M. Caelius Rufus (tr. pl. 52, praet. 48 BC; RE Caelius 35) was defended by Cicero in 56 BC (Cic. Cael.). Later, he joined the party of C. Iulius Caesar (121). As praetor, he caused an uprising in Rome, was expelled from the city, and killed in Thurii (Caes. BCiv. 3.20–22; Liv. Epit. 111; Vell. Pat. 2.68.2; Cass. Dio 42.25.3).

Caelius learned, among others, from Cicero (T1; Quint. Inst. 12.11.6: 160 T 1). His brilliant, clever, and witty style is noted, while his later political career is regretted (T 2, 7–8; Cic. Brut. 297; Cael. 45). Other ancient authorities

T 1 Cic. Cael. 9

qui ut huic togam virilem dedit ... hoc dicam, hunc a patre continuo ad me esse deductum—nemo hunc M. Caelium in illo aetatis flore vidit nisi aut cum patre aut mecum aut in M. Crassi castissima domo cum artibus honestissimis erudiretur.

T 2 Cic. Brut. 273

[Cicero:] nec vero M. Caelium praetereundum arbitror, quaecumque eius in exitu vel fortuna vel mens fuit; qui quamdiu auctoritati meae paruit, talis tribunus plebis fuit ut nemo contra civium perditorum popularem turbulentamque dementiam a senatu et a bonorum causa steterit




too, besides Cicero, regard Caelius as an impressive orator (T4, 7–9, 12; Vell. Pat. 2.36.2; Plin. Ep.1.20.4; Sen. Dial. 5.8.6), while his style was seen as old-fashioned to a certain extent by some in Tacitus’ time (T 11).

Caelius’ ability as a prosecutor and the existence of impressive prosecution speeches by him are mentioned (T2–3, 6–7; for further trials in which Caelius was involved, see TLRR 337, 343, 347, 348, 351). Seventeen letters from him to Cicero are extant (Cic. Fam. 8).

T 1 Cicero, Pro Caelio

As soon as he [his father] had given him [Caelius] the gown of manhood ...I will only say this: that he was brought to me at once by his father—nobody ever saw this M. Caelius, while in that flower of age, except in the company of his father or myself, or in the irreproachable household of M. Crassus [M. Licinius Crassus Dives (102)], while he was being trained in the most honorable pursuits.

T 2 Cicero, Brutus

[Cicero:] And indeed I believe that M. Caelius should not be passed over, whatever his fate or his mind was like at the end of his life. As long as he paid attention to my authority, he was such a Tribune of the People [52 BC] that nobody ever stood more firmly on the side of the Senate and the cause of the loyal men against the demagogic turbulence and madness of reckless citizens. His <old->

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.fragmentary_republican_latin-oratory.2019