The conspiracy of Catilina - World History

The conspiracy of Catilina - World History
Posted on 30-12-2022

The conspiracy of Catilina ( 63 ) Cicero makes the conspiracy of Lucio Sergio Catilina fail.

The popular Roman party no longer had idealistic leaders who really sought the benefit of the people, but instead brought together all those who believed they could satisfy their ambitions or their desire for revenge by gaining the support of the masses. Undoubtedly, the conservatives did not have many paragons of virtue either, but it must be recognized that there were at least two men of good faith among their ranks. One was Cicero, and the other Marcus Porcius Cato,great-grandson of the old censor of the same name, also known as Cato the Younger. He had served under Lucullus, and admired his sense of discipline. If he admired a man with a reputation for being unpleasant and intolerant, it was undoubtedly because he was guilty of the same. Cato adjusted his behavior to the moral principles implicit in the stories about the ancient Romans. He never failed to flaunt his virtue, so he was not very likable. In addition, he was inflexible with all the weakness of others, and his scruples prevented him from all kinds of commitment where there were signs of something shady, so in Rome he had nothing to do. Cicero, on the other hand, was more operative. Both agreed that the most dangerous man in Rome at the time was Lucio Sergio Catilina. He re-presented himself as a candidate for the consulate together with his colleagueMark Antony. Cicero decided to run as well, and the chosen ones were Cicero and Mark Antony, who took office in 63.

That year the Pontifex Maximus, the highest priestly authority in Rome, died and Caesar presented his candidacy, despite the fact that he was considered too young for the position. His rival, Catullus, tried to bribe him to give up the candidacy, but Caesar's response was "I will borrow to fight you even more". Catullus was very influential, and Caesar was aware that he was taking a serious risk in facing him, for on the morning of the election he told his mother: "Mother, today you will see your son become Pontifex Maximus or an outlaw." .Fortunately for his mother, he was chosen.

That year Catilina resubmitted his candidacy for the consulship the following year, and Cicero also stood for re-election. Incidentally, Cicero found out that Catiline was planning to assassinate him on the very day of the election. He provided himself with an escort and thus thwarted Catilina's plan. Soon after, Catilina began to raise an army in Etruria with the intention of taking Rome. He called a clandestine meeting that Cicero heard about, but he only had a few facts about what was discussed, and he had no proof of anything. Apparently, Catilina had arranged for some assassins to assassinate Cicero in his house. At dawn, Cicero made sure he had witnesses to see those sent to assassinate him, who fled. He managed to get the Senate to declare a state of emergency, protected the city and went to the Senate with the little information he had. Catiline was there too (he was a senator), and Cicero made a superb speech in which he pretended to know the conspiracy down to the last detail and that he was waiting to find out the names of all the conspirators in order to arrest them all. As he accused Catilina, the senators seated around him rose to sit away from him, so that he was eventually isolated. Cicero urged him to leave Rome and certainly frightened him enough to follow his advice. With that, his guilt was revealed.

With another speech before the people, he turned all of Rome against the conspirators. Among them were, without a doubt, Caesar and Crassus, but Crassus knew how to stay out of it and Caesar went further and provided information about the conspiracy in a letter to Cicero. There were other accusations, and within weeks Cicero had all the evidence he needed to take legal action. There were many arrests and the next step was to prosecute the detainees, but Cicero feared that the trial would be too slow, or that the prevailing corruption in the city would allow the detainees to slip away. Instead, he called the Senate together to make a decision about them. Basically,

As Cicero expected, the first interventions requested an "exemplary punishment", which was a fine way of saying "death penalty". However, César surprised with a masterpiece of oratory. He advised not to get carried away by feelings. In his opinion, the leaders of the state should not give in to love, hate or anger, especially when no punishment would be enough for criminals. César did not doubt the legality of the death penalty, although he considered it counterproductive. He believed that the unappealable execution of such distinguished and illustrious citizens did not respond to custom or law, not even in the case of an emergency situation:

All bad examples have originated from good deeds [...] In Cicero's consulate the danger has been averted, but in the future the same may not happen. Perhaps another consul with an army at his command can make believe the false as true. Continuing with our example, if a consul draws his sword by order of the Senate, who will limit his action or return it to his scabbard? [...] Does this mean that I am in favor of releasing the detainees so that they can reinforce Catiline's army? Absolutely! I propose the confiscation of his assets and his confinement, well guarded, in the most powerful cities of Italy.

César's argument could well be endorsed today by any critic of the death penalty, but considering when it was made, the only thing that gave away was that César was involved in the conspiracy. Crassus did not even dare to go to the Senate. In his reply, Cicero called Caesar, not without irony, the most gracious and compassionate of men,but Cicero's speech did not take full effect, some senators changed their minds, explaining that they had been misinterpreted. Even Cicero's brother was in favor of Caesar's proposal. However, the intervention of the moralist Cato changed the course of the discussion again, and finally the death penalty plus the confiscation of property was voted by majority, just as Caesar had proposed. He protested, arguing that they despised the human side of his proposal and applied the harshest resolution, but all he achieved was that the senators lashed out at him. The equitesThose guarding the assembly burst into it and threatened Caesar with their swords, the senators moved away from him as they had done with Catilina, until a group of friends surrounded him and took him out of there, saving his life.

The conspirators were executed without trial. In 62 an army faced Catilina's about 300 kilometers north of Rome. Catilina was defeated and ended up committing suicide. Cicero was hailed as the savior of Rome. That year there was an incident involving Caesar. Publius Clodius Neat He was famous in Rome for being a playboy, a reveler and unscrupulous. He had become infatuated with Pompeii, Caesar's second wife, and thought that the Cybele festival would be a good occasion to approach her. That day there was a party for women only at the house of Pontifex Maximus, that is, Caesar, and Clodius appeared disguised as a woman, but was discovered by Caesar's mother before he could get close to Pompeii, and had to flee into the sea. gallop. Caesar divorced Pompeii and Clodius was prosecuted for sacrilege. When Caesar was called to testify at the trial he claimed that he had not been present at the party and that he knew nothing of the charges against Clodius.Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. At the trial, Cicero intervened as a witness. His sarcastic interventions earned him the hatred of the defendant, who was finally acquitted thanks to substantial bribes. Caesar had saved his image while maintaining a good relationship with Clodius, whose feud with Cicero must have seemed interesting to him.

By the way, Clodio had a sister, named Clodia, who was immortalized under the name of Lesbia by Gaius Valerius Catullus, a young man born in Verona who had just arrived in Rome that same year and composed poems of very uneven inspiration. There are from satirical and obscene epigrams to delicate and moving verses of love for Lesbia. He belonged to a group of "new poets" influenced by Alexandrian poetry and opened the doors to the further development of Latin poetry.

Caesar was chosen propraetor for Hispania Ulterior, where he left in 61.That was the year Pompey returned to Rome. In recent years he had been organizing all the territories that he had annexed to Rome in the East. On his arrival he received the most magnificent triumph Rome had ever seen. The Senate feared that Pompey would use his army and his fame to impose a new dictatorship as Sulla had done, but instead, Pompey disbanded his army confident that Rome would be unable to deny him anything. He asked that the Senate ratify in a single vote all the treaties he had signed, the provinces he had instituted, and the kings he had deposed or installed. He also asked that land be distributed among his soldiers, but, To his surprise, Pompey found that he had lost all his power. Cato asked that each of Pompey's acts be discussed separately, Lucullus was especially acrimonious, and Crassus turned the popular party against Pompey. The situation was not new. The same thing had happened to Scipio after defeating Hannibal, and to Mario after defeating the Cimbri and the Teutons.

For some time the different Gallic tribes had been in rivalry with each other. Before Rome occupied Narbonnean Gaul, the Arverni were the dominant tribe, but they suffered major defeats to the Romans and hegemony passed to the Aedui. In 60 the Sequani tried to impose themselves and for this they asked for help from a Swabian leader named Ariovistus, who did what Rome had been doing for centuries: he crossed the Rhine, helped the Gauls and ended up keeping a third of their cultivated fields. .

In return, the Aedui sent Diviciacus to Rome , one of its rulers, to request protection. The Senate limited itself to vaguely ordering that the proconsul of Gallia Narbonensis should protect the Aedui and all peoples friendly to Rome. That year César returned from Spain. He had won some military victories in the western part of the province that, despite not being much, he took it upon himself to present as heroic. He had obtained enough money to pay off his debts to Crassus. This does not mean that he fleeced the province according to custom. Although there was some of that, it seems that he was concerned with improving the administration and the provincials were happy with his management.

The first thing Caesar encountered in Rome were bureaucratic problems, which naturally reflected much more serious underlying problems. The deadline for presenting his candidacy for the consulate next year was running out, and to present it he had to appear himself in the Senate. On the other hand, if he entered the city before celebrating his due triumph, he would be forced to give it up. Caesar sent a representative to the Senate asking that he be exempted from presenting his candidacy to the consulship in person, which was customary in similar situations, but Cato delivered a long speech opposing it that took up the entire session preventing any retorts.

César, irritated, had to renounce the triumph and presented his candidacy. It was clear that he had many political enemies and had to find allies. The most useful men he found were Crassus, with his money, and Pompey, who kept claiming land for his soldiers, was wanting revenge on the Senate and just needed someone to tell him how to do it. The two were not very well matched, but César knew how to reconcile them. Thus, an association known as the first triumvirate (which in Latin means simply a group of three men) was formed. The presence of Crassus put the popular party on his side. Caesar won the elections and was elected consul for the59.The most that the conservatives achieved was that the other consul was one of their own and he tried to systematically sabotage Caesar's initiatives, but he was soon neutralized: Clodius had aspired to the position of tribune of the plebs for some time. For this he had to be a commoner and he was not, but it was enough to be adopted by a commoner family. Finding a family was easy, but the adoption required the consent of the college of priests, which until now had been denied, but now Caesar had it granted. Thus Clodius achieved the tribunate and was placed at the service of Caesar. Clodius had a band of thugs at his service who frightened the other consul to the point that he hardly left home, and Caesar had a free hand to pass a land reform law that, among other things, provided land to distribute among Pompey's veterans (although the law benefited many other Roman families, especially large families). He also managed to get the Senate to ratify all Pompey's decisions in the East, as he claimed. it provided land to distribute to Pompey's veterans (although the law benefited many other Roman families, especially large families). He also managed to get the Senate to ratify all Pompey's decisions in the East, as he claimed. it provided land to distribute to Pompey's veterans (although the law benefited many other Roman families, especially large families). He also managed to get the Senate to ratify all Pompey's decisions in the East, as he claimed.

Then Clodius took it upon Cicero. He accused him of having lynched the conspirators without trial five years earlier. Cicero could not make the responsibility fall on the Senate, because he was somewhat vain and had often taken credit for having saved the country with his initiative. As tribune, Clodius approved a law that punished with exile and confiscation of property all those who had ordered the execution of Roman citizens without the consent of the people (that is, a law tailored to Cicero), who preferred to go into voluntary exile. before the new law was applied to him, and marched to Epirus. Clodius moved the people to destroy his house,

For his part, Caesar took care of Cato himself. He negotiated with Ptolemy XII: the Senate would officially recognize him as king of Egypt in exchange for the island of Cyprus, which was to be administered by Rome because it was a haven for pirates and Egypt was unable to control them. The king delightedly accepted, and Caesar succeeded in getting Cato to be in charge of converting Cyprus into a Roman province, who was thus forced to abandon the city. With him was his nephew From him Marco Junio ​​Gross.

Things were going well for the triumvirs, but at the end of his consulship Caesar could find himself with a thousand accusations and lawsuits, so he managed to be appointed proconsul, that is, military governor. Specifically, the Senate granted him the government of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyria, but shortly after the proconsul of Transalpine Gaul died accidentally and the Senate, at the proposal of Pompey, also awarded Caesar this province for an unusually long period of five years. .

Before leaving Rome, Caesar wanted to leave his relations well tied, so he managed to get Pompey to marry his daughter Julia, and he contracted a third marriage with Calpurnia, daughter of Lucio Calpurnius Piso, a friend of Pompey's who the following year held the consulate and he took care that the laws approved by Caesar were not repealed.

Ptolemy XII had been fleecing Egypt as none of his predecessors had done, since no one had had to pay as much to Rome as he had. The ceding of Cyprus made him even more unpopular, and Rome's ratification of his throne must have been seen as a condemnation of the Egyptians. The fact is that in 58 there was a revolt and he was expelled from the country. Power remained in the hands of her daughter De ella Berenice, who understood that at the head of Egypt there must be a man and, as her husband De ella Seleucus did not seem suitable to her, she strangled him and proceeded to marry King Archelaus of Cappadocia. . Ptolemy XII turned to Rome for support.

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