According to Suetonius, in 62 bc the praetor Caesar was ‘banished from the administration of the state’ and left the forum. A spontaneous gathering (coetus) offered him help in recovering his position. Unexpectedly he restrained the crowd, and the grateful senate itself restored him to his rank. Even though only Suetonius explicitly mentions Caesar’s suspension, in fact, all our sources allow this. I will argue that Caesar did not lose his magistracy, just like the plebeian tribune Metellus Nepos affected by the same measures. Nor did the suspension include the restriction of any magisterial prerogatives. Instead, it meant the loss of political initiative. However, Caesar was still able to respond to the initiative of others. Suetonius’ account raises a number of questions about the political role of those who found themselves at the moment of transition from a position of a magistratus to that of a privatus, and vice versa.
FrolovR.M. (forthcoming) The ‘Wrong’ Meetings? Some Notes on the Linked Usage of the Terms coetus and contiones in the Political Language of the Roman Republic in: van der BlomH.GrayCh.SteelC. (eds.) Institutions and Ideology in Republican Rome. Speech Audience and Decision (Cambridge)
HölkeskampK.-J.2011. The Roman Republic as Theatre of Power. The Consuls as Leading Actors in: BeckH.DupláA.JehneM.Pina PoloF. (eds.) Consuls and res publica. Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge/New York) 161-181