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Alonso Volkov
Alonso Volkov

The Rise and Fall of Cicero: The Life of Rome's Greatest Politician in His Own Words (PDF Free)

Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician

Have you ever wondered how it was like to live in ancient Rome during its most glorious and turbulent times? Have you ever wished you could witness the rise and fall of empires, the clash of armies, the intrigues of courts, the eloquence of orators, the wisdom of philosophers, and the beauty of literature? If so, then you should get to know Cicero, one of the most remarkable figures in Roman history.

Cicero The Life And Times Of Romes Greatest Politician Books Pdf File

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In this article, I will tell you the story of Cicero, the life and times of Rome's greatest politician. I will show you how he rose from humble origins to become the most powerful and influential man in the Roman Republic. I will also show you how he faced many challenges, dangers, enemies, and tragedies that tested his courage, integrity, and humanity. And I will show you how he left behind a rich legacy of speeches, writings, ideas, and values that shaped the course of Western civilization.

Who was Cicero?

Cicero was a Roman statesman, lawyer, orator, philosopher, and writer who lived from 106 BC to 43 BC. He was born in Arpinum, a small town in central Italy, to a wealthy equestrian family. He moved to Rome at a young age to pursue his education and career. He became one of the most successful lawyers and advocates in Rome, defending many famous clients and causes. He also entered politics and rose through the ranks of the Roman magistracy until he reached the highest office of consul in 63 BC. He was renowned for his eloquence, wit, intelligence, and patriotism. He was also involved in some of the most dramatic events of his time, such as the Catiline conspiracy, the First Triumvirate, the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, the Second Triumvirate, and the assassination of Caesar.

Why was he important?

Cicero was important for many reasons. First of all, he was a key player in the political history of Rome. He played a crucial role in preserving the Roman Republic from internal threats and external enemies. He also tried to reform the corrupt system of government and restore the constitutional balance of power. He championed the ideals of liberty, justice, law, and democracy against tyranny, violence, anarchy, and dictatorship. He also influenced many other politicians and leaders who came after him.

Secondly, he was a master of rhetoric and communication. He was widely regarded as the greatest orator of his time and one of the greatest of all times. He delivered hundreds of speeches in the courts, the senate, the assemblies, and the public forums. He used his skills of persuasion, argumentation, and style to sway the opinions and emotions of his audiences. He also wrote many books, letters, essays, and treatises on various topics, such as philosophy, politics, law, ethics, religion, and literature. He invented or refined many terms and concepts that are still used today.

Thirdly, he was a lover of wisdom and culture. He was deeply interested in philosophy and learning. He studied the works of the Greek philosophers and translated them into Latin. He also developed his own original contributions to philosophy, especially in the fields of ethics, politics, and theology. He also admired and promoted the arts and sciences. He was a patron of poets, historians, artists, and scholars. He also collected and preserved many books and manuscripts that would otherwise have been lost.

What are the main sources of information about him?

The main sources of information about Cicero are his own works and the works of his contemporaries and successors. Cicero's works are divided into three categories: his speeches, his philosophical works, and his letters. His speeches are the most numerous and famous of his works. They include his judicial speeches, such as Pro Roscio Amerino (In Defense of Roscius of Ameria), his political speeches, such as In Catilinam (Against Catiline), and his philosophical speeches, such as De Oratore (On the Orator). His philosophical works are mostly dialogues or treatises that deal with various aspects of philosophy, such as De Re Publica (On the Republic), De Officiis (On Duties), and De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods). His letters are the most personal and intimate of his works. They include his correspondence with his friends, family, colleagues, and enemies, such as Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus), Epistulae ad Familiares (Letters to Friends), and Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem (Letters to His Brother Quintus).

The works of Cicero's contemporaries and successors are also valuable sources of information about him. They include the works of historians, such as Sallust, Caesar, Livy, Plutarch, Appian, and Cassius Dio; the works of poets, such as Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan; the works of philosophers, such as Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Augustine; and the works of biographers, such as Cornelius Nepos, Suetonius, and Diogenes Laertius.

Cicero's Early Life and Education

Cicero's early life and education shaped his character and career. He was born in a time of great social change and political turmoil in Rome. He was also exposed to a variety of influences and experiences that broadened his horizons and stimulated his curiosity.

His family background and social status

Cicero was born on January 3rd 106 BC in Arpinum, a small town about 70 miles south-east of Rome. His full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero. His father was also named Marcus Tullius Cicero. His mother was named Helvia. He had a younger brother named Quintus Tullius Cicero.

Cicero's family belonged to the equestrian order or class in Roman society. The equestrians were wealthy businessmen who were ranked below the senators but above the commoners. They were also known as knights because they could afford to serve in the cavalry in the army. Cicero's father was a landowner who had some political connections but did not hold any public office. Cicero's mother was from a noble family that claimed descent from one of the kings of Rome.

Cicero's family was not very prominent or influential in Arpinum or Rome. However, they were well-respected and well-connected in their local community. They were also ambitious and aspiring for their sons. They wanted them to achieve fame and glory in Rome by pursuing careers in law and politics.

His studies in rhetoric, philosophy and law

His first cases and political ambitions

Cicero began his career as a lawyer and advocate in Rome around 80 BC. He took on many cases, both civil and criminal, and gained a reputation for his skill, eloquence, and integrity. He defended many clients who were accused of serious crimes, such as murder, treason, corruption, and extortion. He also prosecuted some notorious criminals, such as Verres, the governor of Sicily who had plundered the province and oppressed the people. Cicero's speeches in these cases are still considered masterpieces of forensic rhetoric and legal reasoning.

Cicero also had political ambitions from an early age. He wanted to follow the traditional path of the cursus honorum, the sequence of public offices that led to the consulship. However, he faced many obstacles and disadvantages. He was a novus homo, a new man, meaning that he had no ancestors who had held any public office. He also came from a provincial town, not from Rome itself. He had to compete with many powerful and wealthy aristocrats who had more influence and resources than him. He also had to deal with the hostility and jealousy of some of his rivals and enemies.

Despite these difficulties, Cicero managed to overcome them with his talent, diligence, and perseverance. He made many friends and allies among the leading politicians and generals of his time, such as Pompey, Crassus, Caesar, Cato, Brutus, and Atticus. He also cultivated the support of the people and the senate with his speeches and writings. He held several important offices in succession: quaestor in 75 BC, aedile in 69 BC, praetor in 66 BC, and finally consul in 63 BC. He was the first novus homo to reach the consulship in more than thirty years.

Cicero's Rise to Power and Fame

Cicero's rise to power and fame coincided with some of the most critical and turbulent events in Roman history. He witnessed and participated in the conflicts and crises that shook the foundations of the Roman Republic. He also made some of his most significant contributions to Roman culture and politics.

His election as consul and his role in the Catiline conspiracy

Cicero's election as consul in 63 BC was a remarkable achievement for a novus homo. He was elected unanimously by all the centuries of voters. He was also elected before his rival candidates, who were both patricians with illustrious pedigrees. Cicero saw his consulship as an opportunity to serve his country and to uphold the republican constitution.

However, his consulship was also marked by a grave danger: the conspiracy of Catiline. Catiline was a disgruntled aristocrat who had failed to win the consulship several times. He gathered a group of followers who were discontented with the social and economic situation of Rome. They planned to overthrow the government by assassinating Cicero and other magistrates, setting fire to the city, and inciting a revolt among the provinces and allies.

Cicero discovered the plot through his network of informers and spies. He exposed it to the senate and the people in four famous speeches known as In Catilinam (Against Catiline). He denounced Catiline as a traitor and an enemy of the state. He also persuaded some of Catiline's accomplices to confess their guilt. He then obtained a decree from the senate that gave him emergency powers to deal with the conspirators.

His friendship and rivalry with Pompey, Caesar and Crassus

Cicero's relationship with the three most powerful men of his time - Pompey, Caesar and Crassus - was complex and fluctuating. He admired and supported Pompey as a military hero and a defender of the republic, but he also feared and resented his ambition and popularity. He respected and collaborated with Caesar as a brilliant politician and a generous patron, but he also distrusted and opposed his autocratic tendencies and reforms. He disliked and competed with Crassus as a greedy and corrupt financier and a rival for influence in the senate.

Cicero initially sided with Pompey against Caesar and Crassus, who formed an unofficial alliance known as the First Triumvirate in 60 BC. He refused to join them or to accept any of their offers of favour or office. He also spoke against some of their policies and actions, such as Caesar's agrarian law, Crassus' tax contract in Syria, and Pompey's ratification of his eastern settlements. However, Cicero soon realized that he had isolated himself from the dominant forces in Roman politics and that he had made enemies of powerful men who could harm him.

Cicero changed his attitude after his return from exile in 57 BC. He tried to reconcile with Caesar and Crassus, who had supported his restoration. He also tried to maintain his friendship with Pompey, who had been lukewarm about his recall. He adopted a more moderate and flexible stance, avoiding direct confrontation and seeking compromise and cooperation. He hoped to preserve the balance of power among the three men and to prevent the outbreak of civil war.

Cicero's efforts were in vain. The First Triumvirate collapsed after the death of Crassus in 53 BC and the death of Julia, Caesar's daughter and Pompey's wife, in 54 BC. The rivalry between Caesar and Pompey intensified and led to a civil war in 49 BC. Cicero was torn between his loyalty to Pompey and his admiration for Caesar. He hesitated for a long time before joining Pompey's side, but he regretted his decision when he saw Pompey's incompetence and mismanagement. He also felt alienated from his former friends and colleagues who had sided with Caesar.

Cicero's Exile and Return

Cicero's exile and return were among the most dramatic and traumatic events of his life. He suffered humiliation, deprivation, separation, and danger during his exile. He also faced difficulties, challenges, and disappointments during his return.

His conflict with Clodius and his banishment from Rome

Cicero's exile was caused by his conflict with Publius Clodius Pulcher, a notorious troublemaker who had a personal grudge against him. Clodius was a patrician who had transferred to the plebeian order in order to become a tribune of the plebs in 58 BC. He used his tribunician power to pass a series of populist laws that benefited himself and his supporters. He also used his private gangs of armed followers to intimidate his opponents and to cause riots and violence in the city.

His restoration and his involvement in the civil war

Cicero's return to Rome was made possible by the intervention of Pompey, who persuaded the senate and the people to repeal the law that had exiled him. Cicero was welcomed back by a large crowd of supporters and admirers. He was also restored to his property and his rank in the senate. He expressed his gratitude and joy in a speech known as Post Reditum in Senatu (After His Return to the Senate).

However, Cicero soon realized that his position and influence in Rome had been weakened by his exile. He had lost his prestige and authority as a leader of the senate and a champion of the republic. He had also lost his confidence and optimism as a speaker and a writer. He felt bitter and resentful towards his enemies, especially Clodius, who continued to harass him with lawsuits and violence. He also felt uneasy and anxious about the political situation, which was becoming more unstable and dangerous.

Cicero tried to regain his relevance and reputation by involving himself in the civil war that broke out between Caesar and Pompey in 49 BC. He hesitated for a long time before joining Pompey's side, as he had doubts about Pompey's motives and abilities. He also had some admiration and sympathy for Caesar, who had treated him with respect and generosity. He hoped that a peaceful settlement could be reached between the two rivals, but he was disappointed by their intransigence and ambition.

Cicero followed Pompey to Greece, where he witnessed Pompey's defeat at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. He then returned to Italy, where he tried to negotiate with Caesar and his supporters. He also wrote several letters to his friends and family, expressing his despair and disillusionment with the civil war and its consequences. He lamented the loss of liberty, law, and order in the republic. He also regretted his own involvement in the conflict, which he considered a mistake and a misfortune.

Cicero's Final Years and Death

Cicero's final years and death were marked by tragedy and violence. He faced personal losses, political defeats, and mortal dangers. He also made some of his most profound and poignant works of philosophy and literature.

His opposition to Mark Antony and his support for Octavian

Cicero's main enemy after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC was Mark Antony, Caesar's right-hand man and one of his heirs. Cicero distrusted Antony's character and ambitions. He feared that Antony would try to seize power and establish a tyranny in Rome. He also blamed Antony for some of the atrocities committed by Caesar's regime, such as the proscription of Cicero's brother Quintus.

Cicero decided to oppose Antony by using his oratorical skills and his influence in the senate. He delivered a series of speeches known as Philippicae (Philippics), in which he attacked Antony's actions and policies. He also praised Octavian, Caesar's grandnephew and main heir, who had allied himself with Cicero and the senate against Antony. Cicero hoped that Octavian would be a defender of the republic and a protector of its institutions.

His philosophical works and letters that reflected his views and emotions

Cicero's final years were also his most productive and creative in terms of his philosophical works and letters. He wrote a series of dialogues and treatises that covered a wide range of topics, such as epistemology, ethics, politics, theology, rhetoric, and history. He also wrote a large collection of letters to his friends, family, and correspondents, in which he expressed his views and emotions on various personal and public matters.

Cicero's philosophical works and letters were not merely academic exercises or literary pursuits. They were also ways of coping with his grief, anxiety, and disappointment. They were also ways of communicating his ideals, values, and hopes to his contemporaries and to posterity. They were also ways of contributing to the preservation and development of Roman culture and civilization.

Cicero's philosophical works and letters show his engagement with the main schools of Greek philosophy, such as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Academic scepticism, and Platonism. He did not adhere to any one school exclusively, but rather adopted a critical and eclectic approach. He examined the arguments and doctrines of each school carefully and selectively. He accepted what he found convincing or useful, rejected what he found absurd or harmful, and modified what he found incomplete or unclear. He also added his own original insights and perspectives.

Cicero's philosophical works and letters also show his awareness of the historical and cultural context of his time. He did not write in a vacuum or for a narrow audience. He wrote for a wide and diverse readership of Romans who were interested in philosophy but who were also facing the challenges and crises of their time. He wrote in Latin, not in Greek, the traditional language of philosophy. He translated and adapted many Greek terms and concepts into Latin equivalents or neologisms. He also used examples and illustrations from Roman history, literature, law, and religion.

Cicero's philosophical works and letters also show his personality and character. He did not write in a dry or impersonal style. He wrote in a lively and engaging style that reflected his rhetorical skills and his human emotions. He used dialogue as a main form of composition, which allowed him to present different points of view and to stimulate discussion and debate. He also used letters as a main form of communication, which allowed him to express his feelings and opinions candidly and intimately.


In conclusion, Cicero was a remarkable man who lived in remarkable times. He was a Roman statesman who tried to uphold the republican principles in the face of civil wars and dictatorships. He was a Roman orator who dazzled his audiences with his eloquence and persuasion. He was a Roman philosopher who introduced Greek philosophy to Roman culture and who made original contributions to various fields of philosophy.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Cicero and his works:

  • What is Cicero's full name? Cicero's full name is Marcus Tullius Cicero. He was also known by his cognomen Tully in English.

What are Cicero's main works? Cicero's main works include his speeches, such as In Catilinam (Against Catiline), Pro Milone (For Milo), and Philippicae (Philippics); his philosophical works, such as De Oratore (On the Orator), De Re Publica (On the Republic), De Officiis (On Duties), and Tusculanae Disputationes</em


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