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Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman lawyer, orator and statesman.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman lawyer, orator and statesman. Portrait bust. Cicero (106-43 BC) is remembered as the greatest of Roman orators. He upheld the Republican principles of Rome during the civil wars which brought Julius Caesar to power.

(Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images) 'Cicero denouncing Cataline', 1850s. Artist: John Leech

'Cicero denouncing Cataline', 1850s. Scene from The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A Beckett.

(Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Definition:

Details on Cicero
Basics on Cicero

Full Name: Marcus Tullius Cicero
Dates: 106-43 B.C.
Birthplace: Arpinum, about 70 miles south-east of Rome
Occupation: Statesman, Orator, Philosopher
Family: Terentia (wife); Tullia (daughter)

Marcus Tullius Cicero rose remarkably to the top of the Roman political hierarchy, fell precipitously, went into exile because of his hostile relations with Clodius Pulcher, made a permanent name for himself in Latin literature, and had contact with contemporaries like his confidant Atticus, and all the big names, Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony and Octavian (Augustus).

Cicero came from Arpinum, in Italy. He entered the Senate in 74 B.C. and became consul in 64, beating an aristocrat, Lucius Sergius Catilina (Catiline). This same Catilina was later implicated in a plot to overthrow the government, which is known as the conspiracy of Catiline or the Catilinarian Conspiracy. Cicero suppressed it and had members of it executed. In the tumult over this extra-legal move, Cicero was forced into exile.

In 50 B.C. he returned to Rome and joined Caesar's rival, Pompey. When Caesar defeated Pompey in 48, Cicero accepted Caesar's friendship. After Caesar died, Cicero supported his successor Octavian (Augustus), but was still proscribed and murdered on December 7, 43 B.C.

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