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The Life of Cicero, Vol. 2

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.

This second volume of two covers his last years, BC 57-43 and the personal and political upheavals that surrounded them: the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, the death of his daughter Tullia, Caesar’s dictatorship and assassination, Cicero’s antagonism against Antony in the Philippics and his final struggle for the republic. Having used Cicero’s letters and speeches to guide his biography, Trollope treats his other works (what he terms ‘moral essays’, and works on philosophy and rhetoric), and his religious beliefs, in separate chapters at the end of this volume, to which is also appended his own translation of Cicero’s ‘Dream of Scipio’ from the De re publica.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Cilicia.

b.c. 51, ætat. 56.

In April of this year Cicero before he started wrote the first of a series of letters which he addressed to Appius Claudius, who was his predecessor in the province. This Appius was the brother of the Publius Clodius whom we have known for the last two or three years as Cicero's pest and persecutor; but he addresses Appius as though they were dear friends: "Since it has come to pass, in opposition to all my wishes and to my expectations, that I must take in hand the government of a province, I have this one consolation in my various troubles—that no better friend to yourself than I am could follow you, and that I could take up the government from the hands of none more disposed to make the business pleasant to me than you will be."68 And then he goes on: "You perceive that, in accordance with the decree of the Senate, the province has to be occupied." His next letter on the subject was written to Atticus while he was s. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This positive review of the life of Cicero, in 2 volumes,by Anthony Trollope, written in the 1880's, presents his life & abundant writings, amazingly preserved for over 2000 yrs- his correspondence, especially with his friend Atticus in Athens, his orations delivered to the Senate & publi...more

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....more

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 intelle...more

Part 1 ends with his exile. Trollope writes this bio very well. I shall be reading part 2 soon.

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 e...more

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...more

Very educational. interesting if you like Roman stuff which I do. Not fast moving though.