The Gaius Maecenas mentioned in Cicero (Pro Cluentio, 56) as an influential member of the equestrian order in 91 B.C. may have been his grandfather, or even his father.
The story told in the Pro Cluentio may be true or false, but the picture of provincial crime which it presents is vividly dramatic. Had we only known Cicero in his speeches we should have ranked him with Demosthenes as one who had realized the highest literary ideal.
On the other hand, it is argued that the authority of Galen and Cicero (pro Cluentio) place it beyond a doubt that, so far from being allowed to pass with impunity, the offence in question was sometimes punished by death; that the authority of Lysias is of doubtful authenticity; and that the speculative reasonings of Plato and Aristotle, in matters of legislation, ought not to be confounded with the actual state of the laws.
Thus in the pro Caecina he alleges judicial corruption against a witness, Falcula, while in the pro Cluentio he contends that the offence was not proved (Caec. 28, Clu.
In the pro Cluentio, 111, he contends that nothing is easier than for a new man to rise at Rome.
From the speech pro Cluentio (1 451 54) we gain unique information concerning the condition of society in a country town, the extraordinary exemption of equites from prosecution for judicial corruption, the administration of domestic justice in the case of slaves examined by their owner (ib.