October 20, 2021

Marcus Tullius Cicero

You may know him as “Cicero”, but his full name is Marcus Tullius Cicero and was born in 106 B.C. outside of Rome, receiving a quality education. Cicero studied Roman law after serving in the military. He became the youngest citizen to obtain highest rank of consul, even though he didn’t come from a military family. He was elected to every one of Rome’s principal offices.

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What is permissible
is not always honorable.

~ Cicero

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Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:

  • believing that personal gain is made by crushing others
  • worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected
  • insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it
  • refusing to set aside trivial preferences
  • neglecting development and refinement of the mind
  • attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

  • his life coincided with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire/Republic
  • he was an important actor in politics
  • his writings are an important source of information of events going on at the time
  • he was a an orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher, among other things
  • he placed politics above philosophy
  • the only time in his life when he wrote philosophical work(s) was when he was permitted from practicing politics, forcibly
  • in previous centuries Cicero was considered one of the great philosophers of the ancient era, widely read in the 19th century
  • probably one of the most influential examples of his work is Hortensius, an exhortation to philosophy, St. Augustine claimed that it was Cicero’s writing that turned him (Augustine) from his sinful life
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“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero


  • political offices in Rome were almost exclusively controlled by a group of wealthy aristocratic families and were held for many generations. Technically, political offices were achieved by winning elections
  • Cicero’s family was not aristocratic nor were they wealthy
  • “to always be the best and overtop the rest”, Cicero’s motto, the same on Achilles is said to have had
  • he hated war, serving in the military only briefly
  • instead chose to get into law
  • he studied jurisprudence, rhetoric, and philosophy; jurisprudence: The philosophy or science of law, legal theory
  • during his time as consul, he was responsible for unraveling and exposing Catiline’s conspiracy, which aimed at taking over the state by force. Catiline and his coconspirators were put to death. This was in 63 B.C.E
  • in 60 B.C.E. Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus combined resources and took control of Roman politics. They tried to get Cicero to join them, but he refused, preferring to remain loyal to the Senate and the idea of the Republic.
  • in January 58 B.C.E., Cicero had to flea the city due to rioting and physical attacks. The tribune Clodius (a follower of Caesars) proposed a law which passed, stating that anyone who killed a Roman citizen without trial would be stripped of their citizenship and forced into exile. (Cicero had ordered the execution of revolutionaries without a trial due to the urgency that the Catalonian rebellion needed to end. National Geographic/Cicero)Cicero fled the city, and lived in exile, who was forbidden to live within 500 miles of Italy.
  • about a year and a half later, the political climate changed and Cicero was allowed back, his property restored (had been confiscated), but he wasn’t allowed to engage in politics
  • Cicero owed a debt to the triumvirate (Caesar’s gang), and to repay his debt he became a lawyer, which he spent the next 8 years doing
  • the triumverate collapsed in 49 B.C.E, with the death of Crassus
  • in 48 B.C.E., Caesar became the first Emperor in Rome, giving Cicero a pardon which allowed him to return to Rome (apparently he was allowed back in Italy but not Rome?) in 47 B.C.E. He still wasn’t allowed to engage in politics.

between 55 B.C.E. and 51 B.C.E. Cicero wrote On the Orator, On the Republic, and On the Laws

Cicero | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (
National Geographic/Cicero

more to come…

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history? - Marcus Tullius Cicero
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?

~ Cicero


take care
stay safe
much love

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