Roman statesman, lawyer, orator, and philosopher (106–43 BC) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Marcus Tullius Cicero[lower-alpha 1] (/ˈsɪsər/ SISS-ə-roh; Latin: [ˈmaːrkʊs ˈtʊlli.ʊs ˈkɪkɛroː]; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, writer and academic skeptic,[3] who tried to uphold optimate principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire.[4] His extensive writings include treatises on rhetoric, philosophy and politics. He is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists and the innovator of what became known as Ciceronian rhetoric.[5][6][7] Cicero was educated in Rome and in Greece. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and served as consul in 63 BC.

Quick facts: Cicero, Consul of the Roman Republic, Governo...
White marble bust
First-century AD bust of Cicero at the Capitoline Museums, Rome
Consul of the Roman Republic
In office
63 BC  63 BC
Governor of Cilicia
In office
51 BC  50 BC
Personal details
Born3 January 106 BC
Arpinum, Italy, Roman Republic
Died7 December 43 BC (aged 63)
Formia, Italy, Roman Republic
Manner of deathAssassination (by order of Mark Antony)
  • Terentia (79–51 BC)
  • Publilia (46–45 BC)
ChildrenTullia and Cicero Minor
RelativesQuintus Tullius Cicero (brother)
OccupationStatesman, lawyer, writer, orator

Philosophy career
Notable work
EraHellenistic philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas

His influence on the Latin language was immense. He wrote more than three-quarters of extant Latin literature that is known to have existed in his lifetime, and it has been said that subsequent prose was either a reaction against or a return to his style, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century.[8][9][10] Cicero introduced into Latin the arguments of the chief schools of Hellenistic philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary with neologisms such as evidentia,[11] humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia,[12] distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher.

Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. It was during his consulship that the Catiline conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators without trial. During the chaotic middle period of the first century BC, marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. He was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on the Rostra.[13]

Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture.[14] According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity."[15] The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment,[16] and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume, Montesquieu, and Edmund Burke was substantial.[17] His works rank among the most influential in global culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.[18]