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Pompey's third consulship and the trial of Milo, B.C. 52.

Pompey's six months' sole consulship of B.C. 52 ("that divine third consulship"), the rumour of his dictatorship, and the growing determination of the Optimates to play off Pompey against Caesar (Crassus having disappeared) and to insist on Caesar resigning his province and army before the end of his ten years' tenure, and before standing for a second consulship, caused Cicero's hope of a final dissolution of the unconstitutional compact to revive again; and made him draw more and more closely to Pompey as the chief hope of the boni. In the beginning of the year he had found himself in opposition, or quasi-opposition, to Pompey in regard to the prosecution of Milo for the murder of Clodius. But though in the previous year he had declared that the election of Milo to the consulship was of the utmost importance to his own position and the safety of the state, 1now that it was rendered impossible by Milo's condemnation, he seems to have placed all his hopes on Pompey. Unfortunately, there is here a break in the correspondence. There is no letter of the last six months of B.C. 53, and only four (perhaps only three) of B.C. 52. 2 So that the riots which prevented Milo's election, the death of Clodius and the riots following it, and the consequent sole consulship of Pompey, with the latter's new legislation and the trial of Milo—all have to be sought for elsewhere. The last letter of this volume and of this year, addressed to M. Marius in December, B.C. 52, alludes to the condemnation of Milo, and to the numerous prosecutions following it. "Here, in Rome, I am so distracted by the number of trials, the crowded Courts, and the new legislation, that I daily offer prayers that there may be no intercalation."3


1 Vol. i., p.357.

2 CLXXVIII-CLXXXI. The date of the letter to P. Sittius (CLXXVIII) is not certain.

3 Vol. i., p.366.

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