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Marcus Tullius Cicero (/ˈsɪsər/ SISS-ə-roh; Latin[ˈmaːrkʊs ˈt̪ʊlːijʊs ˈkɪkɛroː]; 3 January 106 – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar and Academic skeptic who played an important role in the politics of the late Roman Republic and in vain tried to uphold republican principles during the crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire.[2] His extensive writings include treatises on rhetoric, philosophy and politics, and he is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.[3][4] He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and served as consul in 63 BC.

His influence on the Latin language was immense: he wrote more than three-quarters of surviving Latin literature from the period of his adult life, 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.[5][6][7] Cicero introduced into Latin the arguments of the chief schools of Hellenistic philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary with neologisms such as evidentia,[8] humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia,[9] 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 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. During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony 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 and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after 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.

Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture.First Triumvirate

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    Cicero was declared a righteous pagan by the Early Church,[146] and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. The Bogomils considered him a rare exception of a pagan saint.[147] Subsequent Roman and medieval Christian writers quoted liberally from his works De Re Publica (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 eight on philosophy. Of his speeches, 88 were recorded, but only 58 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, 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 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".[120] Cicero was greatly admired by influential Church Fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, who credited Cicero's lost Hortensius for his eventual conversion to Christianity,[121] and St. Jerome, who had a feverish vision in which he was accused of being "follower of Cicero and not of Christ" before the judgment seat.[122] This influence further increased after the Early Middle Ages in Europe, which more of his writings survived than any other Latin author. Medieval philosophers were influenced by Cicero's writings on natural law and innate rights.[123][citation needed]

    Petrarch'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 led to the Renaissance. 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.[124]

    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, the 1st 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.[125]

    Among Cicero's admirers were Desiderius Erasmus, Martin Luther, and John Locke.[126] Following the invention of Johannes Gutenberg's printing press, De Officiis was the second book printed in Europe, after the Gutenberg Bible. Scholars note Cicero's influence on the rebirth of religious toleration in the 17th century.[127]

    Cicero was especially popular with the Philosophes of the 18th century, including Edward Gibbon, Diderot, David Hume, Montesquieu, and Voltaire.[128] 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..."[129] 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."[130] 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.[131] 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".[132] 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."[131][133]

    Internationally, Cicero the republican inspired the Founding Fathers of the United States and the revolutionaries of the French Revolution.[134] John Adams 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."[135] 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.[136] Camille Desmoulins 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".[137]

    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."[138]

    Likewise, no other ancient personality has inspired as much venomous dislike as Cicero, especially in more modern times.[139] 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.[140] Friedrich Engels referred to him as "the most contemptible scoundrel in history" for upholding republican "democracy" while at the same time denouncing land and class reforms.[141] Cicero has faced criticism for exaggerating the democratic qualities of republican Rome, and for defending the Roman oligarchy against the popular reforms of Caesar.[142] 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.[143]

    Cicero also had an influence on modern astronomy. Nicolaus Copernicus, searching for ancient views on earth motion, said that he "first ... found in Cicero that Hicetas supposed the earth to move."[144]

    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.[145]

    Cicero was declared a righteous pagan by the Early Church,[146] and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. The Bogomils considered him a rare exception of a pagan saint.[147] Subsequent Roman and medieval Christian writers quoted liberally from his works De Re Publica (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 eight on philosophy. Of his speeches, 88 were recorded, but only 58 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, 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, on five acres of land near Formia.[148] A modern villa was built on the site after the Rubino family purchased the land from Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies 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 f

    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, 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, on five acres of land near Formia.[148] A modern villa was built on the site after the Rubino family purchased the land from Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies 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.[149]

    In Pompeii, 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

    In Pompeii, 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.[150] 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.[151]

    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.[152][153] 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, or nearer to the summit.[152][154] 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.[155] In the early Imperial era these properties fell into the possession of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the substructures of the Domus Tiberiana were built over the Republican-era buildings.[156]

    Ben Jonson 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's play Julius Caesar.

    Cicero was portrayed on the motion picture screen by British actor Alan Napier in the 1953 film Julius Caesar, based on Shakespeare's play.[157

    Cicero was portrayed on the motion picture screen by British actor Alan Napier in the 1953 film Julius Caesar, based on Shakespeare's play.[157] He has also been played by such noted actors as Michael Hordern (in Cleopatra),[158] and André Morell (in the 1970 Julius Caesar).[159] Most recently, Cicero was portrayed by David Bamber in the HBO series Rome (2005–2007) and appeared in both seasons.[160]

    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 is shown in a more approving light.[161] Cicero is portrayed as a hero in the novel A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell (1965). Robert Harris' novels Imperium, Lustrum (published under the name Conspirata in the United States) and Dictator 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).[162] Cicero is a major recurring character in the Roma Sub Rosa series of mystery novels by Steven Saylor.[163] He also appears several times as a peripheral character in John Maddox Roberts' SPQR series.[164]

    Samuel Barnett portrays Cicero in a 2017 audio drama series pilot produced by Big Finish Productions. A full series was released the following year.[165] All Episodes are written by David Llewellyn[166] and directed and produced by Scott Handcock.[167] Llewellyn, Handcock and Barnett re-teamed in the Doctor Who audio-drama Tartarus (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 lens. Then I remembered that Simon Callow still performs as Charles Dickens, and that he played Dickens before reprising him in the Doctor Who TV episode, The Unquiet Dead – so I got over myself!".[168] it was released in September 2019.