By TLB Contributor: Ken LaRive.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was born January 3, 106 BC and died December 7, 43 BC. Versatile, he was a well respected political theorist and Roman constitutionalist. Being a lawyer, philosopher, and statesman he was known to be one of Rome’s greatest orators and writers.
His study of language distinguished himself as the originator of Greek philosophy, creating the innovative vocabulary for that science we still use today. Being born of the equestrian order, his family had both wealth and influence, giving Cicero opportunity to study, observe, and record his times with great accuracy.
Lessons of history can give us insight into what we are dealing with in our own times, as history repeats itself even in the subtle of ways, and Cicero, being a humanist, saw those similarities and compared them to his own history.
His letter writing to Cornelius Nepos was remarked by his biographer, Atticus, in the 1st century BC as being a wealth of information, and an accurate historical record. He said: “...concerning the inclinations of leading men, the faults of the generals, and the revolutions in the government” that their reader had little need for a history of the period.
Seems that Cicero knew us better than we know ourselves, and this is a failing of our leaders that has lead to our undoing. He wrote: “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”