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Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Marcus Tullius Cicero, by Bertel Thorvaldsen a...

Marcus Tullius Cicero, by Bertel Thorvaldsen as copy from roman original, in Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) was an outstanding Roman orator, statesman and scholar born in Latium.

He was elected consul in 63 BCE. He managed to abort a revolutionary plot but executed some Roman conspirators without trial, which countered Roman law.

To avoid charges he flew into exile to Thessalonica (58 BCE). A year later he was recalled by the citizens of Rome but lost support from both Caesar’s and Pompey’s followers after trying to appease both.

Retiring in Rome in (46-44 BCE), he wrote on rhetoric and philosophy. Following the murder of Julius Caesar in the Ides of March, he gave speeches against Antony (43 BCE). Antony’s military assassinated him in response.

His most accessible and, perhaps, popular work for modern readers is De natura deorum (On The Nature of the Gods), in which he discusses the opinions of different philosophers concerning various pagan divinities. But many more down-to-earth works survive, such as his defending falsely accused citizens whose accusers are bribed into giving false witness.

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