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The Recall, August, B. C. 57.

The new consuls were not, or did not consider themselves, so bound, and Lentulus having brought the subject forward, the senate early passed a resolution that Cicero's recall was to take precedence of all other business. In accordance with the resolution of the senate, a law was proposed by the consul Lentulus in the comitia centuriata, and probably one by Milo to the tributa. But Clodius, though no longer armed with the tribuneship, was not yet beaten. He obtained the aid of some gladiators belonging to his brother Appius, and more than once interrupted and dispersed an assembly of the comitia. In the riots thus occasioned blood was shed on both sides, and Cicero's brother Quintus on one occasion nearly lost his life. This was the beginning of the series of violent contests between Clodius and Milo, only ended by the murder of the former on the Appian road in B.C. 52. But Clodius was a candidate for the aedileship in this year (B.C. 57), and could be barred from that office legally by a prosecution for vis, of which Milo gave notice against him. It was, perhaps, a desire to avoid this, as much as fear of Milo's counter exhibition of violence, that at length caused him to relax in his opposition, or at any rate to abstain from violently interrupting the comitia. Accordingly, on the 4th of August, the law proposed by both consuls, and supported by Pompey, was passed unanimously by the centuries. Cicero, we must presume, had received trustworthy information that this was to be the case (showing that some understanding had been come to with Clodius, or there would have been no certainty of his not violently dispersing the comitia again), for on that same day he set sail from Dyrrachium and landed at Brundisium on the 5th. His triumphant return to Rome is described in the eighty-ninth letter of this collection. For Pompey's share in securing it he expressed, and seems really to have felt, an exaggerated gratitude, which still influenced him in the unhappy months of B.C. 49, when he was hesitating as to joining him beyond seas in the civil war.

But though Clodius had somehow been prevented from hindering his recall, he by no means relaxed his hostility. He not only tried to excite the populace against him by arguing that the scarcity and consequent high price of corn, from which the people were at that time suffering, was in some way attributable to Cicero's policy, but he also opposed the restoration of his house; and when a decree of the senate was passed in Cicero's favour on that point, brought his armed ruffians to prevent the workmen from going on with the rebuilding, as well as to molest Cicero himself (vol. i., p.195). This was followed by a determined opposition by Milo to the holding of the elections for B.C. 56, until his prosecution of Clodius de vi should have been tried. Clodius, however, was acquitted 1, and, being elected aedile, immediately commenced a counter accusation against Milo for vis. He impeached him before the comitia in February (B.C. 56), on which occasion Pompey spoke in Milo's defence in the midst of a storm of interruptions got up by the friends of Clodius (vol. i., pp.214, 217). Milo was also acquitted, and the rest of Clodius's aedileship seems to have passed without farther acts of open violence.

1 Fam. 1.9, 15 (vol. i., p.316).

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