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The Life of Cicero, Vol. 1

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) was an orator, statesman, philosopher and prolific correspondent, who rose as a ‘new man’ in Rome in the turbulent last years of its republican government. Anthony Trollope, best known as a novelist, admired Cicero greatly and wrote this biography late in life in order to argue his virtues against authors who had granted him literary greatness but questioned his strength as a politician and as a man. He takes a personal approach, affording us an insight into his own mind and times as well as those of his subject.

Volume I covers the period (up to the year 57BC) of Cicero’s education, his rise through the courts and offices of state to the Consulship, and his exile.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Such must certainly have been the case with Sulla.

I will venture, as other biographers have done before, to tell 82the story of Sextus Roscius of Ameria at some length, because it is in itself a tale of powerful romance, mysterious, grim, betraying guilt of the deepest dye, misery most profound, and audacity unparalleled; because, in a word, it is as interesting as any novel that modern fiction has produced; and also, I will tell it, because it lets in a flood of light upon the condition of Rome at the time. Our hair is made to stand on end when we remember that men had to pick their steps in such a State as this, and to live if it were possible, and, if not, then to be ready to die. We come in upon the fag-end of the proscription, and see, not the bloody wreath of Sulla as he triumphed on his Marian foes, not the cruel persecution of the ruler determined to establish his order of things by slaughtering every foe, but the necessary accompaniments of such ruth. . . Read More

Community Reviews

het viel me tijdens het lezen te binnen dat dit niet echt een biografie was maar eerder een oratio, zoals Cicero zelf er een paar schreef. Het gaat minder om feiten dan om karakter. Cicero wordt door het nageslacht aangevallen (hij is te egocentrisch, zelfverheerlijkend, is laf, een klager enz.) Tro

This wasn't a bad book considering when it was written. I found two things at fault with it.

The first is that the writer makes the ridiculous assertion that Cicero was some sort of pre-Christianity Christian and lived according to a Christian code of conduct or had in some way Christian values. Tha

Written during Victorian times by a British, so he makes comparisons to the British system of the time. Cicero was a great orator and philosopher, added to Latin new words. This book is about his life, not the letters that he is famous. Influenced by Greeks, educated in Greece, showed his intellect

Readable, If Repetitive

"It is an uphill task, that of advocating the cause of a man who has failed. The Cæsars of the world are they who make interesting stories."

I learned much from this survey of the writings produced by Cicero during the events of his life, up to the time of his exile from Rome.

Anthony Trollope had a pretty huge crush on Cicero.

The Life of Cicero by Anthony Trollope
Thursday, April 27, 2017
10:56 PM

"It is a good thing to be honest when honesty is in vogue but to be honest when honesty is out of fashion is magnificent."- Anthony Trollope

I was especially impressed and sort of mentally sat up when I heard Trollope's account o