59. The Caelius of c. 58 is probably identical with the Caelius of cc. 82 and 100, and with the Rufus of cc. 69 and 77 (and also cc. 73 and 59?), the names and circumstances suggesting M. Caelius Rufus, born, according to Pliny (N.H 7.165), on the same day with C. Licinius Calvus, May 28, 82 B.C. (though perhaps this date is too late, by a few years, for the birth of Caelius). Caelius is well known as an ambitious politician and an orator (Cic. Brut. 79.273; Quint. Inst. VI. 3.69; X. 1. 115; 2.25; Tac. Dial. 18, 21, 25). He was at first a partisan of the optimates; but after filling the offices of tribune (52 B.C.), quaestor, and curule aedile (50 B.C.), and contracting immense debts by his extravagant life, he became a follower of Caesar, and was by him made praetor for the year 48. But being shortly thereafter deposed for attempts at revolutionary legislation, he tried to seduce certain of Caesar's troops, and was finally killed under the walls of Thurii. He was an active and interesting correspondent of Cicero, by whom he was defended (56 B.C.) in the famous speech pro Caelio against the charge of attempted poisoning brought by Clodia (Lesbia), whose favored lover he had been. He himself appears to have broken this connection, and perhaps to have opened the eyes of Catullus to Lesbia's real character, after which the friend-ship was again cemented between him and Catullus which had been severed by their rivalry (cf. §§ 25, 26). The poems addressed to him were apparently written in about the following order: cc. 100, 82, 77, (73), 69, (59), 58
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Friends and foes.
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