Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C.- 43 B.C.) was born on this day to a middle-class family in the country town of Arpinum (now Arpino, Italy). From a young age, his passions were studying law and giving speeches.
He once said, "Laws are silent in war."
Deeply influenced by Greek culture, this great orator and writer inspired European literature and the philosophers who followed him, including St. Augustine, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.
His letters, particularly to his best friend Atticus and brother Quintus, discussed morality, duty, and friendship and provided a view of ancient Roman life and politics.
"It is hard for the good to suspect evil as it is hard for the bad to suspect good," Cicero said. His orations became the Latin prose standard.
Cicero's life reflected the turbulent and complex times that he lived in. An ally to General Pompey and foe of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, Cicero was elected to the Senate. A strong leader, Cicero successfully eliminated the conspirator Catiline.
He was a staunch supporter of The Republic in its last days. Before his assassination by followers of Antony, Cicero said. "The whole life of the philosopher is a preparation for death."
More CICERO Quotations
"Where there’s life, there’s hope."