A great Roman philosopher, politician, jurist and orator.
Childhood and early years
Cicero was born in the ancient city of Arpinum, located on a hill 100 km from Rome. His father belonged to the ranks of the horsemen and had good connections in Rome. About his mother, Helvia, little is known.
According to the Greek historian Plutarch, the outstanding abilities of the young Cicero lead him, along with other disciples – Servius Sulpicius Rufus and Titus Pomponius – to study law under the direction of Quintus Mucis Scsevola.
In the 90-88 g. BC. During the Allied War, Cicero serves in the hands of the Roman generals Gneus Pompeius Strabo and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, although he does not like military life at all. In the year 80 BC. e. he takes up his first lawsuit, the successful defense of Sextus Roscius, accused of parricide – the act is very bold, considering that the crime was grave, and those who were accused of murder by Cicero, enjoyed the special disposition of the dictator Sulla.
In the year 79 BC. probably fearing the wrath of Sulla, Cicero leaves Rome and travels through Greece, Asia Minor and the island of Rhodes. In Athens he meets Attica, who was already an honorary citizen by that time, who represents him to a number of influential Athenians.
Cicero is constantly looking for less debilitating ways of making speeches, and therefore appeals for help to the rhetorician Apollonia Molon of Rhodes, who taught him a less intense form of oratory.
In 75 BC. e. Cicero is elected quaestor of western Sicily, where he manifests himself as a truthful and honest man in relation to the local population. He successfully conducts the case on charges of Guy Werres, the corrupt Sicilian ruler.
His speeches “in Verrem”, uttered in 70 BC. e., attracted to it the attention of the ancient world.
Cicero safely overcomes the Roman “cursus honorum”, “the path of honor” is a succession of services that it was necessary for a successful politician to go through, being in turn a quaestor, aedil, praetor and, at the end, at the age of 43, being elected consul.
Consul he becomes in 63 BC. e. – at the very time when he reveals a conspiracy aimed at killing himself, as well as overthrowing the Republic with the help of a foreign army led by Lucius Sergiy Catilina.
Cicero seeks “Senatus Consultum Ultimum” –
announcements about the introduction of martial law, and expels Katilina from the city with four passionate speeches, which to this day are the best examples of his rhetorical style.
Katilina fled and began calling for a coup d’état, but Cicero forces him and his supporters to publicly confess his guilt to the Senate. The conspirators were executed without any trial, and this will torment Cicero for many years.
In the year 60 BC. E., Cicero rejects the proposal of Julius Caesar to join the First Triumvirate, which at that time consisted of Julius Caesar, Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, since the speaker was firmly convinced that the Triumvirate would undermine the foundations of the Republic.
In 58 BC. e. Publius Clodius Pulcher, the people’s tribune, publishes a law that threatened to expel anyone who had murdered a Roman resident without trial. And so Cicero is exiled to the Greek Trétalonica.
Thanks to the intervention of the newly-elected tribune Titus Annius Milo, Cicero is returned from exile. In 57 BC. e. he returns to Italy, landing on the shore of Brundisium under the joyful cries of the crowd.
Cicero is no longer allowed to engage in political activities, and therefore he takes up philosophy. Between 55 and 51 BC. e. he wrote treatises “On the oratorical art”, “On the state” and “On the laws.”
After the death of Crassus, the Triumvirate fell, and in 49 BC. e. Caesar with his army crosses the river Rubicon, invades Italy. Here begins the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Cicero, although reluctantly, supports Pompey. As for trouble, in 48 BC. e. Caesar’s army triumphs, and he becomes the first Roman emperor. Cicero, he grants pardon, but does not let him close to political life. In the March Ides of 44 BC. E., as a result of the conspiracy of a group of senators, Caesar was killed. And again a struggle for power broke out, the key figures in which were Mark Antony, Mark Lepidus and Octavian. Cicero pronounces speeches, the “philippics”, received their name on behalf of the Greek orator Demosthenes,
However, Mark Antony, Lepidius and Octavian agree to share power among themselves, which implies that each of them will give out the names of his probable enemies. Cicero is trying to flee to Italy – but, alas, too late. The orator was caught and killed.
The main works
“Treatise on oratorical art”, completed by Cicero in 55 BC. E., is a verbose work, written in the form of a dialogue in which the author puts the rhetoric above the law and philosophy. The author disputes the fact that an ideal orator should have knowledge of these sciences, and also possess eloquence.
Personal life and heritage
In the year 79 BC. at about the age of 27, Cicero joins his fate with Terentia. Marriage, concluded for profit, will last 30 years in peace and harmony, but end in divorce.
In 46 BC. E., Cicero takes his wife, the young defendant, to be his wife. However, seeing the indifference shown by Publius to the death of his daughter, Tully, to whom she was very jealous of her husband, Cicero breaks up the marriage.
Cicero was killed in 43 BC. E., by order of Mark Antony, when trying to escape to Italy.
This Roman speaker has the words: “Life, granted to us by nature, is short, but the memory of a well-lived life is eternal”.