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The Philippics

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Book Overview: 

A philippic is a fiery, damning speech delivered to condemn a particular political actor. The term originates with Demosthenes, who delivered an attack on Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BCE.

Cicero consciously modeled his own attacks on Mark Antony, in 44 BC and 43 BC, on Demosthenes’s speeches, and if the correspondence between M. Brutus and Cicero are genuine, at least the fifth and seventh speeches were referred to as the Philippics in Cicero’s time.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .There was no public council, no liberty; our necks were at the mercy of his nefarious cruelty; we were all preparing to have recourse to flight, though flight itself had no escape for us. Who was it—what god was it, who at that time gave to the Roman people this godlike young man, who, while every means for completing our destruction seemed open to that most pernicious citizen, rising up on a sudden, beyond every one's hope, completed an army fit to oppose to the fury of Marcus Antonius before any one suspected that he was thinking of any such step? Great honours were paid to Cnaeus Pompeius when he was a young man, and deservedly; for he came to the assistance of the republic; but he was of a more vigorous age, and more calculated to meet the eager requirements of soldiers seeking a general. He had also been already trained in other kinds of war. For the cause of Sylla was not agreeable to all men. The multitude of the proscribed, and the enormous calamities that f. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A fun read for those interested in the study of democracy and the threats autocracy offers democratic government.

Hilarious...more

*** 3 stars ***