His Year: Cicero (63 B.C.E.)Jan 25, 2022
Senate house. He would not return while Cicero was consul. Let me pause for a moment: Please understand how shocking this was. Swords were forbidden within the city of Rome, but at some point Cicero had secretly armed his men. Even more shocking was the fact that there was almost bloodshed on the floor of the Senate. And it was almost Caesar's blood. Let's sit with that for a minute. Cicero left the Senate, followed by a horde of senators, and went to remove all the prisoners from the houses where they were locked up. He led them to the Roman jail.
Side note: I just found out about this, the jail was actually an old cistern converted, as if to hold water, so you could only enter through the roof. Very cool. Anyway, Cicero and the senators take the prisoners to the roof of the jail. One by one, they tied nooses around their necks and made them jump. After the last conspirator was dead, Cicero turned to the crowd and announced what he had just done. When the rebellious northern army heard what had happened to their leaders, most of the men fled. The Senate sent an army of its own to deal with them, and it was just a one-sided massacre.
Catilina and the rest of the leaders of the conspiracy died on the battlefield. The Senate declared that for his actions, Cicero would be honored with the title of "Father of the Republic". At this point, Cicero's term was almost over, but during his remaining days as consul, crowds followed him wherever he went, cheering and applauding. Cicero would always call this the proudest moment of his life.
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