Cicero

(c.106 – 43 B.C.)

I. Who is he ?

Orator, Poet, Lawyer, Philosopher An idealistic, conservative, Roman thinker that aspired for the continuation of the Republic; is known as the “Republic’s genuine champion”

II. Birth & Family
Born in Arpinum, Italy on January 3, 106 B.C.  Family had no senatorial aristocratic connections  Cicero’s father was a Roman Knight  Cicero = “chickpea” in Latin  Had a disadvantaged ancestry  Experienced marital hardship and tragedy when he had a family of his own

III. Early Life
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Showed a great deal of promise at an early age; prodigy intelligence Attracted attention from all over Rome Wrote Poetry (included translations of works by Homer) Had great admiration for Greek culture Went on to study jurisprudence, rhetoric, and philosophy Schooled at Old Academy & New Academy; descendents from New Academy; a school established by Plato

IV. Career Highlights
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Proved himself to be an an excellent orator, lawyer, and a shrewd politician Elected to each of the principle Roman offices (quaestor, aedile, praetor, and consul) As consul in 63 B.C., responsible for unraveling and exposing the conspiracy of Catiline Between 55 and 51 B.C., wrote 25 works of philosophy including: Hortensius, On The Orator, On The Republic, On The Laws, addressed his support in homosexual lifestyles in The Duties

IV. Career Highlights

80 B.C., takes first major case as a lawyer defending Roscius for a murder he did not commit. Roscius is acquitted; Cicero’s reputation rapidly improves. It is this very case that prompted his office position as quastor for Sicily in 75 B.C.

V. Political & Social Thought
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Cicero’s middle-class background resulted in a broader outlook, not marred by self-interest. Aspired to a Republican system dominated by a ruling aristocratic class of men, “who so conducted themselves as to win for their policy the approval of all good men” Aimed at restoring the Republic system by revitalizing the moral degradation found in the system Opposed any personal involvement in military; did not like war (served for a short time under Sylla)

VI. Downfall of Cicero
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60 BC: Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus combined their resources and took control of Roman politics. Recognizing Cicero’s popularity and talents, they made several attempts to get Cicero to join them; Cicero refuses 58 BC: Coldius (a follower of Caesar) proposes a law to be applied stating that anyone who killed a Roman citizen without trial would be stripped of their citizenship and forced into exile 49 BC: Caesar ignited a war between himself and Pompey; event changes political atmosphere in Rome 44 BC: Caesar murdered by a group of Senators; Cicero was not a part of the conspiracy Cicero’s Opposition to Mark Antony, Philippics, and Cicero’s death