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Commemorating Cicero

June 22, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Attorneys everywhere ought to add Cicero to their list of mentors. The famous statesman, lawyer, and philosopher is a marvel of self-sufficiency, and basically responsible for modern prose and grammar conventions. Cicero fought for Rome rather than himself. All lawyers can learn a thing or two about service from Cicero.

Cicero thrived around 100 B.C. during the times of Julius Caesar and the 1st and 2nd triumvirate. He was born into Rome’s upper crust, receiving a quality liberal education from the finest schools. His ability in the classroom instantly attracted attention, and he was offered the chance to study law for free under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. At law school he quickly climbed to the top of the class, outwitting his professors many times with graceful humility. His career was launched with a bang, trying more cases than any young lawyer in Rome. It was not uncommon for Cicero to serve as the prosecution and the defense in the same trial.

Cicero was generally a harmless soul, and in the cutthroat world of the Roman Empire, he eventually paid for his life for his compassion. Only the protection of his country could ignite his aggression; and when he felt the pax romana was threatened, he quickly turned into a ferocious wolf. In 63 BC he discovered a plot to overthrow Caesar and the first triumvirate. He exiled the conspirators and put them to death. However, in 58 BC the second triumvirate took control and exiled Cicero, slaying his daughter for the execution of the conspirators. Cicero was devastated by the loss of his daughter, because she was the only person he ever loved. His grief led him to philosophy, and we owe stoicism and many aspects of modern grammar to this work. He was finally put to death by Octavian and his last words were, “there is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”