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Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3rd 106 BC on his

grandfather’s farm a few miles from the hill town of Arpinum. It was in Italy, 70 miles

away from Rome. Cicero was definitely a remembrance to all of Rome and still is

everywhere today. He was a good citizen to Rome and did what was best for the people.

Cicero grew up in a wealthy family, so he got the opportunity to go to

school. He received most of his education in Rome, because his father, brother, and he

moved to Rome. His father wanted to ensure that the boys could benefit from the big city.

His education consisted of a business lasting until the age of 17. Cicero and his brother,

Quintus, learned by heart, large portions of the works from the poet Homer. He was

inspired by him and became very interested in philosophy. He studied great playwrights,

historians, and philosophers of Greece. Cicero was a great student and so intelligent.

Fathers of other students in his class would come into school just so they could see for

themselves the talent Cicero had. Plutarch said he was good in poetry and especially

excellent in oratory, the art of making speeches. Cicero was considered one of the very

best orators Rome ever had. Learning from a lawyer, Scaevola, helped Cicero by

watching and listening.

Cicero married Terentia around the age of 27, in 79 BC. He was forced to

have a wife that came from the right sort of family, so she was wealthy as well. They had

a daughter, Tullia, but she died at a young age. Cicero then had a son, Marcus, who was

very important to carry on the family name. Terentia and Cicero’s marriage did not last

long.

Cicero was always striving for intellectual and spiritual growth. He

continually would try to improve his human faults. Cicero served as quaestor in 75,

became senator in 74, and was elected aedile in 69. He had always been a supporter of
the republican style of government and would hate to see it corrupted. His most intense

part in office was when he won election as consul in 63 BC. Catiline, a former runner up

to consul was jealous of Cicero and plotted to kill him and his fellow consul, Antonious.

He planned on taking over the government, but Cicero acted swiftly and boldly to stop

Catiline. Cicero was a hero to all the people, but no one knew he made an error in

judgment that day. Cicero denied the conspirators’ legal rights and caused the death of the

Roman citizen without a regular trial, and that came back to haunt Cicero. Later, one of

the chief associates, Clodius, found out about Cicero’s wrong act and silenced him.

Cicero went into exile in Greece. Plutarch wrote, “He remained for most of the time

miserable…keeping his eyes fixed, like a distressed lover, on Italy.” (Plutarch 61) Cicero

returned home in 16 months.

Being a lawyer, orator, consul, senator, patriot, and a gifted writer, made

him big later in life. While keeping his job as a lawyer, he also organized public

entertainment at festivals, and was responsible for supervising the markets of Rome.

Cicero has 58 lengthy speeches, more than 800 letters, and 2,000 pages of philosophical

and rhetorical tracts. Those were about him, friends, society, and roman character. Most

of his works were addressed to his best friend, Titus Pomponius Atticus.

In 44 BC, after Caesar’s assassination, he hoped he could stop Antony

from destroying Rome and renew the traditional system. He made some speeches of

Antony, telling him to change his ways. But in 43, Antony joined a triumvirate with

Lepidus and Octavian. Their first order of business was to kill their enemies, and Cicero

appeared at the top of the list. When Antony found his enemies, they cut off his head and

hands and nailed them to a platform in Rome’s main square. “Most of those who stood by
covered their faces while they were killing him.” (Plutarch 63) In a real sense, that was

the day the republic died with Cicero.

Marcus Tullius Cicero died on December 7th 43 BC in Formia, Italy. He

never quit understood how people like Antony could disregard the good of the

community that had nurtured him. After he died, his speeches became textbooks of

oratory, and his ideas and deeds were retold by scholars and writers of all disciplines and

nationalities. Cicero, last champion of the republic, was known as the greatest statesman

who gave his life trying to preserve Rome more than any other person of the ancient

world. “All in all, Cicero was...a human, not heroic personality. He was warm-hearted

and emotional, a good friend, but always a good hater.” (John Rolfe 56)