(Aet. 56-57. B.C. 51-50. Epist. XXIX.-XLI.)
22. The law de jure magistratuum, which made it incumbent upon those who
had held office at Rome to wait five years before assuming the government of a
the senate to assign provinces to ex-officials who had not yet held
governorships abroad. Cicero was one of the number, and to him the province of
Cilicia was assigned in Mar., 51 B.C., much against his will.72
He left Rome in the early part of May,73
and, traveling by the way of Brundisium, Athens, and Ephesus, reached Laodicea, the first city of his province, July 31.74
23. He found affairs in his province, which included Cilicia, Pamphylia,
Pisidia, Isauria, Lycaonia, and Cyprus, in a most unpromising condition. From
without, a descent of the Parthians was threatened,75
which he must resist with a most inadequate force of only two legions, which were scattered throughout
the province and demoralized by mutiny and the inefficiency of their officers.76
The condition of the provincials was still more disheartening. Appius
Claudius, Cicero's predecessor, had practically turned over the provinces to
Roman publicani and usurers,77
among the latter of whom M. Brutus figured
conspicuously. From the outset Cicero set himself to work to remedy this state of things.78
He fixed the normal rate of interest at 12%, although Brutus had
required in one instance 48%79 ;
he prevented all extortion, he removed the
money lenders' agents from official positions, and administered the law with justice and regularity.
24. In military matters he showed almost as much wisdom and efficiency. The
mutinous troops were brought under discipline,80
while the justice of his government enabled him to augment his own troops with those of his allies. With
this combined force he took the field in September. The victory
which Cassius won over the Parthians near Antioch averted the threatened
invasion of Cilicia, and Cicero directed his forces against the independent
people near Mt. Amanus,
where, after a complete victory, he had the
satisfaction of hearing himself saluted 'imperator' by his troops.
25. Toward the end of Dec., 51 B.C., Cicero was in Tarsus and sent thence
official letters to the consuls asking for a supplicatio,
accompanied by a letter of similar purport to Cato, the senatorial leader.
The senate voted the supplicatio,
and, turning over his province to the quaestor
Caelius Caldus, on July 30, Cicero set out on his homeward journey in high
hopes of a triumph. There is no more honorable period in Cicero's life than
that of his pro-consulship in Cilicia; and with the difficulties which he had
to face, and the poor means at his disposal, his success as an administrator
was highly creditable. The fact that he did not reorganize his province on a
permanent basis, as Caesar reorganized Gaul, is to be attributed to the
shortness of his tenure of office and the wretchedness of the aristocratic
system of government, and not to Cicero's own inability or unwillingness.
Cicero traveled slowly homeward by the way of Rhodes
and Athens, accompanied by his brother, his son, his nephew, and his freedman Tiro, who was obliged to
remain at Patrae on account of illness.
On Nov.24, 50 B.C., he reached
Brundisium, where he was met by his wife Terentia.
After a delay of several weeks at his villas near Naples, Cicero at last reached Rome, Jan. 4, 49 B.C.,
after an absence from the city of a year and eight months.