Talk:Cicero

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Cicero:
  • Improve to GA status
  • Add references and more links
  • Needs copy-editing -- DONE, partially
  • Two new sections are needed: 1.Cicero's philosophy and philosophical works
  • 2.Legacy
  • High priority
  • The section titled "Cicero and Pompey" is blank. This should probably be fixed.
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Review[edit]

I was asked to look at this page by Brainmuncher. I've been doing some copyediting as I read it; I will do some more. Here are my thoughts so far. I will add more later.

  • known for his "humanity"? seems sketchy - you really need a source on that - and he couldn't technically have coined the word - it's English
    • Cicero did coin the word. The word humanitas, coined by Cicero, means exactly humanism.
  • The lead says he was idealistic as well as pragmataic - it seems a bit contradictory the way it is worded now - the third paragraph is a bit hard to follow - I didn't want to work on it too much becuase I wasn't sure what the main idea was.
  • Include birthdate in the "Birth" section since you have it.
  • The narrative jumps around a lot. For example, there is one sentence about his military service just sitting there. In general, I found this to be one of the biggest problems of the article. Because it is full of details, it is not a seamless series of paragraphs.
  • There are a lot of terms that are wikilinked for those unfamiliar with ancient Rome, but which I think deserve a short definition. If they are crucial to understanding the sentence, I think you should define them briefly. Ex: "quaestor"
  • There seems to be a lot of missing information (I don't know if it's because of a missing historical record or if it's because of poor writing). The article has many facts but it often does not provide the necessary interpretation of those facts for the reader.
Ex: What is significant about the language change in Arpinum?
Ex: The article says that Cicero became famous for prosecting Gaius Verres. What was Verres' crime?
Ex: Cicero declined the invitation, because he suspected that the Triumvirate would be detrimental to the Roman republic and its values. - why did he suspect this? how would it be detrimental?
Ex: Why was he suddenly forced into exile? The legal machinations are clear but not the political reasons behind it.
  • This article relies on very few sources. I'm not quite sure why that is. There is lots of scholarly material available on Cicero. And why old biographies from the teens and the 40s? If these are the standard biographies of Cicero, there should be a note on the page indicating that because when an academic like myself sees those dates, we become skeptical. The standards for scholarship in the teens, especially, were very different. Awadewit 12:20, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Much of this entry reads to me like little episodes in Cicero's life rather than a coherent encyclopedia entry. It is hard to glean an overarching picture of Cicero from all of the details. Also, small details are left unexplained, as I mentioned before. Why, for example, did Brutus call out Cicero's name when he assassinated Caesar? The reader is left feeling confused - full of little facts, but no overarching narrative. It is good for the editors to ask themselves: "After reading this page, what is most important for the reader to know about Cicero?" Certain ideas that you want the reader to really remember about Cicero bear repeating. I suggest reading the Johannes Kepler article, which I think does a nice job of this - it ties its narrative together very well by referencing events backwards and forwards in time and reiterates Kepler's most important contributions.
  • The "Political and social thought" section needs a lot of work. It reads like a thesis-driven essay (that is why I have tagged it POV); if scholars agree that this is the universal interpretation of Cicero, I will withdraw my POV objection, but I highly doubt that this is the case. Humanities scholars rarely agree wholeheartedly an any single interpretation. I assume there at least two schools of thought on Cicero! Also, the section does not cite its sources, even its quotations. There are many questionable statements in this section, such as:
  • Cicero was from the middle-class. - There was no middle-class in Europe until at least the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Some have even argued the nineteenth century. (Some scholars have argued that to even use the word "class" distorts the experience ancients would have had.) I understand the need to explain Cicero's position in language modern readers will understand, but it is better to use ancient terminology and then say something like "a group similar to the modern middle class" or something like that, just to make the distinction. This is all beside the point if Cicero was not part of any such "middle-class" group and was closer to a member of the gentry, or something like that.
  • Cicero was also naïve to believe - these kinds of statements made me tag the section POV as well as the fact that it is strongly thesis driven
  • I have introduced a "Legacy" section which should be greatly expanded (the rest of the article should be trimmed a bit so that this can happen). Cicero's writings were extremely important for almost two thousand years. Mention needs to made of this. Up until at least the eighteenth century and even into the nineteenth century, Cicero was considered the model for rhetoric in Western Europe. Parliamentarians in England, for example, modeled their speeches after his. His rhetoric was the one taught to schoolboys (of course, not girls). His Latin, as you say in the lead, but not elsewhere, is the model for classical Latin. This all needs to be explained and illustrated.
  • Finally, I am not quite sure why Cicero's divorce and his relationship with his children is at the end of the page. Why not integrate it into the chronological narrative of his life where it belongs? You have chosen to tell his biographical chronologically. To relegate his wife and children to the end, out of sequence, indicates that they are somehow unimportant to his life (an argument which your sections contradict - Tullia "was the love of his life"). Since you have chosen a chronological structure, it seems wise to follow it consistently. Again, see Johannes Kepler for an example of this done well.
  • A small point. Parts of the article are written in American English and parts of it are in British English. A decision should be made about that. Awadewit 09:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
    • When I started working on this article in January it was almost completely without references. (Paradoxically though there were just 6-7 references the article was then rated A!!) I have had 4 books at my use: Rawson, Haskell, Everitt and a Finnish "Handbook of antiquity" + Perseus. That´s why there is so few literary sources!
    • The basis of this article is some kind of thesis/study and the chap who has written it says that he cannot find this work anymore from his cupboards and check the references, as it is written so long ago. So that is the reason to POV slanting.
    • I myself am just a newcomer to Wikipedia. I started editing in December last year. So my

three articles about historical figures in the classical antiquity have been a testing ground for me. I quite agree with you, Awadewit, that this article is like a patchwork quilt. The reason why I haven´t done greater removals and reorganisations is that I as a newcomer was shy and tried just to touch a few points. Also edit wars and reverts after reverts made me scary about removing completely other persons´ contributions.

      • Well, they say, be bold! WP:BOLD. But I would do is try to draft large sections of the article elsewhere first and then paste them in when they are more polished. That helps avert edit wars in the first place (especially on a more prominent page like this one) because people are more reticent to alter good material. Awadewit 17:58, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I am all for British English and have used that wherever I have written anything.--Tellervo 13:17, 18 March 2007 (UTC)




_____ "Much of this entry reads to me like little episodes in Cicero's life rather than a coherent encyclopedia entry. It is hard to glean an overarching picture of Cicero from all of the details. Also, small details are left unexplained, as I mentioned before. Why, for example, did Brutus call out Cicero's name when he assassinated Caesar? The reader is left feeling confused - full of little facts, but no overarching narrative. It is good for the editors to ask themselves: "After reading this page, what is most important for the reader to know about Cicero?" Certain ideas that you want the reader to really remember about Cicero bear repeating. I suggest reading the Johannes Kepler article, which I think does a nice job of this - it ties its narrative together very well by referencing events backwards and forwards in time and reiterates Kepler's most important contributions."

This seems to me an accurate way to describe the entry. An excellent survey of points about Cicero, ranging from the significant to the trivial. But overall it could use some tightening up, and probably some difficult choices about what could be cut (a lot could be). I've done some copy-editing, mostly things like correcting pronoun agreement or verb tense. In some cases I revised sentences that would likely mislead a reader, such as correcting "Plato's theory of the Ideas" ("the" is never used in this context). There's still much work to be done along these lines. Cicero is described as a "semi-invalid" in one passage, for example, but the typical reader would probably benefit from some explanation of what this means in the particular context. (The description of his being a "knight" also seems anachronistic, but we can probably let that slide.)

A lot of the required edits would I think radically change the sections, at least in terms of organization. For example, there is a fairly detailed section about Cicero's early education, which is then followed by a separate section that gives us Plutarch's views on Cicero's early education. It seems that the latter would naturally be mentioned, perhaps as a lead-in to the first part. Maybe something like this: "We know from Plutarch that Cicero's early education was.... Cicero showed great interest in... blah blah..."

In some cases, there seems to be a problem with coherence, maybe the result of too many cooks spoiling the broth. For instance, there is a statement about Cicero "eventually introduc[ing]" greek philosophy to the romans, which is followed two para later with the (accurate) claim that stoicism "had already been introduced" to them. Perhaps the best approach would be to note that Cicero is deservedly famous for having been among several romans who helped to integrate theories and writings from the greeks into roman intellectual life. C d h 12:50, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Although not strictly concerned with Cicero himself, I would question the assertion that "Sulla’s reforms strengthened the position of the equestrian class".

It has always been my understanding from academia- reinforced by recent historical fiction - that Sulla was always acutely aware of his patrician class (gens Cornelia) and, by the time he asccended to the Dictatorship, was determined to reverse the trend in the influence of the senatorial aristocracy which had been waning since at least the Gracchi. The knights (ordo equester) were his chief victims.

Thousands were proscribed, executed/murdered or self-exiled, with property and family citizenship stripped; the part of the court system dealing with senatorial corruption was returned to the senatorial order (!) and the tribunes of the plebs were made impotent with the removal of their power of veto.

Tamrhind 09:32, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Everitt biography[edit]

A note on the Everitt biography. I saw it in a bookstore today and took a look at it. It looked a little sensational, so I checked some reviews of it online. Here is one important criticism of the book:

From the New York Times review by T. Corey Brennan, the chairman of the department of classics at Rutgers University: The "cover portends Everitt's treatment of Cicero's 'times,' the book's major weakness. Some significant dates are mauled and time sequences warped (on Page 175 the reference to Cicero's personal secretary as 'a friend . . . rather than a slave' comes from a letter written after the man was granted his freedom, not before). The chapter surveying the nature of Roman politics is riddled with errors of fact and interpretation. Some are consequential for the narrative, such as Everitt's insistence on the rigidity of the (unwritten) Roman constitution. Cicero himself amply refutes that notion in his (successful) speech backing a grand extraordinary command for Pompey in the east (66 B.C.). Speaking of Pompey, even the most succinct sketch must say more than he 'visited the holy of holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.' Pompey profaned the Temple, following a horrifying three-month siege. Everitt's biography breaks no new ground, and its stylishness is not reason enough to prefer it to any of the modern books on Cicero he cites." - T. Corey Brennan, New York Times, August 25, 2002

It looks like Thomas N. Mitchell's multi-volume Cicero biography published by Yale University Press in 1979ish might be the place to start. Awadewit 10:47, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I have a biography by Elizabeth Rawson — the only one I could find at a certain library. I should check my university library for others. Perhaps I should rewrite the article, when I have the time. I haven't contributed any sentences to the article yet. Brainmuncher 15:45, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
That sounds more reliable since I saw Rawson described as a "leading historian of the Roman Republic" in a review of one of her books (The Classical Journal 88.3 (1993): 303-304) and Rawson's Cicero reviewed by A.E. Douglas as "thorough scholarship and careful consideration of the many controversial issues" in The Classical Review, New Series. 28.2 (1978): 259-261. She seems to have published quite a bit on Cicero. Check JSTOR at your local university library. Awadewit 16:22, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Quotations[edit]

Please do not change the spelling or punctuation of a quotation unless you have checked the source and found the quotation here to be in error. Thank you. Awadewit 13:17, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

If this is a translated quotation from Cicero, then it is clearly incorrect because split infinitives were not possible in the Latin language. As to whether split infinitives in English are ok or not is a matter of opinion, but Cicero didn't write any.

Please don't bring up this silly debate. No, they weren't possibile, but nor were articles ("a" and "the"). English translations would look very silly if they always borrowed the syntax of Latin — for instance, word order. Latin quotations are not supposed to be translated directly and literally every time. If you can find better translations, use those but don't correct quotations. Brainmuncher 01:53, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

need a reference[edit]

would be nice to know what the actual letter is from....."Your pleas have prevented me from committing suicide. But what is there to live for? Don't blame me for complaining. My afflictions surpass any you ever heard of earlier."...its in the section right after "exile and return" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.30.146.170 (talk) 14:55, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

All the quotations from Cicero's letters in that section are to be found in H.J. Haskell's work: "This was Cicero" p.201-202. --Tellervo 06:39, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

It looks like quite a free translation of Letters to Atticus 3.7:

"As to your urging me to remain alive, you carry one point—that I should not lay violent hands upon myself: the other you cannot bring to pass—that I should not regret my policy and my continuance in life ... I say this deliberately—that no one was ever afflicted with so heavy a calamity..."

At least, that's the best match I can find. Does Haskell not include footnotes or endnotes citing his sources? --Nicknack009 10:17, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Haskell, does neither include footnotes nor endnotes! I agree with you Nicknack009, that the letter to Atticus you have found seems to be the one that Haskell has freely translated. --Tellervo 18:41, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Discussion of Deleting Category[edit]

There is a discussion about deleting the category "Correspondents of Cicero" at [1]; people who use this category may wish to comment. A Musing (formerly Sam) 17:37, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I am all for the continuation of the category. Cicero's correspondence is a special case.--Tellervo 13:50, 23 March 2007 (UTC)


generally skewed toward the aristocracy[edit]

Just a general comment: most of this article is skewed in attitude toward showing Cicero as a republican hero. He was not. The Caitiline conspiracy was largely fabricated by Cicero to ensure that the people were seen as an "unruly mob" and a threat to "the republic" -- in fact, the Grachi, Caeser, and other popular reformers were a threat to the abuses of the very rich. Cicero worked hard to make sure that popular reform wouldn't take hold and wouldn't last. He was a self-aggrandizing villain, by and large. This article should be edited to be more neutral toward his character adn to take in the points of view of historians other than Cicero himself, Gibbons, and other aristocratic apologists. Take a look at Parenti's reading of the late republic. Cicero was devoted to the rules of the oral constitution when it suited the oligarchs, and he abused the constitution (as much as he accused others of doing) when it suited his needs. Kdevans 18:51, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

--The Catiline conspiracy fabricated? No, I don't think so. Have you not read Sallust, an historian sympathetic to Caesar?

There probably should be a mention of his legacy in the middle ages and Renaissance as his writings were the foundation of education for lawyers and later for all boys for two thousand years. Cicero was viewed as a republican hero (however incorrectly) in later ages. Many of his writings were lost and only began to be available at the start of the Renaissance when the humanists like Petrarch and his friends started hunting for them in monasteries. Some were only found in the nineteenth century. In one sense, he was a republican hero, as he defended the republican form of government -- based on the consent of the people --- as against those, like Aristotle, who said that some were born to rule and others to obey. Cicero was a humanist (whatever his defects) who (like the Stoics) argued that all men were equal. This is the classical heritage of humanism. The revival of learning in the Renaissance was a revival of the ideas of Cicero. (Incidentally, Petrarch was very disappointed to find out some of the character defects of the real Cicero).173.52.249.227 (talk) 15:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I believe he would be correctly viewed as a republican hero. But he doesn't stand for an equality of men in the sense as excluding inequality. De republica I 51 (in the person of Scipio Aemilian, who pronounces Cicero's own opinions): cum enim par habetur honos summis et infimis, qui sint in omni populo necesse est, ipsa aequitas iniquissima est; quod in iis civitatibus quae ab optimis reguntur accidere non potest. "If to wit honor is equally given to the highest as to the lowest - and it is a necessity that both of them can be found in the whole people -; this same equality is most unequal [other meaning: unjust]; and this cannot happen in those cities which are ruled by the best."--91.34.221.234 (talk) 13:15, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Roman first name abbreviations[edit]

Some editors have been using Roman rather than English first name abbreviations -- for example, C. for Gaius in C. Julius Caesar. This is accepted Roman use -- however, shouldn't we rather introduce historical figures by the names by which they are known in common English -- ie, either "Gaius Julius Caesar" or just "Julius Caesar?" I don't know exactly what the general consensus is on use of naming conventions in this sort of article.Earendilmm 16:15, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Classisist use the Roman abbreviations in their books/articles. (See for instance Elizabeth Rawson's "Cicero, a portrait (1975) p.326.) There are no English equivalents to these abbreviations. So Gaius is C. and Gnaeus Cn., - and so on. We should remember that the English Wiki serves also many foreigners to whom English is their second language.--Tellervo 10:24, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Unfortunately there isn't an easy way to look these abbreviations up on Wikipedia. Wiktionary has a List of Roman praenomina, but if you enter the abbreviations in Wikipedia's search box there's no link to the corresponding praenomen. While this should certainly be fixed, I'd prefer to use full praenomina wherever possible as this will save readers unfamiliar with them the trouble of looking them up. Shinobu (talk) 23:43, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Military service and cursus honorum[edit]

I've removed the random intruding paragraph on military service -- it disturbs the flow of the article, as was said above, and doesn't fit at this place in the article. Either it shoudl have its own section, or it's not really important enough to include. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Earendilmm (talkcontribs) 16:19, 5 April 2007 (UTC).

  • Yes it seems to disturb the flow. Nevertheless, it definitively belongs to the context of cursus honorum. In that section I have told about the different steps on the career of a Roman "civil servant". The first one is military service. I have planned to tell about Cicero's career as a politican along the stepping stones of the traditional cursus honorum. --Tellervo 07:49, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I stand by my original rationale for removing the cursus honorum section. It has its own article and does not need to be rewritten here. The two major problems identified by every editor who has read this page are its length and its lack of flow. The cursus honorum section is unneccesary, long, and disturbs the focus on Cicero's life; if someone is reading this article who doesn't already know what the cursus honorum is, then they can click on the link and find out. I won't revert your reversion of my edit yet, as that would start a pointless revert war that can be avoided by discussion here; however, why do you think that the cursus honorum section needs to be in this article as well as its own? Earendilmm 03:39, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Oh, I will not start an edit war, I will give up before that! My rationale is to do as Awadewit adviced in her peer review (see above: "missing information and interpretation of the facts").She wrote that we should tell a bit more of the background of Cicero's life and the meaning of terms, like "quaestor", so that persons who do not know about life in Ancient Rome, should understand the article better, without having to take recourse to the links. But I have changed my mind about cursus honorum , - for brevity's sake,(and co-operation's sake) let's remove it. However, Awadewit is right, there is much that people, who have studied the Classics take for granted that everybody knows. Nowadays few persons really study the Classics. We ought to add a bit more information to the facts.

--Tellervo 05:51, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Is is absolutely absurd to have the sentence about the cursus honorum in the section on Cicero's early life. He was a teen at the time!! The way it was written seems to suggest that Cicero had some real military experience. Cicero was b a military non-entity. Cicero was great in many ways, but to even give a hint of suggestion that he had ANY military skill is the height of absurdity. Cicero was , by Roman standards, a timid man man, any reading of the sources will quickly lead the reader to this conclusion. Please, i beg you, don't mislead people into mistaking him for a military man.--Ian Struan 23:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

A coward won't get an acclamation of imperator which he got in Cilicia, even if, as I readily admit, his popularity in other fields than the military will probably have largely induced his soldiers readily to dispose of the title.--91.34.221.234 (talk) 13:07, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Quotation marks probably incorrect[edit]

In the section Political and Social Thought the following sentence was written: Cicero envisioned Rome as a "selfless nobility of successful individuals determining the fate of the nation via consensus in the Senate”.

The quotation marks make it sound as if it is from one of his works. The only source I can find is Monatague Millenium, which is not a reliable and respectable source.

Although I did not find a replacement, it would be good if others who know more about Cicero could find one.

85.127.206.111 13:58, 8 April 2007 (UTC) Hans-Peter Schrei

  • The quote sounds too modern as to the choice of words, to be written by Cicero. People were, at Cicero's time, not measured by their success or lack of success but by their virtue. But I have not read everything Cicero has written, so maybe somebody has a different opinion. Tellervo 15:29, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I have removed the quotation marks. --Tellervo 05:03, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Contradiction between "Marriage" and "Children"[edit]

The section "Marriage and issue" reads: "The relationship [between Cicero and his wife Terentia] had been warm and loving... their union was based on trust and mutual contribution."

It is followed by the section "Cicero's children: Tullia and Marcus" which opens by contrasting his love for his daughter with the feelings he had for his wife: "His marriage with Terentia was a marriage of convenience, as Roman marriages generally were at that time."

I hope someone better versed in this than me can have a close look at this discrepancy. - 81.17.231.158 16:42, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

    • You are right. Someone should correct it. My own opinion is that the marriage of Cicero and Terentia was a marriage of convenience according to prevalent Roman custom, but it turned out to be a quite good arranged marriage, until the 40's when something went wrong, but what, it is difficult to pin down. -- Tellervo 09:58, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd say the cleanest way to resolve the contradiction in accord with your opinion would be to remove the comparison from "Children" entirely and add a few words to "Marriage" explaining that it began (or probably began) as one of convenience. But I'd prefer not to make such edits myself, because I'm fairly clueless about the subject and I don't have any sense of whether this opinion of yours is closer to an accepted consensus or original research. (It certainly sounds very reasonable, and I'm positive that the current wording of at least one of the two sections doesn't represent general scholarly consensus. But as I said, my opinion has little weight.)

Are there widespread opinions to the contrary? 81.17.231.158 09:29, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

  • The general scholarly consensus is on my version of the marriage. I once tried to change the present "warm and loving relationship of two equal partners" to a more realistic and scholarly one, but it was removed. I did not want to enter an edit war, so I left it. I am going to replace my version tomorrow. --Tellervo 17:47, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Miscapitalization[edit]

Republican, Equestrian, Populares, Optimates, Civil Wars (without "the"), Pagan in "Righteous Pagan" - I'm not sure, but I think these should all be in lower case throughout. Maybe(?) the other way around with Tribune in "tribune of the people" (ie. Clodius). One way or another, it should at least be consistent - as it stands, we have both "Equestrian" and "equestrian" and so on. 81.17.231.158 08:14, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, they ought to be in lower case all of them, also the tribune of the plebs and the senate, which is often written with capital S. Could you help me to do it? It is a boring but necessary work. I have concentrated on writing the text of the article, putting the letters in question in lower case. - There is so awfully much work on this "patchwork quilt" of an article (sigh)!! -Tellervo 16:58, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

All done. Thanks for the link - I hadn't actually read that portion before. It does still leave some doubts unresolved. :)

Lower case "senate" goes against my orthographic gut-feeling, but I'm sure you know better, so I did it your way. The one word I haven't tampered with is republic/Republic (as opposed to republican) because it should probably be capitalized differently in different uses, and this kind of an article is way too hairy for me to untangle those context differences for such a minor thing.

I also normalized the uneven Marc/Mark (Antony) to Mark, but thinking back over it, maybe it should have been Marc? - 81.17.231.158 15:26, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Thank you for the job! But your orthographic gut-feeling about the Senate is right! Sorry to have misguided you! I see my favorite scholarly guide about Cicero, Elizabeth Rawson, capitalizing it! As to Mark Antony, you British (and Americans) seem to like his name written as Shakespeare wrote it, but his name was actually Marcus Antonius. I, personally, would prefer to write it the way Marcus Antonius wrote it, himself. There has been much discussion on the Mark Antony page about which name to adopt, and they decided to call him Mark Antony.--Tellervo 17:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, no problem at all! It's back to "Senate" throughout now, though in speed I forgot to fill in the edit summary. English is actually only my second language (I'm Serbian and I even have the ugly habit of switching between British and American spelling) but I think I understand why the native speakers want to adapt the name to Mark/Marc. Sure, it would make more sense for a man who shared the praenomen of Marcus Tullius to also be called Marcus, but when tradition is strong enough, I guess it supersedes regularity. - 81.17.231.158 10:05, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

An unsourced sentence which I moved from the article[edit]

A Roman living in the first century AD has said[citation needed] that we do not need a history of Rome of the first century BC because we have Cicero's letters.

The sentence had already been tagged as unsourced by another user. The "Roman /author?/ living in the first century AD" would normally be identified by name, and the statement sounds more like a modern historian's, so I suspect the sentence might be inaccurate, due to some kind of confusion. I understand Tellervo wants it to stay, so I hope she will find a source. --91.148.159.4 12:13, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

It's from Cornelius Nepos' Life of Atticus. I've restored it to the article with a reference. EALacey 09:02, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

death?[edit]

How and where did he die? the article does not mention it, or if it does it is not easy to find. Bonus Onus 17:56, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

See the chapter:"Opposition to Mark Anthony and death".--Tellervo 18:37, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Born January 3, 106 BC – Died December 7, 43 BC isn't that a span of 149 years?Twhanna (talk) 16:46, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Oh joy, a query I can answer. Both are BC, which makes him 63 at death. Haploidavey (talk) 16:50, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Never use a smartphone to read Wikipedia.Twhanna (talk) 20:58, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

His main weakness[edit]

His inability to persevere with calm, unswerving determination, was his main weakness. (reference: "The Private Life of Cicero")

I see this has been restored and I've been slapped with a vandalism warning. How nice. But the URL is dead, and the sentiment is also adequately covered in the rest of the paragraph. --Abu-Fool Danyal ibn Amir al-Makhiri 14:38, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

He also stuttered, maybe add this to the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Syvertsen (talkcontribs) 20:55, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

The stutter should be there someplace. I can't find a scholarly source. He may have overcome this. Hard to believe that the Romans would tolerate an orator who persistently stuttered. Not the most broadminded of people! Student7 (talk) 14:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it was something that "took attention", which was useful for him. As you say, probably not the most broadminded - but also superstitious. I believe it was mentioned in a letter to or from Tito, if you do some googling you'll see there are definitely many claims of this, also in fiction: robert harris' imperium (book). However I have failed to find a real source.

C. Nepos quote[edit]

The quote in the lead reads: (start)Cicero's letters to Atticus contained such a wealth of detail "concerning the inclinations of leading men, the faults of the generals, and the revolutions in the government" that their reader had little need for a history of the period.(end).

To my mind the direct quote - the part in quote marks - lacks the essential part of what Nepos is saying, whch is that the letters were in themselves a history - in other words, the direct quote should extend into the part now covered by indirect speech. I can't do this myself, but perhaps someone who agrees with me and has access to the text could revise this? PiCo 01:24, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Copy Edited[edit]

I edited the section on Cicero's exile and return. Mostly I just cleared ambiguous phrasing and adjusted grammar and syntax some, though I made a few substantive changes as well. Legio VI Victrix 14:04, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

For what is Cicero most appreciated?[edit]

From the article: "An impressive orator and successful lawyer, Cicero likely thought his political career his most important achievement. However, today he is appreciated primarily for his humanism and philosophical and political writings."

His political writings largely consist of his speeches, which are a record of his political career. So if he is appreciated primarily for them, this fact seems not to contradict the previous sentence; 'however' is out of place here.


____ Just a thought, but is "most appreciated" status something that a wiki article needs to take a stand on? Scholars of various disciplines would claim Cicero as their own (e.g., he's a central figure in the history of rhetoric, but also notable for his interpretations of stoic philosophers), but they would probably in the end grant that Cicero is many things to many people. Perhaps like others who have had an immense influence on western culture and thought, Cicero is best regarded as a person of many talents. C d h 13:22, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

For being appreciated today for his writings, there is very little about his writings in this article. Perhaps this should be rectified? JKeck (talk) 13:25, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Phil rating of mid[edit]

I'm still a little confused at this, not because I necessarily disagree with the rating, but that I don't see on the Philosophy Wikiproject page anywhere where this distinction was made...so...has it? CaveatLectorTalk 16:49, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Cicero's influence on the European philosophy is immense. He may not have been an original thinker, and certainly did not pretend to be one. He downplayed his importance as a philosopher

by writing to Atticus: "Yes I am not original, nor creative, I am just putting the Greek masters into Latin, finding the words, of which I have plenty."( Not a verbatim quotation, but about.) Without him there would not have been a renaissance, no returning to the roots of European culture. Maybe he deserves a tag of high importance? --Tellervo 19:12, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

That would be my argument...so why did you revert what I had done? Note that I was also changing the rating BACK to 'high' after a different editor dropped it to 'mid' without adding an edit comment. Hence my confusion. CaveatLectorTalk 03:53, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
My reverting was a mistake. So, let us assess the article back to high importance! By the way, you will not find any mention or explanation about the rating in the WikiProject Philosophy portal. The ratings are done by anonymous individuals who have joined the Project.
Tellervo 08:37, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
The method to let anyone rate an article/page is very subjective. It is, however, combined with a recommendation to write a summary about the page's weaknesses and good points. But people neither seem to have time nor energy or interest in doing it. Is Wikipedia expanding too fast? Almost every article seems to be tagged!--Tellervo 15:45, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
@Is Wikipedia expanding too fast?: People like adding stuff to articles, but no one likes to do the dreary, tedious, but necessary, dirty work, for example adding references. Hence the backlog. Shinobu (talk) 23:24, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Title[edit]

Why not title the article "Marcus Tullius Cicero" (and change Cicero Minor in the sane fashion)? I didn't find any older discussion, but saw this used to be the situation. trespassers william 00:09, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

The current naming convention for ancient Romans seems to support single-name article titles for well known individuals generally called by a single name: "The 'most common' rule always trumps, so for instance we use Livy instead of Titus Livius, and Germanicus instead of Germanicus Julius Caesar. In addition, the usual names of emperors always 'own' those articles, even for the less-well-known ones, so we have Titus, Claudius, and Nero as articles on individuals, even though these are generic names shared by many other Romans."
Incidentally, the main naming conventions for people state that "...the Younger" should be preferred to "...Minor". EALacey 08:03, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! trespassers william 18:29, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

AntiSemitism[edit]

Was Cicero an antisemite? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.244.7.245 (talk) 03:31, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


It seems stunningly unlikely that Cicero distinguished the Semites from all the other barbarians. Studerby 03:51, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
That just made my day! Shinobu (talk) 23:17, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

The politics and social thought section seems to be a major violation of NPOV with a lot of opinion in the section. At the very least, there is a lack of citations. Blaylockjam10 (talk) 09:31, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Didn't write it, but the total number of citations seems pretty good. Maybe the area you are talking about needs work. Why don't you place double braces fact double braces next to the paragraphs you feel need citation? Student7 (talk) 13:14, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

How about moving to Marcus Tullius Cicero?[edit]

I find the disparity between the lead and infobox on the one hand and the article's title on the other hand to be... not so pleasing. Shinobu (talk) 14:03, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Insulae[edit]

On the article Insulae mention is made of Cicero's career as a landlord, yet I find nothing about that here. A whitewash? Just kidding, probably just a simple omission, but still one that should be rectified. Shinobu (talk) 23:19, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

This is a fair point, Cicero's role as a landlord is indeed interesting. But why is everyone obsessed with the "career" word? It was certainly not his career. Appietas (talk) 07:06, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Good Article Status[edit]

In my opinion, this article is ready for a GA nomination. Is there any particular reason why it has not yet been nominated? RomanHistorian (talk) 23:57, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


Well for one thing it shouldn't contain really bad errors. The opening comments on Arpinum are really seriously wrong. Arpinum entered the full Roman citizenhip under the lex Valeria plebsicite of 188 BC, and in consequence all its citizens then living and born later were full Roman citizens. The fact that Romans citizens could be born and even live elsewhere than Rome is an interesting issue, likewise the various fine gradations of attitudes within the civitas regarding old and new, and place of birth and residence. Nonetheless Roman life was governed by law and custom, and one of the most fundamental distinctions of all was the legal distinction between being a Roman citizen and not. Cicero was, and had the filiation and tribe to prove it. To claim that he was on the other side of this great divide, as this article does, is such a serious misunderstanding of Roman ways and Cicero's life that it's hard to imagine how the responsible author(s) can really understand anything about him or his society at all. Appietas (talk) 07:18, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

You are really polluting a lot of articles. I am going to try to find a moderator, as you are causing a true mess. Oh, and by the way, you are completely wrong about Arpinum. The original entry was right. I have pasted the entry below.

>>

Cicero was born in 106 BC in Arpinum, a hill town 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Rome. Arpinum was techincally a subordinate ally of Rome for all of Cicero's life. So, although a great master of Latin rhetoric and composition, Cicero was not "Roman" in the traditional sense, and was quite self-conscious of this for his entire life.

<<

Nothing in that statement is incorrect, factually or otherwise.

According to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (which you can see here:[2])

>>

Arpinum is called both a municipium and a praefectura (Cic. ad Fam. XIII.11; Festus, s.v. Praefectura); and Cicero, a native of this place, obtained the highest honours that Rome could confer.

<<

A municipium under the republic was a city with citizenship rights, but inferior citizenship rights to a colonia. The municipium was more independent, and could govern itself. Thus, it was not truly "Roman" (but then nothing outside of Rome truly was until the time of the Empire). Even the entry on Arpinum lists it as gaining the status of municipium, although seems to suggest that, at the time of Cicero's birth, its status was even less than a full municipium.

Something else you don't seem to understand is that, under the republic "Roman" was not the same as "Roman Citizen". Only "true" Romans were from the city of Rome. Everyone else, citizen or not, was not a "Roman" in this sense, and thus not regarded as equals by the political (or even plebeian) class in Rome. Until the time of Augustus, the Roman Republic consisted of the city of Rome, with a network of what were technically "allies", but certainly not "Romans". The transformation of Rome from a city-state with a network of dependencies into the capital of a world empire began under Caesar, but was not completed until Augustus. It wasn't even until the time of Diocletian (around 300 AD) that Italy itself was even reduced to the status of an ordinary province. RomanHistorian (talk) 08:27, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Edit summaries[edit]

Please fill out the edit summary. Other editors need to understand what the editor is trying to accomplish. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 17:32, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Birthdate[edit]

Most sources do give Cicero's birthdate as 106 BC, from laziness and ignorance. See the highly advanced and entirely accurate discussion of the Roman Calendar and chronology in the Wiki Roman calendar article, especially the sub-header on the conversion of pre-Julian dates to Julian solar. Roman consular years are generally (rule of thumb) equated to the Julian year BC in which they mostly fell. But the equation could vary/overlap into different Julian years by several months, according to how the pre-Julian calendar was being regulated (intercalated). And because his birth fell so close to the beginning of the consular year equated with 106 BC, the correct Julian year is affected by the misalignment of the time. In Cicero's lifetime the equation was normally within a month, and often close to exact alignment (at least until intercalation was neglected by Caesar as pontifex maximus, and the calendar started running many months ahead of the solar year from the late 50s BC). The Roman consular year of Cicero's birth began (Kalendae Ianuariae) a couple of weeks ahead of solar alignment, and Cicero was born on the third day before the Nones of Ianuarius. It is fine to convert these dates into numbered days in January, so long as you understand that they are NOT Julian dates. Unfortunately most people don't. In precise terms Kal.Ian. (1 January) in the consulate of Q. Caepio and C. Serranus fell on Julian 15 December 107 BC, and Cicero's birth two days later on 17 December 107 BC. This calculation is from the latest modeling of pre-Julian intercalation, based on numerous data points all fully discussed in a series of articles in the ZPE journal 2003-2005. I can pass on the exact references to those articles for anyone interested. It is permissible to challenge their conclusions, if you can find evidence and argument good enough to overturn these latest results and get them published. However Wiki is supposed to run with current established knowledge, and the current modeling deserves to be used until (if) it is modified.
It is not a good idea to treat Roman pre-Julian calendar dates as if they were Julian (i. e. appending "BC" to them) when it is an indisputable fact that they were not. It is proper to fully name the consuls to identify the year. Obviously that is long-winded and inconvenient. The latest modeling in the ZPE articles introduces a new convention of designating and qualifying the Roman year with a bracketed (R), e.g. Cicero born 3 January 106(R), meaning a Roman calendar date in the consulate of Caepio and Serranus, NOT the Julian solar year 106 BC.
I think it best to give attested pre-Julian dates just as they really are, side by side with the Julian equivalences in the BC era, as I've done in rewriting the opening paragraphs of Cicero's birth and origins. . Appietas (talk) 01:10, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate your explanation. There are two concerns that you need to address. Since so many sources give the 106 BC date, we cannot just change that without a reliable source. To do so would be original research. The other concern is with the style of writing. This is an encyclopedia for the general reader, rather than an academic journal. So the section will have to be readable. The MoS says to avoid languages other than English, so a mix of Latin and English presents problems. If you can meet these two requirements, your changes will be a valuable addition. Thanks. Sunray (talk) 01:24, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
as said, the evidence for Cicero's birth is known and uncontroversial, and the year 106 BC is a rule-of-thumb convention, i. e. a known assumption repeated from one author to another. Repetition of a known error should not constitute fact per force of inertia when it is opposed by the most advanced and exact (published) research. The modeling I'm following is not my own. Although recent (so much the better!) its author is currently one of the world's leading chronologists for antiquity. However I recognize that Wiki is what it is and don't want to get into a big dispute over this. The reason I made the change is because of the quality of (and Wiki's excellent ability to cross-reference) the existing article on the Roman calendar. Even a general readership must understand that when dealing with history the norms of today do not always apply, and this is so with respect to ancient chronology and calendars when the time-keeping and adapted Roman calendar of today was in its formative stages. Such knowledge and perspective is (one of) the things that history is supposed to be for. However I agree it's best to keep everything comprehensible to non-specialists and ergo the Latin to an essential minimum, so I'll have another go later at converting more into English. If you/the group still don't like the results and wish to retain the old convention I'm happy to leave it be. . Appietas (talk) 01:55, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with all you have said. So by all means make the changes you have described. Would you be able to provide a citation for the 107 BC date? That would be a real boon. Sunray (talk) 02:13, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
This is getting pretty foolish. The average reader doesn't know the difference between Julian and pre-Julian dating. We don't even use the Julian calendar anymore. We use the Gregorian calendar, which doesn't align perfectly with the Julian calendar. The Julian year of 365.25 days caused a slight drift relative to the spring equinox over time, and the Gregorian calendar corrects this. There was also an error (due to inclusive counting) in the Julian calendar, which wasn't corrected until later in Augustus' reign. So by "Julian", do you mean pre-Augustus or post-Augustus? My point with all of this is that your point, that Cicero was born in 107 BC because your "latest models" say so, is hardly solid enough to put in this encyclopedia. Cicero was born 2,100 years ago, and you think you can be sure of his exact birthday to the day?? It is impossible to know the exact day Cicero was born, in part due to all that I mentioned, as well as the "years of confusion" that led up to Caesar's dictatorship. The commonly accepted year is 106 BC. The fact that some models (which are nothing more than best-guess projections) say he was actually born two weeks before January 1 106 BC proves nothing. In my copy of "Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician" by Anthony Everitt, the Chronology page lists Cicero's birth as 106 BC. This article should stay at 106 BC. You can add this to the section on the Roman Calendar. This "debate" might have a legitimate place there. RomanHistorian (talk) 08:59, 22 November 2008 (UTC)


Accurate chronology is the fundamental basis of serious historiography, and the more it is lacking so is the history dependent upon such approximations inferior, shifting and questionable. This is the case whether the subject covered is yesterday or two thousand years ago.
I well understand that some minds are impressed by symbolism more than content, so that the so-called Gregorian Calendar of today may strike you as something marvellous and beyond antique minds. Actually the ancients developed solar and luni-solar calendars just as accurate by the 3rd century BC (probably earlier), so the reason why the Julian Calendar was not articulated according to such precise models is an interesting question, and question mark over the nature of Caesarian rule over time. Nevertheless the term Gregorian Calendar is largely symbolic; its essential meaning was to append minor intercalation adjustments to the Julian Calendar necessary to correct the alignment wander which had arisen in the 16 centuries since the intercalation sequence (i. e. leap-years) we still use today was instituted by Augustus in 4 CE. So the Julian solar alignment effected under Augustus (for the first time in 1 BC) is the fixed point of all western time-keeping and chronology, the whole basis of the system and sequence of solar years in the “Common Eras” we designate BC and AD (or BCE and CE according to recent fashion). Even you may be able to dimly perceive that if we still rigorously adhere to the Roman alignment two millenia post factum, it is reasonable and appropriate to retroject the system backwards from the same fixed point, and this is what Julian years BC mean, whether or not you fully approve or comprehend. Since you manifestly do not understand what you are talking about, you are in no position to pass judgement upon the reliability and worth of the recent alignment modelling of the pre-Julian Roman Calendar with Julian solar dates. Although this is in large part the work of one outstanding contemporary chronographer and calendric expert (Chris Bennett), it also represents the culmination of the efforts of many other great researchers in ancient chronology and calendrics (from Scaliger to Michels and Brind'Amour), all of whom have contributed to our understanding of the pre-Julian Roman calendar and how it was converted into the Julian solar calendar, as well as advanced and verifiable techniques for modelling pre-Julian intercalation sequences. Again in spite of your incredulity (or ignorance), the shape and length of pre-Julian calendar years and intercalary practices and traditions are very well known now, and have been for a very long time. Two crucial new pieces of evidence were published in the 1990s, a papyrus listing ephemerides synchronised to both Roman dates and the Egyptian solar calendar in the 20s BC, and an inscription confirming Brind'Amour's prediction that the second consulate of Crassus with Pompey Magnus was an intercalary year. This evidence indicated the modelling techniques of most value and brought new ones into play by helping to demonstrate the stability of the 8-day Roman market week back to at least 190 BC. So the modelling deployed by Bennett involves numerous intersecting modes of predicting the intercalations made in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, the most important of which (after the few directly attested intercalary years) are three fixed Julian with pre-Julian date synchronisms (in 190, 168 and the alignment certainty point from 57 BC) combined with the known possible lengths of all pre-Julian years and thus the range of possible affects of intercalation variability upon Julian alignment.
What this all means in practical chronologic terms is that Julian alignment with the pre-Julian calendar is known day-perfectly back to Kal. Mart. in the consulate of Lentulus Spinther and Metellus Nepos (commonly identified as 57 BC, or “57R”) and in 190 and 168 and for a year or two either side of those dates, while in the intervening periods the margin of possible error is one intercalation (22 or 23 days) or (rarely) two, depending upon the proximity of the year to calendar and seasonal synchronisms which are not exact to the day but within the 22-days parameter. As it happens Cicero's birth year is quite close to the nodal point of the battle of Vercellae for which the pre-Julian calendar date is attested as well as a close seasonal alignment (soon, and less than one intercalation span, after the summer solstice of 101 BC). Accordingly the modelling cannot be more than one intercalation out for 107-106 BC, and is probably exactly correct because there is another synchronsim to within a solar month in 112 BC. Finally, where evidence to the contrary is lacking the modelling predicts regular intercalations (approximately once every two years) of the known possible lengths, so that the margins for error are more theoretical than real. I. e. if during any one particular period of up to a decade or so not covered by any evidence some dramatic innovations in intercalation were made, and then equally dramatically reversed, this modelling could not detect it. However in general terms time keeping was a conservative business in Rome and there is no evidence for such theoretic radical practices happening and being corrected quickly, and little likelihood that this occurred. In specific terms only one or two new pieces of evidence in a couple of key decades are needed to lock most or even all of the model into place permanently, as is already the case for 57 to 1 BC.
I accept that you (ditto Everitt publishing his Cicero biography in 2001, and not a chronological expert) are ignorant of all of this and that even though you and Wikipedia are not identical entities, the folk who do run the project may wish to go with the old conventions and remain with yourself in the stone-age of Roman time-keeping. I've already mentioned here that I would undertstand such a policy and abide by it. At present, however, your individual opinion in the matter doesn't constitute any formal Wiki ruling. Also, I've said here before: equation of Roman civic years with Julian years BC is a rule-of-thumb convenience, and specific dates in the pre-Julian calendar are known to almost never coincide exactly with the same Julian dates. Therefore it is known that calling Cicero's attested calendar birthdate of 3 January, “January 3 106 BC” is an error, so that some other form of expression ought to be found. Even something as simple (and correct) as: “about January 106 BC”. The de facto affect of your editing raises the question: is it Wiki policy to patronize and pass off known error as fact?
I also see that someone has reversed almost all of my edits to this page, in each case restoring inaccuracies or straightforward errors. You I suspect. The self-styled historian. Poor Rome. Appietas (talk) 07:02, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Opposition and Death[edit]

RH, what's the following line supposed to mean?

In September he began attacking Ant Gay Gay Gay es he called the Philippics, in honor of his inspiration – Demosthenes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ramidel (talkcontribs) 23:12, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

This has been corrected. RomanHistorian (talk) 23:30, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Opposition to Mark Antony and death

Editorial suggestion: The last paragraph in this section ("However, his career as a statesman was marked by inconsistencies...") is a bit of a non-sequitur here - there is no discernable reason for the use of "However" to begin the sentence. It's made even more confusing by the use of a simple pronoun ("his") when the preceding paragraph references Octavian, not Cicero. Infohack (talk) 16:55, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

New file File:Cicero in Catilinam by Thomas Cornell.jpg[edit]

Cicero in Catilinam by Thomas Cornell.jpg

Recently the file File:Cicero in Catilinam by Thomas Cornell.jpg (right) was uploaded and it appears to be relevant to this article and not currently used by it. If you're interested and think it would be a useful addition, please feel free to include it. Dcoetzee 20:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Note 34[edit]

I have tried to add a reference to Plut. Cic. 38.1 to the article in support of Cicero's going to Pharsalus. It is now Note #34, but I do not know why it is highlighted blue, not do I know how to get the link to jump to the specific section of Plutarch's text (it just goes to the top of the page). If anyone knows how to fix either or both of these problems, please tell me--I would appreciate it.Jwhosler (talk) 23:38, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Of course the blue has gone away now, but I am still curious about how to make the link connect to a specific section of Plutarch's work (in this case, section 38.1).Jwhosler (talk) 23:47, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Fixed the link to jump to 38.1. Nishkid64 (Make articles, not wikidrama) 02:16, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Executed by republic or empire?[edit]

Ths article is both in Category:People executed by the Roman Empire and in Category:People executed by the Roman Republic. Shouldn't it be just in the first? Debresser (talk) 19:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Why should he be in either? He was assassinated, not executed. --Akhilleus (talk) 11:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I guess it was a sort of transitional period. Mezigue (talk) 12:06, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd say it raises a broader question of the purpose of these categories. What the heck does 'by' mean? Does 'by' simply mean 'during'? And how do you distinguish between murder, execution, and assassination? Shouldn't this be in terms of Roman law, not modern concepts? Presumably in the Republic 'by' means convicted in a court of law and executed under the authority of the senate or certain magistrates. This didn't happen nearly as often as Hollywood wants us to think; executing citizens without due process is what got Cicero exiled in the first place. (We tend to forget that, assuming that if our dear Cicero did it, it must've been OK.) Romans in the Republic almost always preferred exile and similar punishments for citizens. The civil wars attract our attention because they represent a shocking, violent regression by a people whose primary cultural achievement had been their legal system. Another faulty example in this category is when Pompey offed Carbo. The Carbo article says he was 'arrested' by Pompey, but on what grounds? On whose authority? Carbo was still consul, and even though the legitimacy of his consulship could be contested, Lucius Flaccus (q.v.) hadn't been made interrex yet, and Sulla wasn't formally recognized as dictator. I would even ask whether people who died as a result of Sulla's proscriptions were executed 'by' the Republic. The proscribed were legally declared fair game and killing them wasn't murder, but you could argue that it was more like open-season bounty hunting than executions conducted directly by the state.
But if Cicero must be filed under one or the other, it has to be the Republic, because Octavian hadn't yet assumed sole authority. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:32, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
One of the reasons for the category structure is so that articles which fall in contested spots, like this one, can have both cats - and we don't have to choose only one.
If our date is correct, Cicero was executed (in terms of the law of the Republic) by C. Julius Caesar Octavianus, acting as sole consul, and with the power of the fasces; the elected consuls for 43 BC had died in April. In terms of the Empire, the Second Triumvirate was in full operation, and Octavian reigned in Italy from 43 BC until his death. Was this the Empire? Most people would prefer to begin it in 31 or 27 or 23 BC, but it is arguable that it began this early. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:32, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Octavian was not the only suffect consul in 43 (there were three others), both Bruti were still alive (Decimus was decreed a triumph he never got to enjoy that year), not to mention Antony, so no, I don't think there's the slightest argument that in 43 Octavian was able to claim unrivaled leadership and unquestioned primacy of power in Rome. That's hindsight (or too many episodes of Rome). The constitutional machinery of the Republic, though grinding to a halt, was still in place as it had been during the turmoil and dictatorship of the 80s. The senate was still assigning commands, for instance. There are reasons Broughton ends Magistrates of the Roman Republic in 31. Anyway, I'm not all that interested in setting an arbitrary date to the end of the Republic; I'm questioning the usefulness of the categories. My point was that the line between murder and execution disappears during the civil wars. Pompey's execution of Carbo falls more under ius gentium (a military commander has the right to dispose of those he defeats in battle); an execution by the state results from a trial (see the speech Sallust puts in Caesar's mouth on the role of capital punishment in Rome); proscriptions are a special category (which some have argued was rooted in the ancient concept of the homo sacer but devolved into just putting out a hit on somebody). Why not a "proscribed" category?
I've never seen Rome. Blame it on reading Ronald Syme, if you like. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:57, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Apologies, Septentrionalis, for what appeared to be a personal remark; I popped off without thinking, and did not mean to imply that you got your learnin' from the TV. (Nor have I seen more than a bit of Rome, as my spouse began watching in secret, free of my running commentary, the tiresomeness of which can easily be imagined from the above.) I cite Syme frequently and accept his reading of the period over almost anyone's, but if he implied what you said he was being (sometimes characteristically) overly dramatic — he does rather adopt an augural intonation. In some sense, you could just as well say the Republic was done for in 82 during the Sullan proscriptions; that was one "beginning of the end". But Sulla's dictatorship also shows that the Republican mechanism of government could recover even after civil strife that was every bit as extreme as that of the 40s. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:58, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I've been pondering "Executed by" for a few months now, because it seems designed to advance a particular POV or agenda. I'm just trying to understand the thinking behind the category, and why someone would be interested in categorizing people of this period as "executed." Does this represent a political POV? Clodius Pulcher's death was a result of factional politics directly preliminary to the civil war (it's the only current event at Rome Caesar mentions explicitly in the Bellum Gallicum), but he's Wiki-categorized as a murder victim. Like Akhilleus following, I don't object to the existence of either category. I'm trying to understand their purpose. Cynwolfe (talk) 04:38, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Cynwolfe: more than anything, I think category editing springs from an impulse to classify things--to place articles into neat, organized packages. It's the same impulse that results in the creation of list articles and infoboxes. Of course, articles don't always comfortably fit into neat, organized packages. But I would guess that whoever added the categories did so as part of a batch of edits to Roman figures; actually, here's who added Category:People executed by the Roman Empire, Special:Contributions/75.15.200.151, and you can see that s/he added it to about 18 articles in a single run of editing. I doubt that it's driven by a political agenda, so much as a feeling that it's the right category for people who died at the hands of political authorities during a certain stretch of time. --Akhilleus (talk) 12:29, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your well-considered response, Akhilleus. I'm just an intellectual ascetic with obsessions. (Surely, for instance, Sertorius was as "executed by the Roman Republic" as Carbo was, even though it came in the guise of mutiny.) And I always regret when I go on and on as I did above. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:27, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't really object to either category, but I doubt you will find many classical historians describing Cicero's death as an "execution", regardless of its legality. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Works[edit]

Why does the Works section not have a list of Cicero's works? It has a link to the article on Translation. A list of works can be found here. --15lsoucy (talk) 17:45, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree - De Inventione has an entry here and the Loeb list of works cited above differs from the list on this page - would be good if this were updated. --193.108.78.10 (talk) 15:08, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

gap in political career and false statement[edit]

A gap in Cicero's political career as presented here leads to a false statement:

"Cicero tried to reintegrate himself into politics, but on attacking a bill of Caesar's proved unsuccessful. The conference at Luca in 56 BC forced Cicero to make a recantation and pledge his support to the triumvirate. With this a cowed Cicero retreated to his literary works and left politics for the following few years."

This is a simplistic understanding of what Cicero was doing during this time, and moreover, his "retreat" to literature is more characteristic of Cicero under Caesar's dictatorship. The article Writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero necessarily obscures this fact, because it lists his works within genres rather than chronologically. All the philosophical works date to the 40s, not the late 50s; many if not most of the Rhetorical/Political works also belong to the 40s.

If you look at the speeches in the late 50s, you'll see that CIcero was indeed in the public eye. He gritted his teeth and supported the extension of Caesar's term in Gaul with the speech De provinciis consularibus, and defended one of Caesar's most important political operatives, the astonishing Cornelius Balbus, the first man not born a Roman citizen to hold the consulship. Several other published speeches date to the late 50s, including In Pisonem, in which he prosecutes Caesar's father-in-law. Viciously. One of his most vicious speeches. This was surely an assertion of his political independence, if cautiously indirect.

And not least, during this supposed retirement (though admittedly toward the end of the period under question), he served (reluctantly) as proconsul of Cilicia. He arrived at his province 31 July 51, remained exactly for his one year, and begged not to be prorogued. During this time, however, he was apparently even acclaimed as Imperator. (My immediate sources for this are T.R.S. Broughton, MRR2 p. 243; T. Corey Brennan, The Praetorship in the Roman Republic, pp. 573–574 online, where it's just an incidental mention.)

A quick search reveals an abundance of online sources including Lintott, Cicero as Evidence and Imperium Romanum (more on the nature of the provincia). David Stockton devotes a whole chapter to Cilicia in his biography.

I haven't contributed to this much worked-on article before, so I leave it to the regular caretakers to consider whether this "retreat" existed to the degree implied . Cynwolfe (talk) 12:58, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Football[edit]

The Football article says that Cicero wrote about a man who was killed when someone kicked a football into a barber shop. Unfortunately the references given are unhelpful; does anyone know where this comes from? Adam Bishop (talk) 16:44, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I think this is a misattributed and misunderstood bit from the Digest, which says: "…if when people are playing at ball, one of them hit a ball rather hard and knocked it against the hands of a barber so that a slave whom the barber was shaving had his throat cut by reason of the razor being jerked against it, in such a case whoever of them is negligent is liable under the Lex Aquilia. Proculus says the negligence is the barber's; and certainly if he was shaving at a place where people were accustomed to play or where there was heavy traffic, some blame must be attributed to him, though it is well said that if a person entrusts himself to a barber who has a chair in a dangerous place, he has only himself to blame." I found this quoted in "Doctors, Lawyers, and Trauma," Journal of Trauma (1970) 93-104, so I don't know what part of the Digest this came from. The Lex Aquilia was named for Aqulius Gallus, a colleague of Cicero's--perhaps that's how this story got attributed to Cicero. Note, though, that it's purely hypothetical! --Akhilleus (talk) 17:08, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks! Perhaps someone thought that if it came from an ancient source, it must be Cicero...Adam Bishop (talk) 19:16, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

The above story is actually from Digest 9.2.11pr and is recounted by Ulpian who attributes it to Mela and the above quotation contain errors in it.Melacut (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:35, 14 January 2012 (UTC).

popular culture section[edit]

Thanks to Wareh for restoring the section on "Cicero and popular culture." Let me repeat some of the comments I made to the user who deleted it.

Robert Harris's books (a series) are certainly worth a sentence or two. They are substantial in terms of their historical research (I think he consults with scholars such as Mary Beard), and Harris's political perceptions are taken seriously enough that when the first book in the projected trilogy came out, the New York Times gave him a coveted op-ed space to talk about parallels between, of all things, the Lex Gabinia of 67 BC and Bush's war on terror (view it here). The culture section is underdeveloped and inadequately framed, but not frivolous. A properly done section on cinematic portrayals, using published reviews, could tell us a great deal about what we think of Cicero today.

I would also add that analyzing fictional portrayals helps distinguish between the historical Cicero (or Caesar, or whoever) and our received notions, whether these come from Hollywood or Shakespeare or 19th-century painting. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the section can improve and become better balanced. But meanwhile it needs this space to become better formed. Fictional Cicero is a notable encyclopedic topic by Wikipedia's standards, and until and unless an article devoted to that aspect of Cicero's reception becomes necessary, this would seem to be the place for it. Wareh (talk) 20:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely. There seems to be a growing tendency among some editors to delete material they find inadequate, rather than tagging it and soliciting improvement and dialogue. This is an article to which a great number of editors have devoted attention (I've commented, but not edited, because there are diligent people doing that); If someone hasn't been part of the process, to drop by and whack out a chunk without attempting to gather views on the talk page strikes me as contrary to the Wikipedian spirit. This was not a particularly egregious instance, so I don't mean to pick on the person who did it, but it seems to be happening more frequently: an editor comes in with no particular interest or expertise in the subject, gleefully spouts some rule, and takes out a machete. New or underdeveloped sections or topics aren't given a chance to grow. There are a number of tags for calling attention to problems — and again, that's what talk pages are for. I find this very discouraging in terms of improving content (which is after all why people visit Wikipedia). Cynwolfe (talk) 16:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Photo of Caesar's bust!?[edit]

I think the bust of Caesar has no business being in this article, it is about Cicero not caesar? Shall i go find ever person that ever interacted with Caesar and stamp his face on it? Shall I likewise stamp Cicero's all over other senator's pages and Caesars too? Of course not. I understand Caesar played a roll in his life but then again a ton of others did too, The second triumvirate had him killed, wouldnt that warrent picture of them more then Caesar? --Smitty1337 (talk) 23:28, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

It is done.Smitty1337 (talk) 05:00, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Um, actually, articles do often picture other people with whom the subject interacted in an important way. Are you saying that Caesar's relationship with Cicero was unimportant, or that we should go through every biography and delete every image depicting someone other than the subject? Cynwolfe (talk) 19:32, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
whats your point, i never said anything contradicting what you just wrote, My point was exclusive to Caesar and Cicero. My point was that Caesar's role in his life doesn't warrant a bust in the article, I did not make an all encompassing statement about other biographies depicting people other then the subject. My point was that if your going to depict somebody, why not those who killed them, Augustus and Antony, arguably killing him is more important. (arguing the devils advocate, i don't actually want either in Cicero's page, just trying to make a point)Smitty1337 (talk) 23:01, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

mindless deletion[edit]

Someone just deleted the first paragraph of the Consul section. Please explain why you challenge the content; it's marked as needing a citation, but are you saying Cicero wasn't actually consul with Antonius for that year? That he didn't deliver the Catilinarians? What? The second paragraph makes no sense without the first. WP policy is that anything challenged or likely to be challenged … be attributed to a reliable source. On what grounds are you challenging the content? Have you found it to be dubious? Then edit it and provide your own citations. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:29, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

corresponding in Greek[edit]

I wonder whether this has been misunderstood:

The Roman upper class often preferred Greek to Latin in private correspondence

Cicero sprinkles his letter with Greek phrases, much as cultured Angophones in the 19th and early 20th centuries liked to dish out French phrases. But I wasn't under the impression that Romans wrote their private letters in Greek, or if they did for pleasure, I'm not sure you can say this was a common practice or preferred. Anybody know what this is based on? Cynwolfe (talk) 19:58, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Trope theorist[edit]

I don't really what a 'trope theorist' is, and I was wondering what section of the article causes Cicero to be categorized as one, since the word 'trope' does not appear in it. (There's no article called 'trope theory,' only various articles on 'trope.') Cicero may suit the category, but it should be made evident in the article why by using the word 'trope,' I'd think. Cynwolfe (talk) 04:25, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Notable works[edit]

Just noticed that someone added De officiis to the infobox as an example of a notable philosophical work; I agree with this choice. But I wonder what others thought about the prominence given to De inventione? I'm thinking (perhaps wrongly) that there are other philosophical works more notable and widely cited than Inv. Thoughts? Cynwolfe (talk) 17:15, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

De inventione had a quite high reputation in the Middle Ages; St. Thomas Aquinas practically draws his catalogues of the respective side-virtues of the main (i. e. cardinal) virtues all around De inv. citations. --131.159.0.7 (talk) 11:36, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Exile and Return: Paragraph 3[edit]

I found this paragraph confusing, particularly the fifth sentence:

"But from May, 51 BC, Cicero was absent from Italy till November, 50 BC, as proconsul of Cilicia — which, to his chagrin, he was obliged to undertake owing to the regulation in Pompey's law (de provinciis) of the previous year enforcing a five years' interval between consulship or praetorship and a province, and providing for the interim by drawing on the ex-consuls and ex-praetors of previous years who had not had provinces."


I really think this should be changed. I started reading the sentence and noticed "till," so I was going to change that to "until," but I then realized that the entire sentence is a mess. The sentence is understandable, but I feel it needs to be divided into, at the very least, two separate sentences, as it seems to ramble. It also seems to introduce topics that may be unnecessary and then not provide enough information on them to make these topics understandable to those who are unfamiliar with them.

Pisces312 (talk) 04:39, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, thanks for pointing this out. I'll take a look. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:35, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

"several executions"[edit]

First, Michael Parenti's book is starting to get undue weight in articles on the politics of the late Republic, and I don't see him as an entirely reliable source. Exactly which of Cicero's prosecutions led to executions? Most notorious are the executions that led to his exile. He was responsible for these, however, as consul, not as someone who chose to prosecute a case. The legal issue in the execution of Catiline's coconspirators was specific: they were carried out hastily, without permitting Roman citizens who came from notable families due process—their right of appeal to the people. In fact, during the Republic execution of citizens as the result of a conviction in court was unusual or even rare. Our impressions tend to be colored by proscriptions during time of civil war, which aren't the same thing as being tried, convicted, and executed under normal Roman law. If a guilty verdict seemed inevitable in a capital crime, exile was far more common. Suicide was also an alternative resorted to by some, though the phenomenon is more characteristic under the Julio-Claudian emperors. Michael C. Alexander, Trials in the Late Roman Republic, 149 BC to 50 BC (University of Toronto Press, 1990), documents in detail every court case he can find for this period, and execution appears as a dubious or rare outcome (primarily for a conviction of parricide). Does Parenti say which cases of Cicero led to executions, or is he (as is his wont) just spouting off? Cynwolfe (talk) 22:47, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

He does say which cases... I can't remember offhand which they were, and having read this years ago I'm not particularly disposed to go through it again. Anyway, I'm not sure that it matters overmuch. I'm not against offering Parenti's points of view as popular history - the book sold well, I believe - but I've found no serious peer reviews that would justify the weight it had in the article. I've cropped accordingly. Haploidavey (talk) 23:38, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Cicero and stoicism[edit]

We've had a couple of reversions and counter-reversions over minor infobox content. Before this goes any further, I'd like to point out the article's minimal treatment of Cicero's Stoicism/Stoic influences - a single sentence cited to "Powell, Jim (July 4 2000). The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000 Year History Told Through the Lives of Freedom's Greatest Champions. Free Press. pp. 2–10". We should be using reliable, peer-reviewed scholarly sources for all content. And infoboxes should only contain material cited in their articles; see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes. Haploidavey (talk) 14:00, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

I hope 68.55.55.76 will explain the distinction he or she makes in an edit summary between "learning from and using Stoicism" and being "influenced by Stoics." - Cal Engime (talk) 14:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I was wondering about that, too.Jason from nyc (talk) 14:32, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Cicero uses Stoicism in the same way Plato uses Homer: he enlarges on what is not possible or desirable and agrees with what is salutary or, more rarely, probable. Unfortunately, I cannot take the time to write this up properly. Those interested in learning about the difference must do the research. Cf. esp. Kries, "On the Intention of Cicero's De Officiis", The Review of Politics, 65 (2003), pp. 375-93; and, Pangle, "Socratic Cosmopolitanism: Cicero's Critique and Transformation of the Stoic Ideal", Canadian Journal of Political Science, 31 (1998), pp. 235-62. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.55.55.76 (talk) 00:07, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately Pangle's and Kreis' article costs $30. If you care to share your copy see my e-mail address. I've come across an interesting write-up www.rjallison.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Cicero.rtf by R. J. Allison for those interested. Allison has some good remarks on Cicero's essentially social/political view of human life and happiness as opposed to more solitary Stoic or Epicurean telos. Unfortunately Prof Allison's essay isn't published. I'd like to read more and continue this discussion. Jason from nyc (talk) 01:43, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Stoic influences should be mentioned in the article. It is mentioned in De Officiis article with scholarly references. This book is one of his most influential philosophical works. Cicero is a self-described Academic. His views on Stoicism are split (he's quite critical in De Finibus). Nevertheless, the influence in his major work on ethical philosophy, De Officiis, is undisputedly Stoic and in particular based on Panaetius. I'd welcome more exposition and references. Jason from nyc (talk) 14:32, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the article sadly lacks a sufficient summary of his significance as a prose stylist or thinker in all his genres. Why do we list all his works here when they're listed in a separate article? Shouldn't the list here just be major works? And the article seems structured incorrectly. We place "Legacy" before we discuss his works. "Legacy" makes no sense unless we first understand what he had to pass on. "Fictional portrayals" is even placed before discussion of Cicero as a writer.
I'd welcome a whole separate article on Cicero and philosophy, because it's a complicated subject. I too was baffled by the edit summary distinguishing between "learning from and using" and being influenced by. Cicero's role in the history of philosophy is (arguably) unique. He wasn't a philosopher in the same sense that we mean when we say "Greek philosopher." He was important for translating Greek philosophical language into Latin, and for articulating philosophical concepts within a Roman cultural framework. In that sense, he's important for understanding the Roman manifestations of philosophies such as Epicureanism and Pythagoreanism (as of his friend Nigidius Figulus) that he sets out actively to debunk. (Maybe that's what the edit summary meant?) Elizabeth Rawson describes Cicero's attempt to provide a serious introduction in Latin to all its [philosophy's] main branches, which … reflected primarily Philo's still somewhat sceptical Academy, though sometimes hankering, where ethics were concerned, after the heroic views of the Stoics (from her chapter on philosophy in Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic, p.282).
The problem is the disinformation box itself. It's hard to squeeze something as nuanced as "influences" into this format. Maybe cases of straightforward and major influences (with Lucretius you could say "Epicurus, Ennius" and be done with it). But what happens is that editors starting adding everybody the figure ever quoted or discussed, or everybody who ever quoted/discussed the figure. It becomes meaningless, and a form of OR unless you have a source that deals directly with the question of influence as such. I would argue that nobody should be listed in the infobox unless they appear in the article: what's the point if the influence isn't explained? And if the influence isn't notable enough to appear in the article, it shouldn't be featured in the infobox among the essential facts to know about Cicero. If you compare the figures listed under "Legacy" and those in the infobox, they don't match very well. Because of the way Google is using our infoboxes, we need to be particularly careful that they aren't magnets for OR or pet POVs or trivia. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:49, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
An excellent summation of the problem[s]. The information box makes us pigeon hole the person in question. I've seen more time wasted arguing, editing, and reverting info in the box than on some of the articles. Important qualifiers have to be omitted. A good leading paragraph should make the box unnecessary. However, we're stuck with the box. I also agree on the desirability for an article on Cicero's philosophical writings. Jason from nyc (talk) 14:36, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Protection request[edit]

This page needs to be protected due to some user vandilizing this page. Where can i go to request a semi-protection for this article?--(Slurpy121 (talk) 19:53, 1 December 2012 (UTC)).

I'm not seeing the vandalism you're referring to either at the article page or this talk page. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:28, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
If there actually is significant recent vandalism, you would request semi-protection at WP:RFPP. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:36, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Pronounciation of Tullius?[edit]

The Classical Latin pronounciation of Tullius is given as /tul.ljʊs/ (two syllables). Is this correct? I have always thought is was /'tullius/ (three syllables). And why do the two u's get different pronounciations? Imerologul Valah (talk) 20:58, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm not authority on Latin (although I'm taking it for my degree), but I'm pretty sure its pronounced with three syllables: "Tul-li-us".--Gen. Quon (Talk) 04:47, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this also applies to Latin, but from a linguistic point of view, the stress is on the first "u", so the second one is reduced to the lax vowel "ʊ".--2.245.189.42 (talk) 22:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Just asking someone to delete this.[edit]

" Cicero one time murdered my cat for some 420 jerky. My cat wears boots. and smells like tuna" First paragraph. I've never suggested anything, so I beg forgiveness if this is done the wrong way. First paragraph, last lines. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.118.31.173 (talk) 00:18, 15 March 2014 (UTC)