Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Cicero, Marcus Tullius (106–43 BCE)
Measured by influence upon the thinking, writing, and speaking of subsequent centuries, Marcus Tullius Cicero was clearly the most influential figure of the late Roman Republic. Sometimes simply called “Tully” in the later literature of the West, he was among the most powerful and learned men in his own time. His range of achievements was truly remarkable, encompassing his much revered oratorical ability and writings on rhetoric, his legal and political career marked by holding key offices reaching to the highest office of consul in 63 BCE, his extensive correspondence (more than 900 extant letters), and his rich and varied philosophical writings at the center of which is his work as a political theorist. Decisions he made in the politically tumultuous circumstances of his life—notably his handling of the Catilinarian conspiracy and his opposition to Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and forms of agrarian legislation—made him a highly controversial figure. The ...