Cicero -106 - -43 (63)

Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.


1st oration

When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted?

Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC - 7 December 43 BC), was a Roman orator, politician, philosopher and writer, an important man of the spirit that shaped European thought by conveying in Rome the ancient Greek philosophy and rhetoric. He was born in Arpino, a small provincial town of Lazio, the son of a wealthy Roman citizen who belonged to the class of riders. He was educated in Rome with teachers, among others, the Stoic, Phadros and the Epicurean, Apollonios Molonas, who was one of the greatest orators of the School of Rhodes. At the age of 18 he fought under General Pompey in the Allied War (90-88 BC). With the end of the war, he continued his studies in philosophy, rhetoric and law, while at the same time began to speak in court. In 81 BC gained a great reputation by winning a famous trial of the time, against a favored of dictator Sulla. In 79, either to avoid the wrath of Sulla who had targeted him or to complete his education, he traveled for two years to Athens, Asia Minor and Rhodes, studying next to the most famous oratories and philosophers of the time. He returned to Rome after Sulla's death and entered the field of politics.

In 63 he became consul after he revealed the conspiracy of Catalin, saving Rome from a possible dictatorship. He drove Catiline away from the city with four vehement speeches (the Catiline Orations), which to this day remain outstanding examples of his rhetorical style. In the conspiracy though, were many powerful men and Cicero gained many enemies. They managed to convince the people that the conspirators had been unfairly condemned and eventually forced him to leave Rome. They declared him an exile and confiscated his property. He lived in Thessaloniki for 17 months until he was removed from his exile at the suggestion of Pompey, with whom he had a close friendship

In 51-50 BC he was a proconsul in Cilicia, where he had great military success; when he returned to Rome, the war between Caesar and Pompey had broken out. In 49 he joined Pompey’s arrmy, Caesar prevailed and for about a year he could’t return to Rome. When Caesar gave an amnesty to his opponents, Cicero returned but stayed away from politics, concentrating on his writings. In 45 he became head of the opposition against Mark Antony, he attacked him in a series of speeches he called the Philippics, after Demosthenes's denunciations of Philip II of Macedon. When Mark Antony came to power, Cicero tried to get away from Rome, but he was found by Antony’s soldiers who cut his head in the carriage that carried him. Cicero believed that his political career was his most important achievement but had stayed in history as one of the most important writers of the Latin language.