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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: April 2013

6 - The prosecution team

from Introduction


The prosecution case was divided among three speakers, L. Sempronius Atratinus, L. Herennius Balbus and P. Clodius. Of these Atratinus was just seventeen years old and the biological son of L. Calpurnius Bestia, whose second prosecution de ambitu at the hands of Caelius is pending, the prosecution de ui insuring that the present case came to trial first. All the prosecutors taxed Caelius with immorality (§6b) but none more so than Atratinus, to C.’s annoyance (§7); in the circumstances C. could not respond with a mere tu quoque. Caelius, closer to Atratinus in age, was less charitable, claiming that he was merely mouthing words written for him by his teacher L. Plotius Gallus (orat. p. 485, no. 24 = Suet. Gram. 26.2). Atratinus went on to a fine career: as a follower of Mark Antony he was coopted to the college of augurs in 40, gained some provincial experience in Syria and Macedonia and led a squadron of ships in the war with Sextus Pompey. He was suffect consul in succession to Antony in 34 but changed sides opportunely and served as proconsul of Africa, whence he returned in triumph in 21; in illness and old age he ended his life in ad 7.