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Marcus Tullius Cicero

When was Cicero alive?
106 BCE – 43 BCE

What was going on in Rome during Cicero’s life?
The republic system was failing, corruption, civil war

What type of family did Cicero have?
Wealthy equestrian – non politician aristocracy

Where is Cicero from, and is he a Roman?
Arpinum, Italy; Yes, he is a citizen of Rome because they conquered Arpinum, but he is considered lesser by those born in Rome

How did Cicero begin training for a law career?
Began training at age 15-16 through an apprenticeship, shadowing as an assistant under Scaevola

What occupation is entangled with law?

What else did Cicero study in addition to law?
Liberal Arts- literature, rhetoric, philosophy, natural sciences, and mathematics

What war did Cicero fight in, and whom did he fight under?
The Social War (Italian Civil War); Strabo (father of Pompey the Great), and later Sulla

What two men were in a civil war in the 80s BCE?
Gaius Marius and Sulla

How old was Cicero when he first began arguing cases before the courts?

What was his first case, and how did it affect his career?
Pro Roscio Amerino; it made him famous because he successfully opposed Roscius’ prosecution without angering Sulla

What did Cicero do after the Roscius case until 77 BCE?
He spent 2 years in Greece and Asia minor attending philosophy lectures, improving his oratorical style, and rounding out his education

What did Cicero do upon his return to Rome in 77 BCE?
He continued his legal practice, married his wife Terentia, and had a daughter named Tullia and a son named Marcus

Why was the Republican system weakening?
They were not able to adapt to govern large empires

How would rule by emperors improve the situation in Rome?
They were able to end aristocratic rivalries and instability, and give political and social stability

What are proconsuls?
Powerful military commanders “in the capacity of a consul” who control armies in overseas provinces (given consulship outside Rome on behalf of a consul)

What did the early founders of the Republic fear?
Concentration of power into the hands of one man

What was the cursus honorum?
path of honor- series of one year elective offices culminating in consulship

1st step in cursus honorum- financial officer, also secure life membership in senate

2nd step in cursus honorum- commissioner of public works (provide games)

3rd step in cursus honorum- judge (this is when he delivered de imperio Cn. Pompei- On Pompey’s Command, supporting a grant of extraordinary military powers to Pompey)

End goal of cursus honorum; Cicero became consul as a novus homo- a new man; chief executive magistrate of the Roman Republic, became first novus homo since 94 BCE (only two elected per year)

Populares vs Optimates/Boni
Populares = popular party, champion the rights and privileges of the sovereign people; Optimates/Boni = party of the best man/good men favor senatorial power and the settled rights of property

What is Roman “government by personality?”
The government was made up of more personalities and personal alliances rather than on policies or programs

What was Pompey the Great’s relationship with Cicero?
Cicero served under his father in the Social War, Pompey was the focus of Cicero’s political allegiance, but Pompey didn’t share the sentiment, delivered de imperio Cn. Pompei- On Pompey’s Command, supporting a grant of extraordinary military powers to Pompey

What was the Catalinian Conspiracy?
Catiline presented himself for election for a second time, and when he failed to be elected he hatched a plot to overthrow the government. Cicero delivered four famous speeches in Catilinam (Against Catiline) and led to the Senate allowing Cicero to execute five conspirators who had been nabbed with evidence and had no trial

What was the Bona Dea scandal?
Secret women’s ritual of the Good Goddess, males were not allowed, Clodius disguised himself as a woman and snuck into the house, he was recognized and had committed impiety, Cicero destroyed his alibi, the heavily bribed jury acquitted Clodius and Cicero gained a dangerous new enemy

First Triumverate
Pompey, Crassus, Caesar

What happened during Cicero’s exile from Rome and eventual recall?
Clodius made a bill in which people would be exiled if they executed Roman citizens without a trial, Cicero had to leave, his house was burned down; his friends and allies helped him return but despite restoration of property and reinstatement as a senator and consularis (former consul) the triumvirs were in control

What was Cicero’s political and legal life like in the 50s BCE?
He was pressured into cases he had no interest in or didn’t support, he delivered the pro Caelio (one of his greatest private orations), he sometimes argued cases for friends and staked out his own positions but his independence was severely compromised

What did Cicero’s nadir (very low point) inspire him to do?
Write treatises in oratory and philosophy

What was happening with the First Triumvirate in the 50s BCE?
Crassus was killed, Pompey married Caesar’s daughter Julia but she died, Pompey was jealous of Caesar’s power

What did Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon cause?
Going from his land to Roman Italy started a Civil War

Whom did Cicero support in the civil war?
Pompey, he joined forces with Pompey and the Senate

What was Cicero doing when Caesar became dictator?
He had no part in public life, he had to comply and give speeches, he wrote treatises on topics such as ethics, old age, moral duties, and friendship (de amicitia!), he divorced his wife, his daughter Tullia died, and his second wife seemed not upset enough about her death so he divorced her as well

Why was Caesar assassinated and did Cicero have any part in it?
So he wouldn’t be dictator for life; Cicero had no part in it but it is said that Brutus cried out “Cicero!” as he stood over the dead body, and Cicero did approve of the murder

Second Triumvirate
Octavian, Mark Antony, Lepidus

What was Cicero doing during the time of the Second Triumvirate and what were his opinions of them?
He was one of the few consulares alive and politically active, he liked Octavian but was against Mark Antony, and wrote speeches about him know as the Philippics

How did Cicero die?
He was killed by henchmen of Mark Antony after he made a halfhearted attempt to escape from Italy, his hands and head (with which he had written the Philippics) were brought to Rome and affixed to the orators’ rostra (speakers’ platform in the forum)

What were the final events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic, leading to Augustus as imperator and Rome as imperium?
Octavian pushed Lepidus to retire, Octavian and Antony fought in the Battle of Actium, after Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, Octavian became Augustus, he steered clear of overt dictatorship which allowed him to become imperator, and after his death, people were used to having one man as their leader, so the Roman Empire was born

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