Writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Marcus Tullius Cicero
M-T-Cicero.jpg
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Occupation Politician, lawyer, orator and philosopher
Nationality Ancient Roman
Subjects politics, law, philosophy, oratory
Literary movement Golden Age Latin
Notable work(s) Orations: In Verrem, In Catilinam I–IV, Philippicae
Philosophy: De Oratore, De Re Publica, De Legibus, De Finibus, De Natura Deorum, De Officiis

The writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero constitute one of the most famous bodies of historical and philosophical work in all of classical antiquity. Cicero, a Roman statesman, lawyer, political theorist, philosopher, and Roman constitutionalist, lived from 106 to 43 BC. He was a Roman senator and consul (chief-magistrate) who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. A contemporary of Julius Caesar, Cicero is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.[1][2]

Cicero is generally held to be one of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome. He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary, distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher. An impressive orator and successful lawyer, Cicero probably thought his political career his most important achievement. Today, he is appreciated primarily for his humanism and philosophical and political writings. His voluminous correspondence, much of it addressed to his friend Atticus, has been especially influential, introducing the art of refined letter writing to European culture. Cornelius Nepos, the 1st-century BC biographer of Atticus, remarked that 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.[3]

During the chaotic latter half of the first century BC, marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. However, his career as a statesman was marked by inconsistencies and a tendency to shift his position in response to changes in the political climate. His indecision may be attributed to his sensitive and impressionable personality; he was prone to overreaction in the face of political and private change. "Would that he had been able to endure prosperity with greater self-control and adversity with more fortitude!" wrote C. Asinius Pollio, a contemporary Roman statesman and historian.[4][5]

Works[edit]

Cicero was declared a “righteous pagan” by the early Catholic Church, and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. Saint Augustine and others quoted liberally from his works “On The Republic” and “On The Laws,” and it is due to this that we are able to recreate much of the work from the surviving fragments. Cicero also articulated an early, abstract conceptualisation of rights, based on ancient law and custom.

Books[edit]

Of Cicero's books, six on rhetoric have survived, as well as parts of eight on philosophy.

Speeches[edit]

Of his speeches, eighty-eight were recorded, fifty-two of which survive today. Some of the items below are more than one speech.

Judicial speeches

Several of Cicero's speeches are printed, in English translation, in the Penguin Classics edition Murder Trials. These speeches are included:

  • In defence of Sextus Roscius of Ameria (This is the basis for Steven Saylor's novel Roman Blood.)
  • In defence of Aulus Cluentius Habitus
  • In defence of Gaius Rabirius"
  • Note on the speeches in defence of Caelius and Milo
  • In defence of King Deiotarus
Political speeches
Early career (before exile)
Mid career (between exile and Caesarian Civil War)
Late career

(The Pro Marcello, Pro Ligario, and Pro Rege Deiotaro are collectively known as "The Caesarian speeches").

Rhetoric and politics[edit]

Spuria[edit]

Several works extant through having been included in influential collections of Ciceronian texts exhibit such divergent views and styles that they have long been agreed by experts not to be authentic works of Cicero. They are also never mentioned by Cicero himself, nor any of the ancient critics or grammarians who commonly refer to and quote passages from Cicero's authentic works.

Philosophy[edit]

Letters[edit]

More than 800 letters by Cicero to others exist, and over 100 letters from others to him.

Popular culture[edit]

Modern fiction[edit]

Appearances in modern fiction, listed in order of publication:

Film and television[edit]

  • Imperium: Augustus, a British-Italian film (2003), also shown as Augustus The First Emperor in some countries, where Cicero (played by Gottfried John) appears in several vignettes.
  • In the 2005 ABC miniseries Empire, Cicero (played by Michael Byrne) appears as a supporter of Octavius. This portrayal deviates sharply from history, as Cicero survives the civil war to witness Octavius assume the title of princeps.
  • The HBO/BBC2 TV series Rome features Marcus Tullius Cicero prominently and is played by David Bamber. The portrayal broadly adheres to the historical record, reflecting Cicero's political indecision and continued switching of allegiances between the various factions in Rome's civil war. A disparity occurs in his assassination, which occurs in an orchard rather than on the road to the sea. The TV series also depicts Cicero's assassination at the hands of the fictionalized Titus Pullo, though the historical Titus Pullo was not Cicero's actual killer.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rawson, E.: Cicero, a portrait (1975) p.303
  2. ^ Haskell, H.J.: This was Cicero (1964)p.300–301
  3. ^ Cornelius Nepos, Atticus 16, trans. John Selby Watson.
  4. ^ Haskell, H.J.:"This was Cicero" (1964) p.296
  5. ^ Castren and Pietilä-Castren: "Antiikin käsikirja" /"Handbook of antiquity" (2000) p.237
  6. ^ M. Tullius Cicero, Orations: The fourteen orations against Marcus Antonius (Philippics) (ed. C. D. Yonge)
  7. ^ M. Tullius Cicero, Letters (ed. Evelyn Shuckburgh)
  8. ^ Epicurus.info : E-Texts : De Finibus, Book I

References[edit]

Critical editions and translations[edit]

Teubner editions (Bibliotheca Teubneriana), B. G. Teubner, Stuttgart and Leipzig

  • Epistulae ad Atticum (ed.) D R Shackleton-Bailey
    • Vol.I: Libri I–VIII (BT 1208, 1987)
    • Vol.II: Libri IX–XVI (BT 1209, 1987)
  • Epistulae ad Familiares libri I-XVI (ed.) D R Shackleton-Bailey (BT 1210, 1988)
  • Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem. Epistulae ad M. Brutum. Commentariolum petitionis. Fragmenta epistolarum (ed.) D R Shackleton-Bailey (BT 1211, 1988)
  • Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Cicero’s letters to Atticus, Vol, I, II, IV, VI, Cambridge University Press, Great Britain, 1965
  • Cicero, Marcus Tullius, Latin extracts of Cicero on Himself, translated by Charles Gordon Cooper, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1963
  • Crawford, Jane W:
    • M. Tullius Cicero: The Lost and Unpublished Orations (Hypomnemata Untersuchungen zur Antike und zu Ihrem Nachleben, Heft 80, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1984) ISBN 3-525-25178-5
    • M. Tullius Cicero: The Fragmentary Speeches, an Edition with Commentary, 2nd edition (American Philological Association, American Classical Studies no.37, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1994) ISBN 0-7885-0076-7

Penguin Classics English translations

  • Cicero
    • Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Books, 1969)
    • Selected Works: Against Verres I, Twenty-three letters, The Second Philippic against Antony, On Duties III, On Old Age, by Michael Grant (Penguin Books, 1960)
    • On Government: Against Verres II 5, For Murena, For Balbus, On the State III, V, VI, On Laws III, The Brutus, The Philippics IV, V, X, by Michael Grant (Penguin Books, 1993)
  • Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Six Lives by Plutarch: Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero, by Rex Warner (Penguin Books, 1958; with Introduction and notes by Robin Seager, 1972)

Modern works[edit]

  • Taylor, H: Cicero: A sketch of his life and works (A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, 1918)
  • Strachan-Davidson, J. L., Cicero and the Fall of the Roman Republic, University of Oxford Press, London, 1936
  • Cowell, Cicero and the Roman Republic, Penguin Books Ltd, Great Britain, 1973
  • Haskell, H.J.: (1946) This was Cicero, Fawcett publications, Inc. Greenwich, Conn. USA
  • Smith, R E: Cicero the Statesman (Cambridge University Press, 1966)
  • Gruen, Erich S: The last Generation of the Roman Republic (University of California Press, 1974)
  • Rawson, Elizabeth: Cicero, A portrait (Allen Lane, Penguin Books, 1975) ISBN 0-7139-0864-5
  • Kinsey, T E: "Cicero's case against Magnus, Capito and Chrysogonus in the pro Sex. Roscio Amerino and its use for the historian", L'Ant.Classique 49 (1980), 173–190
  • Frier, Bruce W: The Rise of the Roman Jurists: Studies in Cicero's Pro Caecina, (Princeton University Press, 1985) ISBN 0-691-03578-4
  • March, Duane A: "Cicero and the 'Gang of Five'", Classical World 82 (1989), 225–234
  • Shackleton-Bailey, D R: Onomasticon to Cicero's Speeches, 2nd edition (Teubner, Stuttgart & Leipzig, 1992)
  • Gotoff, Harold C: Cicero's Caesarian Speeches: A Stylistic Commentary (The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) ISBN 0-8078-4407-1
  • Everitt, Anthony: Cicero: the life and times of Rome's greatest politician (Random House, 2001) hardback, 359 pages, ISBN 0-375-50746-9
  • Manuwald, Gesine: "Performance and Rhetoric in Cicero's Philippics", Antichthon 38 (2004[2006]), 51–69

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]