Epistula Q. Ciceronis De Petitione
Consulatus Ad M. Fratrem


   From mid-65 to mid-64 B.C. Marcus Tullius Cicero was campaigning for election to a consulship of 63 B.C. He had six competitors, although only two presented strong competition. Gaius Antonius, is said to have been desperate for money and office, and it is said by Asconius that he talked of raising a slave rebellion should he fail to win. Lucius Sergius Catilina, Cicero's other strong competitor, was already known for using violence to achieve his aims. Catiline was known to have been a notorious killer during Sulla's proscriptions, and news of his abortive plot of 66 B.C. to seize power was leaking out by this time. In alarm, leading nobles were forced to turn to Cicero as their candidate. Although unhappy with his support of Pompey for the military command in the east against Mithridates (as seen in Cicero's oration, De Imperio Gn. Pompei), as well as his Popular standing, they believed his connections with the Equites, as well as his influence with the more stable elements of Roman society, would serve to counterbalance Catiline's energy and power, or Antonius' need for money. Cicero ultimately won the post of leading consul, with Antonius in the spot of secondary consul. (These election returns would jump-start Catiline's attempt to seize power in 63, the results of which can be found in the In Catilinam Orationes.)
   There are some problems as to true authorship, for the text, although found grouped with the Epistulae Ad Familiares, is not found in the best extant manuscript of these letters, the Codex Mediceus 49.9. In other manuscripts it occurs after the spurious "Epistula Ad Octavianum." While these facts do not prove it to be spurious, they do force burden of proof equally upon those who accept Quintus' authorship and those who do not. Cogent arguments exist for both sides. For a full treatment of the opposing side's arguments, the introduction found in the Loeb Classical Library version of this text is highly recommended.
   There is also a difference in the title of the text found in various manuscripts. In better manuscripts it is referred to as the Commentariolum Consulatus Petitionis, while in inferior manuscripts it is called Epistula de Petitione Consulatus.

-- Excerpts from "Introduction to the Commentariolum Petitionis", trans. Mary Henderson, Loeb Classical Library, vol. 462, [Cicero vol. XXVIII], Harvard UP; Cambridge, MA. 1972.

Commentariolum Consulatus Petitionis Latin Text The Latin text source is Epistulae M. Tullii Ciceronis, ed. A.S. Wesenberg, Teubner, Leipzig, 1885.
English Text
Translation Notes
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