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Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic, who tried to uphold
optimate Optimates (; Latin for "best ones", ) and populares (; Latin for "supporters of the people", ) are labels applied to politicians, political groups, traditions, strategies, or ideologies in the late Roman Republic. There is "heated academic dis ...
principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
. His extensive writings include treatises on
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
, philosophy and politics, and he is considered one of Rome's greatest
orator An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is Eloquence, eloquent or skilled. Etymology Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or argues for a cause", from Anglo-French ''oratour'', Old French ''orate ...
s and
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language that follows the natural speech, natural flow of speech, uses a language's ordinary Grammar, grammatical structures, or follows the conventions of formal academic writing. It differs from most traditio ...
stylists. He came from a wealthy
municipal A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are ge ...
family of the
Roman equestrian order The ''equites'' (; literally "horse-" or "cavalrymen", though sometimes referred to as "knights" in English) constituted the second of the social class in ancient Rome#Property-based classes, property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking belo ...
, and served as
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin plural ''consules'') was the title of one of the two chief Roman magistrate, magistrates of the Roman Republic, and subsequently also an important title under the Roman Empire. The title was used in other European ...
in 63 BC. His influence on the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
language was immense. He wrote more than three-quarters of extant Latin literature that is known to have existed in his lifetime, and it has been said that subsequent prose was either a reaction against or a return to his style, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century. Cicero introduced into Latin the arguments of the chief schools of
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is a time-frame for Western philosophy and Ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic pe ...
and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary with
neologisms A neologism Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed l ...
such as , , , , and , distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. It was during his consulship that the
second Catilinarian conspiracy The Catilinarian conspiracy (sometimes Second Catilinarian conspiracy) was an attempted coup d'état by Catiline, Lucius Sergius Catilina (Catiline) to overthrow the Roman consuls of 63 BC – Cicero, Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Anton ...
attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators without trial. During the chaotic middle period of the first century BC, marked by
civil wars A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
and the dictatorship of
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. He was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the
Second Triumvirate The Second Triumvirate was an extraordinary commission and magistracy created for Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Augustus, Octavian to give them practically absolute power. It was formally consti ...
and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on the
Rostra The rostra ( it, Rostri, links=no) was a large platform built in the city of Rome that stood during the Roman Republic, republican and Roman Empire, imperial periods. Speakers would stand on the rostra and face the north side of the comitium tow ...
.
Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Italian Renaissance, Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanism, humanists. Petrarch's rediscov ...
's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
in public affairs,
humanism Humanism is a philosophy, philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and Agency (philosophy), agency of Human, human beings. It considers human beings the starting point for serious moral and philosophical in ...
, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of
Classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "father of liberalism ...
,
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 New Style, NS (26 April 1711 Old Style, OS) – 25 August 1776)Maurice Cranston, Cranston, Maurice, and T. E. Jessop, Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 999avid Hume" ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrieve ...
,
Montesquieu Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and p ...
, and
Edmund Burke Edmund Burke (; 12 January ew Style, NS1729 – 9 July 1797) was an Anglo-Irish people, Anglo-Irish Politician, statesman, economist, and philosopher. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of Parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the ...
was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in global culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of
Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the history of the Catholic Church, and Roman la ...
, especially the last days of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
.


Personal life


Early life

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on 3 January 106 BC in Arpinum, a hill town southeast of Rome. He belonged to the '' tribus'' Cornelia. His father was a well-to-do member of the
equestrian order The ''equites'' (; literally "horse-" or "cavalrymen", though sometimes referred to as "knights" in English) constituted the second of the social class in ancient Rome#Property-based classes, property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking belo ...
and possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he could not enter public life and studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter that she was a thrifty housewife. Cicero's
cognomen A ''cognomen'' (; plural ''cognomina''; from ''con-'' "together with" and ''(g)nomen'' "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. Initially, it was a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became here ...
, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for
chickpea The chickpea or chick pea (''Cicer arietinum'') is an annual plant, annual legume of the family (biology), family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its different types are variously known as gram" or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, or Egypti ...
, .
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
explains that the name was originally given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more likely that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans often chose down-to-earth personal surnames. The famous family names of Fabius, Lentulus, and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make ''Cicero'' more glorious than '' Scaurus'' ("Swollen-ankled") and ''
Catulus Gaius Lutatius Catulus ( 242–241 BC) was a ancient Rome, Roman statesman and Commander, naval commander in the First Punic War. He was born a member of the plebeian gens Lutatius. His Roman naming conventions, cognomen "Catulus" means "puppy" ...
'' ("Puppy"). During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Latin and Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers,
poets A poet is a person who studies and creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be the creator (thought, thinker, songwriter, writer, or author) who creates (composes) poems (oral t ...
and
historians A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the stu ...
; as he obtained much of his understanding of the theory and practice of
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
from the Greek poet Archias and from the Greek
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
ian Apollonius. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience. It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite.Everitt, A.: "Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician" (2001) p. 35 Cicero's interest in philosophy figured heavily in his later career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC,
Philo of Larissa Philo of Larissa Larissa (; el, Λάρισα, , ) is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly modern regions of Greece, region in Greece. It is the fifth-most populous city in Greece with a population of 144,651 according to the 2011 cens ...
, the head of the
Platonic Academy The Academy (Ancient Greek: Ἀκαδημία) was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Classical Athens, Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years (367–347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum (classical), Lyceum. The Academy ...
that had been founded by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome. Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed
Carneades Carneades (; el, Καρνεάδης, ''Karneadēs'', "of Carnea"; 214/3–129/8 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher and perhaps the most prominent head of the Academic skepticism, Skeptical Academy in ancient Greece. He was born in Cyrene, Liby ...
' Academic Skeptic philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Zeus were to speak, he would use their language. He would, in due course, honor them with his own convivial dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an extremely talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor,
Servius Sulpicius Rufus Servius Sulpicius Rufus (c. 105 BC – 43 BC), was a Roman orator and jurist. He was Roman consul, consul in 51 BC. Biography Early life He studied rhetoric with Cicero, accompanying him to Rhodes in 78 BC, though Sulpicius decided subsequently ...
(who became a famous lawyer, one of the few whom Cicero considered superior to himself in legal matters), and Titus Pomponius. The latter two became Cicero's friends for life, and Pomponius (who later received the nickname "Atticus", and whose sister married Cicero's brother) would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Greece,
Asia Minor Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
and
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
. This was perhaps to avoid the potential wrath of
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history and became the first man of the ...
, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his physical fitness. In
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
he studied philosophy with
Antiochus of Ascalon Antiochus of Ascalon (; grc-gre, Άντίοχος ὁ Ἀσκαλώνιος; c. 125 – c. 68 BC) was an Academic philosopher. He was a pupil of Philo of Larissa at the Academy, but he diverged from the Academic skepticism of Philo and h ...
, the 'Old Academic' and initiator of
Middle Platonism Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC – when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the Academic skepticism , scepticism of the new Academy – until the develop ...
. In Asia Minor, he met the leading orators of the region and continued to study with them. Cicero then journeyed to
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
to meet his former teacher, Apollonius Molon, who had previously taught him in Rome. Molon helped Cicero hone the excesses in his style, as well as train his body and lungs for the demands of public speaking. Charting a middle path between the competing
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft'') is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building; an attic may also be called a ''sky parlor'' or a garret. Because attics fill the space between the ceiling of the t ...
and
Asiatic style The Asiatic style or Asianism ( la, genus orationis Asiaticum, Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, aca ...
s, Cicero would ultimately become considered second only to
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a Greeks, Greek statesman and orator in History of Athens, ancient Athens. His Public speaking, orations constitute a significant expression ...
among history's orators.


Family

Cicero married
Terentia Terentia (; 98 BC – AD 6) was the wife of the renowned orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. She was instrumental in Cicero's political life both as a benefactor and as a fervent activist for his cause. Family background Terentia was born into a wea ...
probably at the age of 27, in 79 BC. According to the upper class
mores Mores (, sometimes ; , plural form of singular , meaning "manner, custom, usage, or habit") are social norms that are widely observed within a particular society or culture. Mores determine what is considered morally acceptable or unacceptable ...
of the day it was a marriage of convenience, but lasted harmoniously for nearly 30 years. Terentia's family was wealthy, probably the
plebeian In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizenship, Roman citizens who were not Patrician (ancient Rome), patricians, as determined by the capite censi, census, or in other words "commoners". Both ...
noble house of Terenti Varrones, thus meeting the needs of Cicero's political ambitions in both economic and social terms. She had a half-sister named Fabia, who as a child had become a
Vestal Virgin In Religion in ancient Rome, ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins or Vestals ( la, Vestālēs, singular ) were Glossary of ancient Roman religion#sacerdos, priestesses of Vesta (mythology), Vesta, virgin goddess of Rome's sacred hearth and its flam ...
, a great honour. Terentia was a strong willed woman and (citing Plutarch) "she took more interest in her husband's political career than she allowed him to take in household affairs." In the 50s BC, Cicero's letters to Terentia became shorter and colder. He complained to his friends that Terentia had betrayed him but did not specify in which sense. Perhaps the marriage could not outlast the strain of the political upheaval in Rome, Cicero's involvement in it, and various other disputes between the two. The divorce appears to have taken place in 51 BC or shortly before. In 46 or 45 BC, Cicero married a young girl, Publilia, who had been his ward. It is thought that Cicero needed her money, particularly after having to repay the
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price and dower. While bride price or bride service is a paymen ...
of Terentia, who came from a wealthy family.Rawson, E.: ''Cicero'' p. 225 This marriage did not last long. Although his marriage to Terentia was one of convenience, it is commonly known that Cicero held great love for his daughter Tullia. When she suddenly became ill in February 45 BC and died after having seemingly recovered from giving birth to a son in January, Cicero was stunned. "I have lost the one thing that bound me to life" he wrote to Atticus.Haskell, H.J.: "This was Cicero" (1964) p. 249 Atticus told him to come for a visit during the first weeks of his bereavement, so that he could comfort him when his pain was at its greatest. In Atticus's large library, Cicero read everything that the Greek philosophers had written about overcoming grief, "but my sorrow defeats all consolation." Caesar and Brutus as well as
Servius Sulpicius Rufus Servius Sulpicius Rufus (c. 105 BC – 43 BC), was a Roman orator and jurist. He was Roman consul, consul in 51 BC. Biography Early life He studied rhetoric with Cicero, accompanying him to Rhodes in 78 BC, though Sulpicius decided subsequently ...
sent him letters of condolence. Cicero hoped that his son Marcus would become a philosopher like him, but Marcus himself wished for a military career. He joined the army of
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
in 49 BC and after Pompey's defeat at
Pharsalus ''Pharsalus''Melichar L (1906) ''Monographie der Issiden. (Homoptera). Abhandlungen der K. K. Zoologisch-botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien.'' Wien 3: 1-327 21 is the type genus of planthoppers in the subfamily Pharsalinae (family Ricaniidae); ...
48 BC, he was pardoned by Caesar. Cicero sent him to Athens to study as a disciple of the peripatetic philosopher Kratippos in 48 BC, but he used this absence from "his father's vigilant eye" to "eat, drink and be merry." After Cicero's death he joined the army of the ''
Liberatores Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, was assassinated by a group of Roman senate, senators on the Ides of March (15 March) of 44 BC during a meeting of the Senate at the Curia of Pompey of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome where the senators stabbed ...
'' but was later pardoned by
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
. Augustus's bad conscience for not having objected to Cicero's being put on the
proscription Proscription ( la, proscriptio) is, in current usage, a 'decree of condemnation to death or banishment' (''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the first and foundational historical dictionary of the ...
list during the
Second Triumvirate The Second Triumvirate was an extraordinary commission and magistracy created for Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Augustus, Octavian to give them practically absolute power. It was formally consti ...
led him to aid considerably Marcus Minor's career. He became an
augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury, the interpretation of the will of the gods A deity or god is a supernatural being who is considered divinity, divine or sacred. T ...
, and was nominated
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin plural ''consules'') was the title of one of the two chief Roman magistrate, magistrates of the Roman Republic, and subsequently also an important title under the Roman Empire. The title was used in other European ...
in 30 BC together with Augustus. As such, he was responsible for revoking the honors of
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
, who was responsible for the proscription, and could in this way take revenge. Later he was appointed
proconsul A proconsul was an official of ancient Rome who acted on behalf of a Roman consul, consul. A proconsul was typically a former consul. The term is also used in recent history for officials with delegated authority. In the Roman Republic, military ...
of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
and the province of Asia.


Public career


Early legal activity

Cicero wanted to pursue a public career in politics along the steps of the . In 90–88 BC, he served both
Pompeius Strabo Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (c. 135 – 87 BC) was a Roman general and politician, who served as Roman Consul, consul in 89 BC. He is often referred to in English as Pompey Strabo, to distinguish him from his son, the famous Pompey the Great, or from ...
and
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, ...
as they campaigned in the Social War, though he had no taste for military life, being an intellectual first and foremost. Cicero started his career as a lawyer around 83–81 BC. The first extant speech is a private case from 81 BC (the ), delivered when Cicero was aged 26, though he refers throughout to previous defenses he had already undertaken. His first major public case, of which a written record is still extant, was his 80 BC defense of Sextus Roscius on the charge of
patricide Patricide is (i) the act of killing one's own father, or (ii) a person who kills their own father or stepfather. The word ''patricide'' derives from the Greek language, Greek word ''pater'' (father) and the Latin suffix ''-cida'' (cutter or ki ...
. Taking this case was a courageous move for Cicero; patricide was considered an appalling crime, and the people whom Cicero accused of the murder, the most notorious being Chrysogonus, were favorites of
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history and became the first man of the ...
. At this time it would have been easy for Sulla to have the unknown Cicero murdered. Cicero's defense was an indirect challenge to the dictator Sulla, and on the strength of his case, Roscius was acquitted. Soon after, Cicero again challenged Sulla, by criticising his disenfranchisement of Italian towns in a lost speech on behalf of a woman from
Arretium Arezzo ( , , ) , also ; ett, 𐌀𐌓𐌉𐌕𐌉𐌌, Aritim. is a city and ''comune'' in Italy and the capital of the Province of Arezzo, province of the same name located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about southeast of Florence at an elevation o ...
. Cicero's case in the was divided into three parts. The first part detailed exactly the charge brought by Ericius. Cicero explained how a rustic son of a farmer, who lives off the pleasures of his own land, would not have gained anything from committing patricide because he would have eventually inherited his father's land anyway. The second part concerned the boldness and greed of two of the accusers, Magnus and Capito. Cicero told the jury that they were the more likely perpetrators of murder because the two were greedy, both for conspiring together against a fellow kinsman and, in particular, Magnus, for his boldness and for being unashamed to appear in court to support the false charges. The third part explained that Chrysogonus had immense political power, and the accusation was successfully made due to that power. Even though Chrysogonus may not have been what Cicero said he was, through rhetoric Cicero successfully made him appear to be a foreign freed man who prospered by devious means in the aftermath of the civil war. Cicero surmised that it showed what kind of a person he was and that something like murder was not beneath him.


Early political career

His first office was as one of the twenty annual
quaestor A ( , , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome. There were various types of quaestors, with the title used to describe greatly different offices at different times. In the Roman Republic, quaestors were elected officials who ...
s, a training post for serious public administration in a diversity of areas, but with a traditional emphasis on administration and rigorous accounting of public monies under the guidance of a senior magistrate or provincial commander. Cicero served as quaestor in western
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
in 75 BC and demonstrated honesty and integrity in his dealings with the inhabitants. As a result, the grateful Sicilians asked Cicero to prosecute Gaius Verres, a governor of Sicily, who had badly plundered the province. His prosecution of Gaius Verres was a great forensic success for Cicero. Governor Gaius Verres hired the prominent lawyer of a noble family Quintus Hortensius Hortalus. After a lengthy period in Sicily collecting testimonials and evidence and persuading witnesses to come forward, Cicero returned to Rome and won the case in a series of dramatic court battles. His unique style of oratory set him apart from the flamboyant Hortensius. On the conclusion of this case, Cicero came to be considered the greatest orator in Rome. The view that Cicero may have taken the case for reasons of his own is viable. Hortensius was, at this point, known as the best lawyer in Rome; to beat him would guarantee much success and the prestige that Cicero needed to start his career. Cicero's oratorical skill is shown in his
character assassination "Character Assassination" is a four-issue Spider-Man story arc written by Marc Guggenheim with art by John Romita, Jr. and published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is an American comic book publishing, publisher and the flagship proper ...
of Verres and various other techniques of persuasion used on the jury. One such example is found in the speech '' Against Verres I'', where he states "with you on this bench, gentlemen, with Marcus Acilius Glabrio as your president, I do not understand what Verres can hope to achieve". Oratory was considered a great art in ancient Rome and an important tool for disseminating knowledge and promoting oneself in elections, in part because there were no regular newspapers or mass media. Cicero was neither a patrician nor a plebeian noble; his rise to political office despite his relatively humble origins has traditionally been attributed to his brilliance as an orator. Cicero grew up in a time of civil unrest and war.
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history and became the first man of the ...
's victory in the first of a series of civil wars led to a new constitutional framework that undermined (liberty), the fundamental value of the Roman Republic. Nonetheless, Sulla's reforms strengthened the position of the equestrian class, contributing to that class's growing political power. Cicero was both an Italian and a , but more importantly he was a Roman constitutionalist. His social class and loyalty to the Republic ensured that he would "command the support and confidence of the people as well as the Italian middle classes". The faction never truly accepted Cicero, and this undermined his efforts to reform the Republic while preserving the constitution. Nevertheless, he successfully ascended the , holding each magistracy at or near the youngest possible age: in 75 BC (age 30), in 69 BC (age 36), and in 66 BC (age 39), when he served as president of the "Reclamation" (or extortion) Court. He was then elected at age 42.


Consulship

Cicero, seizing the opportunity offered by optimate fear of reform, was elected consul for the year 63 BC;John Leach, ''Pompey the Great'', p. 106. he was elected with the support of every unit of the
centuriate assembly The Centuriate Assembly (Latin: ''comitia centuriata'') of the Roman Republic was one of the three voting assemblies in the Roman constitution. It was named the Centuriate Assembly as it originally divided Roman citizens into groups of one hundred ...
, rival members of the post-Sullan establishment, and the leaders of municipalities throughout post–Social War Italy. His co-consul for the year, Gaius Antonius Hybrida, played a minor role. He began his consular year by opposing a land bill proposed by a plebeian tribune which would have appointed commissioners with semi-permanent authority over land reform. Cicero was also active in the courts, defending Gaius Rabirius from accusations of participating in the unlawful killing of plebeian tribune
Lucius Appuleius Saturninus Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (died late 100 BC) was a Roman Republic, Roman populares, populist and tribune. He is most notable for introducing a series of legislative reforms, alongside his associate Gaius Servilius Glaucia and with the consent of ...
in 100 BC. The prosecution occurred before the and threatened to reopen conflict between the Marian and Sullan factions at Rome. Cicero defended the use of force as being authorised by a , which would prove similar to his own use of force under such conditions.


The Catilinarian Conspiracy

Most famouslyin part because of his own publicityhe thwarted a conspiracy led by
Lucius Sergius Catilina Lucius Sergius Catilina ( 108 BC – January 62 BC), known in English as Catiline (), was a Roman Republic, Roman politician and soldier. He is best known for instigating the Catilinarian conspiracy, a failed attempt to violently seize ...
to overthrow the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
with the help of foreign armed forces. Cicero procured a ''
senatus consultum ultimum The ''senatus consultum ultimum'' ("final decree of the Senate", often abbreviated to SCU) is the modern term given to resolutions of the Roman Senate lending its moral support for Roman magistrate, magistrates to use the full extent of their po ...
'' (a recommendation from the senate attempting to legitimise the use of force) and drove Catiline from the city with four vehement speeches (the Catiline Orations), which to this day remain outstanding examples of his rhetorical style. The Orations listed Catiline and his followers' debaucheries, and denounced Catiline's senatorial sympathizers as roguish and dissolute debtors clinging to Catiline as a final and desperate hope. Cicero demanded that Catiline and his followers leave the city. At the conclusion of Cicero's first speech (which was made in the Temple of Jupiter Stator), Catiline hurriedly left the Senate. In his following speeches, Cicero did not directly address Catiline. He delivered the second and third orations before the
people A person (plural, : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pr ...
, and the last one again before the Senate. By these speeches, Cicero wanted to prepare the Senate for the worst possible case; he also delivered more evidence, against Catiline. Catiline fled and left behind his followers to start the revolution from within while he himself assaulted the city with an army of “moral and financial bankrupts, or of honest fanatics and adventurers”. It is alleged that Catiline had attempted to involve the
Allobroges The Allobroges (Gaulish language, Gaulish: *''Allobrogis'', 'foreigner, exiled'; grc, Ἀλλοβρίγων, Ἀλλόβριγες) were a Gauls, Gallic people dwelling in a large territory between the Rhône river and the Alps during the Iron Age ...
, a tribe of
Transalpine Gaul Gallia Narbonensis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
, in their plot, but Cicero, working with the Gauls, was able to seize letters that incriminated the five conspirators and forced them to confess in front of the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
. The senate then deliberated upon the conspirators' punishment. As it was the dominant advisory body to the various
legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
assemblies rather than a
judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
body, there were limits to its power; however, martial law was in effect, and it was feared that simple house arrest or exile – the standard options – would not remove the threat to the state. At first Decimus Junius Silanus spoke for the "extreme penalty"; many were swayed by Julius Caesar, who decried the precedent it would set and argued in favor of life imprisonment in various Italian towns.
Cato the Younger Marcus Porcius Cato "Uticensis" ("of Utica, Tunisia, Utica"; ; 95 BC – April 46 BC), also known as Cato the Younger ( la, Cato Minor), was an influential conservative Roman Roman Senate, senator during the late Roman Republic, Republic. His c ...
rose in defense of the death penalty and the entire Senate finally agreed on the matter. Cicero had the conspirators taken to the Tullianum, the notorious Roman prison, where they were strangled. Cicero himself accompanied the former consul
Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura (114 BC – 5 December 63 BC) was one of the chief figures in the Second Catilinarian conspiracy, Catilinarian conspiracy. He was also the step-father of the future triumvir Mark Antony. Biography When accused by ...
, one of the conspirators, to the Tullianum. Cicero received the honorific "''
pater patriae ''Pater Patriae'' (plural ''Patres Patriae''), also seen as ''Parens Patriae'', is a Latin language, Latin honorific meaning "Father of the Country", or more literally, "Father of the Fatherland". It is also used of President of the United Stat ...
''" for his efforts to suppress the conspiracy, but lived thereafter in fear of trial or exile for having put Roman citizens to death without trial. While the ''
senatus consultum ultimum The ''senatus consultum ultimum'' ("final decree of the Senate", often abbreviated to SCU) is the modern term given to resolutions of the Roman Senate lending its moral support for Roman magistrate, magistrates to use the full extent of their po ...
'' gave some legitimacy to the use of force against the conspirators, Cicero also argued that Catiline's conspiracy, by virtue of its treason, made the conspirators enemies of the state and forfeited the protections intrinsically possessed by Roman citizens. The consuls moved decisively. Antonius Hybrida was dispatched to defeat Catiline in battle that year, preventing Crassus or Pompey from exploiting the situation for their own political aims. After the suppression of the conspiracy, Cicero was proud of his accomplishment. Some of his political enemies argued that though the act gained Cicero popularity, he exaggerated the extent of his success. He overestimated his popularity again several years later after being exiled from Italy and then allowed back from exile. At this time, he claimed that the
republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...
would be restored along with him. Many Romans at the time, led by
Populares Optimates (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around presen ...
politicians
Gaius Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the peopl ...
and patrician turned plebeian
Publius Clodius Pulcher Publius Clodius Pulcher (93–52 BC) was a populist Roman Republic, Roman politician and street agitator during the time of the First Triumvirate. One of the most colourful personalities of his era, Clodius was descended from the aristocratic Cl ...
believed that Cicero's evidence against Catiline was fabricated and the witnesses were bribed. Cicero, who had been elected consul with the support of the Optimates, promoted their position as advocates of the status quo resisting social changes, especially more privileges for the average inhabitants of Rome. Shortly after completing his consulship, in late 62 BC, Cicero arranged the purchase of a large townhouse on the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ), which relative to the seven hills of Rome is the centremost, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." ...
previously owned by Rome's richest citizen,
Marcus Licinius Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a ancient Rome, Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He is often called "the richest man in Rome."Wallechinsky, David ...
. It cost an exorbitant sum, 3.5 million
sesterces The ''sestertius'' (plural ''sestertii''), or sesterce (plural sesterces), was an Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Roman currency, coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it w ...
, which required Cicero to arrange for a loan from his co-consul Gaius Antonius Hybrida based on the expected profits from Antonius's proconsulship in Macedonia.Dunstan, William (2010). ''Ancient Rome''. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. pp. 163–164. . At the beginning of his consulship, Cicero had made an arrangement with Hybrida to grant Hybrida the profitable province of Macedonia that had been granted to Cicero by the Senate in exchange for Hybrida staying out of Cicero's way for the year and a quarter of the profits from the province. In return Cicero gained a lavish house which he proudly boasted was ''"in conspectu prope totius urbis"'' (in sight of nearly the whole city), only a short walk away from the
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens ...
.


Exile and return

In 60 BC,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
invited Cicero to be the fourth member of his existing partnership with
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
and
Marcus Licinius Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a ancient Rome, Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He is often called "the richest man in Rome."Wallechinsky, David ...
, an assembly that would eventually be called the
First Triumvirate The First Triumvirate was an informal political alliance among three prominent politicians in the late Roman Republic: Julius Caesar, Gaius Julius Caesar, Pompey, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus. The constitution of the Roma ...
. Cicero refused the invitation because he suspected it would undermine the Republic. During Caesar's consulship of 59 BC, the triumvirate had achieved many of their goals of land reform, publicani debt forgiveness, ratification of Pompeian conquests, etc. With Caesar leaving for his provinces, they wished to maintain their stranglehold on politics. They engineered the adoption of patrician
Publius Clodius Pulcher Publius Clodius Pulcher (93–52 BC) was a populist Roman Republic, Roman politician and street agitator during the time of the First Triumvirate. One of the most colourful personalities of his era, Clodius was descended from the aristocratic Cl ...
into a plebeian family and had him elected as one of the ten
tribunes of the plebs Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman people, Roman civilisation from the founding of the city o ...
for 58 BC. Clodius used the triumvirate's backing to push through legislation that benefited them all. He introduced several laws (the '' leges Clodiae'') that made him very popular with the people, strengthening his power base, then he turned on Cicero by threatening exile to anyone who executed a Roman citizen without a trial. Cicero, having executed members of the Catiline conspiracy four years previously without formal trial, was clearly the intended target. Furthermore, many believed that Clodius acted in concert with the triumvirate who feared that Cicero would seek to abolish many of Caesar's accomplishments while consul the year before. Cicero argued that the ''
senatus consultum ultimum The ''senatus consultum ultimum'' ("final decree of the Senate", often abbreviated to SCU) is the modern term given to resolutions of the Roman Senate lending its moral support for Roman magistrate, magistrates to use the full extent of their po ...
'' indemnified him from punishment, and he attempted to gain the support of the senators and consuls, especially of Pompey. Cicero grew out his hair, dressed in mourning and toured the streets. Clodius' gangs dogged him, hurling abuse, stones and even excrement. Hortensius, trying to rally to his old rival's support, was almost lynched. The Senate and the consuls were cowed. Caesar, who was still encamped near Rome, was apologetic but said he could do nothing when Cicero brought himself to grovel in the proconsul's tent. Everyone seemed to have abandoned Cicero. After Clodius passed a law to deny to Cicero fire and water (i.e. shelter) within four hundred miles of Rome, Cicero went into exile. He arrived at
Thessalonica Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, , also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki, or Salonica (), is the second-largest city in Greece, with over one million inhabitants in its Thessaloniki metropolitan area, metropolitan area, and the capi ...
, on 23 May 58 BC. In his absence, Clodius, who lived next door to Cicero on the Palatine, arranged for Cicero's house to be confiscated by the state, and was even able to purchase a part of the property in order to extend his own house. After demolishing Cicero's house, Clodius had the land consecrated and symbolically erected a temple of
Liberty Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society fr ...
(''aedes Libertatis'') on the vacant spot. Cicero's exile caused him to fall into depression. He wrote to Atticus: "Your pleas have prevented me from committing suicide. But what is there to live for? Don't blame me for complaining. My afflictions surpass any you ever heard of earlier". After the intervention of recently elected tribune
Titus Annius Milo Titus Annius Milo (died 48 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to t ...
, acting on the behalf of Pompey who wanted Cicero as a
client Client(s) or The Client may refer to: * Client (business) In business, commerce, and economics, a client is a person who receives advice or services from a professional, such as a lawyer or a health care provider. Clients differ from customers i ...
, the Senate voted in favor of recalling Cicero from exile. Clodius cast the single vote against the decree. Cicero returned to Italy on 5 August 57 BC, landing at
Brundisium Brindisi ( , ) ; la, Brundisium; grc, Βρεντέσιον, translit=Brentésion; cms, Brunda), group=pron is a city in the region of Apulia in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Histor ...
. He was greeted by a cheering crowd, and, to his delight, his beloved daughter Tullia. In his ''Oratio De Domo Sua Ad Pontifices'', Cicero convinced the
College of Pontiffs The College of Pontiffs ( la, Collegium Pontificum; see ''collegium'') was a body of the ancient Rome, ancient Roman state whose members were the highest-ranking priests of the Religion in ancient Rome, state religion. The college consisted of th ...
to rule that the consecration of his land was invalid, thereby allowing him to regain his property and rebuild his house on the Palatine. Cicero tried to re-enter politics as an independent operator, but his attempts to attack portions of Caesar's legislation were unsuccessful and encouraged Caesar to re-solidify his political alliance with Pompey and Crassus. The conference at Luca in 56 BC left the three-man alliance in domination of the republic's politics; this forced Cicero to recant and support the triumvirate out of fear from being entirely excluded from public life. After the conference Cicero lavishly praised Caesar's achievements, got the Senate to vote a thanksgiving for Caesar's victories and grant money to pay his troops. He also delivered a speech 'On the consular provinces' () which checked an attempt by Caesar's enemies to strip him of his provinces in Gaul. After this, a cowed Cicero concentrated on his literary works. It is uncertain whether he was directly involved in politics for the following few years.


Governorship of Cilicia

In 51 BC he reluctantly accepted a promagistracy (as proconsul) in
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian: ''klkyʾy'' (''Klikiyā''); Parthian language, Parthian: ''kylkyʾ'' (''Kilikiyā''); tr, Kilikya). is a geographical region in southern Anatolia in Turkey, extending inland from th ...
for the year; there were few other former consuls eligible as a result of a legislative requirement enacted by Pompey in 52 BC specifying an interval of five years between a consulship or praetorship and a provincial command. He served as
proconsul A proconsul was an official of ancient Rome who acted on behalf of a Roman consul, consul. A proconsul was typically a former consul. The term is also used in recent history for officials with delegated authority. In the Roman Republic, military ...
of Cilicia from May 51 BC, arriving in the provinces three months later around August. He was given instructions to keep nearby
Cappadocia Cappadocia or Capadocia (; tr, Kapadokya), is a historical region in Central Anatolia Region, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It largely is in the provinces Nevşehir Province, Nevşehir, Kayseri Province, Kayseri, Aksaray Province, Aksaray, Kırşe ...
loyal to King Ariobarzanes III, which he achieved 'satisfactorily without war'. In 53 BC Marcus Licinius Crassus had been defeated by the Parthians at the
Battle of Carrhae The Battle of Carrhae () was fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the ancient town of Carrhae (present-day Harran, Turkey). An invading force of seven Roman legion, legions of Roman heavy infantry under Marcus ...
. This opened up the Roman East for a Parthian invasion, causing much unrest in Syria and Cilicia. Cicero restored calm by his mild system of government. He discovered that a great amount of public property had been embezzled by corrupt previous governors and members of their staff, and did his utmost to restore it. Thus he greatly improved the condition of the cities. He retained the civil rights of, and exempted from penalties, the men who gave the property back. Besides this, he was extremely frugal in his outlays for staff and private expenses during his governorship, and this made him highly popular among the natives. Previous governors had extorted enormous sums from the provincials in order to supply their households and bodyguards. Besides his activity in ameliorating the hard pecuniary situation of the province, Cicero was also creditably active in the military sphere. Early in his governorship he received information that prince Pacorus, son of Orodes II the king of the Parthians, had crossed the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
, and was ravaging the Syrian countryside and had even besieged Cassius (the interim Roman commander in Syria) in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
. Cicero eventually marched with two understrength legions and a large contingent of auxiliary cavalry to Cassius's relief. Pacorus and his army had already given up on besieging Antioch and were heading south through Syria, ravaging the countryside again, Cassius and his legions followed them, harrying them wherever they went, eventually ambushing and defeating them near Antigonea. Another large troop of Parthian horsemen was defeated by Cicero's cavalry who happened to run into them while scouting ahead of the main army. Cicero next defeated some robbers who were based on Mount Amanus and was hailed as
imperator The Latin word ''imperator'' derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part o ...
by his troops. Afterwards he led his army against the independent Cilician mountain tribes, besieging their fortress of Pindenissum. It took him 47 days to reduce the place, which fell in December. On 30 July 50 BC Cicero left the province to his brother Quintus, who had accompanied him on his governorship as his legate. On his way back to Rome he stopped over in
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
and then went to
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
, where he caught up with his old friend Titus Pomponius Atticus and met men of great learning.


Julius Caesar's civil war

Cicero arrived in Rome on 4 January 49 BC. He stayed outside the
pomerium The ''pomerium'' or ''pomoerium'' was a religious boundary around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map ...
, to retain his promagisterial powers: either in expectation of a triumph or to retain his independent command authority in the coming civil war. The struggle between
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the tr ...
and Julius Caesar grew more intense in 50 BC. Cicero favored Pompey, seeing him as a defender of the senate and Republican tradition, but at that time avoided openly alienating Caesar. When Caesar invaded Italy in 49 BC, Cicero fled Rome. Caesar, seeking an endorsement by a senior senator, courted Cicero's favor, but even so Cicero slipped out of Italy and traveled to Dyrrachium (
Epidamnos The Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city of Epidamnos or Epidamnus ( grc-gre, Ἐπίδαμνος), ( sq, Epidamni) later the Roman Empire, Roman Dyrrachium (Δυρράχιον) ( sq, Dyrrahu) (modern Durrës, Albania), was founded in 627 BC in I ...
), Illyria, where Pompey's staff was situated. Cicero traveled with the Pompeian forces to
Pharsalus ''Pharsalus''Melichar L (1906) ''Monographie der Issiden. (Homoptera). Abhandlungen der K. K. Zoologisch-botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien.'' Wien 3: 1-327 21 is the type genus of planthoppers in the subfamily Pharsalinae (family Ricaniidae); ...
in 48 BC, though he was quickly losing faith in the competence and righteousness of the Pompeian side. Eventually, he provoked the hostility of his fellow senator Cato, who told him that he would have been of more use to the cause of the ''optimates'' if he had stayed in Rome. After Caesar's victory at the
Battle of Pharsalus The Battle of Pharsalus was the decisive battle of Caesar's Civil War fought on 9 August 48 BC near Farsala, Pharsalus in central Greece. Julius Caesar and his allies formed up opposite the army of the Roman Republic under the command of ...
on 9 August, Cicero refused to take command of the Pompeian forces and continue the war. He returned to Rome, still as a promagistrate with his lictors, in 47 BC, and dismissed them upon his crossing the pomerium and renouncing his command. Caesar pardoned him and Cicero tried to adjust to the situation and maintain his political work, hoping that Caesar might revive the Republic and its institutions. In a letter to
Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was a Roman polymath and a prolific author. He is regarded as ancient Rome's greatest scholar, and was described by Petrarch as "the third great light of Rome" (after Vergil and Cicero). He is sometimes calle ...
on c. 20 April 46 BC, Cicero outlined his strategy under Caesar's dictatorship. Cicero, however, was taken completely by surprise when the ''
Liberatores Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, was assassinated by a group of Roman senate, senators on the Ides of March (15 March) of 44 BC during a meeting of the Senate at the Curia of Pompey of the Theatre of Pompey in Rome where the senators stabbed ...
'' assassinated Caesar on the
ides of March The Ides of March (; la, Idus Martiae, Late Latin: ) is the 74th day in the Roman calendar The Roman calendar was the calendar used by the Roman Kingdom and Roman Republic. The term often includes the Julian calendar established by the ...
, 44 BC. Cicero was not included in the conspiracy, even though the conspirators were sure of his sympathy.
Marcus Junius Brutus Marcus Junius Brutus (; ; 85 BC – 23 October 42 BC), often referred to simply as Brutus, was a Roman politician, orator, and the most famous of assassination of Julius Caesar, the assassins of Julius Caesar. After being adopted by Quintus Ser ...
called out Cicero's name, asking him to restore the republic when he lifted his bloodstained dagger after the assassination. A letter Cicero wrote in February 43 BC to Trebonius, one of the conspirators, began, "How I could wish that you had invited me to that most glorious banquet on the
Ides of March The Ides of March (; la, Idus Martiae, Late Latin: ) is the 74th day in the Roman calendar The Roman calendar was the calendar used by the Roman Kingdom and Roman Republic. The term often includes the Julian calendar established by the ...
!" Cicero became a popular leader during the period of instability following the assassination. He had no respect for
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
, who was scheming to take revenge upon Caesar's murderers. In exchange for amnesty for the assassins, he arranged for the Senate to agree not to declare Caesar to have been a
tyrant A tyrant (), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an autocracy, absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurper, usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defen ...
, which allowed the Caesarians to have lawful support and kept Caesar's reforms and policies intact.


Opposition to Mark Antony and death

Cicero and Antony now became the two leading men in Rome: Cicero as spokesman for the Senate; Antony as consul, leader of the Caesarian faction, and unofficial executor of Caesar's public will. Relations between the two were never friendly and worsened after Cicero claimed that Antony was taking liberties in interpreting Caesar's wishes and intentions.
Octavian Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Principate ...
was Caesar's adopted son and heir. After he returned to Italy, Cicero began to play him against Antony. He praised Octavian, declaring he would not make the same mistakes as his father. He attacked Antony in a series of speeches he called the ''Philippics'', after
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a Greeks, Greek statesman and orator in History of Athens, ancient Athens. His Public speaking, orations constitute a significant expression ...
's denunciations of Philip II of Macedon. At the time Cicero's popularity as a public figure was unrivalled. Cicero supported
Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (27 April 81 BC – September 43 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the p ...
as governor of
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. After its conquest by the Roman Republic in the 200s BC it was con ...
(''Gallia Cisalpina'') and urged the Senate to name Antony an enemy of the state. The speech of Lucius Piso, Caesar's father-in-law, delayed proceedings against Antony. Antony was later declared an
enemy of the state An enemy of the state is a person accused of certain crimes against the state (polity), state such as treason, among other things. Describing individuals in this way is sometimes a manifestation of political repression. For example, a government ...
when he refused to lift the siege of Mutina, which was in the hands of Decimus Brutus. Cicero's plan to drive out Antony failed. Antony and Octavian reconciled and allied with Lepidus to form the
Second Triumvirate The Second Triumvirate was an extraordinary commission and magistracy created for Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Augustus, Octavian to give them practically absolute power. It was formally consti ...
after the successive battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina. The Triumvirate began proscribing their enemies and potential rivals immediately after legislating the alliance into official existence for a term of five years with consular ''
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in the ...
''. Cicero and all of his contacts and supporters were numbered among the enemies of the state, even though Octavian argued for two days against Cicero being added to the list. Cicero was one of the most viciously and doggedly hunted among the proscribed. He was viewed with sympathy by a large segment of the public and many people refused to report that they had seen him. He was caught on 7 December 43 BC leaving his villa in Formiae in a
litter Litter consists of Waste, waste products that have been discarded incorrectly, without consent, at an unsuitable location. Litter can also be used as a verb; to litter means to drop and leave objects, often man-made, such as aluminum cans, pape ...
heading to the seaside, where he hoped to embark on a ship destined for Macedonia.Haskell, H.J.: ''This was Cicero'' (1964) p. 293 When his killers – Herennius (a Centurion) and Popilius (a Tribune) – arrived, Cicero's own slaves said they had not seen him, but he was given away by Philologus, a
freedman A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), emancipation (granted freedo ...
of his brother Quintus Cicero. As reported by
Seneca the Elder Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Elder (; c. 54 BC – c. 39 AD), also known as Seneca the Rhetorician, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th cen ...
, according to the historian Aufidius Bassus, Cicero's last words are said to have been: He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he would not resist. According to
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
, Herennius first slew him, then cut off his head. On Antony's instructions his hands, which had penned the Philippics against Antony, were cut off as well; these were nailed along with his head on the
Rostra The rostra ( it, Rostri, links=no) was a large platform built in the city of Rome that stood during the Roman Republic, republican and Roman Empire, imperial periods. Speakers would stand on the rostra and face the north side of the comitium tow ...
in the
Forum Romanum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens ...
according to the tradition of Marius and
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history and became the first man of the ...
, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum. Cicero was the only victim of the proscriptions who was displayed in that manner. According to
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (), also known as Dio Cassius ( ), was a Roman historian and senator of maternal Greek origin. He published 80 volumes of the History of ancient Rome, history on ancient Rome, beginning with the arrival of Aeneas in Italy. The ...
, in a story often mistakenly attributed to Plutarch, Antony's wife
Fulvia Fulvia (; c. 83 BC – 40 BC) was an aristocratic Women in Ancient Rome, Roman woman who lived during the Late Roman Republic. Fulvia's birth into an Fulvia gens, important political dynasty facilitated her relationships and, later on, marriages ...
took Cicero's head, pulled out his tongue, and jabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin in final revenge against Cicero's power of speech. Cicero's son, Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor, during his year as a consul in 30 BC, avenged his father's death, to a certain extent, when he announced to the Senate Mark Antony's naval defeat at
Actium Actium or Aktion ( grc, Ἄκτιον) was a town on a promontory in ancient Acarnania at the entrance of the Ambraciot Gulf, off which Augustus, Octavian gained his celebrated victory, the Battle of Actium, over Mark Antony, Antony and Cleopatra ...
in 31 BC by Octavian and his commander-in-chief, Agrippa. Octavian is reported to have praised Cicero as a patriot and a scholar of meaning in later times, within the circle of his family. However, it was Octavian's acquiescence that had allowed Cicero to be killed, as Cicero was condemned by the new triumvirate. Cicero's career as a statesman was marked by inconsistencies and a tendency to shift his position in response to changes in the political climate. His indecision may be attributed to his sensitive and impressionable personality; he was prone to overreaction in the face of political and private change. "Would that he had been able to endure prosperity with greater self-control, and adversity with more fortitude!" wrote C. Asinius Pollio, a contemporary Roman statesman and historian.


Legacy

Cicero has been traditionally considered the master of Latin prose, with
Quintilian Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (; 35 – 100 AD) was a Roman Empire, Roman educator and rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in Middle ages, medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usuall ...
declaring that Cicero was "not the name of a man, but of eloquence itself." The English words ''
Ciceronian Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman p ...
'' (meaning "eloquent") and ''
cicerone Cicerone ( ) is an old term for a guide who conducts visitors and sightseers to museums, galleries, etc., and explains matters of archaeological, antiquarian, historic or artistic interest. The word is presumably taken from Cicero, Marcus Tullius ...
'' (meaning "local guide") derive from his name. He is credited with transforming Latin from a modest utilitarian language into a versatile literary medium capable of expressing abstract and complicated thoughts with clarity.
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
praised Cicero's achievement by saying "it is more important to have greatly extended the frontiers of the Roman spirit than the frontiers of the Roman empire". According to John William Mackail, "Cicero's unique and imperishable glory is that he created the language of the civilized world, and used that language to create a style which nineteen centuries have not replaced, and in some respects have hardly altered." Cicero was also an energetic writer with an interest in a wide variety of subjects, in keeping with the Hellenistic philosophical and rhetorical traditions in which he was trained. The quality and ready accessibility of Ciceronian texts favored very wide distribution and inclusion in teaching curricula, as suggested by a graffito at Pompeii, admonishing: "You will like Cicero, or you will be whipped". Cicero was greatly admired by influential
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity. The historical pe ...
such as
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berbers, Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia (Roman pr ...
, who credited Cicero's lost '' Hortensius'' for his eventual conversion to Christianity, and St.
Jerome Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Christian presbyter, priest, Confessor of the Faith, confessor, th ...
, who had a feverish vision in which he was accused of being "follower of Cicero and not of Christ" before the judgment seat. This influence further increased after the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages (or early medieval period), sometimes controversially referred to as the Dark Ages (historiography), Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They ...
in Europe, which more of his writings survived than any other Latin author. Medieval philosophers were influenced by Cicero's writings on
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature, and based on values intrinsic to human nature that can be Deductive reasoning, deduced and applied independently of positive law ( ...
and innate rights.
Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Italian Renaissance, Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanism, humanists. Petrarch's rediscov ...
's rediscovery of Cicero's letters provided the impetus for searches for ancient Greek and Latin writings scattered throughout European monasteries, and the subsequent rediscovery of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
led to the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
. Subsequently, Cicero became synonymous with classical Latin to such an extent that a number of humanist scholars began to assert that no Latin word or phrase should be used unless it appeared in Cicero's works, a stance criticised by
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; ; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus, St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Rote ...
. His voluminous correspondence, much of it addressed to his friend Atticus, has been especially influential, introducing the art of refined letter writing to European culture.
Cornelius Nepos Cornelius Nepos (; c. 110 BC – c. 25 BC) was a Roman Empire, Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona. Biography Nepos's Cisalpine birth is attested by Ausonius, and Pliny the Elder calls ...
, the first century BC biographer of Atticus, remarked that Cicero's letters contained such a wealth of detail "concerning the inclinations of leading men, the faults of the generals, and the revolutions in the government" that their reader had little need for a history of the period. Among Cicero's admirers were
Desiderius Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; ; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus, St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Rote ...
,
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...
, and
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "father of liberalism ...
. Following the invention of Johannes Gutenberg's printing press, ''
De Officiis ''De Officiis'' (''On Duties'' or ''On Obligations'') is a political and ethical treatise by the Roman Republic, Roman orator, philosopher, and statesman Cicero, Marcus Tullius Cicero written in 44 BC. The treatise is divided into three books, in ...
'' was the second book printed in Europe, after the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages ...
. Scholars note Cicero's influence on the rebirth of religious toleration in the 17th century. Cicero was especially popular with the Philosophes of the 18th century, including
Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English historian, writer, and member of parliament. His most important work, ''The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'', published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788, is k ...
,
Diderot Denis Diderot (; ; 5 October 171331 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer, best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the ''Encyclopédie'' along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert. He was a prominen ...
,
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 New Style, NS (26 April 1711 Old Style, OS) – 25 August 1776)Maurice Cranston, Cranston, Maurice, and T. E. Jessop, Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 999avid Hume" ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrieve ...
,
Montesquieu Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and p ...
, and
Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (; 21 November 169430 May 1778) was a French Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher. Known by his ''Pen name, nom de plume'' M. de Voltaire (; also ; ), he was famous for his wit, and his ...
. Gibbon wrote of his first experience reading the author's collective works thus: "I tasted the beauty of the language; I breathed the spirit of freedom; and I imbibed from his precepts and examples the public and private sense of a man...after finishing the great author, a library of eloquence and reason, I formed a more extensive plan of reviewing the Latin classics..." Voltaire called Cicero "the greatest as well as the most elegant of Roman philosophers" and even staged a play based on Cicero's role in the Catilinarian conspiracy, called ''Rome Sauvée, ou Catilina'', to "make young people who go to the theatre acquainted with Cicero." Voltaire was spurred to pen the drama as a rebuff to his rival Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon's own play ''Catilina'', which had portrayed Cicero as a coward and villain who hypocritically married his own daughter to Catiline. Montesquieu produced his "Discourse on Cicero" in 1717, in which he heaped praise on the author because he rescued "philosophy from the hands of scholars, and freed it from the confusion of a foreign language". Montesquieu went on to declare that Cicero was "of all the ancients, the one who had the most personal merit, and whom I would prefer to resemble." Internationally, Cicero the republican inspired the
Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, known simply as the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of late-18th-century American Revolution, American revolutionary leaders who United Colonies, united the Thirteen Colonies, oversaw the Am ...
and the revolutionaries of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
.
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Befor ...
said, "As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight." Jefferson names Cicero as one of a handful of major figures who contributed to a tradition "of public right" that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence and shaped American understandings of "the common sense" basis for the right of revolution.
Camille Desmoulins Lucie-Simplice-Camille-Benoît Desmoulins (; 2 March 17605 April 1794) was a French people, French journalist and politician who played an important role in the French Revolution. Desmoulins was tried and executed alongside Georges Danton when t ...
said of the French republicans in 1789 that they were "mostly young people who, nourished by the reading of Cicero at school, had become passionate enthusiasts for liberty". Jim Powell starts his book on the history of liberty with the sentence: "Marcus Tullius Cicero expressed principles that became the bedrock of liberty in the modern world." Likewise, no other ancient personality has inspired as much venomous dislike as Cicero, especially in more modern times. His commitment to the values of the Republic accommodated a hatred of the poor and persistent opposition to the advocates and mechanisms of popular representation.
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Michael Parenti admits Cicero's abilities as an orator, but finds him a vain, pompous and hypocritical personality who, when it suited him, could show public support for popular causes that he privately despised. Parenti presents Cicero's prosecution of the Catiline conspiracy as legally flawed at least, and possibly unlawful. Cicero also had an influence on modern astronomy.
Nicolaus Copernicus Nicolaus Copernicus (; pl, Mikołaj Kopernik; gml, Niklas Koppernigk, german: Nikolaus Kopernikus; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic Church, Catholic cano ...
, searching for ancient views on earth motion, said that he "first ... found in Cicero that Hicetas supposed the earth to move." Notably, "Cicero" was the name attributed to size 12 font in typesetting table drawers. For ease of reference, type sizes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 20 were all given different names.


Works

Cicero was declared a righteous pagan by the
Early Church Early Christianity (up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325) Spread of Christianity, spread from the Levant, across the Roman Empire, and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, alre ...
, and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. The Bogomils considered him a rare exception of a pagan saint. Subsequent Roman and medieval Christian writers quoted liberally from his works ''
De re publica ''De re publica'' (''On the Commonwealth''; see De re publica#Title, below) is a dialogue#Literature, dialogue on Roman politics by Cicero, written in six books between 54 and 51 BC. The work does not survive in a complete state, and large parts a ...
'' (''On the Commonwealth'') and '' De Legibus'' (''On the Laws''), and much of his work has been recreated from these surviving fragments. Cicero also articulated an early, abstract conceptualization of rights, based on ancient law and custom. Of Cicero's books, six on rhetoric have survived, as well as parts of seven on philosophy. Of his speeches, 88 were recorded, but only 52 survive.


In archaeology

Cicero's great repute in Italy has led to numerous ruins being identified as having belonged to him, though none have been substantiated with absolute certainty. In
Formia Formia is a city and ''comune'' in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast of Lazio, Italy. It is located halfway between Rome and Naples, and lies on the Roman-era Appian Way. It has a population of 38,095. Nati ...
, two Roman-era ruins are popularly believed to be Cicero's mausoleum, the ''Tomba di Cicerone'', and the villa where he was assassinated in 43 BC. The latter building is centered around a central hall with Doric columns and a coffered vault, with a separate
nymphaeum A ''nymphaeum'' or ''nymphaion'' ( grc, νυμφαῖον), in ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, Rome, was a monument sanctuary, consecrated to the nymphs, especially those of Spring (hydrosphere), springs. These monuments were originally natura ...
, on five acres of land near Formia. A modern villa was built on the site after the Rubino family purchased the land from
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies Ferdinand II ( it, Ferdinando Carlo; scn, Ferdinannu Carlu; nap, Ferdinando Carlo; 12 January 1810 – 22 May 1859) was List of monarchs of the Two Sicilies, King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Two Sicilies from 1830 until his death in 185 ...
in 1868. Cicero's supposed tomb is a 24-meter (79 feet) tall tower on an '' opus quadratum'' base on the ancient Via Appia outside of Formia. Some suggest that it is not in fact Cicero's tomb, but a monument built on the spot where Cicero was intercepted and assassinated while trying to reach the sea. In
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune'' of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area (e.g. at Villa Boscoreale, Boscoreale, Stabi ...
, a large villa excavated in the mid 18th century just outside the Herculaneum Gate was widely believed to have been Cicero's, who was known to have owned a holiday villa in Pompeii he called his ''Pompeianum''. The villa was stripped of its fine frescoes and mosaics and then re-buried after 1763 – it has yet to be re-excavated. However, contemporaneous descriptions of the building from the excavators combined with Cicero's own references to his ''Pompeianum'' differ, making it unlikely that it is Cicero's villa. In Rome, the location of Cicero's house has been roughly identified from excavations of the Republican-era stratum on the northwestern slope of the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ), which relative to the seven hills of Rome is the centremost, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." ...
. Cicero's ''domus'' has long been known to have stood in the area, according to his own descriptions and those of later authors, but there is some debate about whether it stood near the base of the hill, very close to the
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens ...
, or nearer to the summit. During his life the area was the most desirable in Rome, densely occupied with Patrician houses including the ''Domus Publica'' of Julius Caesar and the home of Cicero's mortal enemy Clodius.


Notable fictional portrayals

In
Dante Dante Alighieri (; – 14 September 1321), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to as Dante (, ), was an Italian people, Italian Italian poetry, poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Comedy'', origin ...
's 1320 poem the ''
Divine Comedy The ''Divine Comedy'' ( it, Divina Commedia ) is an Italian narrative poetry, narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun 1308 and completed in around 1321, shortly before the author's death. It is widely considered the pre-eminent work in Ital ...
'', the author encounters Cicero, among other philosophers, in
Limbo In Catholic theology, Limbo (Latin ''wikt:limbus, limbus'', edge or boundary, referring to the edge of Christian views on Hell, Hell) is the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell, Hell of the Da ...
.
Ben Jonson Benjamin "Ben" Jonson (c. 11 June 1572 – c. 16 August 1637) was an English playwright and poet. Jonson's artistry exerted a lasting influence upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours; he is best known for t ...
dramatised the conspiracy of Catiline in his play '' Catiline His Conspiracy'', featuring Cicero as a character. Cicero also appears as a minor character in
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
's play ''
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
''. Cicero was portrayed on the motion picture screen by British actor Alan Napier in the 1953 film ''
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
'', based on Shakespeare's play. He has also been played by such noted actors as
Michael Hordern Sir Michael Murray Hordern Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE (3 October 19112 May 1995)Morley, Sheridan"Hordern, Michael Murray (1911–1995)" ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'', Oxford University Press, 2004, online e ...
(in ''
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}, "Cleopatra the father-beloved"; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler. ...
''), and André Morell (in the 1970 ''
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
''). Most recently,
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
was portrayed by David Bamber in the HBO series ''
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
'' (2005–2007) and appeared in both seasons. In the historical novel series '' Masters of Rome'', Colleen McCullough presents a not-so-flattering depiction of Cicero's career, showing him struggling with an inferiority complex and vanity, morally flexible and fatally indiscreet, while his rival
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; ; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in Caes ...
is shown in a more approving light. Cicero is portrayed as a hero in the novel '' A Pillar of Iron'' by Taylor Caldwell (1965). Robert Harris' novels ''
Imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in the ...
'', ''
Lustrum A lūstrum (, plural lūstra) was a term for a five-year period in Ancient Rome. It is distinct from the homograph ''lustrum'' ( ): a haunt of wild beasts (and figuratively, a den of vice), plural ''lustra'' ( ).Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary (20 ...
'' (published under the name ''Conspirata'' in the United States) and ''
Dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship is a state ruled by one dictator or by a small clique. The word originated as the title of a Roman dictator elected by the Roman Senate to rule the republic in times ...
'' comprise a three-part series based on the life of Cicero. In these novels Cicero's character is depicted in a more favorable way than in those of McCullough, with his positive traits equaling or outweighing his weaknesses (while conversely Caesar is depicted as more sinister than in McCullough). Cicero is a major recurring character in the ''
Roma Sub Rosa ''Roma Sub Rosa'' is a series of historical mystery The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two literary genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time period considered historical from the a ...
'' series of mystery novels by
Steven Saylor Steven Saylor (born March 23, 1956) is an American author of historical novels. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin, UT, or Texas) is a public university, public research un ...
. He also appears several times as a peripheral character in John Maddox Roberts' ''SPQR'' series. Samuel Barnett portrays Cicero in a 2017
audio drama Radio drama (or audio drama, audio play, radio play, radio theatre, or audio theatre) is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine t ...
series pilot produced by
Big Finish Productions Big Finish Productions is a British company that produces books and radio drama, audio plays (released straight to compact disc and for download in MP3 and m4b format) based, primarily, on cult television, cult science fiction properties. These ...
. A full series was released the following year. All Episodes are written by David Llewellyn and directed and produced by Scott Handcock. Llewellyn, Handcock and Barnett re-teamed in the
Doctor Who ''Doctor Who'' is a British Science fiction on television, science fiction television series broadcast by the BBC since 1963. The series depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called The Doctor (Doctor Who), the Doctor, an extraterrestrial be ...
audio-drama
Tartarus In Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin an ...
(also produced by Big Finish) starring Peter Davison as the 5th Doctor. It is not intended to be a part of the Cicero series; in Vortex (Big Finish's official free online magazine) Llewellyn revealed that he was "worried that if we had Cicero meeting aliens people might go back to the Cicero series and see it through a
sci-fi Science fiction (sometimes shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular us ...
lens. Then I remembered that
Simon Callow Simon Phillip Hugh Callow (born 15 June 1949) is an English film, television and voice actor, director, narrator and writer. He was twice nominated for BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Best Actor in a Supporting Role is a Brit ...
still performs as
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian er ...
, and that he played Dickens before reprising him in the Doctor Who TV episode, ''
The Unquiet Dead "The Unquiet Dead" is the third episode of the Doctor Who (series 1), first series of the British Science fiction on television, science-fiction television programme ''Doctor Who'', first broadcast on 9 April 2005 on BBC One. It was written by M ...
'' – so I got over myself!".


See also

* Caecilia Attica * Caecilia Metella (daughter of Metellus Celer) * '' Civis romanus sum'' * Clausula (rhetoric) * '' A Dialogue Concerning Oratorical Partitions'' * ''
E pluribus unum ''E pluribus unum'' ( , , ) – Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as ...
'' * ''
Esse quam videri ''Esse quam videri'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) ...
'' * '' Ipse dixit'' * List of ancient Romans *
Lorem ipsum In publishing and graphic design, ''Lorem ipsum'' is a placeholder text commonly used to demonstrate the visual form of a document or a typeface without relying on meaningful content. ''Lorem ipsum'' may be used as a placeholder before final C ...
* Marcantonius Majoragio *
Marcus Tullius Tiro Marcus Tullius Tiro (died 4 BC) was first a slavery, slave, then a freedman, of Cicero from whom he received his Nomen gentilicium, nomen and praenomen. He is frequently mentioned in Cicero's letters. After Cicero's death Tiro published his ...
* Marius Nizolius * '' O tempora, o mores!'' *
Otium ''Otium'', a Latin abstract term, has a variety of meanings, including leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, relaxing, contemplation and Academy, academic endeavors. It sometimes, but not always, relates to a time in a perso ...
* '' Socratici viri'' * Tempest in a teapot *
Translation Translation is the communication of the Meaning (linguistic), meaning of a #Source and target languages, source-language text by means of an Dynamic and formal equivalence, equivalent #Source and target languages, target-language text. The ...
* Writings of Cicero


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* Badian, E: "Cicero and the Commission of 146 B.C.", ''Collection Latomus'' 101 (1969), 54–65. * * * Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Cicero's letters to Atticus, Vol, I, II, IV, VI,
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press is the university press of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII of England, King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the oldest university press in the world. It is also the King's Printer. Cambr ...
, Great Britain, 1965 * Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Latin extracts of Cicero on Himself, translated by Charles Gordon Cooper, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1963 * Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Selected Political Speeches, Penguin Books Ltd, Great Britain, 1969 * Cicero, Marcus Tullius, De Officiis (On Duties), translated by Walter Miller. Harvard University Press, 1913, * Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Selected Works, Penguin Books Ltd, Great Britain, 1971 * Cowell, F.R. (1948). ''Cicero and the Roman Republic''. Penguin Books * * * * * *
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
Penguins Classics English translation by Rex Warner, ''Fall of the Roman Republic, Six Lives by Plutarch: Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero'' (Penguin Books, 1958; with Introduction and notes by Robin Seager, 1972) * Rawson, Beryl: ''The Politics of Friendship: Pompey and Cicero'' ( Sydney University Press, 1978) * * * * Scullard, H.H. From the Gracchi to Nero, University Paperbacks, Great Britain, 1968 * Smith, R.E: ''Cicero the Statesman'' (Cambridge University Press, 1966) * Stockton, David: ''Cicero: A Political Biography'' (Oxford University Press, 1971) * * * Uttschenko, Sergej L. (1978): ''Cicero'', translated from Russian by Rosemarie Pattloch, VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin, German
Cicero
* * *


Further reading

* Boissier, Gaston, Cicéron et ses amis. Étude sur la société romaine du temps de César (1884) * * * Gildenhard, Ingo (2011). ''Creative Eloquence: The Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches''. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. * * Hamza, Gabor, L'optimus status civitatis di Cicerone e la sua tradizione nel pensiero politico. In: Tradizione romanistica e Costituzione. Cinquanta anni della Corte Costituzionale della Repubblica Italiana. vol. II. Napoli, 2006. 1455–1468. * Hamza, Gabor, Ciceros Verhältnis zu seinen Quellen, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Darstellung der Staatslehre in De re publica. KLIO – Beiträge zur alten Geschichte 67 (1985) 492–497. * Hamza, Gabor, Cicero und der Idealtypus des iurisconsultus. Helixon 22–27 (1982–1987) 281–296. * Hamza, Gabor, Il potere (lo Stato) nel pensiero di Cicerone e la sua attualità. Revista Internacional de Derecho Romano (RIDROM) 10 (2013) 1–25
Revista Internacional de Derecho Romano – Index
* Hamza, Gabor, Zur Interpretation des Naturrechts in den Werken von Cicero. Pázmány Law Review 2 (2014) 5–15. * * * * * * Treggiari, S. (2007). ''Terentia, Tullia and Publilia. The women of Cicero's family. ''London: Routledge *


External links

Works by Cicero
Works by Cicero at Perseus Digital Library
* * * *
Works by Cicero
at the Stoic Therapy eLibrary *
The Latin Library The Latin Library is a website that collects public domain Latin texts. It is run by William L. Carey, adjunct professor of Latin and Roman law, Roman Law at George Mason University. The texts have been drawn from different sources, are not intende ...
(Latin)
Works of Cicero

Dickinson College Commentaries: ''Against Verres 2.1.53–86''

Dickinson College Commentaries: ''On Pompey's Command (De Imperio) 27–49''




Biographies and descriptions of Cicero's time
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; – after AD 119) was a Greek people, Greek Middle Platonism, Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, Biography, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo (D ...
's biography of Cicero contained in the ''Parallel Lives'' * ''Life of Cicero'' by Anthony Trollope, Volume I & Volume II * ''Cicero'' by Rev. W. Lucas Collins (''Ancient Classics for English Readers'') * ''Roman life in the days of Cicero'' by Rev. Alfred J. Church * ''Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero'' by W. Warde Fowler *
Dryden's translation of ''Cicero'' from Plutarch's ''Parallel Lives''


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