Cicero’s Influence to the Roman Republic and History of the World
The fact that Cicero was one of the best lawyers, orators, and political philosophers in the world, is not surprising to a lot of students, scholars and educated society. However, “Cicero’s heritage is so rich and diversified that something new can always be said” (Habicht 1). Not only the personality of Cicero made him famous till our days, but his works and influence to the history of the Roman Republic and th
he rest of the world as well.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on 3 January 106 B.C.E. in Arpinum, really close to Rome; however, he was born to a family, which did not belong to nobility. His farther, as David Stockton states, belonged to the “the gentry” (Stockton, 1) and, according to R.E. Smith, “enjoyed locally a high repute” and “had connexions and friendships with important families at Rome” (14). Nonetheless, nobody from the family had ever had a position of power at Rome. Th
his fact influenced the whole life of Cicero- he struggled his entire life for recognition by the nobility and politicians and thus to enter politics of the Roman Republic.
Cicero could think about becoming a politician without having a title, because, as
s Kurt von Fritz points out, new relations between the government and people appeared in Rome during the first century B.C.E. (143). At that time the influence of the Senate was decreasing. People, like Gayus Marius (107-86 B.C.E.), could become consuls without noble heritage. Furthermore, the first dictatorship appeared in Rome after Sula won against the same Gayus Marius in court in 82 B.C.E. These events influenced Cicero and he moved to Greek Plato’s Oratory School, in which oratory and political activity lessons were taught.
The education not only set Cicero’s political future, but influenced him to write the book “About Orator” (“De oratore ad Quintum fratrem libri tres”(Lacey, 122) ). In his book, he pictured an ideal orator, and the book is being analyzed ti
ill our days by different politicians and those who need to give speeches. Cicero wrote that a good orator has not only to be able to give good speeches, but has to know Greek philosophy, Roman political practice, ethics, psychology, law and history, and know how to use the power of oratory in politics. Cicero also studied philosophy form Fraid, Filone from Lairs, socialized with Diodes and contemporary famous lawyer Scevlola Augur, and studied Greek philosophers on his own account.
br />Cicero not only worked hard before he could demonstrate his lawyer’s and orator’s skills in court, but he also was very talented and could learn fast. His knowledge and talents helped him to succeed in his career. As Smith says, “the seeds he sowed grew quickly, and the reaper as quickly gathered his harvest” (30). Cicero defended Sextum Roscium in court, who was accused of killing his farther in 79 B.C.E. After that in 76 B.C.E. Cicero became popular and got involved in politics. At first, he became a quaestor in Sicily, where he fought against corruption. Cicero proved Verrrem’s guilt of taking bribes through his speech “In Verrem” (against Verrem) in 70 B.C.E. After the court Cicero became known as the most famous orator in Rome and was elected at first to edile’s position in 69 B.C.E., then to praetor’s position in 66 B.C.E., and, finally, to consul’s post in 63 B.C.E, which allowed him to fight for people’s rights and the republican form of governing.
Even though the majority of people of the Roman Republic liked and respected Cicero for his idealistic thinking and altruistic way of living, discontent of the nobility, Senate members and those who had power, rose against Cicero as he became mo
ore popular. The disaffection against Cicero started when he gave Catilina (108 B.C.E. – 62 B.C.E.) and his 5 followers the death sentence. Catilina was punished because he tried to get power using his armed forces and killing his opponents. Cicero was named as Pater Patiae (Farther of the Motherland) after his decision, because he saved the cities from, according to Stockton, wars, fires and massacres (102). Nevertheless, all the sentenced people were patricians or nobles, whose relatives were greatly unsatisfied with Cicero’s decision. Another fact that made Cicero’s life worse was the First Triumvirate in 60 B.C.E., when Cesar, Pompeii and Kras went against the Senate and old Roman traditions. Moreover, in 48 B.C.E. Cesar started a war against Pompeii, which evolved into the Roman civil war. Cicero supported Pompeii, who lost and died, and thus gave up power to Cesar. The nobility was displeased again by Cicero’s support to Pompeii. Finally, the Cesar was also killed and the rise against the Senate by Mark Antonius began. Cicero supported the Senate because he saw Rome only as a republic. However, Mark Antonius won the struggle for power against the Senate by creating the Second Triumvirate in 43 B.C.E. Mark Antonius took his revenge upon Cicero for his su
upport for the Senate. Cicero was killed in November 43 B.C.E.
Cicero was not only a marvellous person and achieved what was almost impossible to achieve for a simple man, but contributed a lot to the world’s history with his works. Cicero’s heritage is known till our days: “Paradoxa Stoicorum” (“Stoic Paradox”), “Hortensius” (“Hortentius”), “Academicae quaestiones” (“Academic concideration”), “De finibus bonorum et malorum (“The limits of good and evil”), “Tusculanae disputations” (“The disputes of Tuscule”), “De natura deorum“ (“The nature of gods”), “Cato Maior de sanectute” (“Head Katone about Senility”), “Laelius de amicitia” (“Lelius about friendship”), “De divinatione” (“About anticipation”), “De fato” (“About fate”), “De officiis“ (“About duties”).Moreover, almost all 58 Cicero’s speeches are still known by their names, such as “De imperio Cn. Pompe” (“About Pompei military power”), “Catilinam orationes quatuor” (“Against Katiline”) or “Pro Q. Ligario” (“For Quinto Ligario”).
To sum up, Cicero gave 58 speeches, wrote 6 rhetoric works, 17 philosophy treatises, a lot of history, politics, geography, law, science works and about 900 letters. Most of his works can not be assigned to a certain type, as Lacey wrote, put into the shelves (93). For instance, “About orator” usually is ascribable not only to oratory work, but also to philosophy; “About republic” is the work of rhetoric, dialectics, politics and philosophy.
To conclude, Cicero had some influence to the history of Rome; he fought for the republic and people’s rights in the Roman Republic, but did not succeed and had to die as a criminal and betrayer. However, he contributed greatly to the world’s history. The significance of Cicero to the world’s history amplified over time, and his heritage and his name became the symbol of ancient Roman culture.