The Defence of Good Men (1): The Other Side of the <i>Quaestio de Repetundis</i>

Andrew Lintott

in Cicero as Evidence

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216444
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712180 | DOI:
The Defence of Good Men (1): The Other Side of the Quaestio de Repetundis

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This chapter examines Cicero's defense speeches. These include the defence speech for M. Fonteius, whom Cicero may have already promised to defend at the time of the trial of Verres; Cicero's defence of L. Valerius Flaccus — spoken ten years later in Caesar's first consulship some time after the trial of C. Antonius and shortly after the passage of Caesar's own lex de repetundis; and Cicero's defense of Scaurus. What survives of these defence speeches shows on a smaller scale Cicero wrestling with the problem that faced Hortensius when he defended Verres. Each of the defendants had almost certainly committed offences against the lex de repetundis, even if some of them were more in the nature of improprieties than gross violations of its norms. In these speeches Cicero dismisses prosecution witnesses and their evidence, rather than arguing with them. Instead, he appeals to the general achievement of the defendants in promoting the interest of Rome's empire and to their basic decency. This was the ‘defence of good men’ which at the end of the fifth Verrine he programmatically claimed as his new métier.

Keywords: M. Fonteius; L. Valerius Flaccus; courts; Verres; defence speeches; Ciceronian speeches

Chapter.  4587 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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