This speech was delivered for T. Annius Milo, in 52 B.C.
The translation is by N.H. Watts (1931), and includes an appendix containing extracts from Asconius' commentary on the speech. Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.
[1.] L  Although I am afraid, gentlemen of the jury, that fear is an unseemly condition in which to begin a speech in defence of the bravest of men ; and that it is in the last degree unbecoming, seeing that Titus Annius himself is more anxious for the safety of the state than for his own, that I should be unable to bring to his case a greatness of spirit to equal his; still, the unprecedented aspect of this unprecedented trial alarms my eyes, which, turn where they may, look in vain for the familiar environment of the courts and the traditional procedure of the law. For your assembly is not thronged, as of old, by a ring of listeners; we are not encompassed by our customary concourse ;  and the troops which you see before all the temples, albeit posted there to prevent violence, cannot but have their effect upon the pleader, so that here in a court of law and before a jury, though surrounded by troops who are at once a safeguard and a necessity, still even my immunity from fear cannot but have a touch of fear in it.
If I thought, gentlemen, that these precautions were pointed at Milo, I should bow to the situation ; I should think that amid the brute force of arms the pleader had no place. But I am revived and reassured by the discretion of the wise and upright Gnaeus Pompeius, who, I am sure, would neither think it compatible with his uprightness to surrender to the weapons of soldiers the very man whom he had entrusted for trial to the verdict of a jury ; nor with his wisdom to arm with the sanction of the state the headstrong mood of an excited mob.  Wherefore these weapons, centurions, and cohorts speak to me not of peril but of protection ; they bid me be not only of a calm but of a courageous spirit ; and promise to the defence not merely assistance, but also a silent hearing.
The rest, however, of this throng, so far as it consists of citizens, is ours to a man; and there is none of all those whose eyes you see turned upon you, in anticipation of the issue of this trial, from every quarter whence any part of the forum can be viewed, who, while supporting Milo's merits, does not at the same time think that a battle for himself, for his children, for his country, and for his fortunes is being fought to an issue on this day.
[2.] L Our opponents and ill-wishers fall under a single class, which consists of those whom the madness of Publius Clodius has sated with plunderings and burnings and every form of disaster to the community; who at yesterday's mass-meeting were actually urged to dictate to you what your verdict was to be; and should any clamour of theirs be raised among you, it should surely warn you to retain in your midst a citizen who has always counted as naught this class of men and their most insistent clamours, when weighed against your well-being.
 Wherefore, gentlemen, put your attention at my service, and lay by any fears that may find place within you. For if ever you have had it in your power to declare your minds about gallant and loyal gentlemen or about meritorious citizens, finally if ever chosen men of the most honourable rank have had the opportunity of declaring by act and vote that attachment to loyal and gallant citizens which they have often signified by speech and countenance, - on this occasion assuredly you possess in all its plenitude the power of deciding whether we, who have always been devoted adherents of your authority, are to pine in continual wretchedness, or whether, after the long persecution we have suffered at the hands of despicable citizens, we are now at last, thanks to you and your loyalty, courage and wisdom, to be born anew.  For what position of greater hardship, anxiety, or distress can be suggested or imagined than that occupied by my client and myself, who, induced to enter a political career by the hope of winning the proudest rewards, cannot free ourselves from fear of the most cruel penalties? For my part, I always considered that Milo must expect to face all other storms and tempests, those at all events that are met with upon the troubled waters of popular meetings, for the reason that his sympathies had always been on the side of patriots against agitators; but in a trial - in a court where the most influential members of all the orders were to give their verdict, never did I think that Milo's enemies would entertain any hope, I do not say that he could be utterly ruined, but even that his high reputation could be impaired, by means of such men as these.
 In the present case, however, gentlemen, I shall not take illicit advantage of the tribunate of Titus Annius, nor of all his activities for the good of the state, in order to rebut this charge. Unless I can succeed in giving you palpable proof that a conspiracy was formed against Milo by Clodius, I do not propose to ask you to waive the present charge in consideration of my client's many distinguished services to the state; nor to demand that, if the death of Publius Clodius has proved your salvation, you should therefore ascribe it to the merits of Milo rather than to the good fortune of the Roman people. Only when the plot laid by Clodius shall have shone forth clearer than the light of day, shall I beg and implore you, gentlemen, that, having lost all else, this right at least we may retain - the right of fearlessly defending our life against the unscrupulous weapons of our foes.
[3.] L  But before I pass on to that part of my argument which bears specifically on the issue before you, I think I should refute the persistent allegations which have been made by our enemies in the Senate, by malcontents in public meetings, and just now by counsel for the prosecution, in order that by the removal of every cloud of misapprehension you may clearly survey the matter before the court. They assert that the man who by his own admission has slain a fellow-creature has no right to look upon the light of day. And in what city, pray, is this fatuous assertion maintained? Why, in the city which witnessed, as its earliest capital case, the trial of the gallant Marcus Horatius, ** who, even before the community had gained its freedom, was freed by the Assembly of the Roman people, though he confessed that by his own hand he had slain his sister.  Or is there anyone who is unaware that when inquiry is held into a murder, the act is either categorically denied, or that its commission is defended as right and justified? - unless indeed you hold that Publius Africanus was mad when, on being maliciously asked in a public meeting by Gaius Carbo, tribune of the plebs, what was his opinion concerning the death of Tiberius Gracchus, ** he replied that he thought he had been deservedly slain. Indeed, neither the great Servilius Ahala ** nor Publius Nasica nor Lucius Opimius ** nor Gaius Marius ** nor the Senate, in my consulship, could be held other than detestable, were the murder of criminal citizens in itself a detestable act. And so too, gentlemen, it is not without reason that even in their fictions accomplished poets ** have narrated how one, who, to avenge a father, had slain a mother, was, though the human vote was divided, acquitted by a sentence that proceeded not merely from a divine being, but from the wisest of the goddesses.
 If the Twelve Tables enacted that a thief by night might be slain with impunity in any circumstances, and a thief by day if he defended himself with a weapon, who is there who can hold that punishment should follow any act of slaying, whatever its circumstances, seeing, as he does, that at times the laws themselves hold out to us a sword for the slaying of a fellow-creature ?
[4.] L And if there is any occasion (and there are many such) when homicide is justifiable, it is surely not merely justifiable but even inevitable when the offer of violence is repelled by violence. Once a soldier in the army of Gaius Marius suffered an indecent assault at the hands of a military tribune, a relative of the commander ; and the assailant was slain by his intended victim, who, being an upright youth, preferred to act at his peril rather than to endure to his dishonour. What is more, the great general absolved the offence and acquitted the offender.  But against an assassin and a brigand what murderous onslaught can want justification ? What is the meaning of the bodyguards that attend us and the swords that we carry? We should certainly not be permitted to have them, were we never to be permitted to use them. There does exist therefore, gentlemen, a law which is a law not of the statute-book, but of nature ; a law which we possess not by instruction, tradition, or reading, but which we have caught, imbibed, and sucked in at Nature's own breast; a law which comes to us not by education but by constitution, not by training but by intuition - the law, I mean, that, should our life have fallen into any snare, into the violence and the weapons of robbers or foes, every method of winning a way to safety would be morally justifiable.  When arms speak, the laws are silent ; they bid none to await their word, since he who chooses to await it must pay an undeserved penalty ere he can exact a deserved one. And yet most wisely, and, in a way, tacitly, the law itself authorises self-defence; it forbids not homicide, but the carrying of a weapon with a view to homicide, and consequently when the circumstances of the case and not the carrying of the weapon was being investigated, the man who had employed a weapon in self-defence was not held to have carried that weapon with a view to homicide. So let this consideration be held in view, gentlemen, throughout the case; for I have no doubt that I shall make good my case for the defence, if you will bear in mind (and it is a fact that you cannot forget) that the slaying of a conspirator may be a justifiable act.
[5.] L  The next point to consider is one that is repeatedly urged by Milo's enemies; it is that the affray which involved the death of Clodius has been judged by the Senate to be an act contrary to the interests of the state. But the Senate approved it, not only by its votes, but by its declared sympathy. How often has this cause been pleaded by me in the Senate! How outspoken and unreserved has been the agreement evinced by the whole House! For when, at the Senate's most crowded meetings, have there been found four, or at most five, members to declare their disapproval of Milo's case? That is what is made manifest by the moribund harangues of this half-burnt ** tribune, in which he daily and maliciously inveighed against my ascendancy, asserting that the Senate's decrees embodied not its opinions, but my wishes. As for this ascendancy, if indeed it should be so described, or rather some moderate influence in honest causes due to great public services, or a certain measure of popularity with loyal citizens due to my conscientious professional labours, - well, let it by all means be so described, granted that I employ it for the welfare of patriots against the madness of desperadoes.
 But, as to the process under which this case is being tried, although it is not unjust, still the Senate has never held that its constitution was necessary. For both laws and legal processes dealing with murder and assault were already in existence; and the grief and consternation with which the Senate was afflicted by Clodius's death were not such as to render the constitution of a new process necessary. The Senate had been deprived of the right of determining the character of the court that should try him for that act of gross lewdness ** ; and is it credible that the Senate thought that a special court should be set on foot to deal with his death ? Why then did the Senate pronounce that the burning of the Senate-house, the siege of the house of Marcus Lepidus, and this very affray with which we are dealing was contrary to the interests of the state ? Because no violence is ever used between citizens in a free state which is otherwise than contrary to the interests of the state.  Self-defence against violence is never to be desired, but there are occasions when it is inevitable - unless, indeed, the day when Tiberius Gracchus was slain, or that on which his brother Gaius, or the arms of Saturninus, were crushed, even though their crushing was demanded by the public interest, inflicted no wound upon the state. [6.] L It was in accordance with this principle that I myself, since an affray had admittedly occurred on the Appian Way, gave it as my opinion, not that one who had defended himself had acted contrary to the interests of the state, but, since the affair contained elements of violence and intrigue, I left the question of guilt to a jury while expressing my disapprobation of the business generally. And had that lunatic tribune permitted the Senate to execute its purpose, we should not be resorting to-day to a specially enacted process. It intended to decree that an inquiry should be held under the existing laws, but that special precedence should be given to the case. A separate vote ** was taken, on the motion of somebody or other, - I need not expose the misdemeanours of everybody, - and so the rest of the Senate's resolution was invalidated by means of a suborned veto.
 "But," it may be objected, "Gnaeus Pompeius by his motion stated his opinion both on the fact and on the rights of the case ; for he introduced a measure dealing with the affray which took place on the Appian Way, in which Publius Clodius was slain." What then was this measure? That an inquiry should be held, of course. What then is to be the subject of inquiry ? Whether the deed was committed ? But no one questions it. By whom then? But it is patent. He saw, then, that even where the fact was admitted, a plea of justification might still be sustained. Had he not seen that the man who admitted the deed, as he saw that my client admitted it, had a chance of acquittal, he would not have ordered an inquiry to be held, nor would he have given you the letter of weal for the recording of your votes along with the letter of woe. ** For my part I think that Gnaeus Pompeius, so far from making a damaging pronouncement against Milo, has definitely laid down what it is that you ought to consider in coming to a decision ; for by meeting confession of the fact not by a penalty, but by permission to plead, he has declared his opinion that it is the circumstances and not the fact of death that should be inquired into.  No doubt he will soon tell us himself whether the course which he took on his own initiative was taken as a tribute to the merits of Publius Clodius or to the emergency.
[7.] L A great nobleman, a champion - and in those troublous times almost a patron - of the Senate, Marcus Drusus, uncle of our gallant juryman Marcus Cato, and tribune of the plebs, was murdered in his own house. ** There was no consultation of the people about his death; no special process was enacted by the Senate. How great the grief which, as our fathers have told us, filled the city, when that blow was dealt by night to Publius Africanus ** as he rested at his home! Who then did not groan? Who did not burn with grief that the man for whom all desired immortality, if it were possible, should not even have been allowed to wait for his end in the course of nature! Was there, then, any special process proposed for inquiry into Africanus's death? None, assuredly.  Why so? Because the guilt of murder does not differ when the victim is renowned and when he is obscure. In life let there be a distinction of standing between the highest and the lowest ; but let death at least, when criminally inflicted, be amenable to both penalties and laws which shall be invariable - unless indeed a parricide is more truly so when the father he has murdered is an ex-consul than when he is a nobody, or unless the death of Publius Clodius is rendered more shocking by the fact that he was slain amid the monuments of his ancestors ** - for this is what our opponents reiterate - asking us to believe that Appius the Blind constructed a road, not for the use of the people, but as a place wherein his descendants might with impunity play the highwayman.
 This, I suppose, was why, when Publius Clodius on the self-same Appian Way murdered the accomplished Roman knight Marcus Papirius, ** the crime was not such as to demand punishment; it was an aristocrat who, amid the memorials of his family, had slain a Roman knight ; and now what mighty melodramas are evoked by the name of this same Appian Way! When erstwhile it was dyed with the blood of a respected and guileless man, not a voice was raised; but now, since it has been stained with the blood of a cut-throat and a parricide, with what persistence is it harped upon! But why do I enlarge upon these instances? There was arrested in the temple of Castor a slave of Publius Clodius whom he had posted there to murder Gnaeus Pompeius; he confessed, and the dagger was wrenched from his hand. Thereafter Pompeius shunned the forum, shunned the Senate, shunned the public eye ; he sheltered himself behind doors and walls, not behind the rights secured to him by the laws and the courts.  Was any motion proposed, any new process enacted? Yet surely if ever there was an occasion, a subject, or a time so important as to require such a step, all these were of prime importance in this case. The conspirator had been posted in the forum, in the very vestibule of the Senate ; he was plotting the death of one on whose life reposed the welfare of the community, - and this at so grave a crisis in public affairs that, had he and none else fallen, not this state alone, but whole nations, would have lain in the dust. Unless indeed the crime, because it was unsuccessful, should be unpunished, - just as if it were the issue of an attempted crime, and not the purpose of the criminal, which the laws had to censure. Its failure gave us the less cause for grief, but surely not a whit the less cause for punishment.  How often, gentlemen, have I myself escaped from Publius Clodius's weapons and his gory hands! And had my own good fortune and that of the state not preserved me therefrom, who, pray, would have moved a judicial inquiry upon my death ?
[8.] L But how absurd of me to dare to compare Drusus, Africanus, Pompeius and myself with Publius Clodius! ** Those acts were tolerable; none can with equanimity endure the death of Publius Clodius! The Senate mourns ; the equestrian order is inconsolable; the whole community is bowed down with affliction; the municipalities wear the garb of woe; the colonies are heart-broken; why, the very fields are pining for a citizen so kindly, so beneficent, so gentle.  No, gentlemen, this assuredly was not the reason why Pompeius thought that a special process should be enacted. No; but in his large wisdom, his profound and almost prophetic endowment of soul, he took a wide view. Clodius was his foe, Milo his friend ; if he too rejoiced in the universal delight, he was afraid lest the genuineness of the reconciliation ** which had taken place might be in some degree discredited. Much else too he saw, but one thing above all - that, stern as the terms of his motion were, you would still give an unflinching verdict. Accordingly he selected men of light and leading from the most distinguished orders ; and he did not, as is commonly alleged, exclude my friends in his selection of the jury. He was far too upright ever to have entertained the idea, nor, even had he desired to do so, could he, in selecting good men, possibly have succeeded. For the regard I enjoy is not confined to those intimacies which cannot be extensive, because life's closer relationships can exist only between a few ; but, if I possess any influence, this influence arises from the fact that public life has linked my lot with that of good men. Making his choice from among the best of these, and believing that his own credit was closely bound up with his choice, he could not possibly choose men who were not my adherents.  As to his particular wish that you, Lucius Domitius, should preside over this inquiry, all he wanted was justice, dignity, broad-mindedness and integrity. He proposed that the position should be open only to those of consular rank - no doubt because he thought that it was the peculiar function of our leading men to resist the thoughtlessness of the proletariate and the recklessness of agitators. He appointed you from among the whole number of ex-consuls; for from early youth you had given signal proof of your contempt for demagogic follies.
[9.] L  Wherefore, gentlemen, - that we may at length pass on to the charge which is the subject of this trial, - if avowal of the fact is not wholly unprecedented, if no judgement has been passed by the Senate on our case otherwise than in accordance with our wishes; if the mover of the law himself, though there was no dispute about the fact, desired that the question of right should none the less be discussed ; if the jurymen selected and the president appointed were such as would fairly and wisely investigate the case ; then it only remains for you to decide, gentlemen, which of the two was guilty of conspiracy against the other. And in order that in the light of proofs you may get a clearer view of this question, please give me your careful attention while I lay before you a short narrative of the occurrence.
 Publius Clodius had determined to harass the state during his praetorship by every kind of lawless behaviour. He saw that the elections of the previous year had been so protracted that he would be able to hold his praetorship for no more than a few months. For that high office, which is what most men desire, he cared nothing; all he wanted was to avoid having Lucius Paulus, a citizen of exceptional merit, as his colleague, and to have an entire year in which to maul the state. He therefore suddenly abandoned his proper year, ** and transferred his name to the year following - not led thereto, as commonly happens, by any religious scruple, but in order that, according to his own account, he might enjoy for the exercise of his praetorship - that is to say, for the subversion of the state - a full and unbroken year.
 He was haunted by the thought that his praetorship would be maimed and enfeebled if Milo were consul ; and, what was more, he saw that Milo bade fair to be elected consul, with the hearty concurrence of the Roman people. He attached himself to Milo's fellow-candidates, but on condition that he should have entire direction of the whole canvass, even to the extent of acting against their will - that he should, as he described it, carry the whole election on his own shoulders. He was for assembling the tribes; for offering his services as agent; for registering a new Colline ** tribe by enrolling citizens of abandoned character. But the more Clodius worked his will, the stronger Milo daily grew. When Clodius, alert for every chance of evil-doing, saw that a resolute man who was his bitterest foe would without a shadow of doubt be consul, when he realised that this had been clearly intimated not only by the talk but also by the votes of the Roman people, then he began to work openly, and declare in plain terms that Milo must be slain.  He had brought down from the Apennines rude and boorish slaves, whom he had employed to raid the public forests and to harass Etruria, and whom you saw. He made not the slightest secret of the matter; nay, he openly asserted that, if Milo's consulate could not be taken from him, at least his life could. He often made allusion to this in the Senate, and stated it in mass-meetings. Nor was this all; but when the gallant Marcus Favonius asked him what he hoped for in his frenzy, so long as Milo lived, he replied that in three, or at most four, days Milo would be dead - a remark which Favonius immediately reported to our friend here, Marcus Cato.
[10.] L  Meanwhile, since Clodius knew - and it was not difficult to know - that Milo, being dictator at Lanuvium, had to undertake a journey, obligatory by ritual and law, to that town on January 18th to declare the election of a flamen, he himself suddenly left Rome on the day previous, in order, as the sequel showed, that he might, in front of his manor, lay an ambush against Milo. What is more, his departure involved his abandoning an uproarious public meeting which was held on the same day, and in which the inspiration of his mad spirit was sadly missed; and which he would never have abandoned, had he not desired punctually to be present at the place of his enterprise.
 Milo, on the other hand, after having been in the Senate that day until its dismissal, went home, changed his shoes and his raiment, waited for a short time while his wife made such preparations as ladies must make, and finally started out so late that Clodius might have already returned to Rome, had he ever intended to do so. He was met by Clodius, unencumbered, on horseback, no coach, no baggage, no customary Greek companions, without his wife (which he scarcely ever was); while our supposed conspirator, who (we are told) had planned the expedition with a view to murder, was driving with his wife in a coach, wrapped in his travelling-cloak, with a large, cumbersome, effeminate and dainty retinue of waiting-maids and pages.  He meets Clodius in front of his manor at about the eleventh hour, or not far off it. An attack is immediately made upon my client by several armed men posted on higher ground; others stand in the way of the coach and kill the coachman; but when Milo flung back his cloak, leapt from the vehicle, and defended himself with energy, Clodius's party drew their swords, and either ran to the coach intending to attack Milo in the rear, or, under the impression that he had been already slain, began to cut down the slaves who were following. Such of these as showed presence of mind and loyalty towards their master were either slain, or, seeing that a fight was going on around the coach, and being prevented from coming to their master's assistance, when they heard from Clodius's own lips that Milo was killed and believed his report to be true, Milo's slaves, I say, ** - and I shall only describe the event as it took place, without any idea of shifting the charge from my client, - did, without the orders or the knowledge or the presence of their master, what every man would have wished his own slaves to do in like circumstances.
[11.] L  My narrative, gentlemen, is in exact correspondence with the facts. ** A conspirator was overcome. Violence was by violence vanquished, or rather effrontery was overpowered by valour. I say nothing of the gain to the public weal, to yourselves, to all patriots. Let this count not a jot in Milo's favour; the fate that presided at his birth had forbidden that he should save even himself without at the same time saving the state and yourselves. If his act could not be justified, then I have no defence to offer. But if it is a truth instilled into civilised beings by reason, into barbarians by necessity, into mankind by custom, and even into brute beasts by Nature herself, that always and in all circumstances they should repel violence, by whatever means were in their power, from their persons, their heads, and their lives, - then you cannot judge this to have been a wicked act without at the same time judging that all who have fallen upon robbers deserve to perish, if not by their weapons, then by your votes.  Had my client thought so, surely it would have been more desirable for him to bare to Clodius that neck which he had sought not once alone nor then for the first time, rather than to be done to death by you, because he had not surrendered himself to be done to death by Clodius. But if none of you feels thus, then the point before the court to-day is not, was Clodius slain - for we admit it - but was the act justifiable or not - an issue which has often been raised in many cases. It is admitted that a plot was laid, and this it is that the Senate has pronounced to be an act contrary to the interests of the state; but it is uncertain which of the two was responsible for the plot; into this, then, it was moved that you should inquire. In the same way, the Senate censured the act, not the agent; and it was to decide the question of justification, not that of fact, that Pompeius enacted the special process. [12.] L Is there, then, any other question before the court than this - which of the two plotted against the other? Obviously none; if my client plotted against Clodius, let him not go unpunished ; if Clodius against Milo, let us be acquitted. **
 How then can I prove to your satisfaction that it was Clodius who laid a plot against Milo? Dealing as we are with a monster of such reckless impiety, it is enough to demonstrate that he had a great inducement to kill Milo, and great expectations and great advantages held out to him in the event of his death. Accordingly let Cassius's famous test, "Who stood to gain?" ** be applied to the characters now before us; only let us remember that no self-interest will ever drive the good man into crime, while the bad man is often impelled thereto by one that is but trivial. And, as a matter of fact, Clodius, by Milo's death, did stand to gain not only that his praetorship would not fall under a consul who would render him powerless for ill, but also that his praetorship would fall under consuls with whose connivance, at least, if not with their aid, he hoped that he might have full scope for the mad schemes which he entertained - men who, so at least he reasoned, would not be anxious to check his efforts if they could, since they would be sensible of the deep debt they owed him, and who, even if they wished, would perhaps scarce be able to crush that audacity in the vilest of scoundrels which time had by now brought to its full vigour.
 But do you live in solitary ignorance, gentlemen ? Do you move as strangers in this city? Are your ears wool-gathering ? Do they dwell aloof from the rumours which are bruited among our populace - as to the laws (if laws they should be called, and not rather firebrands for the city's doom and plagues for the scourging of the commonwealth) which he intended to inflict upon us, and with the mark of which he hoped to brand us all? Out, Sextus Clodius, ** out with that portfolio of laws which you snatched, we are told, from the house, and bore safely like a Palladium ** from the weapons and the tumult of the night, that you might bestow it as a precious boon and an engine of tribunician power on anyone you might find who was ready to hold the tribunate under your conditions! . . . ** And he has fixed me with that glare he used to give when hurling threats upon all and sundry. I declare I am unmanned by that shining - ay, that burning ** - light of the Senate-house! [13.] L Ah, Sextus, do you think that I am angry with you? Why, you wreaked upon my bitterest foe a far more pitiless vengeance than I, with my nicer susceptibilities, could have demanded. You cast out of doors Publius Clodius's gory corpse; you flung it into the highway ; and there, robbed of its images, its train of mourners, its pageantry and its panegyric, you charred it on a pile of ill-starred timber, and left it to be mauled by the dogs that haunt the dark! Doubtless it was a shameful act; but since it was upon my foe that you vented your ruthlessness, though I cannot praise, I certainly have no right to cherish anger against you.
 You have heard, gentlemen, how greatly it was to Clodius's interest that Milo should be slain; now in turn consider Milo. What did Milo stand to gain by the murder of Clodius? What reason had Milo, I will not say for committing, but for desiring it? Clodius, you say, was an obstacle to Milo in his ambition to win the consulship. Yes, but he was in a fair way to be made consul in spite of Clodius's opposition - nay, all the more so on account of it. Why, my own efforts won him no more votes than did those of Clodius. You, gentlemen, were still moved by the memory of Milo's services to myself and to the state; you were moved by our prayers and tears, which, as I realised at the time, made a deep impression upon you; but most of all were you moved by the fear of impending perils. For what citizen was there who could view the prospect of Clodius's unfettered tenure of the praetorship without grave apprehension of a revolution? Unfettered you knew it would be, unless the consul were one who had both courage and power to bind it. Such a man the whole Roman people saw in Milo ; and who could falter in giving his vote to free himself from fear and the state from danger? Now, however, that Clodius is cleared from his path, it is to the ordinary means that Milo must henceforth resort in his endeavours to uphold his merits. That unique glory, of which he held a monopoly, and which was daily being enhanced by his efforts to stem the madness of Clodius, has, by Clodius's death, now fallen. You have achieved your own immunity from fear of any citizen; Milo has lost scope for the exercise of his valour, a source of votes for his election as consul, and an ever-flowing wellspring of renown for himself. So it comes about that Milo's candidature, which during Clodius's life stood firm against all assaults, only now after his death begins to be attacked. It is not true merely to say that Milo reaps no benefit from Clodius's death; he actually loses by it.  "Ah yes," it will be urged, "but hatred was a strong motive; he acted in anger, in bitterness; he played the rôle of avenger of his own wrong, redresser of his own grievance." What! if these motives were, I will not say stronger in Clodius than in Milo, but overmastering in Clodius and non-existent in my client, what more do you ask? What reason had Milo for hating Clodius, who was food and fuel for his renown, save that public-spirited hatred wherewith we hate all bad men? It may well be that Clodius hated one who was, first, the upholder of my well-being, secondly, the chastiser of his madness and the vanquisher of his arms, and lastly also, his own accuser, for Clodius, as long as he lived, was under an indictment from Milo by the terms of the Plotian law. ** How do you suppose that tyrant brooked this? How bitter and, by his own standard of just dealing, how just must his hatred have been!
[14.] L  There still remains the argument that the natural disposition and habits of Clodius himself are in his favour, whereas the defendant in these respects stands condemned. Clodius, we are told, never acted with violence, Milo never without it. How is this? When l, gentlemen, left the city amid the grief of you all, was it a trial that I feared? Was it not rather slaves, arms, violence ? What just cause would there have been for my restoration, if there had not been an unjust one for my ejection? He had, presumably, served me with a writ, moved for the imposition of a fine, laid against me an impeachment for high treason ; and I, I suppose, had to fear the verdict of a jury in a case which was ignoble, or at least personal, instead of being both a glorious and a national one: it was to the weapons of slaves and of needy and wicked citizens that I refused that my fellow-citizens, who had been preserved by my measures and at my peril, should be exposed in my behalf.  For I saw even Quintus Hortensius here, the light and ornament of the state, almost done to death by the hands of slaves, for standing by me ; and in the same riot the excellent senator Gaius Vibienus paid the penalty of being with him by being so roughly handled that he died. And so, from this time forward, when did his dagger, which Catiline had bequeathed to him, rest in its sheath ? That it is which has threatened us ; to that I have not suffered that you should be exposed in my behalf; that lay in wait for Pompeius; that drenched with the life-blood of Papirius the Appian Way which perpetuated its wielder's name; that too was many years later once again aimed at myself, for but recently, as you are aware, it nearly wrought my destruction near the King's House. **
 What has Milo to show in this kind? Any violence that he ever used had the sole purpose of preventing Clodius, since he could not hale him before the courts, from crushing the community beneath the thraldom of violence; and, had he chosen to slay him, how many, how great, how glorious, were his opportunities! When he was defending his home and his household gods against Clodius's attacks, could he not have taken a justifiable vengeance? Could he not have done so, when that noble citizen and gallant gentleman, Publius Sestius, his colleague, had been wounded? Or when the worthy Quintus Fabricius, ** proposing a measure for my restoration, was ejected, and a ghastly massacre took place in the forum? Or when the house of that upright and courageous praetor, Lucius Caecilius ** was besieged? Could he not have done so on that great day when the law concerning me was proposed, when all Italy, summoned by my welfare and mustered in her thousands, would gladly have acclaimed the glory of such a deed, so that even had Milo been its real author the whole state would have evermore assumed the renown of it as its own ?
[15.] L  But what a time for the deed! ** There was a brave and distinguished consul, Publius Lentulus, hostile to Clodius, the avenger of his crimes, the bulwark of the Senate, the champion of your will, the promoter of the general unanimity, the restorer of my civic rights; there were seven praetors and eight tribunes of the plebs, his opponents and my defenders; there was Gnaeus Pompeius, inspirer and leader of my restoration and foe of Clodius, whose weighty and eloquent pronouncement with regard to my welfare was supported by the whole Senate, who urged the Roman people to act ; who himself by the decree about me that he had passed at Capua gave the signal to the whole of Italy, which was on the tip-toe of desire and imploring his assistance, that they should flock to Rome in order to restore me, - then indeed it was that through its yearning for me the universal hatred of the citizens blazed up against Clodius, and had anyone slain him then, there would be no deliberation about acquittal, but about reward.  And yet Milo held himself in, and though he twice challenged Clodius at law, he never challenged him to a trial of force. Again, when Milo was a private citizen and answering a charge before the people at the instance of Publius Clodius, an attack was made upon Gnaeus Poinpeius during his speech in Milo's defence ; surely that was not merely an opportunity but even a justification for the crushing of Clodius ! Recently too, when Marcus Antonius ** had inspired all good patriots with high and beneficent hopes, and when he, a young man of high rank, had courageously taken upon himself the discharge of a lofty role in public life, and had already enmeshed in his toils the monster who was struggling to escape the nets of justice, what a chance, what an opportunity, ye gods, was that ! When Clodius in his flight had hidden himself in a cupboard under a staircase, would it have been hard for Milo to finish off the pest with no discredit to himself and to the great glory of Marcus Antonius ?  Again, at the elections in the Campus how often had he the chance ! - when Clodius had rushed into the enclosures, and had given orders for the drawing of swords and the hurling of stones, and then, cowed by Milo's sudden glance, was fleeing towards the Tiber, while you and all good patriots breathed a prayer that Milo might be pleased to give free play to the valour that was in him.
[16.] L Did he then desire, when some people were sure to protest, to do what he refused to do when all would have been delighted ? He did not venture to slay Clodius when he might have done so lawfully, advantageously, opportunely, with impunity ; and did he have no hesitation in slaying him unlawfully, disadvantageously, inopportunely, and at the risk of his own life -  at a time moreover, gentlemen, when a struggle for the highest honours and the day of election were close at hand; a time when - for I know what nervous work canvassing is, how intense and how wearing is the pursuit of the consulship - a time when we are afraid not merely of every censure which can be laid against us openly, but even of every vague suggestion of the imagination; any rumour, any exaggerated silly fiction makes us quake ; we eagerly scan every expression upon every face. For there is nothing so pliable, so delicate, so easy to break or to bend, as the feeling and attitude of our fellow-citizens towards us; it is not merely misconduct on the part of the candidates that rouses their wrath, but even unexceptionable behaviour often leaves them captious.  With the prospect, then, before him of the election day, on which all his hopes and desires were set, did Milo propose, bearing in his bloody hands an emblazoned avowal of his wicked crime, to be present at the solemn taking of auspices for the centuries ? Incredible behaviour, surely, in a man like my client ! Behaviour, too, that one might confidently look for from Clodius, believing, as he did, that Milo's death would seat him in a despot's throne. Again (and herein lies the secret of all wicked venture), is it not an admitted fact that there is no temptation to crime so powerful as the prospect of impunity ? And which of these two could cherish such a prospect? Milo, who, as it is, is on his trial for a deed which was at least unavoidable, if not heroic ? - or Clodius, whose contempt for verdicts and penalties had made it impossible for him to find pleasure in aught that nature hallowed or that law permitted ?
 But why do I argue thus? or why discuss the matter further? I appeal to you, Quintus Petilius, good and courageous citizen that you are ; I call you to witness, Marcus Cato - you whom some heaven-sent fortune has accorded to me as judges. You have heard from the lips of Marcus Favonius that Clodius told him - you have heard it while Clodius yet lived - that Milo would be dead in three days. Three days after the words were uttered the affair took place. He did not hesitate to expose his thought ; and can you hesitate about his act ?
[17.] L  How was it, then, that he made no mistake about the day? I have just told you; it was no trouble for him to ascertain the fixed sacrifices that the dictator of Lanuvium had to perform. He saw that Milo must needs start for Lanuvium on the very day on which he did start; accordingly he anticipated him. But what was the day? That, as I mentioned before, on which occurred a frenzied public meeting, whose passions were inflamed by a tribune in Clodius's own pay - an occasion, a meeting, a riot, which he would never have abandoned, had he not been impatient to accomplish a premeditated crime. He therefore, so far from having any motive for going, had a motive for staying behind; Milo had no opportunity for staying, and had not merely a motive, but an imperative duty, to leave the city. What, furthermore, of the fact that while Clodius knew that Milo would be that day upon the road, Milo could not even have suspected that this would be the case with Clodius?  How, I ask in the first place, could he have known it? This is a question that you cannot ask with regard to Clodius. Even supposing that he had asked no one else save his intimate friend Titus Patina, he might have known that on that very day the induction of a flamen at Lanuvium was a duty that had to be performed by Milo, who was dictator. But there were many others from whom he might very easily have ascertained the fact - any Lanuvian, for instance. But of whom could Milo have inquired concerning Clodius's return? Let us suppose that he did inquire - mark how generous I am to you ** - let us suppose that he even bribed a slave, as my friend Quintus Arrius has suggested. Read the evidence of your own witnesses; Gaius Causinius Schola of Interamna, an intimate friend and companion of Clodius (whose evidence given some time ago, by the way, showed that Clodius was simultaneously at Interamna and at Rome), has asserted that on that day Clodius had intended to remain on his Alban estate, but on receiving unforeseen news of the death of Cyrus the architect, he suddenly decided to start for Rome. This was corroborated by Gaius Clodius, also a companion of Publius.
[18.] L  Mark, gentlemen, what important results are arrived at by the help of this evidence. In the first place Milo is clearly acquitted of having started with the deliberate intention of waylaying Clodius upon the road - obviously so, if the two were not likely to fall in with one another at all. In the second place - for I do not see why I should not do myself a good turn - you know, gentlemen, that there were some who, in urging the setting up of this court, ventured to assert that Milo's hand had done the deed, but that the mind that prompted it belonged to a greater. It was myself, let me tell you, to whom a set of abandoned ruffians gave the name of highwayman and cut-throat. Their own evidence demolishes those who say that Clodius would not have returned to Rome had he not received the news about Cyrus. I breathe again; my good name is cleared ; I no longer fear that I may seem to have based my plans on a circumstance which I could not even have suspected. Let me now pass on to the next point.  We are met by the objection, "Neither could Clodius have had any idea of a plot, since he intended to remain at his Alban estate." Yes, that would have been the case, if he had not intended to leave the house to commit the murder. For I am perfectly aware that the messenger, who is alleged to have reported the news of the death of Cyrus, reported not that, but the approach of Milo. For what news could he have brought about Cyrus, whom Clodius, on his departure from Rome, had left in a dying condition? I was with him at the time, and I was joint witness with Clodius of his will. The will had been openly drawn up, and Clodius and myself named as legatees. Clodius at the third hour on the previous day had left him breathing his last, and only at the tenth on the day following received news of his death !
[19.] L  Well, let us suppose that this was the case. What motive had he for a hurried return to Rome? Why this dash into the night ? Did the fact that he was an heir lend speed to his motion? In the first place, there was no conceivable need for haste ; then if there were, what, pray, was he likely to gain by reaching Rome that night, or to lose, if he did not arrive till the morning following ? Moreover, as Clodius had every reason to avoid rather than to court arrival in the city at night, so Milo, if he knew he would be approaching the city by night, ought, like the conspirator he was, to have skulked in waiting for him. He might have slain Clodius by night in some treacherous haunt of thieves.  Not a man but would have accepted his disclaimers, had he done so. Even now, when he admits the deed, all desire his acquittal. The spot itself, a den and harbour of robbers, would have taken the charge upon it; the dumb solitude of the place would have told no tales of Milo, nor would the blind night have betrayed him. In the next place, had the deed been done there, many whom Clodius had outraged, plundered, ejected from their property, and many more who dreaded this fate, would to-day lie under suspicion ; indeed, the whole of Etruria would be arraigned.  Furthermore, it is certain that on the day in question Clodius, on his return from Aricia, looked in at his Alban house. Now even supposing that Milo knew he had been at Aricia, he was nevertheless bound to suspect that he would stop for refreshment at his villa, which was close to the roadside, even if he wished to return to Rome on that day. Why did he not waylay him before, to prevent his staying at his villa, not lie in wait for him in a place that his intended victim would probably reach at night ?
 So far, gentlemen, I observe that all the evidence points in a single direction - that to Milo it was even advantageous that Clodius should continue to live, while to Clodius, for the achievement of his heart's desire, Milo's destruction was a consummation devoutly to be wished ; that Clodius hated Milo bitterly, while Milo hated Clodius not at all; that the one had made a perpetual practice of offering violence, the other only of repelling it; that Clodius had openly threatened and foretold Milo's death, that no such utterance was ever heard from Milo's lips ; that Clodius had known the day of my client's departure, while that of Clodius's return was unknown to my client; that Milo's errand was one of duty, while that of Clodius, so far from being that, was relevant to nothing; that Milo had openly proclaimed that he would leave Rome on that day, while Clodius had concealed his intention of re turning on that day ; that Milo had not altered his intended purpose in a single particular, while Clodius had invented a reason for changing his; that Milo, had he been a plotter, would naturally have waited for the approach of night near the city, while Clodius, even had he had no fears of Milo, would still have had reason to fear an approach to the city by night.
[20.] L  Let us now look to the crux of the whole matter, and consider which party had the better position for an ambush in the spot where the meeting actually occurred. On this point, gentlemen, is there still room for doubt or further reflection? Was it in front of Clodius's manor - a manor in which, thanks to those gigantic basements, ** a thousand able-bodied men were easily accommodated - that Milo had made up his mind that he would have his adversary, who was on high commanding ground, at a disadvantage, and had he therefore fixed upon that spot of all others for a fight ? Was it not rather that my client's arrival was waited for by one who, just because he relied upon the ground, had planned to make his attack there? Facts, gentlemen, are always stubborn things, but in this particular case they are eloquent.  If it were not a narrative of the events to which you were listening, but a picture of them which you were viewing, it would still be self-evident which was the plotter, and which was innocent of any evil design. You would see one riding in his coach, muffled in his cloak, his wife seated at his side. Any one of these - garment, vehicle, companion - embarrassing enough in all conscience. What situation could offer less facilities for fighting than to be entangled in a cloak, hampered by a coach, tied, so to speak, to a wife's apron-strings ? Look now at Clodius, first sallying forth from his house, suddenly - why ? In the evening - what need for that? In a leisurely fashion - where was the sense of that - at that hour of day too? "He called at Pompeius's country-seat." Was it to see Pompeius? He knew that Pompeius was at his place near Alsium. Was it to view the villa? He had been there a thousand times. What, then, was the meaning of it? Mere shilly-shally and time wasting ; he was loath to leave the spot until my client should arrive.
[21.] L  Next, please, compare the mode of travelling of the nimble footpad with Milo's cumbersome paraphernalia. Hitherto Clodius had always travelled with his wife; now he is without her. Never save in a coach; now he is on horseback. Greek minions with him wherever he went, even when he hurried out to his Etrurian cantonments ; now not a puppet in all his train. Milo, who never dealt in such trash, happened on this occasion to have with him some singing-boys of his wife, and a bevy of waiting-maids. Clodius, who normally travelled with courtesans, eunuchs, and strumpets, on this occasion travelled with no one, save persons of such a stamp that you would say that each man had picked his fellow. **
Why, then, was he beaten? Because it is not invariably the traveller who is slain by the highwayman; sometimes it is even the highwayman who is slain by the traveller; and because, although Clodius had fallen prepared upon the unprepared, yet he was as a woman who had fallen among men. **  And, indeed, Milo was never so unprepared to meet Clodius that he was not, as a rule, fairly ready for him. He never forgot how greatly Clodius stood to gain by his death, how deeply Clodius hated him, and how reckless was his mood ; and, for this reason, knowing that a vast price had been set upon his life and that he scarce could call it his own, he never exposed it to danger without precaution and protection. Remember, too, what chance may bring; remember the uncertainty of the issues of battle and the impartiality of the war-god, who has often overthrown the victor with his hand upon the booty and the shout of triumph upon his lips, and struck him down by the hand of his prostrate foe ; bear in mind the stupidity of a leader who was drowsy from his luncheon and his cups; who, having left his enemy cut off in the rear, ** never thought of the retainers who marched last; and who, falling upon slaves who were mad with wrath and despairing of their master's life, was trapped in the vengeance which faithful slaves exacted in return for their master's life.
 And why, then, did Milo emancipate them ? ** We are told that he feared exposure, that they might be unable to endure the pain of torture, that they might be constrained upon the rack to confess that Publius Clodius was murdered on the Appian Way by Milo's slaves. Where is the need of the torturer ? What fact do you wish to elicit? Whether he slew the man? He did slay him. Whether he was justified or not? But that has nothing to do with the torturer ; it is facts that are extorted upon the rack, questions of justification in the courts. [22.] L What is proper matter for a trial we track down here; what you wish to elicit by torture we admit. In asking why he emancipated them, instead of asking why he bestowed upon them a reward so inadequate, you show what a poor hand you are at taking an opponent to task.  Our friend Marcus Cato here, whose utterances are invariably bold and resolute, said at an uproarious public meeting, which albeit was calmed by his impressive personality, that slaves who had defended the life of their master were in the highest degree deserving not merely of liberty but of the most generous rewards. For what reward can be adequate to slaves so devoted, so loyal, and so true, to whom their master owes his life ? - although even this does not count for so much as that he owes to those same slaves that he has not glutted with his blood and his wounds the eyes and passions of a relentless foe ; and should he have failed to emancipate these, he would have had to hand over to the torment the preservers of their master, the avengers of crime, and the averters of death. In all his calamities there is nothing which my client bears with such cheerfulness as the fact that, should anything happen to himself, these at least have had this well-merited reward paid to them.
 But there are inquisitions ** which are telling against Milo - those, I mean, which have just been held in the court of the temple of Liberty. What slaves are their subjects? Do you ask? Those of Publius Clodius. Who has demanded their examination? Appius. Who has brought them forward? Appius. From whom were they procured ? From Appius. Unexceptionable rigour this, in all conscience! There is no legal right of examining slaves against their masters save to discover sins against the gods - such examination as was held against Publius Clodius. Clodius has indeed approached very near to the gods, ** nearer than when he forced a passage into their very presence, when his death is made the subject of as rigorous an inquiry as an act of sacrilege. Still, the intention of our ancestors was that a slave should never be examined against his master; not that it was impossible thus to discover truth, but because it was felt to be un natural, and more deplorable even than the master's death. When, however, a prosecutor's slave is being examined to incriminate a defendant, what chance is there of getting at the truth ?
 Well now, what was the manner of examination, and how did it proceed? "Look here, Rufio" (to take an imaginary name), "mind you don't tell lies! Did Clodius plot against Milo?" "He did." Result - crucifixion, for sure. "He did not." Result - a chance of liberty. What could be more infallible than this form of examination? They are haled off for torture without delay, and even then they are isolated and flung into separate cells, that none may hold communication with them. In this particular case, they had been in the custody of the prosecutor for a hundred days, and were then by the prosecutor himself produced. What could be more impartial or more unprejudiced than such a method of examination ?
[23.] L  But if you still fail to see, when the actual facts are illuminated by proofs and evidences so lucid, that Milo returned to Rome with mind stainless and untarnished, with no taint of crime, confounded by no guilty terrors, stunned by no sense of sin, recall, I pray you, how prompt was his return, how impressive his entry into the forum, when the Senate-house was in flames ** ; how superb was his magnanimity, his mien, and his tone! He entrusted himself not merely to the people, but also to the Senate ; not merely to the Senate, but to the public guards and armies; and not merely to these, but to the discretion of the man ** to whom the Senate had entrusted the whole commonwealth, the whole man-power of Italy, and all the arms of the Roman people ; and you may be quite sure that my client would never have put himself at his disposal had he not had confidence in his own cause, especially seeing that the man in question was one who heard everything, apprehended great dangers, suspected much and believed not a little. Great is the power of conscience, gentlemen, great for bliss or for bane; it makes the innocent fearless, while it haunts the sinner with the ever-present vision of retribution.
 Nor indeed is it without definite reason that Milo's cause has ever been favourably viewed by the Senate ; for, as highly intelligent men, they saw the reasonableness of his conduct, the imperturbability of his spirit, and the consistency of his defence. Or have you forgotten, gentlemen, when the news of Clodius's death had but just reached us, the remarks and surmises not only of Milo's enemies but even of several persons who were imperfectly informed ?  They asserted that he would never return to Rome. For supposing he had committed the deed in a mood of anger and excitement, so as to murder his enemy in a fit of hatred, they imagined that he had considered the death of Clodius an ample compensation for his own loss of country, after glutting his hate upon the life-blood of his foe ; or supposing that by Clodius's death he had desired to set his country free, so brave a man, they thought, would not hesitate, after having at his own peril saved the state, to bow calmly to the laws, to take hence with him a glory that should never die, and to leave to us the enjoyment of those blessings that he himself had preserved. Many even prated of Catiline ** and his monstrous crew. "He will break loose," they exclaimed, "he will seize some post of vantage, he will make war upon his country!" How wretched at times is the lot of the self-sacrificing patriot, when men not only forget his proudest services, but even suspect him of infamous designs!  As it turned out, these rumours were false; but they would certainly have proved true, had Milo been guilty of any act which he could not honourably and genuinely defend.
[24.] L Then, again, the calumnies that later were heaped upon him - calumnies which would have stunned any man whose conscience accused him of even trivial misdemeanours - how resolutely, ye gods, did he face those! Faced, do I say? Nay, despised them, and set them at naught, though none that had been guilty, however high his spirit, and none that had been innocent, unless he were a man of iron soul, could have disregarded them. It was hinted that vast stores of shields, swords, javelins even bridles might be seized; it was asserted that there was no quarter, no alley in the city, in which a house had not been hired for Milo's use; that arms had been sent down the Tiber to his villa at Ocriculum, that his house upon the slope of the Capitol was stacked with shields, and that every place was piled with brands for setting the city on fire. These stories were not only whispered, but nearly gained credence; only investigation proved them groundless.
 For my own part, I thought Pompeius's amazing vigilance praiseworthy, but I will speak my mind, gentlemen; those in whose hands lie vital public issues are compelled to hear too much, and indeed they cannot help doing so. He had even to listen to Licinius - some slaughterer-fellow ** from the Circus Maximus - who said that some slaves of Milo had got drunk at his shop, and confessed that they had been in a plot to murder Pompeius ; and that later he had been stabbed by one of these, so that he might not reveal it. He sent intelligence to Pompeius in his mansion; I was one of the first to be summoned ; on the advice of his friends he laid the matter before the Senate. Naturally, when so grave a suspicion had fallen upon Milo, who was the guardian of my country and myself, I could not but be paralysed with fear ; but at the same time I was amazed that belief should be accorded to the slaughterer, that the slave's confession should be listened to, and that the wound in Licinius' side, which was obviously a pin's prick, should pass for the stab of a gladiator.  But, as I understand, Pompeius was cautious rather than fearful, not only with regard to what might be reasonable grounds for fear, but with regard to everything, in order that you might have nothing to fear. It was reported that the house of the valiant and renowned Gaius Caesar had been in a state of siege for many hours of the night; frequented though the spot is, no one had heard or been aware of anything amiss; yet the story continued to gain a hearing. It was impossible for me to suspect of cowardice a man of Gnaeus Pompeius's surpassing courage ; but I did not think that in a man who bore the whole burden of the state any vigilance could be excessive. At a crowded meeting of the Senate held recently upon the Capitol a senator ventured to assert that Milo was wearing a dagger; and my client bared his person in that sacred temple, so that since the life of so great a man and citizen afforded no guarantee of his innocence, the fact itself, without a word from him, might speak in his behalf.
Following sections (67-105) →
1. After killing the three Curiatii, the surviving Horatius killed his sister because she displayed grief. Sentenced to death, but acquitted on appeal to the people.
2. Trib. pl. 133, offered himself unconstitutionally for re-election, and was slain by a mob of senators, led by P. Nasica.
3. Killed Sp. Maelius, 439, on the ground that he was intriguing to make himself king.
4. Slayer of C. Gracchus, 121.
5. Crushed the revolutionary leaders, Saturninus and Glaucia, 100.
6. Aeschylus in his Eumenides, where Orestes is acquitted by Athena's casting-vote.
7. Munatius Plancus, who was literally singed in the fires that cut short ('intermortuae') his harangues ; see Asconius, App. § 4.
8. Clodius's violation of the rites of Bona Dea.
9. Any senator could, by crying "divide," demand that each clause of a composite motion should be voted upon separately.
10. A (absolvo) and C (condemno) stamped on either face of the juryman's voting-tablet ; one letter was erased by the holder before registering his vote.
11. After proposing a law to extend the franchise to Italians, 91.
12. i.e, Scipio Aemilianus, who in 129 took from Tib. Gracchus's Land Commission its powers of allotment.
13. i.e., not only upon the Via Appia, which his ancestor the Censor had laid out, but among the tombs of the Claudii which fringed it.
14. Clodius in 58 was intriguing to restore to his kingdom Tigranes, prince of Armenia, who was held in custody by Pompey. Tigranes was being conveyed secretly out of Rome when Papirius and other Pompeians tried to prevent his escape.
15. This passage is of course ironical.
16. i.e., with Clodius.
17. i.e., the earliest in which the Lex Villia allowed a man to stand for any office, Clodius had been aedile in 56 and could have been elected praetor in 54.
18. The Colline was deemed the most disreputable of the four City tribes; C. is speaking metaphorically, meaning that Clodius organized sodalicia (political clubs) of roughs, and distributed them as a leaven among the tribes.
19. C. lays stress upon this in order to provide in advance a reason for M.'s giving his slaves their freedom. Failing such explanation, that suggested in § 57 would naturally offer itself.
20. But notice the points of disagreement in the account given by Asconius, App. § 2, 3.
21. C. is throwing dust in the eyes of the jury. He puts the possible alternatives as two: (1) M. plotted against C. ; (2) C. plotted against M.; and treats them as mutually exclusive. But there are two others: (3) neither plotted against the other ; (4) each plotted against the other.
23. L. Cassius Longinus, trib. pl. 137, always, when presiding in court, urged the jury to guide their vote by this maxim. Note how often 'Cui bono?' is used to-day by journalists and others in the impossible sense of "what is the good ?"
24. Agent, and probably freedman, of P. Clodius. See App. § 4 for Asconius's account of this incident.
25. Image of Pallas which rendered Troy impregnable, traditionally rescued by Aeneas at the sack of the city.
26. There is a gap in the sense here ; the fragments quoted by Quint. and a scholiast, which editors usually insert, are unsatisfactory, and I prefer to leave an hiatus.
27. C. uses 'lumen' in a double sense: (1) shining light (ironically), (2) glare; in reference to the burning of the Senate-house.
28. i.e., under the Lex Plotia de Vi for rioting after C.'s recall; M. gave notice of the prosecution but never commenced it.
29. i.e. the Regia, Numa's palace on the Via Sacra.
30. P. S. and Q. F. were trib. pl., and L. C. was praetor, in 57, and all were workers for C.'s recall.
31. The train of thought is: (XV.) M. never used violence to C. when he had everything to gain, (XVI.) would he have done so when he had everything to lose ?
32. The future Triumvir.
33. C. here addresses counsel for the prosecution.
34. Grandiose buildings were common among rich Romans; see Hor. Od. iii. 1. 33. Clodius was building on the side of the Alban Hill. Apparently after building he cut into the slope and rested the house upon pillars.
35. A proverbial expression for a method of selecting volunteers; a small nucleus is first chosen, each member of which chooses one or more comrades, each of whom chooses another, and so on.
36. A bitter reference to the Bona Dea incident, when Clodius had been caught a man among women.
37. Cf. § 29, and also Asconius's narrative, App. § 2.
38. The suggestion of the prosecution was that M. had manumitted his slaves that they might not be tortured into admissions against him; free men could not be tortured.
39. Clodius's slaves had given evidence damaging to Milo. C. argues that this evidence is invalidated by the circumstances of the inquiry.
40. C. means that since slaves could testify against their masters only for sins against the gods (incestus), an examination of M.'s slaves would be treating Clodius as a god.
41. See Asconius, App. § 4.
43. i.e., they alleged that he would prove a second Catiline.
44. 'Popa' is one who slaughters his victims for a priest; it has been suggested that 'popae' often kept 'popinae' (restaurants), though it is not certain that the two words are etymologically akin.
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