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The Sources of Cicero's Income Some Suggestions

The Sources of Cicero's Income Some Suggestions

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The Sources of Cicero's Income: Some SuggestionsAuthor(s): Henry C. BorenReviewed work(s):Source:
The Classical Journal,
Vol. 57, No. 1 (Oct., 1961), pp. 17-24Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 04/04/2012 11:46
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THESOURCESOFCICERO'SINCOME: SOMESUGGESTIONSTHE
NUMEROUSREFERENCES
inCicero'slettersandspeechesto hisper-sonalfinances,sometimesclearbutoftentantalizingly enigmatic,haveledseveralscholars toinvestigatethissubject.1However,thesourcesofhisincome havenot beenclearlyde-tailed-norwilltheyeverbe,duetothenatureofthe evidence.Theinten-tion hereistoreviewthe informationwehave,to notesomeimplicationsandtomake a fewsuggestions.First letussurveythemoreimpor-tant itemsof thegreatorator'sprop-ertyandsummarize the more obvioussourcesof income.Cicero'sequestrianrank indicatesthat hebeganhiscareerastheownerofpropertyworth at least400,000sesterces.HispatrimoniumnearArpinum included,besidesfarms,anunpretentiousvillaand ahouseinRome,inthe Carinae.2Carcopinoesti-matesthatCicerohadlandedpropertyofmorethan10,000,000sesterces(say$1,000,000).3Therewereeight villas,4twoorthreeof whichseemto havebeensumptuous;severallodges(dever-soria),strategicallylocatedfor con-venienttravel;severalfarms;andrentalpropertyinRome(insulaeandtabermae).Cicero heldnumerousslaves.5Hespent largeamounts on fur-nishingsforhisvillas.Inaddition,hespent largesums forbooks,6and indeedhisexpenditureforpaperalonemusthavebeenconsiderable.Withouttryingtofixwithprecisiontheincomeneededto maintainsuchestablishments,itsurelycan beassertedthatmuch morethana million sestercesper yearwererequired.Somesourcesofthislargeincomeare clearenough.There were therentalpropertiesinRomeand inArpinum.Someofhisincome camefromgifts.Fromlegacieshehimselfoncesaid,neartheendofhiscareer,thathehadreceived20,000,000sesterces.7If thisfigureiscorrect,we havehere themostimportantsinglesourceofCi-cero'sincome.Onesourceaboutwhichpracticallynoinformationis availablewashisschool.His Tusculanumwasfurnished,ratherexpensively,forsuchuse,sandhecertainlygave trainingofthissort,9forwhatremunerationwecanonlyspeculate.Latein hiscareerCiceroservedasgovernorof Cilicia
(51-50 B.c.),andthoughhe meticu-
louslyavoidedburdeningtheprovin-cialswith usualadministrativecostsandturnedbacktothetreasurymoneythatmostgovernorswouldhavekept,he stillprofitedtotheextentof2,200,-000sesterces,which,however,heap-parentlyloanedtoPompeyandlost--althoughthereissomemysteryabout
it.1o
 
18HENRYC.BOREN
Cicero'sremarkablesuccess asanadvocatecertainlybroughtitsrewards.Hispoliticalfortunes,to the end of hislife, dependedingreatmeasureuponhissuccessinthe courts.Therewerefinancialreturns,too.But itisnoteasytosayjusthowCicero'snumerous cli-entsrepaidhimfor hisservices. The
CincianLawof 204
B.C.
forbadethe
takingof feesor"gifts" byadvocates.Plutarch declares that Cicerodid nottakefeesorgiftsforhisservices,andQuintus(?)madea similar remarkin
64
B.c.11
Onthe otherhand,themuck-
rakingauthor(Sallust?)oftheOratio
inM.Tulliumcallshimamercennarius
patronusanddemandsthat heaccount
forquidtibilitibusaccreverit.12 Itis
knownthat Cicerodidreceivegifts,thoughnotlargeones,andnotspeci-ficallyin return forhis servicesasanadvocate.Consequently,itis uncertainwhetherthey mayhavebeencontraryto law. On oneoccasion,whenhehadbeengivenalibrary byL.PapiriusPaetus,hejokedwithAtticusabouttheCincianlaw.He declaredhe waslegallyin theclearbecausehehadcheckedwithaclerk ofAtticus'namedCin-cius!13Perhapsthelawwasnotal-waystakenseriously. However,itseemsimpossiblethat thenovushomoshouldhaveviolatedthelawin a fla-grantway,orweshouldhaveheardofthe matterfromhisenemies.Since feesorgiftswereprohibited,probablythe mostcommonmethodofpayingoffsuchobligationswasthroughlegacies,ofwhich,aswe haveseen,Ciceroreceivedmany.Theselegacieswerenotnecessarilyspecificpaymentforservices,of course.WealthyRo-mansconsidereditanhonortoincludetop politiciansintheirbequests.Thecustomwaslatertodegenerateintoanonerousobligation.And soit wasnat-uralthatCicero should have beenmadeabeneficiaryofnumerouswills. Butlegacieswereuncertainthings,atbest.Willscouldbechanged;propertycouldbedissipatedbefore death.There-wards wereremote.Were therewaysbywhichabeneficiaryofa will couldreapmoreimmediatebenefit?Theremust havebeen,andCiceroisone whomusthave sobenefited,forfinancialgainseemsto havecome hard ontheheelsofsuccessin thecourtsandintheassemblies. Letusnotice in oneperiodofCicero'scareerhowclosely prosper-ityfolloweduponpoliticalsuccess.PerhapsthemostopulenttimeofCi-cero'slifewasinthe60's,alittlebeforeandalittle afterhisconsulshipin63.Herearesomeofhisfinancialdealingsinthisperiod.HepurchasedhisTus-culanestate(oneof his betterones)in68,theyearfollowinghisaedileship;14anothervilla,at Formiae onthe roadtoNaples,firstturnsupinthe cor-respondenceearlyin66,theyearofhispraetorship.15IntheseyearsCicerowassendingletter after letterto AtticusinGreece tobuysuitablestatuaryandobjetsd'artfor hisvillas.Forexample,inthespringof67he wrote:16I amawaitingimpatientlythestatuesof
MegaricmarbleandthoseofHermes,whichyoumentionedinyourletter.Don'thesitatetosendanythingelseofthesamekind thatyouhave,if itisfit formy Academy. Mypurseislongenough(etarcae nostraecon-Jidito).
In62,nowaconsular,CiceroboughtfromCrassushishouseinthe exclusivePalatine hilldistrictfor3,500,000ses-
terces.17Twoothervillas,oneat
PompeiiandtheotheratAntium,arefirst seeninthe lettersfortheyear60.18Cicerowassoonmakingimprovementson his Palatinehouse,buildingsomereadingroomsin aporticoathis Tus-culanvilla,buyingstatuarytogracehisnewresidences,andmakingaddi-
tionstohisvillaatArpinum.19Tobe
sure,there werelimits.ToAtticus'

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