Marcus Tullius Cicero: Pro Caelio [On Behalf of Caelius]

(4662 words)
  • Thomas Wilfred Hillard (Macquarie University)

On April 4th, 56 BCE, Cicero delivered his defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus before an unusually large crowd in the Roman forum, and it was probably published soon afterwards. It was a sparkling performance, and the speech as it survives is considered one of Cicero’s finest. Quintilian, the celebrated rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric, writing around a century and a half later, cites the oration twenty-odd times in appreciation of its strategies, its figures of speech and its prose rhythms.

Caelius had been accused of some manner of crime against the property of a woman called Palla, causing a civil disturbance in Naples, assaulting ambassadors from Alexandria in Puteoli (Pozzuoli), the murder of the chief ambassador (the …

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Hillard, Thomas Wilfred. "Pro Caelio". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]