The battle of Bovillae on 18th January, 52 B.C., which led to Clodius' death, was literally treated by Cicero in a letter to Atticus as the beginning of a new era—he dated the letter by it, although over a year had elapsed. It is difficult to exaggerate the relief it afforded him from fear and humiliation for a few precious years before civil war put him once more in jeopardy. At one stroke Cicero lost his chief inimicus and the Republic lost a hostis and pestis. Moreover, the turmoil led to a political realignment for which Cicero had been striving for the last ten years—a reconciliation between the boni and Pompey, as a result of which Pompey was commissioned to put the state to rights. Cicero's behaviour in this context, especially his return to the centre of the political scene, is, one would have thought, of capital importance to the biographer of Cicero. Yet two recent English biographies have but briefly touched on the topic. It is true that, in the background of Cicero's personal drama, Caesar and Pompey were taking up positions which, as events turned out, would lead to the collapse of the Republic. However, Cicero and Milo were not to know this, nor were their opponents; friendly cooperation between the two super-politicians apparently was continuing. Politicians on all sides were still aiming to secure power and honour through the traditional Republican magistracies, and in this pursuit were prepared to use the odd mixture of violence, bribery and insistence on the strict letter of the constitution, which was becoming a popular recipe. In retrospect their obsession with the customary organs of power has a certain irony. Yet it is a testimony to the political atmosphere then. Their manoeuvres are also important because both the instability caused by the violence of Clodius and Milo, and the eventual confidence in the rule of law established under Pompey's protection, helped to determine the political position of the boni associated with Pompey in 49 B.C. Cicero's relationship with Milo is at first sight one of the more puzzling aspects of his career. What had they in common, except that Milo, like most late Republican politicians, was at one time associated with Pompey? Properly interpreted, however, this relationship may not only illuminate Cicero's own attitudes but illustrate the character of the last years of Republican politics.