Option M (Rome) 1.4

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Information about Option M (Rome) 1.4

Published on March 20, 2014

Author: dieharper

Source: slideshare.net

ROME Role and Significance of Cicero Political Developments in the Late Republic

The story of Cicero

Background: Role and Significance of Cicero Cicero was born on 3rd January 106BC to a wealthy member of the equestrian order. His father was both wealthy and well connected, however due to a physical disability he had not travelled to Rome to pursue a political career. Instead he concentrated on his own education. This passion for learning was also encouraged for his son. Cicero was educated in the teachings of the Greek poets, writers and historians. He translated much Greek philosophy into Latin, allowing many people in Rome to read these texts for the first time. His hard work and intelligence were well known. It gave him the opportunity to study law. Cicero

It is no surprise that he was very keen to establish a political life for himself in Rome and secure positions within the cursus honorum. In 90-88BC he fought with Sulla and Strabo, though he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier. Nonetheless it was an important step for him in making and establishing connections, and aligning himself to the republicans. His first major case as a lawyer was around 80BC. Sextus Roscius was accused of patricide – the killing of his father. This was considered one of the most extreme crimes you could commit in Rome. It was a big deal for Cicero to defend Roscius in this crime – not only because it was such a big case with a lot of public and political interest, but also because of the defence used by Cicero – he accused Chrysogonus of being involved in the crime. The Young Cicero Reading by Vincenzo Foppa (fresco, 1464

Chrysogonus was one of Sulla’s favourites. By accusing Chrysogonus, Cicero was in fact publically (though indirectly) challenging Sulla’s dictatorship. Surprisingly, given the opportunity for the wrath of Sulla, Chrysogonus was acquitted. His first office was as quaestor. He served his quaestorship in Sicily which led to the people of the area asking him to represent their interests and prosecute Verres for his crimes Cicero accuses Verres

Verres had been governing a province of Sicily. Unfortunately he was corrupt – stealing wealth and money, and misgoverning for his own gain. He charged business owners incredibly high taxes, he would cancel business contracts and give them instead to those that had given him a ‘donation’. Temples and private houses were robbed of their works of art. He used the emergency of Spartacus to make some quick money – he would pick key slaves of important and wealthy land owners and accuse them of organising to join Spartacus’s revolt, and of causing trouble in the provinces. Spartacus, marble sculpture by Denis Foyatier (1830), Louvre Museum

He would then sentence the slave to death by crucifixion – unless of course the slave owner paid a rather large bribe to have the charge dismissed. Sometimes it went even further – he would occasionally make up a slave! He would accuse a slave that didn’t exist of plotting to join Spartacus – he would then demand that the wealthy land owner hand over the slave to the authorities – clearly they couldn’t do so when the slave didn’t exist – he would then charge the land owner with hiding the slave and sentence them to imprisonment – unless of course they could pay the fine (bribe) to have the charges dismissed. The court was made up exclusively of Senators, some of which may have been Verres’ friends. The judge, however, was the honest and trustworthy Manius Acilius Glabrio – he would not allow bribery to sway his decisions. Verres was not happy – he tried to have court proceedings postponed for a year knowing that his friend Marcus Caecilius Metellus would be the presiding judge the following year. Spartacus and his followers Crucified along the Appian way

Cicero would allow for none of these delay tactics and managed to have the case heard in a timely fashion. The effect of Cicero’s first brief speech was so overwhelming that Hortensius (Verres’s lawyer) refused to reply, and recommended his client leave the country. Before the expiration of the 9 days allowed for the prosecution Verres was on his way to Massilia. There he lived in exile until 43 BC, when he was proscribed by Mark Antony, apparently for refusing to surrender some art treasures that Antony coveted. Cicero Denounces Catiline 1889 fresco Cesare Maccari

The most important thing to remember:

Significance: Cicero was a staunch defender of the republican institutions and fierce opponents of the forces which were undermining them.

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