Cicero, Vol. 1

Cicero, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from Cicero, Vol. 1: Cato Maior De Senectute; Edited, With Notes

Marcus Tullius Cicero came of an old family of Arpinum, which had received the Roman franchise in B. c. 188. He was bom in B.C. 106, and his father removed to Rome, in order to educate him for the law, as he had no taste for arms, the only other career which offered distinction to a novus homo. After studying law under Scaevola the augur, and serving one campaign in the Social War under Cn. Pompeius Strabo, father of Pompeius Magnus, he continued his preparation for the bar peacefully during the civil war between Marius and Sulla. With the restoration of peace he first appeared in public as a pleader; but two years after (B.C. 79) went to Athens and Asia Minor, partly for his health, partly to perfect himself as a speaker. After his return in B.C. 77 he quickly assumed the first position among the speakers at the bar. Elected quaestor next year, he accompanied the praetor Peducaeus to Sicily; and on account of the popularity and the local knowledge he there acquired, he was asked in B. C. 70 to conduct the impeachment of Verres the tyrannical praetor of Syracuse. His success was complete, in spite of the obstacles thrown in his way by the powerful families who befriended Verres.

Cicero's natural abilities and indefatigable industry ensured his political advancement to the aedileship and to the praetorship (B. C. 66); but he felt that in order to attain the consulship he required party support against the jealousy of the great families, who regarded this, the greatest prize of politics, as the especial property of the nobles.

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