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[15] Such were the acts of C├Žsar's consulship. He then
B.C. 58
laid down his magistracy and proceeded directly to his new government. Clodius now brought an accusation against Cicero for putting Lentulus and Cethegus and their followers to death without trial.1 Cicero, who had exhibited the highest courage in that transaction, became utterly unnerved at his trial. He put on coarse raiment and, defiled with squalor and dirt, supplicated those whom he met in the streets, not being ashamed to annoy people who knew nothing about the business, so that his doings excited laughter rather than pity by reason of his unseemly aspect. Into such trepidation did he fall at this single trial of his own, although he had been managing other people's causes successfully all his life. In like manner they say that Demosthenes the Athenian did not stand his ground when accused, but fled before the trial. When Clodius interrupted Cicero's supplications on the streets with contumely, he gave way to despair and, like Demosthenes, went into voluntary exile. A multitude of his friends went out of the city with him, and the Senate recommended him to the attention of cities, kings, and princes. Clodius demolished his house and his villas. Clodius was so much elated by this affair that he compared himself with Pompey, who was then the most powerful man in Rome.

1 The question whether Cicero was justified under Roman law in putting the conspirators to death without a trial has been the subject of endless controversy. It is treated with great force and clearness by Mr. Strachan-Davidson in his Life of Cicero (p. 151 seq.), who holds that he was so justified.

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