“All ages of the world
have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher combined.”—John Adams
He squared off against
Caesar and was friends with young Brutus. He advised the legendary Pompey on
his somewhat botched transition from military hero to politician. He lambasted
Mark Antony and was master of the smear campaign, as feared for his wit as he
was for exposing his opponents’ sexual peccadilloes. Brilliant, voluble,
cranky, a genius of political manipulation but also a true patriot and
idealist, Cicero was Rome’s most feared politician, one of the greatest lawyers
and statesmen of all times. Machiavelli, Queen Elizabeth, John Adams, and
Winston Churchill all studied his example. No man has loomed larger in the
political history of mankind.
In this dynamic and
engaging biography, Anthony Everitt plunges us into the fascinating,
scandal-ridden world of ancient Rome in its most glorious heyday. Accessible to
us through his legendary speeches but also through an unrivaled collection of
unguarded letters to his close friend Atticus, Cicero comes to life in these
pages as a witty and cunning political operator.
Cicero leapt onto the
public stage at twenty-six, came of age during Spartacus’ famous revolt of the
gladiators and presided over Roman law and politics for almost half a century.
He foiled the legendary Catiline conspiracy, advised Pompey, the victorious
general who brought the Middle East under Roman rule, and fought to mobilize
the Senate against Caesar. He witnessed the conquest of Gaul, the civil war
that followed and Caesar’s dictatorship and assassination. Cicero was a
legendary defender of freedom and a model, later, to French and American
revolutionaries who saw themselves as following in his footsteps in their
resistance to tyranny.
biography paints a caustic picture of Roman politics—where senators were
endlessly filibustering legislation, walking out, rigging the calendar, and
exposing one another’s sexual escapades, real or imagined, to discredit their
opponents. This was a time before slander and libel laws, and the stories—about
dubious pardons, campaign finance scandals, widespread corruption, buying and
rigging votes, wife-swapping, and so on—make the Lewinsky affair and the US
Congress seem chaste.
Cicero was a wily
political operator. As a lawyer, he knew no equal. Boastful, often incapable of
making up his mind, emotional enough to wander through the woods weeping when
his beloved daughter died in childbirth, he emerges in these pages as intensely
human; yet he was also the most eloquent and astute witness to the last days of
Republican Rome. Download and start listening now!