Cicero's Consulship -63BC

Notes on Cicero's consulship


Opposition to Cicero

-Catiline= from an old family but had a dubious reputation.

-Antonius= from an old family but in debt.


- Galba= from an old family but started his campaign early and fizzled out.

- By the end of 64BC, only Cicero, Antonius and Catiline were in the running.

-Bribery Law- Antonius and Catiline handed out so many bribes that a new law was proposed that people handing out bribes would be penalised more severely.

-Cicero spoke in favour of this.

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Events leading up to Consulship

-Events leading up to meant that he was holding the consulship in an increasingly tense environment.

-3 main players for power (Crassus, Caesar and Pompey) and strong opposition for the consulship (Catiline and Antonius being bankrolled by Crassus and supported by Caesar).

-Personal ambition was at its height.

-Optimates still sceptical of Cicero as he was a novus homo and due to support of 'threat to the republic'- support of Pompey.

-Cicero was still very much reliant on the support of Pompey to gain his consulship.

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Why did Cicero Win?

-Nobiles supported him as well as Pompey and the equites.

-This is because they were pleased that Cicero had backed the bribery law.

-They feared his opposition and the aims of the men (Crassus and Caesar) backing them.

-This was a huge achievement for Cicero.

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Rullus' Agrarian Bill

- Crassus and Caesar joining together.

-Aim: to control available public land in Italy and the provinces which Pompey would, on his return, need to distribute to his veterans to assure himself of their supprot.

-Crassus used Rullus, a tribune, to propose a commision to purchase and distribute the land, with Crassus as the commisioner.

-Thwarted by Cicero

-Cicero was representing the interests of Pompey and as he was a popularesm he wasn't acting in line with his 'usual' politics.

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Rabirius Trial

-Caesar tried Rabirius for his use of the SCU 37 years earlier to put to death a tribune (sacrosanct by law).

-This was Caesar and Crassus' method of revenge for blocking their agrarian law- Cicero would have to defend Rabirius yet he would lose support of Pompey because of it.

-This issue didn't threaten the consul or the power of consulship but brought to the forefront the issue of the use of the SCU.

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Catilinarian Conspiracy

- Catiline attempted to stand for election alongside Cicero yet he was facing charges of extortion and thus ineligible.

-Catiline was enormously in debt- not unusual by the time a man reached the rank of praetor as they funded several expensive political campaigns.

-Moreover, widespread poverty throughout Rome and Italy created misery and unrest.

-Economic situation- civil war, slave revolts, piracy and war against Mithridates.

-As a result, Catiline's election promise- to cancel all debts- attracted the misere.

-Cicero exploited the unpleasant nature of Catline's campaign.

-Catiline's lack of progress led him to raise an army, ready to march on Rome, yet he warned Crassus who then in turn warned Cicero

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Catilinarian Conspiracy

-The republic was threatened and an SCU was passed to Cicero.

-Cicero permitted to make military preparations in response.

-First Caltilinarian speech, delivered in the Temple of Jupiter Statuir ( rather than the senate house for 'safety'.

-This was enough to cause Catiline to flee Rome.

-Evidence as to Catiline and his accomplices' guilt and his 'genuine' attempts to over throw the government was recieved in the form of letters delivered to Cicero- possibly by Crassus.

- The issue of punishment for the supporters was contentious.

-Caesar spoke in favour of lifetime imprisonment- pointing out that the execution of citizens without trial was illegal.

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Catilinarian Conspiracy

-Cato stood by Cicero in demanding execution.

-Cicero was overruled and supervised all the executions himself.

-Cato glorified Cicero in a speech to the people, glorifying his role in saving the Republic.

-Cicero was hailed as Parrens Patriae.

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Importance of Catilinarian Conspiracy

-Catiline's danger to the Republic had perhaps been overexaggerated.

-Cicero left himself in a vulnerable position.

-Before the end of his consulship was publicly attacked for executing citizens.

-Cicero's development of the idea of concordia ordinum- felt that people had united against Catiline for the safety of Rome.

-Cicero was reliant on Pompey for this plan- uniting senatorial and equestrian orders with Cicero as political advisor.

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