The Life & Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Marcus Tullius Cicero is credited with being one of the greatest of the Roman orators. "He was born at Arpinum, the native place of Marius, 106 BCE., the same year, which gave birth to Pompey the Great. His family was ancient, and of equestrian rank, but had never taken part in public affairs at Rome, though both his father and grandfather were persons of consideration in the part of Italy in which they resided." (Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Letters to friends / edited and translated by D.R. Shackleton Bailey. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001).His father determined to educate his two sons, Marcus and Quintus, on an enlarged and liberal plan, and to fit them for the prospect of public employment, which his own weak state of health incapacitated him from seeking. One of his earliest masters was the poet Archias, whom he defended afterwards. "Soon after he assumed the toga virilis, he was placed tinder the care of Scaevola, the celebrated lawyer, whom he introduces in several of his philosophical dialogues."

(Nardo, Don, 1947- Rulers of Ancient Rome / by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA : Lucent Books, c1999. Discusses the contributions of various rulers of ancient Rome, including Fabius, Marius, Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, Nero, Constantine, and Justinian.)Cicero took the opportunity of serving a campaign under the consul Pompeitis Strabo, father of Pompey the Great. He returned to the study of philosophy tinder Philo the Academic. But his chief attention was reserved for oratory, to which he applied himself with the assistance of Molo, the ablest rhetorician of the day. Diodotus the Stoic also exercised him in the argumentative subtleties for which the disciples of Zeno were known.

Cicero was the first Roman who found his way to the highest dignities of the State with...