Marcus Tullius Cicerohis rise to prominence • Born 106 BC at Arpinum into wealthy equestrian family; • A novus homo = the first in his family to pursue a public career • Study of rhetoric and philosophy at Rome • Appeared in the Forum under mentorship of great orator LuciusLicinus Crassus • 89 BCE military service in Social War under command of Pompeius Strabo • 81 BCE his debut as orator; 80 BCE defended SextusRoscius (Pro Roscio) on important figure of Sulla’s regime (by doing this took on important figure of Sulla’s regime) • 79-77 BCE study of philosophy in Greece And Asia Minor and rhetoric with Molon of Rhodos • On his return marries Terentia, has a daughter, Tullia in 76 BCE, son Marcus 65 BCE • 75 BCE Quaestor in Sicily • 70 BCE takes Sicilians as clients in prosecution against ex-governor Verres for extortion and corruption; wins case; earns reputation as Rome’s leading orator • 69 BCE Aedile • 66 BCE Praetor, supports Pompey the Great in obtaining special command with enormous imperium against pirates and Mithradates, king of Pontus in the East • 63 BCE Consul – apex of his career; puts down conspiracy of Catiline
Cicero’s fall from grace • Troubled by First Triumvirate (60 BCE) between Pompey, Crassus and Caesar • Disliked alliance - too private for his taste– a threat to the senate’s authority • 58 BCE Cicero is accused of having put to death without due trial the fellow conspirators of Catiline, members of the nobility (prominent senatorial families) in his consulship, made enemy of Iulius Caesar (patrician family) Cicero a novus homo • Sent into exile, his house razed to the ground • 57 BCE recalled to Rome • 56-51 BCE attempts (with difficulty) to collaborate with triumvirs, • 51 Governor of Cilicia (in East) • 49 BCE Civil Wars at Rome – Cicero joins cause of Pompey; Pompey defeated; Cicero pardoned by Caesar • 46 divorces Terentia, married his ward Publilia, divorced her after a few months • 45 BCE daughter Tullia dies; he never recovers from this tragedy • During Caesar’s dominance in public life, stays ways from politics, Period in which he composes series of philosophical works • 44 BCE Caesar is murdered, Cicero returns to politicial life; opposes Antony, series of speeches against him: the Philippics; supports cause of Senate • Octavian abandons support o Senate and joins Antony and Lepidus in Second Triumvirate • Each Triumvir had to give up one supporter: Octavian sacrifices Cicero • Cicero murdered Dec. 7, 43 BCE by Antony’s henchmen
Cicero and Roman Politics: his ideology • Participant in Rome’s crisis that leads to end of Roman Republican government; • develops ethical-political program in attempt to remedy situation. • Although a novus homo. His program intended to provide a solid intellectual, ethical, political base for a dominant class: a balance of respect for national tradition (mosmaiorum) and pleasures of otium (leisure) filled with art, literature, or pleasures of refined style of life summed up in the term humanitas – a consciousness of culture,capacity to distinguish and appreciate what is beautiful and fitting. • Ideology reflected in many of his speeches and philosophical works
The speeches • Some of the most important speeches include: Pro Quinctius (81), Pro RoscioAmerino (80), Pro Cluentio (66), De ImperioCn. Pompeii or Pro LegeManilia (66), the 4 Catilinarians (63), Pro Sestio (56), Pro Caelio (56), In Pisonmem (55), Philippics (44-43),
Rhetorical and Political works • De Inventione (c.54 BC), De oratore (54 BC), Oratoriae (c.54), De optimogenereoratorum (52 BC), Brutus (46 BC), Orator (46 BC), Topica (44) • De republica (54-51 BC) On the Republic • De legibus (52 BC) On Laws
Philosophical works • ParadoxaStoicorum Stoic Paradoxes(46), Academica (45), De finibusbonorum et malorum On the limits of good and evil(45), Tuslucan Disputations Tusculan Disputations (45), de naturadeorum (45), de divinatione On the nature of the gods(44), de divinatione On divinations (44), de fato On Fate(44), Cato Maior de Senectute Cato the Elder on Old Age(44), Laelius de AmicitiaLaelius on Friendship(44), De Officiis On Duties(44)
Correspondence and more • Ad familiares in 16 books (letters to family) • At Atticus in 16 books (letters to his friend Atticus) • Ad QuintumFratrem 27 letters (letters to his brother Quintus • Ad M. Brutum 2 books – authentic? (Letters to Brutus • Some (bad) poetry – survived only in fragments
Cicero and Politics • Variety of works allows us to see connection between personal life experience and his public position, especially his speeches and his private letters
The Political Setting66-60 BCE • Pompey the Great had raised the bar for political competition for everyone; campaigns for office have become extremely expensive • 65 BCE – Julius Caesar (Aedile) proposes massive gladiatorial show (320 pairs of gladiators); senate forces him to reduce the scale; • Caesar incurs massive debt; bailed out by Crassus (who in turns want military command) ; • 64 BCE – Crassus and Caesar support L. SergiusCatilina (aka. Catiline) for the consulship of 63 BCE; Defeated by M. Tullius Cicero. • 63 BCE – Cicero and Antonius Hybrida are elected consuls; • Catiline (hopelessly in debt) tries again for 62 BCE; • The Conspiracy of Catiline foiled by Cicero (In Catilinam); allegations of Caesar’s and Crassus’ involvement; Catiline and many followers die on the battlefield; Caesar argues for clemency, M. Porcius Cato for death; Cicero executes the conspirators.
The Conspiracy of Catiline • “After these preparations, Catiline nonetheless stood for the consulship for the next year (62 BC), hoping that should he be elected he could easily do what he liked with Antonius. In the meantime he was not idle, but kept working on all kinds of plots against Cicero, who, however, was not lacking in the guile and the astuteness to evade them. For at the very start of his consulship, by numerous promises made through Fulvia, Cicero had persuaded Quintus Curius, whom I mentioned a short while ago, to lay bare Catiline’s plots to him. He had also persuaded his colleague Antonius not to harbour designs against the state by agreeing to let him have his province; he had also secretly stationed around himself bodyguards of friends and clients. When election day came and Catiline was successful neither in his candidature nor in the plots he had made against the consuls in the Campus Martius, he decided on war and resorting to extreme measures, since his undercover attempts had met with failure and dishonour. He therefore dispatched Gaius Manlius to Faesulae and that area of Etruria, a certain SeptimiusCamerinum to the Picene district, Gaius Julius to Apulia, and others to any other places he believed might suit his purpose. In the meantime he was busy with many plans at once; laying traps for the consul, preparing to set fires, stationing armed men in strategic places, and himself went armed, ordering the others to do the same, and urging them to be always alert and ready.” (Sallust, Conspiracy of Catiline, 26.1-27.2 • Our versions:
Catiline’ s objectives • Somewhat clouded by the sources (Sallust, Conspiracy of Catiline; Cicero, Against Catiline). • Lost elections to consulship twice; • Desperate for the office to recover his debts • Planned to seize the consulship by force; abolish debts. • Legislation in the interests of families who were victims of Sulla. • Many elite families proscribed in Sulla’s regime and lost their family fortunes; Sons of the dispossessed ready to claim their ‘birthright’ the right to high office • Populares rhetoric. • Optimates
Implicating Caesar • “At the same time Quintus Catulus (cos. 78) and Gaius Piso (cos. 67) in vain tried by entreaties, influence and bribes to persuade Cicero to have a false accusation brought against Gaius (Julius) Caesar either through the Allobroges or some other witness. For both were bitter personal enemies of Caesar; Piso, when on trial for extortion, had been charged by him with unjustly executing a man from Transpadane Gaul, while Catulus’ hatred arose out of his candidature for the pontificate, because he had reached a ripe old age and attained the highest offices but was beaten by Caesar, while still a young man. Moreover, it seemed an opportune time as Caesar, through his pre-eminent generosity in private life and lavish entertainments in office, was heavily in debt. But they were unable to incite the consul to so monstrous a crime…” (Sallust, Conspiracy of Catiline, 49.1-4. Dillon & Garland, 12.20)
A Naturally Gifted Orator • “…for when he was of an age for taking lessons, his natural talent shone out clear and he won name and fame among the boys, so that their fathers used to visit the schools in order to see Cicero with their own eyes and observe the quickness and intelligence in his studies for which he was extolled, though the ruder ones among them were angry at their sons when they saw them walking with Cicero placed in their midst as a mark of honour. And although he showed himself, as Plato thought a nature should do which was fond of learning and fond of wisdom, capable of welcoming all knowledge and incapable of slighting any kind of literature or training, he lent himself with somewhat greater ardour to the art of poetry. And a little poem which he wrote when a boy is still extant, called Pontius Glaucus, and composed in tetrameter verse. Moreover, as he grew older and applied himself with greater versatility to such accomplishments, he got the name of being not only the best orator, but also the best poet among the Romans. His fame for oratory abides to this day, although there have been great innovations in style; but his poetry, since many gifted poets have followed him, has altogether fallen into neglect and disrepute.” (Plutarch, Cicero, 2. Loeb Classical Library, 1919)
Launching a Political Career:Cicero and the Pro Roscio (80 BCE) • “About this time Chrysogonus, a freedman of Sulla's, put up at public auction the estate of a man who, as it was said, had been put to death under proscription, and bought it in himself for two thousand drachmas. Then Roscius, the son and heir of the deceased, was indignant and set forth clearly that the estate was worth two hundred and fifty talents, whereupon Sulla, enraged to have his actions called in question, indicted Roscius for the murder of his father, Chrysogonus having trumped up the evidence. No advocate would help Roscius, but all avoided him through their fear of Sulla's cruelty, and so at last, in his destitution, the young man had recourse to Cicero. Cicero's friends encouraged him to undertake the case, arguing that he would never again have a more brilliant or a more honourable opportunity to win fame. Accordingly, he undertook the defence of Roscius, won his cause, and men admired him for it; but fearing Sulla, he made a journey to Greece, after spreading a report that his health needed attention. For in fact he was spare and lean, and owing to a weakness of the stomach could only with difficulty take a little light food late in the day; his voice, however, was full and strong, but harsh and unmodulated, and since, owing to the vehemence and passion of his oratory, it was always forced into the higher tones, it made men apprehensive for his health.”(Plutarch, Cicero, 3. Loeb Classical Library, 1919)
Proof of Cicero’s Power of Oratory:The Death of Cicero (43 BCE) • “But meantime his assassins came to the villa, Herennius a centurion, and Popillius a tribune, who had once been prosecuted for parricide and defended by Cicero; and they had helpers. After they had broken in the door, which they found closed, Cicero was not to be seen, and the inmates said they knew not where he was. Then, we are told, a youth who had been liberally educated by Cicero, and who was a freedman of Cicero's brother Quintus, Philologus by name, told the tribune that the litter was being carried through the wooded and shady walks towards the sea. The tribune, accordingly, taking a few helpers with him, ran round towards the exit, but Herennius hastened on the run through the walks, and Cicero, perceiving him, ordered the servants to set the litter down where they were. Then he himself, clasping his chin with his left hand, as was his wont, looked steadfastly at his slayers, his head all squalid and unkempt, and his face wasted with anxiety, so that most of those that stood by covered their faces while Herennius was slaying him. For he stretched his neck forth from the litter and was slain, being then in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head, by Antony's command, and his hands — the hands with which he wrote the Philippics. For Cicero himself entitled his speeches against Antony "Philippics," and to this day the documents are called Philippics. When Cicero's extremities were brought to Rome, it chanced that Antony was conducting an election, but when he heard of their arrival and saw them, he cried out, "Now let our proscriptions have an end." Then he ordered the head and hands to be placed over the ships' beaks on the rostra, a sight that made the Romans shudder; for they thought they saw there, not the face of Cicero, but an image of the soul of Antony. (Plutarch, Cicero, 48-9. Loeb Classical Library, 1919)
Roman Oratory And Politics
The development of Oratory and its place in Roman culture • Two necessary prerequisites for social and political advancement in the Roman Republic: 1. Military reputation, 2. Oratorical skills • Oratory always central to political life • Native Roman tradition until 200 BCE, then influenced by Greek models. • First famous Roman orator: M. Porcius Cato the last “Native Roman” orator • Ser. Sulpicius Galba (Cos. 144 BCE) and M. Lepidus (Cos. 137 BCE) were the first to import Greek rhetorical skills into Roman oratory • By Cicero’s time 2 oratorical styles prevailed: • 1. Asiatic (Flowery, descriptive, emotional, verbose), 2. The Attic (Plain, unornamented, brief, to the point, economical)
The Importance of Style:Cicero on the Ideal Orator • “The student of oratory must acquire knowledge of a great many things, without which knowledge fluency of speech is empty and ridiculous. The student must develop his style by careful attention not only to word choice but also to sentence construction. He must be thoroughly acquainted with all the emotions which nature has bestowed on the human race because he must use all his power and ability at speaking to calm or, alternatively, to stir up those who are listening to him. He should also include in his style of speaking a certain charm and wit, erudition worthy of a well-bred man, quickness and brevity both in replying and rebutting, as well as refined elegance and urbanity. He must moreover memorize history and a wealth of precedents, and not neglect knowledge of the laws and civil code. Need I speak further about delivery itself?” (Cicero, About the Orator 1.16-20. Jo Ann Shelton, Doc. 159)
Quintilian Criticizes the Asiatic Style • “The result of this emphasis on brilliance is usually a deterioration of our oratorical skills, primarily because the best expressions are those which are least contrived and which have an air of simplicity, as if deriving from the truth itself. For those expressions which betray their artfulness and strive to appear polished and carefully designed fail to produce a pleasing effect and do not win credibility.” (Quintilian, The Elements of Oratory, 8. 22-26. Jo Ann Shelton, Doc. 158).
Types of Roman Oratory • 3 types of Roman Oratory: 1.Judicative, 2. Deliberative, 3. Demonstrative • Judicative = Judicial questions coming before a court – most important (see Cicero’s career) • Deliberative = Political or policy questions used when coming before the senate or one of the assemblies • Demonstrative = Attribution of praise or blame; more relevant in the Principate.
The Components of Oratory • Public Orations consisted of several component parts • Exordium = preliminary remarks – nature of the case – importance of the case • Narratio = outline of the facts on which the main arguments will rely • Propositio = the main argument (thesis) • Argumentatio = the arguments supporting the thesis • Confutatio = outline and refutation of the main arguments (real or imagined) used by an opponent • Peroratio = Summary of argument; concluding remarks and exhortation
The Composition Process • Several formal elements for the composition of an effective oration • Inventio = The gathering of material • Dispositio = Laying out the material in the most effective order • Elocutio = Choice of most effective language for making the case
The Place of Oratory in the Life of the Roman Statesman • Oratorical skills needed to plead cases in the law courts and the assembly • Good way for a young and ambitious politician to get noticed • Strong orators desired as a patronus or a cliens