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Cicero the Advocate$

Jonathan Powell and Jeremy Paterson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152804.001.0001

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(p.417) APPENDIX Chronological List of Cicero’s Known Appearances as an Advocate

(p.417) APPENDIX Chronological List of Cicero’s Known Appearances as an Advocate

Cicero the Advocate
Oxford University Press

This list is meant for quick reference. Further details and discussion may be found in editions of the published speeches, in Jane W. Crawford, M. Tullius Cicero: The Lost and Unpublished Orations (Göttingen, 1984) and M. Tullius Cicero: The Fragmentary Speeches, 2nd edn. (Atlanta, 1994), and in Michael C. Alexander, Trials in the Late Roman Republic 149 B.C. to 50 B.C. (Toronto, 1990). Titles of Cicero’s extant speeches are printed in bold type.

Date (BC)

Details of Advocacy


Pro Quinctio. On behalf of a claim for restitution of property by P. Quinctius against S. Naevius. Result unknown (successful?).1 Cicero mentions in the Pro Quinctio that he had appeared in other cases before this one, but we have no details.

80 or 79

On behalf of a claim to freedom by a woman of Arretium; successful on second hearing. Pro Caecina 97.2


Pro Sex. Roscio Amerino. Defence of Sextus Roscius of Ameria before a quaestio (with a jury of senators only) on a charge of murdering his father. Successful (Off. 2.51).


On behalf of Titinia, wife of Cotta, in a private suit against Ser. Naevius.3 Result unknown, but probably successful: the opposing counsel Curio lost his grip on the case. Brutus 217; cf. Orator 129.


On behalf of C. Curtius, who sought restitution after the Sullan proscriptions; it is not however clear that this was a formal court appearance. Fam. 13.5.2–3.


Defence of L. Varenus on murder charges under the lex de sicariis. Unsuccessful, but the speech was circulated and is quoted several times by Quintilian. Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 7–18.


Pro Q. Roscio comoedo. On behalf of Q. Roscius the comic actor, in a financial claim (condictio certae pecuniae).


Defence before the governor of Sicily of unnamed noble Roman youths accused of cowardice and insubordination. Successful. Plutarch, Cicero 6.


Defence of Scamander on a poisoning charge. Unsuccessful. Pro Cluentio 49–55.


On behalf of C. Mustius against a substantial monetary claim. Successful. Verr. II 1.139 and schol. ad loc. (252 St.)


On behalf of Sthenius of Thermae for a claim to residence in Rome, before the college of Tribunes of the Plebs. Successful. Verr. II 2.100.


Pro M. Tullio. On behalf of M. Tullius (otherwise unknown; not necessarily a relative), before a jury of recuperatores, in a claim for damages against a neighbour for murder of his slaves. There were two hearings; the incomplete surviving speech relates to the second of them.


Divinatio in Caecilium; In Verrem Actio Prima; In Verrem Actio Secunda (divided into five ‘books’). Prosecution of Verres for extortion and misgovernment in Sicily, before the quaestio de repetundis (senatorial jury). Successful; Verres withdrew into exile before the conclusion of the trial.


Pro M. Fonteio (incomplete). Defence of M. Fonteius, governor of Gallia Narbonensis, for extortion, before the reformed quaestio de repetundis (senators, equestrians and ‘tribuni aerarii’). Probably successful (if the M. Fonteius of Att. 1.6.1 is the same man).


Defence of P. Oppius on charges relating to military offences. Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 23–32.


Pro A. Caecina. On behalf of Aulus Caecina of Volaterrae, in a claim for restitution of property before a jury of recuperatores. Almost certainly successful.4


On behalf of D. Matrinius in a complaint of unfair dismissal from the post of scriba aedilicius, before two praetors and the two curule aediles. Pro Cluentio 126.


Pro A. Cluentio. On behalf of A. Cluentius Habitus of Larinum on charges of either judicial corruption or poisoning or both. Almost certainly successful.5


Defence of C. Manilius: the sources (for which see Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 39–41) are clear that Cicero as praetor in 66 undertook to defend Manilius at the end of the latter’s term of office as tribune; the trial, early in 65, was disrupted by Manilius’ gangs. The defendant was brought to trial a second time, unusually with both consuls presiding (Asc. In Cornelianam 60 C.); this time he offered no defence and was condemned in absentia. The nature of the charges is unclear (repetundae according to Plutarch, maiestas according to the Scholia Bobiensia—both equally unreliable sources for this kind of information). A speech pro Manilio is quoted once by the lexicographer Nonius Marcellus.6


Defence of C. Fundanius (unknown charge). Successful. [Q. Cicero] Comm. Pet. 19. The speech was in circulation and is quoted a number of times by Quintilian and the grammarians; see Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 57–64.7


Defence of C. Cornelius on a charge of maiestas, for illegal promulgation of a bill to the popular assembly in defiance of a fellow-tribune’s veto. Successful. Cicero’s defence lasted four days, and the material of the defence was digested into two published speeches (Asc. In Cornelianam 62 C.). The prosecution speech of P. Cominius was also published (ibid.). The speeches were famous in antiquity and form the subject of a commentary by Asconius; this and other sources preserve eighty fragments. See Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 65–144.


Defence of C. Orchivius (unknown charge). Successful. [Q. Cicero] Comm. Pet. 19.


Defence of Q. Mucius Orestinus on a charge of theft; case settled out of court. In Toga Candida fr. 6.


Defence of Q. Gallius on a charge of electoral bribery. Successful. Asc. In Tog. Cand. 88 C.; [Q. Cic.] Comm. Pet. 19. The speech was in circulation and a few fragments survive; one of them, describing a drunken party with ‘the ground muddy with wine, covered with faded garlands and fishbones’, is quoted in several places and was evidently famous, while another mocks the soporific and unconvincing style of the prosecuting counsel M. Calidius. See Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 145–58.


Pro C. Rabirio perduellionis reo. Defence of Gaius Rabirius on a charge of high treason (perduellio) before the Comitia Centuriata. Trial abandoned before a verdict was reached.


Pro L. Murena. Defence of L. Licinius Murena on a charge of electoral bribery, before the quaestio de ambitu under a statute passed by Cicero himself. Successful.


Defence of C. Calpurnius Piso before quaestio de repetundis on charge of unlawful execution of a provincial. Successful. Pro Flacco 98 (cf. Sall. Cat. 49).


Pro P. Sulla. Defence of P. Cornelius Sulla on a charge of implication in the Catilinarian conspiracy. Successful.


Pro Archia. Defence of the poet (A. Licinius) Archias on a charge of falsely assuming Roman citizenship. Successful.


Defence of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio on charge of electoral bribery; successful. Att. 2.1.9.


Defence of C. Antonius (Cicero’s consular colleague) on charges related to his government of Macedonia. Unsuccessful; Antonius was exiled. Evidence in Crawford, Lost and Unpublished Orations, 128–31.


Defence of (Minucius) Thermus in two trials; both successful. Pro Flacco 98.


Pro L. Flacco. Defence of L. Valerius Flaccus before the quaestio repetundarum. Successful.

Before 58

Appearance against M. Cispius and family in a private suit (Red. Sen. 21).


Defence of L. Calpurnius Bestia in six trials; successful in all but the last. Philippic 11.11. A trial of Bestia on 11 February 56 on a bribery charge, probably the fifth of the six, is mentioned in Q. Fr. 2.3.6; see also Pro Caelio 16, 56, 76, 78 (Caelius was the prosecutor both in February 56 and in the subsequent trial in which Bestia was convicted).


De Domo Sua. In person, before the College of Pontifices in a claim for restitution of the part of his house that had been ‘consecrated’ by Clodius. Successful.


Defence of M. Cispius on bribery charge. Unsuccessful. Pro Plancio 75–7 and schol. (165 St.).


Pro P. Sestio. Defence of P. Sestius before the quaestio de vi. Successful (Q. Fr. 2.4.1). Also from this trial is the published Interrogatio in P. Vatinium testem (In Vatinium), the only example we have of an interrogatio, i.e. a speech cross-examining a hostile witness.


Defence of P. Asicius on charge of murdering the Alexandrian ambassador Dio. Successful. Pro Caelio 23–4.


Pro M. Caelio. Defence of M. Caelius Rufus before the quaestio de vi publica. The main charges related to public disturbances and attacks on the Alexandrian ambassadors, including the murder of their leader Dio. Successful.


Pro L. Balbo. Defence of L. Cornelius Balbus on a charge of unlawfully exercising the rights of a Roman citizen. Successful.


Defence of T. Munatius Plancus Bursa (unknown charges). Successful. Fam. 7.2.3; Plutarch Cicero 25.8


Defence of L. Caninius Gallus (unknown charge). Probably unsuccessful (unless Caninius’ conviction, Val. Max. 4.2.6, was in a later trial). Fam. 7.1.4.


Defence of T. Ampius Balbus (unknown charge). Leg. 2.6.


Defence of P. Vatinius on charges of electoral bribery under the lex Licinia de sodaliciis of 55 BC Testimonia in Crawford, Fragmentary Speeches, 307–8 (no genuine fragments survive).


Pro Cn. Plancio. Defence of Gnaeus Plancius under the lex de sodaliciis. Successful.


On behalf of the town of Reate, objecting to a proposal by the town council of Interamna to block the outflow from Lake Velinus. Before the consuls and ten legati. Successful. Att. 4.15.5, Pro Scauro 27.9


Defence of C. Messius under the lex de sodaliciis; probably successful. Att. 4.15.9.


Defence of M. Livius Drusus on a charge of praevaricatio. Att. 4.16.5, 4.15.9. Successful (Att. 4.17.5); Drusus was acquitted by four votes (Q. Fr. 2.16.3).


Pro M. Scauro (fragmentary). Defence of M. Aemilius Scaurus before the quaestio de repetundis. Successful.


Defence of M. Scaurus on a bribery charge. Scaurus was accused in 54 (Q. Fr. 3.2.3) and (according to Appian BC 2.24) eventually convicted and exiled in 52. It seems that the accusation of 54 was for some reason suspended and then renewed in 52; but it is also possible that there were two separate trials. Cicero’s notes of the case were available to Quintilian (Inst. 4.1.69).


?Defence of M. Valerius Messalla Rufus on a bribery charge; the evidence from Cicero’s letters (Crawford, Lost and Unpublished Orations, 186–7) does not sufficiently indicate whether Cicero actually spoke as an advocate at this trial. Messalla was acquitted.


Defence of A. Gabinius before the quaestio de repetundis. Unsuccessful. Rab. Post. 19; 33.10


Pro C. Rabirio Postumo. Defence of C. Rabirius Postumus on a charge of receiving money unlawfully extorted by Gabinius.11


Pro Milone. Defence of T. Annius Milo for the murder of Clodius, before a special court set up under a law proposed by Pompey. Unsuccessful.


Defence of M. Saufeius in two separate trials, first under Pompey’s law and secondly under the older lex Plautia de vi, for his involvement in the murder of Clodius. Successful in both trials, in the first by one vote, in the second by a decisive majority of 30 to 19. Asconius In Milonianam 54–5 C.12


Defence of P. Sestius on a bribery charge. Att. 13.49.1, Fam. 7.24.2.


Defence of P. Cornelius Dolabella (unknown charges). Fam. 3.10.5.


Prosecution of T. Munatius Plancus Bursa under lex Pompeia de vi. Successful (Plancus was unanimously convicted, Phil. 6.10). Fam. 7.2.2; Plutarch, Pompey 55.4–6; Dio 40.55.4.


Pro Q. Ligario. Defence of Q. Ligarius before Caesar, sitting in public as sole judge, on a charge of perduellio. Successful.


Pro Rege Deiotaro. Defence of King Deiotarus of Galatia before Caesar sitting in private, on a charge of attempting to murder Caesar. Successful.

(p.418) (p.419) (p.420) (p.421)

(p.422) Appearances of Unknown Date:

(before 48)

Defence of C. Popillius Laenas on a charge of parricide, at the request of M. Caelius. Successful. Val. Max. 5.3.4, Plutarch Cicero 48.1, Sen. Contr. 7.2.1, etc.

(before 44)

Defences of one Acilius in two capital trials. Successful. Fam. 7.30.3.


(1) In this instance, early in Cicero’s career, success would provide an obvious motive for publication which otherwise would be lacking. T. E. Kinsey in his edition (Sydney, 1971), followed by Alexander (Trials in the Late Roman Republic, 65) suggests that Cicero lost, but gives no clear evidence to prove this.

(2) Cicero’s opponent was C. Aurelius Cotta; it is generally supposed that Cotta claimed ownership of the woman as a slave.

(3) It is stated quite clearly by Cicero that this was a private suit, but the issue is not specified. Pace Crawford, there is no indication that it was a poisoning case; the reference to veneficium was merely a heavy joke by Curio to explain his loss of memory.

(4) See B. Frier, The Rise of the Roman Jurists: Studies in Cicero’s Pro Caecina (Princeton, 1985) 231–2.

(5) Cf. Cicero’s triumphant comment quoted by Quint. Inst. 2.17.21: ‘tenebras se offudisse iudicibus’.

(6) The issues surrounding this trial or trials are complex: see the discussions in Crawford, Lost and Unpublished Orations, 64–9 (difficult to follow at some points) and Fragmentary Speeches, 33–41 (clearer and largely plausible). There has been doubt about the ‘pro Manilio’ referred to by Nonius, but there is no serious problem in supposing that it was Cicero’s speech in defence of Manilius at the first trial; presumably Manilius’ gangs would not have interrupted his own defence counsel. It can hardly be from the second trial, as Asconius tells us that Manilius did not answer the charges against him; there is no need to suppose, as Crawford does, that Cicero declined to defend him the second time, as it looks as though he did not get the opportunity to do so.

(7) This trial was the occasion for some characteristic Ciceronian witticisms. Quint Inst. 1.4.14 records a joke at the expense of a Greek witness for the prosecution who could not pronounce the sound F at the beginning of Fundanius’ name; and, since we happen to know (from Priscian) that Sextus Villius Annalis appeared in this trial, this may have been the occasion for the anecdote recorded in Quint. Inst. 6.3.86 in which Cicero, pressed to respond to the testimony of Sextus Annalis, quoted from the sixth book of Ennius’ Annals (de sexto annali) the opening line ‘quis potis ingentis causas evolvere belli?’–‘Who can unfold the cause of mighty war?’

(8) According to Plutarch, Cicero made the same comment about befogging the jury to Plancus after this trial as, according to Quintilian, he made after the trial of Cluentius. It is more than likely that either Plutarch or Quintilian confused the two occasions.

(9) Cicero’s conscientiousness as an advocate is illustrated in the Pro Scauro passage by the fact that he went in person to see the site.

(10) For the evidence on the two trials see Crawford, Lost and Unpublished Orations, 188–97; see further Introd., p. 21, n. 81.

(11) There is some doubt as to the result of this case. Suet. Claudius 16 suggests that Postumus was found guilty; but M. Siani-Davies, Marcus Tullius Cicero Pro Rabirio Postumo (Oxford, 2001) 82–4 argues that Suetonius’ evidence may be confused and that Cicero may after all have succeeded in securing an acquittal.

(12) Cicero’s appearance and success in the two trials of Saufeius is noteworthy after the failure of his defence of Milo. Clearly he had not lost credit as a defence advocate. It would be interesting in the highest degree to know what Cicero’s line of argument was in the defence of Saufeius, given that (according to Asconius) he had a worse case than Milo. But the speeches were apparently not circulated; one may presume the reason to be that Saufeius was too unimportant a client for his successful defence to do Cicero any credit at this stage in his career—or else that Cicero did not believe in his own arguments.