Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Assassination of Cicero

The Assassination of Cicero

            Today marks the anniversary of Cicero’s assassination in 43 B.C.  A lawyer, politician, writer and orator, his letters serve as both a source for the goings-on in a tumultuous period in Rome and as guidance for the art of letter writing. The discovery of his letters by Petrarch was a, and some would argue “the”, event that precipitated the Renaissance.

      After the assignation of Julius Caesar, thinking Marc Antony to be little more than a thug, Cicero took the additional step of detailing his views in a series of speeches, hoping to reduce Antony’s influence for the benefit of Octavian, Caesar’s heir.  When, however, Octavian and Antony joined forces in the Second Triumvirate, Cicero’s days were numbered.  Ultimately he was “proscribed” (i.e., ordered executed and his property seized).  While the depiction of his execution as portrayed in the HBO series Rome was true to his character, it in fact took place on a road with Cicero riding in a litter; he did not resist.

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