Having Hirtius to Dinner: optimates and populares in the Late Republic

Eras Journal – Eleanor Chambers – Having Hirtius to Dinner: optimates and populares in the Late Republic

(University of Exeter)

In May 44BCE, almost two months after Caesar’s murder, a curious exchange of letters took place between Cicero and Atticus. The letters concerned Cicero’s attempt to further the interests of the Liberators, Brutus and Cassius, by seeking the support of the Consul designate, Aulus Hirtius. The letters are important because they illustrate the presence of an ideological division in Roman politics between optimates and populares which continues to be overlooked by those scholars who are convinced that ‘Roman politicians did not normally divide on matters of principle’.[1] They are also important because they allow us to re-examine the assumption, another feature of much modern scholarship, that ‘the Roman aristocrat’s commitment to causes was purely temporary in so far as they promoted his own aggrandizement’.[2]

From the outset it must be stated that both of these modern assumptions have been rigorously disputed in recent articles by N. Mackie and T.P.Wiseman.[3] The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to build on the findings of these two scholars in order to provide a reinterpretation of some valuable contemporary material.

The clearest surviving evidence for the presence of two distinct approaches to public affairs in Rome comes from the Pro Sestio. In this speech, Cicero claimed that: ‘there have always been two classes of men in this state who have sought to engage in public affairs and to distinguish themselves in them: duo genera semper in hac civitate fuerunt eorum, qui versari in re publica atque in ea se excellentius gerere studuerunt‘.[4]

Cicero went on to describe the nature of the division, stating that one ‘genus’ aimed ‘by repute and in reality to be populares, the other optimates‘.[5] Popularis politicians wanted to gain the support of the people whilst optimates sought the approval of the best citizens.[6] The nature of the distinction between the two became clearer as Cicero described the characteristics and interests of optimates. First and foremost, they sought otium cum dignitate which was founded upon:

‘…religious observances, the auspices, the powers of the magistrates, the authority of the Senate, the laws, ancestral customs, criminal and civil jurisdiction, credit, our provinces, our allies, the prestige of our government, the army, the treasury: religiones, auspicia, potestates magistratuum, senatus auctoritas, leges, mos maiorum, iudicia, iuris dictio, fides, provinciae, socii, imperii laus, res militaris, aerarium ‘.[7]

His definition suggests that, although at the end of his career Cicero identified himself as an optimas, there was no clear or circumscribed group of optimates. Instead, the optimates include ‘all good men’.[8] This indicates that, whilst it might have been possible at particular times for Cicero to identify individuals or groups within the senate as optimates, what was more important was the presence of an optimates tradition and an optimates ideology.[9] So we are not dealing with a specific party or group in the modern political sense, but with a set of shared values and interests and a collective vision for the res publica.

Cicero then suggested that popularis politicians, by contrast, were driven to seek the support of the people because they were criminals or naturally seditious. Thus, he implied that it was both an illegitimate and an immoral stance to adopt and one which ultimately represented an attack upon theres publica:

‘For, in so large a body of citizens, there are great numbers of men who, either from fear of punishment, being conscious of their crimes, seek to cause revolution and changes of government; or who owing to a sort of inborn revolutionary madness, batten on civil discord and sedition; or who, on account of embarrassment in their finances, prefer a general conflagration to their own ruin: Etenim in tanto civium numero magna multitudo est eorum, qui aut propter metum poenae peccatorum suorum conscii novos motus conversionesque rei publicae quaerant, aut qui propter insitum quendam animi furorem discordiis civium ac seditione pascantur, aut qui propter implicationem rei familiaris communi incendio malint quam suo deflagrare‘.[10]

Cicero’s definition is clearly polemical. It was meant to present a dichotomy, in which all men, whether involved in politics or not, were either one or the other.[11] The boni , whom Cicero associated with optimates ideology, represented a legitimate and constitutional approach to politics and a wise and morally upright vision for the state. Populares , he claimed, were willing to manipulate the people in order to gain their own ends. It was certainly not in Cicero’s interests, in this speech, to represent a popularis political ideology in any other way.

Nevertheless, there exists evidence for an alternate, but equally legitimate and constitutional, vision for the state related to popularis ideology.[12] Popularis ideology was associated with problems of immediate concern to the urban populace – such as housing, debt relief, famine, rents and grain shortages – as well as with broader political issues. These broader issues have been identified by Wirszubski as issues to do with the auctoritas of the Senate; the leges agrariae; the desire for popular sovereignty; the leges tabellariae; the powers of the Tribunes; the position and opportunities for novi hominesSenatus Consultum Ultimum and the grant of extraordinary powers to individuals.[13]Furthermore, popularis politicians also claimed to be working for the best interests of the res publica.[14]This was not, as Cicero would have his audience believe, because individual politicians sought thereby to achieve personal power, but because there was (and had always been) a different vision for the way that the res publica should be governed.

Cicero’s cynical view of the popularis politician has had a lasting effect upon modern interpretations. It has lead many scholars to argue that popularis politicians were merely using the people for a personal and non-ideological end. There are, however, several problems with this view as both Mackie and Wiseman have established.[15] Firstly, it is inconceivable that the popularis platform could have been entirely devoid of genuine ideological content since, if it were, it would not have gained support. That is, even if the ideologies could be used opportunistically by some politicians it is still evidence for the fact that they existed and that there was the potential for them to be sincerely upheld. Even if some politicians claimed to be popularis simply to manipulate popular opinion, they were still tapping into a consistent and widely understood series of ideas and values. Secondly, as Mackie has argued, the voting populace was not politically naive.[16] It is clear from the sources that the people judged between ‘genuine’ and ‘false’ popularis politicians and this again suggests that there was some conception that it was possible to be genuinely popularis.[17] Thus, she notes that Cicero (in an early and overtly popularis speech) contrasts his own actions with those of the ‘false’ popularis tribune Rullus who, Cicero claims, was not really interested in the people at all, and was willing to disparage them in the senate:

‘And beyond doubt this is what was said by this tribune of the people [Rullus] in the senate, that the common people [plebs urbana] had too much power in the state [res publica]; that they ought to be drained off. For this is the word that he used as if he was speaking of sewage instead of a class of estimable Roman citizens. But do you Romans, if you will be guided by me, keep possession of the influence you enjoy, of your liberty, of your votes, of your dignity, of your city, of your forum, of your games, of your festivals, and all your other enjoyments; unless perhaps you prefer to abandon these privileges and this brilliant Republic and to settle in the dry sands of Sipontum…with Rullus for your leader [dux]’.[18]

The very fact that so many of the people’s champions met violent deaths at the hands of their political enemies in the senate highlights the intensity of the division between the views and the seriousness of the political commitments that they entailed.[19] These were not ideologies to be taken up lightly and abandoned easily.

The biggest obstacle for accepting that a populares ideology might be genuine and not simply a means of manipulating popular support is this -‘populares were members of the senate and so they must have been self-interested because they worked against the interests of the senate…’.[20] As Mackie has pointed out, this does not in fact address the question of motivation at all. It does not ask, what motivated popularis politicians but assumes that they were motivated by self-interest because they opposed the optimates. That is, it suggests that one ideology was the ‘norm’ and was genuinely concerned with the preservation of the res publica whilst the other was simply deceptive and self-aggrandizing. But if we assume that both optimates and populares put forward genuine visions for the state and that they were both sincerely working for the interests of the state then, we are left with a situation in which both can be equally valid (as socio/political/moral ideologies) rather than with a situation in which one has a monopoly over ‘genuineness’. This would seem to be what Cicero himself came to believe at the end of his career when he acknowledged that the res publica was torn apart not by the actions of individual populares but as a consequence of ideological division betweenoptimates and populares:

‘For the administration of the government, like the office of a trustee, must be conducted for the benefit of those entrusted to one’s care, not of those to whom it is entrusted. Now those who care for the interests of a part of the citizens and neglect another part, introduce into the civil service a dangerous element – dissension and party strife. The result is that some are found to be loyal supporters of the democratic [populares], others of the ‘aristocratic’ [optimates] party, and few of the nation as a whole:Ut enim tutela, sic procuratio rei publicae ad eorum utilitatem, qui commissi sunt, non ad eorum, quibus commissa est, gerenda est. Qui autem parti civium consulunt partem neglegunt, rem perniciosissimam in civitatem inducunt seditionem atque discordiam; ex quo evenit, ut alii populares, alii studiosi optimi cuiusque videantur, pauci universorum‘.[21]

In his article, Wiseman has traced the history of the movement away from an ideological reading of the sources. He has shown that it was a devotion to the theories established in the work of Gelzer, Munzer and Meir which has provided the background for the shift in emphasis. It was their insistence that ideology was not the driving force in Roman political life which laid the foundation for what he termed the ‘ideological vacuum’ in the study of Roman politics. Thus, Wiseman argues that ‘even after three generations, the sheer inertia of the Gelzer model seems to prevent the ideological content of republican politics, amply attested in contemporary sources, from being accepted as given’.[22]

In light of this, a re-examination of contemporary evidence can now be attempted. The letters with which this paper is chiefly concerned were written in May 44BCE. In the two previous months, events in Rome had been moving very swiftly and to the disadvantage of Brutus and Cassius. Between the meeting of the Senate on the 17 March and Caesar’s public funeral on 20 March, much of the original impetus had gone out of the Liberators’ action. They had been caught, as Cicero later realized, without a plan for the future. The confirmation of Caesar’s acta had been a compromise prompted by vested interests. It became clear that compromise and negotiation, moderation and prudence were favoured by a majority of senators and, more particularly, by the consul M. Antony.[23] At the same time, however, talk of vengeance and retribution was never far away. The urban populace, the army and the veterans were clearly restless and dissatisfied with the way events were proceeding and both Balbus and M.Lepidus advocated vengeance on the grounds that it would be profane and unsafe for Caesar’s friends to do otherwise. [24]

Cicero vacillated between hope for the future and fear that too little had been done. The approval of Caesar’s acta and the subsequent additions and interpretations of them by Antony led him to exclaim that the tyranny lived on despite the fact that the tyrant was dead.[25] By mid-April, Cicero’s views on what should have been done on the Ides had turned from praise to regret. If only, as Cicero had urged, the Praetors had acted promptly and summoned the senate then things would have been different and ‘all good men’ would have been able to rejoice:

‘Great Heavens what might not have been accomplished then amid the rejoicing of all honest men, even the moderately honest, and the discomfiture of the bandits: di immortales, quae tum opera effici potuerunt laetantibus omnibus bonis, etiam sat bonis, fractis latronibus‘.[26]

Caesar’s cremation and the public outpourings of affection which accompanied it, spurred on by Antony’s dramatic funeral oration, confirmed Cicero’s belief that the deed had been left ‘half done’.[27] At the end of April he acknowledged that it would be impossible for him to be seen as neutral in the coming conflict. He had been too outspoken in his condemnation of the murdered Dictator. He believed that those who rejoiced in Caesar’s death would be the target of attacks from Antony’s ‘party’:

‘Neutrality, which was possible in Caesar’s war, will not be possible now. Anyone who in the opinion of this party of desperados was glad at Caesar’s death (and we all showed our delight without the faintest concealment) will be considered by them as an enemy. This points to a large scale massacre: neque enim iam licebit, quod Caesaris bello licuit, neque huc neque illuc. Quemcumque enim haec pars perditorum laetatum Caesaris morte putabit (laetitiam autem apertissime tulimus omnes), hunc in hostium numero habebit; quae res ad caedem maximam spectat ‘.[28]

Cicero’s hopes revived at the beginning of May, when he received news that the popular riots and protests in Rome – the spontaneous and genuine outpouring of popular sympathy which Cicero termed an ‘affectation of regret’ for Caesar – had been forcefully quashed by Dolabella.[29] He had previously been dubious about Dolabella’s allegiances, but this action confirmed him as a defender of the res publica.[30] Indeed, Cicero reported that several people had associated Dolabella’s actions and policy with his own.[31] More than this, Dolabella seemed to have been able to unite the support of the populace and the boni:

‘In your case, and I dare say in yours only, the extreme of penal rigour has brought not merely no odium but actual popularity, delighting the lower orders as well as all honest folk: contigit enim tibi, quod haud scio an nemini, ut summa severitas animadversionis non modo non invidiosa sed etiam popularis esset et cum bonis omnibus tum infimo cuique gratissim‘.[32]

In all of this, Hirtius had been restrained and judicious. He advised Antony to negotiate with the Liberators and had left Rome.[33] This led Syme to judge him (and his colleague Pansa) as ‘a worthy and innocuous pair’.[34] This seems, however, to underrate the capabilities of the man, for to be able to hold in check a war, which Cicero had immediately assumed was inevitable, was no small feat. Moreover, the idea that Hirtius was ‘innocuous’ sits awkwardly with Velleius’ assessment that it was Hirtius and Pansa who counseled Caesar to hold by arms the position he had taken with arms.[35]Such an assessment reflects, instead, Cicero’s later view of the Consuls in a letter written after the ascendancy of Caesar (Octavian) and the possibility for the condemnation of Antony was beginning to be entertained.[36] In the heat of the moment, when the Senate hesitated and Antony’s position was gaining strength, Cicero’s judgment was quite different.

Cicero’s assessment of Hirtius and the importance of Hirtius’ support are revealed in the letters he wrote to Atticus in May 44BCE. Throughout May, Cicero concerned himself with the affairs of the Liberators. One of their chief concerns was that the consuls designate be willing to support them when the Senate resumed meetings. Hirtius and Pansa were with Cicero at Puteoli. Cicero did not care greatly for them and was annoyed that they were demanding lessons in oratory from him.[37]Nonetheless it placed him in a good position both to sound out their views and to impress upon them the views of his political allies/friends, Brutus and Cassius.

There are five letters in the sequence, written throughout the month of May. Atticus had explained that Brutus and Cassius wanted Cicero to act as an intermediary and assure them of Hirtius’ support. Cicero replied, ‘you say that they [Brutus and Cassius] want me to make a better republican out of Hirtius. Well, I am doing my best and he speaks very fair: quod Hirtium per me meliorem fieri volunt, do equidem operam et ille optime loquitur‘.[38] Later that same day (11 May), Cicero had the opportunity to write to his friend again: ‘tomorrow I plan [to dine] at the house of Hirtius…That is how I am planning to bring him over to the optimates: postridie apud Hirtium cogitabam…sic hominem traducere ad optimates paro‘.[39]

On 14 May, Hirtius dined at Cicero’s house. Cicero discussed the meeting saying, ‘as for my pupil who is dining with me this evening, he is greatly attached to that person in whom our friend Brutus put his knife…’.[40] Consequently, Cicero believed, Hirtius would be hostile to peace and would continue to proclaim what had by then become the catch-cry of Caesar’s supporters – a great man had been killed and the whole state was plunged into chaos by his death.[41] Moreover, Cicero was afraid that Hirtius was altogether too friendly with Balbus, and was likely to sympathize with his views.[42]Hirtius was again the subject of an exchange of letters at the end of May, this time between Cicero and Cassius. Cicero reported the content of this exchange to Atticus on 27-28 May: ‘Cassius for his part begs and requests me to make Hirtius as good as I can. Is he in his right mind, do you think?Cassius vero vehementer orat ac petit ut Hirtium quam optimum faciam. Sanum putas?[43] In a final, fragmentary, letter written on the following day Cicero continued to express his doubts:

‘Our friend Brutus has written (Cassius has as well) to ask me to make Hirtius who has been sound so far’ still sounder – I don’t know that he has been sound so far and have no confidence that he will be made any sounder by my influence; he may be somewhat out of temper with Antony but he’s a firm friend of the cause… Cum ad me Brutus noster scripsisset et Cassius ut Hirtium, qui adhuc bonus fuisset <meliorem facerem, quem neque adhuc bonum fuisse> <meliorem facerem, quem neque adhuc bonum fuisse> sciebam, neque eum confidebam fore mea auctoritate meliorem (Antonio est enim fortasse iratior, causae vero amicissimus)…[44]

From this we can gather the following: firstly, that Cicero and his correspondents considered the support of Hirtius important if they were to gain the loyalty of the wavering Senate; and secondly, that Hirtius would be a very hard man to persuade. He was loyal not only to Caesar, but also to ‘the cause’ which Caesar had espoused, even to the extent of supporting it when he did not support Antony, who claimed to be Caesar’s successor. The ’cause’ is nowhere defined in the letter, but it is certainly arguable that it is the political platform closely associated with Caesar, the ’cause’ of a popularispolitician. The juxtaposition with boni throughout this letter and the preceding ones confirms this.[45]

So there is, in these letters, clear and continuous evidence for a debate which is present in Roman politics and which is manifest, not in the form of modern political parties, but in the form of rival and competing ideologies, which were associated with the terms optimates and populares. Cicero claims to be trying to make Hirtius an optimas. Brutus and Cassius want Cicero to make him a bonus. Hirtius, however, remained unconvinced and Cicero eventually despaired, claiming that the task was impossible.[46]

The presence of such a debate has continued to be overlooked or rejected by many modern scholars on the grounds that Roman politics was essentially non-ideological, being largely concerned with ‘the strife for power, wealth and glory’ in which personalities and family alliances counted for more than political platforms, ideals and causes.[47] This evidence suggests, on the contrary, that ideological factors played an important role in shaping, understanding and explaining contemporary events and political interactions. More than this, however, the letters suggest that loyalty to particular ’causes’ could be deeply ingrained and could characterize one’s participation in political affairs in a way that went beyond personal alliances and allegiances.

Cicero is vague about how he might persuade Hirtius to become an optimas . The suggestion is that simply giving him a good meal will be sufficient, but this is not necessarily to be taken seriously. If Hirtius was ‘deeply devoted’ to Caesar, then what arguments might Cicero have used to convince him to support Brutus and Cassius? Some insight into the possible arguments that Cicero might have used for such a purpose can be found by examining the letter that Cicero wrote to Dolabella.[48] The Consul had once been an avid popularis and later became a supporter of Cicero’s own policies. He was also a pupil of Cicero’s. In his circumstances and former loyalties, he is not uncomparable to Hirtius.

In his letter to Dolabella, Cicero emphasized the glory that Dolabella had gained and would continue to elicit if he were to continue in his present course. He praised Dolabella’s actions and the oratory which preceded them. He flattered himself that Dolabella was credited with having followed his (Cicero’s) advice and adhered to Cicero’s precepts. The language of the letter is the language of the current ideological debate. Thus Cicero refers to Dolabella’s gloria, his dignitas, his sapientia, all of which must, in Cicero’s view, lead Dolabella to support Brutus and Cassius. Thus, Cicero exhorted Dolabella to continue to work for the future and good of Rome and of the res publica, holding Brutus up as an example for him to emulate:

‘So you have rescued Rome from danger and her inhabitants from fear. You have done a vast deal of good, not only for the present occasion but as a precedent for the future. Having done that you should understand that the Republic rests upon your shoulders, and that those men from whose initiative freedom has sprung are deserving not only of your protection but of your favour: Liberasti igitur et urbem periculo et civitatem metu neque solum ad tempus maximam utilitatem attulisti sed etiam ad exemplum. Quo facto intellegere debes in te positam esse rem publicam tibique non modo tuendos sed etiam ornandos esse illos viros a quibus initium libertatis profectum est‘.[49]

One final problem remains. In May, Cicero’s summing up was that Hirtius was unconvinced. Not only this – he was unconvinceable. Not all Cicero’s eloquence, nor all his persuasion could ‘bleach the charcoal’, as he confided to Atticus. How then can we explain Cicero’s final estimation of Hirtius as avir bonus ?[50] The key seems to be a letter written to Atticus towards the end of June 44BCE.[51] In this letter, Cicero writes:

‘I don’t doubt that Pansa speaks fair. I know that he has always been thick with Hirtius, I think he [Pansa] is very amicably disposed towards Brutus and Cassius – if it suits his book (but when is he going to see them?): Pansam bene loqui credo. Semper enim coniunctum esse cum Hirtio scio; amicissimum Bruto et Cassio puto, si expediet (sed quando illos videbit?)…’[52]

Ten days earlier, Cicero had praised Caesar (Octavian) for not trusting Hirtius and Pansa, so how can this apparent change in his estimation of them be accounted for?[53] The first thing to note is, of course, that the letter reveals Cicero’s thoughts about what Pansa will think and do, rather than Hirtius. Pansa, like Hirtius earlier, is beginning to ‘speak fair’. Moreover, this need not imply a change in Pansa’s fundamental ideological position – as we have already noted, Hirtius could ‘speak fair’ and yet still be a ‘firm friend of the [popularis] cause’. More troubling, however, is Cicero’s belief that Pansa will simply do what is expedient. Does this necessarily mean that Pansa (and perhaps even Hirtius) only subscribed to particular causes ‘purely temporar[ily] in so far as they promoted his own aggrandizement’.[54] I would submit that this is not the case. The rapid deterioration of affairs in the Capital and the imminent threat posed by Antony had, to a large extent, taken matters beyond the control of the Senate and had made further ideological discussion difficult. Again, Cicero’s letters make this clear. On 14 June Cicero received news of an alleged plot against the lives of the consuls.[55] The next day, he wrote to Atticus, claiming that ‘things seem to me to point to a massacre. Frankly, I don’t feel safe’.[56] By 20 June, Cicero’s information was that ‘the boni are talking utter defeatism’.[57] Cicero was in despair. He complained that it was ‘all Brutus’ fault’ and that ‘Antony is putting middle courses out of the question’.[58] Cicero was all confusion – what should he do? What would others do? Which side would Pansa join if it came to war?[59] Hirtius’ falling out with Antony and his consistent attempts to take a ‘middle course’ placed him in an unenviable position. He was Consul at the time that the Senate declared war on Antony and so it fell naturally to his lot to fight and die in the defense of the res publica . There is no inconsistency with his popularis ideology in this however and it is perhaps significant that Cicero did not choose to refer to him as a vir bonus until after his death.

Roman politicians operated in an atmosphere of competition for honours, diverse personal allegiances and alliances and under the constant pressure to win glory for themselves and their families. So much has been generally accepted. What has been consistently rejected by the orthodoxy in twentieth century scholarship, is that all of this could take place against a backdrop of meaningful ideological debate. But Cicero and his contemporaries did not live in a world devoid of political ideologies. On the contrary, their letters indicate that ideologies and causes were central to Roman political interactions.

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[1] E.Gruen, The Last Generation of the Roman Republic , California University Press, Berkeley, 1974, p.2. I am indebted to Professor T.P.Wiseman for drawing my attention to this quote and to the potential issues that it raised for contemporary scholarship. I am grateful also for his time and patience reading drafts of this paper. I take responsibility for any mistakes herein expressed. Back

[2] J.Paterson, ‘Politics in the Late Republic’ in T.P.Wiseman (ed.) Roman Political Life Exeter University Press, Exeter, 1985, p. 36. Back

[3] N.Mackie, ‘Popularis Ideology and Popular Politics at Rome in the First Century BC’, Rheinisches Museum fur Philologie 135 (1992) 49-74 and T.P.Wiseman, ‘Roman History and the Ideological Vacuum’, in T.P.Wiseman (ed.) Classics in Progress: Essays on Ancient Greece and Rome, Proceedings of the British Academy (2002) ch 12: forthcoming. My thanks are due to Professor Wiseman for allowing me to read this manuscript. Back

[4] Cicero, Pro Sestio 96: Loeb edition, 1958, translated by R.Gardner. Back

[5] Cicero, Pro Sestio 96. Back

[6] Cicero, Pro Sestio, 96. Back

[7] Cicero, Pro Sestio, 98. Back

[8] Cicero, Pro Sestio, 97 and Cicero,Philippics , II.xii. Back

[9] Some definition of ‘ideology’ for the purposes of this paper must be attempted. I am conscious that ‘ideology’ is a word which carries a lot of ‘baggage’ for modern readers. In this paper, I do not intend ideology to refer to a particular class consciousness, nor to any party political platform (codified or otherwise). Instead, I would use the term loosely to refer to that ‘closely related beliefs or ideas [and interests]…characteristic of a group or community’: J.Plamenatz,Ideology, London, 1970, 15. Back

[10] Cicero, Pro Sestio , 99-100. Back

[11] Cicero, Pro Sestio, 97. Back

[12] The content of populares ideology has been discussed in R. Seager, ‘Cicero and the WordPopularis ‘ ,Classical Quarterly, 22 (1972) 328-339 at 331ff. See also Mackie,’Popularis Ideology’, p52-60; Z. Yavetz Plebs and Princeps, Clarendon, Oxford, 1969, 75-6; P. Brunt, ‘The Roman Mob’, Past and Present, 35 (1966) 3-28, pp25; P.Brunt, The Fall of the Roman Republic and related essays, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1988, chapter 6 ‘Libertas’; Ch. Wirszubski, Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome during the late Republic and early Principate, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1968 chapter 2 ‘Optimates and Populares’. Back

[13] Wirszubski, Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome, p41ff. Also Yavetz, Plebs and Princeps, p137.Back

[14] Seager, ‘Cicero and the Word Popularis‘, pp 337f; Mackie, ‘Popularis Ideology’, pp54f. Note that both Caesar and Augustus famously claimed to have been working to restore the res publica. Caesar,Bellum Civile I.22; Augustus Res Gestae Divi Augustusi I.1; Velleius Paterculus, Roman HistoryII.lxxxix.3-4.Back

[15] Mackie, ‘Popularis Ideology’, pp 51ff and Wiseman, ‘Ideological Vacuum’, forthcoming. See also Seager, ‘Cicero and the Word Popularis‘, pp 335. Back

[16] Mackie, ‘Popularis Ideology’, pp 51ff and Seager, ‘Cicero and the Word Popularis‘, pp 334-5. Back

[17] Cicero, De Domo Sua, XXIX.78 and Cicero, De Lege Agraria II.70-71. Back

[18] Cicero, De Lege Agraria II.70-71 with discussion by Seager, ‘Cicero and the Word Popularis‘, pp335; Mackie,’Popularis Ideology’, pp51f. Back

[19] Wiseman (‘Ideological Vacuum’) forthcoming.Back

[20] Mackie, ‘Popularis Ideology’, 68: ‘So we are back with the problem of the populares own motivation and with what has seemed to modern scholars the insuperable obstacle to the theory that the populares were anything more than ‘manipulators’. Populares were members of the senate and so they must have been self-interested because they worked against the interests of the senate, that is of their own group or class. Put clearly, this argument is breathtaking in the way it short-circuits the question of motivation’. Back

[21] Cicero, De Officiis, I.85. Back

[22] Wiseman, ‘Ideological Vacuum’, forthcoming.Back

[23] R. Syme, Roman Revolution, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1939, p 97-8. Back

[24] Nicolaus of Damascus, Life of Augustus, XXVII.106 Bristol Classical Press, translated by J. Bellemore, 1984 with Syme, Roman Revolution p 97. Back

[25] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.9 Loeb edition, translated by D.R.Shackleton-Bailey, 1999. Back

[26] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.10. Back

[27] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.12. Back

[28] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.13. Back

[29] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.15: O mirificum Dolabellam meum!…sustulisse mihi videtur simulationem desideri, adhuc quae serpebat in dies et inveterate verebar ne periculosa nostris tyrannoctonis esset’.Back

[30] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.15. Back

[31] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.17A. Back

[32] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.17A. The importance of being able to have the support of both sections of the population in Rome was a constant theme in Cicero’s thinking. Back

[33] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.17A. Back

[34] Syme, Roman Revolution, p163.Back

[35] Velleius Paterculus, History of Rome II.lvii.1. Back

[36] Cicero, Ad Fam XVI.xxvii. Back

[37] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.12. Back

[38] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.20. Back

[39] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.21. Back

[40] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.22. Back

[41] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.22 and Dio,Roman History XLVII.42.4-5 which seems to reflect the contemporary slogans of Caesar’s supporters. Back

[42] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.20 and XIV.21.Back

[43] Cicero, Ad Att XV.5: ‘Cassius vero vehementer orat ac petit ut Hirtium quam optimum faciam. sunam putas?’ Back

[44] Cicero, Ad Att XV.6. Back

[45] Seager, ‘Cicero and the Word Popularis‘, pp330; see also Cicero, de Legibus III.35 and de Republica frag. Nonius 519.14 for examples of other juxtapositions between boni and popularis . Back

[46] Cicero, Ad Att XV.5. Shackleton-Bailey gives a translation of the idiomatic Greek phrase as ‘the fuller [cannot bleach] charcoal’. Back

[47] Syme, Roman Revolution, p 11.Back

[48] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.17A. Back

[49] Cicero, Ad Att XIV.17A. Back

[50] Cicero, Ad Brut VIII. Mirrored in Plutarch, Life of Cicero XLIII.2. Back

[51] Cicero Ad Att XV.22. Back

[52] Cicero Ad Att XV.22. Back

[53] Cicero, Ad Att XV.12 Back

[54] Paterson, ‘Politics in the Late Republic’, p36. Back

[55] Cicero, Ad Att XV.17 Back

[56] Cicero, Ad Att XV.18. Back

[57] Cicero, Ad Att XV.20. Back

[58] Cicero, Ad Att XV.20 Back

[59] Cicero, Ad Att XV.22; XV.23. Back

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