to what was called an interregnum, during
which candidates might come forward and be elected at once.
Pompey and Crassus were thus able to obtain the office, and
the new year opened with their consulship.
POMPHYS THEATRE. RKSTORKO BV CAV. CAMNA.
LETTERS FROM THE COUNTRY-
DEFENCE OF PLANCIUS-
TRACTED STATE OF ROME.
-ATTACK ON PISO GOSSIP
-POLITICAL APOLOGY DIS-
^t. 55. B.C. 52.
ClCERO passed a considerable part of the next year in the
country, at one or other of his favourite villas, amusing him-
self with his books, or employing his leisure time in literary
composition. We will follow him there, and see him occu-
pied in more congenial pursuits than politics, of which he
was weary, and in which he met with little but vexation and
His first letter to Atticus is dated from Antium, where he
was attended by his friend's faithful and intelligent freed -
man, Dionysius, who assisted him in his studies. 1 We next
1 It was a pleasant memento of their them, and was called in future Marcus
friendship that Dionysius, on his manu- Pomponius Dionysius. See ad Atl.
mission, assumed a name from each of iv. 15.
246 CICERO AT HOME. CHAP. xv.
find him at his villa near Puteoli (Pozzuolo), in the Bay of
Naples. He describes himself as devouring the library of
Faustus, a son of Sylla the dictator, and son-in-law of
Pompey, who inherited an immense collection of books
which his father had got together when he plundered
Athens, and these he kept at his country-seat near Puteoli.
Cicero jokingly adds, that perhaps Atticus thought he was
devouring the good things of Puteoli and Lucrinum, which
was famous for its oysters.
But in the present state of public affairs, he said he had
lost all taste for other enjoyments except his books, which
refreshed and delighted him ; and he says he would rather
sit with Atticus on the seat in his library beneath the bust
of Aristotle than in their curule chair (meaning of course the
triumvirate, although he is too cautious to name them), and
would rather walk with him than with the man (Pompey) with
whom he saw he must walk. But as to that walk chance must
determine, or Providence, if there was such a Being who
cared about it. 1 He begs Atticus to look after his gallery
and vapour-bath, and all that his architect, Cyrus, had en-
gaged to do, and press the contractor to use despatch with
the building of his house at Rome. He then mentions that
Pompey had come to his villa at Cumae to pay him a visit,
and had immediately sent to inquire after him. He was
going to see him next morning.
The interview took place, and they discussed the state of
public affairs. Pompey was dissatisfied with himself; and
the private correspondence of Cicero reveals his real opinion
of him, which we look for in vain in the fulsome compli-
ments he paid him in the senate-house. He, as I have before
said, never really trusted Pompey, although he undoubtedly
liked him, and looked upon him as the chief stay of the
aristocratic or conservative party, to which he was himself so
strongly attached. He struggled hard to believe that Pom-
pey was the man for the time, but he constantly disap-
1 Sed de ilia ambulatione fors viderit, no doubt that he believed in the exist -
aut si qui est qui curet Deus. Ad Att. ence of Providence and a future state,
iv. 10. This might seem as if Cicero See, amongst other proofs, ad Att. vii.
were a convert to the Epicurean philo- I ; de Divin. i. 51 ; de Legg. \\. 7 ; de
sophy of his friend. But most probably Senect. 23.
he said it only in jest ; for there can be
JET. 55. AFFECTION FOR HIS BROTHER. 247
pointed him. And yet there was no one else of sufficient
mark to be the leader whom Cicero was prepared to follow.
In a letter to Atticus on the 28th of April, on his way to
his villa near Pompeii, he writes that Pompey was dissatisfied
with himself, " as he said (for so we must speak of the man),
professing to despise the idea of having Syria for a province,
and vaunting the advantages of Spain. Here also I must
put in 'as he said:' and whenever we speak of him we
must always add, as was said by the Greek poet of his verses
' and this too is by Phocylides.' "
It was a sign of the times that Porcius Cato was this year
defeated in a contest for the praetorship, and Vatinius, the
worthless creature of Caesar, whom Cicero had severely
handled in his defence of Sextius, was elected in his stead.
But a still more painful circumstance was, that a law was
actually passed on the I3th of May, on the motion of
Afranius, enacting that it should not be punishable to have
carried a prsetorian election by bribery I 1 Cicero alludes to
this in a letter to Quintus, and says that the law caused
great grief to the Senate. He adds that the consuls, Pom-
pey and Crassus, supported Afranius, and threw Cato over-
In the present disheartening state of affairs Quintus had
called his brother's attention to his poem on his own consul-
ship, and begged him to remember the speech he had put
into the mouth of Jupiter in the book called Urania. Cicero
promised to do this, and said that he had written the passage
more for his own sake than the sake of others.
It is pleasant to notice the terms of affectionate intimacy
on which the two brothers were. Cicero seems to have
loved Quintus with a love passing the love of woman. His
letters to him form some of the most charming portions of
his correspondence, full of playful allusions, the point of
which is, however, dimmed, and in many cases lost, by the
lapse of nearly two thousand years.
In his next letter to him he tells him that no muse-
stricken poet takes more delight in hearing his own verses
read, than he does in reading his brother's letters on every
subject, public or private, and whether full of the gossip of
Ne qui proeturam per ambitum cepisset, ei propterea fraudi esset.
248 CICERO'S OPINION OF LUCRETIUS. CHAP. xv.
the country or the town. Apropos to the question of bring-
ing their friend Marius to his villa, he mentions a practical
joke he once played him. He was taking him with him to
Baiae, and he dressed up a hundred men as soldiers with
swords, to follow the palanquin (lectica) that conveyed him.
Marius, who had no idea that he was accompanied by so
warlike a retinue, happened to open the window of his litter,
and when he saw the armed attendants nearly fainted with
terror, to the great amusement of Cicero.
In another letter he expresses his opinion of the poem of
Lucretius, and, according to the usual reading, is represented
as saying that it showed little genius but much art a judg-
ment in which we can hardly coincide. But I think there is
the strongest reason for believing that what Cicero wrote
was the direct contrary, and all the ancient manuscripts
concur in this. According to them, what Cicero really said
was, that Lucretius's verses had much of the splendour of
genius, and yet betrayed considerable art which is surely a
just and sound criticism. I have discussed the question in
a note. 1 Genius alone could have made Lucretius successful
in dealing with so unpromising a subject for poetry as
Nattira Rerum. It is one of the grandest remains of Roman
literature ; and yet there is in it much of the skilfulness of
art which genius too often disdains and this is shown by
the admirable manner in which the tenets of the Epicurean
philosophy as regards matter and void, and the images of
external objects, are interwoven with exquisite descriptions
of nature and illustrations by which the difficulties of the
subject are made clear to the apprehension.
1 All the MSS. read Lucretii foe- " Lucretius has much of the splendour
mata, rit scribis, ita stint ; multis lumini- of genius, and genius we know often
bus ingenii, multce tamen artis which disdains the labour of art ; but Lucre-
makes Cicero, as we should hope and tins has genius, and yet considerable art
expect, attribute genius to Lucretius, also" a criticism which would be per-
But in consequence of the adversative fectly sound and just. The question is
conjunction tamen, almost all the editors ably discussed in Mr. Monroe's recent
of Cicero's works agree that non ought admirable edition of Lucretitts, vol. ii.
to be inserted before multis; and then 1 08. He suggests that etiam may be read
they represent Cicero as denying genius instead of tamen, or inserted after it. In
to Lucretius, notwithstanding that all the former edition I had adopted the
the MSS. assert the contrary. This common reading, but I am glad to think
seems hard, and I am unwilling to be- that the critics, who are answerable for
lieve that the interpolation of non is it, have been mistaken,
right. May not the meaning.be this ?
B.C. 52. ORNAMENTS FOR CICERO'S VILLAS. 249
To Atticus he wrote in May, and told him he was devour-
ing literature with Dionysius, whom he calls a wonderful
man. Nothing, he said, was more delightful than universal
knowledge. 1 He was soon afterwards on his way back to
Rome, and begged Atticus to come and dine with him, and
bring his wife, Pilia, on the second of the following month,
saying that he intended to dine on the first with his son-in-
law Crassipes, like a traveller at an inn, and go home after-
wards, giving the go-by to the order of the Senate, which
required the senators at Rome to attend its meetings, equiva-
lent to what we should term a call of the house.
In few things he took greater delight than in ornamenting
his villas, and especially his Tusculanum. He had given a
commission to Fadius Gallus to make some purchases for
him, which his friend seems to have misunderstood. He
bought four or five statues, consisting of figures of Bacchanals,
one of Mars, and another sculptured as a support for a
table. But Cicero did not much care for statues ; his passion
was pictures and books ; and he wrote and told Gallus that
he had given more for them than all the statues in the
world in his opinion were worth. Gallus had written to him
that the Bacchanals might vie with the group of the Muses
which Cicero had previously purchased from Metellus ; but
' ' What resemblance is there ? In the first place, I should have never thought
the Muses worth as much as you have given and 1 am sure all the Muses would
agree with me but they suited my library and were appropriate to my studies.
But what place have I for Bacchanals ? You say they are pretty I know them
well, and have often seen them ; but if I had approved of them I would have
given you a distinct commission to purchase statues so well known to me. For I
am in the habit of buying only those statues which do for ornamenting my palcestra
in the manner of gymnasia. But what have I, a man of peace, to do with Mars ?
I am glad that there was no figure of Saturn amongst them ; for I should have
feared that those two statues would have got me into debt. I would rather there
had been a Mercury, for I think I could then have made a better bargain with
Avianus. The figure that you intended as a support for a table you can have if
you like it ; but if you have changed your mind I will take it. I would rather
have spent the money you gave for the statues in the purchase of a resting-place
at Terracina, that I may not always be troublesome to my host there. ... I have
been putting up some seats with niches against the wall (exhedria) in the portico
of my Tusculan villa, and I wish to adorn them with pictures. If anything of
that kind delights me it is paintings. If, however, I must have the statues, I wish
you would tell me where they are, when they are to be sent for, and by what kind
of conveyance. For if Damasippus (who talked of buying them) changes his mind,
I will find some psendo Damasippus to whom I can sell them even at a loss."
1 Ov5ev y\vKUTcpov ?) travT 1 eUevai. Ad Att. iv. 1 1."
250 HIS EPISTOLARY STYLES. CHAP. xv.
The Damasippus here alluded to is the virtuoso and anti-
quary so pleasantly described by Horace in one of his satires,
who ruined himself by his dilettante tastes.
If we turn from Cicero's familiar correspondence with his
intimate friends to his letters addressed to politicians and
statesmen, we are struck by the change of style. When he
writes to Atticus, or Ouintus, or Terentia, or Tiro, the sen-
tences are short and often elliptical. He hints frequently
his opinion by a word. In fact, the letters are just what we
might expect from a man who knows that his meaning will
be understood by the friend to whom he writes, however
brief and playful or ironical his expressions may be. But
when he addresses a political friend or acquaintance, his
style is stately and elaborate with long-winded sentences
full of profuse compliment. The genus of the Latin language
is peculiarly suited for this pompous kind of composition, and
hence it is the language above all others adapted to lapidary
inscriptions. In a letter to Lentulus, the proconsul of Cilicia,
written about this time, Cicero says, with an exaggeration
which carries insincerity on the face of it, " I wish you to
be perfectly assured, that there is nothing, however small it
may be, in which you are interested, which I do not hold
dearer than all my own concerns !" But I mention the letter
chiefly to show how he still clung to Pompey. He declares
that so great is his inclination nay, love towards him, that
whatever is advantageous to him, and whatever he wishes,
seems to him right and true.
Pompey celebrated his second consulship by exhibiting
shows and games of extraordinary splendour. The excuse
was the dedication of a magnificent theatre he had built
upon the model of one he had seen at Mitylene on his return
from the war against Mithridates. It is said to have been
large enough to hold eighty thousand spectators. Some frag-
ments of the immense building still remain. On this occasion
every kind of amusement of which the Romans were fond
was lavished upon the populace. Stage plays were acted,
in which the mise en scdne was got up with unusual attention