Marcus Tullius Cicero became famous for his oratory. He managed to develop this innate gift to perfection.
He came from a not very noble family. Cicero’s father was a soldier who never managed to build a military career due to poor health.
His father had a huge influence on Cicero’s life. He dreamed that his sons would make a political career, and therefore moved to Rome, the center of the empire so that they could get a decent education.
The great orator often said that he had two homelands: the Roman Empire and the city of Arpinum (now called Arpino), where he was born.
Marcus Tullius Cicero studied the works of Greek poets and philosophers from a young age, and also studied eloquence with famous orators of that time.
Cicero joined the Senate, the supreme governing body of the Roman Empire, at the age of no more than 33 years, becoming the youngest senator of this state ever.
Marcus Tullius Cicero believed that celebrating a birthday was unworthy of a philosopher. This holiday is very important for many people, but he mentioned it only once in his writings.
Political rivals have repeatedly reproached him for having “grown up in the village.”
Cicero served in the army of the ancient Roman commander and dictator Lucius Sulla when he was young.
He considered the republic, not the dictatorship, to be the best state system. Therefore, Cicero was happy to receive the news that Gaius Julius Caesar had been killed. He hoped that the republican system would be restored.
The great speaker was born about 2000 years ago. His year of birth is only approximately established, and now it’s believed that he was born in 89 BC, give or take.
A significant part of Cicero’s literary heritage is lost. Only 58 speeches written by him, as well as 18 philosophical and rhetorical treatises, have come down to our days.
He often wrote letters to other Roman politicians. Some of those letters have also been found, more than 800 of them.
Political rivals repeatedly organized attempts on Cicero’s life, but none of them was successful.
One of the most interesting facts about Cicero is that he was so proficient in Latin, his native language, that his literary style became considered a standard during his lifetime.
Cicero wrote his speeches in such a way that when they have been pronounced aloud, a special rhythm could be traced. This enhanced the impression of them. But he didn’t invent this technique, it was known long before him.
One day he uncovered a plot aimed at a coup d’etat and seizure of power in Rome. The organizer of this conspiracy, Lucius Catilina, escaped, but at the demand of the orator was caught and executed without trial. This created an important precedent: up to this day, no citizen of the Roman Empire was deprived of the right to a fair trial, no matter what crime he committed.
In the Middle Ages, the popularity of ancient philosophers plummeted due to the fact that, according to the Church, they were pagans. But an exception was made for Marcus Tullius Cicero, his works were studied and copied in lots of monasteries. That’s why they have been preserved to our time.
The influence of Cicero’s style on literature led to the formation of a new style of Latin, which became the basis for the formation of literary styles of many other European languages.
After Caesar’s death, Mark Antony, who seized power in Rome, included Cicero in the list of enemies of Rome, and the orator had to flee to Greece. But the escape attempt failed: the legionaries sent after Cicero overtook him. Realizing that it was useless to run, he ordered the servants to stop, and stuck his head out of the window of the palanquin, putting it under the sword.