Cicero (106 BC–43 BC)
Cicero was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome, and is generally considered the greatest Latin orator and prose stylist. His life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. He was instrumental in exposing the Cataline conspiracy to take over the Roman state by force, ordering the conspirators to be executed without trial. Subsequently this order, under the Triumvirate, led to attacks on Cicero by his enemies and the confiscation of all his property. He was forced to flee Italy. During this period he turned to writing philosophy. After eighteen months the political landscape changed and he was allowed to return to Rome, and over the next eight years he continued his philosophical studies – he was banned from politics. The Triumvirate collapsed and in 48 BC, having defeated Pompey, Caesar became the first Roman Emperor.
In 44 BC on the Ides of March Caesar was murdered by a group of senators. Cicero witnessed the murder but was not complicit with the conspirators. During the following power struggle Cicero made to the Senate a series of speeches known as the Philippics. This is considered Cicero’s finest hour as a politician. However, in the following struggle for power Mark Anthony, one of the contestants, had Cicero placed on his list for those he wished murdered – Cicero had criticized Mark Anthony in the Philippics. Cicero was killed in 43 BC whilst attempting to flee Italy.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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