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Cicero's position previous to the beginning of the Correspondence in B.C. 68.

The letters begin, then, in B.C. 68, when Cicero was in his thirty-seventh year. He was already a man of established reputation both as a pleader and a writer. Rhetorical treatises (B.C. 86), translations from Xenophon and Plato (B.C. 84), and from the poems of Aratus (B.C. 81), had given evidence of a varied literary interest and a promise of future eminence, while his success as an advocate had led to the first step in the official cursus honorum by his becoming a quaestor
Quaestor, B.C. 75.
in B.C. 75. The lot assigned Lilybaeum as his sphere of work, and though the duties of a quaestor in Sicily were not such as to bring a man's name much before the Roman public, Cicero plumes himself, as was not unusual with him, on the integrity and energy which he displayed in his administration. He has indeed the honesty to tell against himself the story of the acquaintance who, meeting him at Puteoli on his return journey, asked him what day he had left Rome and what was the news there. When he answered rather crossly that he had just come from Sicily, another acquaintance put in with "Why, of course. Didn't you know he has just been quaestor at Syracuse?" At any rate he had done sufficiently well in Lilybaeum to give him his next step, the aedileship to which he was elected B.C. 70, and to induce the Sicilians to apply to him, when in that year they desired the prosecution of the extortionate Verres. His energy and success in this business raised him, without question, to the first rank of advocates, and pledged him to a righteous policy in regard to the government of the provinces.


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