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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Critical and Biographical Introduction by William Cranston Lawton (1853–1941)

By Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 B.C.)

THE OUTWARD life, the political career, of Marcus Tullius Cicero, is to nearly all students of history a tragic and pathetic story. He seems peculiarly unfitted to the people and the time in which his lot was cast. His enlightened love for the traditions of the past, his passionate sentiment of patriotism, his forceful eloquence as a debater in the Senate or as an orator in the Forum,—these qualities of a Burke or a Webster stand out violently dissevered from the lurid history of his time. This humane scholarly life was flung into the midst of the wildest century in all Rome’s grim annals; the hundred years of civic turmoil and bloodshed, from the elder Gracchus’s murder to the death of Cleopatra.

And yet such was the marvelous activity, the all-sided productiveness, of the Ciceronian intellect, that perhaps no human mind has ever so fully exploited all its powers. Moreover, in each intellectual field which he entered, the chances of time have removed nearly every Roman rival, leaving us no choice save to accept Cicero’s guidance. There was many another orator, and history of eloquence. There were other practical treatises on rhetoric. Many a notable correspondence was actually preserved and published, though now lost. Even his free transcriptions from Greek philosophical treatises—hastily conned and perhaps imperfectly understood—have acquired, through the disappearance of the Greek scrolls themselves, an ill-deserved authority as to the tenets of the Epicurean and other schools.

Before and above all else, Cicero was a pleader. Out of that activity grew his ill-starred political activity, while his other literary tastes were essentially but a solace in times of enforced retirement. With the discussion of his oratory, therefore, we may best combine a rapid outline of his life.

By their common birthplace, Arpinum, and by a slight tie of kinship, Cicero was associated with Marius; and he began life, like Disraeli, with radical sympathies. He was the elder son of a wealthy Roman citizen, but no ancestor had ennobled the family by attaining curule office. After a most thorough course of training in Latin and Greek, Cicero began to “practice law.” The pleader in ancient Rome was supposed to receive no fee, and even more than with us, found his profession the natural stepping-stone to political honors.

At the age of twenty-six, Cicero (in 80 B.C.) defended his first important client in a criminal case. In the closing days of the Sullan proscriptions, young Roscius, of Ameria in Umbria, was charged with murdering his own father in Rome. A pair of Roscius’s kinsmen were probably the real culprits, and had arranged with Chrysogonus, a wealthy freedman and favorite of the Dictator, to insert the dead man’s name among the outlawed victims and to divide the confiscated estate. The son was persecuted because he resisted this second outrage. Cicero says he is himself protected by his obscurity, though no other advocate has dared to plead for the unlucky youth. In our present text there are some audacious words aimed at Sulla’s own measures: they were probably sharpened in a later revision. The case was won, against general expectation. Cicero may have played the hero that day: certainly the brief remainder of Sulla’s life was spent by the young democratic pleader traveling in the East,—“for his health,” as Plutarch adds, truly enough. At this time his style was chastened and his manner moderated by the teachers of Athens, and especially by Molo in Rhodes.

Cicero’s quæstorship was passed in Sicily, 75–4 B.C. Here he knit close friendships with many Greek provincials, and did a creditable piece of archæological work by rediscovering Archimedes’s tomb. His impeachment of Verres for misgovernment in Sicily was in 70 B.C. This time the orator runs a less desperate risk. Since Sulla’s death the old constitution has languidly revived. Speech was comparatively free and safe. The “knights” or wealthy middle class,—Cicero’s own,—deprived by Sulla of the right to sit as the jurors in impeachment trials like Verres’s, partially regain the privilege in this very year. The overwhelming mass of evidence made Verres flee into exile, and Hortensius, till then leader of the Roman bar, threw up the case in despair. Nevertheless Cicero published the stately series of orations he had prepared. They form the most vivid picture, and the deadliest indictments ever drawn, of Roman provincial government,—and of a ruthless art-collector. Cicero instantly became the foremost among lawyers. Moreover, this success made Cicero a leader in the time of reaction after Sulla, and hastened his elevation to posts where only men of sterner nature could be fully and permanently successful.

Pompey, born in the same year, was at this time leading the revolt against Sulla’s measures. The attachment now formed, the warmer hearted Cicero never wholly threw off. The young general’s later foreign victories are nowhere so generously set forth as in Cicero’s too-rhetorical plea “for the Manilian Law,” in 66 B.C. Pompey was then wintering in the East, after sweeping piracy in a single summer from the Mediterranean. This plea gave him the larger command against Mithridates. Despite the most extravagant laudation, however, Pompey remains, here as elsewhere, one of those large but vague and misty figures that stalk across the stage of history without ever once turning upon us a fully human face. Far more distinct than he, there looms above him the splendid triumphal pageant of Roman imperialism itself.

Cicero’s unrivaled eloquence won him not only a golden shower of gifts and legacies, but also the prætorship and consulship at the earliest legal age. Perhaps some of the old nobles foresaw and prudently avoided the Catilinarian storm of 63 B.C. The common dangers of that year, and the pride of assured position, may have hastened the full transfer of Cicero’s allegiance to the old senatorial faction. Tiberius Gracchus, boldly praised in January, has become for Cicero a notorious demagogue; his slayers instead are the undoubted patriots, in the famous harangues of November. These latter, by the way, were certainly under the file three years afterward,—and it is not likely that we read any Ciceronian speech just as it was delivered. If there be any thread of consistency in Cicero’s public career, it must be sought in his long but vain hope to unite the nobility and the equites, in order to resist the growing proletariat.

The eager vanity with which Cicero seized the proud title “Father of the fatherland” is truly pathetic. The summary execution of the traitors may have been prompted by that physical timidity so often associated with the scholarly temperament. Whether needless or not, the act returned to plague him.

The happiest effort of the orator in his consular year was the famous plea for Murena. This consul-elect for 62 was a successful soldier. Catiline must be met in the spring “in the jaws of Etruria.” Cicero’s dearest friend, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, a defeated candidate, accused Murena of bribery. The conditions of Roman politics, the character of Sulpicius, the tone of Cicero himself, bid us adjudge Murena probably guilty. Cicero had supported Sulpicius, but now feels it is no time to “go behind the returns,” or to replace a bold soldier by a scholarly lawyer.

To win his case Cicero must heap ridicule upon his own profession in his friend’s person, and upon Stoic philosophy, represented by Cato, Sulpicius’s chief advocate. This he did so successfully that Cato himself exclaimed with a grim smile, “What a jester our consul is!” Cicero won his case—and kept his friends. This speech is cited sixteen times by Quintilian, and is a model of forensic ingenuity, wit, and grace. Its patriotism may be plausibly defended, but hardly its moral standards.

The next year produced the famous and successful defense of Cluentius,—probably guilty of poisoning,—and also the most delightful of all Cicero’s speeches, the oration for the poet Archias. Whether the old Greek’s claim to Roman citizenship was beyond cavil we neither know nor greatly care. The legal argument is suspiciously brief. The praise of literature and the scholarly life, however, has re-echoed ever since, and still reaches all hearts. Brother Quintus, sitting in judgment as prætor, is pleasantly greeted.

This is the culmination in Cicero’s career of success. Some boastful words uttered in these days make us doubt if he remembered Solon’s and Sophocles’s maxim, “Count no life happy before its close.” The fast-growing power of Cæsar presently made the two successful generals Pompey and Crassus his political tools. Cicero refused to enter, on similar conditions, the cabal later known as the “First Triumvirate.” Cæsar, about to depart for his long absence in Gaul, might well regard the patriotic and impulsive orator as the most serious source of possible opposition in his absence. Marcus refused, himself, to go along to Gaul a-soldiering, though Brother Quintus accepted a commission and served creditably. At last, reluctantly, Cæsar suffered Cicero’s personal enemy Clodius to bring forward a decree outlawing “those who had put Roman citizens to death without trial” (March, 58 B.C.). Cicero meekly withdrew from Rome, was condemned by name in absence, and his town house and villas pillaged.

As to the cowardice of this hasty retreat, none need use severer words than did the exile himself. It is the decisive event in his career. His uninterrupted success was ended. His pride could never recover fully from the hurt. Worst of all, he could never again pose, even before his own eyes, as the fearless hero-patriot. In short, Cæsar, the consummate master of action and of men, had humanely but decisively crippled the erratic yet patriotic rhetorician.

In little more than a year the bad conduct of Clodius, the personal good-will of the “triumvirs,” and the whirligig of politics, brought round Cicero’s return from Greece. His wings were however effectively clipped. After a brief and slight flutter of independence, he made full, even abject, submission to the dominant Cæsarian faction. This was in 56 B.C. The next five years, inglorious politically, were however full of activity in legal oratory and other literary work. In his eloquent defense of Cælius Rufus, charged with an attempt to poison Clodia, Cicero perforce whitewashes, or at least paints in far milder colors than of old, Catiline, Cælius’s lifelong friend! A still less pleasing feature is the abusive attack on the famous and beautiful Clodia, probably the “Lesbia” of Catullus. (The unhappy young poet seems to have preceded Cælius in the fickle matron’s favor.)

The events of the year 52 well illustrate the unfitness of Cicero for politics in such an age. Rome was full of street brawls, which Pompey could not check. The orator’s old enemy Clodius, at the head of his bravos, was slain by a fellow ruffian Milo in January. At Milo’s trial in April Cicero defended him, or attempted to do so. A court-room encircled by a yelling mob and guarded by Pompey’s legions caused him to break down altogether. As afterward written out at leisure, the speech is a masterpiece of special pleading. The exiled Milo’s criticism on it is well known: “I’m glad you never delivered it: I should not now be enjoying the mullets of Marseilles.”

The year 51–50 Cicero spent, most unwillingly, as proconsular governor in far-off Cilicia. Though really humane and relatively honest, he accumulated in these few months a handsome sum in “gifts” from provincials and other perquisites. Even Cicero was a Roman.

Meantime the civil war had all but broken out at home. Cicero hesitated long, and the correspondence with Atticus contains exhaustive analyses of his motives and temptations. His naïve selfishness and vanity at times in these letters seem even like self-caricature. Yet through it all glimmers a vein of real though bewildered patriotism. Still the craving for a triumph—he had fought some savage mountain clans in Asia Minor!—was hardly less dominant.

Repairing late and with many misgivings to Pompey’s camp in Epirus, Cicero seems to have been there a “not unfeared, half-welcome” and critical guest. Illness is his excuse for absence from the decisive battle. He himself tells us little of these days. As Plutarch relates the tale, after Pompey’s flight to Egypt Cicero refused the supreme command, and was thereupon threatened with death by young Gneius Pompey; but his life was saved by Cato.

One thing at least is undisputed. The last man to decide for Pompey’s cause, he was the first to hurry back to Italy and crave Cæsar’s grace! For many months he waited in ignoble retirement, fearing the success of his deserted comrades even more than Cæsar’s victory. It is this action that gives the coup de grace to Cicero’s character as a hero. With whatever misgivings, he had chosen his side. Whatever disturbing threats of violent revenge after victory he heard in Pompey’s camp, he awaited the decisive battle. Then there remained, for any brave man, only constancy in defeat—or a fall upon his sword.

Throughout Cæsar’s brief reign,—or long dictatorship,—from 48 to 44, Cicero is the most stately and the most obsequious of courtiers. For him who would plead for clemency, or return thanks for mercy accorded, at a despot’s footstool, there are no more graceful models than the ‘Pro Ligario’ and the ‘Pro Marcello.’ Cæsar himself realized, and wittily remarked, how irksome and hateful such a part must be to the older, vainer, more self-conscious man of the twain.

Midway in this period Cicero divorced his wife after thirty years of wedlock, seemingly from some dissatisfaction over her financial management, and soon after married a wealthy young ward. This is the least pleasing chapter of his private life, but perhaps the mortification and suffering it entailed were a sufficient penalty. His only daughter Tullia’s death in 45 B.C. nearly broke the father’s heart.

Whatever the reason, Cicero was certainly not in the secret of Cæsar’s assassination. Twice in letters to members of the conspiracy in later months he begins: “How I wish you had invited me to your glorious banquet on the Ides of March.” “There would have been no remnants,” he once adds. That is, Antony would not have been left alive.

We have now reached the last two years—perhaps the most creditable time—in Cicero’s eventful life. This period runs from March 15th, 44 B.C., to December 7th, 43 B.C. It was one long struggle, first covert, then open, between Antony and the slayers of Cæsar. Cicero’s energy and eloquence soon made him the foremost voice in the Senate once more. For the first time since his exile, he is now speaking out courageously his own real sentiments. His public action is in harmony with his own convictions. The cause was not hopeless by any means, so far as the destruction of Antony would have been a final triumph. Indeed, that wild career seemed near its end, when Octavian’s duplicity again threw the game into his rival’s reckless hands. However, few students of history imagine that any effective restoration of senatorial government was possible. The peculiar pathos of Cicero’s end, patriot as he was, is this: it removed one of the last great obstacles to the only stable and peaceful rule Rome could receive—the imperial throne of Augustus.

This last period is however among the most creditable, perhaps the most heroic, in Cicero’s career. Its chief memorials are the fourteen extant orations against Antony. The comparative sincerity of these ‘Philippics,’ and the lack of private letters for much of this time, make them important historical documents. The only one which ranks among his greatest productions—perhaps the classic masterpiece of invective—is the ‘Second Philippic.’ This was never delivered at all, but published as a pamphlet. This unquestioned fact throws a curious light on passages like—“He is agitated, he perspires, he turns pale!” describing Antony at the (imaginary) delivery of the oration. The details of the behavior of Catiline and others may be hardly more authentic. The ‘Ninth Philippic’ is a heartfelt funeral eulogy on that same Sulpicius whom he had ridiculed in the ‘Pro Murena.’

  • “The milestones into headstones turn,
  • And under each a friend.”
  • A fragment from one of Livy’s lost books says, “Cicero bore with becoming spirit none of the ills of life save death itself.” He indeed perished not only bravely but generously, dissuading his devoted slaves from useless resistance, and extending his neck to Antony’s assassins. Verres lived to exult at the news, and then shared his enemy’s fate, rather than give up his Greek vases to Antony! Nearly every Roman, save Nero, dies well.

    Upon Cicero’s political career our judgment is already indicated. He was always a patriot at heart, though often a bewildered one. His vanity, and yet more his physical cowardice, caused some grievous blots upon the record. His last days, and death, may atone for all—save one. The precipitate desertion of the Pompeians is not to be condoned.

    The best English life of Cicero is by Forsyth; but quaint, dogged, prejudiced old Middleton should not be forgotten. Plutarch’s Cicero “needs no bush.”

    Cicero’s oratory was splendidly effective upon his emotional Italian hearers. It would not be so patiently accepted by any Teutonic folk. His very copiousness, however, makes him as a rule wonderfully clear and easy reading. Quintilian well says: “From Demosthenes’s periods not a word can be spared, to Cicero’s not one could be added.”

    Despite the rout of Verres and of Catiline, the merciless dissection of Clodia, and the statelier thunders of the ‘Philippics,’ Cicero was most successful and happiest when “defending the interests of his friends.” Perhaps the greatest success against justice was the ‘Pro Cluentio,’ which throws so lurid a light on ante-Borgian Italian criminology. This speech is especially recommended by Niebuhr to young philologues as a nut worthy of the strongest teeth. There is a helpful edition by Ramsay, but Hertland’s ‘Murena’ will be a pleasanter variation for students wearying of the beaten track followed by the school editions. Both the failure of the ‘Pro Milone’ and the worldwide success of the ‘Pro Archia’ bid us repeat the vain wish, that this humane and essentially modern nature might have fallen on a gentler age. Regarding his whole political life as an uncongenial rôle forced on him by fate, we return devout thanks for fifty-eight orations, nearly all in revised and finished literary form! Fragments of seventeen, and titles of still thirty more, yet remain. From all his rivals, predecessors, pupils, not one authentic speech survives.

    The best complete edition of the orations with English notes is by George Long, in the Bibliotheca Classica. The ‘Philippics’ alone are better edited by J. R. King in the Clarendon Press series. School editions of select speeches are superabundant. They regularly include the four Catilinarians, the Manilian, and the pleas before the dictator, sometimes a selection from the ‘Philippics’ or Verrine orations.

    There is no masterly translation comparable with the fine work done by Kennedy for Demosthenes. The Bohn version is respectable in quality.

    Among Cicero’s numerous works on rhetoric the chief is the ‘De Oratore.’ Actually composed in 55 B.C., it is a dialogue, the scene set in 91 B.C., the characters being the chief Roman orators of that day. L. Crassus, who plays the host gracefully at his Tusculan country-seat, is also the chief speaker. These men were all known to Cicero in his boyhood, but most of them perished soon after in the Marian proscriptions. Of real character-drawing there is little, and all alike speak in graceful Ciceronian periods. The exposition of the technical parts of rhetoric goes on in leisurely wise, with copious illustrations and digressions. There is much pleasant repetition of commonplaces. Wilkins’s edition of the ‘De Oratore’ is a good but not an ideal one. The introductions are most helpful. Countless discussions on etymology, etc., in the notes, should be relegated to the dictionaries. Instead, we crave adequate cross-references to passages in this and other works. The notes seem to be written too largely piecemeal, each with the single passage in mind.

    In Cicero’s ‘Brutus,’ written in 46 B.C., Cicero, Brutus, and Atticus carry on the conversation, but it is mostly a monologue of Cicero and a historical sketch of Roman oratory. The affected modesty of the autobiographic parts is diverting. Brutus was the chief exponent of a terse, simple, direct, oratory,—far nearer, we judge, to English taste than the Ciceronian; and the opposition between them already appears. A convenient American edition is that by Kellogg (Ginn).

    The opposition just mentioned comes out more clearly in the ‘Orator.’ This portrays the ideal public speaker. His chief accomplishments are summed up in versatility,—the power to adapt himself to any case and audience. An interesting passage discusses the rhythms of prose. This book has been elaborately edited by J. E. Sandys. In these three dialogues Cicero says everything of importance, at least once; and the other rhetorical works in the Corpus may be neglected here, the more as the most practical working rhetoric among them all, the ‘Auctor ad Herennium,’ is certainly not Cicero’s. It is probably by Cornificius, and is especially important as the first complete prose work transmitted to us in authentic Latin form. (Cato’s ‘De Re Rustica’ has been “modernized.”)

    The later history of the Ciceronian correspondence is a dark and much contested field. (The most recent discussion, with bibliography, is by Schanz, in Iwan Müller’s Handbuch, Vol. viii., pp. 238–243.) Probably Cicero’s devoted freedman Tiro laid the foundations of our collections. The part of Petrarch in recovering the letters during the “Revival of Learning” was much less than has been supposed.

    The letters themselves are in wild confusion. There are four collections, entitled ‘To Atticus,’ ‘To Friends,’ ‘To Brother Marcus,’ ‘To Brutus’: altogether over eight hundred epistles, of which a relatively small number are written to Cicero by his correspondents. The order is not chronological, and the dates can in many cases only be conjectured. Yet these letters afford us our chief sources for the history of this great epoch,—and the best insight we can ever hope to have into the private life of Roman gentlemen.

    The style of the cynical, witty Cælius, or of the learned lawyer Sulpicius, differs perceptibly in detail from Cicero’s own; yet it is remarkable that all seem able to write clearly if not gracefully. Cicero’s own style varies very widely. The letters to Atticus are usually colloquial, full of unexplained allusions, sometimes made intentionally obscure and pieced out with a Greek phrase, for fear of the carrier’s treachery! Other letters again, notably a long ‘Apologia’ addressed to Lentulus after Cicero’s return from exile, are as plainly addressed in reality to the public or to posterity as are any of the orations.

    Prof. R. Y. Tyrrell has long been engaged upon an annotated edition of all the letters in chronological order. This will be of the utmost value. An excellent selection, illustrating the orator’s public life chiefly, has been published by Professor Albert Watson. This volume contains also very full tables of dates, bibliography of all Cicero’s works, and in general is indispensable for the advanced Latin student. The same letters annotated by Professor Watson have been delightfully translated by G. E. Jeans. To this volume, rather than to Forsyth’s biography, the English reader should turn to form his impressions of Cicero at first hand. It is a model of scholarly—and also literary—translation.

    The “New Academy,” to which Cicero inclined in philosophy, was skeptical in its tendencies, and regarded absolute truth as unattainable. This made it easier for Cicero to cast his transcriptions in the form of dialogues, revealing the beliefs of the various schools through the lips of the several interlocutors. Thus the ‘De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum’ sets forth in three successive conversations the ideas of Epicureans, of Stoics, and of the Academy, on the Highest Good. It is perhaps the chief of these treatises,—though we would still prefer to have even those later compendiums of the Greek schools through which Cicero probably cited the chief philosophers at second hand! J. S. Reid, an eminent English scholar, has spent many years upon this dialogue, and his work includes a masterly translation.

    With a somewhat similar plan, the three books of the ‘De Natura Deorum’ contain the views of the three schools on the Divine Beings. The speakers are Cicero’s Roman contemporaries. This rather sketchy work has been annotated by J. B. Mayor in his usual exhaustive manner. The now fragmentary dialogue entitled ‘The Republic,’ and its unfinished supplement ‘The Laws,’ were composed and named in avowed rivalry with Plato’s two largest works, but fail to approach the master. The Roman Constitution is defended as the ideal mingling of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. The student of pure literature can for the most part neglect these, and others among the hastily written philosophic works, with the explicit approval of so indefatigable a student as Professor B. L. Gildersleeve.

    The chief fragment preserved of the ‘Republic’ is the ‘Dream of Scipio.’ Its dependence on the vision at the close of Plato’s ‘Republic’ should be carefully observed. It may be fairly described as a free translation and enlargement from Greek originals, of which Plato’s passage is the chief. Plagiarism was surely viewed quite otherwise then than now. Still, the Roman additions and modifications are interesting also,—and even as a translator Cicero is no ordinary cicerone! Moreover, in this as in so many other examples, the Latin paraphrase had a wider and more direct influence than the original. It has been accepted with justice ever since, as the final and most hopeful pagan word in favor of the soul’s immortality. The lover of Chaucer will recall the genial paraphrase of ‘Scipio’s Dream’ in the ‘Parlament of Foules’ (stanzas 5–12). We give below, entire, in our quotations from Cicero, the masterly version of the ‘Dream,’ prepared by Prof. T. R. Lounsbury for his edition of Chaucer’s poems. The speaker is the younger Scipio Africanus, and his visit to Africa as a subaltern here described was in 149 B.C., three years previous to his own decisive campaign against Carthage which ended in the destruction of the city.

    Cicero shared in full the Roman tendency to give a practical, an ethical turn to all metaphysical discussion. This is prominent in the popular favorite among his larger volumes, the ‘Tusculan Disputations.’ In each of the five related books a thesis is stated negatively, to be triumphantly reversed later on:—

    (1) “Death seems to me an evil.”

    (2) “I think pain the greatest of all evils.”

    (3) “Misery seems to me to befall the wise man.”

    (4) “It does not appear to me that the wise man can be secure from distress of mind.”

    (5) “Character does not seem to me sufficient for happiness in life.”

    The original portion of this work is relatively large, and many Roman illustrations occur. Dr. Peabody has included the Tusculans, the two brief essays next mentioned, and the ‘De Officiis,’ in his excellent series of versions (Little, Brown and Company).

    The little dialogue on ‘Old Age’ is perhaps most read of all Cicero’s works. Its best thoughts, it must be confessed, are freely borrowed from the opening pages of Plato’s ‘Republic.’ Still, on this theme of universal human interest, the Roman also offers much pleasant food for thought. The moderation of the Greek is forgotten by Cicero, the professional advocate and special pleader, who almost cries out to us at last:—

  • “Grow old along with me:
  • The best is yet to be,
  • The last of life, for which the first was made!”
  • It was written in 45–4 B.C. The other little essay ‘On Friendship’ does not deserve to be bound up in such good company, though it usually is so edited. Bacon’s very brief essay has more meat in it. Cicero had many good friends, but fully trusted hardly any one of them—not even Atticus. It was an age which put friendship to fearful trial, and the typical Roman seems to us rather selfish and cold. Certainly this essay is in a frigid tone. Professor Gildersleeve, I believe, has likened it to a treatise of Xenophon on hunting, so systematically is the pursuit of friends discussed.

    Perhaps the most practical among Roman Manuals of Morals is the treatise on Duties (‘De Officiis’), in three books. Here the personal experience of sixty years is drawn upon, avowedly for the edification of young Marcus, the author’s unworthy son. This sole Ciceronian survivor of Antony’s massacres lived to be famous for his capacity in wine-drinking, and to receive officially, as consul under Augustus, the news of Antony’s final defeat and death—a dramatic revenge.

    Most of these philosophic treatises were composed near the end of Cicero’s life, largely in one marvelously productive year, 45–4 B.C., just previous to the slaying of Cæsar. Not all even of the extant works have been catalogued here. The ‘Academica’ and ‘De Divinatione’ should at least be mentioned.

    Such were Cicero’s distractions, when cut off from political life and oratory, and above all when bereft by Tullia’s death. The especial ‘Consolatio,’ composed to regain his courage after this blow, must head the list of lost works. It took a most pessimistic view of human life, for which it was reproved by Lactantius. Another perished essay, the ‘Hortensius,’ introducing the whole philosophic series, upheld Milton’s thesis, “How charming is divine philosophy,” and first turned the thoughts of Augustine to serious study.

    Cicero’s poems, chiefly translations, are extant in copious fragments. They show metrical facility, a little taste, no creative imagination at all. A final proof of his unresting activity is his attempt to write history. Few, even among professional advocates, could have less of the temper for mere narration and truth. Indeed, reasonable disregard for the latter trammel is frankly urged upon a friend who was to write upon the illustrious moments of Cicero’s own career!

    We said at first that the caprice of fate had exaggerated some sides of Cicero’s activity, by removing all competitors. In any case, however, his supremacy among Italian orators, and in the ornate discursive school of eloquence generally, could not have been questioned.

    Yet more: as a stylist, he lifted a language hitherto poor in vocabulary, and stiff in phrase, to a level it never afterward surpassed. Many words he successfully coined, chiefly either by translation or free imitation of Greek originals. His clear, copious, rhythmical phrase was even more fully his own creation. Indeed, at the present moment, four or five great forms of living speech testify to Cicero’s amazing mastery over both word and phrase. The eloquence of Castelar, Crispi, and Gambetta, of Gladstone and of Everett, is shot through and through, in all its warp and woof, with golden Ciceronian threads. The ‘Archias’ speaks to any appreciative student of Western Europe, as it were, in a mother tongue which dominates his vernacular speech. Human language, then, has become a statelier memorial of Cicero than even his vanity can ever have imagined.

    (After writing the substance of this paragraph, I was glad to find myself in close agreement with Mackail’s words in his masterly little ‘Latin Literature,’ page 62.)

    Resumé of General Bibliography

    The chief encyclopædia of facts and citations for this period is the cumbrous old ‘Geschichte Roms, oder Pompeius Cæsar Cicero und ihre Zeitgenossen’ of W. Drumann (Königsberg: 1834–44). The plan is ideally bad, being a series of family chronicles, while these three men are more completely isolated from their families and kin than any other great trio in all Roman history! The book is however an exhaustive, inexhaustible, little acknowledged, but still worked quarry of erudition. The Baiter and Kayser text and Watson’s Select Letters also have copious chronological tables for Cicero’s entire life. To the modern biographies mentioned above should be added one by G. L. Strachan-Davidson, in the ‘Heroes of Antiquity Series.’ Boissier’s delightful ‘Cicéron et ses Amis’ is accessible also in an English translation by A. D. Jones.

    The very legible Oxford text edition appears to be complete for the orations and letters, but not for the rhetorical and philosophical works, for which the Tauchnitz or Teubner text is still necessary.

    The Loeb series, Latin and English on opposite pages, includes the ‘Letters to Atticus,’ ‘De Officiis,’ and ‘De Finibus.’ A ‘Golden Treasury’ volume contains the versions of ‘De Senectute’ and ‘De Amicitia’ By Shuckburgh. There is also a competent translation by Shuckburgh of all the letters.