Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman lawyer, orator, and statesman. HE is one of the best-known figures of the Roman politics in the 1st century BCE.

Cicero came to Rome from a small hill town Arpium and entered the Roman public life as a novus homo (a man without noble ancestry). He started a successful career as a lawyer and orator and climbed the cursus honorum to the very top - in 63 BCE he held the office of consul. 

It was during his consulship when he played a crucial role in debunking the conspiracy of Lucius Sergius Catilina (a.k.a. Catiline). Cicero attacked Catiline in a series of famous speeches in the Senate and forced him to leave the city. After the defeat of Catilina, Cicero made a controversial decision to execute the conspirators without trial. This was accepted at the time, but later came back as gunpowder for the attacks of Cicero's political enemies (especially Publius Clodius Pulcher) and was the cause of his exile from Rome. 

Cicero returned from his exile and continued to play an important part in all the political fights and civil wars of that period. He tried to do whatever he could to maintain the constitution of the Republic and avoid tyranny. He was a close ally with Cato the Younger in this and favoured Pompey over Caesar. After the military defeats and deaths of Pompey and Cato, Caesar granted a pardon for Cicero.

After Caesar's assassination, he cooperated with his heir Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) in opposition to Marc Anthony. However, after Octavian and Marc Anthony made peace (which was not destined to last long), Anthony was allowed to carry on his personal revenge against Cicero. He had him murdered and displayed Cicero's head and hands on the Forum Romanum.

 

 

 


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