Pro Cluentio by Cicero

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  • Created by: Rebecca
  • Created on: 08-12-10 17:53

Who was Cicero?

Name: Marcus Tullius Cicero

Born: 3rd January 106 BC

Died: 7th December 43 BC


-Roman Philosopher



-political theorist

-Roman constitutionalist


from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists


Pro Cluentio by Cicero

The passion behind a trumped up charge of poison (5.11-6.18 (abridged))


-Cicero in defence of Aulus Cluentius

-Cicero presents a picture of a woman driven by wicked passions and a son and daughter suffering as a result of those passions.

-Aulus Cluentius is accused of poisoning and murdering Oppianicus (his mother's, Sassia, 3rd husband)

-Oppianicus had previously tried to do the same to Cluentius and had been banished

-his mother had previously tried to do the same to Cluentius and had been banished

-his mother has attempted a similar prosecution 3 yrs earlier and Cluentius had been acquitted

-Cicero succeeds in having Cluentius acquitted once more


Lines 1-10

Members of the jury (iudices), Aulus Cluentius Hhabitus, this

man's father, was the leading man not only of the town of

Larinum where he came from but also of that region

and neighbourhood, in courage, reputation (existimatione)

and birth (nobilitare). When he died during the consulship of

Sulla and Pompeius, he left this man 15 years old, but (also) a

daughter, grown up and of marriageable age, who a short time

after her father's death married Aulus Aurius Melinus, her

cousin, a young man, as was then thought, in the forefront of

respectability and nobility among his peers. although their

marriage was full of dignity, full of harmony, there suddenly

arose a wicked lust of a troublesome woman, associated not

only with disgrace but even with crime.

The red words show where he is using emphasis to excite the reader and to encourage him to carry on reading. These are words that build up the status and propriety of Habitus.

Notes from lines 1-10

-On line 1, Cicero is addressing a member of the jury (iudices-member of the jury)-it is a typical address to them

-Aulus Cluentius is Aulus Cluentius Habitus' son

-Habitus came from Larinum

-When he was 'princeps' Habitus conveyed these qualities:

-virtuas - virtuous

-existimatione - had a high reputation

-nobilitae - of noble blood

-Aulus Cluentius Habitus died in the year that Sulla and Pompeus were consuls

-When Habitus died his son was 15 years old and his daughter was of marriageable age so she married her cousin Melinus.

-Melinus' reputation was that he was honest and noble

-Their nuptiae (marriage) was dignitas (dignified)) and full of concordiae (harmony)/ it was harmonious/happy marriage

-During their marriage a wicked lust of a woman arose, the lust f=was for her son in law.

-The status of Aulus Cluentius is built up by the 'non solum...sed etiam' construction but also by the tricolon (list without conjunctions .e.g. et) of ablatives praising his various qualities.

-Dignitas.nefarias;concordiae/scelere - these are the words which contrast eachother on lines 8 and 9. Cicero is after effect


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