Text #9673Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
In the midst of the Catilinarian kerfuffle, the supreme priest of the college of priests, Metellus Pius, died and the position of Pontifex Maxiumus was open. Labienus, Caesar’s ally, posted a bill to revive the procedure for popular election of the priests which passed. All of Rome was astounded when Caesar entered his name as candidate for this office. By doing so, he was giving the people the opportunity to express themselves clearly and unequivocally against the clique and Cicero. And they did. It turned out that Caesar had gotten more votes than both of the two other optimate candidates combined, including the majority of votes from their own tribes where they would have expected full support! The citizens, the aristocrats, and the commons had all rallied to Caesar and expressed their support in this way. It was a spectacular victory, totally unsettling to Cicero and the senatorial clique revealing the fact that the Sullan party had almost no real support even if, at the moment, they held the reins of power through their creature, Cicero.