Cicero's Governorship 51BC

Notes on Cicero's Governorship

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-'Victim' of Pompey's legislation from sole consulship of 52BC that there must be a five year gap between holding office and taking a province.

-Response to a shortage of eligible governors.

-Those who had never taken up an office were first to be sent (Cicero and Bibulus)

-Corruption was rife in provinces because of Pompey's legislation preventing bribery- men needed to extort from provinces to gain money to pay off voters.

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Cicero's Reaction

-'Contrary to my wishes and quite unexpected'.


-Hated being absent from Rome.

-Frightened that, bearing in mind political climate, his term may be extended.

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Duties of Governor

-Command in war.

-Maintain peace and security.

-Ensure taxes collected.

-Arbitrate any internal matters/ tribal disbutes.

-Deal with legal matters

-Control his legati (Cicero had 4, one of which was Quintus), who helped run the province, quaestor and administrator team.

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-Previous governor= Appius Claudius Pulcher- very corrupt and rude.

-Sold tax contracts, but also introduced a poll tax and a 'door' tax for his own benefit, allowed towns to pay money not to have legions stationed in them.

-Threat of Parthian invasion:

  • 2 undersized legions
  • Small, insufficient levies
  • Untrustworthy client kings on borders
  • Parthians crossed Euhrates in September
  • BUT Cassius at Antioch nearby to help

-Sensitive situation regarding businessmen- needed to keep them amicable but in line with his ideas, root out corruption (upheld all previous arrangements on the understanding that they were 'straight').

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Cicero's Actions- Military

1. Took advantage of Cilicia's mountain frontier- secured.

2. Utilised client kingdom of Cilicia.

3.Claimed a lot of glory from Cassius' actions.

4. Subsequently subdued a set of mountain bandits for which he demanded a thanksgiving.

5. Supplicatio granted (despite Cato's opposition)

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Cicero's actions- Brutus

- Nephew of Cato.

-Asked Cicero to recall his debts from the king of Cappadocia.

-Problems- Parthian threat, a lack of money and even greater debts to Pompey.

-Cicero made a deal- pay back 800000 per month- not even cover the interest.

-Brutus used other connections, a former corrupt and brutal prefect with his own cavalry squadron- Scaptius who said they would extract his debts.

-Cicero settle debts at his own level, but refused to judge against Scaptius- dodged issue.

Cicero left province with ill-equipped quaestor who was known to extort and Cicero had no real attachment to people or province.

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