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Marcus Tulius Cicero

I. Life

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3, 106 BC in Arpinium, Roman Republic and was
murderedon the age of 64 on December 7, 43 BC in Formia Roman Republic. His life coincided with
the decline and fall of the Roman Republic, and he was an important actor in many of the significant
political events of his time. He was, among other things, an orator, lawyer, politician, and
philosopher. Making sense of his writings and understanding his philosophy requires us to keep that
in mind. He placed politics above philosophical study; the latter was valuable in its own right but was
even more valuable as the means to more effective political action. The only periods of his life in
which he wrote philosophical works were the times he was forcibly prevented from taking part in
politics.

KAPE KUMA! x)) ala agreact ka kanu ah.. tsss

Ciceros political career was a remarkable one. At the time, high political offices in Rome, though
technically achieved by winning elections, were almost exclusively controlled by a group of wealthy
aristocratic families that had held them for many generations. Ciceros family, though aristocratic,
was not one of them, nor did it have great wealth. But Cicero had a great deal of political ambition;
at a very young age he chose as his motto the same one Achilles was said to have had: to always be
the best and overtop the rest. Lacking the advantages of a proper ancestry, there were essentially
only two career options open to him. One was a military career, since military success was thought
to result from exceptional personal qualities and could lead to popularity and therefore political
opportunity. Cicero, however, was no soldier. He hated war, and served in the military only very
briefly as a young man. Instead, Cicero chose a career in the law. To prepare for this career, he
studied jurisprudence, rhetoric, and philosophy. When he felt he was ready, he began taking part in
legal cases. First, a lawyer would gain a great deal of experience in making speeches. Second, he
(there were no female lawyers in Rome) could also gain exposure and popularity from high-profile
cases. Finally, a successful lawyer would build up a network of political connections, which is
important now but was even more important in Ciceros time, when political competition was not
conducted along party lines or on the basis of ideology, but instead was based on loose, shifting
networks of personal friendships and commitments. And in 60 BC Julius Caesar, Pompey, and
Crassus (often referred to today as the First Triumvirate) combined their resources and took control
of Roman politics. Recognizing his popularity and talents, they made several attempts to get Cicero
to join them, but Cicero hesitated and eventually refused, preferring to remain loyal to the Senate
and the idea of the Republic. He was the then exiled from Italy thus began his studies and works
known as the On the Orator, On the Republic, and On the Laws.

II. Works

On the Mixed Constitution
Cicero adopts Aristotles typology of forms of rule. Neither kingship nor aristocracy nor democracy is
perfect. While each form of rule is tolerable the problem is that each can be perverted.

Cicero believed, even though in can be perverted, monarchy is the most desirable among the three. But
even monarchy will be excelled by the kind of state that is formed by an equal balancing and blending of
the three unmixed types first, there should be a dominant and royal element in the commonwealth. 2
nd
,
that some power should be granted and assigned to the influence of the aristocracy and 3
rd
, that certain
matters should be reserved to the people for decision and judgment.
He says that the best constituted state is one which is formed by the due combination of the 3 simple
types.

State as Commonwealth
States should be seen as commonwealths : Property of the people (res publica). Arises out of mans
social spirit

Fundamental characteristics : Equality, Liberty, Law and Justice.

As a Commonwealth the state is an association and partnership in justice.
Law is the basis for civic associations. Equality is the foundation of justice. Liberty finds its highest
expression in the commonwealth. Open and deliberate elections are vital to the states survival.

Mankind as a Commonwealth
Reason is the first common possession between God and man.
Those who have reason in common must have right reason in common. Hence, Law and justice are
common to men. Those who share reason, Law and justice belong to the same commonwealth.

Nature of Law

Law is the highest reasons, implanted in nature which commands what ought to be done and forbids the
opposite. That the law is intelligence whose natural function is to command right conduct and forbid
wrongdoing. That the origin of Justice is to be found in Law, for law is a natural force it is the mind and
reason of the intelligent man, the standard by which justice and injustice are to be measured.

Law is not a product of human thought nor it is any enactment of peoples, but something eternal which
rules the whole universe by its wisdom and command and prohibition. Law is the primal and the
ultimate mind of God. Whose reason directs all things either compulsion or restraint.


Natural v. Positive Law
Positive law refers to laws that are devised by men (legislation)
Cicero contends that law should be based on right reason and in accordance with nature. Hence, he
alludes to a broader, more fundamental natural law as the basis for positive law.

Right, Reason, and Nature

We ought to follow nature as our guide to contribute to the general good by an interchange