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CICERO
Marcus Tullius Cicero. The celebrated Roman orator, born at Arpinum, January 3rd, 106 B.C. He was son of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Helvia, his family being of equestrian rank, but not yet ennobled by office. With his brother Quintus he received his education in Rome, where he soon had an opportunity of hearing and admiring the two most celebrated orators of the day, Crassus and Antonius. He took the toga virilis in 90 B.C., and, while practising rhetorical exercises, devoted himself with ardour to the study of law. In 89 he served on his first campaign in the Marsian War. After this he began his studies in philosophy, mainly under the guidance of the Academic philosopher, Philo of Larissa. The presence of the Rhodian rhetorician Molo in Rome, and afterwards the instruction in dialectic given him by the Stoic Dioduus, gave him the opportunity he desired for furthering his training as an orator. Having thus carefully prepared himself for his future vocation during the period of the civil disturbances, he started on his career as an orator under Sulla's dictatorship. He began with civil or private cases. One of his earliest speeches, the Pro Quinctio, still survives. This oration [in which he defends his client on the question of his conduct in a partnership] he delivered in 81 B.C., in his 26th year. In the following year he first appeared in a causa publica, and not on the side of the prosecution, the usual course for beginners, but on that of the defence. His client was Sextus Roscius of Ameria, accused of murdering his own father. This speech laid the foundation of Cicero's fame, and not only because it was successful. People admired the intrepidity with which Cicero stood up against Chrysogonus, the favourite, of the omnipotent dictator. In the following year, for the sake of his delicate health, Cicero started on a two years, tour in Greece and Asia, taking every opportunity of finishing his education as a philosopher and orator. For philosophy he had recourse to the most celebrated professors at Athens: for rhetoric he went to Rhodes, to his former instructor, Molo. In B.C. 77 he returned to Rome, his health restored, and his intellect matured. In this year he married Terentia. Hie career as an advocate he pursued with such success that he was unanimously elected quaestor in 76 B.C.. He was stationed at Lilybaeum, in Sicily, and administered his office unimpeachably. After his return he entered the senate, and developed an extraordinary activity as a speaker. In consequence he was elected to the curule aedileship in 70 B.C. It was in this year that the Sicilians, remembering the conscientiousness and unselfishness he had displayed in his quaestorship, begged him to lead the prosecution against Verres. For three years this man had, in the most infamous manner, ill-treated and plundered the province. Cicero had to contend with all kinds of hindrances thrown in his way by the aristocratic friends of Verres. By the Divinatio in Caecilium he had to make good his claims to prosecute against those of Caecilius Niger. The defence was led by the most famous orator of the day, Hertensins. But Cicero managed to collect such a mass of evidence, and to marshal it with such ability, that after the actio prima, or first hearing, Verres found it advisable to retire into voluntary exile. The unused material Cicero worked up into an actio secunda in five speeches. The whole proceeding made him so popular that, spoiled as the multitude was, no one complained of his economical expenditure on the games during his aedilesbip. He was unanimously elected praetor in 67 B.C. In this office he made his first political speech in 66, successfully defending the proposal of the tribune Manilius to give Pompeius the command in the Mithridatic war, with unprecedented and almost absolute power. In 64 B.C. he came forward as candidate for the consulship, and was successful, in spite of the efforts of his enemies. He owed his success to the support of the nobility, who had hitherto regarded him, as a homonovus, with disfavour, but had come to recognise him as a champion of the party of order. He obtained the office, as he had the rest, suo anno, that is in the first year in which his candidature was legally possible. The danger with which Catiline's agitation was threatening the State, determined Cicero to offer a vigorous opposition to everything likely to disturb public order. With this view he delivered three speeches, in which he frustrated the agrarian proposals of the tribune Servilius Rullus. He also led the defence of the aged Rabirius, whom the leaders of the democratic party, to excite the people against the senate, had prosecute for the murder of Saturninus thirty-six years before. To avoid the danger and excitement of a fresh consular election for 62, he undertook the defence of the consul designatus L. Murena, on the charge of bribery; and this, although the accusers of Murena numbered among them Cicero's best friends, and, indeed, rested their case upon the very law by which Cicero had himself proposed to increase the penalties for bribery. The conspiracy of Catiline gave Cicero an opportunity of displaying in the most brilliant light his acuteness, his energy, his patriotism, and even his power as an orator. He discovered the conspiracy, and helped largely to suppress it by the execution of the chief conspirators, who had remained behind in Rome. Cicero's consulship marks the climax of his career. He received, it is true, the honourable title of pater patriae; but, a few weeks later, he bad a clear warning of what he had to expect from the opposite party in the way of reward for his services. When laying down his office he was about to make a speech, giving an account of his administration. The tribune Metellus Nepos interrupted him, and insisted on his confining himself to the oath usual on the occasion. In the following year he had opportunities for displaying his eloquence in the defence of P. Cornelius Sulla and the poet Archias. But he was often attacked, and had, in particular, to meet a new danger in the hostility of Clodius Pulcher, whose mortal hatred only too soon hit upon a chance of sating itself. Cicero would not accede to the plans of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, but offered them a strenuous resistance. He deceived himself as to his own political importance, and refused to quit the city except under compulsion. The triumvirs accordingly abandoned him to the vengeance of Clodius. Clodius was elected tribune of the plebs in 58 B.C. , and at once proposed that any person should be made an outlaw, who should have put Roman citizens to death without trial. Cicero met the charge by retiring into voluntary exile early in April, 58. He went to Thessalonica, and Macedonia, where he found a safe retreat at the house of the quaestor Plancius. The sentence was, however, pronounced against him; his house on the Palatine was burnt down, his country houses plundered and destroyed, and even his family maltreated. It is true that, as early as the next year, he was recalled with every mark of distinction, and welcomed in triumph by the people on his entrance into Rome at the beginning of September. But his political activity was crippled by the power of the triumvirs. His fear of Clodius forced him to comply with their commands as a means of keeping in their good graces. But all this only stimulated him to show greater energy as an orator. His chief efforts were put forth in defending his friends, when prosecuted by political antagonists, as, for instance, Publius Sestius in 56 B.C., Gnaeus Plancius in 54, Titus Annius Milo in 52. His defence of the latter, accused of the murder of Clodius, was unsuccessful. It was at this period that he began to apply himself to literature. In 53 B.C. he was elected augur; from July, 51, to July, 50, he administered the province of Cilicia as proconsul. In this capacity, his clemency, uprightness and unselfishness won for him the greatest respect. For his conduct in a campaign against the robber tribes of Mount Amanus he was honoured by the title of Imperator, a public thanksgiving, and the prospect of a triumph. He landed in Italy towards the end of November, B.C. 50, and found that a breach between Pompey and Caesar was inevitable. The civil war broke out in the next year, and, after long hesitation, Cicero finally decided for Pompey, and followed him to Greece. But after the battle of Pharsalus, in which ill-health prevented him from taking a part, he deserted his friends, and crossed to Brundisium. Here he had to wait a whole year before Caesar pardoned him, and gave him leave to return to Rome. Caesar treated him with distinction and kindness, but Cicero kept aloof from public life. Nothing short of the calls of friendship could induce him to appear in the courts, as he did for Marcellus, Ligarius and Deiotarus. The calamities of his country; his separation from his wife Terentia, in 46 B.C. , after a married life of thirty-three years; his hasty union with the young and wealthy Publilia, so soon to be dissolved; the unhappy marriage and death of his favourite daughter Tullia; all this was a heavy affliction for him. He found some consolation in studying philosophy, and applying himself with energy to literary work. The murder of Caesar on March 15th, 44 B.C., roused him from his retirement, though he had taken no actual part in the deed. His patriotism excited him once more to take an active part in public life, and his first aimwas to effect a reconciliation of parties. He succeeded so far as to secure the passing of a general amnesty. But it was not long before the intrigues and the hostility of the Caesarian party forced him again to leave Rome. He was on his way to Greece, when, at the end of August, he was recalled, by false rumours, to the Capitol. In a moment of deep irritation against Antonius, he delivered, on the 2nd of September, the first of his fourteen Philippic orations, so called after those of Demosthenes. The second Philippic was never spoken, but published as a pamphlet; the last was delivered on the 21st April, B.C. 43. On the retirement of Antonius from Rome, Cicero found himself again playing a prominent part in politics. All the efforts of his party to bring about a restoration of the ancient republican freedom centred in him. But,when Octavianus disappointed the hopes which he had excited, and attached himself to Antonius and Lepidus in the second triumvirate, Cicero, now the chief man in the senate, was declared an outlaw. Intending to fly to Macedonia, as he had done fifteen years before, he was overtaken by his pursuers near Caieta, and put to death on September 7th, 43 B.C. , shortly before he had completed his sixty-fourth year. His head and right hand were exposed on the rostra by Antonius. The literary labours of Cicero signalize an important advance in the development of Latin literature. It is not only that he is to be regarded as the creator of classical Latin prose. He was also the first writer who broke ground, to any great extent, in fields of literature which, before him, had remained almost untouched. He had insight enough to perceive that his vocation lay in the career of an orator. His industry, throughout his whole life, was untiring; he was never blinded by success; to educate himself, and perfect himself in his art, was the object which he never lost sight of. His speeches, accordingly, give brilliant testimony to his combination of genius with industry. Besides the fifty-sevon speeches which survive in a more or less complete shape, and the most important of which have been mentioned above, we have about twenty fragments of others, and the titles of thirty-five more. Cicero was justified in boasting that no orator had written so many speeches, and in such different styles, as himself [Orator, c. 29, 30]. These orations were partly political, partly forensic; the latter being mostly on the side of the defenee. Cicero was also the author of panegyrics, as that, for instance, upon Cato. With few exceptions, as the second actio against Verres, the Pro Milone, and the panegyrics, they were actually delivered, and published afterwards. Extending over thirty-eight years, they give an excellent idea of Cicero's steady progress in the mastery of his art. They are of unequal merit, but everywhere one feels the touch of the born and cultivated orator. A wealth of ideas and of wit, ready acuteness, the power of making an obscure subject clear and a dry subject interesting, mastery of pathos, a tendency to luxuriance of language, generally tempered by good taste to the right measure, an unsurpassed tact in the use of Latin idiom and expression, a wonderful feeling for the rhythm and structure of prose writing: these are Cicero's characteristics. With all the faults which his contemporaries and later critics had to find with his speeches, Cicero never lost his position as the most classical representative of Latin oratory, and he was judged the equal, or nearly the equal, of Demosthenes. The knowledge which he had acquired in his practice as a speaker he turned to account in his writings on Rhetoric. In these he set forth the technical rules of the Greek writers, applying to them the results of his own experience, and his sense of the requirements of Latin oratory. Besides the two books entitled Rhetorica or De Inventione, a boyish essay devoid of all originality, the most important of his works on this subject are: (1) The De Oratore, a treatise in three books, written 55 B.C. This work, the form and contents of which are alike striking, is written in the style of a dialogae. Its subject is the training necessary for an orator, the proper handling of his theme, the right style, and manner of delivery. (2) The Brutus, or De Claris Oratoribus, written in B.C. 46; a history of Latin oratory from the earliest period down to Cicero's own time. (3) The Orator, a sketch of the ideal orator, written in the same year as the Brutus. Cicero also devoted a large number of books to Greek philosophy, a subject which he was concerned to render accessible to his countrymen. His writings in this line lack depth and thoroughness; but it must be said at the same time that he has the great merit of being the first Latin writer who treated these questions with taste and in an intelligible form, and who created a philosophical language in Latin. The framework which he adopts is usually that of the Aristotelian dialogue, though he does not always consistently adhere to it. It was not until after his fiftieth year that he began to write on philosophy, and in the years B.C. 45 and 44, when almost entirely excluded from politics, he developed an extraordinary activity in this direction. The following philosophical works survive, either in whole or in part: (1) Fragments, amounting to about one-third of the work, of the six books, De Re Publica, written B.C. 54-51. (2) Three books of an unfinished treatise, De Legibus, written about 52. (3) Paradoxa Stoicorum, a short treatment of six Stoical texts, B.C. 46. (4) Five books on the greatest good and the greatest evil (De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum), B.C. 45. This is the best of his philosophical works. (5) The second book of the first edition, and the first book of the second edition, of the Academica,B.C.45. (6) The five books of the Tusculan Disputations, B.C. 44. In the same year appeared (7) the De Natura Deorum, in three, and (8) the De Divinatione, in two books. (9) A fragment on the Stoical doctrine of Fate. (10) The Cato Maior, or De Senectute. (11) Laellus, or De Amicitia . (12) De Officiis, or On Ethics, in three books. Besides these, a whole series of philosophical and other prose writings by Cicero are known to us only in fragments, or by their titles. The multifarious nature of Cicero's occupation as a statesman and an orator did not hinder him from keeping up a voluminous correspondence, from which 864 letters (including 90 addressed to Cicero, are preserved in four collections. These letters form an inexhaustible store of information, bearing upon Cicero's own life as well as upon contemporary history in all its aspects. We have (1) The Epistulae ad Familiares, in sixteen books, B.C. 63-43; (2) The Epistulce ad Atticum, in sixteen books, B.C. 68-43; (3) Three books of letters to his brother Quintus; (4) Two books of correspondence between Cicero and Brutus after the death of Caesar, the genuineness of which is [rightly] disputed. Cicero also made some attempts to write poetry, in his youth for practice, in his later life mainly from vanity. His youthful effort was a translation of Aratus, of which some fragments remain. After 63 B.C. he celebrated his own consulship in three books of verses. [He is a considerable metrist, but not a real poet.]

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