Destiny of the Republic: The Context of Cicero’s ‘de Officiis’ in Ancient Rome

While Antony was consul, it appeared that little could be accomplished. Cicero was concerned about his own safety and the threat of civil war. Cicero composed his final philosophical treatise in autumn 44 B.C. The detailed correspondence he maintained throughout the months of uncertainty after the assassination of Julius Caesar in March reveals Antony’s bid[…]

Defender of the Republic: The Political Career of Marcus Tullius Cicero

During the chaotic latter half of the first century BCE, Cicero championed a return to the traditional foundation of the republic. Introduction The political career of Marcus Tullius Cicero began in 76 BC with his election to the office of quaestor (he entered the Senate in 74 BC after finishing his quaestorship in Lilybaeum, 75[…]

Overpromise, Lie, and Other Hairy Political Advice from Quintus Cicero in 64 BCE

His brother, Marcus (the famed orator), was running for consul, the loftiest office in the Roman Republic. If Karl Rove had lived in ancient Rome, he might have written something like Commentariolum Petitiones, a down-and-dirty electioneering guide from 64 B.C. published in English by Princeton University Press as How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide[…]

Consulting Cicero on Steadfast Moral Fortitude

Cicero’s life was marked by a tension between the life of a politician and that of a philosopher. I’m often impressed by the fortitude displayed by some of the philosophers and statesmen of the Classical world. Socrates,Musonius Rufus, Seneca, Cato, and many others faced incredible challenges. The magnitude of the events they experienced – war, imprisonment,[…]

Marcus Tullius Cicero: The Impact of His Oration Millennia Beyond Him

When government runs amok, people have a right to rebel—Cicero honored daring individuals who helped overthrow tyrants. By Jim Powell Introduction Marcus Tullius Cicero expressed principles that became the bedrock of liberty in the modern world. He insisted on the primacy of moral standards over government laws. These standards became known as natural law. Above[…]