"T. Annius Milo was a young man of
good family and a recognized leader, on the aristocratic side, in the turbulent politics
of the time during the absence of Caesar in Gaul and following the disastrous campaign of
Crassus in the East. His bitterest opponent was P. Clodius, the leader of the popular
party, a man of high birth and versatile talents, but of infamous life, and an
unscrupulous partisan. Both sides depended to a great extent on organized violence. On the
one side was the city mob, headed by Clodius. On the other, Milo maintained a band of
professional bullies and prize-fighters (gladiatores).
Under these two leaders, the old political strife, always attended with some violence, became almost a succession of riots. The disorders were so great that the year B.C. 53 was half over before the consuls, who should have been chosen six months before the beginning of the year, could be elected. When finally, in July, 53, Cn. Domitius Calvinus and M. Valerius Messala were chosen, the campaign for the following year began at once. Milo was a candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship. Riots were of almost daily occurrence, and no elections could be held. The year 52 began without either consuls or praetors in office, and it became obvious that peace could restored only by the death of either Clodius or Milo. The latter was a candidate for the consulship, but his election had been successfully resisted by Clodius. On the 18th of January the quarrel came to a bloody crisis. Milo had set out from Rome, towards nightfall, with a large retinue, including his troop of armed guards, for Lanuvium, a village about twenty miles S.E. of Rome, where he held an office of some local dignity. He was met on the Appian Way, a few miles out, by Clodius, who was returning to the city from one of his estates on horseback, with thirty armed attendants. As they passed each other, their followers came to blows. Clodius was wounded, and driven into a shop or tavern by the wayside. Milo, unwilling to leave so dangerous an enemy alive, followed him up; and Clodius, with a dozen others, among them the owner of the tavern, was killed. The meeting was probably accidental on both sides; but each had openly threatened the other's life, and hence each party loudly accused the other of premeditated assault and actual or intended murder. Anarchy broke loose in Rome. The funeral of Clodius was an occasion of riot and conflagration. Other disorders followed. Quiet was only restored by the appointment of Pompey as "consul without colleague" (practically dictator), and for about six months the city was held by him under a sort of martial law. A special court was established for the trial of all cases arising out of the brawl in the Appian Way. The arraignment of Milo before this court on the charge of assault and homicide took place about the 10th of April. Cicero undertook his defence both from political motives and from personal regard. [Especially since Clodius had been the one to push for Cicero's exile in 58 B.C. --Webmaster] By Pompey's orders the court was surrounded by armed troops (a strange sight at that time in Rome) to protect it from the violence of the mob which raged outside. Cicero, whose nerves were shaken by the uproar, lost his self-command, and spoke "not with usual firmness." Milo was condemned by thirty-eight votes out of fifty-one, and went into exile at Marseilles. Cicero, dissatisfied with the speech actually delivered, as taken down by short-hand, wrote out at his leisure the masterpiece of eloquence and specious argument which follows."
-- Introduction to Pro Milone, Select Orations of Cicero, ed. J. B. Greenough and G. L. Kittredge. Ginn & Co.: Boston, 1896.
|Pro T. Annio Milone Oratio||Latin Text||The source of the Latin text and commentary notes is Select Orations of Cicero, ed. J.B. Greenough. Ginn & Co.: Boston, 1896.|
|The source of the English text is The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, vol. III, trans. C.D. Yonge. Bell & Sons: London, 1905.|
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