A trial against Cicero!
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
PARS I | PARS II | PARS III | PARS IV | PARS V | PARS VI | PARS VII
In 58 BCE Publius Clodius Pulcher became Tribunus plebis and passed a plebiscitum reinforcing the Lex Sempronia that outlawed anyone who executed a Roman citizen without trial. The new law was aimed at Cicero over the Catiline affair, and rather than risk prosecution, Cicero left for Macedonia.
I propose that the Collegium Historicum take up this matter and hold a trial of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Such a trial would be in the form of a formal debate between two teams, pro and contra Cicero. A minimum of three collegae would be required for each team, as three different types of speeches will have to be presented. The three categories of the quaestiones actionis are:
1. the deliberativum that addresses the principles of law that are under consideration; in this case whether the Senate had the authority to issue a senatuscunsultum ultimatum in the first place, and then whether such an action by the Senate could be used to contravene the Lex Sempronia.
2. the judiciale which deals with the judicial questions before the court, covering the events and facts of the case.
3. the demonstrativum that presents either praise or blame of Cicero, considering the character of the defendant in this case.
More than three collegae can be on either team, and more than three speeches given, but at least one speech from each of the above catagories must be presented. Each team would have to decide between themselves who would present which oration.
As a prelude to holding this trial I will make some posts on rhetoric. I will cover some of the terms of ancient rhetoric, how to organize a formal argument, common fallacies to avoid in making your own argument and what to look for in your opponents' arguments, and some of the 'proofs' that ancient rhetoricians considered. This proposal is thus meant to be a learning exercise in how to write an argument for debating before the Comitia or presenting an historical argument in the Collegium Historicum.