Marcus Tullins Ciceuo, a Roman orator, statesman, and philosopher, born at Arpinum, Jan. 3, 106 B. C, assassinated Dec. 7, 43 B. C. He belonged to an equestrian family, and with his brother Quintus was educated at Rome by eminent teachers, among whom was the poet Archias. At the age of 17 he attached himself to Quintus Mucius Scaevola, the augur and pontifex, to study law and politics; he studied the Epicurean philosophy under Phasdrus. The social war interrupted these pursuits, and he was obliged to serve in the army; but at its close he returned to his studies. He was a pupil of Philo the Academic, and became familiar with the Stoic philosophy under Diodo-tus, who lived in his house; in rhetoric his teacher was Molo of Rhodes. He made his first appearance as an orator in a civil suit; but his infirm health stopped him at the beginning of his career, and for its restoration he travelled in Greece and Asia in 79-'8. At Athens he became acquainted with Atticus, a Roman knight, whose friendship he enjoyed until his death; at Rhodes he met Molo, and again placed himself under his tutorship, overcoming his violent manner of speaking, which his feeble frame was unable to bear. He returned to Rome refreshed in body and mind, and from this time may be dated his public career.
In 75 he was quaestor under Sextus Peducams, praator of Sicily, where he ruled with the greatest justice, beloved by all the people. In 70 he brought his accusation against Verres for extortion in Sicily. In 69 he was aedile, in 66 praetor, and in 63 consul. His consulship has been rendered immortal by the suppression of Catiline's conspiracy, for which he was styled pater patrice. But here he laid the foundation for his own destruction. Hatred, envy, and his own boasting had made him many enemies, especially Clodius, whom he had mortally offended, and, unable to endure the shocks of party strife, he left Rome in 58; the enraged people burned and destroyed his house and villas. At this period Cicero yielded to the most unmanly despair, and showed himself of a weak and timorous disposition. In 57, however, his party regained power, and he returned with great joy, Lentulus and Spinther being consuls, and Milo, the opposer of Clodius, tribune. The forum and senate became again the theatres of his actions for many years.
In 53 he was chosen into the college of augurs, and in 52 he defended Milo. In 51 he was proconsul of Cilicia in Asia Minor, which he governed with the strictest justice; in this province he proved his military talents in repelling and conquering the enemy, but was displeased on his return to Rome in not obtaining a triumph. At this time the disputes between Caesar and Pompey were at their height, and Cicero joined the latter; yet after the defeat of Pompey at Pharsalia (48), he came to Rome at the invitation of Caesar. He then devoted himself to philosophy until the death of Caesar in 44; after this he again mingled in the political strife of the times, and in his 14 philippics attempted the ruin of Antony. But his enemy was too powerful, and when the new triumvirs, Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius, made out the list for their proscription, Cicero was upon it, among the most prominent of the intended victims. Octavius permitted him to be slain by Antony to gratify his revenge, though he might have prevented it by his personal authority. He fled from his Tusculan villa, where he was residing, but was overtaken by the hired assassins of the triumvirate near Formiao, and killed in his litter, meeting death with more bravery than he had shown in anticipating it.
It happened that the man who severed his head from his body, the leader of the assassins, was one whom Cicero had successfully defended. Cicero was married for the first time in 77, just before his travels, to Terentia, by whom he had a son, Marcus, and a daughter, Tullia; he was divorced from her in 4G, and married Publilia, a rich lady, from whom he was divorced on account of her rejoicing at the death of her stepmother. His son Marcus was honored by Augustus, but was according to all accounts a worthless and intemperate man, in every way unworthy of the noble philosophy addressed to him by his father in his Be Ojficiis. Cicero's brother Quintus died about the time of the orator's assassination from the persecution of Antony. In 1544 a monument was discovered in the island of Zante, supposed to have been the tomb of Cicero, but it is generally believed that he was buried in his academic villa in Italy. - In person Cicero was tall and slender, feeble, but strengthened by temperate habits; in his disposition he was amiable and cheerful, firmly attached to his family and friends, generous in the extreme, and seldom influenced by malice or envy, He was very rich, but his riches were of his own acquiring; he was neither extravagant nor avaricious.
He possessed no fewer than 14 villas in different parts of Italy, whither he retired to devote himself to study and meditation. The most celebrated was the one called Puteolanum, on the site of the modern Pozzuoli, also named after the academy at Athens; after his death it fell into the hands of strangers, and among others of the emperor Hadrian, who changed it into a palace, in which he died. The virtues of Cicero far outnumbered his vices and foibles; he was undoubtedly deficient in prudence, decision, and fortitude, but the chief charge against him has been vanity. The love of approbation was the mainspring of his best as well as some of his least noble deeds; his courage would have been insufficient, without this aid, to lead him to enter upon his most difficult tasks, especially the suppression of Catiline's conspiracy. This vanity led him into his worst errors. As a statesman he dearly loved his country, and throughout his whole political career he was a true patriot. As a scholar his learning was remarkable not so much for originality as for extent; his reading embraced every department of knowledge; he attempted almost every branch of literature, and with success; but eloquence was the field in which he best displayed his ability.
He possessed some poetic talent, but did not, as far as is known, much cultivate it. Of his merit as a historian no judgment can be formed, as none of his works of this class are extant. In philosophy he was a sound thinker, and a well-read and acute reasoner; one of his great merits in this department is the beautiful extension of the imperfect ideas of others in a language peculiarly his own. In law he displays much knowledge, and to the moderns he is a very important authority in regard to Roman jurisprudence, many points of which are discussed in his orations. - The works of Cicero may be divided into four classes: rhetorical, oratorical, epistolary, and philosophical; many of the last three classes, and all of his poetical writings, are lost. It may appear strange that few of the writers of the Augustan age mention the works of Cicero; but this is easily accounted for when we consider the peculiar circumstances of their situation in regard to Augustus, who was somewhat jealous of his newly acquired power. Livy and Asini-us Pollio give unqualified praise to Cicero; and in the subsequent periods of Roman literature he was much praised by all; even the Latin fathers extol him, and abound in quotations from his works.
His literary merits are of the highest class; his Latin is of the purest; his style harmonious and pleasing, neither too ornamental nor too plain. In the middle ages Cicero was absolutely idolized; there was a class of writers whose aim it was to acquire the language of Cicero, and who would hear or speak of nothing but him; they carried their whim so far as to style themselves " Ciceroni-ans," among whom were many of the learned men of the times. Erasmus at last opposed this "Ciceromania," not because he did not like Ciceno, but in order to keep the admiration of him within proper limits. The editio princeps of his works was published at Milan, 1498; the best edition is perhaps that of Gro-novius, at Leyden, 1092; others are those of Ernesti, 1777; of Olivet, Paris, 1749; and of Orelli, Zurich, 182(3-46. Cicero's rhetorical works are the result of his Creek instruction, diligent study, and long experience. He defines eloquence as "the art of gaining others to our opinion;" a definition which, as Quintilian says, is rather too limited. The first work in the class of rhetoric usually contained in the writings of Cicero does not belong to him; it is entitled Rhetoricorum ad C. Herennium libri quatuor.
The opinion that this belonged to Cicero arose from quotations in the Latin fathers as his; Quintilian quotes similar passages as coming from Cornitichis. Leaving Cicero out of the question, opinions vary as to the writer; some ascribe it to Tullius, others to Tiro, and some to Cicero's son Marcus. The second work is Be Inventions Rhetorica, in two books, written in his youth; it is considered of no importance even by Cicero himself; it seems to be notes of lectures, and this and the preceding may be merely minutes taken by two individuals of the same course of lectures. The third is De Oratore libri tres ad Quintum Fratrem, written about the year 55; it is a dialogue between distinguished orators of the age preceding his own, when Crassus and Antonius flourished; his object was to set up his ideal of an orator, and to prescribe the course of education; he is not so lively as Plato, but yet is very pleasing, He attached some value to it, and it is the more interesting as it shows his own manner of education; it is written with great art, ease, and grace, and abounds in beautiful digressions, as that on wit, in the second book. It is one of the most perfect of his works.
The fourth is Brutus, sire de Claris Oratoribus, written in 46, after his return from Pharsalia; this is also in the form of a dialogue, and is very important as a history of Roman eloquence; it has also a short preface on the eloquence of Greece. The fifth is Orator, site de Optimo Dicendi Genere, addressed to Brutus, in which he delineates the perfect orator. The sixth is Topica, addressed to Tre-batius, published in July, 44, just after the death of Caesar; it was written on a journey to Rhegium, in compliance with the request of Trebatius that he would make him a manual on legal arguments; it is an abstract of the " Topics " of Aristotle, which Trebatius was unable to comprehend. This is the same Trebatius whom Horace consults as to whether he should write satires or not. The seventh is Be Partitions Oratoria, a dialogue between Cicero and his son; it was written about 40, and is a manual of rhetoric, treating of the doctrine of arrangement according to rhetorical rules. The genuineness of this has been questioned, probably on account of its numerous defects.
The last is Be Optimo Genere Oratorum, a small work, a preface to translations of two orations of Demosthenes and AEschines; he had been charged with belonging to the Asiatic school, and he here vindicates himself, and shows the best kind of eloquence. - The second class of Cicero's works consists of his orations; many of these have not come down to us, either because they were not delivered after they were prepared, or because they were not written down until a long time after they were delivered; many fragments of single orations leave no doubt of the excellency of those which have been lost.
In his orations Cicero discusses matters of state and of private life, and affords invaluable sources of information regarding the public and domestic usages of Rome. His 1st oration in public was Pro P. Quintio, in which he defeated his rival llortensius, delivered in September, 81 B. C. The 2d, Pro Sexto Eoscio Amerino; this was his first criminal case, in which he refutes the charge of murder brought against his client, in the year 80; Cicero displayed considerable courage in the management of this case, as in it he was opposed to the dictator Sulla, and had to deal with many delicate political relations; he gained his case, and with it great fame. The 3d, Pro Q. Eoscio, Comcedo, delivered in 76; in this he defends the great actor, who had been sued for debt; the beginning of this oration is lost. The 4th, In Q. Concilium, a kind of preface to the accusation of Verres, in the year 70; Cajcilius claimed the right to accuse Verres. The 5th, In Verrem, divided into two parts: the first actio is the introduction, in which he brings forward the proofs of Verres's guilt, in one oration; the second actio consists of several orations, in which he gives an account of Verres's crimes; these were not delivered, as the accused withdrew his cause after the first actio, and went into voluntary exile; Cicero, however, published them.
The 6th, Pro M. Fonteio, in the year 69, in which he defends the accused in a charge of extortion, by exciting pity for his client, and odium against his accusers; the first part is wanting, and of the rest there is only one MS. at Rome. The 7th, Pro Lege Manilla, in 66, delivered before the people in favor of the motion of Manilius that the command of the Mithridatic war should be given to Pompey; this is a famous and beautiful oration. The 8th, Pro Aulo Cluentio Avito, in 66, by which he obtained the acquittal of the defendant, who had been accused of poisoning his father-in-law. The 9th, Be Lege Agra-ria in Serrilium Rullum Orationes tres, in 63; the intention of Cicero was to defeat the plans of Rullus, who wished to sell the public lands for the benefit of the plebeians; this oration is very important, as it treats of the administration of the Roman public lands, but for this very reason it is difficult to understand. The 10th, Pro C. Rabirio, delivered before the people; this was a case of murder, and the duumviri chosen had been appointed in an unusual manner; after his sentence the defendant, as was the custom, appealed; this oration treats of prerogatives; Niebuhr has made some discoveries concerning it in the Vatican. The 11th, consisting of four orations, In Catilinam, in 63, famous for their eloquence, and historically of great importance, as showing the state of the times; these orations have had innumerable commentators, and are familiar to every Latin scholar.
The 12th, Pro L. Mnrena, in 63; he had been accused of using improper means to gain the consulship in opposition to Servius Sulpicius Rufus; this also gives a vivid picture of the times. In this oration Cicero is very severe against the profession of law, to which Rufus belonged; his remarks must be received with considerable allowance, as it was the custom then, as now, for an orator to attempt to prejudice an audience against his opponent by digressions upon such topics as his profession, and by allusions to various matters foreign to the case in hand; by substituting a vacillating jury for a tickle populace, this case might very well have been argued before a supreme court of the 19th century. The 13th, Pro C. Cornclio Sulla, who had been accused of taking a part in Catiline's conspiracy. The 14th. Pro L. Valerio Flacco, in 59; he had just returned from Asia, which he had governed as proprietor; he was defended with the greater readiness, as Flaccus was praetor when Cicero was consul in 03. The 15th, Pro Aulo Licinio Archia, the teacher of Cicero; his title to the rights of citizenship had been called in question, and Cicero maintains it with consummate skill, fine language, and excellent method; although the genuineness of this oration has been doubted by some, who find in it marks of carelessness and levity.
The 16th consists of four orations, Ad Quirites, In Senatu, Pro Domo sua ad Pontifices, De Haruspicum Iie-sponsis, in 57; these relate to his domestic affairs; their authenticity was called in question by Markland, an English scholar, in 1745, who styles them mere rhetorical exercises; this opinion has been opposed with great eagerness by Ross, Gesner, and Wolf. The 17th, Pro Cneio Plancio, in 55; he had been accused of using improper means to obtain the praotor-ship, and was defended by Cicero, whom he had hospitably received when in exile; this oration was much altered after its delivery. The 18th, Pro Piiblio Sextio, in 50; he had also treated Cicero kindly when in exile, and was a bitter enemy of Clodius. The 19th, In Vatinium; this is connected with the last, and is an examination of Vatinius, a witness against Sextius. The 20th, Pro M. Calio Rufo, in 56; he was accused of murder. The 21st, Dc Provinciis Consularibus, in 56. The 22d, Pro L. Cornclio Balbo, in 56; liis title to the rights of citizenship, presented to him by Pom-pey, was called in question.
The 23d, In L. Calpurnium Pisonem, in 55 delivered before the senate; this is a reply to Piso, who, when governor of Macedonia, had been recalled through the influence of Cicero; it is the most severe and bitter of all his orations, displaying the whole political career and secret actions of Piso; the beginning is lost. The 24th, Pro Tito Annio Milone, who was accused of the murder of Clodius, delivered in 52, but written down much later; though unsuccessful, this is considered by many one of his best speeches; Cicero, moreover, took a personal interest in the case for political reasons; there is apart of a commentary upon it by Aseonius. The 25th, Pro G. Rabirio Posthumo, in 54; he was accused of being connected with Cabinius in the mismanagement in Syria; Cicero has been much blamed for pleading this case. The 26th, Pro .1/. Marcello, in 47, before the senate; this was to obtain the recall of Marcellus from exile, and was the first delivered after Caesar became the head of the state; it was written down long after it was delivered, yet it is one of his best for its style, language, and method; it had always passed for one of Cicero's best orations until the time of Wolf, who denied that he wrote it at all, and published a pamphlet to prove that it is only a rhetorical performance at the schools; this pamphlet is perhaps one of the best specimens of modern Latin extant; the statement met with many opponents, especially Jacob, who would not give up the opinion of centuries so easily.
The 27th, Pro Q. Ligario, in 46; he was a partisan of Pompey, and was successfully defended by Cicero against Tubero. The 28th, Pro Deiotaro, the tetrarch of Galatia, and the friend of Pompey, who was accused of conspiring to murder Caesar, in 45; he was defended with success. The 29th, Orationes quatuordecim in M. Antonium, sometimes called the "Philippics," in imitation of those of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon; written between September, 44, and May, 43, and designed to defeat the ambitious schemes of Antony; the second, which is the best, was not delivered; it is a reply to an attack by Antony in the senate. These orations may be considered as the cause of Cicero's murder, as they kindled a flame of vengeance in the breast of Antony which nothing but his blood could extinguish; the language is forcible, pure, and elegant; besides exposing the public and private life of Antony, they afford important materials for the history of that troubled period. These are all the orations of Cicero which we have nearly or quite complete; there are some imperfect ones, of which may be mentioned the Commentarii, said to be in 13 books; they were probably notes, which he used when he afterward wrote out his speeches; the loss of these is much to be regretted; Pro C. Cornclio; Pro Toga Candida adversus Competi-torcs; Pro M. AEmilio Scauro; De L. Othonc, to allay the tumult which had arisen on account of the division of the seats at the theatre.
In connection with the orations of Cicero, should be mentioned those by whom new fragments have been discovered; the most celebrated is AngeloMai, for many years the librarian of the Vatican; others are Peyron and Niebuhr. As an orator, Cicero is without doubt the greatest his country ever produced; even in his own time he was placed by the side of Demosthenes, He exhibits the happy medium between the dryness of Demosthenes and the exuberance of the Asiatic school; no ancient orator could so easily and naturally turn the feelings of an audience in any desired direction. With Cicero Roman eloquence attained its highest excellence, and after him rapidly declined; the condition of the state did not permit its exercise for any but political purposes; it fell into the hands of rhetoricians, who cultivated it only as tending to strengthen the mental powers; it became a written eloquence, composed in the schools; but this kept up the interest in it for a short time only. Cicero has had hosts of commentators, the oldest and best of whom is Q. Asconius Pedianus, a native of Padua; he wrote commentaries on these orations, A. D. 41, for the use of his sons; the fragments preserved show the great value of this work; they relate to nine orations, and were discovered by Poggio in St. Gall; some others were found in the Ambrosian library at Milan. - Cicero was also chief among the Roman philosophers.
He was first an Epicurean, and the disciple of Pha3drus; he afterward paid great attention to the Academic philosophy, on account of its excellent system of philosophical and rhetorical education; finally he devoted himself to the Stoic school, yet even this, like the rest of his countrymen, he regarded only as a means of education, and not as a rule of life, He discontinued his philosophical pursuits when he entered upon public duties; but after the downfall of the republic he again devoted himself to these studies, and wrote in rapid succession his works on philosophic subjects. His object was to make his countrymen familiar with the philosophy of Greece; the reader must not, therefore, expect to find in his works anything new. Cicero was for a long time considered authority on matters of philosophy, instead of the Greek originals; but after the revival of learning in the middle ages, more attention was directed to the latter. On abstruse subjects, such as God, the soul, etc, he never expresses himself with certainty, but always speaks in the most guarded manner; he has, therefore, often been censured for opinions that he probably never entertained, as, for instance, atheism.
He seems to have written on the Academic principle, "that there is no certain knowledge." In his manner of treating his subjects he follows Plato, but in his morals he is decidedly a disciple of Zeno the Stoic. His philosophical works, in the order in which they were written, are the following: De Republica libri sex ad Atticum, composed at his villa near Cumce, 54 B. C.; this is a dialogue between Scipio, Laelius, and others, on " What is the best form of a state?" The scene is laid about 129 B. C.; a very interesting time, when the country was convulsed by the disturbances of the Gracchi, whose movements furnish many illustrations in the course of the work; the book closes with the Somnium Scipionis. It was lost for several centuries, with the exception of the " Dream of Scipio," which was saved by means of a commentary upon it by Macrobius; there were a few fragments, too, found in the Christian fathers. Mai discovered a palimpsest, the upper writing of which was a book of the Psalms, and the lower the De Republica; similar strange fellowships are not uncommon in the palimpsests; by this most of the first and second books have been recovered.
The next work is De Legibus libri tres; the genuineness of this has been questioned from the fact that in another book, De Divinatione, Cicero enumerates all his works, and that this is not among them; but this reason is insufficient, as the present book is unfinished, and of course would not have been included in a list of his writings; the second and third books were probably never revised; it was written soon after the death of Clodius, when Cicero was chosen into the college of augurs, in 53; it was not published until after his death; in this work Cicero shows that there is in man a natural principle to make and respect laws; Macrobius quotes a fifth book. The next is Academica. a curiosity on account of the changes it has undergone; it was originally written in two books; he afterward rewrote it. It treats of the old academy of Socrates and the new of Carneades and Philo; it also contains a sketch of the system of Arcesilaus, or the middle academy. We have much of the first book of the second edition. It was written in 45, and is perhaps as good a book as any by which to ascertain Cicero's real opinions, always a difficult task.
De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum libri quinqite, addressed to Brutus, was written also in 45; it consists of dialogues containing the views of the most celebrated Greeks on this subject; in the first book Tor-quatus gives the view of Epicurus, and in the second Cicero refutes it; in the third and fourth Cato and himself state the opinions of the Stoics; and in the fifth Piso gives the views of the old academy. It is very important in literary history. Tusculanarum Dis-putationum libri quinque ad Brutvtm appeared in 44; it was written with great rapidity, and bears marks of carelessness purposely introduced to give it an air of ease; it consists of dialogues in his own villa upon various practical subjects; the first book is on the contempt of death; the second on firmness and constancy in suffering; the third on the means of alleviating suffering; the fourth on the passions; the fifth on virtue as the means of happiness; the last is by far the best; a good edition is the old English one by Davis. De Natura Deorum libri tres ad Brutum was written in April, 44; in this dialogue are expressed the opinions of the Epicureans, Stoics, and Academics on this subject, but as usual it is difficult to get at his own opinions; he seems to agree with Plato and the Academics; his object was to introduce better views on this important subject.
De Divinatione libri duo was written immediately after the last, and is connected with it; in the first book his brother Quintus states the opinions of the Stoics in favor of divination, and in the second Cicero refutes them. De Fato is intimately connected with the preceding two; its intention is to overthrow the Stoic doctrine of fate, and to establish that of free will; it is very imperfect, the first and last portions being lost, and the text of the rest quite unsettled. De Senectute, addressed to Atticus, was written in the country; it describes the peculiarities of old age, and shows that they should be looked upon without un-charitableness, as it is the lot of all who outlive friends and kindred; it is mostly a soliloquy, and so charming that we are almost persuaded to long for old age as the most enviable portion of human life. De Amicitia, addressed also to Atticus, was composed soon after; Laslius is the chief character, and gives utterance to the most exalted sentiments. De Officiis libri tres, written in 44 to his son Marcus, abounds in noble sentiments, although not quite coming up to the theoretical morality of modern times.
Paradoxa Stoica, in six books, addressed to Brutus, treats of the dogmas of the Stoics. Cicero wrote several other philosophical works, wholly or nearly lost; he himself alludes to several, as: a Latin paraphrase of the Timceus of Plato; De Gloria libri duo, addressed to Atticus, of which we have a few fragments; there is a report that Petrarch had a MS. of this work; Economicorum libri duo, in imitation of Xenophon, laying down the duties of the master of a family; Columella made some use of this; it was written when he was very young, about 84 13. C.; a translation of the works of Protagoras, a follower of Democritus; Laus Catonis, in praise of Cato Uticensis, in 46; this was received with such approbation that Cassar, fearing its influence, wrote Anti Cato, in answer to it; only a few fragments are preserved; De Philosophia, in which he recommends the study of philosophy, and defends it against several objections; Consolatio, written on the death of his daughter Tullia; Liber de suis Consiliis, written in the year of his consulship, 63 13. C.; Chorographia, a geographical work.
Oicero was also a didactic poet; he translated the Phenomena of Aratus, a part of which has come down to us. - There have been many lives of Cicero; there was one written by his freedman Tiro, and one by Nepos, which are lost; we have one by Aure-lius Victor, and another by Plutarch, besides many facts and data collected from his own writings, especially his letters. Among modern biographies that of Middleton (London, 1741; Bonn's edition, 1854) has gained much fame; but it is a panegyric of such extravagance as to make a large proportion of its statements untrustworthy. Forsyth's "Life of Cicero" (London, 18G4) is an excellent work; and a very good biography of Cicero is to be found in vol. v. of Drumann's Geschichte Poms. Mommsen, in his Pomische Geschichte, handles him very severely. A good English translation of the works of Cicero (with the exception of the "Letters") is published in Bonn's " Classical Library.'1 The " Letters" have been translated by Melmoth and Heberden.