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Cicero’s Pro M. Caelio Oratio –
An Introduction to the Historical Background

BDM Omrani, Westminster School, February 2011


Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in January 106 BC in the town of Arpinium, around70 miles southeast of Rome. By Cicero’s time, the area had been fully romanised. Theregion had been under the control of Rome since the end of the fourth century BC, andits inhabitants had possessed the full rights of Roman citizens for around 80 yearsbefore Cicero’s birth. Of the background of Cicero’s family, little can be saidwith certainty. His father was of equestrian rank and seems to have been wealthy,perhaps thanks to interests in business, but this must remain as speculation. Certainly,he was well connected with elements in the Roman establishment. After Cicero’s schooleducation had been completed in around 91 BC, he and his younger brother Quintuswere entrusted to a leading Roman politician and lawyer, Quintus Mucius ScaevolaAugur, who had twenty years earlier in his career held the office of consul. Cicerofollowed Scaevola as a legal apprentice, somewhat in the manner that a pupil wouldfollow an established barrister in an English set of chambers, in order to finishhis education and start his career as a Roman lawyer (in Rome, this pupillage wascalled the tirocinium fori). Aside from a brief period of military service around88 BC – which was then de rigueur for any Roman citizen aspiring to high office – whenhe witnessed the chaos and brutality which surrounded the civil wars between Romeand its dependent territories in Italy over the right to hold Roman citizenship(the ‘social wars’ – between the socii), his early years in Rome were dedicated totraining in law and rhetoric; he hoped, by these means rather than a military career,to achieve power and distinction in the republic.

Even in Cicero’s early career, the Roman Republic was visibly under serious pressureof collapse. In the early 80s, the state was beset by a fierce political strugglebetween the populist general Marius and the aristocratic commander Sulla, the formeragitating for a generous land settlement for his demobilised soldiers by increasingthe legal rights of the citizen body, the latter determined to shore up the powerof the senate (Romans holding such pro-senatorial views were called optimates). Aspower shifted between them, both were responsible for murders and mob violence whichset a pattern of decline towards the bloodletting of the later civil wars betweenJulius Caesar and Pompey, Mark Antony and Octavian. One might conjecture thatCicero, under the tutelage of Scaevola, who by this time although still highlyactive in politics was in extreme old age, imbibed a respect for the constitutionand desire for preserving the stability of the state in the face of the disturbancescaused by the ruthlessly ambitious leaders around him. Despite the many dangersthat faced those who displeased whoever should be in power, Cicero as a youngbarrister was able skilfully to bring actions which damaged their henchmen andaccomplices whilst avoiding their disfavour. One of the first such cases was thepro Roscio Amerino in 78 BC, where he was able to succour a citizen of Amerinaagainst one of Sulla’s partisans (Sulla was by this time the dictator in Rome,holding absolute power). Even after Sulla’s death, Cicero was to continue bringingsuch cases. Cicero, having obtained a quaestorship and seat in the senate in 76BC, served a year in the province of Lilybaeum in western Sicily assisting withthe administration of the region’s finances. Gaining a reputation for probityamongst the inhabitants, they were to turn to him shortly afterwards in 70 BCto prosecute Gaius Verres, the Roman governor of the province who was notoriousfor corruption and extortion. Again, although the jury for such cases was composedsolely of senators who felt much sympathy for Verres and whom Cicero needed notto alienate if he desired to make progress up the cursus honorum, he was able tosecure a prosecution, retain the favour of his fellow senators (he was electedaedile in that year), and even provoke a change in the law so that cases ofcorruption would in the future be tried by mixed juries of senators and equestrians.

From 70 BC Cicero began to use his growing political influence and rhetoricalskills to support the cause of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus – Pompey the Great. Pompeywas one of the breed of highly capable military commanders with a loyal followingamongst the Roman soldiery whom the senate were beginning to fear more and more.Pompey was the same age as Cicero, but had chosen to pursue a career in the armyrather than at the bar in order to achieve distinction. He had served in thesocial wars under Sulla, and then from 76-73 BC he had suppressed an uprising inSpain. Shortly afterwards, he had returned to Italy to assist another commander,Crassus, in putting down the revolt of Spartacus. In this latter action it isimportant to note that there was the germ of friction between Pompey and Crassus;much of the work in overpowering Spartacus had been done by Crassus, but Pompey,arriving late in the conflict, was able to bring it to a conclusion and claimmost of the credit. Despite this, the pair resolved to work together. Thanks tothe military support which they still possessed and the phenomenal wealth ofCrassus (he was then the richest man in Rome, having inherited a great deal ofwealth, but also having been able to amass even more by business deals and acquiringthe estates of those who had perished in Sulla’s proscriptions), they were ableto compel the Romans to elect them consuls in 70 BC. Together, they were able topush through a program of constitutional reform that was to have a serious impacton the government of the republic, and indeed generate many of the problems whichCicero was to encounter in future years. They revived the position of censor,whose responsibility it was to draw up lists of senators and keep the records ofcitizenship in order (a post later to be held by Crassus). They enacted the reformsof the judicial system which had been prompted by Cicero’s case against Verres.They also made it easier for the tribunes of the people to pass laws in the popularassembly, again bypassing and diminishing the influence of the Senate, and restoredthe right of tribunes – removed by Sulla – to stand subsequently for the higheroffices of praetor and consul. These acts were signature policies of the popularparty at Rome; it is likely that military commanders, such as Pompey, with an eyeon future power envisaged that friendly tribunes could be used to pass legislationallowing them increased powers, army commands or land for demobilised troops inthe teeth of senatorial opposition by direct appeal to the Roman citizens. Cicero’ssupport for Pompey’s reforms as well as the man personally was likely based oncomplex considerations. Pompey’s reforms favoured the equestrian class, and Cicerothroughout his career was interested in ensuring balance and cooperation betweenthe senatorial and equestrian order, partly because his original background wasas an equestrian, and partly because he believed that a balance of the two orderswould be good for the stability of the state. Otherwise, Cicero was astute enoughto realise that Pompey would be a major force in the state for many years to come,and he hoped by helping Pompey his support would not only be reciprocated, butthat Cicero might be able to guide and influence his policies. Hence, Cicerosupported a grant to Pompey of extraordinary power to deal with the menace ofpirates in the Mediterranean in 67 BC, and also shortly afterwards a mandate todeal with ongoing problems in the Levant and Asia Minor, in particular a long-runningwar with Mithridates, King of Pontus. His campaigning in the region lasted for mostof the 60s BC, and led to the conquest of many parts of these regions.

Cicero’s career continued in its sharp ascent. In 66 BC he was elected praetor, ajudicial office one rung below that of consul. Having devoted much of his attentionto supporting the claims of Pompey, he now turned his energy towards competing forthe office of consul. This he was able to achieve, winning the elections in 64 BCto hold the office for the year of 63 BC. Cicero was justly proud of his election,especially given that he was a novus homo (a man from a family which had neverbefore held consular office) and also that he had won the office at the youngestage permitted under the constitution (no-one was allowed to accede to the officebelow the age of 42; Pompey had thus held the office unlawfully in 70 BC). However,there were dark forces in the background whose presence had inadvertently helpedCicero in his election, and combating which Cicero was able to secure for himselfmuch in the way of glory, but also a great deal of tribulation. In 66 BC, a brilliantbut indebted aristocrat, Lucius Sergius Catilina – known in English as Catiline – desiredto stand for the consulship. However, his strongly populist policies, such as thecancellation of debt and the redistribution of land, caused alarm amongst manysenators. His candidacy in that year was rejected by the consuls, on the groundsthat he was standing trial for corruption over his administration of Africa duringhis praetorship in 68 BC (a trial in which even Cicero was contemplating anappearance for the defence). It appears that in 65 BC he was behind an initialbut abortive plot to murder the consuls, but having collapsed the conspiracy washushed up with the help of Crassus, who hoped to use Catiline’s talents in his owncause. In 64 BC he was finally given leave to stand against Cicero for the consulship,but thanks to his populist policies the senate threw their weight behind Cicero. Heran again in 63 BC for the following year, but having made many belligerent andthreatening comments (in reaction to which Cicero ostentatiously wore a breastplateat the election) he was again defeated. Baulked of his ambition, he turned toviolent means, planning a conspiracy to foment a full armed uprising with theobject of overthrowing the government. Cicero was able to uncover the conspiracyand, relying on the senatus consultum ultimum (the “final decree of the senate”,which was an instruction made by the senate to the magistrates in times of crisisto take any measure to ensure that the state came to no harm) he executed a numberof conspirators who had been captured in Rome, denying them their rights of a fulltrial and liberty of appeal to the citizen body. Catiline himself escaped from Rome,and fell in battle leading his insurgents against the Roman government’s forces ledby Cicero’s consular colleague, Gaius Antonius Hybrida. Although Cicero was laudedby Rome for his leadership in crushing the danger posed by Catiline, and even giventhe title of pater patriae (which later was to be assumed by Augustus), the mannerin which he did so was to lead him into later trouble.

In 62 BC, a young aristocrat, Publius Clodius Pulcher, became embroiled in a scandalinvolving an occult religious ceremony and the wife of Julius Caesar. The rites ofthe Bona Dea (“the good goddess” as she was called, her real name being concealed toavoid profanation) were celebrated annually at the house of the Pontifex Maximus (highpriest), who at this time was Julius Caesar. All men were rigidly excluded from therites, and the rituals were performed under the conduct of the wife of the pontifex.However Clodius, who was thought to be having an affair with Caesar’s wife, insinuatedhimself into the proceedings dressed as a woman, but was unmasked when he was compelledto speak to one of the female slaves. The scandal, which could have been treatedlightly, was however hijacked and used as an excuse by a number of Clodius’ enemiesto attempt to ruin him. Originally, he had been a partisan of Pompey, and between 68-66BC he had worked to undermine the authority of Lucius Licinius Lucullus, his ownbrother-in-law, who held a command in the east; Pompey had coveted his position, andClodius’ action in stirring up dissent amongst his troops had been instrumental inremoving him from the position and ensuring that Pompey succeeded him. Clodius perhapsdid not endear himself to Lucullus either thanks to having incestuous relations withhis wife, Clodius’ sister. Lucullus led a party of optimates who charged Clodiuswith impiety in 61 BC, but Crassus, with his habit of buying influence amongst juniorpoliticians whom he thought later would be useful and politically opposed to theoptimates, liberally bribed the jury and secured his acquittal. Clodius had expectedboth Cicero and Pompey to support him at the trial; he himself had supported Ciceroduring the Catilinarian crisis, and his alienation of Lucullus was carried outentirely for the benefit of Pompey. However, Pompey, who had by now returned to Rome,refused to involve himself in the matter, and Cicero went so far as to give evidenceagainst him to destroy his alibi. It seems that both men were unwilling to upsetthe powerful optimates who were leading the prosecution at that moment. In particularPompey was then attempting to curry favour with the senate so that they might grantland for the use of his troops who had just returned from campaigning in the East,as well as ratify his new settlement of the Asian provinces. Plutarch’s story thatCicero’s wife, Terentia, prompted Cicero to give evidence against Clodius as hissister had urged Cicero to divorce Terentia and marry her instead, is generallythought by modern scholars to be fanciful. At any rate, Clodius did not forgiveCicero or Pompey for failing him, and being strongly impetuous, determined to takehis revenge.

By 60 BC, a number of powerful politicians were growing weary with the intransigenceof the senate. Pompey was angered that they seemed set against approving his easternsettlement and giving land to his veteran troops. Crassus was unable to force themto renegotiate the terms of a giant contract they had made with some of hisbusiness associates who had the job of collecting the taxes, so that his friendsmight increase their profits. Julius Caesar also – another rising star in the Romanpolitical firmament (Caesar was another protege of Crassus – Crassus had early onrealised his rhetorical and military genius, and had bankrolled his electoralcampaigns and his bid to secure the influential office of pontifex maximus; by 60BC, he had campaigned with great success in Spain winning the strong personalloyalty of his men, and had his eye, after a year as consul, on a powerful proconsularcommand so that he might further increase his military influence) – was distressedthat he was compelled for technical reasons to forfeit his right to a triumph soas to run for the 59 BC consulship, and the stricture, should he win, that he spendthe next year as a commissioner for Italian forests and road maintenance, not aproconsular leader with a military command. The three men realised that, workingtogether, such was their political influence, wealth and network of personalconnections, that they would be able to control political life and force the senateto accept their demands. Despite Crassus being somewhat lukewarm towards Pompey andPompey feeling similar towards Caesar, they made an informal secret alliance in 60BC – the first triumvirate – to collaborate in achieving their aims.

The reforms made by Pompey and Crassus during their consulship ten years earliernow came into their own. The triumvirate was able, by employing friendly puppettribunes, particularly those under a personal obligation to individual members ofthe triumvirate, to force legislation through the popular assembly, aided also byCrassus’ money and the threat of force from Pompey’s or especially Caesar’s legions.In 59 BC, when Caesar was consul, one tribune in particular, Vatinius, was responsiblefor pushing through many of the measures which the triumvirs immediately desired. In58 BC, Clodius, who since the Bona Dea trial had been in the debt of Crassus, becameone of the tribunes, and was able to assume this role. Caesar and Crassus in particularboth appreciated the rising importance of Clodius, especially thanks to hisincreasingly apparent talent for demagoguery. He was able to mobilise gangs ofurban thugs which proved useful for the sake of intimidating political opponents,and one of the first pieces of legislation he passed that year was a bill to makeit easier for working clubs and associations to be formed, which thus could bemobilised for political purposes. One further piece of legislation which he putforward was a bill to outlaw anyone who had put a Roman citizen to death withouttrial. This, patently, was aimed at Cicero, and shortly afterwards, to avoid confusion,proposed a further law outlawing Cicero in person. Clodius, of course, was personallymotivated by revenge to attack Cicero. However, Caesar also was eager to removeCicero from political life in Rome at that time. Despite many overtures, Cicerowould not speak out to support the triumvirate, which at that moment was encounteringmounting hostility. Besides this, Caesar feared that Pompey, having obtained hismain demands of the triumvirate, would break away, not having great personalenthusiasm for Caesar’s growing power (Caesar had just been granted an unprecedentedfive-year command over the whole of Gaul). Caesar personally liked Cicero verygreatly, and attempted to extract him from Rome at first by friendly means, offeringhim a senior post with his entourage in Gaul. However Cicero, feeling inclined toretain his independence and not to be out of the political fray, refused. Caesar,therefore, saw himself as having no option but to allow Clodius to proceed againsthim. Cicero was exiled to Greece in April 58 BC; Clodius, not content with thisas a punishment, destroyed his country villas and town house, and even built asmall temple to the goddess Libertas on the site of the latter, hoping that byhaving it consecrated, it would be impossible for Cicero ever to regain it.

Clodius, although intended to be the creature of the triumvirs, over the year ofhis office as tribune grew increasingly out of control. He began to do all in hispower to attack Pompey. He abetted the escape of Tigranes, the son of the Armenianking, whom Pompey had brought to Rome as a prestigious prisoner from his campaignsin the east. Since Pompey was slow to respond to the insult, Clodius was all themore emboldened, and began to harangue not only Pompey himself, but even his allies,going so far as to incite his gangs to attack one of the consuls. Afterwards, theyblockaded Pompey in his house, and prevented him from leaving at all for the restof the year. Such treatment provoked Pompey to action, and repenting of his earlierfailure to stand up for Cicero, began to join a campaign for his return. Nothingcould be done whilst Clodius was still tribune, but in the following year, 57 BC,popular opinion had reunited behind Cicero, and despite Clodius’ gangs attemptingto disrupt the process by violence, a law was passed allowing his return. Hisproperty was restored to him, but even still, Clodius’s intimidation of Cicerocontinued, with a number of his thugs vandalising the rebuilding work that wastaking place on Cicero’s house on the Palatine; there was no respite to his desirefor revenge. For all this, he was still able to secure the office of aedile for56 BC, thus making him safe from any prosecution.

It was in this year, 56 BC, that Marcus Caelius Rufus was indicted on five chargesof vis, political violence. Caelius was born around 85 BC in the large commercialport of Puteoli (modern-day Pozzuoli) in the Campania region south of Rome. Notunlike Cicero, his father was an equestrian, and is known to have had bankinginterests as well as property in Africa. It appears that he had ambitions forCaelius to follow a political rather than a business career, and sent him tostudy in Rome. Caelius was attached for his tirocinium fori to Cicero and Crassusin 66 BC. Cicero rated him highly, saying that he had never known anyone elsemore adapted to a life in politics. He remained loyal to Cicerountil his consulship in 63 BC, at which point it appears that he fell briefly – likemany young and aspiring Roman politicians – under the spell of Catiline, thoughnot going so far as to take part in his conspiracy. In 61 BC, partly to learnabout the administration of the Roman provinces, perhaps also to visit hisfather’s property, and perhaps even also to put distance between himself and theconspiracy, he went in the entourage of the proconsul Quintus Pompeius Rufus toAfrica. On returning to Rome in 60 BC, Caelius made a spectacular entrance topublic life by prosecuting Cicero’s consular colleague, Gaius Antonius Hybrida,on charges of extortion and even of association with Catiline. Given Antonius’reputation and past, Caelius was not choosing the most difficult of targets.Antonius had in 76 BC been accused by Julius Caesar for the oppression of Rome’sGreek possessions, and even in 70 BC had been briefly expelled from the senatefor his rapacious treatment of other provincials Although Antonius had beencharged with leading consular forces against Catiline, he was known to have beena friend of Catiline, and on the day of the major battle between them claimed tobe ill and passed the command of the army to his legate. Cicero had rewardedAntonius for his at least outward compliance with himself and the senate in theaffair by ensuring he receive the province of Macedonia after his consulship. Havingmisgoverned and plundered the country, he provoked a number of the peoples to battleso as to overpower them and kill a sufficient number to qualify for a triumph andmilitary glory. Unfortunately, according to Caelius’ prosecution speech which wasquoted in later manuals of oratory, Antonius was so drunk on the day of battle thathe could hardly stir from his bed.

The speech deserves quotation so as to give a flavour of Caelius’ powerfully vividand vituperative rhetoric, as well as his character. This section, quoted byQuintilian, a professor of rhetoric, describes Antonius on the morning of the battle:

Namque ipsum offendunt temulento sopore profligatum, totis praecordiis stertentem,ructuosos spiritus geminare, praeclarasque contubernales ab omnibus spondis transversasincubare et reliquas circumiacere passim. quae tamen exanimatae terrore, hostiumadventu percepto, excitare Antonium conabantur, nomen inclamabant, frustra aceruicibus tollebant, blandius alia ad aurem invocabat, uehementius etiam nonnullaferiebat; quarum cum omnium vocem tactumque noscitaret, proximae cuiusque collumamplexu petebat, neque dormire excitatus neque vigilare ebrius poterat, sed semisomnosopore inter manus centurionum concubinarumque iactabatur. (Quintilian, Inst. Or. 4.2.123-4)
“They found him lying slumped in an inebriated stupor, snoring with his whole belly,continuously belching, whilst the leading members of his harem were sprawled outacross the beds, and the remainder were lying higgledy-piggledy on the floor. Yetwhen they realised that the enemy were approaching, they went out of their mindwith terror. They tried to wake up Antonius. They called his name and lifted uphis head, but in vain. Some whispered sweet nothings into his ear; others wererougher and started to hit him. When finally he began to recognise the voice andtouch of the women around him, he tried to throw his arms around the first one hecould reach. He could not sleep for all their attempts to wake him, but was sodrunk that he could not stay awake, and so finally, being able to do nothing aboutthis half slumber, his centurions and his concubines resorted to bundling him out.”

One might speculate that Caelius was moved to prosecute the case not only furtherto distance himself from Catiline, but also from his former pupil-master Cicero,thus establishing his own youthful independence (Cicero felt compelled to defendAntonius, but was defeated by his former pupil). Caelius’ rhetoric marks him outas having falling into a particular high-society set in Rome at the time – clever,witty, polished, flashy, biting and satirical. It is not dissimilar to the shortand jesting verses of Catullus which lampooned public figures of the time (forexample lambasting one man for having armpits that smelt of a “he goat”, anotherfor being unable to tell his mouth from his backside, so potent were the odoursthat the former emitted, and a third for the heinous crime of incorrectly aspiratinghis vowels – “for his ‘olidays, he’s going not to Ionia, but Hionia!”)

Caelius connection with Catullus went further than just a similar style of rhetoricalflourish. Around the time of his prosecution of Antonius, his father grew angry athis increasing profligacy. In order to keep up appearances and stay in with theostentatious social circles in which he was now moving, Caelius, like many of hiscontemporaries, had borrowed heavily. Falling out with his father over the extentof his spending, Caelius moved away from home and rented a flat in the Palatinedistrict, which happened to be owned by Clodius. It was also near to the residenceof one of Clodius’ sisters, Clodia. She had recently been widowed – her husband,Quintus Metellus Celer (who had been consul in 60 BC, a strong member of the optimateparty who opposed the acts both of Pompey and Caesar, and even despite the familyconnection, the moves made by Clodius to become a tribune) had died suspiciously andsuddenly in 59 BC. Clodia is generally thought to have been the mistress of Catullusat this time, but it appears that Catullus was displaced in her affections byCaelius. The relationship lasted for around two years, up until the time that hewas elected quaestor in 57 BC. It is likely that they broke for two reasons; thatCaelius had been working secretly in the interests of Pompey (and thus in favour ofClodius’ enemy), and that this having been discovered precipitated a breaking offin personal relations between Clodia and Caelius; it might also be possible thatCaelius, growing in personal stature, wanted to be free of the relationship, whichmight also, after two years, have run its course.

Caelius’ work in favour of Pompey seems to have been conducted in relation toEgypt. The King of Egypt at the time, Ptolemy XII “Auletes”, had come to the thronein 80 BC with a weak dynastic claim (he was of an illegitimate lineage) and alsowith his position in danger since a purported will of his predecessor had beendiscovered, bequeathing Egypt to the Romans. Although the Romans declined at thattime to accept the bequest and make Egypt part of the empire, Auletes became dependenton Roman support to retain the kingship, and started to press for official Romanrecognition for his title. In 63 BC, whilst Pompey was campaigning in the East,disturbances in the Egyptian capital Alexandria compelled Auletes to send for helpto Pompey. Although Pompey was unwilling or unable to come to his aid, a formalpatron-client relationship was built up between Pompey and Auletes, the formerpressing the claims of the latter in Rome. In 59 BC, after the inception of thetriumvirate, Auletes, seeing that Pompey was finally in a position to secure recognitionfor his kingship in Rome, undertook to pay Pompey and Caesar personally (who bothneeded the money to pay for land for their troops) a bribe of 35 million denarii.Although Auletes got what he wanted – recognition and a formal alliance with theRoman people – the payment (around a year’s worth of tax receipts) put a huge strainon the finances of Egypt. Furthermore, when, in 58 BC, Rome annexed Cyprus (asister kingdom of Egypt administered by another Ptolemaic ruler) the Egyptiansfeared that the same might also happen to them. To forestall this, they rose inrevolt against Auletes. Relying on his new treaty with the Romans, he fled withhis entourage to Rome and took up residence at Pompey’s villa. From here, he beggedthe senate for help, requesting them to send a force under his patron Pompey towin back his throne – a measure which the party of the optimates of course opposed,always fearing to give too much power or influence to their opponents.

Over 57 and early 56 BC, the debate over what to do raged on in Rome. There camealso from Alexandria a deputation of 100 citizens under a philosopher, Dio, tocomplain to the senate about the depredations of Auletes’ government, and to demandthat Rome give him no further aid. Auletes’s entourage, despite being in Italyrather than on their home turf in North Africa, felt no compunction in usingviolence and intimidation to prevent the delegation of citizens from making theirprotests to the senate. A number of them were set upon by a gang of thugs inCicero’s home town of Puteoli, and there were other incidents in Naples. Variousof the party were murdered in their journey to Rome as were others in the cityitself, and those who survived were either bribed or intimidated into silence. Diohimself was staying at the house of Lucius Lucceius, a senator and friend ofPompey. Here, an attempt was made to bribe Lucceius’ slaves into poisoning Dio. Afterthis he moved to the house of another friend, Coponius, but here his enemiessucceeded in having him murdered. Auletes, after this, withdrew from Rome toEphesus, and in his absence the senators felt emboldened to express their angerat the violence. A number of the King’s entourage were charged with politicalviolence and some were convicted. Two Romans were also put on trial. One was PubliusAsicius, who was defended by Cicero and also acquitted. The second was Caelius.

Aside from Clodius, Caelius had managed to alienate another group of Roman politicians.Although he had earlier supported Lucius Calpurnius Bestia, a Roman nobleman ofwhom little is known, in a candidacy for the aedileship in 57 BC, for some reasonhe turned against him early in 56 BC and went so far as to accuse him of ambitus(bribery). Although Bestia was defended by Cicero and acquitted, Caelius beganproceedings to take him to court for a second time immediately afterwards. Toforestall this, Bestia’s son, Sempronius Atratinus, accused Caelius of chargesrelated to the political violence against the Alexandrian mission. It seems thatClodius, in order to attack Caelius for working against his interests and thedistress caused to his sister, also helped motivate the charge but behind thescenes, ensuring that a charge of attempting to poison Clodia was included. Caelius,in this circumstance, turned to his old pupil-masters Cicero and Crassus to representhim. Although he had been somewhat estranged from Cicero in the past, Cicerorecognised Caelius’s talent, and felt that in defending him he would be able toput him under an obligation to him in the future. It is possible that Crassuschose to defend him not just because of his earlier connection, but also becausehe himself had financial interests vested in the safety of the Egyptian king,despite the fact that Pompey (to whom he was also none too friendly) had similarinterests.