Cicero

Cicero


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Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in Arpinum, near Rome in 106 BC. Cicero was the elder son of a wealthy landowner. In about 95 BC the Ciceros bought a house in Rome so that Marcus and his younger brother, Quintus, should have the best education possible. Cicero studied rhetoric under the two most famous orators of the day, Lucius Licinius Crassus and Marcus Antonius. (1)

In 88 BC Cicero served under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during the Social War. The following year Gaius Marius occupied Rome and murdered his opponents. Cicero continued his studies in the city until Sulla recaptured the city in 82 BC and was appointed as dictator to revise the constitution. A series of reforms was introduced, which aimed to improve administrative efficiency and to guarantee the power of the senatorial establishment. This included suppressing the powers of the tribunes. (2)

According to Allan Massie: "He (Sulla) did no more than refurbish the Senate, claiming that this gave it renewed legitimacy, before retiring into private life to die, reputedly of the effects of debauchery, the following year (78 BC). He had solved nothing; his measures were no more than a palliative. Yet Sulla's actions had one long-term effect: he had shown how power might be concentrated in a single person." (3)

At the age of 26 Cicero undertook his first criminal case. This was the defence of a man, Sextus Roscius, who had been charged with the murder of his father. The trial became sensational when Cicero exposed the unscrupulous profiteering of Chrysogonus, who was behind the prosecution. This was an act of bravery as Chrysogonus was an agent of Sulla. He won the case and became famous for his oratorical skills and soon was considered to have one of the best legal minds in Rome. (4)

After his attacks on members of the ruling elite he decided it would be politically expedient to live abroad. In 79 BC he moved to Athens where he met and lived with Titus Pomponius Atticus. The two men studied Greek moral philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Epicurus and Aristotle. He particularly liked Socrates who "was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and set her in the cities of men.... and compel her to ask questions about life and morality and things good and evil." (5) According to Anthony Trollope, the author of The Life of Cicero (1880) has claimed that Cicero studied all the philosophical theories "but in truth drawing no system of morals or rule of life from any of them." (6)

During this period Cicero became interested in psychology as well as political philosophy. He later wrote: "Diseases of the mind are more common and more pernicious than diseases of the body…. Philosophy is certainly the medicine of the soul. Its aid is to be sought not from without, as in diseases of the body; and we must labour with all our resources and with all our strength to cure ourselves." (7)

Cicero enthusiastically accepted the belief that "high moral standards, the determination to live up to them, and the emotional self-restraint needed to do so were the most important things in the world - probably the only important things: this being the imperative command of the Law of Nature, identical with divine Providence - which is universally applicable to human relations, because a spark of this divinity is universally distributed among mankind." (8)

In about 80 BC Cicero married Terentia, who was around 18 years old at the time. She came from a very wealthy plebeian family and had a huge dowry, which included at least two blocks of tenement apartments in Rome and extensive land holdings. Her total dowry was 400,000 sesterces, which was the exact amount needed for a man to run for public office. The following year Terentia gave birth to a daughter, Tullia, "who, as she grew up, became the one person whom he loved best in all the world". (9) A son Marcus Cicero was born 12 years later. (10)

Cicero returned to Rome and in 76 BC he was elected as one of the 20 annual quaestors (magistrates) and served his term of office in Sicily. Although it was one of the most junior offices in the Roman Empire, it brought life membership of the senate, and Cicero was the first member of his family to attain this distinction. Cicero was therefore known as a novus homo (new man), the first man of a family to reach the senate. (11)

There were two main classes in Rome. The patricians were descended from the 100 fathers chosen by Romulus to form the original senate and were the main office holders. Non-patricians were called plebeians. In 70 BC Cicero was elected as a plebeian aedile. In Rome there were aediles, two curule and two plebeian. They were responsible for city administration, the corn supply and putting on public games. (12)

In this post Cicero put on three sets of games. This was done to keep the plebeians happy but Cicero disliked these events. "The wild-beast hunts, two a day for five days were magnificent... But what pleasure can it possibly be to a man of culture, when either a puny human being is mangled by a most powerful beast, or a splendid beast is killed with a hunting spear? The last day was that of the elephants, and on that day the mob and crowd was greatly impressed, but expressed no pleasure. Indeed the result was a certain compassion and a kind of feeling that this huge beast has a fellowship with the human race." (13)

In 70 BC Cicero decided to bring a charge of extortion against Gaius Verres, the former governor of Sicily. He had several reasons for accepting this difficult case. He genuinely hated dishonest administration. Cicero was also sympathetic to the knights (equites) among whom he had originated, the non-senatorial class whom Sulla's reforms had excluded from membership of the court and from other positions of power. It was also a great opportunity to defeat and supersede the most distinguished orator of the day, Quintus Hortensius, who was defending Verres. (14)

In his opening speech Cicero produced detailed evidence of Verres' corruption: "Gentlemen, I see that you are all perfectly aware that Gaius Verres, quite openly, has robbed Sicily of everything it possesses, sacred and secular, in public and private ownership alike. It is well known to you that there is no kind of theft and plunder that he has refrained from undertaking, with unmitigated unscrupulousness, and, what is more, without the slightest concealment." (15)

However, he feared that the jury would judge him not on his corruption but on his fine military record: "The argument I shall have to resist is this. It is the declaration of Verres's exceptional courage and watchfulness, during these times of anxiety and peril, qualities which, it is said, have saved and rescued the province of Sicily from runaway slaves and the dangers of war. I have to consider, then, gentlemen, what line to take, and in which direction to frame my accusation, and which way, in fact, to turn. Verres's role as a great commander is raised like a rampart to block all my assaults. I know this type of argument very well. I see the things he will boast about. He will enlarge on the threat of fighting, on the crisis into which our country is plunged, on the shortage of generals. Then he will beg of you, or rather he will insist - as a right to which he is fully entitled - that you should not allow Rome to be deprived of such a fine general, on the strength of what Sicilian witnesses have said; and that you should not tolerate the cancellation of a general's brilliant record just because he has been accused of being grasping." (16)

Cicero also admitted that Verres had given some of the money he had corruptly obtained to the poor. However, it was morally wrong to be generous if it was the outcome of bribery and corruption. By acting as you did, Verres, you have lowered the stature of your country. You have weakened the strength of the Roman state. You have diminished the resources that the valour and wisdom of our ancestors handed down to us. Our imperial authority, the status of our allies, the reputation of the treaties that we made with them - you have demolished them all." (17)

Cicero's opening speech dwelt upon the political aspect of the case. He argued that if someone as obviously guilty as Verres were let off, the people would judge the exclusively senatorial juries (prescribed by a law of Sulla's) to be unfit to try cases. Once this speech had been given and the evidence presented, Verres went into exile, assuming he would be found guilty. With this success Cicero took Hortensius' place as Rome's leading advocate. He went into temporary retirement and when he did return it was as Cicero's partner, not his opponent." (18)

In 67 BC Cicero was elected praetor, by all the centuries (voting units in the centuriate assembly), and at the earliest age permitted by law (he was by now 39). There were eight praetors each year and they presided over the permanent criminal courts. In 66 BC he made a speech where he proposed Pompey replace Lucullus, as commander of the Roman forces, who had recently suffered a serious reverse in the Third Mithridatic War. (19)

Cicero's proposal was accepted and he eventually defeated King Mithridates VI of Pontus and Armenia Minor, Rome's most dangerous enemy, he extended Rome's frontiers to the Euphrates and the bounds of the Parthian Empire. He then thoroughly reorganized government in the East, almost doubling Rome's revenue from that part of the world and bringing Asia Minor peace, security and the prospect of prosperity. (20)

Cicero was a candidate for the consulship for the year 63 BC. Once again it was at the earliest age permitted by law. One of his rivals was Lucius Sergius Catiline who promised that if he was elected he would cancel all debts. As a result, he won a large following from all those who were disadvantaged - from bankrupt nobles to the urban poor. According to Sallust this attracted the criminal element, "who poured into Rome till it was like a sewer", and the dissolute youth of the capital, who preferred "an idle life to thankless toil." (21)

Despite this campaign, Cicero and Gaius Antonius Hybrida, the uncle of Mark Antony, won the election. With this success his family entered the ranks of the nobility (a noble was a direct descendant of a consul through the male line). A consul was the most senior of the annual magistrates. The two consuls held office for the calendar year, which (in the absence of any numerical system) was named after them. (22)

One of the first new laws initiated by Cicero was to restrict the amount of money a candidate for office might spend on public entertainments: "According to this decree, the Calpurnian Law was contravened if men were paid to meet the candidates, if people were hired, for a fee, to act as escorts, if at gladiatorial combats places were allotted to the crowd according to tribes, if free dinners were given to the public. So the Senate decided that these actions would be illegal if they were committed." (23)

Cicero had been elected as a popularist but once in power he argued for the status quo and one of his first acts was to oppose the land distributions proposed by the tribune Publius Servilius Rullus. Cicero wanted to limit the power of the plebeian tribunes and the Plebeian Council (the assembly of the plebeians) and strengthen the power of the senate, which represented the patricians. He said that some of the representatives of the plebeians were dangerous people "whom nothing appears sufficient to possess, some to whom nothing seems sufficient to squander." (24)

Catiline remained in the city but sent his agent Gaius Manlius north to organise troops for a march on Rome. When he received news of this Cicero made a speech accusing Catiline of conspiring against the government: "Imagine every type of criminality and wickedness that you can think of; he has been behind them all. In the whole of Italy there is not one single poisoner, gladiator, robber, assassin, parricide, will-forger, cheat, glutton, wastrel, adulterer, prostitute, corrupter of youth, or youth who has been corrupted, indeed any nasty individual of any kind whatever, who would not be obliged to admit he had been Catilina's intimate." (25)

Catiline denied everything in the senate but decided to join Manlius and his army leaving Publius Cornelius Lentulus in charge in Rome. The senate outlawed Catiline, and when evidence was brought to Cicero in the form of letters written by the conspirators to Catiline urging him to hurry his advance on Rome, the others involved were arrested and admitted their part in the conspiracy: "The disclosure of the plot produced a volte-face in public opinion. The common people, who at first, in their desire for a new regime, had been only too eager for war, now cursed Catiline's scheme and praised Cicero to the skies." (26)

There was now a debate in the senate concerning the punishment to be imposed on the self-confessed traitors. The majority of senators who spoke supported the death penalty, but Julius Caesar pointed out that they were all Roman citizens and that execution without a trial was illegal. He also pointed out that Romans threatened with execution were entitled to appeal to the assembly. Caesar suggested that the conspirators should be imprisoned for life. However, the senators decided on the death penalty and Cicero supervised the executions of the on 5th December 63 BC. (27)

In 62 BC Lucius Licinius Murena won the election to be Rome's consul. Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Younger) announced that he intended to prosecute Murena because like all the candidates, he had been guilty of employing bribery to win votes. Cicero, a supporter of Murena agreed to defend him in court, despite the fact that he was clearly guilty of paying bribes. Michael Grant points out: "Of the actual charge against Murena he steers pretty clear, as he must. Instead, he stresses the peril to the state if his client should have to be disqualified." (28)

Cato pointed out it was Cicero who was responsible for the law against bribery: "Let us go back to the fact that I passed a law against bribery. Yes, I did so, but without cancelling another rule which I had also, long ago, laid down for myself: my obligation to protect Roman citizens from danger. Certainly, if I admitted that bribery had taken place, and argued that this could be justified, I should be acting disreputably, even if it had not been I myself who proposed the bribery law. When, on the other hand, I argue, as I do, that no illegal act has been committed by Murena at all, I cannot see why the fact that I proposed the law against bribery could be said to have any negative bearing at all upon my decision to defend Murena." (29)

Cicero argues that Murena should be judged by his and his family record: "Murena conscientiously pushed his candidature forward. The records of his impeccable father and ancestors helped him. So did the respectable way in which he had spent his youth, and his eminent service as a military officer. Another help, too, was his praetorship, in which he had administered the law with such distinction, and earned popularity because of his Games; and his provincial service had further enhanced his reputation. As a candidate, too, he neither gave way before threats, nor threatened anyone himself." (30)

Cicero then goes on to suggest that the early Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, can help us understand this problem. "Now I will admit, Cato, that I too, when I was young, feeling diffident about my own intellectual resources, sought the assistance of philosophy. And what my teachers told us - Plato's and Aristotle's followers, moderate and reasonable men - is that it is sometimes possible to make philosophers change their minds. It is a virtue, they comment, to show compassion. Offences are not all equally serious: they differ in gravity, and deserve different punishments. However steadfast a man may be, he can sometimes pardon. As for the philosopher, he does sometimes guess about things he does not know for certain, he is sometimes angry, he is sometimes influenced by prayers and attempts to placate him, he does sometimes alter what he has said if he finds a reason to improve, he does, on occasion, change his opinion. That is to say, all virtues, I learnt, are subject to modification." (31)

It has been argued that Cicero defended Murena in order to protect the state against possible revolution. It was an early example of "the end justifies the means" or as Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 BC): "The end excuses any evil" or in the words of the Roman poet Ovid: "The result justifies the deed" (Heroides c. 10 BC). Murena was acquitted, and became one of the consuls in 62 BC in order to continue the fight against the supporters of Catiline. "In the interests of government stability, Cicero had supported the election of a not very honest client, and had won." (32)

In 61 BC Cicero became involved in a scandal that had a disastrous impact on his political career. A young aristocrat, Publius Clodius Pulcher, was discovered to have dressed up in women's clothes and attended the festival of the Bona Dea, to which only women were admitted. This was held in the house of Julius Caesar and it was suggested that he had taken advantage of the situation to commit adultery with his wife. As a result, Caesar divorced his wife on the grounds that "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion." (33) At Clodius' trial for sacrilege Cicero gave evidence that disproved his alibi. Nevertheless, Clodius managed to bribe his way to an acquittal and became the long-term enemy of Cicero. (34)

Caesar, a very successful general, was a growing political force in Ancient Rome. It was claimed that he had great charm and that a great deal of military achievements was due to his personality and character which enabled him to win the love and loyalty of his soldiers. The number of Caesar's affairs was notorious and it was rumoured he was bi-sexual. One of his enemies in the senate once suggested that he was "every woman's husband and every man's wife". (35)

In 60 BC, Julius Caesar formed a political alliance with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey) and Marcus Licinius Crassus, that became known as the First Triumvirate and in 59 BC and along with Marcus Bibulus, he was elected consul. Caesar proposed a law for redistributing public lands to army veterans - a proposal supported by Pompey and by Crassus, making the triumvirate public. Pompey filled the city with soldiers, a move which intimidated the triumvirate's opponents. Bibulus vetoed the bill. According to Plutarch, Caesar "brought Pompey out openly in front of the people on the speaker's platform and asked him whether he approved of the new laws. Pompey said that he did." He then went on to say that he was willing to use force in order that the proposal was successful. (36)

Bibulus withdrew to his house for the remainder of his term of office. This had the effect of making the rest of Caesar's legislation technically invalid. Caesar now introduced a second land law that provided for the last public lands in Italy to be divided into 20,000 allotments and distributed predominantly to the urban poor. Cicero was critical of what Caesar had done and was disappointed that Pompey appeared to be supporting him. He wrote to his friend, Titus Pomponius Atticus: "Pompey has fenced so far with the important questions. When asked, he said that he agreed with Caesar's laws. But what about his methods?" (37)

In order to assure himself of Pompey's loyalty Caesar arranged for him to marry his daughter, Julia. Caesar honoured the rest of his promises to Pompey and Crassus using Publius Vatinius the tribune of the plebs. He proposed to the assembly that Caesar be given Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (south-eastern Europe), with Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of four legions. He was now in control of a large army close to Rome. (38)

In 60 BC, Julius Caesar, invited Cicero to be the fourth member of his existing partnership with Pompey and Crassus, Cicero refused the invitation because he suspected it would undermine the Republic. (39) He wrote to his friend Atticus: "There can be no hope of either private individuals or even state officials being free for much longer. Yet amid all this oppression there is more free speech than ever, at any rate at social gatherings and parties. Indeed, people's indignation is beginning to outweigh their fright; though on all sides there is nothing but utter despair… I cannot bear to write any more about politics. I am disgusted with myself and find writing about it extremely painful. Considering how crushed everyone is, I manage to carry on without actual humiliation, yet without the courage I should have hoped for from myself in the light of my past achievements. Caesar very generously proposes that I should join his staff. He also offers to send me on a mission at state expense, nominally to fulfil a vow.... I am keeping the offer in reserve, but do not think I shall use it. I do not know what to do. I hate the idea of running away. I long to fight and have a lot of enthusiastic supporters. But I make no promises, and please say nothing about it." (40)

After this rejection Caesar decided to form an alliance with Cicero's enemy, Clodius. In 59 BC, Caesar sanctioned Clodius's adoption into a plebeian family (he was of patrician birth), therefore "enabling him to stand for election to the tribunate of the plebs, the office traditionally sought by popular politicians who wished to propose radical legislation or, in conservative eyes, to stir up trouble". Clodius was duly elected as tribune in 58 BC. Cicero refused to become a supporter of Caesar, as a result, Clodius proposed a bill outlawing anyone who had put a Roman citizen to death without trial. On the day that Clodius' law was passed, Cicero left Rome and went to live in exile in Macedonia. His house in the city was plundered and burned and Clodius described him as a tyrant. (41)

In exile, Cicero increased his letter writing. Well over 800 of his letters, dealing with an enormous variety of subjects, have survived. As Michael Grant has pointed out: "Since nine-tenths of these letters were not intended for publication, they give an astonishingly frank and authentic picture of their writer's character: he was not only an indefatigable correspondent, but uniquely articulate about himself... His talent for self-revelation means that we know more about him than about any other ancient personage, and almost more than about any other historical or literary figure of any date whatsoever. Furthermore, these letters are our principle - very often our only - source of knowledge for the events of this decisive period in the history of civilization." (42)

In a letter to Gaius Scribonius Curio he explained why he spent so much time on this activity. "As you know very well, there are many sorts of letter. But there is one unmistakable sort, which actually caused letter-writing to be invented in the first place, namely the sort intended to give people in other places any information which for our or their sakes they ought to know... There are two other sorts of letter which I like very much, one intimate and humorous, the other serious and profound. I am not sure which of these genres would be more inappropriate than the other for me to employ in writing to you. Am I to send you letters full of jokes? I really do not think there is a single Roman who could make jokes in these times. And in serious vein what could Cicero possibly write about to Curio except politics? But on this subject my situation is that I dare not write what I feel and have no desire to write what I do not feel." (43)

Sending letters was a difficult process during this period. There was not a regular postal service and so people like Cicero entrusted their letters to travellers or employed their own couriers, who could cover fifty miles a day. For example, a letter written by Julius Caesar while in Britain took twenty-eight days to arrive in Rome. Letters were normally written with reed pen and ink on papyrus; the pages were pasted together to form a roll, which was then tied with thread and sealed. (44)

In 57 BC Cicero began to have talks with Pompey. He later recalled why he agreed to do a deal with this powerful figure: "My views have been alienating Pompey from me? It has to stop. Since the powerless do not want to be my friends, I must make sure that the powerful are! You will say: 'I wish you had done so long ago.' I know that you wanted me to, and that I have been an utter fool. But now it is high time for me to be friends with myself and my own interests, since I cannot possibly be with the other lot." (45)

Pompey arranged for Cicero to be recalled to Rome. On Pompey's motion the senate passed a decree, unanimous with the single exception of Clodius, describing Cicero as the saviour of his country. His journey through Italy resembled a triumphal procession and he was escorted by cheering crowds. In speeches to the senate he successfully secured compensation to enable him to rebuild his home. He also gave his support to the tribune, Titus Annius Milo, who was used to attack Clodius. This led to street violence and the death of Clodius in 52 BC. (46)

Cicero was offered an accepted the post as governor of Cilicia on the south-east coast of Asia Minor (the province also included Cyprus). He did not enjoy the experience. He wrote to his friend, Marcus Caelius Rufus: "My longing for Rome is quite unbounded! you could not believe how I long for my friends and most of all for yourself. My province, on the other hand, bores me completely. This may be because the degree of distinction which I feel I have already attained in my career makes me not so much ambitious to add to it as fearful of impairing it. Or perhaps it is because the whole business is unworthy of my capacities, in comparison with the heavier burdens which I can bear and often do bear in the service of my country."

Cicero went on to describe his task of providing wild animals for the Roman Games: "The matter of the panthers is being carefully attended to by my orders through the agency of the men who make a practice of hunting them. But there are surprisingly few of the animals; and those that there are, I am told, complain that in my province they are the only living creatures for whom traps are laid! So rumour has it that they have decided to evacuate the province and live in Caria." (47)

In 54 BC Cicero began work on a detailed study of government, On the State. It took the form of a discussion which had supposedly occurred in the garden of Scipio Africanus, in 129 BC. Scipio was the conqueror of Carthage in the Third Punic War (149-146 BC). In Book I, Scipto defines the nature of the state, and discusses the three principal forms of reputable government (kingship, aristocracy and democracy). In Book II he briefly traces the history of the Roman state. In Book III he discusses the eternal, immutable law, based on reason, which draws an absolute distinction between right and wrong. (48)

Cicero attempts to justify the creation of the Roman Empire: "Some, states, and some individuals, have a right to control others. Our own people have gained dominion over the entire world. For there is no doubt at all that nature has granted dominion to everything that is best - to the manifest advantage of the weak. And that, surely, explains why God rules over man, why the human mind rules over the body, and why reason rules over lust and anger, and the other evil qualities of the heart." (49)

Spurius Mummius, a poet and a conservative, argues: "Personally I prefer even monarchy to unmitigated democracy, which is the worst of all forms of government. But an aristocratic, oligarchic government is better than monarchy, because a king is a single individual, where a state will derive the most benefit if it comes under the rule of a number of good men, and not just one." Scipio replied: "I realize, Spurius, that you have always felt a particular dislike for popular power. My own feeling is that it might be more possible to endure than you have thought. Yet, all the same, I agree with you that it is the least desirable of all the three types of constitution. But as to your suggestion that aristocratic rule is preferable to monarchy, that I cannot accept. For if wisdom is the dominant quality of the government, whether that wisdom is the possession of one man only, or of more than one, seems to me to make no difference one way or the other." (50)

In 52 BC Cicero began work On Laws. This was a discussion on how the ideal government ought to be conducted, explaining how the force of law as the true cementing force of the state. Once again, the book takes the form of a discussion. This time it takes place in his own home. Cicero is the principal speaker and his brother Quintus Tullius Cicero and his friend Titus Pomponius Atticus are the others. "Their roles are subordinate, but what they say is quite interesting, introduced to present not only agreement but also, sometimes, different, critical viewpoints." (51)

Cicero attempts to explain why the Romans rejected monarchy as a form of government: "Now, originally, all nations of antique origin were ruled by kings. This authority was, at first, entrusted to men who were outstanding for their integrity and wisdom - and that was conspicuously the case of the early monarchy in our own country. Subsequently the kingship was handed down to the descendants of the earliest kings (which is still what happens in the monarchies that exist elsewhere today). At that stage, however, people who objected to the monarchical system wanted not, indeed, to be under no superior direction at all, but no longer to be invariably under one single man."

However, if citizens are to play a role in government, there needs to be a legal system in place. This society will need officials to administer the system: "In fact the entire nature of a state depends on the arrangements it has made regarding those officials. First, they must be left in no doubt how far the limits of their authority extend. And the citizens, too, must be made fully aware of the extent of their obligation to obey the functionaries in question. It is worth remembering, in this connection, that the man who rules his country well will, obviously, have deferred to the authority of others in the past - and the man who has rendered this obedience conscientiously has thereby acquired fitness to become a ruler himself some time in the future. Indeed, this obedient subject has a right to expect that that is what he will one day become; and conversely the ruler will be well advised to bear in mind that he himself, quite soon in the future, may have to start obeying again." (52)

Quintus points out that in the past, tribunes, who represented the plebians, have damaged the authority of the consuls. Cicero replied: "You have pointed to the flaws in the tribunate, Quintus, very clearly indeed. But when one is criticizing an institution it is unfair just to list its faults, and to pick out the shortcomings its history has displayed, without also touching, on the good it has done. If you are going to employ that sort of method, you can even abuse the consulship, once you have collected together the bad actions of certain individual consuls, whom I prefer not to identify. And as far as the tribunate is concerned, I admit that there is something wrong about the actual power it possesses. But it would be impossible to have the benefits which the tribune was designed to provide, without accepting that flaw as well."

Quintus had complained that the tribunes have too much power. "Yes, that is undeniable. But the power of the popular Assembly has a much more cruel and violent potential. Yet, in practice, that potential sometimes makes for greater mildness than if it did not exist at all - when there is a leader to keep the Assembly under control. And, when there is a leader, his behaviour is restricted by the recognition that he himself is at risk, whereas the impulses of the people care nothing at all about any risk that may be involved for themselves. 'Yes,' you object, 'but the tribunes sometimes stir up excitement among the people.' True, but they frequently have a calming effect as well." (53)

In Rome there was constant fighting between the optimates (conservatives) and the popularists (reformers). The optimates increasingly courted Pompey as a tool to use against Caesar, who was seen as a popularist. "Pompey, who above all desired their recognition, disrupted ordered government so that he could then pose as its restorer. The optimates met his desire for a dictatorship half-way by allowing him to be sole consul in 52 BC. Caesar was involved in military adventures in Britain and Germany at the time and he was reluctant to start a civil war. (54)

Caesar proposed that both he and Pompey should disarm and give up their commands in order to prevent a civil war. On 1st December, 50 BC, the Senate voted on the proposal. Such was the longing for peace that it was carried by 370 votes to a mere 22. However, the Optimates found a tribune to veto the bill. The next day Pompey was asked to assume command of all forces in Italy. Ceasar dispatchedMark Antony, to Rome and on 1st January, 49 BC, read a letter from Caesar which renewed his peace offer. No vote was taken and the Senate declared that Caesar would be declared a public enemy if he did not disarm within two months. On 7th January, Pompey was granted the authority of a dictator. (55)

Cicero was aware Pompey was a great military leader: "Gnaeus Pompeius is in the unique position of not only exceeding all his contemporaries in merit but even eclipsing every figure recorded from the past... The ideal general... should possess four qualities - military knowledge, talent, prestige and luck. In knowledge of military affairs Pompey has never been surpassed... The abilities of Gnaeus Pompeius are too vast for any words to do them justice... The talents a general needs are numerous... meticulous organisation, courage in danger, painstaking execution, prompt action, foresight in planning. In each and every one of those qualities Pompeius excels all other generals we have ever seen or heard of." (56)

Cicero was reluctant to take sides and favoured a negotiated peace in order to prevent a civil war. However, as he told Atticus: "Our friend Pompey's proceedings have throughout been destitute alike of wisdom and of courage, and I may add, contrary throughout to my advice and influence. I say nothing of ancient history - his building up and aggrandising and arming against the state, his backing the violent and unconstitutional passage of laws." (57)

Cicero and his wife Terentia, had a difficult relationship. He blamed her for arranging a bad marriage for his daughter, Tullia, that eventually ended in divorce. Cicero also divorced in 47 BC. Tullia died shortly after childbirth in February, 45 BC. Cicero's second wife, Publilia, who had always been jealous of the attention her husband lavished on his daughter, showed little sympathy, leading Cicero to divorce her. (58)

Caesar and his soldiers crossed the Rubicon into Italy. On 21st February, 49 BC, he forced the surrender of a senatorial army in Corfinium. Caesar offered the defeated soldiers clemency which was to be his consistent policy throughout the war; most of the troops came over to him, and their leaders were permitted to depart. A week later Cicero wrote that Caesar's clemency was winning public opinion. He wrote to Atticus about "Caesar's treacherous clemency" but added that Pompey was also treacherous because he was preparing to abandon Italy and intended to withdraw across the Adriatic to Greece. (59)

The historian, Suetonius, pointed out: "He (Caesar) was resolved to invade Italy if force were used against the tribunes of the people who had vetoed the Senate's decree disbanding his army by a given date. Force was, in effect, used, and the tribunes fled towards Cisalpine Gaul, which became Caesar's pretexts for launching the Civil War... Additional motives are suspected, however: Pompey's comment was that because Caesar had insufficient capital to carry out his grandiose schemes or give the people all that they had been encouraged to expect on his return, he chose to create an atmosphere of political confusion." (60)

Caesar argued that the main reason he decided to march on Rome was that he feared his political enemies would have impeached him for breaking the law during his first consulship and that he would have been condemned, despite everything that he had achieved, and sent into exile: "Prestige had always been of prime importance to me, even outweighing life itself; it pained me to see the privilege conferred on me by the Roman people being insultingly wrested from me by my enemies." (61)

Caesar still hoped to gain the support of the Senate. He held a meeting with Cicero at Formia near Naples. Caesar was aware he was the one man whose integrity was generally recognized. He asked Cicero if he would be willing to make a speech in the Senate in his favour. "Cicero's reply was testing. He asked for assurance of freedom of speech. He could not agree to blame Pompey; he could not approve of attacks on the Pompeian armies in Spain and Greece. Would he be permitted to put forward such arguments? Caesar remained polite; he smiled; he spoke with respect of Cicero's reputation and abilities; he praised his talents and character. But he added that of course he could not permit him to speak in that way." (62)

Caesar secured Spain by driving out Pompey's commanders, Africanius and Varro. He then crossed the Adriatic in early 48 BC. The two Roman forces met in battle on the plain of Pharsalus in central Greece. Caesar had 22,000 men under his command but Pompey had an army about twice as large in number. Pompey wanted to delay, knowing the enemy would eventually surrender from hunger and exhaustion. Pressured by the senators present and by his officers, he reluctantly engaged in battle and suffered an overwhelming defeat. Pompey retreated to his camp, leaving the rest of his troops to their own devices. (63)

Pompey escaped to Egypt. Frightened that Julius Caesar would now invade Egypt, Ptolemy XIII arranged the execution of Pompey on 28th September. The head of Pompey was sent to Caesar to prove he was not being protected by the Egyptians. When Caesar arrived in Alexandria two days later, Ptolemy presented him with Pompey's severed head. Caesar was appalled by this act of violence against a leading Roman citizen. At first he intended to demand a large sum of money in return for leaving the country. (64)

However, while in Egypt, Caesar met Cleopatra, the country's twenty-one-year-old queen. Caesar, who was now fifty-two and had already been married three times before, fell deeply in love with Cleopatra. After defeating King Ptolemy XIII, Caesar restored Cleopatra to her throne, with another younger brother Ptolemy XIV as new co-ruler. On 23 June 47 BC Cleopatra gave birth to a child, Ptolemy Caesar (nicknamed "Caesarion"). Cleopatra claimed that Caesar was the father and wished him to name the boy his heir, but Caesar refused, choosing his grandnephew Octavian instead. (65)

Cleopatra, Ptolemy XIV and Caesarion visited Rome in summer 46 BC. They stayed in one of Caesars country houses. Members of the Senate disapproved of the relationship between Cleopatra and Caesar, partly because he was already married to Calpurnia Pisonis. Others objected to the fact that she was a foreigner. Cicero disliked her for moral reasons: "Her (Cleopatra) way of walking... her clothes, her free way of talking, her embraces and kisses, her beach-parties and dinner-parties, all show her to be a tart." (66)

Later Plutarch attempted to explain why some men found her attractive: "Her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself remarkable... but the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation... was something bewitching. It was a pleasure merely to hear the sound of her voice, with which, like an instrument of many strings, she could pass from one language to another, so that there were few of the nations that she needed an interpreter... which was all the more surprising because most of her predecessors, scarcely gave themselves the trouble to acquire the Egyptian tongue." (67)

When Caesar returned to Rome he appointed 300 of his supporters as members of the Senate. Although the Senate and Public Assembly still met, it was Caesar who now made all the important decisions. Cicero became very concerned about the increasing power and spoke about the need to re-establish Rome's institutions. He urged Caesar to create "a new kind of Empire" to "decentralize, to establish local government in Italy as the beginning of a world-wide system of free municipalities". He suggested that "Rome should be only the greatest among many great and autonomous cities" and the "decadence of the Roman plebs would be redeemed by the virility of the new peoples". (68)

On 15th February 44 BC Caesar was powerful enough to declare himself dictator for life. Although in the past Roman leaders had become dictators in times of crisis, no one had taken this much power. A whole range of magnificent buildings named after Caesar and his family were erected. Hundreds of sculptures of Caesar, most of them made by captured Greek artists, were distributed throughout the Roman Empire. Some of the statues claimed that Caesar was now a God. Caesar also became the first living man to appear on a Roman coin. Even the month of the year that he was born, Quintilis, was renamed July in his honour. (69)

Cicero noticed that Caesar's personality was beginning to change. According to Allan Massie: "The disease of power had begun to attack him; he was losing the intuitive responsiveness to the effect of his actions on others. Among Caesar's attributes had been his sensitivity, his ability to put himself in the other man's place. That was now deserting him, as arrogance... Consciousness of one's own nobility, generosity and clemency carries its own danger; and it now blinded Caesar to the implications of what he had done. He had bestowed life and safety on his enemies, even admitted them to his favour. Nothing showed so clearly his conscious superiority; nothing so certainly fostered their resentment." (70)

A group of about sixty men, known as the "Liberators" decided it was necessary to assassinate Caesar in order to restore the Republic. This included Marcus Junius Brutus, the son of Servilia, Caesar's best-loved mistress. It was even rumoured that Caesar was the father of Brutus. Plans were made to carry out the assassination in the Senate just three days before he was due to leave for Parthia. When Caesar arrived at the Senate on 15th March, 44 BC, a group of senators gathered round him. Publius Servilius Casca stabbed him from behind. Caesar looked round for help but now the rest of the group pulled out their daggers. One of the first men Caesar saw was Brutus and was reported to have declared, "You too, my son." Caesar knew it was useless to resist and pulled his toga over his head and waited for the final blows to arrive. (71)

Cicero was not informed of the plot, since the conspirators believed that he might have warned Caesar. However, he admitted that he approved of the assassination: "What does it matter whether I wished it done or approved the deed? Is there anyone, except Antony and those who were glad to have Caesar reign over us, who did not wish for his death or who disapproved of what was done? All was responsible... Some didn't know of the plot, some lacked courage, others the opportunity. None lacked the will." (72)

After the assassination of Julius Caesar, his deputy, Mark Antony took power. He published Caesar's will which revealed that he had left 300 sesterces to every man in Rome. Caesar also stated in his will that his impressive gardens were to become parks for the people who lived in the city. This action helped Antony to gain political influence over the people of Rome. (73)

In early 44 BC Cicero wrote an essay On Friendship. His ideas on the subject was influenced by the work of the Greek philosopher, Epicurus (341 BC - 270 BC). Epicurus lived on bread and cheese. Such desires as those for wealth and honour are futile, because they make a man restless when he might be contented. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy and tranquil life. Therefore, freedom from fear and the absence of pain. He argued that "sexual intercourse has never done a man good and he is lucky if it has not harmed him." In the opinion of Epicurus, the safest of social pleasures is friendship. (74)

Cicero explained that real friendship was a strong feeling of love. "What this feeling is may be perceived even in the case of certain animals, which, up to a certain time, so love their offspring and are so loved by them, that their impulses are easily seen. But this is much more evident in man; first, from the affection existing between children and parents, which cannot be destroyed except by some execrable crime, and again from that kindred impulse of love, which arises when once we have met someone whose habits and character are congenial with our own; because in him we seem to behold, as it were, a sort of lamp of uprightness and virtue."

Animals love from instinct whereas a love of a friend concerns the intellect: "The oftener, therefore, I reflect on friendship the more it seems to me that consideration should be given to the question, whether the longing for friendship is felt on account of weakness and want, so that by the giving and receiving of favours one may get from another and in turn repay what he is unable to procure of himself; or, although this mutual interchange is really inseparable from friendship, whether there is not another cause, older, more beautiful, and emanating more directly from Nature herself.... For while it is true that advantages are frequently obtained even from those who, under a pretence of friendship, are courted and honoured to suit the occasion; yet in friendship there is nothing false, nothing pretended; whatever there is genuine and comes of its own accord. Wherefore it seems to me that friendship springs rather from nature than from need, and from an inclination of the soul joined with a feeling of love rather than from calculation of how much profit the friendship is likely to afford." (75)

Cicero argues: "Friendship is nothing else than an accord in all things, human and divine, conjoined with mutual goodwill and affection, and I am inclined to think that, with the exception of wisdom, no better thing has been given to man by the immortal gods. Some prefer riches, some good health, some power, some public honours, and many even prefer sensual pleasures. This last is the highest aim of brutes; the others are fleeting and unstable things and dependent less upon human foresight than upon the fickleness of fortune." (76)

According to Cicero good friendships help to maintain good behaviour: "Why do I say these things? Because without associates no one attempts any such mischiefs. It must, therefore, be enjoined upon good men that if by any chance they should inadvisedly fall into friendships of this kind, they must not think themselves so bound that they cannot withdraw from friends who are sinning in some important matter of public concern; for wicked men, on the other hand, a penalty must be enacted, and assuredly it will not be lighter for the followers than for the leaders in treason…. Hence such alliances of wicked men not only should not be protected by a plea of friendship, but rather they should be visited with summary punishment of the severest kind, so that no one may think it permissible to follow even a friend when waging war against his country." (77)

Cicero argued that "as a rule decisions about friendships should be formed after strength and stability have been reached in mind and age". (78) Friendships in business and politics is also difficult: "Some men often give proof in a petty money transaction how unstable they are; while others, who could not have been influenced by a trivial sum, are discovered in one that is large. But if any shall be found who think it base to prefer money to friendship, where shall we find those who do not put office, civil and military rank, high place and power, above friendship, so that when the former advantages are placed before them on one side and the latter on the other they will not much prefer the former? For feeble is the struggle of human nature against power, and when men have attained it even by the disregard of friendship they imagine the sin will be forgotten because friendship was not disregarded without a weighty cause. Therefore, true friendships are very hard to find among those whose time is spent in office or in business of a public kind. For where can you find a man so high-minded as to prefer his friend's advancement to his own? And, passing by material considerations, pray consider this: how grievous and how hard to most persons does association in another's misfortunes appear! Nor is it easy to find men who will go down to calamity's depths for a friend." (79)

Cicero attempted to define what he meant by true friendship. "As, therefore, it is characteristic of true friendship both to give and to receive advice and, on the one hand, to give it with all freedom of speech, but without harshness, and on the other hand, to receive it patiently, but without resentment, so nothing is to be considered a greater bane of friendship than fawning, cajolery, or flattery; for give it as many names as you choose, it deserves to be branded as a vice peculiar to fickle and false-hearted men who say everything with a view to pleasure and nothing with a view to truth. Moreover, hypocrisy is not only wicked under all circumstances, because it pollutes truth and takes away the power to discern it, but it is also especially inimical to friendship, since it utterly destroys sincerity, without which the word friendship can have no meaning. And since the effect of friendship is to make, as it were, one soul out of many, how will that be possible if not even in one man taken by himself shall there be a soul always one and the same, but fickle, changeable, and manifold?" (80)

Cicero believed that you should continue to make new friends: "But inasmuch as things human are frail and fleeting, we must be ever on the search for some persons whom we shall love and who will love us in return; for if goodwill and affection are taken away, every joy is taken from life. For me, indeed, though he was suddenly snatched away, Scipio still lives and will always live; for it was his virtue that caused my love and that is not dead. Nor is it only in my sight and for me, who had it constantly within my reach, that his virtue lives; it will even shed its light and splendour on men unborn. No one will ever undertake with courage and hope the larger tasks of life without thinking that he must continually keep before him the memory and example of that illustrious man changes not only to suit another's humour and desire, but even his expression and his nod?" (81)

In 44 BC Cicero began work on his book, On Duties. It has been claimed that no work exercised so unparalleled influence until the nineteenth century. Voltaire wrote in 1771: "No one will ever write anything more wise, more true, or more useful. From now on, those whose ambition it is to give men instruction, to provide them with precepts, will be charlatans if they want to rise above you, or will all be your imitators." (82)

Cicero gives advice of making moral decisions: "It is first to be determined whether the contemplated act is right or wrong, a matter as to which there often are opposite opinions. Then there is room for inquiry or consultation whether the act under discussion is conducive to convenience and pleasure, to affluence and free command of outward goods, to wealth, to power, in fine, to the means by which one can benefit himself and those dependent on him; and here the question turns on expediency. The third class of cases is when what appears to be expedient seems repugnant to the right. For when expediency lays, as it were, violent hands upon us, and the right seems to recall us to itself, the mind is distracted, and laden with two-fold anxiety as to the course of action. In this distribution of the subject, while a division ought by all means to be exhaustive, there are two omissions. Not only is the question of right or wrong as to an act wont to be considered, but also the question, of two right things which is the more right; equally, of two expedient things which is the more expedient." (83)

"In the beginning, animals of every species were endowed with the instinct that prompts them to take care of themselves as to life and bodily well-being, to shun whatever threatens to do them harm, and to seek and provide whatever is necessary for subsistence, as food, shelter, and other things of this sort. The appetite for sexual union for the production of offspring is, also, common to all animals, together with a certain degree of care for their offspring. But between man and beast there is this essential difference, that the latter, moved by sense alone, adapts himself only to that which is present in place and time, having very little cognizance of the past or the future. Man, on the other hand - because he is possessed of reason, by which he discerns consequences, sees the causes of things, understands the rise and progress of events, compares similar objects, and connects and associates the future with the present - easily takes into view the whole course of life, and provides things necessary for it. Nature too, by virtue of reason, brings man into relations of mutual intercourse and society with his fellow-men; generates in him a special love for his children; prompts him to promote and attend social gatherings and public assemblies; and awakens in him the desire to provide what may suffice for the support and nourishment, not of himself alone, but of his wife, his children, and others whom he holds dear and is bound to protect. This care rouses men’s minds and makes them more efficient in action."

Human beings are also different from animals in that they consider "truth" to be important. "The research and investigation of truth, also, are a special property of man. Thus, when we are free from necessary occupations, we want to see, or hear, or learn something, and regard the knowledge of things either secret or wonderful as essential to our living happily and well. To this desire for seeing the truth is annexed a certain craving for precedence, insomuch that the man well endowed by nature is willing to render obedience to no one, unless to a preceptor, or a teacher, or one who holds a just and legitimate sway for the general good. Hence are derived greatness of mind and contempt for the vicissitudes of human fortune. Nor does it indicate any feeble force of nature and of reason, that of all animals man alone has a sense of order, and decency, and moderation in action and in speech. Thus no other animal feels the beauty, elegance, symmetry, of the things that he sees; while by nature and reason, man, transferring these qualities from the eyes to the mind, considers that much more, even, are beauty, consistency, and order to be preserved in purposes and acts, and takes heed that he do nothing indecorous or effeminate, and still more, that in all his thoughts and deeds he neither do nor think anything lascivious." (84)

Cicero then goes on to look at the concept of justice that had developed by the Stoics in Greece in the 3rd century BC who were greatly influenced by the teachings of Socrates. Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. "In the life of an individual man, virtue is the sole good; such things as health, happiness, possessions, are of no account. Since virtue resides in the will, everything really good or bad in a man's life depends only upon himself." (85)

Cicero points out: "The first demand of justice is, that no one do harm to another, unless provoked by injury; the next, that one use common possessions as common, private, as belonging to their owners. Private possessions, indeed, are not so by nature, but by ancient occupancy, as in the case of settlers in a previously uninhabited region; or by conquest, as in the territory acquired in war; or by law, treaty, agreement, or lot… Because each person thus has for his own a portion of those things which were common by nature, let each hold undisturbed what has fallen to his possession. If any one endeavors to obtain more for himself, he will violate the law of human society. But since, as it has been well said by Plato, we are not born for ourselves alone; since our country claims a part in us, our parents a part, our friends a part; and since, according to the Stoics, whatever the earth bears is created for the use of men, while men were brought into being for the sake of men, that they might do good to one another, in this matter we ought to follow nature as a guide, to contribute our part to the common good, and by the interchange of kind offices, both in giving and receiving, alike by skill, by labor, and by the resources at our command, to strengthen the social union of men among men. But the foundation of justice is good faith, that is, steadfastness and truth in promises and agreements. Hence, though it may seem to some too far-fetched, I may venture to imitate the Stoics in their painstaking inquiry into the origin of words, and to derive faith from the fact corresponding to the promise."

"Of injustice there are two kinds, one, that of those who inflict injury; the other, that of those who do not, if they can, repel injury from those on whom it is inflicted. Moreover, he who, moved by anger or by some disturbance of mind, makes an unjust assault on any person, is as one who lays violent hands on a casual companion; while he who does not, if he can, ward off or resist the injury offered to another, is as much in fault as if he were to desert his parents, or his friends, or his country. Indeed, those injuries which are purposely inflicted for the sake of doing harm, often proceed from fear, he who meditates harm to another apprehending that, if he refrains, he himself may suffer harm. But for the most part men are induced to injure others in order to obtain what they covet; and here avarice is the most frequent motive." (86)

In the essay Cicero looks at the recent case of Julius Caesar: "We recently discovered, if it was not known before, that no amount of power can withstand the hatred of the many. The death of this tyrant (Julius Caesar), whose yoke the state endured under the constraint of armed force and whom it still obeys more humbly than ever, though he is dead, illustrates the deadly effects of popular hatred; and the same lesson is taught by the similar fate of all other despots, of whom practically no one has ever escaped such a death. For fear is but a poor safeguard of lasting power; while affection, on the other hand, may be trusted to keep it safe for ever." (87)

Cicero explains his blueprint for an harmonious society: "Everyone ought to have the same purpose: to identify the interest of each with the interest of all. Once men grab for themselves, human society will completely collapse. But if nature prescribes (as she does) that every human being must help every other human being, whoever he is, just precisely because they are all human beings, then - by the same authority - all men have identical interests. Having identical interests means that we are all subject to one and the same law of nature: and, that being so, the very least that such a law enjoins is that we must not wrong one another. This conclusion follows inevitably from the truth of the initial assumption."

"If people claim (as they sometimes do) that they have no intention of robbing their parents or brothers for their own gain, but that robbing their other compatriots is a different matter, they are not talking sense. For that is the same as denying their common interest with their fellow-countrymen, and all the legal or social obligations that follow therefore: a denial which shatters the whole fabric of national life. Another objection urges that one ought to take account of compatriots but not of foreigners. But people who put forward these arguments subvert the whole foundation of the human community - and its removal means the annihilation of all kindness, generosity, goodness, and justice: which is a sin against the immortal gods, since they were the creators of the society which such men are seeking to undermine. And the tightest of the bonds uniting that society is the belief that robbery from another man for the sake of one's personal gain is more unnatural than the endurance of any loss whatsoever to one's person or property - or even to one's very soul. That is, provided that no violation of justice is involved: seeing that of all the virtues justice is the sovereign and queen." (88)

In the summer of 44 BC, Cicero wrote the essay, On Old Age. The main speaker is Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, the farmer, soldier, statesman, orator, writer, and patriotic moralist, who was aged 84 at the time of this imaginary conversation. Cicero explained that you will "hear my views on old age from Cato's lips." E. M. Forster described the discussion of old age as a "seductive combination of increased wisdom and decaying powers to which too little intelligence is devoted." Michel de Montaigne, the 16th philosopher, went even further and claims "He (Cicero) gives one an appetite for growing old." (89) Desiderius Erasmus said whenever he read it he felt like kissing the book. (90)

In the essay Cicero points out the problems of old age: "I find four reasons why old age appears to be unhappy: first, that it withdraws us from active pursuits; second, that it makes the body weaker; third, that it deprives us of almost all physical pleasures; and, fourth, that it is not far removed from death." The answer to this problem is to approach life in a positive way: "In short, enjoy the blessing of strength while you have it and do not bewail it when it is gone, unless, forsooth, you believe that youth must lament the loss of infancy, or early manhood the passing of youth. Life's race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age - each bears some of Nature's fruit, which must be garnered in its own season." (91)

Cicero argued: "For to those who have not the means within themselves of a virtuous and happy life every age is burdensome; and, on the other hand, to those who seek all good from themselves nothing can seem evil that the laws of nature inevitably impose. To this class old age especially belongs, which all men wish to attain and yet reproach when attained; such is the inconsistency and perversity of folly! They say that it stole upon them faster than they had expected. In the first place, who has forced them to form a mistaken judgement? For how much more rapidly does old age steal upon youth than youth upon childhood? And again, how much less burdensome would old age be to them if they were in their eight hundredth rather than in their eightieth year? In fact, no lapse of time, however long, once it had slipped away, could solace or soothe a foolish old age." (92)

Some men did suffer from a loss of memory but this was not inevitable: "I have no doubt that it is, in persons who do not exercise their memory, and in those who are naturally slow-minded.... I never heard of an old man's forgetting where he had buried his money. Old men remember everything that they care about, - the bonds they have given, what is due to them, what they owe." (93) He goes on to point out: "Thus we see Solon, in one of his poems, boasting that, as he grows old, he widens the range of his knowledge every day. I have done the like, having learned Greek in my old age, and have taken hold of the study so eagerly - as if to quench a long thirst - that I have already become familiar with the topics from Greek authors which I have been using, as I have talked with you, by way of illustration. When I read that Socrates in his old age learned to play on the lyre, I could have wished to do the same, had the old custom been still rife; but I certainly have worked hard on my Greek." (94)

Cicero suggests that: "Old age, like disease, should be fought against. Care must be bestowed upon the health; moderate exercise must be taken; the food and drink should be sufficient to recruit the strength, and not in such excess as to become oppressive. Nor yet should the body alone be sustained in vigor, but much more the powers of mind; for these too, unless you pour oil into the lamp, are extinguished by old age. Indeed, while overexertion tends by fatigue to weigh down the body, exercise makes the mind elastic.... I have esteem for the old man in whom there is something of the youth, which he who cultivates may be old in body, but will never be so in mind... I hardly feel my loss of bodily strength. I appear in court in behalf of my friends. I often take my place in the Senate, and I there introduce of my own motion subjects on which I have thought much and long, and I defend my opinions with strength of mind, not of body. If I were too feeble to pursue this course of life, I still on my bed should find pleasure in thinking out what I could no longer do; but that I am able still to do, as well as to think, is the result of my past life. One who is always occupied in these studies and labors is unaware when age creeps upon him. Thus one grows old gradually and unconsciously, and life is not suddenly extinguished, but closes when by length of time it is burned out." (95)

Cicero claims that it is often argued that old age lacks the pleasures of the senses. That might be true but suggests that they the desire for pleasure causes serious problems and quotes Quintus Maximus as saying: "Man has received from nature no more fatal scourge than bodily pleasure, by which the passions in their eagerness for gratification are made reckless and are released from all restraint. Hence spring treasons against one's country; hence, overthrows of states; hence, clandestine plottings with enemies. In fine, there is no form of guilt, no atrocity of evil, to the accomplishment of which men are not driven by lust for pleasure. Debaucheries, adulteries, and all enormities of that kind have no other inducing cause than the allurements of pleasure. Still more, while neither Nature nor any god has bestowed upon man aught more noble than mind, nothing is so hostile as pleasure to this divine endowment and gift. Nor while lust bears sway can self-restraint find place, nor under the reign of pleasure can virtue have any foothold whatever." That this might be better understood, "Archytas asked his hearers to imagine a person under the excitement of the highest amount of bodily pleasure that could possibly be enjoyed, and maintained that it was perfectly obvious to everyone that so long as such enjoyment lasted it was impossible for the mind to act, or for anything to be determined by reason or reflection. Hence he concluded that nothing was so execrable and baneful as pleasure, since, when intense and prolonged, it extinguishes all the light of intellect." (96)

Cicero makes it clear that old age means making certain adjustments: " I, indeed, for the pleasure of conversation, enjoy festive entertainments, even when they begin early and end late, and that, not only in the company of my coevals, of whom very few remain, but with those of your age and with you; and I am heartily thankful to my advanced years for increasing my appetency for conversation, and diminishing my craving for food and drink…. It is said that old men have less intensity of sensual enjoyment. So I believe; but there is no craving for it. You do not miss what you do not want. Sophocles very aptly replied, when asked in his old age whether he indulged in sensual pleasure, "May the gods do better for me! I rejoice in my escape from a savage and ferocious tyrant." To those who desire such pleasures it may be offensive and grievous to be debarred from them; but to those already filled and satiated it is more pleasant to lack them than to have them. Though he does not lack who does not want them, I maintain that it is more for one's happiness not to want them. But if young men take special delight in these pleasures, in the first place, they are very paltry sources of enjoyment, and, in the second place, they are not wholly out of the reach of old men, though it be in a restricted measure.... But of what immense worth is it for the soul to be with itself, to live, as the phrase is, with itself, discharged from the service of lust, ambition, strife, enmities, desires of every kind! If one has some provision laid up, as it were, of study and learning, nothing is more enjoyable than the leisure of old age." (97)

Finally, Cicero deals with death. "Youth has many more chances of death than those of my age. Young men are more liable to illnesses; they are more severely attacked by disease; they are cured with more difficulty. Thus few reach old age. Were it otherwise, affairs would be better and more discreetly managed; for old men have mind and reason and practical wisdom; and if there were none of them, communities could not hold together." Old people were therefore a small minority at the time and is " liable to excessive solicitude and distress, because death is so near; and it certainly cannot be very far off." He adds that "death is to be despised! which manifestly ought to be regarded with indifference if it really puts an end to the soul, or to be even desired if at length it leads the soul where it will be immortal; and certainly there is no third possibility that can be imagined. Why then should I fear if after death I shall be either not miserable, or even happy?" (98)

In November, 44 BC, Mark Antony left Rome for for Gaul and Cicero assumed unofficial leadership of the senate. Over the next few months he made several attacks on Antony and urged the people to give their support to Caesar's great nephew and adopted son, Octavian. He thought that he had more chance of controlling a 19 year man than an experienced soldier and politician in his prime. (99)

Antony arrived back in Rome and on 2nd September, 43 BC, he made a speech in the Senate where he attacked "Cicero's consulship and the whole career, blaming him for, among other things, the murder of Clodius, the Civil War, and Caesar's assassination. It was a comprehensive attack: he even found space in it to ridicule Cicero's poetry. Naturally enough, perhaps, Cicero immediately began work on a written rebuttal - the Second Philippic. This was essentially the speech that he would have given in reply to Anthony had he been able to: it is written exactly as if delivered in the senate on 19 September." (100)

Cicero was especially angry that Mark Anthony had quoted from private letters that he had received from him in the past: "He also read letters which he said that I had sent to him, like a man devoid of humanity and ignorant of the common usages of life. For whoever, who was even but slightly acquainted with the habits of polite men, produced in an assembly and openly read letters which had been sent to him by a friend, just because some quarrel had arisen between them? Is not this destroying all companionship in life, destroying the means by which absent friends converse together? How many jests are frequently put in letters, which, if they were produced in public, would appear stupid! How many serious opinions, which, for all that, ought not to be published! Let this be a proof of your utter ignorance of courtesy." (101)

Cicero defended the content of his letters: "For what expression is there in those letters which is not full of humanity and service and benevolence? And the whole of your charge amounts to this, that I do not express a bad opinion of you in those letters; that in them I wrote as to a citizen, and as to a virtuous man, not as to a wicked man and a robber. But your letters I will not produce, although I fairly might, now that I am thus challenged by you; letters in which you beg of me that you may be enabled by my consent to procure the recall of some one from exile; and you will not attempt it if I have any objection, and you prevail on me by your entreaties. For why should I put myself in the way of your audacity? When neither the authority of this body, nor the opinion of the Roman people, nor any laws are able to restrain you." (102)

Cicero went on to deal with Mark Antony's criticisms of his consulship. "Marcus Antonius disapproves of my consulship; but it was approved of by Publius Servilius - to name that man first of the men of consular rank who had died most recently. It was approved of by Quintus Catulus, whose authority will always carry weight in this republic; it was approved of by the two Luculli, by Marcus Crassus, by Quintus Hortensius, by Caius Curio, by Caius Piso, by Marcus Glabrio, by Marcus Lepidus, by Lucius Volcatius, by Caius Figulus, by Decimus Silanus and Lucius Murena, who at that time were the consuls elect; the same consulship also which was approved of by those men of consular rank, was approved of by Marcus Cato; who escaped many evils by departing from this life, and especially the evil of seeing you consul. But, above all, my consulship was approved of by Cnæus Pompeius, who, when he first saw me, as he was leaving Syria, embracing me and congratulating me, said, that it was owing to my services that he was about to see his country again. But why should I mention individuals? It was approved of by the senate, in a very full house, so completely, that there was no one who did not thank me as if I had been his parent, who did not attribute to me the salvation of his life, of his fortunes, of his children, and of the republic." (103)

Cicero has pointed out that Mark Antony's speech in the Senate was full of contradictions: "But you are so senseless that throughout the whole of your speech you were at variance with yourself; so that you said things which had not only no coherence with each other, but which were most inconsistent with and contradictory to one another; so that there was not so much opposition between you and me as there was between you and yourself. You confessed that your stepfather had been implicated in that enormous wickedness, yet you complained that he had had punishment inflicted on him. And by doing so you praised what was peculiarly my achievement, and blamed that which was wholly the act of the senate. For the detection and arrest of the guilty parties was my work, their punishment was the work of the senate. But that eloquent man does not perceive that the man against whom he is speaking is being praised by him, and that those before whom he is speaking are being attacked by him."

Cicero would have liked to have made the speech in the Senate but "armed men are actually between our benches". What is more these armed men were foreign soldiers: "Let us inquire then whether it was better for the arms of wicked men to yield to the freedom of the Roman people, or that our liberty should yield to your arms. Nor will I make any further reply to you about the verses. I will only say briefly that you do not understand them, nor any other literature whatever. That I have never at any time been wanting to the claims that either the republic or my friends had upon me; but nevertheless that in all the different sorts of composition on which I have employed myself, during my leisure hours, I have always endeavoured to make my labours and my writings such as to be some advantage to our youth, and some credit to the Roman name. But, however, all this has nothing to do with the present occasion." (104)

Mark Antony responded by forming an alliance with Octavian and Marcus Lepidus to form the Second Triumvirate. The Triumvirate began proscribing their enemies and potential rivals. Cicero and all of his contacts and supporters were numbered among the enemies of the state, even though Octavian argued for two days against Cicero being added to the list. Cicero was caught on 7th December 43 BC, on his way to take a ship destined for Macedonia. 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." After he was killed his head was cut off. On Antony's instructions his hands, which had penned the articles he had written against him, were cut off as well; these were nailed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum. According to Cassius Dio 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. (105)

The writings of Cicero had a large influence on Renaissance humanism. According to Anthony Grayling, the author of Ideas that Matter (2009): "The Renaissance valued Cicero not merely for his style but for his humanism in the modern sense, expressed as belief in the value of the human individual. He argued that individuals should be autonomous, free to think for themselves and possessed of rights that define their responsibilities; and that all men are brothers... The endowment of reason confers on people a duty to develop themselves fully, he said, and to treat one another with generosity and respect. This outlook remains the ideal of contemporary humanism today." (106)

There can be no hope of either private individuals or even state officials being free for much longer. Indeed, people’s indignation is beginning to outweigh their fright; though on all sides there is nothing but utter despair.

Almost no one dances sober, unless he is insane.

There can be no hope of either private individuals or even state officials being free for much longer. Indeed, people’s indignation is beginning to outweigh their fright; though on all sides there is nothing but utter despair.

My views have been alienating Pompey from me? It has to stop. Since the powerless do not want to be my friends, I must make sure that the powerful are! You will say: "I wish you had done so long ago." I know that you wanted me to, and that I have been an utter fool. But now it is high time for me to be friends with myself and my own interests, since I cannot possibly be with the other lot.

The wild-beast hunts, two a day for five days were magnificent... Indeed the result was a certain compassion and a kind of feeling that this huge beast has a fellowship with the human race.

As you know very well, there are many sorts of letter. But there is one unmistakable sort, which actually caused letter-writing to be invented in the first place, namely the sort intended to give people in other places any information which for our or their sakes they ought to know. But you certainly do not expect that sort of letter from me; since for your personal affairs you have your own private correspondents and messengers, while my own affairs can produce absolutely nothing new to report.

There are two other sorts of letter which I like very much, one intimate and humorous, the other serious and profound. And in serious vein what could Cicero possibly write about to Curio except politics? But on this subject my situation is that I dare not write what I feel and have no desire to write what I do not feel.

Since, then, there is no theme left for me to write about, I shall fall back upon my customary peroration and urge you to aim at the highest honours. True, you are faced by a formidable rival here; by which I mean the quite outstandingly optimistic expectations that people have of you. And there is only one way in which you can overcome this rival, and that is by deliberately developing, with continuous effort, the qualities needed for the great deeds which will achieve your purpose.

Do you know of any man who... can speak better than Caesar? Or anyone who makes so many witty remarks? Or whose vocabulary is so varied and yet so exact?

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Would you ever have believed it possible that words would fail me, and not only those words you public speakers use but even my humble sort of language! But they do fail me, and this is why: because I am extraordinarily nervous about what is going to be decreed concerning the provincial governorships. My longing for Rome is quite unbounded! you could not believe how I long for my friends and most of all for yourself.

My province, on the other hand, bores me completely. Or perhaps it is because the whole business is unworthy of my capacities, in comparison with the heavier burdens which I can bear and often do bear in the service of my country. Or it may be because we are menaced by the horror of a major war in these parts, which I seem likely to avoid if I leave the province on the appointed day.

The matter of the panthers is being carefully attended to by my orders through the agency of the men who make a practice of hunting them. But there are surprisingly few of the animals; and those that there are, I am told, complain that in my province they are the only living creatures for whom traps are laid! So rumour has it that they have decided to evacuate the province and live in Caria.

When I read your letter - passed to me by our friend Furnius - in which you requested me to come near Rome, it did not surprise me that you wanted to utilize my "advice and position". But I asked myself what you meant by also referring to my "influence" and "support". However, my hopes - and I based them on your outstanding and admirable statesmanship - made me conclude that what you aimed at was peace, and agreement and harmony among Romans: and for that purpose I felt that both my character and my background suited me well.

If I am right in my interpretation, and if you are at all disposed to protect our friend Pompey and reconcile him to yourself and the state, you will certainly find no one better adapted to that aim than myself. In speaking both to him and to the Senate I have always advocated peace ever since I first had the opportunity of doing so; and I have taken no part in the hostilities from their outset. My considered opinion was that the war involved an infringement 1 of your rights in view of the opposition by unfriendly and envious persons to a distinction the Roman people had conferred on you. But in just the same way as at that time I upheld your rightful position myself and also urged everyone else to help you, so now I am deeply concerned for the rightful position of Pompey.

A good many years have passed since I first chose you and him as the men whom, above all others, I proposed to support and have as my friends - as I do. So I ask you, indeed I pray and entreat you with all urgency, to spare some time - among your many grave cares - to consider this problem: how, by virtue of your kindness, can I best be enabled to behave decently, gratefully, and dutifully to Pompey, so as not to be oblivious of his great kindness towards myself? If this was a matter relating to myself alone, I should still hope that you would grant my request. However, I suggest that your honour and the national interest are also at stake; and what they demand is that I, who am a friend of peace and of you both, should receive every protection from you in my efforts to achieve a reconciliation between yourself and Pompey, and peace for the people of Rome.

I thanked you on another occasion for saving Lentulus, as he had saved me; and now, when I read the truly thankful letter in which he told me of your generosity and kindness, I feel that in rescuing him you rescued me at the same time. If you appreciate the reasons why I am under a grateful obligation to him, I beg you to give me the opportunity of fulfilling my obligation to Pompey as well.

Her (Cleopatra) way of walking... her clothes, her free way of talking, her embraces and kisses, her beach parties and dinner-parties, all show her to be a tart.

Everywhere I heard the same tale. People could not pay their taxes: they were forced to sell what they owned... However, the poor towns are relieved that they have had to spend nothing on me... For you must know that I not only refused to accept pay... but that none of us will take firewood or anything beyond our beds and a roof.

Laena (under instructions from Antony) cut off Cicero's head... He also cut off the hand with which Cicero had written his attacks on Antony... The head and hand of Cicero were suspended for a long time from the rostra in the forum where formerly he had made speeches.

(1) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xiii

(2) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) page 2

(3) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) page 10

(4) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 35

(5) Anthony Gottlieb, The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance (2000) page 86

(6) Anthony Trollope, The Life of Cicero (1880) page 37

(7) Cicero, Tusculan Disputations (c. 45 BC) Book III, Chaper III

(8) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 13

(9) Anthony Trollope, The Life of Cicero (1880) page 70

(10) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 35

(11) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xiv

(12) Diana Bowder, Who Was Who in the Roman World (1980) page 56

(13) Cicero, letter to Marcus Marius Gratidianus (55 BC)

(14) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) page 14

(15) Cicero, Against Verres (70 BC) II, 5-1

(16) Cicero, Against Verres (70 BC) II, 5-2

(17) Cicero, Against Verres (70 BC) II, 5-50

(18) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xiv

(19) Pamela Bradley, Ancient Rome (1990) page 314

(20) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) pages 13-14

(21) Sallust, The Conspiracy of Catiline (c. 40 BC) page 204

(22) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xvi

(23) Cicero, For Murena (62 BC) 66-67

(24) Cicero, On the Agrarian Laws (63 BC)

(25) Cicero, Against Catiline (60 B.C)

(26) Sallust, The Conspiracy of Catiline (c. 40 BC) page 212

(27) Pamela Bradley, Ancient Rome (1990) page 326

(28) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) page 107

(29) Cicero, For Murena (62 BC) 5-7

(30) Cicero, For Murena (62 BC) 52-54

(31) Cicero, For Murena (62 BC) 62-64

(32) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) page 108

(33) Plutarch, Caesar (c. 110 AD) 10.6

(34) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xviii

(35) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) page 16

(36) Plutarch, Caesar (c. 110 AD) 14

(37) Cicero, letter to Atticus (59 BC)

(38) Pamela Bradley, Ancient Rome (1990) page 338

(39) Elizabeth Rawson, Cicero (1984) page 106

(40) Cicero, letter to Atticus (June, 59 BC)

(41) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xix

(42) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 58

(43) Cicero, letter to Gaius Scribonius Curio (June 55 BC)

(44) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 59

(45) Cicero, letter to Atticus (May, 56 BC)

(46) Diana Bowder, Who Was Who in the Roman World (1980) page 64

(47) Cicero, letter to Marcus Caelius Rufus (4th April 50 BC)

(48) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) pages 172-173

(49) Cicero, On the State III (54-51 BC) 34-37

(50) Cicero, On the State III (54-51 BC) 45

(51) Michael Grant, Cicero: On Government (1993) page 192

(52) Cicero, On Laws (51 BC) 4-5

(53) Cicero, On Laws (51 BC) 22-24

(54) Diana Bowder, Who Was Who in the Roman World (1980) page 175

(55) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) pages 28-29

(56) Cicero, speech in the Senate (66 BC)

(57) Cicero, letter to Atticus (May, 56 BC)

(58) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xxiii

(59) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) page 32

(60) Suetonius, Julius Caesar (c. AD 110) 30

(61) Julius Caesar, The Civil War (c. 48 BC) 1.9

(62) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) page 33

(63) Plutarch, Pompey (c. AD 110) 76

(64) Julius Caesar, The Civil War (c. 48 BC) 107-108

(65) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) pages 35-37

(66) Cicero, speech (c. 43 BC)

(67) Plutarch, Caesar (c. 110 AD) 48

(68) Cicero, speech in the Senate (c. 45 BC)

(69) Pamela Bradley, Ancient Rome (1990) pages 381-382

(70) Allan Massie, The Caesars (1983) pages 39-40

(71) Suetonius, Julius Caesar (c. AD 110) 82

(72) Cicero, speech in the Senate (c. September, 44 BC)

(73) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page xviv

(74) Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (1946) page 253

(75) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section VII

(76) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section VI

(77) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section XII

(78) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section XX

(79) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section XVII

(80) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section XXV

(81) Cicero, On Friendship (44 BC) section XXVII

(82) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 157

(83) Cicero, On Duties (44 BC) Book I, section III

(84) Cicero, On Duties (44 BC) Book I, section IV

(85) Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (1946) page 262

(86) Cicero, On Duties (44 BC) Book I, section VII

(87) Cicero, On Duties (44 BC) Book II, section VII

(88) Cicero, On Duties (44 BC) Book III, section III

(89) Michael Grant, Cicero: Selected Works (1971) page 211

(90) Anthony Grayling, Ideas that Matter (2009) page 249

(91) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section I

(92) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section IV

(93) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section VII

(94) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section VIII

(95) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section XI

(96) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section XII

(97) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section XIV

(98) Cicero, On Old Age (44 BC) section XIX

(99) Plutarch, Cicero (c. AD 110) 46

(100) Dominic H. Berry, Cicero: Political Speeches (2006) page 227

(101) Cicero, Second Philippic (43 BC) section IV

(102) Cicero, Second Philippic (43 BC) section IV

(103) Cicero, Second Philippic (43 BC) section V

(104) Cicero, Second Philippic (43 BC) section VIII

(105) Cassius Dio, Roman History (c. AD 215) 47.8

(106) Anthony Grayling, Ideas that Matter (2009) page 249


About Cicero, Illinois

The Town of Cicero is one of the oldest and largest municipalities in the State of Illinois and the only incorporated town in Cook County. It bears the name of the great Roman statesman of the First Century B.C., Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Cicero was one of the greatest statesmen of Rome and an advocate of constitutional government. He died in the political turmoil which followed the assassination of Julius Caesar, but his writings and beliefs survived. Centuries later, the principles Cicero espoused would flourish again in a young republic with a new constitution, capitol and senate, the United States of America.

Illinois, part of the old Northwest Territory which the United States had acquired from Great Britain in 1783, joined the Union as the 21st state in 1818. Most of the early Illinoisans were from the South, where counties were the basis of local government and so the new state was divided into counties. Cook County was established in 1831, comprising what is today Cook, DuPage, Iroquois, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties.

Later settlers from the Northeast preferred their traditional township government and a new state constitution in 1848 authorized the creation of townships. In the following year, Cook County voters approved the new jurisdictions.

Among the townships created by the County Board in 1849 was a 36 square mile tract bounded by what are today Western, North and Harlem Avenues and Pershing Road. On June 23, 1857, 14 electors met to organize a local government for the district, which they named “The Town of Cicero.” Railroads, immigration and the Civil War contributed to economic growth in the new township, which by 1867 numbered 3,000 residents. In that year the state legislature incorporated the Town of Cicero as a municipality with a special charter, which was revised in 1869. Township and municipal functions have subsequently been discharged by a single board of elected officials.

Cicero’s rapid development in these early years now collided with the expanding political power of its neighbor, the City of Chicago. By 1889, Chicago had annexed more than half of the original Town. An 1899 referendum ceded the Austin neighborhood to the city and in the following year land containing a race track was transferred to Stickney Township.

On July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway, winner of both the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, was born within the Town of Cicero, in what is today the Village of Oak Park. In 1901, the three remaining components of the Town- today’s Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero-voted to separate. The surviving Town of Cicero retained less than six of the 36 square miles carved out in 1849. Immigrants and their families swelled the Town’s population, however, and housing construction boomed within its diminished territory.

In 1901, the three remaining components of the old township – today’s Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero – voted to separate. The surviving Town of Cicero retained less than six of the 36 square miles carved out in 1849. Immigrants and their families swelled the Town’s population, however, and housing construction boomed within its diminished territory.

Served by the Burlington, Illinois Central, Belt Line, and other railroads, Cicero attracted many industries in the Twentieth Century and became the largest manufacturing center in the state after Chicago. It was also the site of an early airfield in 1911. W. Edwards Deming began his pioneering work on management techniques in the 1920’s at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works, an industrial colossus which employed more than 40,000 people during World War II and was the dominant business in Town for eight decades.

From the early townsmen who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, Ciceronians have proudly served in the armed forces. Their bravery is exemplified by Boatswain’s Mate Joseph P. Steffan, who died abroad the USS Arizona in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Capt. Edward C. Krzyzowski, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Korea.

Cicero is composed of eight neighborhoods, with their own district names and characteristics. Two were named for businesses-Grant Works after an 1890 locomotive factory and Hawthorne for an 1850’s quarry, the first Cicero industry. Two bear the family names of local landowners, Warren Park and Drezel, while two more were christened by prominent residents, Clyde, recalling a river in Scotland and Morton Park honoring Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraskan who served as Agriculture Secretary to President Cleveland. Morton also gave his name to the local high school and college, yet he never lived in the town. Boulevard Manor derives its name from Austin Boulevard. The origin of the title of Parkholme is unknown.

The Town of Cicero has a colorful history, which forms a part of the larger stories of the county, state and nation. Three Presidents-Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush- visited Cicero on their roads to the White House. We can better understand the present and plan for the future, if we know the achievements of the past.


Cicero IL

Facts, Information and trivia

Elevation: Elevation 607 ft (185 m). Population 83,895 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Cicero is the only incorporated town in Cook County, Illinois. See this Map of Cicero.

History of Cicero

This region was peopled some 11,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. During recent historic times, the French explorers (in the mid 1600s) encountered Native American Potawatome people. The French ceded Illinois to Britain in the 1750s, and in 1783 it became part of the U.S.

A treaty with the Natives led to the establishment of Fort Dearborn on the Chicago River in 1803. It was burned down during the 1812 War with England and rebuilt four years later.

Illinois became a state of the USA in 1818 and Cook County was created in 1835. Named for Daniel Pope Cook (1794 - 1827) newspaper publisher and lawyer, he was the first Attorney General of Illinois, and also a congressman.

Cook County is the second-most populous county in America after Los Angeles County,

In 1849 Cook County created the 36 sq.mi. township where Cicero is located, and in 1857 the "Town of Cicero" was organized to govern it. It incorporated with a state charter in 1867.

The name "Cicero"

The town was named after "Cicero" in New York, which in turn was named for Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC- 43 BC), a Roman politician, lawyer and orator.

He was always in favor of the republican government and after Julius Caesar's death he won the enemity of Mark Anthony as he opposed the new regime. He was declared an enemy of the state and murdered by Mark Anthony's soldiers.

The city of Chicago annexed a large portion of Cicero in 1899 and then, in 1901 Berwyn and Oak Park separated, now only 6 sq. mi. remain as Cicero.

The Burlington, Illinois Central and Belt Line served the town an attracted many industries to it.

Some Cicero Trivia

The pilot episode "Uno" of the TV series "Better Call Saul" mentions Cicero as the hometown of Saul Goodman (Jimmy McGill).

Velma Kelley (played by Catherine Zeta‑Jones in the 2002 movie Chicago) is accused of murdering her husband and her sister in a hotel in Cicero.

Route 66 was aligned along Ogden Ave. in 1926 and remained there until 1977 when it lost its certification.

Cicero: Hotels and Motels nearby

Accommodation near Cicero

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Hotels east of Cicero

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On Alt US 66

Along Main US 66

  • 13 mi. Willowbrook
  • 20 mi. Bolingbrook
  • 30 mi. Plainfield
  • 70 mi. Dwight
  • 90 mi. Pontiac
  • 100 mi. Chenoa
  • 122 mi. Normal
  • 128 mi. Bloomington
  • 147 mi. Atlanta
  • 158 mi. Lincoln
  • 190 mi. Springfield
  • 226 mi. Raymond

Further West.

  • 231 mi. Litchfield
  • 255 mi. Staunton
  • 257 mi. Williamson
  • 263 mi. Hamel
  • 267 mi. Edwardsville
  • 276 mi. Troy
  • 278 mi. Glen Carbon
  • 283 mi. Collinsvile
  • 284 mi. Pontoon Beach
  • 289 mi. Fairmont City
  • 293 mi. Granite City
  • 293 mi. East St. Louis

Find your room in Cicero

>> See the RV campground to the south, in Joliet

Tip: It is not easy to find RV parking areas in Chicago it is not a very RV friendly city. Choose the outskirts.

The Weather

Map showing the location of Cicero IL on Route 66

The climate in Cicero is a humid continental one with all four seasons distinctly represented summers are hot and humid, spring is wet and cool, autumn is mild and pleasant while winters are quite cold.

Temperatures: The average winter (January) high is 31°F (-0.3°C) and the average low is 17°F (-8.6°C). The summer average high (July) is 84°F (29°C) and the average low is 64°F (17.7°C).

Rainfall ranges from 3 to 4.3 (78 and 110 mm) inch monthly from April to November, and falls to a drier 1.7 in. (28 mm) the rest of the year. On average, Cicero gets 36.82 inches of rain each year (936 mm).

Snowfall: on average, 28 inches (71 cm) of snow falls each year. The first snow falls in Nov. and the last (less than 1&frasl4 inch or 8 mm) falls in April. There is usually no snow between May and September.

Tornado risk

Cook County may suffer some 4 tornados each year.

Tornado Risk : read more about Tornado Risk on US 66.

How to get to Cicero?

You can get to Cicero driving along Historic Route 66 or I-55, from the freeway exit at Exit 283 There are other freeways in the area (I-355, I-290, I-57, I-90, I-94 and I-88) US 34, US 20 and US 45 also bring you to Cicero.

Map of Route 66 through Cicero, Illinois

Check out Cicero on our Illinois Route 66 Map, with the complete alignment and all the towns along it.

Cicero Map

Pale Blue : marks the 1926-77 alignment of Route 66 in Cicero. It is also the 1940 - 1977 ALT US 66 from Romeoville to Gardner further west.
Red line or gaps in alignment, is I-55, where it overlaps the old alignment after 1950s.
Blue : a 1926 - 60s alignment in Willowbrook.
Orange : is the 1926 to 1928 Route 66 through neighboring Lyons.
Green Line : (to the west) is US 66 from 1940 to 1958 through Plainfield. After that date and until 1977 it became part of I-55.
Black are the sections that are missing.


History

The original township of Cicero, named after the great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, included both the towns of Cicero and Clay. It was part of the great military tract that was surveyed in 1790 into 100 lots, each containing about 600 acres. These lots were reserved or drawn by soldiers for services in the Revolutionary War. The only soldier to become an actual resident in the Town of Cicero was Captain John Shepard. In 1827 the township was divided with the Town of Cicero having 50 lots – about 29,000 acres of land.

The first settler in Cicero was John Leach. His home, a log cabin, was located on the site of the old Legion Hall. The village was called Cody’s Corner until 1820. Isaac Cody ran a tavern, which was located on the southwest corner of Crabtree Lane and Route 11. Cody was the first Postmaster and his wife operated the first store. She used the barter system and brought goods from New York City by wagon. The building of the Erie Canal brought many settlers to this area. It was also used extensively to ship salt. The salt industry provided many people with jobs, either making barrels or in furnishing lumber. The business declined in the 1890s, while farming and the dairy industry became important. Cheese factories were built, including one right in the village along with a flour mill, stave and lumber mill, canning factory, wagon and carriage factory.

The first school in the Town of Cicero was in Brewerton, started in 1793 by Scotch Presbyterian minister Deacon Ramsey from his home. The first church in Cicero was Presbyterian and opened in 1819. School and church were held in the same building with the minister as teacher until a school was built in 1827. The first doctor was Dr. Orcutt. He sold his practice in 1823 to Dr. Hezekiah Josyln who carried his medical supplies on horseback covering a 50 mile area. His daughter, Matilda, was born in Cicero, settled in Fayetteville and became very active in women’s rights. It was in her home that she, with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton, wrote History of Woman Suffrage.

The present Route 11 was for many years a series of Indian trails north and south through Cicero from Pennsylvania to the Thousand Islands. Part of it was called the Salt Road in 1812. In 1846 the first toll plank road in the United States was built. It was 16.5 miles long and went from Central Square to Syracuse right through Cicero. The stage was the only means of transportation until replaced by the trolley line built in 1909. The trolley to South Bay brought prosperity to the area around Oneida Lake, and the hotel business flourished. Regular excursion boats met the trolley for trips around the lake. Frenchman’s Island was a popular vacation spot. The trolley was used until 1932. The tracks were torn up and South Bay Road built over the same route.

It would be impossible to cover all of the important historical facts in this short article, but the residents of Cicero can be proud of their rich heritage. We welcome you to visit our local museum, The Stone Arabia Schoolhouse (1854 era) and the Log Frame House (1840 era) which is maintained by the Cicero Historical Society. The school and house are located at 6453 Route 31, Cicero, and features local historical exhibits. Open April through November, second Sunday each month, noon to 3 p.m. No admission (donations appreciated) and free parking.

– from Cicero Past by Lona Flynn

Many old photos of Cicero are at our Old Photos page. An article on Cicero, written in 1878, may be viewed by clicking here.


3. Cicero’s thought

Cicero subordinated philosophy to politics, so it should not surprise us to discover that his philosophy had a political purpose: the defense, and if possible the improvement, of the Roman Republic. The politicians of his time, he believed, were corrupt and no longer possessed the virtuous character that had been the main attribute of Romans in the earlier days of Roman history. This loss of virtue was, he believed, the cause of the Republic’s difficulties. He hoped that the leaders of Rome, especially in the Senate, would listen to his pleas to renew the Republic. This could only happen if the Roman elite chose to improve their characters and place commitments to individual virtue and social stability ahead of their desires for fame, wealth, and power. Having done this, the elite would enact legislation that would force others to adhere to similar standards, and the Republic would flourish once again. Whether this belief shows an admirable commitment to the principles of virtue and nobility or a blindness to the nature of the exceedingly turbulent and violent politics of his time, or perhaps both, is impossible to say with certainty.

Cicero, therefore, tried to use philosophy to bring about his political goals. Like most intellectual endeavors in Cicero’s time, philosophy was an activity in which Greece (and especially Athens) still held the lead. The Romans were more interested in practical matters of law, governance, and military strategy than they were in philosophy and art (many of Cicero’s writings include justifications for his study of philosophy and arguments that it ought to be taken seriously). But for Cicero to really use philosophy effectively, he needed to make it accessible to a Roman audience. He did this in part by translating Greek works into Latin, including inventing Latin words where none seemed suitable for Greek concepts (including the Latin words which give us the English words morals, property, individual, science, image, and appetite), and in part by drawing on and idealizing Roman history to provide examples of appropriate conduct and to illustrate the arguments of philosophy. He also summarized in Latin many of the beliefs of the primary Greek philosophical schools of the time (and he is the source of much of our knowledge about these schools). These included the Academic Skeptics, Peripatetics, Stoics, and Epicureans. Cicero was well acquainted with all these schools, and had teachers in each of them at different times of his life. But he professed allegiance throughout his life to the Academy.


Cicero - History

Welcome to our web site. We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking the time to visit us. Your support of the Cicero Historical Society is greatly appreciated. The Cicero Historical Society would not be where it is today if it was not for people just like you who are appreciative of the preservation efforts within the town. The Cicero Historical Society was established March 13, 1978 by a group of citizens who recognized the importance of the heritage of their community and wished to share it with contemporaries and preserve it for those who will follow. The preservation is accomplished through the storage of historical records, documents, and acquisition of artifacts illustrative of different periods in the town’s history by displaying temporary and permanent exhibits at the Museum/Learning Center, School House and Log House. We are located at 6453 State Route 31, Cicero, New York.

OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES
Officers: Trustees:
President – Mallory Albert Paul Tennant
Vice President – Tony Borio Barbara Schader
Secretary – Chris Huxtable Missy Albert
Treasurer – Ray Schader Chuck Abbey
Assistant Treasurer – Carol Borio Loomis Pardee
Jennifer Pardee

Latest News

  • 2021 Historical Society Plant Sale (May 16, 2021) May 3, 2021
  • Bottle & Can Donations May 1, 2021
  • Thank you for supporting the Cicero, NY Historical Society December 23, 2020
  • Around the Town of Cicero February 7, 2019
  • Update – Town of Cicero garage February 7, 2019

Hours of Operation

The complex is open and manned by volunteers each second Sunday of each months of April through December (except May which is the third Sunday) between the hours of 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. The complex can also be visited by appointment.


Cicero

The highest crime area currently is: Cermak Road on the north, 28th Street on the south, Central Avenue on the east, 59th Court on the west. the next toughest areas that actually were historically the toughest area at times are: The ParkHolme section at 16th Street on the north, Cermak Road on the south, 50th Avenue on the east, 54th Avenue on the west. 31st Street to Central Avenue to 35th Street on the north, Pershing Road on the south, Laramie Avenue on the east, 59th Avenue on the west. The next to toughest area was actually the most violent in the past but now has cleaned up a little but still has higher crime, this is the Grant Works section which is: Roosevelt Road on the north, 16th Street on the south, the Cicero/Chicago border on the east, 50th Avenue on the west

When discussing the history of the town of Cicero Illinois, often Al Capone will come up in the conversation. Al Capone became synonymous with Cicero, because he built an empire of organized crime and corruption in this community and even after he passed away and even after organized crime mostly left the western suburban community, his influence remained a part of Cicero. Cicero was the first suburb in the Chicago metro area that had organized crime influence and it also became the first suburb to have a major street gang issues. Cicero is also the first and only suburb in the Chicago metro area to have successful suburban born gangs that have been in existence starting in the late 1960s like the Twelfth Streets Player and Noble Knights.

I do not know much about the early history of the first settlers of Cicero. The boundaries for the town were drawn out in 1849 and the name Cicero was decided because it took after the name of Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero that proposed democratic principles in the first century in Rome. By the year 1857 the settlers in this region organized Cicero Township to govern the area and collect taxes for development. In the year 1869 a portion of Cicero Township became the town of Cicero, then in that same year the city of Chicago annexed part of Cicero into the city to become North Lawndale.

In the later decades of the 19 th century Cicero became a manufacturing and railroad town and by the 1880s the population boomed, and as the boom happened the city of Chicago wanted to annex more of Cicero, in 1889 Chicago took half of the town then in 1899 another large northern portion was taken away that was absorbed to become the Austin neighborhood. In the year 1901 more annexation away from Cicero happened as Oak Park and Berwyn wanted communities of their own, regardless, of the mass annexations Cicero still remained a larger suburb bordering Chicago.

In the year 1904, Western Electric opened its doors and immediately employed more than 20,000 people who created a massive wave of new residents and construction in Cicero. Many of the newly arrived Cicero residents were eastern European immigrants there was also a large influx of Italian immigrants.

Industry is not what ended up making the town of Cicero famous it was organized crime and government corruption then later street gangs that made the suburb notorious. It was in the year 1923 that Chicago outfit boss Johnny Torrio was having major issues with Chicago’s newly elected Mayor William Dever. Dever wanted to clamp down on organized crime and was not to be bought off by the Outfit like previous Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson could be. Torrio then instructed his right hand man Al Capone to find another base of operation that was outside of the city limits and free of Chicago laws and that was when Al Capone chose the industrial western suburb.

The biggest opportunity for a takeover of Cicero for the Outfit came along in 1924 when it came election time for a new Mayor of the suburb. Joseph Klenha was currently serving on the town committee as the City Manager and when Capone first arrived Klenha was already on the payroll with the Chicago Outfit, now both the Outfit and Klenha wanted the City Manager to become the next Mayor, because a corrupt Mayor would ease the mass expansion of Torrio’s empire into Cicero.

In April of 1924, Al Capone’s brother Frank Capone was in charge of pushing voters to vote for Klenha by any means necessary. If any voters were known to not vote for Klenha they were pushed to vote the other way, and if they refused they were beaten by Capone’s gang of thugs. Capone took over the voting polls, as his henchmen stood guard with Tommy Guns and shotguns telling people to vote Klenha, if people refused they were either beaten on the spot or they were sent home and not allowed to vote. Cicero had 143 saloons where the majority supported and permitted illegal gambling operations in the community and Torrio’s gang wanted to take all of those over, but in order to do so they needed this Republican candidate to win this election.

Rudolph J. Hurt was the Democrat candidate chosen to dare run against Klenha, the Chicago Outfit made Hurt and his campaign managers really suffer for it. March 31 st 1924 was complete chaos on the streets of Cicero as rioters supporting both sides clashed and brawled in the streets. On this night of March 31 st Al and Frank Capone’s henchmen showed up to the headquarters of Rudolph Hurt and lit the place up in a hail of automatic gun fire, Hurt narrowly escaped as gunman blasted at him nearly mowing him down in a barrage of .45 caliber gun fire from the gangster’s Chicago typewriters of death. In another part of town at 5702 22nd Street which was the office of William K. Pflaum who was Democratic candidate for town clerk, six henchman burst into Pflaum’s office and pistol whipped Pflaum with revolvers, punched the other men in the face at the scene with brass knuckles after they tried to stop the attack, the henchmen then shot bullets into the ceiling then fled the scene all this happened while Pflaum’s wife, sister and son and one other child witnessed the attack. That same March day, five men and a 14 year old boy were attacked by rioters for handing out democrat propaganda (Chicago Tribune Page 1, April 1, 1924). Even Cicero police were not safe if they tried to enforce the law and stop the South Side Gang, officers were beaten just like Democrat voters. A large number of Cicero police were already on the payroll by Capone anyway. Even though Dever was not the Mayor of Cicero and had nothing to do with it, he was still furious about what had been happening in the suburb and that the South Side Gang set up there to avoid Dever’s takedown. Dever then put plain clothed Chicago police into the suburb to do as they pleased. The officers then did not have to follow police procedures in Cicero. The plain clothed cops then drove up to the polling riots at Western Electric and mowed down Johnny Torrios men in an onslaught of gun fire that ended up taking the life of Frank Capone.

When the 1924 election was over with, Klenha won the election, which became a major victory for Johnny Torrio’s South Side Gang. Al Capone got to work taking over one saloon after another, forcing all of them to do business with him. If there was refusal bones were broken or worse lives were taken. Capone visited local bootleggers that supplied many of the saloons and paid many of them off, the ones that refused entered into a losing war with the South Side Gang. Al Capone then took over the Hawthorne Inn at 4835 west 22 nd Street and made this the new Cicero headquarters Cicero was then given the nickname “Caponeville.”

In January 1925, Johnny Torrio stepped down as the boss of the Chicago Outfit after a nearly successful assassination attempt and Al Capone took the reins. Capone’s direct influence over Cicero lasted until he was jailed in the fall of 1931 for tax evasion. With the loss of Capone, Klenha was not re-elected as Mayor in the 1932 election, regardless, the Chicago Outfit kept a strong influence on Cicero for many years to come.

After Al Capone was imprisoned in 1932, Jack Guzik (pictured below) took over Cicero operations and became a slot machine king. The slot machine, also known as the one armed bandit, could be found in just about every saloon in town, and a majority of the profits went straight into the Outfit’s pockets. Guzik had the chief of police and several police officers and Cicero government officials on the payroll. The transition from Capone to Guzik was indeed a smooth one which kept the Outfit running this suburb, controlling the all night saloons and almost all of the gambling. By 1946, the federal government was breathing down the neck of Guzik and his gambling syndicate, and by 1947 Guzik was being brought up on tax evasion charges forcing him to surrender the top Cicero position, the position now went to Joseph “Joey Doves” Aiuppa (pictured below).

01 Jul 1946, Chicago, Illinois, USA — Jack Guzik, reported to be a member of the Al Capone gambling syndicate, as he appeared at the detective bureau for questioning in the attempted assassination of James M. Ragen, wealthy racing news publisher. Guzik denies knowing anything about the shooting except what he had read in the newspapers. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS Joseph “Joey Doves” Aiuppa James “The Turk” Torello

By the time Joey Doves took over, Cicero had become a major money making machine thanks to illegal gambling, slot machines and prostitution. Joey Doves focused much of his energy on “The Strip” which was a stretch along Cicero Avenue of saloons with slot machines and illegal gambling dens it was also an ideal spot for vice operations. Aiuppa owned several real estate ventures and made that one of his specialties outside of Cicero, he raked in massive profits from this operation, as he also ruled Cicero tightly all throughout the 1950s and 1960s decades. Aiuppa was not known as “Joey Doves” until 1966 when he was actually convicted for attempting to smuggle mourning doves across state lines. Aiuppa was already in hot water with the FBI for smuggling in 563 frozen doves in his car in 1962, that prosecution was stalled but after the incident in 1966 which he violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, he was sentenced to three months in county jail, and that is how the Joey Doves nickname came to be. In 1971, Aiuppa was promoted and became the boss of the entire Chicago Outfit therefore he left Cicero to James “The Turk” Torello (pictured above) who became the 1970s Cicero mob boss until his death in 1979.

Cicero was not only a mob influenced town, it was also a town that liked to be a white community. African Americans were especially not wanted in this suburb and residents were ready to keep blacks out by any means necessary. One such incident occurred in July of 1951, when a black family moved into an apartment at 6139 west 19 th Street. Over 3,000 rioters showed up trying to burn down the building where the black family lived as the National Guard worked tirelessly to put down the riot (pictured below). Harvey E. Clark, a 29 year old bus driver rented the apartment for his family (pictured below), as soon as word got out the black family had moved in a major riot went on outside the building for a few days, as the Clark families’ possessions were smashed and thrown outside the apartment. The Clark family then agreed to evacuate Cicero entirely and African Americans no longer felt like it was safe to move to the suburb.

Riot in Cicero Harvey E. Clark Jr., and family Martin Luther King led march Jerome Huey George Lincoln Rockwell Greaser gangs Skirmish

Cicero has been known as mob town since the early 1920s when Al Capone arrived, but as far as juvenile street gangs are concerned there really were none during the biggest mob years. It was in the year 1952 when greaser gangs began to form in Cicero. This was the same year greaser gangs were forming in the nearby suburb of Berwyn and several other Chicago lands, even Lisle had gangs that early on. No suburb had greaser gangs like Cicero and Berwyn though, this is where some of the toughest and largest greaser gangs manifested. I hardly know any names of gangs in these early days but I piece together gang activity from old newspapers. The most greasers came from the Grant Works area of the suburb as this was the area bordering the Fillmore district of the city of Chicago which had some very tough greaser and white gangs in the 1950s. The intersection of 14th Ave and 49th Street became the wildest intersection that saw the most gang fights for decades starting in 1952. Cicero authorities struggled with gangs of young teens with duck tail haircuts and levi jeans as they fought other gangs viciously. Chicago based greaser gangs would make their way into town and fight it out with Cicero clubs as Cicero gangs often left their stomping grounds to cause trouble elsewhere. Cicero greasers were also into street racing that was often high risk and dangerous. The fights were brutal and sometimes the papers would report a teen or two killed on these streets. The 1950s greasers indeed paved the way of influence for later generations of Cicero gangsters.

September 19, 1953 article which is the first to acknowledge street gang activity in Cicero /> September 19, 1953 article part 2 February 11, 1956 article acknowledges a postitive group in Cicero called the "Spades" but it also mentions the criminal greasers in the village May 26, 1957 article that talk about teenage gang vandals from North Lawndale but it seems as if police were asking greasers from Cicero about it. Looks like this was a rivalry between North Lawndale gangs and Cicero greasers November 10, 1957 article that mainly talks about a fight about to go down with greasers in Berwyn and Riverside but it mentions greasers in Cicero that were about to be involved August 5, 1959 gang fight at Warren Park /> April 15, 1960 article about a gang fight about to happen at the notorious intersection of 50th and 14th in Grant Works /> July 20 1960 article about a nasty greaser fight in which they went so far as to unscrew mouth pieces on the phones so no one could call for help /> July 20, 1960 article part 2

I don’t know why none of the 1950s greaser clubs survived beyond the 1960s but all of the earliest greaser clubs were gone by the later 1960s, perhaps this was because they grew out of it. In the city, very few white greaser gangs stuck around beyond the 60s so that could be expected among Cicero gangs. The other main issue some gangs stuck around into the 1970s was the fact their neighborhoods became infiltrated by Hispanic and black families and it gave them something new to fight for but in Cicero it remained a all-white community well after the 1960s.

What made gangs in Cicero evolve into more permanence was a rivalry with gangs coming from over the 31st and Cicero border into the Little Village community. In the year 1962, Mexican families began moving into Little Village causing white greaser youths in Little Village to lash out on them especially after they formed their first gang called the “MarKings.” The formation of the MarKings had nothing to do with Cicero greasers but it was when the Ridgeway Lords formed time that set off Cicero youths. MarKings would become the notorious Marshall Boulevard Latin Kings and became tight allies with Ridgeway Lords as they fought many white greaser gangs in the mid to late 1960s in Little Village. Ridgeway Lords were just like the Latin Kings, a mix of Mexican and white youths coming together against common enemies however, Latin Kings didn’t join the Ridgeway Lords in their battles against Cicero greaser gangs. around the same time the Latin Kings and Ridgeway Lords formed a Cicero gang started up called the “Arch Dukes.” There was also the Roman Lords that formed by 1966 as did Arch Dukes and Ridgeway Lords all forming in 1966. I don’t think the Roman Lords lasted more than a few years, the Dukes became the more popular and stronger organization. I am not sure exactly how the rivalry began with the Ridgeway Lords and Arch Dukes but it would eventually became a legendary rivalry between gangs that never shared the same neighborhood.

The rights of African Americans to live in the suburb were tested again in August of 1966 when a Martin Luther King led march (pictured above) was scheduled to occur in the suburb following the beating death of Jerome Huey (pictured above). Huey had simply come to Cicero seeking employment and was inquiring with store owners. A gang of 3 white youths spotted Huey then grabbed a baseball bat and proceeded to beat the 17 year old until he was dead at the intersection of 25 th Place and Laramie on May 25, 1966. The reason for the beating was being black in Cicero is the best way to sum it up. Martin Luther King then scheduled a march on the streets of Cicero to the spot where the boy was killed to protest against the unfair treatment of blacks in Cicero and to exploit the extreme hate the community had toward blacks. When it came time for the late August March, King had cancelled the march because of an agreement with Chicago public officials however, a splinter group out of King’s organization took to the streets themselves without King on Labor day weekend. The Nazi party led by George Lincoln Rockwell (pictured above) attempted to petition to protest on that day as well but city hall rejected their application. Even though the Nazi party was not allowed to protest, they were not needed because there was enough hate in the community driven down on the protesters just from Cicero citizens and greaser gangs (pictured above). As the protesters marched they were greeted by glass bottles, bricks and even firecrackers. The black protesters were spat on and racial slurs were screamed at them, until there was a skirmish (pictured above) at the tail end of the march which caused police officers to suffer injuries.

The march of 1966 brought about more racial tensions between Cicero and the African American community of Chicago. In 1968 those tensions turned into fear right after the assassination of Martin Luther King and the violent riots were ripping through the west side neighborhoods of Chicago. Cicero residents feared the riots would come to Cicero and these riots were much more hostile than the peaceful protest of 1966. The Black P Stones had grown into a very large and complex organization by 1968 and were a major part of the riots therefore, white youths began to prepare for an invasion of groups like the Black P Stones or the Black Panthers.

In the year 1967, another greaser club formed called the “Cicero Esquires.” The Esquires would prove to be another greaser club formed during these turbulent times when Cicero felt threatened by gangs from Chicago. In this same year the Arch Dukes made the intersection of 61st Avenue and 24th Street their main hangout area at the Our Lady of the Mount Church in the parking lot. This would be their main turf for a long time.

For years the Cicero police officers and local government figures that were free of corruption were hot on the tail of Joey Doves and his gambling syndicate in the suburb but by 1972 the focus needed to shift off of the Outfit and onto street gangs as they were swelling in numbers and were spinning out of control. The Cicero police department now developed 3 special police units that strictly dealt with street gangs. The fact that three units were needed in this community proved how severe Cicero’s gang problem was turning into already, while most other suburbs had no gang activity (Chicago Tribune Page 14, August 19, 1984).

In that same year of 1972, young members of the Arch Dukes wanted to go their own way. The young members of the Arch Dukes started the Noble Knights and Twelfth Street Players out of the legendary greaser stomping ground of Grant Works. All Cicero gangs had a major rivalry with the Ridgeway Lords which were swelling in numbers in Little Village and became one of Little Village’s super gangs. The main reason the Cicero police created these special units was to handle all the rivalry between Cicero and Chicago gangs. The 27th and Homan Latin Kings would come visit Cicero back in these days but Cicero gangs never had a problem with the Kings and actually shared beers with them, this is the foundation of how Noble Knights became tight with Latin Kings.

February 27, 1972 article mentioning the Arch Dukes as vandals, only a brief mention /> December 31, 1972 article mentioning the Arch Dukes among a small list of gangs including the Cicero Esquires. I don't know anything about the Spartans and the Ridgeways August 21, 1974 article showing Arch Duke graffiti. Back in these days they ran Cicero

Around 1974, Spanish Lords came into the area but never really set up much of a section in the area, but this was the first signs of Hispanic gang activity although short lived.

For the most part Hispanic gangs from nearby Little Village traveled through Cicero in the mid and late 1970s which often angered greaser gangs. What angered them the most was when Ridgeway Lords and other Hispanic gangs traveled through and by the late 1970s another Hispanic gang was traveling though that Players and Knights didn’t like, the Two Six gang. Two Six was arch enemies with Latin Kings in Little Village and now they became arch enemies with Noble Knights, Arch Dukes and Twelfth Street Players.

By the late 1970s Cicero’s gangs became increasingly violent. In 1977 there was a reported 12 gang related shootings, 50 cases of guns fired by gang members and 40 reported gang related stabbings and beatings. In 1978, Cicero police were investigating the vandalizing of 25 stores and restaurants by gang members. Between the years 1977 and 1979 there were a reported 4 gang related homicides in the suburb. The late 1970s violence and heavy gang activity prompted 100 residents in the Grant Works sections to protest at city hall in 1980 that more police protection was needed against the growing gang issues (Chicago Tribune Page 14, August 19, 1984).

June 26, 1977 article mentioning Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players and Park Boys. I'm surprised they don't mention the Arch Dukes that were still running the suburb at the time The big murder of 1977 where a fight between Ridgeway Lords and Arch Dukes got out of control as a kid from Bolingbrook was killed even though he wasn't in either gang Part 2 of Ridgeway Lord and Arch Duke fight Part 3 of Ridgeway Lord and Arch Duke fight December 7, 1977 article all about Arch Dukes and even mentioning their headquarters at 24th and 61st at the church parking lot May 24, 1978 article about how it seems the police nabbed the Noble Knight's Sergeant of Arms transporting the gang's weapons. Also Noble Knights arrested for threatening police June 16, 1978 article about Noble Knights up to no good mugging people, beating people up and destroying property. One of the names mentioned if a brother of James Banfi the founder July 12, 1978 article about Noble Knights doing good and pitching in to clean up gang graffiti. Noble Knights were not always bad guys, they did many good thing too May 9, 1979 article about Twelfth Street Players stealing a kid's jacket June 13, 1979 article about pissed off town officials really mad about gang graffiti, mainly by the Latin Kings, this is the first signs of Latin Kings in the village June 13, 1979 article part 2 June 13, 1979 article part 3 June 22, 1979 article about the legendary Karate chop murder of a Gaylord gang member done by a Noble Knight. One chop to the throat and the young man was dead after being on life support June 22, 1979 article part 2 July 11, 1979 article about Twelfth Street Players doing their part and participating in graffiti cleanup August 31, 1979 article about Noble Knights coming comfort a woman suffering from cancer, a very good deed that she was very grateful for

In the year 1979, Twelfth Street Players and Noble Knights began to allow Latin Kings to move into Cicero. As soon as Little Village Latin Kings moved in a score of Latin King graffiti soon popped up heavily in the community that alarmed public officials. Latin Kings had always done business with Noble Knights and Twelfth Street Players in the earlier years of the 1970s so this is what solidified this relationship. Two Six was a fast growing organization and now hanging out more regularly in the village along with Ridgeway Lords so the Latin Kings would be a good ally in battling these enemies. The Latin Kings were settling the area around 50th Avenue and Roosevelt Road as their first piece of Cicero turf.

In January of 1980, as the snow fell on the ground as a new decade dawned, Noble Knights were now the biggest gang as they now began to outnumber the Arch Dukes. Noble Knights now had to deal with new hostile visitors from the Marshall Square area, the Two Two Boys that were coming from 22nd Street and Cicero Avenue. Noble Knights did not take kindly to the visitation of Two Two Boys and they got into immediate skirmishes that led to shootings. Mainly the Two Two Boys were doing more of the shooting as they were heavily armed while the Noble Knights had always been a fighting club. A little later that year members of the Two Two Boys moved to Cicero mainly around the legendary intersection of 14th and 49th in Grant Works, the same corner where Cicero greaser gangs fought legendary battles in the 50s and 60s now the Two Two Boys would fight legendary battles with Noble Knights. The first Mexican families were settling around this area of Grant Works in the year 1980 and this brought much recruitment for Mexican youths that felt bullied by white gangs although the first recruits for the Two Two Boys were white youths that were referred to as “hillbillies.” Some other Mexican youths arriving in Cicero joined the Latin Kings but most became Two Two Boys. Just two blocks away on 50th and 14th was the Noble Knights so Two Twos and Noble Knights were right by each other.

/> January 25, 1980 article about Noble Knights telling their side of the story after police had been coming down hard on them. Knights mention how Two Two Boys come through and shoot at them but Knights are blamed. This is the first evidence of Two Two Boys frequenting Cicero. I am kicking myself for not grabbing part 2 of this article February 1, 1980 article telling more of the Noble Knight side of the story and fighting with Mexicans, especially Ridgeway Lords February 1, 1980 article part 2 /> February 10, 1980 article about Noble Knights doing good shoveling snow for people in the neighborhood February 17, 1980 article talking about how Noble Knights are victims of the police even when they are doing good February 20, 1980 article about another perspective of public view on the Noble Knights now galvanizing them for all the graffiti /> July 13, 1980 article about issues with gangs as Noble Knights, Park Boys and the Freaks are mentioned along with a Hispanic gang they didn't name. I suspect they are referring to the Two Two Boys July 13 1980 article part 2 June 29, 1980 article about gangs offering to cleanup graffiti. The Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players and Freaks are mentioned as pitching in. There is also a Mexican gang mentioned from 19th and Cicero that offered to help, I suspect they are referring to the Two Sixs June 29, 1980 article part 2 July 27, 1980 article about Noble Knights going before the village hall complaining about police harassment. August 10, 1980 article about Noble Knights saying they need a clubhouse to avoid lingering on the streets. There is also a background of gangs having club houses on and off since 1955 August 20, 1980 article about Noble Knights giving a man their business card. Interesting what the card said on it September 5, 1980 article about Noble Knights still feeling harassed by the police and complaining about Hispanic gang members on the corners they are fighting with August 29, 1980 article proving Latin Kings and Two Two Boys were in Cicero back then as the article talks about the murder of a Freak gang member /> December 17, 1980 article about Noble Knights at war with Two Two Boys in the village, more proof Two Two Boys were here by then

In the same year of 1980, as Mexican families continued to move in from Little Village and Marshall Square, another gang moved into the intersection of 19th and Cicero Avenue and 14th and 49th, a gang that was already well-known and hated by Arch Dukes, Twelfth Street Players and Noble Knights, the Two Six gang. This new Two Six branch did not gain much momentum in the early 1980s and remained rather small but they still had a significant branch with likely more than 10 members that became the notorious “Cicero Two Six” branch. Two Two Boys and Two Six immediately allied up as they both had the same enemies.

In the year 1980 the first member of the Imperial Gangsters moved to Cicero from the city. This Imperial Gangster networked with the Two Sixs because both gangs were part of the Folk alliance alongside Two Six. The Imperial Gangsters mainly cliqued up with the Two Sixs at 14th and 49th as the two gangs became close allies. The Imperial Gangsters would dwell in Cicero through the 1980s but eventually went extinct however, they were one of the first Chicago based gangs to move into the suburb in the early 1980s.

Rivalry between Two Two Boys and Noble Knights became dangerous as they began shooting at each other and stabbing each other by 1981. The gangs were also frequenting the many all-night bars in the community by 1981, and late into the night hours after many drinks were consumed gang fights, stabbings and shootings began happening outside these bars.

June 7, 1981 article about Two Two Boys stabbing a Noble Knight. Although the stabber is from Chicago the Two Two Boys were very active right around here as the article shows, characteristic of an organization well-established in the community July 28, 1982 article about a happy resident praising the Noble Knights for cleaning up graffiti in Two Two Boy neighborhood. /> June 5, 1981 article showing solid proof that Two Two Boys were living in Cicero by 1981. It even speaks of their territory and the fact the young ones were called "Hillbillies." July 10, 1983 article about Twelfth Street Players causing a nuisance in the neighborhood July 10, 1983 article part 2 June 10, 1981 article about Two Two Boys stabbing a Noble Knight June 10, 1981 article part 2 October 28, 1983 article about Two Two Boys crackdown

Cicero police were stepping up patrols in the Grant Works section and now dealing with 8 different gangs. The gangs were: Latin Kings, Twelfth Street Players, Noble Knights, Two Six, Two Two Boys, Imperial Gangsters, Park Boys and another gang I don’t know. The new program had police arresting 20-40 individuals every night starting in July 1984. There were 4 major gangs operating in Cicero and 4 other new comers that were growing. The Mayor at the time Henry Klosak had a very tough stance on gangs and referred to them as “punks.” When complaints came in that Cicero police were too harsh on the youths and harassing innocent children, Mayor Klosak’s response was “We know most of these gang members, I tell the parents, if you can’t handle your kids, we will.” These were harsh words that showed there was a new turning point in Cicero law enforcement against gangs that would become legendary (Chicago Tribune Page 14, August 19, 1984).

Despite heavier police patrols and a tough Mayor the gangs continued to grow in size and became increasingly violent in the mid-1980s. The all night bars were becoming sights of serious violence as nearby residents complained of gang violence outside them and couples having intercourse on front lawns at 6 or 7 in the morning right after the bars finally closed as school children walked by and witnessed it. By 1985 citizens were complaining to city hall about these all night bars, especially Mr. C’s Lounge located at 2421 S. Laramie Ave.

The Noble Knights faded a little more out of the newspapers even though they were growing into their peak in numbers, the spotlight was now on the Twelfth Street Players as they were engaging in major wars with Two Six and Two Two Boys in the mid-1980s. The 1984 murder of Two Two Boy leader Roman Rys made the paper multiple times as the Players were the ones credited with his murder. There were also reports in the mid-80s of several cases of graffiti and vandalism by the gangs during the second half of the 80s especially by Twelfth Street Players.

March 4, 1984 article about Twelfth Street Players shooting a Two Six in the butt May 16, 1984 article complaining about gangs. Latin Kings, Noble Knights, Two Two Boys are mentioned. The notorious 14th and 50th intersection is mentioned as notorious for the past 30 years at that point. July 18, 1984 article about a innocent youth shot and killed thinking he was a Noble Knight. Noble Knights complain that police are scared of the Mexican gangs while the Two Sixs complain the police don't assist them. The Latin Kings are also mentioned January 18, 1985 article about a supposed non-gang related fatal shooting but it also mentions a war between Twelfth Streets Players and Two Sixs shooting at each other February 11, 1985 article about stepped up police patrols. Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players, Two Two Boys and Two Six are all mentioned June 19, 1985 article about Two Two Boys and Twelfth Street Players at war one year after the shooting death of Two Two Boys Roman Rys August 22, 1985 article about Two Two Boys shooting Twelfth Street Players. The Latin Kings are also mentioned below October 11, 1985 article about Twelfth Street Players from Cicero tagging in Berwyn November 10, 1985 follow up article about Twelfth Street Players vandalizing in Berwyn October 5, 1986 article about Noble Knights killing rival gang members November 12, 1986 article complaining about Twelfth Street Player graffiti January 21, 1987 article blasted the Noble Knights for several crimes February 22, 1987 article about an Imperial Gangster caught tagging in the village July 18, 1984 article about Two Two Boys, Two Six, Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players violence July 18, 1984 article part 2

By the late 1980s, gang related violence and recruitment intensified further on the streets of Cicero as now the same 7 out of 8 gangs were still operating by 1989. The Imperial Gangsters had gone extinct by 1989, but the other 7 gangs were operating successfully bringing in heavy recruitment. Many longer time residents of the suburb began packing their bags in the late 1980s as more Mexican families moved in. The property values were lower than ever in Cicero making the area more attractive to lower income Chicagoans.

The Hispanic population had grown from a small percent in 1980 to 40% of the total population of the village by 1992. As new Hispanic families began moving in from the city, new gangs would arrive in this second wave. The earliest arrival among the second wave was the Latin Counts that got fully established here in 1992.

The years 1992-1993 were perhaps the most violent years in the suburb as more new gangs gained a foothold in the community, especially in the Grant Works section. Harrison Gents, Latin Jivers and moved into the suburb from the north side of Chicago while Satan Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Insane Majestics, La Raza and Sin City Boys came from the south side of the city and opened turf in the suburb. Conservative Vice Lords at last opened territory in the suburb from the west side of Chicago. Another Chicago gang came to Cicero in the early 1990s the Bishops street gang landed at 61st and 24th which was territory the Latin Kings left at that same time. The Bishops were part of the People alliance therefore, they came in peace with Latin Kings, Twelfth Street Players and Noble Knights.Cicero became a violent war zone with shootings on a daily basis and became just as violent as some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. Cicero became a mean and hard suburb and was even feared and respected by Chicago gang members.

The biggest two arrivals the early 1990s were the Satan Disciples and Latin Counts. The Satan Disciples were started by Bobby D and Wakko D in 1992. Two Two Boys and Two Six were engaging is a violent war in the suburb costing many lives and Latin Counts and Satan Disciples were able to grow partially because of that war.

In the mid-1990s more gangs entered the suburb such as: Villa Lobos, Maniac Latin Disciples, Latin Pachucos, Gangster Party People, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, Milwaukee Kings and Ashland Vikings. Maniac Latin Disciples became very popular in the second half of the 1990s while other arrivals like Harrison Gents and Latin Jivers didn’t work out after they arrived in the early 1990s. Gang violence had perhaps hit its peak during these years and law enforcement became extremely tough on gangs, some critics even said it was too tough. Stories flew around that gang members were beaten severely by Cicero police or driven to rival gang neighborhoods and left to their fate. I personally heard a story, not sure if it is true, that back in the 90s police would round up several gang members, cuff them and hit them in their testicles until they dropped, and if they dropped they were beaten badly. I had heard another story that a Two Two Boy was rounded up by police and forced to wear a cardboard sign that said “I hate Bishops” and stand in Bishop’s hood on the corner for quite some time, just like Bruce Willis (pictured) in the movie Die Hard With a Vengeance. I was also told a story once by an acquaintance that had a friend that went to Cicero and got lost, he then pulled up to a gas station to get directions, a gang member overheard he was lost and also spotted a rival gang member at the same time. The gang member that overheard the man was lost pulled out a gun and blew the rival gang members head open killing him instantly then kindly turned to the lost man and gave him directions then said “have a good one” then left. I am not sure if any of those stories are true but I would not doubt that they could be true.

This is a scene from the movie Die Hard where John McClain played by Bruce Willis is forced to stand in a neighborhood with this sign for punishment. This is perhaps exactly how the Cicero Police got the idea to force gang members to stand in rival neighborhoods with the signs disrespecting rival gangs.

The Cicero streets were indeed tough to deal with for law enforcement so they had to take drastic measure to install any kind of fear into gang members. Government corruption severely inhibited Cicero’s ability to fight crime and gangs in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s but by the 21 st century Cicero began to experience a turn around on crime and gang activity. Cicero’s gang and crime problems have been greatly reduced since the 21 st century and the crime rates have even scored low at many points in time.

In the 1960s and 1970s Arch Dukes rules Cicero but when the Twelfth Street Players and Noble Knights got big in the early 80s those groups then ran Cicero. Two Two Boys got very large and became the first successful Chicago gang to grow heavily in the suburb as they competed heavily with Noble Knights for domination. During the 1980s Two Two Boys and Noble Knights were the biggest gangs. In 1992, several new gangs infiltrated Cicero who happened to be enemies of the Two Two Boys and most were Folk alliance which spelled trouble for Noble Knights. By the mid-1990s many Noble Knights were facing prison time or retired while several Two Two Boys had been killed or put in prison this gave rise to Satan Disciples and Latin Counts. By the late 1990s the Satan Disciples and Latin Counts became the two most powerful gangs in Cicero.

May 12, 1999 article about the village preparing to sue the Noble Knights and Latin Kings May 13, 1999 article part 2

The Speeches in Focus

Contents summary

Cicero, like most politicians of his day, was trained to speak in private court cases as well as in meetings of the Senate. In the course of his lifetime, he delivered all types of speeches. The following two speeches exhibit the different circumstances under which Cicero would speak and the tactics that he and others like him would use.

Against Lucius Sergius Catilina

Cicero delivered this speech to the Senate on November 8, 63 bce. Instead of meeting in the Senate house, the body met in the Temple of Jupiter Stator (“the Stayer,” the deity who stopped battle routs or re-treats) on the Palatine hill in the middle of Rome. The case was heard here to guard against attack from the accused party’s fellow conspirators. As consul, Cicero convened the meeting and, in this instance, was the first to speak.

Before this meeting took place, Cicero had gathered information from informers about Catilina’s plans of conspiracy against the state. Cicero refers to these plans throughout his speech. Because the danger is still at hand, he cannot reveal the names of his informers, so he presents no real proof of his charges. Still he has enough information to charge Catilina under the Plautian law concerning violence. We do not know the exact nature of this law, but surviving references suggest that it involves some kind of armed violence or even an attack on the state, including inciting a public riot (which seems to be how the law was leveled against Catilina). The charges were brought against Catilina sometime after October 21 and before Cicero made his speech on November 8. In the interim, while the investigation was underway, Catilina either had to post bail or give himself over to house arrest as Cicero mentions, Catilina chose the latter. The Senate had also passed what is known as a “final decree” (senatus consultum ultimum), giving Cicero as consul special power to deal with threats to the state. It was under these auspices that he would eventually order the execution of some of Catilina’s followers without trial, though with the approval of the Senate. Before Cicero delivered this speech, then, people were aware that Catilina was plotting something, but he had not yet been confronted with any serious charges. This speech marks the beginning of Cicero’s efforts to con-front this conspiracy head-on.

Cicero begins his speech by revealing to Catilina that he knows all he has been plotting he had said would happen did, in fact, happen (about two weeks earlier Cicero had informed the Senate of preliminary aspects of Catilina’s plan, including attempted attacks in other Italian cities). Cicero adds new details about the conspiracy, informing the Senate about a recent meeting of the conspirators (at which they talked about how to divide power and whom to kill) and about a subsequent attempt on his own life.

The central debate involves what to do with Catilina. Cicero argues for letting him go as opposed to killing him immediately (as the earlier Romans would have done), since no one knows the extent of the conspiracy. If they kill Catilina, they will not know how many conspirators are left. If they let Catilina go, he will either leave and take his fellow conspirators with him or meet with the army he is amassing and make the threat clear to everyone:

Make war on your own country behave like a godless brigand, and revel in the fact. For then it will be abundantly clear that I have not driven you into the arms of strangers, but that you have merely responded to an invitation to join your own friends.

(Cicero, Selected Political Speeches, p. 88)

Either way, it will be easier to deal with the problem. Thus, Cicero argues, he is actually serving Rome better by letting such a dangerous enemy go. Cicero is not worried about his own glory, but about the safety of Rome.

The day Cicero gave this speech, Catilina did flee the city to join another disgruntled Roman, named Manlius, who was amassing weapons and recruiting men for a bona fide revolt. After Catilina joined Manlius, they were both declared public enemies. The conspirators left in Rome were put to death, and Catilina and his forces were crushed in battle soon thereafter.

For Caelius (or In Defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus)

Cicero delivered this speech on April 4, 56 bce, before the law court, defending his client against charges of “political violence,” which included the assault and murder of a foreign envoy.

Before this trial, Rome had been involved with politics in Egypt. An embassy led by a man named Dio had come from Alexandria to Italy to plead a case before the Roman Senate, and a number of the foreign visitors were killed. The trial against Caelius is part of the attempt to call the killers to account. The formal charges against Caelius are 1) civil disturbance at Naples 2) assault on Alexandrians at Puteoli 3) damage of the property of one Palla 4) taking gold for the attempted murder of the ambassador Dio 5) attempted poisoning of Clodia and 6) the murder of Dio. For these charges, Caelius faced possible exile or even death. It is perhaps surprising to modern readers that Cicero does not even mention most of these charges. Instead he argues on a more personal level, focusing on issues of character. It is important to note that since in this case he was the last speaker for the defense, it is likely that the preceding two speakers (one was Caelius himself) treated these charges in more detail.

Cicero begins his speech by commenting that an outsider would think this was a serious case, because the court is meeting on a holiday. But the threat is not really serious, Cicero says. The case in fact has much to do with the malice of Clodia, a woman formerly involved with Caelius.

Cicero combats the charges of the prosecution by defending Caelius’ character, pointing out that Caelius trained with Cicero as a young man. It is true that Caelius was a friend of Catilina, but this is irrelevant, since many young men were. In any case, Caelius was not part of the conspiracy.

Caelius’ only mistake, if any, was moving to a new neighborhood, where he unfortunately met Clodia:

And that, gentlemen, hints at what I am going to demonstrate when I come to the appropriate point in my speech: namely that all this young man’s trouble, or rather all the gossip about him, has been caused by his change of residence—and by this Medea of the Palatine.

(Cicero, Selected Political Speeches, p. 176)

(Cicero here uses Medea as a metaphor for a troublemaker or villainess see Medea also in Classical Literature and Its Times.) After briefly discrediting the witnesses against Caelius, Cicero notes that he will focus on the facts.

Caelius’ prosecutors have gone too far in relying on vague moral assertions, says Cicero. There is no crime in enjoying dinner parties and wearing perfume. Instead, this case should focus on particular charges, which involve gold that Caelius allegedly took from Clodia, and his subsequent at-tempt to poison her. Thus, “the whole of the case revolves around Clodia. She is a woman of noble birth but she also has a notorious reputation” (Selected Political Speeches, p. 183).

But how shall he proceed against Clodia—in a “mild and civilized fashion” or in “the bleak old manner and style” (Selected Political Speeches, p. 184)? If the latter, then he will have to call up the spirit of Clodia’s famous ancestor, Appius Claudius the Blind, to reprove her. He would certainly say that she is not acting according to the traditions of her family and that her rampant lust is disgraceful. But this is not, continues Cicero, the way he wants to proceed he will be mild instead, thinking of what her brother, Clodius, would say. He would tell her that she could find many other men for her bed and that she should leave Caelius alone. And how should Cicero treat Caelius? If Cicero treats him like the father figure

CAELIUS, CLODIA, AND CATULLUS

C icero’s speech holds additional interest for students of Roman literature because of the possible identification of Clodia, the woman whom Gicero attacks, with Lesbia, the woman in some of the love poems of Catullus (c 84-54 bce see Catullus’ Carmina also in Classical Literature and Its Times). Like other Roman love poets, Catullus did! not use his mistress’ real name. He calls her “Lesbia” in his poetry, as a tribute to the Creek poetess Sappho, who was from the island of Lesbos. While it is impossible to know if Clodia and Lesbia are one and the same (we first hear of the connection from Apuleius [in the mid-1 00s CE)), Cicero’s portrait of Clodia and her circle of admirers casts interesting light on some of Catullus’ poetry, much of it a testament to a love/hate relationship. All we know about Clodia’s relationship with Caelius is what we hear from Cicero, namely that they had an affair, indulged them-selves together, and then separated on unpleasant terms.

in the comedies by a favorite playwright of Rome (meaning Caecilius [d. 168 bce]), then Caelius only has to claim that it is all gossip. If Cicero treats him like a father in the comedies of another favorite (meaning Terence [d. 159 bce]), then Caelius need only say that Clodia made the advances. Perhaps Cicero is being overindulgent. Yet morals are not what they used to be every young man will have his dalliances. Caelius, however, is not out of control, as his ability in oratory shows. Such skill only comes from hard work, and Caelius could not have worked so hard if he was as depraved as the prosecution asserts. Thus, it is only the spurned lover, Clodia, who is responsible for this case being brought against Caelius.

Cicero addresses the charges that Caelius borrowed money from Clodia to hire hit men to kill Dio, the ambassador from Alexandria. If Clodia knew what the money was for, says Cicero, then she was involved if she did not know, then her relationship with Caelius was not as close as the prosecution says. Also, Lucceius, the man who hosted the ambassador, had testified as to Caelius’ innocence (his testimony was read in court but is not included with this speech). Accordingly, the Clodii (Clodia’s family) must have fabricated these charges.

Regarding the poison that Caelius allegedly tried to give Clodia, Cicero notes that the prosecution never really provided a motive. Caelius would have to have conspired with Clodia’s slaves, who are known to be unreliable and more like bedmates than slaves. Would Caelius be this foolish? As for poison, Clodia should be careful mentioning poison, considering how suddenly her husband, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, died. The whole story of Caelius trying to acquire the poison is a poorly constructed tale and is nothing but a ludicrous stage show with no proof behind it.

In summation, Cicero remarks that the law on violence is to be reserved for serious charges and that Caelius has done nothing to merit such a charge. It is clear to everyone that he is a respectable young man he lapsed only in being briefly involved with Clodia after moving into her neighborhood. When he broke off this affair, she acted out of hatred and had this case brought against him, concludes Cicero. Caelius is such a noble young man and such a benefit to the Republic that he should be acquitted—and he was.

Rhetoric in the Roman Republic

In his defense of Caelius, Cicero must deal with Caelius’ prior association with Catilina, whom Cicero himself had earlier maligned. In the later speech, to suit the case, Cicero provides a very different portrait of Catilina, one that speaks of him as impressing even Cicero as a man full of positive character traits:

Let no blame attach to Caelius because he associated with Catilina. For that is something which he has in common with many people, including persons who are beyond reproach. Indeed, I declare that I myself was once nearly deceived by him. I took him for a patriotic citizen attached to our national leaders, and for a faithful and reliable friend. I did not believe his misdeeds until I saw them until I had actually caught him in the act I had no suspicion they even existed. If Caelius, too, was one of his numerous friends, he would, I agree, be right to feel annoyed that he made such a mistake, just as I sometimes regret my own misconception about the man. But the fact should certainly not give my client the slightest cause to fear that the friendship might be used as the basis for an indictment in court.

(Selected Political Speeches, pp. 173-174)

This part of Cicero’s speech highlights the training of Roman orators, who learned numerous approaches to public speaking, including arguing both sides of an issue as the occasion arose. Like many of his contemporaries, Cicero was trained from an early age to engage in all the aspects of oratory because it was so integral to the life of a Roman politician. His defense of Caelius shows the importance of rhetoric, as it “is another example of Cicero’s success in defending a client by cleverness, wit, and style rather than by evidence or proof” (Kennedy, p. 139).

Cicero’s training allows him to draw on a wide range of skills in the speech against Catilina and the speech for Caelius. The first speech is full of invective the second, a speech to entertain. His contemporaries regarded Cicero as a master of both types. A highly serious speech, the one against Catilina involves attacking a person to convey a threat at hand. In keeping with this purpose, Cicero stresses Catilina’s vices and emphasizes (and perhaps overemphasizes) the danger to Rome.

In the second speech, a legal defense, Cicero focuses on entertaining his listeners as the final speaker in a case that took place on a holiday. He fills his speech with jokes, quotations from comic plays, and humorous caricatures of some of his personal enemies and their ancestors: “The speech for Caelius is by common consent Cicero’s wittiest” (MacKendrick, p. 264). Throughout the speech, for example, Cicero makes cutting remarks about Clodia’s character, as when he alludes to a possible incestuous relationship between her and her brother Clodius:

Indeed, my refutation would be framed in considerably more forcible terms if I did not feel inhibited by the fact that the woman’s husband—sorry, I mean brother, I always make that slip—is my personal enemy. Since that is the situation, however, my language will be as moderate as I can make it, and I will go no farther than my conscience and the nature of the action render unavoidable. And indeed I never imagined I should have to engage in quarrels with women, much less with a woman who has always been widely regarded as having no enemies since she so readily offers intimacy in all directions.

(Selected Political Speeches, p. 184)

Cicero identifies wit as one of an orator’s essential tools. In the following passage, he rails at the dismal qualities of a group of orators that he has heard, and in the process reveals what he considers to be the best attributes of a skilled orator:

Of them there was not one who gave me the impression of having read more deeply than the average man, and reading is the well-spring of perfect eloquence no one whose studies embraced philosophy, the mother of excellence in deeds and in words no one who had mastered thoroughly the civil law, a subject absolutely essential to equip the orator with the knowledge and practical judgement requisite for the conduct of private suits no one who knew thoroughly Roman history, from which as occasion demanded he could summon as from the dead most unimpeachable witnesses no one who with brief and pointed jest at his opponent’s expense was able to relax the attention of the court and pass for a moment from the seriousness of the business in hand to provoke a smile or open laughter no one who understood how to amplify his case, and, from a question restricted to a particular person and time, transfer it to universals no one who knew how to enliven it with a brief digression no one who could inspire in the judge a feeling of angry indignation, or move him to tears, or in short (and this is the one supreme characteristic of the orator) sway his feelings in whatever direction the situation demanded.

(Cicero, Brutus, pp. 279-281)

Reading, studying philosophy and Roman history, mastering civil law, joking at an opponent’s expense, moving from the particular to the general—these skills make up the ideal rhetorician as Cicero saw it (in 46 bce) and, to some extent, as Cicero’s contemporaries would have seen it. In the two speeches covered here, Cicero places most emphasis on the ability to sway the feelings of the audience.

The importance of rhetoric in ancient Rome cannot be overstated. Persuasive speech was one of the main paths to distinction, especially for those, like Cicero, who did not hail from a distinguished aristocratic family. To a great extent, it was Cicero’s speaking ability that allowed him to rise to the highest-ranking office in Rome.

Ability in rhetoric and military affairs went hand in hand. A soldier was supposed to be able to exert influence at home as well as on the campaign: “Rhetoric is the special speech of the state. It is also, in effect, the occupation of off-duty soldiers” (Habinek, p. 2). For Cicero, who had little military experience, rhetorical ability was especially key. Throughout his career, Cicero, his own best public relations agent, reminded listeners that he had saved his country without bloodshed by foiling the Catilinarian conspiracy. In terms of the accolades he received for his role in the affair, Cicero did achieve something akin to military success, as the rewards, praise, and political clout given him were usually reserved for victorious generals. He was also the first to be called “Father of the Fatherland,” a title later used by Caesar Augustus.

Sources and literary context

To produce the two speeches featured here, Cicero drew upon his rhetorical training in both Rome and Greece. Several years after the Catilinarian affair, Cicero likened his speeches against Catilina to Demosthenes’ speeches against Philip of Macedon, called the “Philippics.” Cicero considered the Athenian speaker Demosthenes (384-22 bce) to be one of the orators most worth imitating, and the “Philippics” were famous for their invective. Cicero would return to them when he wrote his own “Philippics” against Mark Antony.

In his defense speech for Caelius, Cicero shows the influence that drama had on his style. Roman comedy exercised a particular influence Cicero even discusses characters from the plays of Caecilius and Terence (see Terence’s Brothers also in Classical Literature and Its Times). To discredit the witnesses’ story that his client tried to poison his former lover, Cicero treats it as if it were part of a play, which allows him to critique it for its lack of sensible plot. As suggested, such a treatment was especially appropriate because this speech was delivered during a period of holiday celebration, when such comedies were per-formed (MacKendrick, p. 264).

Reception

Of these two speeches, the one against Catilina has proven to have a more lasting influence, in part because Cicero himself continued to remind people of his role in suppressing what he paints as one of the most serious threats in Roman history. He refers to this threat numerous times in later speeches and in “On His Consulship,” a poem he wrote in 60 bce (only fragments of this poem survive today). His repeated references to the conspiracy and the en-during popularity of his speeches helped build an image of Cicero as the savior of Rome.

A younger contemporary of Cicero’s, however, provides a slightly different account of the conspiracy. Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-c. 35 bce) wrote a historical monograph about Catilina and his plot that gives Cicero a less individual role than the orator gives himself. On the other hand, Sallust, as he is called, refers to Cicero’s speech against Catilina in positive terms: “the consul Cicero, alarmed by Catilin[a]’s presence or, it may be, moved by indignation, rendered the state good service by delivering a brilliant oration, which he afterwards wrote down and published” (Sallust, p. 198). Sallust also tells us of Catilina’s reaction to the speech, including a derogatory remark about Cicero being “a mere immigrant,” a reference to his status as a “new man,” not a proud descendant of a forefather who had served before him, but the first in his family to become consul (Sallust, p. 198).

Later references to Cicero often focus on his oratory in general rather than on specific speeches. According to Quintilian (c. 35 CE-before 100?), famous as a writer on and teacher of rhetoric, Cicero was considered the ideal orator as Quintilian himself saw it, Cicero was “the name not of a man, but of eloquence itself” (Quintilian in Rawson, p. 299).


Cicero - History

Cook County, 7 miles W of the Loop. The town of Cicero, bordered on the north and east by Chicago, is the suburb nearest to downtown. Named for a town in New York State, Cicero has the only town form of government in Cook County, and is governed by a board of trustees. Present-day Cicero, 5.5 square miles, is less than one-sixth of its original 36 square-mile area.

Ogden Avenue, a former Indian trail, was one of the early thoroughfares through Cicero. The first homesteaders in the town settled on the highest and driest part of Cicero (now Oak Park ). Other families settled along Ogden Avenue, Lake Street, and Cermak Road (22nd Street). When the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad was built westward from Chicago in 1848, Cicero became the first western suburb connected to the city by rail.

In 1857 inhabitants formed the township of Cicero in order to levy taxes for roads and drainage ditches. In 1869 Cicero was incorporated as a town, and that same year, Chicago annexed 11 square miles along Cicero&aposs eastern edge. The town&aposs population of 3,000 dropped 50 percent as a result.

Cicero&aposs location on several rail lines influenced the Chicago & North Western Railway and the Chicago & Alton Railroad companies to establish manufacturing and repair shops there. Small communities began to develop around these and other industries, such as the Brighton Silver Smelting & Refining Company and the Brighton Cotton Mill.

During the 1880s new residents were drawn to the industries in the northern part of the town along the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. As these communities expanded they began to meld. Some of these areas later separated from Cicero others, such as Clyde and Hawthorne, remained as names of railroad stops.

In 1889 Chicago again annexed territory along Cicero&aposs eastern border, and by 1897, street railways ran from the city into Cicero. In 1899, Chicago annexed its last portion of Cicero, including the Austin area. Cicero ceded the Hawthorne Race Track to Stickney in 1900, and in 1901, Oak Park and Berwyn separated from Cicero.

Western Electric Company
Western Electric established a telephone equipment manufacturing plant in Cicero in 1904 employing more than 20,000 people, a number that dwarfed the population of Cicero, which was only 14,557 in 1910. Cicero&aposs population more than quadrupled over the next 20 years, with the majority of newcomers Eastern European immigrants. Yet there was still enough open land for Cicero Field, one of Chicago&aposs earliest airfields.

Cicero&aposs position at the edge of Chicago attracted criminal elements wishing to evade Chicago&aposs law enforcement agencies. In the mid to late 1920s, the gangster Al Capone established his headquarters in Cicero. At the end of the century government officials were convicted on charges of corruption that recalled the town&aposs earlier reputation.

Racial tensions surfaced in Cicero throughout the 1950s and 1960s when residents resisted African Americans moving into their community. At the end of the twentieth century, although Cicero had virtually no black residents, people of Hispanic or Asian ancestry contributed to its mixture of ethnic cultures. Ethnic tensions surfaced in town politics as an entrenched Republican organization reluctantly shared power with an emerging Hispanic majority.


Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman lawyer, writer, and orator. He is famous for his orations on politics and society, as well as serving as a high-ranking consul.

Anthropology, Archaeology, Social Studies, World History

Marcus Tullius Cicero

This statue depicts Marcus Tullius Cicero, a famous orator and writer on the politics and society of the Roman Rebulic. Unfortunately, his opinions on politics were not always popular, and he was ultimately declared a public enemy and executed in 43 B.C.

Photograph by Augurmm, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born outside of Rome in 106 B.C. Born to a wealthy family, Cicero received a quality education. After he served in the military, Cicero studied Roman law. He went on to be elected to each of Rome&rsquos principal offices, becoming the youngest citizen to attain the highest rank of consul without coming from a political family.

Cicero remained loyal to the Roman Republic during his career. He viewed the informal alliance known as the First Triumvirate to be in direct opposition to the principles of the republic and authority of the Senate. By refusing to join this alliance, Cicero left himself vulnerable to attacks from his political enemies. This became an issue for Cicero when he came under fire for speaking out against the political figure and tribune Publius Clodius.

When Clodius was elected as a tribune, he introduced a bill that revoked the citizenship of anyone who killed a Roman citizen without granting them a trial. This was designed to strike at Cicero for his role in putting down an uprising known as the Catalonian rebellion. Cicero ordered the execution of the revolutionaries without a trial due to the urgency that the rebellion needed to be ended. With no allies remaining to protect him from Clodius&rsquo attacks, Cicero fled Rome and become an exile. After a year and a half, however, he was allowed to return back to Rome as a result of Pompey&rsquos intervention following Clodius&rsquo term as tribune.

When Cicero returned to Rome, he was forced to stay out of politics, so he turned to writing. He wrote many works relating to philosophy, such as On the Republic, On Invention, and On the Orator. He established himself as a prolific Roman author. He also made many speeches and wrote letters that have been preserved, allowing the modern world to gain knowledge of the politics and culture of Cicero&rsquos era.


Watch the video: The Life and Death of Cicero