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Marcus Tullius. The greatest of the Roman orators. He was born at Arpinum, the native place of Marius, B.C. 106, the same year which gave birth to Pompey the Great. His family was ancient, and of equestrian rank, but had never taken part in public affairs at Rome, though both his father and grandfather were persons of consideration in the part of Italy in which they resided. His father, being a man of cultivated mind, determined to educate his two sons, Marcus and Quintus, on an enlarged and liberal plan, and to fit them for the prospect of those public employments which his own weak state of health incapacitated him from seeking. Marcus, the elder of the two, soon displayed indications of a superior mind, and we are told that his school-fellows carried home such accounts of his extraordinary parts that their parents often visited the school for the sake of seeing a boy who gave so much promise of future eminence. One of his earliest masters was the poet Archias, whom he defended afterwards in his consular year; and under his instruction he attained such proficiency as to compose a poem, though yet a boy, on the fable of Glaucus, which had formed the subject of one of the tragedies of Aeschylus. Soon after he assumed the toga virilis, he was placed under the care of Scaevola, the celebrated lawyer, whom he introduces so beautifully in several of his philosophical dialogues; and in no long time he gained a thorough knowledge of the laws and political institutions of his country. This was about the period of the Social War; and, according to the Roman custom, which made it a necessary part of education to learn military science by actual service, Cicero took the opportunity of serving a campaign under the consul Pompeius Strabo, father of Pompey the Great. Returning to pursuits more congenial to his natural tastes, he commenced the study of philosophy under Philo the Academic. But his chief attention was reserved for oratory, to which he applied himself with the assistance of Molo, the ablest rhetorician of the day; while Diodotus the Stoic exercised him in the argumentative subtleties for which the disciples of Zeno were so celebrated. At the same time he declaimed daily in Greek and Latin with certain young noblemen, who were competitors in the same race for honours with himself.

Cicero was the first Roman who found his way to the highest dignities of the State with no other recommendation than his powers of eloquence and his merits as a civil magistrate. The first case of importance which he undertook was the defence of Roscius Amerinus, in which he distinguished himself by his courageous defence of his client, who had been accused of parricide by Chrysogonus, a favourite of Sulla 's. This obliging him, however, according to Plutarch, to leave Rome from prudential motives, the power of Sulla being at that time paramount, he employed his time in travelling for two years under pretence of his health, which he tells us was as yet unequal to the exertion of pleading. At Athens he met with T. Pomponius Atticus, whom he had formerly known at school, and there renewed with him a friendship which lasted through life, in spite of the change of interests and estrangement of affection so commonly attendant on turbulent times. Here, too, he attended the lectures of Antiochus, who, under the name of an Academic, taught the dogmatic doctrines of Plato and the Stoics. Though Cicero at first evinced considerable dislike for his philosophical views, he seems afterwards to have adopted the sentiments of the Old Academy, which they much resembled, and not until late in life to have relapsed into the sceptical tenets of his earlier instructor Philo. See Philosophia.

After visiting the principal philosophers and rhetoricians of Asia, he returned at the age of thirty to Rome, so strengthened and improved both in bodily and mental powers that he soon eclipsed in speaking all his competitors for public favour. Such brilliant gifts speedily gained him the suffrage of the people; and being sent to Sicily as quaestor, at a time when the metropolis itself was visited with a scarcity of corn, he acquitted himself in that delicate situation with so much success as to supply the clamorous wants of the Romans without oppressing the province from which the provisions were raised. Returning thence with greater honours than had ever before been decreed to a Roman governor, he gained for himself still further the esteem of the Sicilians by undertaking his celebrated prosecution of Verres (q.v.) for his misgovernment of Sicily. Verres, though defended by the influence of the Metelli and the eloquence of Hortensius (q.v.), was driven in despair into voluntary exile. Five years after his quaestorship Cicero was elected aedile. Though possessed of only a moderate fortune, he nevertheless, with the good sense and taste which mark his character, was enabled, while holding this expensive office, to preserve in his domestic arrangements the dignity of a literary and public man, without any of the ostentation of magnificence which often distingnished the candidate for popular applause. After the customary interval of two years, he was returned at the head of the list as praetor, and now made his first appearance on the Rostra in support of the Manilian law. (See Lex Manilia.) About the same time, also, he defended Cluentius. At the expiration of his praetorship, he refused to accept a foreign province, the usual reward of that magistracy; but, having the consulship in view, and relying on his interest with Caesar and Pompey, he allowed nothing to divert him from that career of glory for which he now believed himself to be destined. Having succeeded at length in attaining to the high office of which he was in quest, he signalized his consulship by crushing the conspiracy of Lucius Catiline; and the Romans hailed him, on the discovery and overthrow of this nefarious plot, as the Father and Deliverer of his country. His consulate was succeeded by the return of Pompey from the East, and the establishment of the First Triumvirate; which, disappointing his hopes of political greatness, induced him to resume his forensic and literary occupations. From these he was called away, after an interval of four years, by the threatening measures of P. Clodius (q. v.), who at length succeeded in driving him into exile. This event, which, considering the circumstances connected with it, was one of the most glorious of his life, filled him with the utmost distress and despondency. Its history is as follows: Clodius, Cicero's bitter enemy, had caused a law to be renewed, declaring every one guilty of treason who ordered the execution of a Roman citizen before the people had condemned him. The blow was aimed against Cicero, on account of the punishment he had caused to be inflicted, by the authority of the Senate, upon the accomplices of Catiline. The illustrious exconsul put on mourning, and appeared in public, accompanied by the equites and many young patricians, demanding the protection of the people. Clodius, however, at the head of his armed adherents, insulted them repeatedly, and ventured even to besiege the Senate-house. Cicero, upon this, went into voluntary exile. His conduct, however, in this reverse of fortune, showed anything but the firmness of a man of fortitude. He wandered about Greece, bewailing his miserable condition, refusing the consolations which his friends attempted to administer, and shunning the public honours with which the Greek cities were eager to load him. He ultimately took refuge in Thessalonica with Plancus. Clodius, in the meantime, procured new decrees, in consequence of which Cicero's country-seats were torn down, and a temple of Libertas built on the site of his house at Rome. His wife and children were also exposed to ill-usage from his embittered persecutors. A favourable change, however, soon took place in the minds of his countrymen. The insolence of Clodius became insupportable to all. Pompey encouraged Cicero's friends to get him recalled to Rome, and the Senate also declared that it would not attend to any business until the decree which ordered his banishment was revoked. Through the zeal of the consul Lentulus, and at the proposition of several tribunes, the decree of recall passed the assembly of the people in the following year, in spite of a bloody tumult, in which Cicero's brother Quintus was dangerously wounded; and the orator returning to his native country after an absence of ten months, was received with every mark of honour. The Senate met him at the city gates, and his entry resembled a triumphal procession. The attacks of Clodius, though they could now do little harm, were immediately renewed, until Cicero was freed from the insults of this turbulent demagogue by the hand of Milo, whom he afterwards, in a public trial for the deed, unsuccessfully defended. (See Milo.) Five years after his return from exile he received the government of Cilicia, in consequence of Pompey's law, which obliged those senators of consular or praetorian rank, who had never held any foreign command, to divide the vacant provinces among them. Cicero conducted a war, while

Cicero. (Capitoline Museum.)

in this office, with good success against the plundering tribes of the mountain districts of Cilicia, and was greeted by his soldiers with the title of Imperator. He resigned his command, and returned to Italy about the close of the year 50, intending to prefer his claim to a triumph; but the troubles which were just then commencing between Caesar and Pompey prevented him from obtaining one. His return home was followed by earnest endeavours to reconcile Pompey with Caesar, and by very spirited behaviour when Caesar required his presence in the Senate. But this independent temper was only transient; and at no period of his public life did he display such miserable vacillation as at the opening of the Civil War. His conduct, in this respect, had been faulty enough before, for he then vacillated between the several members of the First Triumvirate, defending Vatinius in order to please Caesar, and his bitter political enemy Gabinius to ingratiate himself with Pompey. Now, however, we find him first accepting a commission from the Republic; then courting Caesar; next, on Pompey's sailing for Greece, resolving to follow him thither; presently determining to stand neutral; then bent on retiring to the Pompeians in Sicily; and when finally he had joined their camp in Greece, exhibiting such timidity and discontent as to draw from Pompey the bitter remark, Cupio ad hostes Cicero transeat, ut nos timeat (Macrob. Sat. ii. 3).

After the battle of Pharsalia (B.C. 48) and the flight of Pompey, he refused to take the command of some troops then under the orders of Cato , but returned to Italy, which was governed by Antony, the representative of Caesar. His return was attended with several unpleasant circumstances, until the conqueror wrote to him, and soon after received him in the most friendly spirit. Cicero now devoted himself entirely to literature and philosophy. The state of his private affairs, however, involved him in great embarrassment. A large sum, which he had advanced to Pompey, had impoverished him, and he was forced to stand indebted to Atticus for present assistance. These difficulties led him to a step which it has been customary to regard with great severity—the divorce of his wife Terentia, though he was then in his sixty-second year, and his marriage with his rich ward Publilia, who was of an age disproportionate to his own. Yet, in reviewing this proceeding, we must not adopt the modern standard of propriety, forgetful of the character of an age which reconciled actions even of moral turpitude with a reputation for honour and virtue. Terentia was a woman of a most imperious and violent temper, and had, besides, in no slight degree contributed to his present embarrassment by her extravagance in the management of his private affairs. By her he had had two children—a son born the year before his consulship, and a daughter, whose loss he was now fated to experience. To Tullia he was tenderly attached, not only from the excellence of her disposition, but from her love of polite literature; and her death now took from him, as he so pathetically laments to Sulpicius, the only comfort which the course of public events had left him. His distress was increased by the unfeeling conduct of Publilia, whom he soon divorced for testifying joy at the death of her step-daughter. It was on this occasion that he wrote the treatise De Consolatione, with a view to mitigate the anguish of his sufferings. His friends were assiduous in their attentions; and Caesar, who had treated him with the utmost kindness on his return from Egypt, signified the respect he bore his character by sending a letter of condolence from Spain, where the remains of the Pompeian party still engaged him. But no attentions, however considerate, could soften Cicero's vexation at seeing the country he had formerly saved by his exertions now subjected to the dominion of a single master. His speeches, indeed, for Marcellus and Ligarius exhibit traces of inconsistency; but for the most part he retired from public business, and gave himself up to the composition of those works which, while they mitigated his political sorrows, have secured his literary fame.

The assassination of Caesar, which took place in the following year (B.C. 44), once more brought him on the stage of public affairs. He hoped to regain great political influence; but Antony took Caesar's place, and all that was left Cicero to do was to compose those vigorous orations against him which are known by the name of Philippics, and are equally distinguished for eloquence and patriotism. His enmity towards Antony induced him to favour the young Octavianus, although the pretended moderation of the latter by no means deceived him. With him originated all the energetic resolutions of the Senate in favour of the war which the consuls and the young Caesar were conducting against Antony in the name of the Republic; and for a time the prospect seemed to brighten. At last, however, Octavianus having possessed himself of the consulship, and having formed the alliance with Antony and Lepidus known as the Second Triumvirate, Cicero became convinced that liberty was at an end. At Tusculum, whither he had retired with his brother and his nephew, he learned that Octavianus had basely deserted him, and that his name, at Antony's demand, had been added to the list of the proscribed. He repaired, in a state of indecision, to the sea-coast and embarked. Contrary winds, however, drove him back to the shore. At the request of his slaves he embarked a second time, but soon returned again to await his fate at his country-seat near Formiae. “I will die,” said he, “in that country which I have so often saved.” Here, then, he was disposed to remain and to meet his death; but his slaves, who were warmly attached to him, could not bear to see him thus sacrificed; and when the party of soldiers sent to murder him was advancing towards the villa, they almost used force to make him enter his litter, and to allow them to carry him once more on board of the vessel, which was still lying at Caieta. But, as they were bearing the litter towards the sea, they were overtaken in the walks of his own grounds by the soldiers who were in search of him, and who were headed by one Herennius, a centurion, and by C. Popilius Laenas. Popilius was a native of Picenum, and had, on a former occasion, been successfully defended by Cicero, when brought to trial for some offence before the courts at Rome. As the assistance of advocates was given gratuitously, the connection between them and their clients was esteemed very differently from what it is among us; and it was therefore an instance of peculiar atrocity that Popilius offered his services to Antony to murder his patron, from no other motive than the hope of gaining his favour by showing such readiness to destroy his greatest enemy. The slaves of Cicero, undismayed at the appearance of the soldiers, prepared to defend their master; but he refused to allow any blood to be shed on his account, and commanded them to set down the litter and await the issue in silence. He was obeyed; and when the soldiers came up he stretched out his head with perfect calmness, and submitted his neck to the sword of Popilius. He died in his sixty-third year, B.C. 43. When the murder was accomplished the soldiers cut off his two hands also, as the instruments with which he had written his Philippic orations; and the head and hands were carried to Rome, and exposed together at the Rostra. Men crowded to see the mournful sight, and testified by their tears the compassion and affection which his unworthy death, and his pure and amiable character, had so justly deserved.

On the whole, antiquity may be challenged to produce an individual so upright and so amiable as Cicero. None interest us more in their lives; none excite more painful emotions in their deaths. Others may be found of loftier and more heroic character, who awe and subdue the mind by the grandeur of their views or the intensity of their exertions; but Cicero wins our affections by the integrity of his public conduct, the purity of his private life, the generosity, placability, and kindness of his heart, the playfulness of his temper, and the warmth of his domestic attachments. In this respect his letters are invaluable. Here we see the man without disguise or affectation, especially in his letters to Atticus, to whom he unbosomed every thought, and talked with the same frankness as to himself. It must, however, be confessed that the publication of this same correspondence has laid open the defects of his political character. Everything seemed to point out Cicero as the fittest person of the day to be a mediator between contending factions. And yet, after the eventful period of his consulship, we see him resigning the high station in the Republic which he himself might have filled, to the younger Cato , who, with only half his abilities, little foresight, and no address, possessed that first requisite for a statesman, firmness. Cicero, on the contrary, was irresolute, timid, and inconsistent. He talked, indeed, largely of preserving a middle course, but he was continually vacillating from one to the other extreme; always too confident or too dejected; incorrigibly vain of success, yet meanly panegyrizing the government of a usurper. His foresight, sagacity, practical good sense, and singular tact in directing men's measures, were lost for want of that strength of mind which points them steadily to one object. He was never decided, and never took an important step without afterwards repenting of it. Nor can we account for the firmness and resolution of his consulate, unless we discriminate between the ease of resisting a party and that of balancing contending interests.

We may now consider Cicero as a public speaker and writer. The orations that he is known to have composed amount in all to 107, of which seventyseven, either entire or in part, have been preserved. All those pronounced by him during the five years intervening between his election to the quaestorship and the aedileship have perished, except that for M. Tullius, the exordium and narratio of which were brought to light by the discoveries of Mai in the Ambrosian Library at Milan. From the same quarter have been obtained many other proofs of the eloquence of Cicero, among the most important of which are a large fragment of the oration for Scaurus, and detached portions of that delivered against Clodius for his profanation of the mysteries of the Bona Dea. Of all the lost orations, the two most regretted are that in defence of Cornelius, and the speech delivered by him in the Temple of Bellona in quelling the disturbance excited by the law of Otho. (See Roscia Lex.) This last is said to have been one of the most signal victories of eloquence over the turbulence of human passions, while to the former Cicero himself frequently alludes as among the most finished of his compositions. The oration for Marcellus is maintained by many to be a spurious performance. It would seem, however, after weighing all the arguments adduced by modern critics, that a part is actually genuine, but that much has been subsequently interpolated by some rhetorician or declaimer.

Of the rhetorical works of Cicero, the most admired and finished is the dialogue De Oratore, of which Cicero himself highly approved, and which his friends were accustomed to regard as one of the finest of his productions. In the Oratoriae Partitiones, the subject is the art of arranging and distributing the parts of an oration so as to adapt them in the best manner to their proper end—that of moving and persuading an audience. In the dialogue on famous orators, entitled Brutus, he gives a short description of all who had ever flourished in Greece or Rome, with any considerable reputation for eloquence, down to his own time. It was intended as a fourth and supplemental book to the treatise De Oratore. The Orator, addressed to Brutus, and written at his solicitation, was intended to complete the two works just mentioned. It enlarges on the favourite topic of Cicero, which had already been partially discussed in the treatise De Oratore—the character of the perfect orator; and seeks to confirm his favourite proposition—that perfection in oratory requires an extensive acquaintance with every art. It is on the merits of this work in particular that Cicero, in a letter to a friend, asserts his perfect willingness that his reputation should be staked. The Topica is a compendium of the Topica of Aristotle. The treatise De Optimo Genere Oratorum was originally intended as a preface to a translation of the celebrated orations of Demosthenes and Aeschines De Corona. The work De Inventione was a youthful performance; and that addressed to Herennius, according to the best authorities, never proceeded from his pen. In all Cicero's rhetorical works, except, perhaps, the Orator, he professes to have digested the principles of the Aristotelian and Isocratic schools into one finished system, selecting what was best in each, and, as occasion might offer, adding remarks and precepts of his own. The subject is considered in three distinct lights, with reference to

  • 1. the case,
  • 2. the speaker, and
  • 3. the speech.

The case, as respects its nature, is definite or indefinite; with reference to the hearer, it is judicial, deliberative, or descriptive; as regards the opponent, the division is fourfold—according as the fact, its nature, its quality, or its propriety is called in question. The art of the speaker is directed to five points: the sources of persuasion (whether ethical, pathetic, or argumentative), arrangement, diction, memory, delivery. And the speech itself consists of six parts: introduction (or exordium), statement of the case, division of the subject, proof, refutation, and conclusion or peroration. Cicero's laudatory orations are among his happiest efforts. Nothing can exceed the taste and beauty of those for the Manilian law, for Marcellus, for Ligarius, for Archias, and the Ninth Philippic, which is principally in praise of Servius Sulpicius. But it is in judicial eloquence, particularly on subjects of a lively cast, as in his speeches for Caelius and Muraena and against Caecilius, that his talents are displayed to the best advantage. To both kinds his urbane and pleasant cast of mind imparts inexpressible grace and delicacy; historical allusions, philosophical sentiments, descriptions full of life and nature, and polite raillery, succeed each other in the most agreeable manner, without appearance of artifice or effort. Of this nature are his pictures of the confusion of the Catilinarian conspirators on detection ( In Cat. iii. 3); of the death of Metellus (Pro Cael. 10); of Sulpicius undertaking the embassy to Antony (Philipp. ix. 3); the character he draws of Catiline (Pro Cael. 6); and his fine sketch of old Appius frowning on his degenerate descendant Clodia (ib. 6). But, by the formation of a style which adapts itself with singular felicity to every class of subjects, whether lofty or familiar, philosophical or forensic, Cicero answers more exactly to his own definition of a perfect orator ( Orat. 29) than by his plausibility, pathos, and vivacity. Among many excellences possessed by Cicero's oratorical diction, the greatest is its suitability to the genius of the Latin language; though the diffuseness thence necessarily resulting has exposed it, both in his own days and since his time, to the criticisms of those who have affected to condemn its Asiatic character, in comparison with the simplicity of Attic writers and the strength of Demosthenes. Greek, however, is celebrated for copiousness in its vocabulary and perspicuity in its phrases, and its consequent facility of expressing the most novel or abstruse ideas with precision and elegance. Hence the Attic style of eloquence was plain and simple, because simplicity and plainness were not incompatible with clearness, energy, and harmony. But it was a singular want of judgment, an ignorance of the very principles of composition, which induced Brutus, Calvus, Sallust, and others, to imitate this terse and severe beauty in their own defective language, and even to pronounce the opposite kind of diction deficient in taste and purity. In Greek, indeed, the words fall, as it were, naturally into a distinct and harmonious order; and, from the exuberant richness of the materials, less is left to the ingenuity of the artist. But the Latin language is comparatively weak, scanty, and unmusical, and requires considerable skill and management to render it expressive and graceful. Simplicity in Latin is scarcely separable from baldness; and justly as Terence is celebrated for chaste and unadorned diction, yet even he, compared with Attic writers, is flat and heavy. Again, the perfection of strength is clearness united to brevity; and to this combination Latin is usually unequal. From the vagueness and uncertainty of meaning which characterize its separate words, to be perspicuous it must be full. What Livy and, much more Tacitus, have gained in energy, they have lost in perspicuity and elegance. Latin, in short, is not a philosophical language; not a language in which a deep thinker is likely to express himself with purity or neatness. Now Cicero rather made a language than a style, yet not so much by the invention as by the combination of words. Some terms, indeed, his philosophical subjects compelled him to coin, and these are often admirable—e. g. qualitas, quantitas=ποιότης, ποσότης; but his great art lies in the application of existing materials, in converting the very disadvantages of the language into beauties, in enriching it with circumlocutions and metaphors, in pruning it of harsh and uncouth expressions, and in systematizing the structure of a sentence. This is that copia dicendi which gained Cicero the high testimony of Caesar to his inventive powers, and which makes him the greatest master of composition the world has ever seen.

We come next to Cicero's philosophical writings, after a brief enumeration of which we shall offer a few remarks on the character of his philosophy itself. The treatise De Legibus has reached us in an imperfect state, only three books remaining, and these disfigured by numerous chasms that cannot be supplied. It traces the philosophic principles of jurisprudence to their remotest sources, sets forth a body of laws conformable to Cicero's idea of a well-regulated State, and is supposed to have treated in the books that are lost of the executive power of magistrates and the rights of Roman citizens. The treatise De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum is written after the manner of Aristotle, and discusses the chief good and the chief evil (summum bonum et summum malum); in it Cicero explains the several opinions entertained on this subject by the philosophers of antiquity. The Academicae Quaestiones relates to the Academic philosophy, whose tenets Cicero himself had embraced. It is an account and defence of the doctrines of the Academy. In the Tusculanae Disputationes, five books are devoted to as many different questions of philosophy, bearing the most strongly on the practice of life, and involving topics the most essential to human happiness. The Paradoxa contains a defence of six paradoxes of the Stoics. The work De Natura Deorum, in three books, embraces a full examination of the various theories of heathen antiquity on the nature of the gods, to which the treatise De Divinatione may be regarded as a supplement. The essay De Officiis, on moral duties, has, not unaptly, been styled the heathen Whole Duty of Man; nor have the dialogues De Senectute and De Amicitia been incorrectly regarded as among the most highly finished and pleasing performances of which any language can boast. We have to lament the loss of the treatises De Consolatione, De Gloria, and the one entitled Hortensius, in which last Cicero undertook the defence of learning and philosophy, and left to his illustrious competitor the task of arraigning them. It was this book which first led St. Augustine to the study of Christian philosophy and the doctrines of Christianity. The treatise De Republica has been in part rescued from the destroying hand of time by the labours of Mai. Except the works De Inventione and De Oratore, this was the earliest of Cicero's literary productions. It was given to the world in B.C. 53, just before its author set out for his proconsular government in Cilicia. He was then in his fifty-third year. The object and spirit of the work were highly patriotic. He wished to bring the constitution back to its first principles by an impression expositive of its theory; to inflame his contemporaries with the love of virtue by pourtraying the character of their ancestors in its primeval purity and beauty; and while he was raising a monument to all future ages of what Rome had been, to inculcate upon his own times what it ought still to be. We know it to have been his original purpose to make it a very voluminous work; for he expressly tells his brother that it was to be extended to nine books. Ernesti thinks that they were all given to the world, although Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, on which that learned and suggestive scholar makes this very remark, speaks of them as his six pledges or sureties for his good behaviour.

Cicero, as a philosopher, belongs, upon the whole, to the New Academy. It has been disputed whether he was really attached to this system, or had merely resorted to it as being the best adapted for furnishing him with oratorical arguments suited to all occasions. At first its adoption was subsidiary to his other plans. But, towards the conclusion of his life, when he no longer maintained the place he was wont to hold in the Senate or the Forum, and when philosophy formed the occupation “with which,” to quote his own words, “life was just tolerable, and without which it would have been intolerable,” he doubtless became convinced that the principles of the New Academy, illustrated as they had been by Carneades (q.v.) and Philo , formed the soundest system which had descended to mankind from the schools of Athens. The attachment, however, of Cicero to the Academic philosophy was free from the exclusive spirit of sectarianism, and hence it did not prevent his extracting from other systems what he found in them conformable to virtue and reason. His ethical principles, in particular, appear eclectic, having been in a great measure formed from the opinions of the Stoics. Of most of the Greek sects he speaks with respect and esteem. For the Epicureans alone he seems, notwithstanding his friendship for Atticus, to have entertained a decided aversion and contempt. The general purpose of Cicero's philosophical works was rather to give a history of the ancient philosophy, than dogmatically to inculcate opinions of his own. It was his great aim to explain to his fellow-citizens, in their own language, whatever the sages of Greece had taught on the most important subjects, in order to enlarge their minds and reform their morals.

In theoretical investigation, in the development of abstract ideas, and in the analysis of qualities and perceptions, Cicero can not be regarded as in any degree an inventor or a profound original thinker, and can not be ranked with Plato and Aristotle. His peculiar merit as a philosophical writer lay in his luminous and popular exposition of the leading principles and disputes of the ancient schools, and no works transmitted from antiquity present so concise and comprehensive a view of the opinions of the Greek philosophers. The most obvious peculiarity of Cicero's philosophical writings is their form of dialogue. The idea was borrowed from Plato and Xenophon; but the nature of Cicero's dialogue is as different from that of the two Athenians as was his object in writing. With them, the Socratic mode of argument could hardly be displayed in any other shape; whereas Cicero's aim was to excite interest, and he availed himself of this mode of composition for the life and variety, the ease, perspicuity, and vigour which it gave to his discussions. The majesty and splendour of his introductions, the eloquence with which both sides of a question are successively displayed, the clearness and terseness of his statements on abstract points, his exquisite allusions to the scene or time of the supposed conversation, his digressions in praise of philosophy, and, lastly, the melody and richness of his style, unite to throw a charm around these productions which has been felt in every age.

Cicero's epistulae, nearly one thousand (864 B.C.) in all, are comprised in thirty-six books, sixteen of which are addressed to Atticus, three to his brother Quintus, one to Brutus, and sixteen to his different friends; and they form a history of his life from his fortieth year. Among those addressed to his friends (Ad Familiares) some occur written to him by Brutus, Metellus, Plancus, Caelius, and others. For the preservation of this most valuable department of Cicero's writings we are indebted to Tiro , the author's freedman, though we possess at the present day only a part of those originally published. The most interesting by far are the letters to Atticus, for they not only throw great light on the history of the times, but also give us a full insight into the private character of Cicero himself, who was accustomed at all times to unbosom his thoughts most freely to this friend of his. The authenticity of the correspondence with Brutus has been disputed by modern scholars, but the general opinion is favourable to the genuineness of all but two (xvi. and xvii.).

His poetical and historical works have suffered a hard fate. The latter class, consisting of his commentary on his consulship and his history of his own times, are altogether lost. Of the former, which comprised the heroic poems Alcyone, Marius, and on his own consulate, translations of parts of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Aratus, epigrams, etc., but little remains except some fragments of the Phaenomena and Diosemeia of Aratus. It may, however, be questioned whether literature has suffered much by this loss. We should refrain from speaking contemptuously of the poetic powers of one who possessed so much fancy, so much taste, and so fine an ear; but his poems were principally composed in his youth; and afterwards, when his powers were more mature, his occupations did not allow even his active mind the time necessary for polishing a language then still more rugged in verse than it was in prose. Hence we find that his own contemporaries criticised unfavourably his attempts in verse, a fact to which he himself bears witness; and such specimens as remain show the ante-classical fondness for alliterative jingle; as, for instance, the famous line which he quotes in his De Officiis (i. 77):
“Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi,”

and the absurdly egotistical hexameter sneered at by Juvenal in his Tenth Satire:
“O fortunatam natam me consule Roman!”

His contemporary history, on the other hand, can hardly have conveyed more explicit, and certainly would have contained less faithful, information than his private correspondence; while, with all the penetration he assuredly possessed, it may be doubted if his diffuse and graceful style of thought and composition was adapted for the depth of reflection and condensation of meaning which are the chief excellences of historical composition.


The MSS. of Cicero are so numerous and so scattered over Europe as to preclude an exhaustive enumeration of them here. The Laurentian Library alone contains 188 codices, of which the oldest dates back to the tenth century. The Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris possesses 231, collected prior to the Revolution of 1789. Six of these date from the ninth century; 138 are of the fifteenth. The oldest collection of the letters ad familiares is the Codex Vercellensis (now the Codex Mediceus) of the ninth century. Petrarch, in 1345, discovered at Verona the letters to Brutus, Q. Cicero, and Atticus. The MS. found by Petrarch has again been lost, so that only a copy of it remains. Other important Ciceronian MSS. are as follows: of the fourteen Philippics, the Vatican-Basilican MS. of the ninth century; of the orations against Verres, the Vatican palimpsest of the fourth (?) century, and two Wolfenbüttel MSS. dependent upon a Paris codex of the ninth century; of the Catilinarian orations, the Ambrosian Codex of the tenth century, and the Munich MSS. of the eleventh century; of the oration for Archias, the Codex Bruxellensis (Brussels) of the eleventh century; of the oration on the Manilian law, the Codex Erfurtensis of the twelfth century; of the oration for Milo, the Munich MS. (18,787) and a palimpsest at Turin; of the treatises De Oratore, Brutus, and Orator, the Codex Laudensis (Lodi), or rather three copies of that codex made after 1422; of the Partitiones Oratoriae, a Paris MS. of the eleventh century (No. 7231); of the Topica, a codex at Leyden and two at St. Gall; of the treatise De Optimo Genere Oratorum, a MS. at St. Gall; of the philosophical works, the Codices Leidenses (Vossiani, 84 saec. x., and 86 saec. xi.), the Codex Laurentianus S. Marci (257 B.C.) of the tenth century, and the Codex Vindobonensis (Vienna) of the tenth century. A collection of 600 excerpts from Cicero's philosophical writings, made by a certain Hadoardus in the ninth century, is in the Vatican. For the treatise De Legibus, the best MSS. are the Leyden codices (Vossiani, 84 saec. x., and 86 saec. xi.); for the Paradoxa, the same; for the De Finibus, the Palatino-Vaticanus of the eleventh century; for the Academica, the Codices Leidenses already mentioned; for the Tusculanae Disputationes, a MS. at Paris dating from the tenth century, and one at Brussels of the twelfth century; for the Timaeus, the Codices Leidenses; for the De Natura Deorum, the same; for the Cato Maior, a Codex Leidensis (Voss. F. 12, saec. x.); for the De Divinatione, the Palatino-Vaticanus noted above; for the De Fato, a codex at Vienna (189 B.C.); for the Laelius, a MS. at Munich of the tenth century; for the De Officiis, a MS. at Bern of the tenth century, and one of the same age at Paris (no. 6601).



The editio princeps of the entire works of Cicero was that by P. Victorius (Venice, 1534-37). A famous old edition is that of Lambinus (Paris, 1566); and those of Graevius, unfinished (Amsterdam, 1684), Ernesti (Leipzig, 1737, last ed. 1820), Orelli (Zürich, 1826-30), revised with Baiter and Halm (1845-62), Nobbe (Leipzig, 1850), are very often cited. More recent are the editions by Klotz, 11 vols. (Leipzig, 1863-71); revised by C. F. W. Müller, not yet completed (Leipzig, 1878-), and Baiter and Kayser, 11 vols. (Leipzig, 1861-69), with index.

Among special editions may be mentioned that of the orations with English notes by Long, 4 vols. (London, 1855-62); of the oration on the Manilian law by Wilkins (London, 1885); of the Second Philippic by E. Mayor (London, 1878), and by Gantrelle (Paris, 1882); of the Catilinarian orations by Halm (latest ed. Berlin, 1886); of the oration for Archias by J. S. Reid (Cambridge, 1884); of the oration for Balbus by Reid (Cambridge, 1879); of the oration for Plancius by Holden (London, 1881); of the oration for Milo by Purton (Cambridge, 1877). Special editions of the rhetorical works are those of the De Oratore, 3 vols., by Wilkins (London, 1893); of the Orator by Sandys (London, 1885); of the Brutus by Kellogg (Boston, 1889); and of the Partitiones Oratoriae by Piderit (Leipzig, 1867). A critical revision of Cicero's philosophical works is that of Schiche (Prague, 1884); and special editions of individual treatises are that of the De Legibus by Vahlen (Berlin, 1883); of the De Finibus by Reid (in preparation), and Langen (Münster, 1888); of the Academica by Reid (London, 1885); of the Tusculanae by Heine (Leipzig, 1881); of the De Natura Deorum by J. B. Mayor, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1885); of the Cato Maior by Reid (Cambridge, 1883), revised by Kelsey (Boston, 1884); of the De Officiis by Holden (Cambridge, 1884), and by Stickney (N. Y. 1888). An excellent edition of the correspondence of Cicero, with notes and an introduction, is that by Tyrrell and Purser (London, 1886, foll.). Recent collections of the fragments of Cicero's writings are those of Baiter and Kayser (1868), and C. F. W. Müller (1879).

Special Works.

Orelli, Onomasticum et Indices, 3 vols. (1838); Ernesti, Clavis Ciceroniana (Halle, 1831); Schütz, Lexicon Ciceronianum, 4 vols. (1817); Nizolius, Lexicon Ciceronianum, 3 vols. (last ed. 1820); Merguet, Lexikon zu Cicero's Reden (1877- 84); Suringar, Ciceronis Annales, 2 vols. (1854); Hirtzel, Untersuchungen z. Cicero's philosoph. Schriften (1877); Levin, Lectures on the Philosophy of Cicero (Cambridge, 1871); Davidson, Life of Cicero (1894); Middleton, Life of Cicero (1741); Brückner, Leben Cicero's (1852); Forsyth, Life of Cicero (1864); Trollope, Life of Cicero (1880); Boissier, Cicéron et ses Amis (4th ed. 1888). See also Mommsen, History of Rome, vol. iv., and against his well-known view, the defence of Cicero by Gerlach (Basel, 1864).


Marcus, only son of the orator, and the person to whom the latter addressed his work De Officiis. He took part in the civil contest at an early age, and served under both Pompey and Brutus. After the battle of Philippi he retired to Sicily and joined the younger Pompey. Subsequently, however, he took advantage of the act of amnesty that was passed, and returned to Italy, where he lived for some time in a private capacity. Augustus, on attaining to sovereign power, made him his colleague in the consulship, and it was to Marcus Cicero, in his quality of consul, that he wrote an account of the victory at Actium and the conquest of Egypt. Marcus had the satisfaction of executing the decree which ordered all the statues and monuments that had been erected to Antony to be thrown down. After his consulship he was appointed governor of Syria, from which period history is silent respecting him. He died at an advanced age, and was notorious for dissipated and intemperate habits.


Quintus, brother of the orator, and brotherin-law of Atticus. After having been praetor in B.C. 62, he obtained the government of Asia. He was subsequently a lieutenant of Caesar's in Britain, and only left that commander to accompany his brother, Marcus Tullius, as lieutenant, into Cilicia. After the battle of Pharsalia, in which he took part on the side of Pompey, he was proscribed by the triumvirate and put to death by the emissaries of Antony. He had a marked talent for poetry, and had planned a poem on the invasion of Britain by Caesar. He also composed several tragedies, imitated or else translated from the Greek, but which have not reached us. Eighteen lines of his are preserved in Q. Ciceronis Reliquiae, edited by Bücheler (Leipzig, 1869). He was perhaps the author of the piece Commentariolum Petitionis, usually printed along with Cicero's letters to him. It is addressed by Quintus to his brother when the latter was a candidate for the consulship, and gives advice with regard to the best means to acquire general popularity. There is an edition of this work by Eussner (Würzburg, 1872). On the authorship of the work see Hendrickson in the Amer. Journal of Philology for 1892, pp. 200-212.

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