Milo, T. A'nnius Papia'nus
was the son of C. Papius Celsus and Annia [ANNIA, No. 2].
He was born at Lanuvium, of which place he was in B. C. 53, chief magistrate--dictator. Milo derived the name of Annius from his adoption by his maternal grandfather T. Annius Lascus.
But the appellation by which he is best known, was an Italiot-Greek name, common in the South of Italy, the fruitful nursery of Gladiators.
Since his ancestors, neither in the Papian nor Annian families, bore this name, and Milo was notorious as a leader of mercenary swordsmen, and for his lawless and ferocious life, a by-name has probably superseded his birth-names.
The year of his quaestorship is unknown.
He was tribune of the plebs in B. C. 57, when his memorable and fatal contest with P. Clodius began.
The history of his tribunate and of the succeeding events until the murder of Clodius in B. C. 52, is inseparable from that of his rival, and has already been related [P. CLODIUS PULCHER, No. 40
]. We shall, therefore, merely recapitulate the principal features of their quarrel. Milo was deeply in debt, and a wealthy province alone could extricate him.
But without eloquence or political talents, the member of a comparatively obscure family could not hope to attain the consulate, unless he identified his own interest with that of some one or other of the great leaders of the commonwealth. Milo, therefore, attached himself to Cn. Pompey, and Cicero's recall from exile was the immediate pretext of their alliance.
In procuring Cicero's restoration, Milo, from his daring and unscrupulous character, was by far the most efficient of the tribunes.
He combated Clodius with his own weapons.
He purchased, after a faint and fruitless trial of constitutional means, a band of gladiators, and the streets of Rome were the scene of almost daily and always deadly conflict between the two leaders of these paid assassins. Cicero's return did not, however, tranquillise the city. Clodius renewed his attacks on the person and pioperty of the great orator, and Milo twice rescued him from the hands of the Clodian mob. Pompey also had become an object of Clodius' hate, and Milo and his gladiators, who served without being expressly employed by him, were a valuable guard to one who prized the concealment of his sentiments little less than the safety of his person.
The success of the combatants was nearly equal. Milo's houses in Rome, the Anniana on the Capitoline and another on the hill Germalus, were assailed by the Clodians, but Clodius was twice driven from the forum, and the last time narrowly escaped with life. Nor did the rivals restrict their warfare to the swords of their adherents.
With equal justice and consistency they accused each other of a breach of the Lex Plotia de Vi,
and with equal violence both eluded the results of prosecution. Clodius, however, notwithstanding Miloe's repeated disruption of the comitia, succeeded in carrying his election for the curule-aedileship in B. C. 56, and was thus during his year of office exempt from impeachment. Milo, whose tribunate expired in December B. C. 57, was on the other hand open to legal proceedings, and Cicero from dread of Crassus, who favoured Clodius, refused to undertake his defence.
It was, therefore, necessary for his safety that he should again hold an office of the state.
But his bankrupt condition did not allow him to risk the expenses of the curule-aedileship, and there is no authentic record of his praetorship.
In those convulsionary years of Rome it is indeed likely that the sequence of magistracies was not very strictly observed. Milo, however, although never aedile, exhibited aedilitian games of unusual and, according to Cicero, of insane magnificence.
He was enabled to give them by the bequest of a deceased curule-aedile, whose name is lost, and he exhibited them in the year previous to his canvass for the consulship. In B. C. 53 Milo was candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship of the ensuing year.
The gladiatorial combats were revived, and Clodius upbraided Milo in the senate with his insolvency. Cicero, to whom Milo's election was of vital importance, defended him in the speech de Aere alieno Milonis,
of which a few fragments are still extant.
The contest, however, between the rival ruffians was brought to an end by the murder of Clodius at Bovillae on the Appianroad, January 20th, B. C. 52.
The details of the meeting, the quarrel, and its catastrophe, are related in the account of Clodius [No. 40].
The immediate effect of the death of Clodius was to depress the Milonian, and to re-animate the Clodian faction. Milo at first meditated voluntary exile.
But the excesses of his opponents made his presence once more possible at Rome.
The tribune of the plebs, M. Caelius, attended him to the forum, and Milo addressed the assembly in the white robe of a candidate, and proceeded with his consular canvass.
But a more powerful, though secret opponent had meanwhile risen up against Milo. His competitors in the comitia were P. Plautius Hypsaeus [HYPSAEUS, No. 5] and Q. Metellus Scipio. Cn. Pompey had married a daughter of Scipio, and from Hypsaeus he expected aid in gratifying the prime object of his ambition --the dictatorship.
A bill for his appointment was not indeed promulgated.
But the senate nominated him sole consul. Pompey immediately brought forward three laws, which, from their immediate reference to the circumstances of the times, were in fact privilegia.
In the first he specially noticed the murder at Bovillae, the conflagration of the curia hostilia and the Porcian Basilica, and the attack upon the house of M. Lepidus the interrex.
In the second he introduced more stringent penalties for ambitus, and in the third he increased the severity of the existing laws against sodalitia, or illegal interference with the freedom of the comitia.
The time allowed for trials de Vi, Ambitu, Sodalitiis,
was also much shortened, only three days being assigned to the accusation, the defence, and the examination of witnesses. M. Caelius opposed these laws on the ground that they were privilegia and retrospective. But Pompey stifled all opposition by surrounding his house and gardens with soldiers, and withdrawing himself from the senate and the forum, on pretence of dreading Milo's violence.
A variety of charges and recriminations was brought forward by either faction.
The slaves of Milo and Clodius were respectively required to be given up to torture, and perjury and intimidation, the forms of law, and the abuse of justice, were put in active requisition. Milo, however, was not without hope, since the higher aristocracy, from jealousy of Pompey, supported him, and Cicero undertook his defence. His trial opened on the 4th of April, B. C. 52.
He was impeached by the two Clodii, nephews of the deceased, de Vi,
by Q. Petulcius and L. Cornificius, d(e Ambitu,
and by P. Fulvius Neratus, de Sodalitiis.
L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, a consular, was appointed quaesitor or instigator by a special law of Pompey's, and all Rome and thousands of spectators from Italy thronged the forum and its avenues from dawn to sunset during these memorable proceedings. But Milo's chances of acquittal, faint even had justice been decorously administered, were wholly marred by the virulence of his adversaries, who insulted and obstructed the witnesses, the process, and the conductors of the defence. Cn. Pompey availed himself of these disorders to line the forum and its encompassing hills with soldiers. Cicero was intimidated and Milo was condemned. Had he even been acquitted on the first count de Vi,
the two other charges of bribery and conspiracy awaited him. Hle therefore went into exile. Cicero, who could not deliver, re-wrote and expanded the defence of Milo--the extant oration--and sent it to him at Marseille. Milo remarked, "I am glad this was not spoken, since I must have been acquitted, and then had never known the delicate flavour of these Marseillemullets." M. Brutus also some time afterwards composed as a rhetorical exercise a defence of Milo.
He took a different and an easier view of the cause than Cicero.
The murder of Clodius, according to Brutus, was a benefit to the commonwealth; according to Cicero, it was a necessary act of selfdefence. Both pleas are singularly weak. However useful and merited the death of Clodius might be to the state, inflicted by a private hand it was a pernicious precedent; and although the meeting at Bovillae may have been accidental, the necessity for self-defence ceased with the flight of Clodins, and the pretence wholly fails when it is remembered that Milo's escort was much the more numerous and the better-armed.
Milo's exile was a heavy blow to his numerous creditors. His houses at Rome, his numerous villas, and his bands of fighting men were put up to auction, and Cicero did not escape suspicion of having purchased through an agent, Philotimus, some of the Annian property below its real worth. Cicero, on his return from Cilicia in B. C. 51, showed that he felt the imputation by offering to cancel the purchase or to increase the price.
He however, owed no gratitude to Milo, who had espoused his cause because it suited his own interest, and his undertaking the defence of so notorious a criminal with extreme risk to himself amply discharged his real or supposed obligations.
The close of Milo's life was as inglorious as his political career had been violent and disgraceful. Milo expected a recall from Caesar, when, in B. C. 49, the dictator permitted many of the exiles to return.
But better times were come, and Rome neither needed nor wished for the presence of a bankrupt agitator. Milo's former friend the extribune M. Caelius, praetor in B. C. 48, promulgated a bill for the adjustment of debts-a revolutionary measure for which the senate, where the Caesarian party had then a majority, expelled him from his office. Caelius, himself a man of broken fortunes, required desperate allies, and he accordingly invited Milo to Italy, as the fittest tool for his purposes.
At the head of the survivors of his gladiatorial bands, reinforced by Samnite and Bruttian herdsmen, by criminals and run-away slaves, Milo appeared in Campania, and proclaimed himself a legatus of Cn. and Sextus Pompey.
He found, however, no adherents, and retreated into Lucania, where he was met by the praetor Q. Pedius, and slain under the walls of an obscure fort in the district of Thurii.
Milo, inll B. C. 57, married Fausta, a daughter of the dictator Sulla.
She proved a faithless wife, and Sallust the historian was soundly scourged by Milo for an intrigue with her. (The authorities for Milo's life are Cicero's well-known oration and the passages in Orelli's Onom. Tull.
; Plutarch's lives of Pompey, Cicero, and Caesar; D. C. 39.6
, xli, 48-55; Appian, App. BC 2.16
; Caes. Civ. 3.21
; see Drumann, Gesch. Roms,
vol. i. p. 43, &c.)