RTR-author-1024x1024_0005_3 - Cicero

“A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation…Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.”
– Cicero

b. 106 BCE – d. 43 BCE

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman orator and politician who was well-versed in his craft. It all started in 66 B.C. when he was a praetor, called upon to hear cases of extortion. In the same year, he spoke on behalf of the proposal of Gaius Manilius to transfer the command against Mithrates from Lucullus to Pompey and delivered his clever but disingenuous defense of Aulus Cluentius. While this was the only the beginning of his defenses, Cicero became known for indulging in the more violent invective, which, though shocking to a modern reader, it was not offensive to Roman taste. He had mastery of all weapons wielded by a pleader in Rome. He was especially famous for his pathos, and for this reason, when several counsels were employed, Cicero always spoke last (Orat. 130). Shortly after his career began to flourish, Cicero started writing letters (in 68 B.C.) which provided a wholly unique knowledge of Roman life and history. Cicero’s letters are a massively important source of information for the period. It is due to them that the Romans of the day are living figures to us, and that Cicero, in spite of, or rather in virtue of his frailties, is intensely human and sympathetic.