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Can we not hijack this thread on Ambitu to talk about Cyprus? I'm happy to talk all about Cato's exemplary tenure there, but there are already threads on that that topic where we can do so without repeating ourselves.

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Can we not hijack this thread on Ambitu to talk about Cyprus? I'm happy to talk all about Cato's exemplary tenure there, but there are already threads on that that topic where we can do so without repeating ourselves.

Hijack? We're talking about electoral corruption, clearly Cato's corruption is relevant, no?

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Your quote from Everitt has nothing to do with a charge of ambitu against Cato. Instead, it claims that Cato didn't put up a fight against the annexation of Cyprus. (He did, but the voters passed Clodius' legislation and Cato complied with the law.) As much as Everitt's claim might be relevant to understanding Cato, it sheds no light on the laws against ambitu.

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If L. Candidatus Unscrupulus gives you 1000 sesterces to vote for him, take it and vote for the other guy--who would know the difference?

You just have to hope that the final exit polling doesn't look like this:

 

J. Quintus Publicus - 100%

L. Candidatus Unscrupulus - 0%

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Your quote from Everitt has nothing to do with a charge of ambitu against Cato. Instead, it claims that Cato didn't put up a fight against the annexation of Cyprus. (He did, but the voters passed Clodius' legislation and Cato complied with the law.) As much as Everitt's claim might be relevant to understanding Cato, it sheds no light on the laws against ambitu.

No, you haven't read my quote have you. It is in reference to a bill submitted by a Tribune to have ALL of Clodius' legislation overturned, including Cato's appointment (therefore his enrichment). He bends the rules when it suits him (Everitt), he bribes (Gruen), where there is smoke there is fire. Ergo Cato was corrupt.

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It is in reference to a bill submitted by a Tribune to have ALL of Clodius' legislation overturned, including Cato's appointment (therefore his enrichment).

If Cato had robbed Cyprus (which ALL the sources say he did not), overturning Clodius' legislation wouldn't have returned a plumping denarii to the treasury, and it would have had no effect on Cato's riches whatever.

 

Why not look back to Everitt's source material so you can see the whole context? The sources support my interpretation and directly contradict yours.

 

SOURCES (from Attalus.org):

58: Clodius proposes to send Cato to Cyprus.

Cic:Dom_20-23, 52-53, 65, +:Sest_56-64; Sall:Hist_1'6; [Liv]:Per_104'b; Strab_14.684'e;(6.6) Vell_2.45'4; ~Plut:CatMin_34'1-7;* Flor_1.44'1-3;L !Appian:BCiv_2.23'b; +DioCass_38.30'5; Festus:Brev_13'1; AmmMarc_14.8'15

 

58: Ptolemaeus Auletes visits Cato at Rhodes.

Plut:CatMin_35'4-7

 

57: Ptolemaeus, king of Cyprus, commits suicide and Cato takes over the island without resistance

Strab_14.684'e;(6.6) Vell_2.36'6, 45'5; ValMax_9.4e'1;L Plut:CatMin_35'2-3, 36'1, :Brut_3'2; Flor_1.44'4-5;L Appian:BCiv_2.23'b; DioCass_39.22'2-3;* Festus:Brev_13'1; AmmMarc_14.8'15.

 

57: Cato scrupulously collects the wealth of Cyprus, in order to remove it to Rome

Cic:Dom_23; ValMax_4.3'2;L Lucan_3'164; Plut:CatMin_36'2-38'4,* :Brut_3'1-4; DioCass_39.22'2-4.

 

56: Cato returns to Rome with the treasure he has collected from Cyprus

Vell_2.45'5; ValMax_8.15'10;L Sen:Dial_6.20'6; Plin:HN_7'113,L 34'92;L ~Plut:CatMin_39'1-5;* Festus:Brev_13'1; AmmMarc_14.8'15;

 

56: Cato defends the legality of Clodius' acts as tribune, including his own appointment in Cyprus

~Plut:CatMin_40'1-4;* +DioCass_39.22'1

 

Here's the relevant passage (and surrounding context) from Dio Cassius:

For a season, then, Milo served as an excuse for their taunts and assassinations. But about this time some portents occurred: on the Alban Mount a small temple of Juno, set on a kind of table facing the east, was turned around toward the north; a blaze of light darted from the south across to the north; 2 a wolf entered the city; an earthquake occurred; some of the citizens were killed by thunderbolts; in the Latin territory a subterranean tumult was heard; and the soothsayers, being anxious to find a remedy, said that some divinity was angry with them because some temples or consecrated sites were being used for residence. 3 Then Clodius substituted Cicero for Milo and not only attacked him vigorously in a speech because the site of the house he had built upon was dedicated to Liberty, but even went to it once, with the intention of razing it to the ground; but he did not do so, as he was prevented by Milo. 21 Cicero, however, was as angry with him as if he had actually accomplished his purpose, and kept making accusations. Finally, taking with him Milo and some tribunes, he ascended p337the Capitol and took down the tablets set up by Clodius to commemorate his exile. 2 This time Clodius came up with his brother Gaius, a praetor, and took them away from him, but later he watched for a time when Clodius was out of town, and going up to the Capitol again, took them and carried them home. 3 After this occurrence no quarter was shown on either side, but they abused and slandered each other as much as they could, without refraining from the basest means. 4 The one declared that the tribuneship of Clodius had been contrary to the laws and that therefore his official acts were invalid, and the other that Cicero's exile had been justly decreed and his return unlawfully voted.

 

22 While they were contending, and Clodius was getting much the worst of it, Marcus Cato came upon the scene and restored their balance. He had a grudge against Cicero and was likewise afraid that all his acts in Cyprus would be annulled, because he had been sent out under Clodius as tribune; hence he eagerly took the latter's side. 2 For he was very proud of his deeds and anxious above all things that they should be confirmed. For Ptolemy, who at the time had been master of the island, when he learned of the vote that had been passed, and neither dared to rise against the Romans nor could endure to live deprived of his kingdom, had taken his life by drinking poison. 3 Then the Cypriotes readily received Cato, expecting to be friends and allies of the p339Romans instead of slaves. 4 Over this fact, however, Cato had no reason to vaunt himself; but because he had administered everything in the best possible manner, and after collecting slaves and large amounts of money from the royal treasury, had incurred no reproach but had turned over everything unchallenged, for these reasons he laid claim to valour no less than if he had conquered in some war. So many men were accepting bribes that he thought it more unusual for a man to despise money than to conquer the enemy.

 

23 So at that time Cato for these reasons had created some expectation that he would receive a regular triumph, and the consuls proposed in the senate that he be given the praetorship, although by law he could not yet hold it. And though he was not appointed, for he spoke against the measure himself, yet he obtained greater renown from this very circumstance. 2 Clodius undertook to name the slaves brought from Cyprus Clodians, because he himself had sent Cato there; but he failed because the latter opposed it. So they received the title of Cyprinas, although some wished to call them Porcians; but Cato prevented this too. 3 So Clodius became angry at his opposition and proceeded to attack his administration; he demanded the accounts of the transactions, not because he could prove him guilty of any wrongdoing, but because nearly all of the documents had been destroyed by shipwreck and he expected to gain some advantage from this circumstance. 4 And Caesar, although not present, was again aiding Clodius at this time, and according to some was sending him in p341letters the accusations brought against Cato. One of the attacks upon Cato consisted in the charge that he himself had persuaded the consuls (so they affirmed) to propose the praetorship for him, and that he had then pretended to give it up voluntarily, in order not to appear to have lost it unwillingly.

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The sources support my interpretation....

Interpretation is the key word here.

...and was likewise afraid that all his acts in Cyprus would be annulled, because he had been sent out under Clodius as tribune; hence he eagerly took the latter's side.

The key word here is "HIS". Constitution shmonstitution!

...and after collecting slaves and large amounts of money from the royal treasury....

Hmmm...Nothing to be said here. What was it, 7000 talents?

...consisted in the charge that he himself had persuaded the consuls (so they affirmed) to propose the praetorship for him, and that he had then pretended to give it up voluntarily, in order not to appear to have lost it unwillingly.

A loser trying to make himself look good?

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As you can read in the sources, far from engaging in any kind of embezzlement in Cyprus, Cato won over the Cypriots with his just administration and managed to obtain a province for Rome at the cost of no Roman life. For this, he was offered a triumph (which he refused). This whole digression on Cato has been for nothing.

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As to how did secret voting increase bribery. Ok the problem with non-secret voting was not bribery, it was pressure.

But what kind of pressure? The kind of social pressure that keeps civilized people from spitting on the sidewalk and keep conformists in step with the herd? Or is it the kind of pressure that a mobster exerts when "protecting" local businesses. If it's the latter, I don't see why bribery wouldn't also work just fine, especially when we're talking about a huge number of anonymous people from all over Rome. Moreover, why wouldn't the secret ballot counteract the effect of social pressure, physical threats, and economic pressure?

 

Rome was an extremely hierarchical system, the very fact that the majority of Rome's citizens were considered the mob and that the the high ups who did not want reform called themselves the Opitmates should give some idea of that.

We had a long thread on this sometime ago, but the original use of the term "Optimate" long post-dates the introduction of the secret ballot, and when the term was used by the Romans themselves (mostly by Cicero) it was never meant to distinguish reformers from non-reformers but to distinguish those who used political violence and illegal practices from those who did not. The wider, modern sense of the term as an antipode to populare is not to be found in the ancient sources.

 

Cicero complained about the end of the secret ballot in his work on the Laws ( I am going from the version in Lewis and Reinhold as I have nothing else to hand) saying that the end of it stopped the nobles (for want of a better term) being able to exert their influence on the ordinary people (III. 33 - xvii. 39 as given in L&R). Bear in mind most people would have been part of a client relationship.

Wait a second. Cicero's complaint is about influence, not threat of force, not promise of rewards, and nothing about clientele. Further, where is the evidence for this client system working in Rome? We have evidence of client kingdoms and client kings, which makes sense since these people could attain no representation in Rome. But where is the evidence that this system generalized to Rome itself? It's not that I "have forgotten a very impotant part of Roman society's structure", but that I deny an insidious myth that blinds us to how the Roman system really worked. (Again we have a thread on this somewhere.)

 

Most of your argument is directly toward the need for secret ballots, which I think is probably self-evident. The key move in your argument is that the provision of secret ballots increased bribery. But you never address my counter-argument that--at least for the actual vote--secret ballots counteract the effects of economic pressure, social pressure, and physical threats.

 

I would suggest that there were many aspects of Roman politics that were not secret at all--for example, how senators voted, what legislation was introduced by tribunes, what measure tribunes vetoed, how praetors conducted their affairs, etc. In all of these cases, bribery and threats could be very effective. THIS is where people ought to hyper-ventilate about bribery. But when it comes to how the "head count" voted in secret, the bribery and threats become ineffective.

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"Cato gathered a great fund to carry by bribery the election of Bibulus, his daughter's husband."

Syme The Roman Revolution, pp 34.

Ambitus in its clearest form, no?

That's not what the primary sources say happened. The election in 60 is described in Ascon_91'b; Plut:CatMin_31'5,Caes_14'1-2, Pomp_47'5, Crass_14'1-2; Suet:Caes_19'1-2; Appian:BCiv_2.9'b, 3.88'a. Of all seven accounts, only one (Suetonius) even mentions Cato in connection with the election, and all Suetonius says of Cato is that "Many of them [opponents of Caesar] contributed to the fund, and even Cato did not deny that bribery under such circumstances was for the good of the commonwealthh." The juxtaposition of clauses suggests that while Cato did not contribute to the slush fund, he didn't deny that it might be practical. Now to go from not denying that it was good for the commonwealth to "gathering a great fund to carry by bribery" is simply a leap of bad faith.

 

Your total reliance on secondary sources really is troublesome.

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Your total reliance on secondary sources really is troublesome.

So scholars/authors like Syme, Everitt, Gruen (whom you yourself have lauded) are to be discounted, or cherry picked? Seems you don't like criticism of Cato, who was probably influenced more through belligerent inebriation than any 'moral' cause. He was just another politician with a gimmick, lionized by a ruling class who's power was on the wane. Evidently Cato was as guilty of Ambitus as was Caesar, Clodius, et al.

Edited by P.Clodius

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Seems you don't like criticism of Cato, who was probably influenced more through belligerent inebriation than any 'moral' cause. He was just another politician with a gimmick, lionized by a ruling class who's power was on the wane. Evidently Cato was as guilty of Ambitus as was Caesar, Clodius, et al.

 

I'm tired of quoting primary sources that you ignore. Feel free to make up whatever nonsense you like since you're apparently unconstrained by any facts. Next up: Cato eats babies!

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Seems you don't like criticism of Cato, who was probably influenced more through belligerent inebriation than any 'moral' cause. He was just another politician with a gimmick, lionized by a ruling class who's power was on the wane. Evidently Cato was as guilty of Ambitus as was Caesar, Clodius, et al.

 

I'm tired of quoting primary sources that you ignore. Feel free to make up whatever nonsense you like since you're apparently unconstrained by any facts. Next up: Cato eats babies!

I didn't make them up, Syme, Gruen, Everitt did....Must re-constrain myself...must...

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Seems you don't like criticism of Cato, who was probably influenced more through belligerent inebriation than any 'moral' cause. He was just another politician with a gimmick, lionized by a ruling class who's power was on the wane. Evidently Cato was as guilty of Ambitus as was Caesar, Clodius, et al.

 

I'm tired of quoting primary sources that you ignore. Feel free to make up whatever nonsense you like since you're apparently unconstrained by any facts. Next up: Cato eats babies!

I didn't make them up, Syme, Gruen, Everitt did....Must re-constrain myself...must...

 

 

Stop Basta! Enough already, whilst I am all up for lively scholarly debate the key word here is scholarly. P. Clodius rather like your namesake I am afraid your argument is pretty but flimsy and self-serving. Cato is right go and look at the source material. I do not care how many people's opinions you read in secondary sources they are not the same as having read the primary material well enough to be able to put your own interpretation on it. I would imagine that you are arguing with someone who really knows their stuff on their namesake (far better than I do mine). As for Syme, beauttifully written, but sometimes a little out of date now. Also what do you know of Cato's family history, or indeed the families he chose to marry his kin into? History is about people, and some people are moitvated by true and strong principles, Cato was certainly one of them.

 

My apologies for the slight Off Topicness of this next section but it is related to ambitu

 

We had a long thread on this sometime ago, but the original use of the term "Optimate" long post-dates the introduction of the secret ballot, and when the term was used by the Romans themselves (mostly by Cicero) it was never meant to distinguish reformers from non-reformers but to distinguish those who used political violence and illegal practices from those who did not. The wider, modern sense of the term as an antipode to populare is not to be found in the ancient sources.

 

Thank you for your condecension on the other hand Cato, I am q. well aware of this, and if you cannot see what pressure came from people being able to actually inspect your ballots you show little imagination as a historian. Secondly whilst the term optimates is not found the term boni is found extensively in Cicero it amounts to the same thing the good, the best the right kind of people.

 

Wait a second. Cicero's complaint is about influence, not threat of force, not promise of rewards, and nothing about clientele. Further, where is the evidence for this client system working in Rome? We have evidence of client kingdoms and client kings, which makes sense since these people could attain no representation in Rome. But where is the evidence that this system generalized to Rome itself? It's not that I "have forgotten a very impotant part of Roman society's structure", but that I deny an insidious myth that blinds us to how the Roman system really worked. (Again we have a thread on this somewhere.)

 

Firstly, if you take away threat of force, rewards etc what influence do you have??????????????????????????????? Especially if you then remove the client realtionship, which to an extent I agree has been overplayed considering the amount of source material we have for it. However, lets not get carried away here and call it an insidious myth, that would mean there was little support for it in the sources, but in actual fact the importance of clients in elections is attested. Pompey had problems with his political career (or would have had if it wasn't for Pirates and Spartacus), we know that the relationships existed, but we do not know how much influence they had in daily life. However, we can say with some certainty that they were mentioned in relation to elections and also in court cases as performing actions because of their client relationship. No not all of Rome ran along these realtionship lines but it is hasty to throw some primary source material out when you rely on other such source material to prop up your argument. we cannot pick and chose for convenience, show me the source material that proves that the client relationship was an insidious myth. It was real: Plut.Tib Gracc 13 regarding the election of a client, Marius 5 for the claims that a patron did not normally give evidence against a client in court; and finally, a long one here Dionysius:

 

The regulations which he then instituted concerning patronage and which long continued in use among the Romans were as follows: It was the duty of the patricians to explain to their clients the laws, of which they were ignorant; to take the same care of them when absent as present, doing everything for them that fathers do for their sons with regard both to money and to the contracts that related to money; to bring suit on behalf of their clients when they were wronged in connexion with contracts, and to defend them against any who brought charges against them; and, to put the matter briefly, to secure for them both in private and in public affairs all that tranquillity of which they particularly stood in need. 2 It was the duty of the clients to assist their patrons in providing dowries for their daughters upon their marriage if the fathers had not sufficient means; to pay their ransom to the enemy if any of them or of their children were taken prisoner; to discharge out of their own purses their patrons' losses in private suits and the pecuniary fines which they were condemned to pay to the State, making these contributions to them not as loans but as thank-offerings; and to share with their patrons the costs incurred in their magistracies and dignities9 and other public expenditures, in the same manner as if they were their relations. 3 For both patrons and clients alike it was impious and unlawful to accuse each other in law-suits or to bear witness or to give their votes against each other or to be found in the number of each other's enemies; and whoever was convicted of doing any of these things was guilty of treason by virtue of the law sanctioned by Romulus, and might lawfully be put to death by any man who so wished as a victim devoted to the Jupiter of the infernal regions.10 For it was customary among the Romans, whenever they wished to put people to death without incurring any penalty, to devote their persons to some god or other, and particularly to the gods of the lower world; and this was the course what Romulus then adopted. 4 Accordingly, the connexions between the clients and patrons continued for many generations, differing in no wise from the ties of blood-relationship and being handed down to their children's children. And it was a matter of great praise to men of illustrious families to have as many clients as possible and not only to preserve the succession of hereditary patronages but also by their own merit to acquire others. And it is incredible how great the contest of goodwill was between the patrons and clients, as each side strove not to be outdone by the other in kindness, the clients feeling that they should render all possible services to their patrons and the patrons wishing by all means not to occasion any trouble to their clients and accepting no gifts of money. So superior was their manner of life to all pleasure; for they measured their happiness by virtue, not by fortune. R.A. 2.10

 

We don't know quite how it worked, but we do know it existed and to say it doesn't it part of a school of historical study of little or no merit because it ignores the source material that we have and replaces it with assumption and conjecture.

 

SF

 

PS Hi Asc thanks for the pointers I knew I knew that passage about the narrow passages, couldn't remember where it was for the life of me and good point about the Carthage thing

Edited by sullafelix

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