Marcus Tullius Cicero. January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC Roman politician, orator, and philosopher.


Life and Work:

1. He’s blessed who visited this world In moments of its destination!

Not everyone knows that the quoted poem by Fyodor Tyutchev is called Cicero.


2. The ancient Roman politician and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote, “There are two types of activity that can bring a person to the highest level of dignity: the activity of a military leader and the activity of an outstanding orator.” The boy, who was born in 106 BC in an aristocratic family, did not become a military leader. But he still rose to the highest level of dignity – he became an outstanding orator.


3. Cicero always claimed that he had two homelands: firstly, the state of Rome and then the town where he was born. The Tullia family belonged to the noblemen of Arpina, a small town in southern Latium, whose inhabitants been Roman citizens since 188 BC.


4. Marcus Tullius Cicero was the eldest son of a Roman eques of the same name. Poor health did not allow the future philosopher’s father to make a notable career. Of Cicero’s mother, Plutarch wrote that she was a woman of “good birth and blameless life.”


5. Plutarch assumed that Cicero got his nickname (“cognomen” in Lating), which means “pea,” the first in the Cicero family for the shape of his nose, which resembled a pea. Or maybe for a wart – such hypotheses were also expressed.


6. At the very beginning of his career, friends advised Cicero to replace this name with something better-sounding. In response, Marcus Tullius stated that he would make his cognomen sound louder than the names Scaurus and Catulus. In the end, he did: who, except for historians, knows who Scaurus was? And Cicero’s name became generic: any skilled orator can be called “a Cicero.”


7. Cicero received an excellent education. Plutarch notes that the boy studied well, which brought him fame among his comrades. As a child, he became fluent in Greek, which allowed him to learn from Greek teachers.


8. Cicero’s father dreamed of a political career for his sons. When Mark was 15, the family moved to Rome.


9. Marcus Tullius wanted to become an orator and did it: he studied rhetoric, practiced declamation. Once, Cicero gave a eulogy to Marcus Crassus, and the speech was a great success. A few days later, he addressed Crassus again, this time condemning him. Cicero explained his change of opinion like this: he was simply training in the art of oratory.


10. Cicero diligently studied all the sciences of his time: philosophy, astronomy, and law. Later, he said that he decided to be a defender, not a prosecutor back in when he was young.


11. Fearing the bloody dictator Sulla, he moved to Greece for a long time, where he continued to study philosophy and rhetoric. Later, Cicero would call philosophy the mother of all arts and true medicine of the mind. He did not make a revolution in science, but his works thoroughly and accurately describe the teachings of his great contemporaries.


12. After Sulla had died, Cicero returned to his homeland and married. A girl named Terentia from a rich and noble family brought her husband a considerable dowry.


13. In 75 BC, Cicero was chosen as a state official – quaestor – and appointed to Sicily. He was fair and honest, and expertly managed the export of grain to starving Rome. In Sicily, Cicero was respected, but nobody noticed him in Rome at the time.


14. In 63 BC, Cicero was elected consul. At the elections, he ended up ahead of Lucius Sergius Catilina.


15. After the defeat, Catilina planned a coup. Cicero succeeded in uncovering the plot, and delivered four speeches on the subject in the Senate. It was there when he said, “Shame on this age and on its lost principles!”


16. After the conspirators were exposed, the fame and influence of the pater patriae Marcus Tullius Cicero reached its apogee. By the way, we owe the very ability to read speeches made in ancient times to Cicero: his secretary, Tiro, invented shorthand signs.


17. Cicero did not follow Caesar, Pompey, or Crassus, and remained true to the republican ideals. He had to leave the political arena and the country. Cicero’s property was confiscated and his houses burned. He even considered suicide, but eventually turned to writing philosophical treatises.


18. After Caesar’s assassination, Marcus Tullius Cicero returned to politics, hoping for the restoration of the republic. In the struggle for it, he made fourteen impassioned speeches against Mark Antonius. In memory of Demosthenes, he called these speeches the Philippics – Demosthenes delivered similar speeches to expose Philip II of Macedon.


19. The speeches bore fruit, and Octavian came to power. However, he entered alliance with Antonius, and Cicero became the enemy of the people. He tried to escape, but was killed on December 7, 43 BC.


20. The historian Appian of Alexandria wrote that when Cicero saw the assassins chasing him, he ordered the slaves carrying him to put the palanquin on the ground, and then, sticking his head out from behind the curtain, he put his neck under the centurion’s sword.