Cicero, Marcus Tullius

, one of the greatest orators of antiquity, was born Jan. 3, in the 647th year of Rome, about 107 years before Christ. His mother, Helvia, was rich and well descended. His father’s family was ancient and honourable in that part of Italy in which it resided, and of equestrian rank, from its first admission to the freedom of Rome. The place of his birth was Arpinum, a city anciently of the Samnites, now part of the kingdom of Naples, and which produced two citizens, C. Marius and Cicero, who had, each in his turn, preserved Rome from ruin.

The family seat, about three miles from the town, in a situation extremely pleasant, and well adapted to the nature of the climate, was surrounded with groves and shady walks, leading from the -house to a river, called Fibrenus; which was divided into two equal streams by a little island, covered with trees and a portico, contrived both for study and exercise, whither Cicero used to retire, when he had any particular work upon his hands. The clearness and rapidity of the stream, murmuring through a rocky channel the shade and verdure of its banks, planted with tall poplars the remarkable coldness of the water; and, above all, its falling by a cascade into the noble river Liris, a little below the island, form the parts of a scene which Cicero himself has, in several parts of his works, depicted. But there cannot be a better proof of its delightfulness, than that it was afterwards and in very modern times possessed by a convent of monks, and called the Villa of St. Dominic.

He was educated at Rome with his cousins, the young Aculeos, by a method approved and directed by L. Crassus, and placed there in a public school under an eminent Greek master. His father, indeed, discerning the | promising genius of his son, spared no expence in procuring the ablest masters among whom was the poetA re hi as, who came to Rome with a high reputation, when Cicero was about five years old; and who was afterwards defended by Cicero in a most elegant oration, still extant.

After finishing the course of his juvenile studies, he took the manly gown, or the ordinary robe of the citizens, at the accustomed age of sixteen: and being then introduced into the forum, was placed under the care of Q. Mucius Scoevola the augur, the principal lawyer as well as statesman of that age; and after his death under that of Scaevola, who had equal probity and skill in the law. Under these masters he acquired a complete knowledge of the laws of his country; which was thought to be of such consequence at Rome, that boys at school learned the laws of the twelve tables by heart, as a school exercise. In the mean time he did not neglect his poetical studies, which he had pur­‘sued under Archias: for he now translated “Aratus on the phenomena of the Heavens,” into Latin verse, of which many fragments are still extant; and published also an original poem of the heroic kind, in honour of his countryman C. Marius. This was much admired and often read by Atticus; and old Sca3vola was so pleased with it, that in the epigram, which he seems to have made upon it, he fondly declares, that it would live as long as the Roman name and learning subsisted. But though some have said, that Cicero’s poetical genius would not have been inferior to his oratorial, if it had been cultivated with the same diligence, it is more generally agreed that his reputation is least of all indebted to his poetry. He may, however, have been a critic, and it is certain jhat Lucretius submitted his poem to him for correction.

The peace of Rome being now disturbed by a domestic war, which writers call the Italic, Social, or Marsic, Cicero served as a volunteer under Sylla. For though his natural inclination was not much bent on military renown, yet even those who applied themselves to studies and civil affairs at Rome, found it necessary to acquire a competent share of military skill, that they might be qualified to govern provinces and command armies, to which they all succeeded of course in the administration of the great offices of state. Cicero’s natural disposition, however, led him chiefly to improve himself in those studies which conduced eventually to the establishment of his high fame | He was constant in his attendance upon orators and philosophers; resumed his oratorial studies under Molo the Rbodian, one of the ablest of that profession, and is supposed to have written those rhetorical pieces on the subject of invention, which he afterwards condemned in his advanced age, as unworthy of his maturer judgment. He also became the scholar of Philo the academic; studied logic with Diodorus the stoic; and declaimed daily in Latin and Greek with his fellow students M. Piso and Q. Pompeius, both somewhat older than himself, with whom he had contracted an intimate friendship. And that he might neglect nothing which could any ways contribute to his perfection, he spent the intervals of his leisure with such ladies as were remarkable for their politeness and knowledge of the fine arts, and in whose company his manners acquired a polish. Having now run through all his course of oratory, he offered himself to the bar at the age of twenty-six, and pleaded some causes in a manner which gained him the applause of the whole city, thus beginning his career at the same age in which Demosthenes first began to distinguish himself in Athens. Three years afterwards he travelled to Greece and Asia, then the fashionable tour either for curiosity or improvement. His first visit was to Athens, the seat of arts and sciences, where he met with his school-fellow T. Pomponius, who, from his love to and long residence in Athens, obtained the surname of Atticus: and here they revived and confirmed that memorable friendship which subsisted between them through life, with exemplary constancy. From Athens he passed into Asia, and after an excursion of two years, came back again to Italy.

On his arrival at Rome, after one year more spent at the bar, he obtained the dignity of quaestor. The quaestors were the general receivers or treasurers of the republic, and were sent annually into the provinces distributed to them by lot, and Lilybseum, one of the provinces of the island of Sicily, happened to fall to Cicero’s share;. and he acquitted himself so as to gain the love and admiration of all the Sicilians, and in his leisure hours he employed himself very diligently, as he used to do at Rome, in his. rhetorical studies. Before he left Sicily, he made the tour of the island, and at the city of Syracuse discovered the tomb of Archimedes, and pointed it out to the magistrates, who, to his surprise, knew nothing at all of any such | tomb. He came away from Sicily, highly pleased with the success of his administration, and flattering himself that all Rome was celebrating his praises, and that the people would grant him whatever he should desire. With these hopes he landed at Puteoli, a considerable port adjoining to Baiie, wherewas a perpetual resort of the rich and great but here he was not a little mortified by the first friends he met, whose conversation convinced him that his fame was not so extensive as he imagined.

We have no account of the precise time of Cicero’s marriage with Terentia, but it is supposed to have been celebrated immediately after his return from his travels to Italy, when he was about thirty years old. He was now disengaged from his quaestorship in Sicily, by which office he had gained an immediate right to the senate, and an actual admission into it during life; and settled again in Rome, where he employed himself constantly in defending the persons and properties of its citizens, and was indeed a general patron. Five years were almost elapsed since Cicero’s election to the qusestorship, the proper interval prescribed by law, before he could hold the next office of sedile; to which he was now, in his thirty-seventh year, elected by the unanimous suffrage of all the tribes. But before his entrance into the office, he undertook the celebrated prosecution of C. Verres, the late praetor of Sicily; who was charged with many flagrant acts of injustice, rapine, and cruelty, during his triennial government of that island. This was one of the most memorable transactions of his life; for which he was greatly and justly celebrated by antiquity, and for which he will in all ages be admired and esteemed by the friends of mankind. The public administration was at that time, in every branch of it, most infamously corrupt, and the prosecution of Verres was both seasonable and popular, as it was likely to give some check to the oppressions of the nobility, and administer relief to the distressed subjects. Cicero had no sooner agreed to undertake it, than an unexpected rival started up, one Q,. Caecilius, a Sicilian by birth, who had been quaestor to Verres; and by a pretence of personal injuries received from him, and a particular knowledge of his crimes, claimed a preference to Cicero in the task of accusing him, or at least to bear a joint share with him. But this pretended enemy was in reality a secret friend, employed by Verres himself to get the cause into his hands | in order to betray it: and on the first bearing Cicei’o easily shook off this weak antagonist, rallying his character and pretensions with a great deal of wit and humour, and the cause being committed to Cicero, an hundred and ten days were granted to him by law for preparing the evidence; to collect which, he was obliged to go to Sicily, in order to examine witnesses, and facts to support the indictment. Aware that all Verres’s art would be employed to gain time, in hopes to tire out the prosecutors, and allay the heat of the public resentment, he took along with him his cousin L. Cicero, that he might be enabled to finish his

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progress the sooner. The Sicilians received him every where with all the honours due to the pains he was taking in their service; and all the cities concurred in the impeachment, excepting Syracuse and Messana, with which Verres had kept up a fair correspondence, and which last continued throughout firm in its engagements to him. Cicero came back to Rome, to the surprise of his adversaries, much sooner than he was expected, with most ample proofs of Verres’s guilt, but found, what he suspected, a strong cabal formed to prolong the affair by all the arts of delay which interest or money could procure. This suggested to him to shorten the method of the proceeding, so as to bring it to an issue before the present praetor M. Glabrio, and his assessors, whom he considered as impartial judges. Instead, therefore, of spending any time in employing his eloquence, as usual, on the several articles of the charge, he only produced his witnesses to be interrogated-: whose evidence so confounded Hortensius, though the reigning orator at the bar, and usually styled the King of the forum, that he had nothing to say for his client. Verres, despairing of all defence, submitted immediately, without waiting for the sentence, to a voluntary exile; where he lived many years, forgotten and deserted by all his friends. He is said to have been relieved in this miserable situation by the generosity of Cicero; yet was proscribed and murdered after all by Marc Antony, for the sake of those fine statues and Corinthian vessels of which he had plundered the Sicilians: “happy only,” as Lactantius spys, “before his death, to have seen the more deplorable end of his old enemy and accuser Cicero.

After the expiration of his ædileship, his cousin L. Cicero, the late companion of his journey to Sicily, died an event the more unfortunate at this juncture, because he wanted | his help in making interest for the prsetorship, for which he now offered himself a candidate. However, such was the people’s regard for him, that in three different assemhlies convened for the choice of praetors, two of which were dissolved without effect, he was declared every time the first proctor, by the suffrages of all the centuries. This year a law was proposed by Manilius, one of the tribunes, that Pompey, who was then in Cilicia, extinguishing the remains of the piratic war, should have the government of Asia added to his commission, with the command of the Mithridatic war, and of all the Roman armies in those parts. Cicero supported this law with all his eloquence in a speech still extant, from the rostra, which he never mounted till this occasion; where, in displaying the character of Pompey, he drew the picture of a consummate general, with great strength and beauty. He was now in sight of the consulship, the grand object of his ambition; and therefore, when his praetorship was at an end, he would not accept any foreign province, the usual reward of that magistracy, and the usual object with those who held it. So attached indeed was he to a certain path to renown, that amidst all the hurry and noise of his busy life, he never neglected those arts and studies in which he had been educated, but paid a constant attention to every thing which deserved the notice of a scholar and a man of taste. Even at this very juncture, though his ambition was eagerly fixed on the consulship, he could find time to write to Atticus about statues and books. Atticus resided many. years at Athens, where Cicero employed him to buy statues for the ornament of his several villas; especially his favourite Tusculum, his usual retreat from the hurry and fatigues of the city. Here he had built several rooms and galleries, in imitation of the schools and porticos of Athens; which he called likewise by their Attic names of the Academy and Gymnasium, and designed for the same use, of philosophical conferences with his learned friends. He had given Atticus a general commission to purchase for him any piece of Grecian art or sculpture, that was elegant and curious, illustrative of literature, or proper for the furniture of his academy; which Atticus executed to his great satisfaction. Nor was he less eager in collecting Greek books, and forming a library, by the assistance of Atticus, who, having the same taste and free access to all the libraries of Athens, procured copies of the works of their | best writers, not only for his own use, but for sale also. Having with much pains made a very large collection of choice and curious books, he signified to Cicero his design of selling them; yet seems to have intimated that he expected a larger sum for them than Cicero could easily spare; which induced Cicero to beg of him to reserve the whole number for him, till he could raise money enough for the purchase.

Cicero being now in his forty-third year, the proper age required by law, declared himself a candidate for the consulship along with six competitors. The two first were patricians; the two next plebeians, yet noble; the two last the sons of fathers, who had first imported the public honours into their families: Cicero was the only new man, as he was called, amongst them, or one born of equestrian rank. Two of them, C. Antonius and Catiline, employed bribery on this occasion in the most shameful manner, but as the election approached, Cicero’s interest appeared to be superior to that of all the candidates, and in his case, instead of choosing consuls by a kind of ballot, or little tickets of wood distributed to the citizens with the names of the several candidates severally inscribed upon each, the people loudly and universally proclaimed Cicero the first consul; so that, as he himself says, “he was not chosen by the votes of particular citizens, but the common suffrage of the city; nor declared by the voice of the crier, but of the whole Roman people.” This year several alterations happened in his own family. His father died; his daughter Tullia was given in marriage at the age of thirteen to C. Piso Frugi, a young nobleman of great hopes, and one of the best families in Rome; and his son and heir was also born in the same year.

His first care, after his election to the consulship, was to gain the confidence of Antonius, who was elected with him, by the offer of power to his ambition, and money to his pleasures; and it was presently agreed between them, that Antonius should have the choice of the best province, which was to be assigned to them at the expiration of their year. Immediately after his coming into office, he had occasion to exert himself against P. Servilius Rullus, one of the new tribunes, who had been alarming the senate with the promulgation of an Agrarian law: the purpose of which was, to create a decemvirate, or ten commissioners, with absolute power for five years over all the revenues of | the republic, to distribute them at pleasure to the citizens;, &c. These laws used to be greedily received by the populace, and were proposed therefore by factious magistrates, as oft as they had any point to carry with the multitude, so that Cicero’s first business was to quiet the apprehensions of the city, and to baffle, if possible, the intrigues of the tribune. After defeating him therefore in the senate, he pursued him into the forum; where he persuaded the people to reject this law. Another alarm was occasioned by the publication of a law of L. Otho, for the assignment of distinct seats in the theatres to the equestrian order, who used before to sit promiscuously with the populace, a very invidious distinction, which might have endangered the peace of the city, if the effects of it had not been prevented by the authority of Cicero.

The next transaction of moment in which he was engaged, was the defence of C. Rabirius, an aged senator, in whose favour there is an oration of his still extant. But that which constituted the glory of his consulship, was the suppression of that horrid conspiracy which was formed by Catiline, the model of all traitors since, for the subversion of the commonwealth. Catiline was now renewing his efforts for the consulship with greater vigour than ever, and by such open methods of bribery, that Cicero published a new law against it, with the additional penalty of a ten years’ exile. Catiline, who knew the law to be levelled at himself, formed a design to kill Cicero, with some other chiefs of the senate, on the day of election, which was appointed for October 20. But Cicero gave information of it to the senate, the day before, upon which the election was deferred, that they might have time to deliberate on an affair of so great importance: and the day following, in a full house, he called upon Catiline to clear himself of this charge; where, without denying or excusing it, he bluntly told them,> that “there were two bodies in the republic,” meaning the senate and the people, “the one of them infirm with a weak head; the other firm without a head; which last had so well deserved of him, that it should never want a head while he lived.” He had made a declaration of the same kind, and in the same place, a few days before, when, upon Cato’s threatening him with an impeachment, he fiercely replied, that, “if any flame should be excited in his fortunes, he would extinguish it, not with water, but a general ruin.” These declarations | startled the senate, and convinced them, that nothing but a desperate conspiracy, ripe for execution, could inspire so daring an assurance:. so that they proceeded immediately to that decree, which was the usual refuge in all cases of imminent danger, “of ordering the consuls to take care that the republic received no harm.

Catiline, repulsed a second time from the consulship, and breathing nothing but revenge, was now eager and impatient to execute his grand plot. He called a council therefore of all the conspirators, to settle the plan of the work, and divide the parts of it among themselves, and fix a proper day for the execution. The number of their chiefs was above thirty-five partly of the senatorial!, partly of the equestrian order the senators were P. Cornelius Lentulus, C. Cethegus, P. Autronius, L. Cassius Longinus, P. Sylla, Serv. Sylla, L,. Vargtinteius, Q. Curius, Q. Annius, M. Porcius Lecca, L. Bestia. At a meeting of these it was resolved that a general insurrection should be raised through Italy, the different parts of which were assigned to different leaders: that Rome should be fired in many places at once, and a massacre begun at the same time of the whole senate and all their enemies; that in the consternation of the fire and massacre, Catiline should be ready with his Tuscan army, to take the benefit of the public confusion, and make himself master of the city, where Lentulus in the mean time, as first in dignity, was to preside in their general councils; Cassius to manage the affair of firing it; Cethegus to direct the massacre. But the vigilance of Cicero being the chief obstacle to all their hopes, Catiline was very desirous to see him taken off before he left Rome: upon which two knights of the company undertook to kill him the next morning in his bed, in an early visit on pretence of business. They were both of his acquaintance, and used to frequent his house; and knowing his custom of giving free access to all, made no doubt of being readily admitted, as one of the two afterwards confessed. But the meeting was no sooner over, than Cicero had information of all that passed in it; for by the intrigues of a woman named Fulvia, he had gained over Curius her gallant, one of the conspirators of senatorian rank, to send him a punctual account of all their deliberations. He presently imparted his intelligence to some of the chiefs of the city, who were assembled that evening, as usual, at his house; informing them not only | of the design, but naming the men who were to execute it, and the very hour when they would he at his gate. All which fell out exactly as he foretold; for the two knights came before break of day, but had the mortification to find the house well guarded, and all admittance refused to them.

This was the state of the conspiracy, when Cicero delivered the first of those four speeches which were spoken upon the occasion of it, and are still extant. The meeting of the conspirators was on November 6, in the evening; and on the 8th he summoned the senate to the temple of Jupiter in the capitol, where it was not usually held but in times of public alarm. Catiline himself, though his schemes were not only suspected, but actually discovered, had the confidence to come to this very meeting, which so shocked the whole assembly, that none of his acquaintance durst venture to salute him; and the consular senators quitted that part of the house in which he sat, and left the whole clear to him. Cicero was so provoked by his impudence, that instead of entering upon any business, as he designed, he addressed himself directly to Catiline, and laid open the whole course of his villanies, and the notoriety of his treasons. Catiline, astonished by the thunder of his speech, had little to say for himself in answer to it: but as soon as he was got home, and began to reflect on what had passed, perceiving it in vain to dissemble any longer, he resolved to enter into action immediately, before the troops of the republic were increased, or any new levies made: so that after a short conference with Lentulus, Cethegus, and the rest, about what had been doncerted at the last meeting, and promising a speedy return at the head of a strong army, he left Rome that very night with a small retinue, and made the best of his way to Manlius’s camp in Etruria; upon which he and Manlius were both declared public enemies by the senate.

In the midst of all this hurry, and soon after Catiline’s flight, Cicero found leisure, according to his custom, to defend L. Muraena, one of the consuls elect, who was now brought to a trial for bribery and corruption. Catb had declared in the senate, that he would try the force of Cicero’s late law upon one of the consular candidates; and he was joined in the accusation by one of the disappointed candidates, S. Sulpicius, a person of distinguished worth and character, and the most celebrated lawyer of the age; | for whose service, and at whose instance, Cicero’s law against bribery was chiefly provided. Muraena was unanimously acquitted: but the parties in this trial were singularly opposed to each other. Cicero had a strict intimacy all this while with Sulpicius, whom he had supported in this very contest for the consulship; and he had a great friendship also with Cato, and the highest esteem of his integrity. Yet he not only defended this cause against them both, but, to take off the prejudice of their authority, laboured even to make them ridiculous; rallying the profession of Sulpicius as trifling and contemptible, the principles of Cato as absurd and impracticable, with so much humour and wit, that he not only amused his audience, but forced Cato to cry out, “what a facetious consul have we!” This, however, occasioned no interruption to their friendship. Cicero, who survived both, procured public honours for the one, and wrote the life and praises of the other.

In the mean time Lentulus, and the rest of Catiline’s associates, who were left in the city, were preparing for the execution of their grand design, and soliciting men of all ranks, who seemed likely to favour their cause. Among the rest they agreed to make an attempt upon the ambassadors of the Allobroges; a warlike, mutinous, faithless people, inhabiting the countries now called Savoy and Dauphiny, greatly disaffected to the Roman power, and already ripe for rebellion. These ambassadors, who were preparing to return home, much out of humour with the senate, and without any redress of the grievances they were sent to complain of, received the proposal at first very greedily; but reflecting afterwards on the difficulty and danger of the enterprise, discovered what they knew to Q. Fabius Sanga, the patron of their city, who immediately gave intelligence of it to the consul. Cicero advised the ambassadors to feign the same zeal which they had hitherto shewn, till they had got distinct proofs against the particular actors in it: and that then upon their leaving Rome in the night, they might be arrested with their papers and letters about them. All this was successfully executed, and the whole company brought prisoners to Cicero’s house by break of day. Cicero summoned the senate to meet immediately, and sent at the same time for Gabinius, Statilius, Cethegus, and Lentulus; who all came, suspecting nothing of the discovery. With them, and the | ambassadors in custody, he set out to meet the senate: and after he had given an account of the whole affair, Vulturcius, one of the conspirators who was taken with the ambassadors, was called in to be examined separately; who soon confessed, that he had letters and instructions from Lentulus to Catiline, to press him to accept the assistance of the slaves, and to lead his army with all expedition towards Rome, to the intent that when it should be set on fire in different places, and the general massacre Gegun, he might be at hand to intercept those who escaped, and join with his friends in the city. The ambassadors were examined next; who produced letters to their nation from Lentulus, Cethegus, and Statilius, which so confounded the conspirators, that they had nothing to say. After the criminals were withdrawn and committed to close custody, the senate unanimously resolved that public thanks should be decreed to Cicero in the amplest manner; by whose virtue, council, and providence, the republic was delivered from the greatest dangers. Cicero however thought it prudent to bring the question of their punishment without further delay before the senate, which he summoned for that purpose the next morning. As soon as he had opened the business, Silanus, the consul elect, advised, that those who were then in custody, with the rest who should afterwards be taken, should all be put to death. To this all who spoke after him readily assented, except J. Caesar, then praetor elect, who gave it as his opinion, that the estates of the conspirators should be confiscated, and their persons closely confined in the strong towns of Italy. This had Jike to have been adopted, when Cicero rose up, and made his fourth speech which now remains on the subject of this transaction; which turned the scale in favour of Silanus’s opinion. The vote was no sooner passed, than Cicero resolved to put it in execution, lest the night, which was coming on, should produce any new disturbance. He went therefore from the senate, attended by a numerous guard; and taking Lentulus from his custody, conveyed him through the forum to the common prison, where he was presently strangled, as were Cethegus, Statilius, and Gabinius. Catiline in the mean time was enabled to make a stouter resistance than they iuiagined, having filled up his troops to the number of two legions, or about 12,000 fighting men; but when the account came of the death of Lentulus and the. rest, his army began to desert, and after | many fruitless attempts to escape into Gaul by long marches and private roads through the Apennines, he was forced at length to a battle; in which, after a sharp and bloody action, He and all his army were entirely destroyed. Thus ended this famed conspiracy: and Cicero, for the great part he acted in the suppression of it, was honoured with the glorious title of Pater Patria3, which he. retained for a long time after.

Cicero was now about to resign the consulship, according to custom, in an assembly of the people, and to take the usual oath of having discharged it with fidelity; which also was generally accompanied with a speech from the expiring consul. He had mounted the rostra, and was ready to perform this last act of his office, when Metellus, one of the new tribunes, would not suffer him to speak, or to do any thing more, than barely take the oath: declaring, that he who had put citizens to death unheard, ought not to be permitted to speak for himself. Upon which Cicero, who was never at a loss, instead of pronouncing the ordinary form of an oath, exalting the tone of his voice, swore out aloud, that he had saved the republic and city from ruin: which the multitude below confirmed with an universal shout. Yet he became now the common mark of all the factious, against whom he had declared perpetual war, and who at length drove him out of that city, which he had so lately preserved. He now, however, upon the expiration of his consulship, sent a particular account of his whole administration to Pompey, who was finishing the Mithridatic war in Asia; in hopes to prevent any wrong impression there, from the Calumnies of his enemies, and to draw from him some public declaration in his favour. But Pompey, being prejudiced by Metellus and Caesar, answered him with great coldness, and took no notice at all of his services in the affair of Catiline.*

About this time Cicero bought a house of M. Crassus on the Palatine hill, adjoining to that in which he had always lived with his father, and which he is now supposed to have given up to his brother Quintus. The house cost him near 30,000l. and seems to have been one of the noblest in Rome. The purchase of so expensive a house occasioned some censure of Cicero, especially as it was made with borrowed money. This circumstance he himself does not dissemble, but says facetiously upon it, that “he was now | so plunged in debt, as to be ready for a plot, only tbat the conspirators would not trust him.

The most remarkable event that happened in this year, the forty-fifth of Cicero’s life, was the pollution of the mysteries of the Bona Dea by P. Clodius; which, by an unhappy train of consequences, deeply involved Cicero. Clodius had an intrigue with Caesar’s wife Pompeia, who, according to annual custom, was now celebrating in her house those awful sacrifices of the goddess, to which no male creature ever was admitted; and where every thing masculine was so scrupulously excluded, that even male portraits were covered during the ceremony. Clodius, however, eager to witness it, dressed himself in a woman’s habit, but was detected before he could execute his project; and when brought to trial, endeavoured to prove himself absent at the time of the fact; but Cicero deposed, that Clodius had been with him that very morning at his house in Rome. Ciodius, however, was absolved by a majority of thirty-one to twenty-five of his judges, the iniquity of which decision, Cicero constantly inveighed against. In revenge for this, about a year after, Clodius endeavoured to get himself chosen tribune, and in that office to drive Cicero out of the city, by the publication of a law, which by some stratagem or other he hoped to obtrude upon the people. Caesar was at the bottom of the scheme, and Pompey secretly favoured it: not that they intended to ruin Cicero, but to lessen his importance. Cicero affected to treat all this with contempt, sometimes rallying Clodius with much pleasantry, sometimes admonishing him with no less gravity; but it appears to have alarmed him, and to have inclined him to unite himself more closely with Pompey, in hopes of his protection against a storm, which he saw ready to burst upon him.

The first triumvirate, as it has commonly been called, was now formed; which was in reality a traitorous conspiracy of three of the most powerful citizens of Rome, Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus, to extort from their country by violence, what they could not obtain by law. Cicero might have been admitted a partner in their league: but he would not enjer into any engagements, which he and all the friends of the republic abhorred. Clodius now began to threaten Cicero with all the -terrors of his tribunate, to which he had been chosen without any opposition. Ctesar’s | whole aim was to subdue Cicero’s spirit, and force him to A dependence upon him: and therefore while he was privately encouraging Clodius, he vras proposing expedients to Cicero for his security. But though his enemies seemed to gain ground, he was unwilling to owe the obligation of his safety to Caesar, whose designs he always suspected, and whose measures he never approved, and who now therefore resolved to assist Clodius with all his power to oppress him; while Pompey gave him the strongest assurances, confirmed by oaths and vows, that he would sooner be killed himself, than suffer him to be hurt. Clodius in the mean time was courting the people by several new laws, contrived chiefly for their advantage, that he might introduce with a better grace the banishment of Cicero: which was now directly attempted by a special law, importing, that whoever had taken the life of a citizen uncondemned and without trial, should be prohibited from fire and water. Though Cicero was not named, yet he was marked out by the law: his crime was, the putting Catiline’s accomplices to death; which, though done by a general vote of the senate, was alleged to be illegal, and contrary to the liberties of the people. Cicero, finding himself thus reduced to the condition of a criminal, changed his habit upon it, as was usual in the case of a public impeachment; which, however, was thought an hasty and inconsiderate step, since he was not named in the law, which reached only to those who had taken the life of a citizen illegally: but it seems doubtful whether his taking no notice of it would have saved him, as the combination against him was deeply laid. Even Caesar, who affected great moderation, was secretly his adversary; and Pompey became reserved, and at last flatly refused to help him: while the Clodian faction treated his character and consulship with the utmost derision, and even insulted his person in the public streets. Cicero now called a council of his friends, to decide whether it was best to defend himself by force, or to save the effusion of blood by retreating till the storm should blow over: and the issue was, that he should submit to a voluntary exile.

As soon as it was known that Cicero was gone, Clodius had influence enough with the populace to procure a law in form against him for putting citizens to death unheard and uncondemned, and confirming his banishment in the usual terms, employed on such occasions. This law having | passed without opposition, Clodius immediately began to plunder, burn, and demolish Cicero’s houses both in the city and the country. The news of this seems to have deprived Cicero of the accustomed firmness of his character, and of the resignation of one conscious of his integrity, and suffering in the cause of his country; and his friends were forced to admonish him sometimes, to rouse his courage, and remember his former character: yet, in the midst of this affliction, before he had been absent two months, a motion was made in the senate by one of the tribunes,* who was his friend, to recall him, and repeal the law of Clodius, to which the whole house readily agreed t and in spite of the opposition of the Clodian faction, passed a vote, that no other business should be done, till Cicero’s return was carried; which at last it was, and in so splendid and triumphant a manner, that he had reason, he says, to fear, lest people should imagine that he himself had contrived his late flight, for the sake of so glorious a restoration.

Cicero, now in his fiftieth year, was restored to his former dignity, and a compensation made to him for his estates and houses, which last were built up again by himself with more magnificence than before. But he had domestic grievances about this time, which touched him very nearly; arising chiefly from the petulant humour of his wife, which ended at last in a divorce. As to his public concerns, his chief point was how to support his former authority in the city, which it was not easy to do: and, therefore, we find him acting a subservient part, and managing the triumvirate in the best manner he could for the public welfare. In the fifty-sixth year of his age he was sent into Asia, and obliged to assume a new character, that of governor of a province, and general of an army; which preferments had no charms for Cicero, who, as we have noticed, was averse to them in his early life. However, he acquitted himself ably in administering the civil affairs of his province of Cilicia; nor was he deficient in military affairs, for he had the honour of a supplication decreed to him at Rome, and was not without some expectation even of a triumph.

As to the public news of the year, the grand affair that engaged all people’s thoughts was the expectation of a breach between Caesar and Pompey, which seemed to be now unavoidable, and which Cicero soon learned from his friends, as he was returning from uis province of Cilicia, | But as he foresaw the consequences of a war more coolly and clearly than any of them, his first resolution was to apply all his endeavours and authority to the mediation of a peace. He had not yet declared for either side, although his inclination was to follow Pompey and while he was endeavouring to remain neuter, he had an interview with Pompey, who, finding him wholly bent on peace, contrived to have a second conference with him hefore he reached the city, in hopes to prevent any project of an accommodation. Cicero, however, the more he observed the disposition of both parties, the more he perceived the necessity of it; and that a war must necessarily end in a tyranny of some kind or other. When he arrived at the city, he found the war in effect proclaimed: for the senate had just voted a decree, that Caesar should dismiss his army by a certain day, or be declared an enemy; and Cæsar’s sudden march towards Rome effectually confirmed it. In the midst of all this hurry and confusion, Caesar was extremely solicitous to prevail with Cicero to stand neuter, but in vain, for Cicero was impatient to be gone to Pompey. In the mean time Caesar’s letters on the subject afford a striking proof of the high esteem and credit in which Cicero flourished at this time in Rome: when, in a contest for empire, which force alone was to decide, the chiefs on both sides were so solicitous to gain a man to their party, who had no peculiar talents for war. Steadfast to his purpose, he embarked at length for Dyrrhachium; and arrived safely in Pompey’s camp with his son, his brother, and his nephew, committing the fortunes of the whole family to the issue of that cause. But he soon had reason to dislike every thing which they had done, or designed to do; and saw that their own councils would ruin their cause. In this disagreeable situation he declined all employment; and finding his counsels wholly slighted, resumed his usual way of raillery, for he was a great jester, and what he could not dissuade by his authority, endeavoured to make ridiculous by his jests. When Pompey put him in mind of his coming so late to them: “How can I come late” said he, “when I find nothing in readiness among you?” and upon Pompey’s asking him sarcastically, where his son-in-law Dolabella was; “He is with your father-in-law,” replied he. To a person newly arrived from Italy, and informing him of a strong report at Rome, that Pompey was blocked up by Caesar; “And you sailed hither therefore,” said he | that you might see it with your own eyes.” By the frequency of these splenetic jokes, he is said to have provoked Pompey so far as to tell him, “I wish you would go over to the other side, that you may begin to fear us.

After the battle of Pharsalia, in which Pompey was defeated, Cicero returned to Italy, and was afterwards received into great favour by Caesar, who was now declared dictator for the second time, and Marc Antony his master of the horse. At his interview with Caesar he had no occasion to depart from the dignity of his character, for Caesar no sooner saw him than he alighted, and ran to embrace him, and walked with him alone, conversing very familiarly for several furlongs. About the end of the year, Caesar embarked for Africa, to pursue the war against the Pompeian generals, and Cicero, despairing of any good from either side, chose to live retired; and whether in the city or the country, shut himself up with his books; which, as he often says, “had hitherto been the diversion only, but were now become the support of his life.” In this retreat he entered into a close friendship and correspondence with M. Terentius Varro, who is said to have been the most learned of all the Romans; and wrote two of those pieces upon orators and oratory, which are still extant in his works. He was now in his sixty-first year, and having been divorced from his wife Terentia, he incurred both censure and ridicule for marrying a handsome young woman named Publilia, of an age disproportioned to his own, and to whom he was guardian. But at present he was yet more imprudent in frequently hazarding Caesar’s displeasure by his sarcastic remarks. Some of these jests upon Caesar’s administration are still preserved, and shew an extraordinary want of caution in times so critical. Caesar had advanced Laberius, a celebrated player, to the order of knights; but when he stepped from the stage to take his place on the equestrian benches, none of the knights would admit him to a seat amongst them. Cicero, however, as he was marching off therefore with disgrace, said, “I would make room for you here on our bench, if we were not already too much crowded:” alluding to Caesar’s filling up the senate also with the lowest of his creatures, and even with strangers and barbarians. At another time, being desired by a friend in a public company to procure for his son the rank of a senator in one of the corporate towns of Italy, He shall have it,“says he,” if you please, at | Rome; but it will be difficult at Pompeii.“An acquaintance likewise from Laodicea, coming to pay his respects to him, and being asked what business had brought him to Rome, said, that he was sent upon an embassy to Caesar, to intercede with him for the liberty of his country: upon which Cicero replied,” If you succeed, you shall be an ambassador also for us." Caesar, it must be allowed, to his honour, preserved such a reverence for his character, that he gave him many marks of personal favour; and this influence Cicero employed only to screen himself in the general misery of the times, and to serve those unhappy men who were driven from their country and families for the adherence to that cause which he himself had espoused. Cicero was now oppressed by a new affliction, the death of his beloved daughter Tullia; who died in childbed, soon after her divorce from her third husband Dolabella. She was about thirty-two years old at the time of her death, and was most affectionate to her father. To the usual graces of her sex, she added the more solid accomplishments of knowledge and polite letters, was qualified to be the companion as well as the delight of his age; and was justly esteemed not only as one of the best, but the most learned of the Roman ladies. His affliction for the death of this daughter was so great, that he endeavoured to shun all company by removing to Atticus’s house, where h’e lived chiefly in his library, turning over every book he could meet with on the subject of moderating grief. But, rinding his residence even here too public, he retired to Asturia, one ol his seats near Antium, a little island on the Latian shore, at the mouth of a river of the same name, covered with woods and groves, cut out into shady walks; a scene of all others the fittest to indulge melancholy, and where his whole time was employed in reading and writing. After the death of Caesar, Cicero was freed at once from all subjection to a superior, whose power he perpetually dreaded, and was now without competition the first citizen in Rome, the first in credit and authority both with the senate and people. The conspirators had no sooner killed Caesar in the senate-house, which Cicero tells us he had the pleasure to see, than Brutus, lifting up his bloody dagger, called upon him by name, to congratulate with him on the recovery of their liberty. It is evident from several of his letters, that he had an expectation- of such an attempt; for he prophesied very early, that Caesar’s | reign could not last six months, but must necessarily fall, either by violence, or of itself; nay farther, he hoped to live to see it; yet it is equally certain that he had no hand in it, nor was at all acquainted with it.

But though the conspiracy had succeeded against Csesar, it drew after it a train of consequences, which, in little more than a year, ended in the destruction not only of the commonwealth, but of even Cicero himself. The detail of all this belongs to history: it may be sufficient here to notice, that when Antony had driven Brutus and Cassuis from Rome, Cicero also left it, not a little mortified to see things take so wrong a turn by the indolence of his friends. In his retreat he had frequent meetings and conferences with his old friends of the opposite party, the late ministers of Caesar’s power; among whom were Hirtius, and Pansa, who, if they must have a new master, were disposed, for the sake of Caesar, to prefer his heir and nephew, Octavius, and presented Wim to Cicero immediately upon his arrival, with the strongest professions on the part of the young man, that he would be governed entirely by his direction. Cicero, however, could not be persuaded to enter heartily into his affairs, and when he did consent at last to unite himself to Octavius’s interests, it was with no other view than to arm him with a power sufficient to oppress Antony, and so limited, that he should not be able to oppress the republic.

In the hurry of these politics, he was still prosecuting his studies, and besides some philosophical pieces, now finished his book of Offices, for the use of his son; a work admired by all succeeding ages, as a perfect system of heathen morality. At the same time, he missed no opportunities to attempt the recovery of the republic, as appears from those memorable Philippics, which he published against Antony; but notwithstanding this struggle in support of expiring liberty, Brutus was disposed at last to throw all the blame upon him, charging him chiefly, that by a profusion of honours on young Caesar, he had inspired him with an ambition incompatible with the safety of the republic, and armed him with that power which he was now employing to oppress it; whereas the truth is, that by these honours Cicero did not intend to give Caesar any new power, but to apply that which he had acquired by his own vigour to the public service, and the ruin of Antony; in which he succeeded even beyond expectation; | and would certainly have gained his end, had he not bee’tt prevented by accidents which could not be foreseen.

Octavius had no sooner settled the affairs of the city> and subdued the senate to his mind, than he marched back towards Gaul to meet Antony and Lepidus, who had already passed the Alps, and brought their armies into Italy, in order to have a personal interview with him; which had been privately concerted for settling the terms of a triple league, the substance of which was, that the three should be invested jointly with supreme power for the term of five years, with the title of triumvirs, for settling the state of the republic; that they should act in all cases by common consent; nominate the magistrates and governors both at home and abroad, and determine all affairs relating to the public by their sole will and pleasure, &c. The last thing which they adjusted was, the list of a proscription, which they were determined to make of their enemies, consisting of 300 senators and 2000 knights, among whom was Cicero, who was at his Tusculan villa when he first received this unexpected news, and immediately set forward towards Asturia, the nearest village which he had upon the sea, where he embarked in a vessel ready for him; but the winds being unfavourable, he landed at Circaeum, and spent a night near that place in great anxiety and irresolution. This at last ended in his returning to his Formian villa, about a mile from the coast, weary of his life and the sea, and declaring he would die in that country which he had so often saved. Here he slept soundly for several hours, till his slaves forced him into his litter or portable chair, and carried him away towards the ship, having just heard that soldiers were already come into the country in quest of him. As soon as they were gone, the soldiers arrived at the house, and pursuing towards the sea, overtook him in the wood. As soon as they appeared, the servants prepared to defend their master’s life at the hazard of their own; but Cicero commanded them to set him down, and to make no resistance. Then looking upon his executioners with great presence and firmness, and thrusting his neck as forwardly as he could out of the litter, he bade them do their work, and take what they wanted. Upon which they cut off his head, and both his hands, and returned with them in all haste and great joy towards Rome, as the most agreeable present which they could carry to Antony. Popilius, the commander of the soldiers, whom Cicero had formerly | fended In an accusation for a capital crime, charged himself with the conveyance, without reflecting on the infamy of carrying that head which had saved his own. He found Antony in the forum, and upon shewing from a distance the spoils which he brought, he was rewarded upon the spot with the honour or' a crown, and about 8000l. sterling. Antony ordered the head to be fixed upon thd rostra between the two hands; and, satiated with Cicero’s blood, declared the proscription at an end. This barbarous murder was committed Dec. 7, B. C. 43, A. U. C. 710, and in the sixty-fourth year of Cicero’s age.

After this long account, which, however, we have abridged from our last edition, little need he added of Cicero’s character. It will appear that though he cherished ambition, he wanted firmness to pursue it. His lot was cast in times unfavourable to his natural temper, which was averse to contention, and he knew not how to regulate his conduct with steadiness in political commotions and civil war. His chief delight was in the society and conversation of learned men, and his works afford a decisive proof that his excellence lay in the accumulation of learning, and the display of eloquence, in which he can be compared only with Demosthenes. Their respective characters have been considered as the two great models on which all eloquence ought to be formed. In all his orations, says a modern critic, his art is conspicuous; he begins commonly with a regular exordium; and with much address prepossesses the hearers, and studies to gain their affections’. His method is clear, and his arguments are arranged with exact propriety. In a superior clearness of method, he has an advantage over Demosthenes. Every thing appears in its proper place. He never tries to move till he has attempted to convince; and in moving, particularly the softer passions, he is highly successful. No one ever knew the force of words better than Cicero. He rolls them along with the greatest beauty and magnificence; and in the structure of his sentences is eminently curious and exact. He amplifies every tiling; yet though his manner is generally diffuse, it is often happily varied and accommodated to the subject. When an important public object rouses his mind, and demands indignation and force, he departs considerably from that loose and declamatory manner to which he at other times is addicted, and becomes very forcible and vehement. This great orator, | however, is not without hi? defects. In most of his orations there is too much art, even carried to a degree of ostentation. He seems often desirous of obtaining admiration rather than of operating by conviction. He is sometimes, therefore, showy rather than solid, and diffuse where he ought to have been. urgent. His sentences are always round and sonorous. They cannot be accused of monotony, since they possess variety of cadence; but from too great a fondness for magnificence, he is on some occasions deficient in strength. Though the services which he had performed to his country were very considerable, yet he is too much his own panegyrist. Ancient manners, which imposed fewer restraints on the side of decorum, may in some degree excuse, but cannot entirely justify his vanity.

As a philosopher, he rather related the opinions of others than advanced any new doctrines of his own conceptions. He attached himself chiefly to the Academic sect, but did not neglect to inform himself of the doctrines of other sects, and discovered much learning and ingenuity in refuting their dogmas. He was an admirer of the doctrine of the stoics concerning natural equity and civil law, and adopted their ideas concerning morals, although not with servility. The sect to which he was most averse was the Epicurean, but upon the whole, from the general cast of his writings, the Academic sect was best suited to his natural disposition. Through all his philosophical works, he paints in lively colours, and with all the graces of fine writing, the opinions of philosophers; and relates, in the diffuse manner of an orator, the arguments on each side of the question in dispute; but we seldom find him diligently examining the exact weight of evidence in the scale of reason, carefully deducing accurate conclusions from certain principles, or exhibiting a series of arguments in a close and systematic arrangement. On the contrary, we frequently hear him declaiming eloquently, instead of reasoning conclusively, and meet with unequivocal proofs, that he was better qualified to dispute on either side with the Academics, than to decide upon the question with the Dogmatists, and therefore appears rather to have been a warm admirer and an elegant memorialist of philosophy, than himself to have merited a place in the first order of philosophers. | The editions of Cicero’s works, in whole, or in parts, are far too numerous to be specified in this place. We may, however, notice among the most curious or valuable: 1. his whole works, first edition, by Minutianus, Milan, 1498—1499, 4 vols. fol. of great rarity and price 2. By Paul Manutius, Venice, 1540 4to 10 vols. 8vo; 3. By R, Stephens, Paris, 1543, 8 vols. 8vo 4. By Lambinus, Paris, 1566, 2 vols. fol.; 5. Elzivir, Leyden, 1642, 10 vols. 8vo; 6. Gronovius, 11 vols. 12mo, and 4 vols. 4to; 7. Verburgius, Amst. 1724, 2 voLs. fol.; 4 vols. 4to; 8. Ernest, Leipsic, 1774, 8 vols. 8vo 9. Olivet, Paris, 1740, 9 vols. 4to; Geneva, 1758, 9 vols. and Oxford, 1783, 10 vols. 4to; 10. Foulis, Glasgow, 1749, 20 vols. 12mo; 11. Lallemande, Paris, 1768, 12 vols. 12mo. For his separate pieces we must refer to Dibdin and Clarke. Most of his productions have been translated into various languages, and several into English, by Melmoth, Guthrie, Jones, and others. Melmoth, as well as Middleton, has written a life of Cicero, both with some degree of partiality, but with great ability. 1


Lives as above. —Brucker. Blair’s Lectures. —Saxii Onomast. where are many useful references for information and opinions, respecting Cicero, 3axius has bestowed much pains on this article.