When it comes to ancient texts, oftentimes they are histories that we know to be dubious factually, or recorded myths that we wonder whether they were truly believed. When it comes to Cicero, we are gifted a great deal of law cases.
The question remains though, as the cases appear to document such a specific time and people, how can we tell if the cases are accurate enough to tell us what happened.
Indeed, there is no denying that Cicero’s speeches are full of rhetoric and probably exaggeration. We know there weren’t fact checkers, forensic evidence or even stringent laws and punishments.
So, when it comes to cases such as Pro Milone how can we tell the extent to which we read the truth?
I personally believe that an ample job is done to make me think that Clodius really did just get what was coming for him, and Milo was poorly victimised.
But we have no concept of the other side of the story. No idea what Clodius may have been like otherwise, nor Milo.
Cases like these, which are only partially lost to time, present an interesting question…
How objectively can we view the minute details of ancient society?