Pro Aulo Cluentio Habito
by Marcus Tullius Cicero
The speech in defence of Cluentius
was delivered in B.C. 66, the year in which Cicero filled the office of
praetor (§ 147). He was then in the prime of life (aet. 41), and at the
very height of his reputation as a pleader: it will be remembered that
this was the year in which he devliered his famous oration in support
of the Manilian Law (Pro Lege Manilia).
The accusation was brought under the Lex Cornelia de
Sicariis et Veneficis, and the trial was held before the Quaestio,
or standing commission, established by Sulla to deal with cases arising
under that statute. The presiding judge (iudex quaestionis) was
Q. Voconius Naso (§ 147-8). The jury was composed, under the Lex Aurelia
(B.C. 70), of senators, knights, and tribuni aerarii.
The defendant, Aulus Cluentius Habitus of Larinum, was impeached
by Oppianicus the younger, stepson and son-in-law of Sassia, the mother
of Cluentius. The direct charge was that the accused had procured by poison
the death of Oppianicus the elder, as well as of two other persons; but
the prosecution relied also on the prevailing belief that, at the trial
of Oppianicus the elder eight years before (B.C. 74), Cluentius had employed
corrupt means to secure his step-father's conviction. The prosecution
was conducted by T. Accius, a Roman knight of Pisaurum, in Umbria: Cicero
alone appeared for the defence (§ 199).
Such are the elements which go to compose the drama that
is enacted in the speech before us--a speech which, apart from the interest
that attaches to it as a revelation of the conditions of social life in
ancient Italy, will always hold a foremost place in oratorical literature
as representing the high-water mark of Ciceronian eloquence.
-- Opening to the Introduction, M. Tulli Ciceronis:
Pro A. Cluentio Oratio, ed. W. Peterson, Macmillan and Co., Ltd.:
The full introduction
includes the background and examination of previous events, and the laws
involved that led up to this trial.
|Pro A. Cluentio Habito
||The Latin text source
is M. Tulli Ciceronis: Pro A. Cluentio Oratio, ed. W. Peterson,
Macmillan and Co., Ltd.: London, 1920.
||The English text source
is The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, vol 2. trans. C.D.
Yonge, George Bell & Sons: London, 1902.