The Life & Works Of Marcus Tullius Cicero

1586 words - 6 pages

Marcus Tullius Cicero is credited with being one of the greatest of the Roman orators. "He was born at Arpinum, the native place of Marius, 106 BCE., the same year, which gave birth to Pompey the Great. His family was ancient, and of equestrian rank, but had never taken part in public affairs at Rome, though both his father and grandfather were persons of consideration in the part of Italy in which they resided." (Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Letters to friends / edited and translated by D.R. Shackleton Bailey. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001).His father determined to educate his two sons, Marcus and Quintus, on an enlarged and liberal plan, and to fit them for the prospect of public employment, which his own weak state of health incapacitated him from seeking. One of his earliest masters was the poet Archias, whom he defended afterwards. "Soon after he assumed the toga virilis, he was placed tinder the care of Scaevola, the celebrated lawyer, whom he introduces in several of his philosophical dialogues." (Nardo, Don, 1947- Rulers of Ancient Rome / by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA : Lucent Books, c1999. Discusses the contributions of various rulers of ancient Rome, including Fabius, Marius, Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, Nero, Constantine, and Justinian.)Cicero took the opportunity of serving a campaign under the consul Pompeitis Strabo, father of Pompey the Great. He returned to the study of philosophy tinder Philo the Academic. But his chief attention was reserved for oratory, to which he applied himself with the assistance of Molo, the ablest rhetorician of the day. Diodotus the Stoic also exercised him in the argumentative subtleties for which the disciples of Zeno were known.Cicero was the first Roman who found his way to the highest dignities of the State with no other recommendation than his powers of eloquence and his merits as a civil magistrate. The first case of importance which he undertook was the defense of Roscius Amerintis, in which he distinguished himself by his courageous defense, of his client, who had been accused of parricide, by Chrysogonus, a favorite of Stilia's. This obliging him, however, according to Plutarch, to leave Rome from Prudential motives, the power of Sulla being at that time paramount, he traveled for two years under pretense of his health. At Athens he met with Pomponius Atticus, whom he had formerly known at school, and attended the lectures of Antiochus, who, under the name of an Academic, taught the dogmatic doctrines of Plato and the Stoics. Though Cicero at first evinced considerable dislike, for his philosophical views, be seems afterwards to have adopted the sentiments of the Old Academy, which they much resembled, and not until late in life to have. relapsed into the skeptical tenets of his earlier instructor Philo.After visiting the principal philosophers and rhetoricians of Asia, he returned at the age of thirty to Rome, so strengthened that he soon eclipsed in speaking all his competitors for...

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