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by the aristocratic friends of Verres. By the Dlvlnatio in Cmcilium he had to make good his claims to prosecute against those of Ctecilius Niger. The defence was led by the most famous orator of the day, Horten-sius. But Cicero managed to collect such a mass of evidence, and to marshal it with such ability, that after the actio prima, or first hearing, Verres found it advisable to retire into voluntary exile. The unused material Cicero worked up into an actio se-cunda in five speeches. The whole proceeding made him so popular that, spoiled as the multitude was, no one complained of his economical expenditure on the games during his sedileship. He was unanimously elected prator in 67 b.c. In this office he made his first political speech in 66, successfully defending the proposal of the tribune Manilius to give Pompeius the command in the Mithridatic war, with unprecedented and almost absolute power.
In 64 b.c. he came forward as candidate for the consulship, and was successful, in spite of the efforts of his enemies. He owed his success to the support of the nobility, who had hitherto regarded him, as a homo novus, with disfavour, but had come to recognise him as a champion of the party of order. He obtained the office, as he had the rest, suo anno, that is in the first year in which his candidature was legally possible. The danger with which Catiline's agitation was threatening the State, determined Cicero to offer a vigorous opposition to everything likely to disturb public order. With this view he delivered three speeches, in which he frustrated the agrarian proposals of the tribune Servilius Rullus. He also led the defence of the aged Rablrius, whom the leaders of the democratic party, to excite the people against the senate, had prosecuted for the murder of Saturninus thirty-six years before. To avoid the danger and excitement of a fresh consular election for 62, he undertook the defence of the consul designatus L. Murena, on the charge of bribery; and this, although the accusers of Murena numbered among them Cicero's best friends, and, indeed, rested their case upon the very law by which Cicero had himself proposed to increase the penalties for bribery. The conspiracy of Catiline gave Cicero an opportunity of displaying in the most brilliant light his acuteness, his energy, his patriotism, and even his power as an orator. He discovered the conspiracy, and helped largely to suppress it by the execution of the chief
j conspirators, who had remained behind in Home.
Cicero's consulship marks the climax of his career. He received, it is true, the honourable title of pater patrice; but, a I few weeks later, he had a clear warning of j what he had to expect from the opposite party in the way of reward for his services. When laying down his office he was about to make a speech, giving an account of his administration. The tribune Metellus Nepos interrupted him, and insisted on his confining himself to the oath usual on the occasion. In the following year he had opportunities for displaying his eloquence in the defence of P. Cornelius Sulla and the poet Archias. But he was often attacked, and had, in particular, to meet a new danger in the hostility of Clodius Pulcher, whose mortal hatred only too soon hit upon a chance of sating itself. Cicero would not accede to the plans of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, but offered them a strenuous resistance. He deceived himself as to his own political importance, and refused to quit the city except under compulsion. The triumvirs accordingly abandoned him to the vengeance of Clodius. Clodius was elected tribune of the plebs in 58 b.c., and at once proposed that any person should be made an outlaw, who should have put Roman citizens to death without trial. Cicero met the charge by retiring into voluntary exile early in April, 58. He went to Thessa-lonica and Macedonia, where he found a safe retreat at the house of the quaestor Plancius. The sentence was, however, pronounced against him; his house on the Palatine was burnt down, his country houses plundered and destroyed, and even his family maltreated. It is true that, as early as the next year, he was recalled with every mark of distinction, and welcomed in triumph by the people on his entrance into Rome at the beginning of September. But his political activity was crippled by the power of the triumvirs. His fear of Clodius forced him to comply with their commands as a means of keeping in their good graces. But all this only stimulated him to show greater energy as an orator. His chief efforts were put forth in defending his friends, when prosecuted by political antagonists, as, for instance, Publius Sestius in 56 b.c., G-nseus Plancius in 54, Titus Annius Milo in 52. His defence of the latter, accused of the murder of Clodius, was unsuccessful. It was at this period that he began to apply himself to literature.