Cicero biography


Statesman, Politician

-0105 – -0042


Who was Cicero?

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.

His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language". Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz ZieliƄski, "Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.

Famous Quotes:

  • Before beginning, plan carefully.
  • I never admire another's fortune so much that I became dissatisfied with my own.
  • They condemn what they do not understand.
  • Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.
  • Life is nothing without friendship.
  • The eyes like sentinel occupy the highest place in the body.
  • The magistrates are the ministers for the laws, the judges their interpreters, the rest of us are servants of the law, that we all may be free.
  • The injuries that befall us unexpectedly are less severe than those which are deliberately anticipated.
  • Every stage of human life, except the last, is marked out by certain and defined limits; old age alone has no precise and determinate boundary.
  • A room without books is like a body without a soul.

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Jan 3, -0105
Arpinum, Rome
Also known as
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Deism
  • Roman Republic
Dec 7, -0042

on July 23, 2013


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