Ancient Rome

Remembering Cicero, Champion of Justice

Attorneys are forever indebted to the famous Roman statesman, lawyer, and philosopher, Cicero. His contribution to Latin prose is responsible for conventions of modern day rhetoric and grammar. Moreover, Cicero can be labeled a champion of justice. He fought for Rome rather than himself. Good lawyers claim Cicero as their own and aim to emulate him.

Cicero existed around 100 BC in the time of Julius Caesar, the great roman dictator. He was born a member of Rome’s upper crust, and received a quality liberal education, studying Greek and history at the finest schools in the empire. His ability in the classroom attracted much attention, and he was offered a chance to study law for free under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero was always at the top of his class, and outwitted his professors many times. As a lawyer he quickly rose to supremacy in the public courthouses. He tried more cases than any young lawyer in Rome, and even served as the prosecution and the defense in a famous case involving a libel suit of a powerful roman official.

Cicero was generally a docile harmless soul, which was in contrast to the status quo of Rome at the time—an emphasis on war, aggression, and masculine virtue. However, when it came to the protection of his country he could quickly turn into a ferocious wolf. In 63 BC he countered a plot to overthrow the Roman Republic. However, in 60 BC he refused an offer from Julius Caesar to join the 1st triumvirate, and in 58 BC he was betrayed and exiled for putting to death the four conspirators who attempted to overthrow Roma in 60 BC. He returned, however, after the civil war caused by a feud between Pompey and Caesar.

After the second triumvirate took control, they hounded Cicero, and even killed his daughter the only thing he truly loved. The grief from this loss lead him to philosophy, and we owe the conventions of the modern sentence to this work. Lastly, he was finally put to death by Octavian. His last words were, “there is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”