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www.gutenberg.org/files/22330/22330-8.txt ( EBook of Clepsydra, by Camilo Pessanha) translation in English by Google Translate
EBook of Clepsydra, by Camilo Pessanha
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Clepsydra, by Camilo Pessanha
This eBook is for use by anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
reuse it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.net
Camillo Pessanha’s Poems
Author: Camilo Pessanha
Release Date: August 16, 2007 [EBook # 22330]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CLEPSYDRA ***
Produced by Tiago Tejo
All rights reserved
Composite and Printed: Tip. from T. da Espera, 26
LISBON – 1920
I saw the light in a lost country.
My soul is languid and defenseless.
Oh! Who could slide without noise!
On the ground disappear like a worm …
Complicated tattoos of my chest:
–Trophéos, emblems, two winged lions …
More, among wreathed hearts,
A huge, superb, pansy …
And my big guy … You have to gold in a barracks
Red, a lys; there is a maiden in the other,
In blue field, silver the body, that one
Which is on my arm like a buckler.
Timbre: breaking, the megalomania …
Motto: ouch, – that insists night and day
Remembering ruins, shallow graves …
Among battling mountain castles,
And eagles in black, unfurling the waters,
What a gold necklace of besantes!
I struggled to try your secret:
In your colorless look, – cold escalpello, –
My gaze broke, debating it,
Like the wave on the crest of a rock.
Segrêdo of that soul and my degraded
And my obsession! To drink it
I was your oscular lip, in a nightmare,
For nights of dread, full of fear.
And my fiery, allucinated oscule,
Chilled over the right marble
From this parted cold lip …
From that discrete marble lip,
Severe as a closed grave,
Serene as a quiet pelago.
He is declaiming a deceased comic,
A platea laughs, madly,
Of the good hock … And there is a smell in the environment
Crypta and dust, – from the anachronic assumption.
Change the record, here’s a barcarola:
Lilies, lilies, river waters, the moon …
Before Your body the dream my fluctua
About a country, – ecstatic corolla.
Change again: gorgeios, refrain
D’a gold bugle – the smell of jonquil,
Lively and agro! – touching the dawn …
Ceased. And, loving, the soul of the horns
It was now dewy and veiled.
Spring. Morning. What an effluvium of violets!
It descends in tender leafs to collina:
–In glaucos, loose sleeping tones,
That they were fresh, my eyes stinging,
In which the rage’s flame declines …
Oh come, in white, – from the foliage immo!
The branches, take your hand away.
Oh come on! My eyes want to marry you
Reflect you virgin to the serene image.
From crazy bush a slippery stem
How delicate she danced on a finger
With a bright pink quiver! …
Slight skirt … Sweet breeze impelle her …
Oh come on! In white! From the end of the grove …
Soul of sylpho, camellia meat …
Slum arises! It comes from the waters, naked,
By throbbing an alvinitente shell!
The flexible kidneys and the chilling breast …
My mouth dies for kissing yours.
Without vile shame! What should be ashamed of?
Here I am beautiful, young and chaste, strong.
So white the chest! – to expose it to Death …
But now — the infamous one! —Don’t stand before you.
The clumsy hydra! … What a strangle …
Against the rock where your head is,
With the hair dripping water,
Go bend over, faint in love,
Under the fervor of my virginity
And my young gladiator pulse.
After the lucta and after the conquest
I was alone! It was an anthipathic act!
Deserted Island, and on the water table
All green, green, – out of sight.
Because you were, my caravels,
Loaded up with all my thesoiro?
–Long webs of golden llama moonlight,
Diamond subtitles of the stars!
Who undid you, inconsistent forms,
For whose love I climbed the wall,
“Armed lion, a sword in your teeth?”
Happy are you, O battle slain!
Dreams, back to back, eyes open
Reflecting the stars, gaping …
Who polluted, who tore my linen cloths,
Where I expected to die, my chaste scarves?
From my garden I demand the high turns
Who ripped them off and threw them on the way?
Who broke (what a cruel and simian fury!)
The table of me supper, – pine board?
And spread me the wood? And spilled my wine?
–From my vineyard the acidified and fresh wine …
O my poor mother! … Do not rise from the grave,
Look at the night, look at the wind. In ruin the new house …
From my bones the fire is going out soon.
Don’t come home anymore. Don’t tramp anymore.
My mother’s soul … Don’t walk in the snow anymore,
At night begging at the doors of the houses.
O my heart goes back
Where are you running from, crazy?
My burning eyes that the sinned
Burned … Return hours of peace.
Bend the elms of the roads from the snow,
The ash cooled on the solid.
Nights of the mountains, the shack …
“Look at my eyes like two old men …”
Extensive springtime evokes them:
“Already will blossom the apple orchard,
We have to decorate the Mayan hats–
Socegae, cool, feverish eyes.
–And we will go sing in the last
Litany … Sweet senile voices …–
The wild roses bloomed by mistake
In winter: the wind came to defolate them …
What scismas, honey? Why do you call me
The voices you just fooled me with?
Crazy Castellos! So early cahistes! …
Where we go, oblivious to the thought,
Holding hands? Your eyes, what a moment
They scrutinized mine, how sad they are!
And upon us the snow falls,
Deaf, triumpho, petal, slightly
Putting the floor together on the ice acropolis …
Around your figure is like a video!
Who sprinkles them – how much flower– from the CEO,
About us, about our hair?
And here is what remains of the finished idyllio,
“It will last a moment …”
How far the convent mornings go!
“From the cheerful abandoned little convent …”
It’s all over … Anemones, hydrangeas.
Silindras, – flowers so our friends!
In the cloister now the ortigas beat,
Snakes roam the old ponds.
About the registration of your deldo name!
“That my eyes can barely spell,”
Cançados … And the withered aroma
May it evolve from your common name!
The silence of oblivion ennobled him.
O sweet, naive, grave inscription.
Singra the ship. Under clear water
You see the seabed of fine sand …
–Imprecable pilgrim figure,
The endless distance that separates us!
Pebbles of the lighter porcelain,
Faintly pink shells,
In cold luminous transparency
They lie deep under the flat water.
And the sight probe, reconstructs, compares.
So many wrecks, wrecks, wrecks!
–O gleaming vision, beautiful lie!
Little roses that the tide had gone …
Teeth that reciprocate it will wear …
Shells, pebbles, pieces of bones …
It was a day of useless agonies.
Sunny day, flooded with sunshine! …
The cold swords flashed naked …
Sunny day, flooded with sunshine! …
It was a day of false joy.
Dahlia flaying, – his molle smile …
The ranches of the pilgrimages returned.
Dahlia flaying, – his molle smile …
More impressionable day than the other days.
So lucid … So pallido … So lucid! …
Diffuse of theoremas, of theorias …
The day futil more than the other days!
Minute of discreet ironies …
So lucid … So pallido … So lucid! …
The autumn has passed, already makes the cold …
“Fall from your hurt laugh.”
Winter algid! I oblique the sun, cold …
“The sun, and the clear waters of the river.”
Clear waters of the river! River waters,
Fleeing under my tired gaze,
Where do you take me my care?
Where are you going, my empty heart?
Ficae cabellos d’ella, floating,
And under the fleeting waters,
Your eyes open and scisendo …
Where are you going to run, melancholy?
–And, refracted, long waving,
Your translucent cold hands …
When I came back I found my steps
Still fresh on the damp sand,
The fugitive hour, recalls,
“So redivative!” in my dull eyes …
Bleary eyes from contained tears.
–Little steps, because you screwed
Thus misled, and afterwards you have become
To the point of the first goodbyes?
Where you went without a wind, in the wind,
Around, like birds in an avian,
Until the azita is gone …
All this long track – for what?
If the tide will come to you,
Like the new track that starts …
Why do you not stare from my eyes?
What are you passing like crystalline water
For a source never again! …
Or to the dark lake where it ends
Your course, silent of junctions,
And the vague anguished fear rules,
“Because you’re going without me, won’t you take me?”
Without you, what are my eyes open?
“The useless mirror, my pagan eyes!”
Aridity of successive deserts …
It is even a shadow of my hands,
Casual flexing of my uncertain fingers,
Weird shadow in vain movements.
When will the upright rise,
Again, from the ruined castello,
And there will be shouts and flags
In the cold morning breeze?
Will you hear the rebate play
About the abandoned plain?
And we will go to combat
With a coat and helmet and the long sword?
When will we go, sad and serious,
In the long and vain strife,
Letting oaths, improper,
By the currency and subtitles?
And we’ll be back, the old ones
And purissimos handlers,
(How many jobs and dangers!)
Almost dead and winners?
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
And when, O Doc Infanta Real,
Will you smile at the belveder?
–Magra stained glass figure,
For whom we went to fight …
I don’t know if this is love. I look for your look,
If any pain hurts me, seeking a shelter;
And in spite of that, believe! I never thought of a home
Where you were happy, and I happy with you.
For you I never cried any broken ideal.
And I never wrote you any romantic verses.
Not even after waking up I looked for you in bed
As the sensual wife of Cantico of canticos.
If it’s loving you, I don’t know. I don’t know if I idealized you
Your healthy color, your tender smile,
But I feel smile to see that smile
That penetrates me well, like this winter sun.
I spend with you the afternoon and always without fear
Of the twilight light, which unnerves, that provokes.
I do not take long to look at the curve of your breast
I didn’t even remember kissing you in the mouth anymore.
I don’t know if it’s love. It will be maybe start …
I don’t know what change my present soul …
Love, I don’t know if it is, but I know I shudder,
Maybe I got sick of knowing you were sick.
Drumming in a hurry,
Bonet next door,
Garboso the drum
From the field of love …
The bent step!
Loves puff you.
May the girls kiss you.
May the boys envy you.
But there, O soldier!
O sad alienated!
May the touch complain,
No one to call you …
No one who loves you …
To my heart an iron weight
I will arrest on the turn of the sea.
To my heart an iron weight …
Throw it overboard.
Who goes on board, who goes offended …
The feathers of love do not want to carry …
Sailors, I lifted the heavy vault,
Throw it overboard.
And I will sell a silver clasp.
My heart is the sealed vault.
The seven keys: there is a letter inside …
“The last one, before your engagement.”
The seven keys, – the enchanted letter!
And an embroidered handkerchief … I’ll take it,
Which is for wetting it in saltwater
The day I finally stop crying …
There is a murmur of complain in the room,
Of love desires, of these pills …
A sparse tenderness of bleating,
It feels like a fading perfume.
Honeysuckle withers in the brush
And the aroma that they exhale through space,
Has delusions of fat and tiredness
Nervous, feminine, sweet.
They feel spasms, agonias d’ave,
Inaprehensiveis, minimal, serene …
“I have your small hands in my hands.”
My gaze on your soft gaze.
Your hands so white with anemia …
Your eyes so sweet with sadness …
–This is the languishing of nature,
This vague suffer from the end of the day.
If you walked in the garden,
What a smell of jasmine!
So white in the moonlight!
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Behold, I have it with me.
Overdue, it’s mine anyway
After so much dreaming …
Why do I grieve like this?
It wasn’t her, but
(What I wanted to hug),
Garden time …
The aroma of jasmine …
The moonlight wave …
After the golden wedding,
From the promised time,
I don’t know how bad it is now
It made my life late …
I have to return …
And it misses me …
“But to remind me
I don’t know that pain invades me.
I don’t even want to go on,
Walk new paths,
My poor feet, dorir,
Already purple of thorns.
Neither stay … and die …
Lose you, vague image …
Cease … No more seeing you …
As a light goes out …
My heart goes down,
An extinguished balloon …
–Best it burned,
In the dark, set on fire.
In the fastidient mist,
Like a grave coffin …
–Because it doesn’t blow before
Of violent pain and new ?!
What apprehension still holds him?
Atom wretched …
–If the train smashed
D’a train panting! …
The inane, vile spoil
From the selfish and weak soul!
Brought him the sea of red
Take him in the hangover.
From the video player!
From which they fly,
Whites, the bows …
In the river, the boats.
Weeping Tails …
What ruins, (listen)!
If they look,
What a sink!
Wobbly stars …
Lacustrine solids …
–Mails and masts …
And the alabaster
From the balusters!
Broken ballot boxes!
Ice blocks …
From the viôloncello.
AROUND FLOWER BOATS
Only, incessantly, a flute sound cries,
Widow, gracile, in the quiet darkness,
–Perfect voice that exiles from among the most,
“Sound parties masking the time.”
In the orgy, far away, that in scintilla flares
And the white lips of the carmine deflate …
Only, incessantly, a flute sound cries,
She was gracious in the quiet darkness.
And the orchestra? And the kisses? All night out,
Caution, stop. Only modulated track
The flute flute … Who’s going to do it?
Who knows why you regret it without reason?
Only, incessantly, a flute sound cries …
IN A PORTRAIT
From under the square quadrangle
From the fresh land that will swell me,
And after much rain,
When the herb spreads with the oblong,
Still, friend, the same look of mine
He will go humble across the sea,
Wrap you up in tender price,
Like that of a poor grateful dog.
Weak voice that you pass,
What a humbling moan
I don’t know what misfortunes …
It would be said that you ask.
One would say that you tremble,
United to the walls,
If you come in the dark,
Trust me in the ear
I don’t know what bitterness …
Sighs or fallas?
Because it’s the moan,
The breath you exhale?
One would say that you pray.
I don’t know what sadness …
“Being your mate?”
I do not know the way.
Cheer up, say
I don’t know what terrors …
–Happy projects? –
In jail the bandits arrested!
Your air of contemplatives!
What’s the beasts with burning eyes ?!
Poor of your captivating eyes.
They walk dumb between the bars,
They look like fish in an aquarium.
–Florid Field of Saudades
Why tumultuous shoots?
Serene … Serene … Serene …
Brought them handcuffed to escort.
–Extreme bowl of poisons
My heart always in revolt.
Heart, quiet … quiet …
Why do you rise up and blaspheme?
Pschiu … Don’t hit … Slowly …
Look at the soldiers, the handcuffs!
O virtuous colors that lie underground,
–Blue, red hemoptyse flares,
Glow dams, vesanias chromatic–,
In the limbo where you await the light that baptizes you,
The eyelashes are cerrae, anxious not veiled.
Aborts that overhang the cider fronts,
So serious to scismar, in the mouths of museums,
And listening to the water running in the clepsydra,
Vaguely smile, resigned and atheus,
Cease to think, the abyss do not probe.
Moaning coo from unreached dreams,
That all night long, sweet souls pining,
And the lacerations on the edge of the roofs,
And in the wind exhales in a soft whine,
Fall asleep. Do not sigh. Do not breathe.
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Haiku: The Labyrinth
(© poetic thought by GeorgeB @ euzicasa)
In this Labyrinth I’m lost-
Till the End of time.
Watch “POEMS OF WILLIAM BLAKE – FULL Audio Book – Songs of Innocence and of Experience & The Book of Thel” on YouTube
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie also wrote the world’s longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap, and, under the pen name Mary Westmacott, six romances. In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature.
Agatha Christie in 1925
BornAgatha Mary Clarissa Miller
15 September 1890
Torquay, Devon, EnglandDied12 January 1976(aged 85)
Winterbrook House, Winterbrook, Oxfordshire, EnglandResting placeChurch of St Mary, Cholsey, Oxfordshire, EnglandPen nameMary WestmacottOccupationNovelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, memoiristGenreMurder mystery, thriller, crime fiction, detective, romanceLiterary movementGolden Age of Detective FictionNotable worksCreation of characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Death on the Nile, The Murder at the Vicarage, Partners In Crime, The A.B.C. Murders, And Then There Were None, The MousetrapSpouses
(m. 1914; div. 1928)
Sir Max Mallowan(m. 1930)
Christie was born into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. She was initially an unsuccessful writer with six consecutive rejections, but this changed when The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot, was published in 1920. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.
Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’sworks and the Bible. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author, having been translated into at least 103 languages. And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel, with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time. Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap holds the world record for longest initial run. It opened at the Ambassadors Theatrein the West End on 25 November 1952, and as of April 2019 is still running after more than 27,000 performances.
In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award. Later the same year, Witness for the Prosecution received an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. In 2013, The Murder of Roger Ackroydwas voted the best crime novel ever by 600 fellow writers of the Crime Writers’ Association. On 15 September 2015, coinciding with her 125th birthday, And Then There Were None was named the “World’s Favourite Christie” in a vote sponsored by the author’s estate. Most of her books and short stories have been adapted for television, radio, video games and comics, and more than thirty feature films have been based on her work.
Life and careerEdit
Childhood and adolescence: 1890–1910Edit
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on 15 September 1890 into a wealthy upper-middle-class family in Torquay, Devon. She was the youngest of three children born to Frederick Alvah (“Fred”) Miller, “a gentleman of substance”, and his wife Clarissa Margaret (“Clara”) Miller née Boehmer.:1–4:16
Christie’s mother Clara was born in Dublin[a] in 1854 to Lieutenant (later Captain) Frederick Boehmer (91st Regiment of Foot) and his second wife Mary Ann Boehmer née West. Boehmer died aged 49 of bronchitis (although biographers often claim he was killed in a riding accident) in Jersey in April 1863, leaving his widow to raise Clara and her three brothers alone on a meagre income. Two weeks after Boehmer’s death, Mary’s sister Margaret West married widowed dry goods merchant Nathaniel Frary Miller, a U.S. citizen. To assist Mary financially, the newlyweds agreed to foster nine year old Clara. The family settled in Timperley, Cheshire.Margaret and Nathaniel had no children together, but Nathaniel had a seventeen-year-old son, Fred Miller, from his previous marriage. Fred was born in New York City and travelled extensively after leaving his Swiss boarding school. He and Clara eventually formed a romantic attachment and were married in St Peter’s Church, Notting Hill, in April 1878.:2–5
Fred and Clara’s first child, Margaret Frary (“Madge”), was born in Torquay in 1879, where the couple were renting lodgings. Their second child, Louis Montant (“Monty”), was born in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1880while they were making an extended visit to the United States. When Fred’s father died in 1869, he left Clara £2000; they used this money to purchase the leasehold of a villa in Torquay named Ashfield in which to raise their family. It was here that their third and final child, Agatha, was born in 1890.:6–7
Christie as a girl, date unknown
Christie described her childhood as “very happy”.:3 She was surrounded by a series of strong and independent women from an early age.:14 She lived primarily in Devon, but made occasional visits to the homes of her step-grandmother/great-aunt Margaret Miller in
Haiku: Blue skies at sunset (© poetic thought by GeorgeB @ euzicasa)
Blue skies at sunset
Proceed starry nights throughout,
Sunny days to come.
Unpainting…a perfectly painted tableau
( ©poetic thought by GeorgeB @euzicasa)
Everyday I…I efface another color
of my perfectly painted tableau,
accomplishment of the day past…
I aim for a unicolor, a pure black or white, I can’t make up my mind…
So, every morning, seated at my easel, I use the widest paintbrush, and chose, today will be white over black, to cover the painting behind, to hide yesternight hard work, to start anew,
a new memory, painted over an older one,
only Monday Mornings,
We’ll wait and see, but chances are… (Poetic thought by GeorgeB)
Detached from the dormant tree
All the dried leaves have fallen but one…a special one,
for unknown reasons…
The winds didn’t detach it,
nor did the cold rains,
the freezing breezes of December or
the early mornings’ icy crystals of frozen water…
all these barely scratched new tears
upon its dried out reddish-brown, wrinkled face…
Will it survive the winter?
Will it hang around till spring?
Will it be the exceptional leave its home, no matter what?
Will it be the last of the survivors, born on the death list,
in the country of the dead,
under the symbols of the crossed sickle-n- hammer?
We’ll wait and see, but chances are…
(Transmission interupted here)
(Poetic thought by GeorgeB) HERE
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
quotation: “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there;…”, Mark Twain
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) Discuss
quotation: “I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything,…” Gustave Flaubert
Conscience is the guardian in the individual of the rules which the community has evolved for its own preservation. It is the policeman in all our hearts, set there to watch that we do not break its laws. It is the spy seated in the central stronghold of the ego.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss
Flaubert was a French writer considered one of the supreme masters of the realistic novel. At 22, he abandoned law studies to pursue a career as an author. In 1856, after five years of work, he published his masterpiece, Madame Bovary, about the frustrations and love affairs of a romantic young woman married to a dull provincial doctor. A sharply realistic portrayal of bourgeois boredom and adultery, the novel led to his prosecution on moral grounds. What was the verdict? More… Discuss
quotation: It wasn’t until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say “I don’t know.” W. Somerset Maugham
quotation: The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages. Washington Irving
Ce- ti doresc eu tie dulce Romanie- Veta Biris
Twain was an American author who, as a humorist, narrator, and social observer, is unsurpassed in American literature. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Twain grew up in a port town on the Mississippi River and eventually became a river pilot. He first won fame with the comic masterpiece “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” His 1885 novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been called the first modern American novel. According to Twain, how did he acquire his pen name? More… Discuss
Determined to contribute to the small family income, Alcott began writing to help support her mother and sisters. She first achieved widespread fame and wealth with Little Women, one of the most popular children’s books ever written. The novel, which recounts the adolescent adventures of the four March sisters, is largely autobiographical. Her first book, Flower Fables, was a collection of tales originally created to amuse the daughter of her friend, what famous American poet? More… Discuss
With Karl Marx, Engels was one of the founders of modern Communism. After forming a partnership to promote the socialist movement, the two organized revolutionary movements and collaborated on several works, most notably the Communist Manifesto. Though Marx’s personality has overshadowed that of Engels, Engels served as the foremost authority on Marx and Marxism after Marx’s death in 1883. Despite his criticism of capitalism, Engels supported Marx’s publications by doing what? More… Discuss
The craft of bookbinding began simply, with the use of boards to protect parchment manuscripts. By the 2nd century, sheets of parchment were being folded and sewn together. During the Middle Ages, the practice of making fine bindings for these sewn volumes rose to great heights; books were rare and precious articles, and many were treated with exquisite gilded and jeweled bindings. What is the uncommon practice of binding books in human skin, a technique dating back to the 17th century, called? More… Discuss
quotation: Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them. Thomas Hardy
A week devoted to encouraging people to read the Bible, in the belief that it will arouse a positive spiritual force in a world plagued with problems. National Bible Week is promoted by the National Bible Association (originally the Laymen’s National Committee), a non-denominational group of businessmen founded in 1940 and devoted to the application of the Golden Rule in daily life. A huge audience listened to the NBC radio program that was broadcast to kick off the first National Bible Week scheduled for December 8-14, 1941; Pearl Harbor had been bombed just hours before. More… Discuss
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)
A first century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome
|Consul of the Roman Republic|
63 BC – 63 BC
Serving with Gaius Antonius Hybrida
|Preceded by||Lucius Julius Caesar and Gaius Marcius Figulus|
|Succeeded by||Decimus Junius Silanus and Lucius Licinius Murena|
|Born||3 January 106 BC
Arpinum, Roman Republic
(modern-day Arpino, Lazio, Italy)
|Died||7 December 43 BC (aged 63)
Formia, Roman Republic
|Occupation||Politician, lawyer, orator, philosopher and poet|
|Subject||Politics, law, philosophy, rhetoric|
|Literary movement||Golden Age Latin|
|Notable works||Orations: In Verrem, In Catilinam I-IV, Philippicae
Philosophy: De Oratore, De Re Publica, De Legibus, De Finibus, De Natura Deorum, De Officiis
|Part of a series on|
|Ancient Rome and the fall of the Republic|
Marcus Tullius Cicero[n 1] (/ˈsɪsɨroʊ/; Classical Latin: [ˈmaːr.kʊs ˈtʊl.li.ʊs ˈkɪ.kɛ.roː]; Greek: Κικέρων, Kikerōn; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.
His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.
Petrarch‘s rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, “Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity.” The peak of Cicero’s authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.
Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. It was during his consulship that the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by executing five conspirators without due process. During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar’s death Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. He was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed in the Roman Forum.
Cicero was born in 106 BC in Arpinum, a hill town 100 kilometers (62 mi) southeast of Rome. His father was a well-to-do member of the equestrian order and possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he could not enter public life and studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero’s mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero’s brother Quintus wrote in a letter that she was a thrifty housewife.
Cicero’s cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for chickpea, cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was originally given to one of Cicero’s ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more likely that Cicero’s ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans often chose down-to-earth personal surnames: the famous family names of Fabius, Lentulus, and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus (“Swollen-ankled”) and Catulus (“Puppy”).
During this period in Roman history, to be considered “cultured” meant being able to speak both Latin and Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers, poets and historians. The most prominent teachers of oratory of that time were themselves Greek.[full citation needed] Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience. It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite.
According to Plutarch, Cicero was an extremely talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero’s fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus (who became a famous lawyer, one of the few whom Cicero considered superior to himself in legal matters), and Titus Pomponius. The latter two became Cicero’s friends for life, and Pomponius (who later received the nickname “Atticus”) would become Cicero’s longtime chief emotional support and adviser.
Cicero wanted to pursue a public career in politics along the steps of the Cursus honorum. In 90 BC–88 BC, he served both Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo and Lucius Cornelius Sulla as they campaigned in the Social War, though he had no taste for military life, being an intellectual first and foremost. Cicero started his career as a lawyer around 83–81 BC. His first major case, of which a written record is still extant, was his 80 BC defense of Sextus Roscius on the charge of patricide. Taking this case was a courageous move for Cicero; patricide was considered an appalling crime, and the people whom Cicero accused of the murder, the most notorious being Chrysogonus, were favorites of Sulla. At this time it would have been easy for Sulla to have the unknown Cicero murdered. Cicero’s defense was an indirect challenge to the dictator Sulla, and on the strength of his case, Roscius was acquitted.
Cicero’s case was divided into three parts. The first part detailed exactly the charge brought by Ericius. Cicero explained how a rustic son of a farmer, who lives off the pleasures of his own land, would not have gained anything from committing patricide because he would have eventually inherited his father’s land anyway. The second part concerned the boldness and greed of two of the accusers, Magnus and Capito. Cicero told the jury that they were the more likely perpetrators of murder because the two were greedy, both for conspiring together against a fellow kinsman and Magnus, for his boldness and for being unashamed to appear in court to support the false charges. The third part explained that Chrysogonus had immense political power, and the accusation was successfully made due to that power. Even though Chrysogonus may not have been what Cicero said he was, through rhetoric, Cicero successfully made him appear to be a foreign freed man who was devious enough to take advantage of the aftermath of the civil war, and to prosper. Cicero surmised that it showed what kind of a person he was and that something like murder was not beneath him.
In 79 BC, Cicero left for Greece, Asia Minor and Rhodes, perhaps because of the potential wrath of Sulla. Charting a middle path between the competing Attic and Asiatic styles, he would ultimately become considered second only to Demosthenes among history’s orators.
Cicero’s interest in philosophy figured heavily in his later career and led to him introducing Greek philosophy to Roman culture,[clarification needed] creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy that was founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome. Cicero, “inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy”, sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato’s philosophy. Cicero said of Plato’s Dialogues, that if Zeus were to speak, he would use their language.
Cicero married Terentia probably at the age of 27, in 79 BC. According to the upper class mores of the day it was a marriage of convenience, but endured harmoniously for some 30 years. Terentia’s family was wealthy, probably the plebeian noble house of Terenti Varrones, thus meeting the needs of Cicero’s political ambitions in both economic and social terms. She had a half-sister (or perhaps first cousin) named Fabia, who as a child had become a Vestal Virgin, a very great honour. Terentia was a strong willed woman and (citing Plutarch) “she took more interest in her husband’s political career than she allowed him to take in household affairs.”
In the 50s BC, Cicero’s letters to Terentia became shorter and colder. He complained to his friends that Terentia had betrayed him but did not specify in which sense. Perhaps the marriage simply could not outlast the strain of the political upheaval in Rome, Cicero’s involvement in it, and various other disputes between the two. The divorce appears to have taken place in 51 BC or shortly before. In 46 or 45 BC, Cicero married a young girl, Publilia, who had been his ward. It is thought that Cicero needed her money, particularly after having to repay the dowry of Terentia, who came from a wealthy family. This marriage did not last long.
Although his marriage to Terentia was one of convenience, it is commonly known that Cicero held great love for his daughter Tullia. When she suddenly became ill in February 45 BC and died after having seemingly recovered from giving birth to a son in January, Cicero was stunned. “I have lost the one thing that bound me to life” he wrote to Atticus. Atticus told him to come for a visit during the first weeks of his bereavement, so that he could comfort him when his pain was at its greatest. In Atticus’s large library, Cicero read everything that the Greek philosophers had written about overcoming grief, “but my sorrow defeats all consolation.” Caesar and Brutus as well as Servius Sulpicius Rufus sent him letters of condolence.
Cicero hoped that his son Marcus would become a philosopher like him, but Marcus himself wished for a military career. He joined the army of Pompey in 49 BC and after Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus 48 BC, he was pardoned by Caesar. Cicero sent him to Athens to study as a disciple of the peripatetic philosopher Kratippos in 48 BC, but he used this absence from “his father’s vigilant eye” to “eat, drink and be merry.” After Cicero’s murder he joined the army of the Liberatores but was later pardoned by Augustus. Augustus’ bad conscience for not having objected to Cicero’s being put on the proscription list during the Second Triumvirate led him to aid considerably Marcus Minor’s career. He became an augur, and was nominated consul in 30 BC together with Augustus. As such, he was responsible for revoking the honors of Mark Antony, who was responsible for the proscription, and could in this way take revenge. Later he was appointed proconsul of Syria and the province of Asia.
Main article: Political career of Marcus Tullius Cicero
Early political career
His first office was as one of the twenty annual quaestors, a training post for serious public administration in a diversity of areas, but with a traditional emphasis on administration and rigorous accounting of public monies under the guidance of a senior magistrate or provincial commander. Cicero served as quaestor in western Sicily in 75 BC and demonstrated honesty and integrity in his dealings with the inhabitants. As a result, the grateful Sicilians asked Cicero to prosecute Gaius Verres, a governor of Sicily, who had badly plundered the province. His prosecution of Gaius Verres was a great forensic success for Cicero. Governor Gaius Verres hired the prominent lawyer of a noble family Quintus Hortensius Hortalus. After a lengthy period in Sicily collecting testimonials and evidence and persuading witnesses to come forward, Cicero returned to Rome and won the case in a series of dramatic court battles. His unique style of oratory set him apart from the flamboyant Hortalus. Upon the conclusion of this case, Cicero came to be considered the greatest orator in Rome. The view that Cicero may have taken the case for reasons of his own is viable. Hortalus was, at this point, known as the best lawyer in Rome; to beat him would guarantee much success and the prestige that Cicero needed to start his career. Cicero’s oratorical skill is shown in his character assassination of Verres and various other techniques of persuasion used on the jury. One such example is found in the speech Against Verres I, where he states “with you on this bench, gentlemen, with Marcus Acilius Glabrio as your president, I do not understand what Verres can hope to achieve”. Oratory was considered a great art in ancient Rome and an important tool for disseminating knowledge and promoting oneself in elections, in part because there were no regular newspapers or mass media. Cicero was neither a patrician nor a plebeian noble; his rise to political office despite his relatively humble origins has traditionally been attributed to his brilliance as an orator.
Cicero grew up in a time of civil unrest and war. Sulla‘s victory in the first of a series of civil wars led to a new constitutional framework that undermined libertas (liberty), the fundamental value of the Roman Republic. Nonetheless, Sulla’s reforms strengthened the position of the equestrian class, contributing to that class’s growing political power. Cicero was both an Italian eques and a novus homo, but more importantly he was a Roman constitutionalist. His social class and loyalty to the Republic ensured that he would “command the support and confidence of the people as well as the Italian middle classes”. The optimates faction never truly accepted Cicero; and this undermined his efforts to reform the Republic while preserving the constitution. Nevertheless, he successfully ascended the cursus honorum, holding each magistracy at or near the youngest possible age: quaestor in 75 BC (age 31), aedile in 69 BC (age 37), and praetor in 66 BC (age 40), when he served as president of the “Reclamation” (or extortion) Court. He was then elected consul at age 43.
Cicero was elected consul for the year 63 BC. His co-consul for the year, Gaius Antonius Hybrida, played a minor role. During his year in office, he thwarted a conspiracy centered on assassinating him and overthrowing the Roman Republic with the help of foreign armed forces, led by Lucius Sergius Catilina. Cicero procured a senatus consultum ultimum (a declaration of martial law) and drove Catiline from the city with four vehement speeches (the Catiline Orations), which to this day remain outstanding examples of his rhetorical style. The Orations listed Catiline and his followers’ debaucheries, and denounced Catiline’s senatorial sympathizers as roguish and dissolute debtors clinging to Catiline as a final and desperate hope. Cicero demanded that Catiline and his followers leave the city. At the conclusion of his first speech, Catiline hurriedly left the Senate, (which was being held in the Temple of Jupiter Stator). In his following speeches, Cicero did not directly address Catiline. He delivered the second and third orations before the people, and the last one again before the Senate. By these speeches, Cicero wanted to prepare the Senate for the worst possible case; he also delivered more evidence against Catiline.
Catiline fled and left behind his followers to start the revolution from within while Catiline assaulted the city with an army of “moral bankrupts and honest fanatics”. Catiline had attempted to involve the Allobroges, a tribe of Transalpine Gaul, in their plot, but Cicero, working with the Gauls, was able to seize letters which incriminated the five conspirators and forced them to confess their crimes in front of the Senate.
The Senate then deliberated upon the conspirators’ punishment. As it was the dominant advisory body to the various legislative assemblies rather than a judicial body, there were limits to its power; however, martial law was in effect, and it was feared that simple house arrest or exile – the standard options – would not remove the threat to the state. At first Decimus Silanus spoke for the “extreme penalty”; many were then swayed by Julius Caesar, who decried the precedent it would set and argued in favor of life imprisonment in various Italian towns. Cato the Younger then rose in defence of the death penalty and all the Senate finally agreed on the matter. Cicero had the conspirators taken to the Tullianum, the notorious Roman prison, where they were strangled. Cicero himself accompanied the former consul Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, one of the conspirators, to the Tullianum. Cicero received the honorific “Pater Patriae” for his efforts to suppress the conspiracy, but lived thereafter in fear of trial or exile for having put Roman citizens to death without trial.
After the conspirators were put to death, Cicero was proud of his accomplishment. Some of his political enemies argued that though the act gained Cicero popularity, he exaggerated the extent of his success. He overestimated his popularity again several years later after being exiled from Italy and then allowed back from exile. At this time, he claimed that the Republic would be restored along with him. 
Exile and return
In 60 BC Julius Caesar invited Cicero to be the fourth member of his existing partnership with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus, an assembly that would eventually be called the First Triumvirate. Cicero refused the invitation because he suspected it would undermine the Republic.
In 58 BC, Publius Clodius Pulcher, the tribune of the plebs, introduced a law (the Leges Clodiae) threatening exile to anyone who executed a Roman citizen without a trial. Cicero, having executed members of the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy four years previously without formal trial, and having had a public falling out with Clodius, was clearly the intended target of the law. Cicero argued that the senatus consultum ultimum indemnified him from punishment, and he attempted to gain the support of the senators and consuls, especially of Pompey. When help was not forthcoming, he went into exile. He arrived at Thessalonica, Greece, on May 23, 58 BC. Cicero’s exile caused him to fall into depression. He wrote to Atticus: “Your pleas have prevented me from committing suicide. But what is there to live for? Don’t blame me for complaining. My afflictions surpass any you ever heard of earlier”. After the intervention of recently elected tribune Titus Annius Milo, the senate voted in favor of recalling Cicero from exile. Clodius cast the single vote against the decree. Cicero returned to Italy on August 5, 57 BC, landing at Brundisium. He was greeted by a cheering crowd, and, to his delight, his beloved daughter Tullia.
Cicero tried to re-enter politics, but his attack on a bill of Caesar’s proved unsuccessful. The conference at Luca in 56 BC forced Cicero to recant and support the triumvirate. After this, a cowed Cicero concentrated on his literary works. It is uncertain whether he was directly involved in politics for the following few years. He reluctantly accepted a promagistracy in Cilicia for 51 BC, because there were no other eligible governors because of a legislative requirement of an interval of five years between a consulship or praetorship and a provincial command. He served as proconsul of Cilicia from May 51 to November 50 BC. Accompanied by his brother Quintus as a legate, he was mostly spared from warfare due to internal conflict among the Parthians, yet for storming a mountain fortress he acquired the title of imperator.
Julius Caesar’s civil war
The struggle between Pompey and Julius Caesar grew more intense in 50 BC. Cicero favoured Pompey, seeing him as a defender of the senate and Republican tradition, but at that time avoided openly alienating Caesar. When Caesar invaded Italy in 49 BC, Cicero fled Rome. Caesar, seeking the legitimacy an endorsement by a senior senator would provide, courted Cicero’s favour, but even so Cicero slipped out of Italy and traveled to Dyrrachium (Epidamnos), Illyria, where Pompey’s staff was situated. Cicero traveled with the Pompeian forces to Pharsalus in 48 BC, though he was quickly losing faith in the competence and righteousness of the Pompeian side. Eventually, he provoked the hostility of his fellow senator Cato, who told him that he would have been of more use to the cause of the optimates if he had stayed in Rome. After Caesar’s victory at Pharsalus, Cicero returned to Rome only very cautiously. Caesar pardoned him and Cicero tried to adjust to the situation and maintain his political work, hoping that Caesar might revive the Republic and its institutions.
In a letter to Varro on c. April 20, 46 BC, Cicero outlined his strategy under Caesar’s dictatorship. Cicero, however, was taken completely by surprise when the Liberatores assassinated Caesar on the ides of March, 44 BC. Cicero was not included in the conspiracy, even though the conspirators were sure of his sympathy. Marcus Junius Brutus called out Cicero’s name, asking him to restore the republic when he lifted the bloodstained dagger after the assassination. A letter Cicero wrote in February 43 BC to Trebonius, one of the conspirators, began, “How I could wish that you had invited me to that most glorious banquet on the Ides of March“! Cicero became a popular leader during the period of instability following the assassination. He had no respect for Mark Antony, who was scheming to take revenge upon Caesar’s murderers. In exchange for amnesty for the assassins, he arranged for the Senate to agree not to declare Caesar to have been a tyrant, which allowed the Caesarians to have lawful support and kept Caesar’s reforms and policies intact.
Opposition to Mark Antony and death
Cicero and Antony now became the two leading men in Rome—Cicero as spokesman for the Senate; Antony as consul, leader of the Caesarian faction, and unofficial executor of Caesar’s public will. Relations between the two, never friendly, worsened after Cicero claimed that Antony was taking liberties in interpreting Caesar’s wishes and intentions. Octavian was Caesar’s adopted son and heir; after he returned to Italy, Cicero began to play him against Antony. He praised Octavian, declaring he would not make the same mistakes as his father. He attacked Antony in a series of speeches he called the Philippics, after Demosthenes‘s denunciations of Philip II of Macedon. At the time Cicero’s popularity as a public figure was unrivalled.
Cicero supported Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus as governor of Cisalpine Gaul (Gallia Cisalpina) and urged the Senate to name Antony an enemy of the state. The speech of Lucius Piso, Caesar’s father-in-law, delayed proceedings against Antony. Antony was later declared an enemy of the state when he refused to lift the siege of Mutina, which was in the hands of Decimus Brutus. Cicero’s plan to drive out Antony failed. Antony and Octavian reconciled and allied with Lepidus to form the Second Triumvirate after the successive battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina. The Triumvirate began proscribing their enemies and potential rivals immediately after legislating the alliance into official existence for a term of five years with consular imperium. Cicero and all of his contacts and supporters were numbered among the enemies of the state, and reportedly, Octavian argued for two days against Cicero being added to the list.
Cicero was one of the most viciously and doggedly hunted among the proscribed. He was viewed with sympathy by a large segment of the public and many people refused to report that they had seen him. He was caught December 7, 43 BC leaving his villa in Formiae in a litter going to the seaside where he hoped to embark on a ship destined for Macedonia. When his killers – Herennius (a centurion) and Popilius (a tribune) – arrived, Cicero’s own slaves said they had not seen him, but he was given away by Philologus, a freed slave of his brother Quintus Cicero.
Cicero’s last words are said to have been, “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.” He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he wouldn’t resist. According to Plutarch, Herennius first slew him, then cut off his head. On Antony’s instructions his hands, which had penned the Philippics against Antony, were cut off as well; these were nailed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum according to the tradition of Marius and Sulla, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum. Cicero was the only victim of the proscriptions to be displayed in that manner. According to Cassius Dio (in a story often mistakenly attributed to Plutarch), Antony’s wife Fulvia took Cicero’s head, pulled out his tongue, and jabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin in final revenge against Cicero’s power of speech.
Cicero’s son, Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor, during his year as a consul in 30 BC, avenged his father’s death, to a certain extent, when he announced to the Senate Mark Antony’s naval defeat at Actium in 31 BC by Octavian and his capable commander-in-chief, Agrippa.
Octavian (or Augustus, as he was later called) is reported to have praised Cicero as a patriot and a scholar of meaning in later times, within the circle of his family. However, it was the acquiescence of Augustus that had allowed Cicero to be killed, as Cicero was proscribed by the new triumvirate.
Cicero’s career as a statesman was marked by inconsistencies and a tendency to shift his position in response to changes in the political climate. His indecision may be attributed to his sensitive and impressionable personality; he was prone to overreaction in the face of political and private change. “Would that he had been able to endure prosperity with greater self-control, and adversity with more fortitude!” wrote C. Asinius Pollio, a contemporary Roman statesman and historian.
Cicero has been traditionally considered the master of Latin prose, with Quintilian declaring that Cicero was “not the name of a man, but of eloquence itself.” The English words Ciceronian (meaning “eloquent”) and cicerone (meaning “local guide”) derive from his name. He is credited with transforming Latin from a modest utilitarian language into a versatile literary medium capable of expressing abstract and complicated thoughts with clarity. Julius Caesar praised Cicero’s achievement by saying “it is more important to have greatly extended the frontiers of the Roman spirit (ingenium) than the frontiers of the Roman empire” According to John William Mackail, “Cicero’s unique and imperishable glory is that he created the language of the civilized world, and used that language to create a style which nineteen centuries have not replaced, and in some respects have hardly altered.” Cicero was also an energetic writer with an interest in a wide variety of subjects, in keeping with the Hellenistic philosophical and rhetorical traditions in which he was trained. The quality and ready accessibility of Ciceronian texts favored very wide distribution and inclusion in teaching curricula, as suggested by an amusing graffito at Pompeii, admonishing: “You will like Cicero, or you will be whipped”. Cicero was greatly admired by influential Church Fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, who credited Cicero’s lost Hortensius for his eventual conversion to Christianity and St. Jerome, who had a feverish vision in which he was accused of being “follower of Cicero and not of Christ” before the judgment seat. This influence further increased after the Early Middle Ages in Europe, which more of his writings survived than any other Latin author. Medieval philosophers were influenced by Cicero’s writings on natural law and innate rights. Petrarch‘s rediscovery of Cicero’s letters provided impetus for searches for ancient Greek and Latin writings scattered throughout European monasteries, and the subsequent rediscovery of Classical Antiquity led to the Renaissance. Subsequently, Cicero came to be synonymous with classical Latin to such an extent that a number of humanist scholars began to assert that no Latin word or phrase was to be used unless it could be found in Cicero’s works, a stance criticized by Erasmus. His voluminous correspondence, much of it addressed to his friend Atticus, has been especially influential, introducing the art of refined letter writing to European culture. Cornelius Nepos, the 1st century BC biographer of Atticus, remarked that Cicero’s letters contained such a wealth of detail “concerning the inclinations of leading men, the faults of the generals, and the revolutions in the government” that their reader had little need for a history of the period. Among Cicero’s admirers were Desiderius Erasmus, Martin Luther, and John Locke. Following the invention of the printing press, De Officiis was the second book to be printed, after the Gutenberg Bible. Scholars note Cicero’s influence on the rebirth of religious toleration in the 17th century.
While Cicero the humanist deeply influenced the culture of the Renaissance, Cicero the republican inspired the Founding Fathers of the United States and the revolutionaries of the French Revolution. John Adams said of him “As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight.” Jefferson names Cicero as one of a handful of major figures who contributed to a tradition “of public right” that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence and shaped American understandings of “the common sense” basis for the right of revolution. Camille Desmoulins said of the French republicans in 1789 that they were “mostly young people who, nourished by the reading of Cicero at school, had become passionate enthusiasts for liberty”.
Likewise, no other ancient personality has inspired as much venomous dislike as Cicero, especially in more modern times. His commitment to the values of the Republic accommodated a hatred of the poor and persistent opposition to the advocates and mechanisms of popular representation. Friedrich Engels referred to him as “the most contemptible scoundrel in history” for upholding republican “democracy” while at the same time denouncing land and class reforms. Cicero has faced criticism for exaggerating the democratic qualities of republican Rome, and for defending the Roman oligarchy against the popular reforms of Caesar. Michael Parenti admits Cicero’s abilities as an orator, but finds him a vain, pompous and hypocritical personality who, when it suited him, could show public support for popular causes that he privately despised. Parenti presents Cicero’s prosecution of the Catiline conspiracy as legally flawed at least, and possibly unlawful.
Main article: Writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero was declared a righteous pagan by the Early Church, and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. The Bogomils considered him to be a rare exception of a pagan saint. Subsequent Roman and medieval Christian writers quoted liberally from his works De Re Publica (On the Commonwealth) and De Legibus (On the Laws), and much of his work has been recreated from these surviving fragments. Cicero also articulated an early, abstract conceptualization of rights, based on ancient law and custom. Of Cicero’s books, six on rhetoric have survived, as well as parts of eight on philosophy. Of his speeches, 88 were recorded, but only 58 survive.
- (81 BC) Pro Quinctio (In Defense of Quinctius)
- (80 BC) Pro Roscio Amerino (In Defense of Roscius of Ameria)
- (70 BC) In Verrem (Against Verres)
- (69 BC) Pro Fonteio (In Defense of Fonteius)
- (69 BC) Pro Caecina (In Defense of Caecina)
- (66 BC) Pro Cluentio (In Defense of Cluentius)
- (66 BC) De Imperio Gnaei Pompei or De Lege Manilia (On the Command of Gnaeus Pompey)
- (63 BC) De Lege Agraria (On the Agrarian Law proposed by Servilius Rullus)
- (63 BC) In Catilinam (Against Catiline)
- (63 BC) Pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo (In Defense of Rabirius)
- (62 BC) Pro Sulla (In Defense of Sulla)
- (62 BC) Pro Archia Poeta (In Defense of Archias the Poet)
- (59 BC) Pro Flacco (In Defense of Flaccus)
- (57 BC) Post Reditum in Senatu (Speech to the Senate After His Return)
- (57 BC) Post Reditum ad Quirites (Speech to the People After His Return)
- (57 BC) De Domo Sua (On His House)
- (57 BC) De Haruspicum Responsis (On the Response of the Haruspices)
- (56 BC) Pro Sestio (In Defense of Sestius)
- (56 BC) In Vatinium (Cross-examination of Vatinius)
- (56 BC) Pro Caelio (In Defense of Caelius)
- (56 BC) De Provinciis Consularibus (On the Consular Provinces)
- (56 BC) Pro Balbo (In Defense of Balbus)
- (55 BC) In Pisonem (Against Piso)
- (54 BC) Pro Rabirio Postumo (In Defense of Rabirius Postumus)
- (52 BC) Pro Milone (In Defense of Milo)
- (46 BC) Pro Marcello (In Support of the Recall of Marcellus)
- (46 BC) Pro Ligario (In Defense of Ligarius)
- (45 BC) Pro Deiotaro (In Defense of King Deiotarus)
- (44–43 BC) Philippicae (Philippics, against Mark Antony)
- (55 BC) De Oratore ad Quintum fratrem libri tres (On the Orator, three books for his brother Quintus)
- (51 BC) De Re Publica (On the Commonwealth)
- (?? BC) De Legibus (On the Laws)
- (46 BC) Brutus (Brutus)
- (46 BC) Orator (Orator)
- (45 BC) Hortensius (an exhortation to philosophy)
- (45 BC) Consolatio (on grief and consolation)
- (45 BC) Academica (On Academic Skepticism)
- (45 BC) De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Ends of Good and Evil or On Moral Ends, a book on ethics)
- (45 BC) Tusculanae Disputationes (Tusculan Disputations)
- (45 BC) De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods)
- (44 BC) Topica
- (44 BC) De Divinatione (On Divination)
- (44 BC) De Fato (On Fate)
- (44 BC) De Amicitia (On Friendship)
- (44 BC) Cato Maior de Senectute (Cato the Elder on Old Age)
- (44 BC) Laelius de Amicitia (Laelius on Friendship)
- (44 BC) De Gloria (On Glory)
- (44 BC) De Officiis (On Duties)
Cicero’s letters to and from various public and private figures are considered some of the most reliable sources of information for the people and events surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic. While 37 books of his letters have survived into modern times, 35 more books were known to antiquity that have since been lost. These included letters to Caesar, to Pompey, to Octavian, and to his son Marcus.
- Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus; 68–43 BC)
- Epistulae ad Brutum (Letters to Brutus; 43 BC)
- Epistulae ad Familiares (Letters to friends; 62–43 BC)
- Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem (Letters to brother Quintus; 60/59–54 BC)
Notable fictional portrayals
Ben Jonson dramatised the conspiracy of Catiline in his play Catiline His Conspiracy, featuring Cicero as a character. Cicero also appears as a minor character in William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar.
Cicero was portrayed on the motion picture screen by British actor Alan Napier in the 1953 film Julius Caesar, based on Shakespeare’s play. He has also been played by such noted actors as Michael Hordern (in Cleopatra), and André Morell (in the 1970 Julius Caesar). Most recently, Cicero was portrayed by David Bamber in the HBO series Rome (2005–2007) and appeared in both seasons.
In the historical novel series Masters of Rome, Colleen McCullough presents an unflattering depiction of Cicero’s career, showing him struggling with an inferiority complex and vanity, morally flexible and fatally indiscreet, while his rival Julius Caesar is shown in a more approving light. Cicero is portrayed as a hero in the novel A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell (1965). Robert Harris‘ novels Imperium, Lustrum (published under the name Conspirata in the United States) and “Dictator” is the three-part novel series based upon the life of Cicero. In these novels Cicero’s character is depicted in a more balanced way than in those of McCullough, with his positive traits equaling or outweighing his weaknesses (while conversely Caesar is depicted as more sinister than in McCullough). Cicero is a major recurring character in the Roma Sub Rosa series of mystery novels by Steven Saylor. He also appears several times as a peripheral character in John Maddox Roberts‘ SPQR series. The protagonist, Decius Metellus, admires Cicero for his erudition, but is disappointed by his lack of real opposition to Caesar, as well as puzzled by his relentless fawning on the Optimates, who secretly despise Cicero as a parvenu.
- Caecilia Attica
- Titus Pomponius Atticus
- Quintus Tullius Cicero
- Tullia Ciceronis
- Caecilia Metella (daughter of Metellus Celer)
- Servius Sulpicius Rufus
- Marcus Tullius Tiro
- A Dialogue Concerning Oratorical Partitions
- Marcantonius Majoragio