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The younger Marcus Cicero.

Another subject of anxiety to Cicero during this period of which we hear a good deal in the latter part of this volume is the settlement of his son. The young man—now just twenty years old—was anxious to join Caesar's army in Spain. He seems to have been more fitted for the life of a soldier than for anything else: but his father shrank from seeing a son of his fighting against Pompeians even now, and was anxious that he should go to Athens to study rhetoric and philosophy. The young man yielded. But the natural result followed. The academical studies at Athens had no attraction for him, and he sought amusement in idleness and dissipation. His allowance, which seems to have been an ample one, drawn from the rents of certain houses in Rome which had formed part of his mother's fortune, was apparently exceeded in his first year, and the reports of his tutors and instructors gave his father great anxiety. However, in his second year matters began to improve. His expenses went down, better—though not yet quite confident—reports came home, and Cicero began to hope both from the style of his letters and the reports of more than one of his correspondents that he was reforming and seriously attending to his work.1 Still—though he says that he was glad to allow himself to be deceived on such a subject—the doubtful tone of his son's tutors gave him some uneasiness. In the summer of B.C. 44 he meditated going to Athens to see him. His discontent with the policy of Antony made him wish to leave Italy, but he also fancied that his presence at Athens might confirm his son's good resolutions. The treatise on duty—de Officiis—was now composed for his benefit. Cicero also took great pains, as he became more convinced that the young man was really improving, that he should be liberally supplied with money; and the last letter from young Cicero himself, addressed to Tiro in August, B.C. 44, gives a perhaps too rosy account of his own diligence and determination to please his father. But the opportunity came soon afterwards for a career better suited to his disposition and ability. Brutus arrived in Athens in the autumn of B.C. 44, and offered young Cicero, as he did the young Horace, a position in the army which he was collecting to take possession of Macedonia. The offer was gladly accepted, and—to his father's great delight—he served with some distinction in that province against Gaius Antonius. After the battle of Philippi in B.C. 42, he seems to have attached himself to Augustus. He was sent home in B.C., 30 to announce the death of Antony, and was rewarded by the consulship for the latter part of that year. His after career is not known. Probably it was undistinguished and short, as he is said to have become addicted to drink.


1 Vol. iii., pp.144-145, 218; vol. iv., pp.12, 32, 58.

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