Murray, pp. The chase had degenerated into an elaborate, occasionally comic game of hide-and-seek, with Cicero torn between holing up in his villa to wait for the inevitable knock on the door and making a speedy getaway by sea. Eventually the assassins caught up with him in his litter en route for the coast, slit his throat and packed off his head and hands to Antony and his wife Fulvia, as proof that the deed had been done. When the gruesome parcel arrived, Antony ordered that the remnants be displayed in the Forum, nailed to the spot where Cicero had delivered many of his devastating tirades; but not before Fulvia had taken the head on her lap, and — so the story goes — opened the mouth, pulled out the tongue and stabbed it again and again with a pin taken from her hair. Decapitation, and its attendant embellishments, was something of an occupational hazard for front-line political figures in Rome in the hundred years of civil war that led up to the assassination of Julius Caesar. Some Romans drew an uncomfortable connection between the characteristic head-and-shoulders style of portrait bust that decorated their ancestral mansions and the eventual fate of so many of the sitters.
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He advised the legendary Pompey on his somewhat botched transition from military hero to politician. No man has loomed larger in the political history of mankind. In this dynamic and engaging biography, Anthony Everitt plunges us into the fascinating, scandal-ridden world of ancient Rome in its most glorious heyday. Accessible to us through his legendary speeches but also through an unrivaled collection of unguarded letters to his close friend Atticus, Cicero comes to life in these pages as a witty and cunning political operator.
He foiled the legendary Catiline conspiracy, advised Pompey, the victorious general who brought the Middle East under Roman rule, and fought to mobilize the Senate against Caesar. Cicero was a legendary defender of freedom and a model, later, to French and Americanrevolutionaries who saw themselves as following in his footsteps in their resistance to tyranny. This was a time before slander and libel laws, and the stories--about dubious pardons, campaign finance scandals, widespread corruption, buying and rigging votes, wife-swapping, and so on--make the Lewinsky affair and the U.
Congress seem chaste. Cicero was a wily political operator. As a lawyer, he knew no equal. Boastful, often incapable of making up his mind, emotional enough to wander through the woods weeping when his beloved daughter died in childbirth, he emerges in these pages as intensely human, yet he was also the most eloquent and astute witness to the last days of Republican Rome. On Cicero: "He taught us how to think.
The way Everitt carefully and comprehensively unfolded the drama brought back the excitement of ancient history superbly. Congratulations on spotting a real winner. Everitt has written a book which is unobtrusively crammed with fascinating information about Roman life and customs, splendidly clear and coherent in its narrative and altogether convincing in its portraiture.
We know so much about him, thanks to the happy chance which has seen so much of his correspondence preserved, that it is possible to write the sort of biography of Cicero that one might write about someone from, say, the nineteenth century. Anthony Everitt has done just that, sympathetically and very well. This is an engrossing book, written lucidly for the general reader, and one that only a foolish expert would disdain. Cicero mastered the essence of politics. He preached the difference between authority and power.
He was an orator who wrote poetry, a politician who read history, ruthless yet able to articulate the demands of clemency, democracy and the rights of free men under law If good government is rooted in history and history in biography, Cicero is the man of the hour. But the great majority of his contemporaries - and of course posterity itself - were much kinder to Cicero, and this engrossing new biography by Anthony Everitt does a superb job of explaining why As an explicator, Everitt is admirably informative and free from breathlessness.
He has a sophisticated conception of character, too, including a willingness - so crucial in biographers - to embrace contradictions. Everitt introduces the man graciously to a new generation, and will endear him anew to all those who never grasped the sense, let alone the beauty, of that multi-clausal prose. His achievement is to have replaced the austere classroom effigy with an altogether rounder, more awkward and human person. A visiting professor of arts and cultural policy at Nottingham Trent University and City University, Everitt has written extensively on European culture and development, and has contributed to the Guardian and Financial Times since Cicero, his first biography, was chosen by both Allan Massie and Andrew Roberts as the best book of the year in the United Kingdom.
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A great deal of the curiosity awakened in my ignorance has been damped. But it has also been gratifying to compare views and strengthen notions. Although an academic, Anthony Everitt knows how to represent drama. The opening of the book is certainly brilliant.
London Review of Books
He belonged to the tribus Cornelia. However, being a semi-invalid, he could not enter public life and studied extensively to compensate. The famous family names of Fabius , Lentulus , and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus "Swollen-ankled" and Catulus "Puppy". Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers, poets and historians; as he obtained much of his understanding of the theory and practice of rhetoric from the Greek poet Archias  and from the Greek rhetorician Apollonius. It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite.