Cicero, And Remarks On The Ciceronian Style -- By: George Shepard
BSac 28:109 (Jan 1871) p. 123
Cicero, And Remarks On The Ciceronian Style
We come, in the present lecture, to look at the eloquence of the great Roman orator and the class of speakers who hear similar characteristics.
For the sake of definiteness and despatch we will turn to one of his orations and describe, as briefly as practicable, both its argument and its rhetoric. I select for this purpose the orator’s plea for Milo; all considering it one of the best specimens (some the best) of skilful oratorical structure which Cicero has furnished us.
In order to appreciate the argument in the case, it is necessary to survey some of the principal facts. The main fact is, that Milo on his way to Lanuvium, and Clodius returning to Rome, met with their respective trains at Bovillae, and the latter was slain by the former. Clodius is represented as a vile and profligate character, a contemner of the gods, and a scourge to the community. He became the enemy of Cicero, and procured his banishment, because the orator testified against him when on trial for a most flagrant offence, and otherwise opposed him in his flagitious designs. Milo, as the champion of Cicero, and the most daring and efficient of the tribunes in bringing about his restoration, came in for a share of Clodius’s malignant hatred.
In the year of Rome 701, Milo was a candidate for the consulship against two influential competitors; and at the same time Clodius was a candidate for the pretorship. The friends of Milo were exerting themselves to the utmost to procure, and those of Clodius to resist, his election. While
BSac 28:109 (Jan 1871) p. 124
everything was working advantageously for Milo, and the prospect of his election was very fair, all was suddenly clouded by that disastrous meeting in the Appian Way. Here Clodius, on horse-back, attended by three companions and thirty servants armed, and Milo, with his wife and a female companion and a company of gladiators, came together, and in the fatal affray which followed Clodius was slain. His body was left in the road, where it fell, till found by a senator named Sextius Tedius, who took it to Rome, covered with blood and wounds, and thus exposed it to the populace. In the midst of the factions and tumults that ensued, Cneus Pompey was created sole consul, and immediately published three laws, in one of which he specially noticed the circumstances of Clodius’s death. Under these Milo was impeached de Vi, de Ambitu, and de Sodalitiis before a tribunal constituted of men of distinguished abilities and integrity, and headed by an extraordinary president. Pompey was also present, with a strong body of troops, to prevent violence from either side. Cicero conducted the defence al...
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