"While there's life, there's hope."
- Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) was a Roman orator, statesman and philosopher. He
was born in Arpinum (modern day Arpino, about 60 miles from Rome) and
studied law, oratory, philosophy and literature in Rome before embarking on a
political career, becoming a consul in 63 B.C. He wrote most of his chief works
while living in retirement in the couple of years preceding his death.
He greatly expanded the vocabulary of the Latin language, which allowed later
writers to adopt a more fluid style to expound their own doctrines. In 43
B.C. he delivered his famous speech against Marcus Antonius, and was murdered shortly afterwards on December 7th, 43 B.C. He is considered the greatest forensic orator that Rome ever produced.
I had no idea what a forensic orator was, and having
looked it up, I'm still not sure that I have it straight. For those of you
who are equally oblivious to the finer details of advocacy, here is a brief
description, to the best of my understanding:
The word forensic is defined as 'pertaining to, connected
with, or used in courts of law' (coming from the word forum, which was of course
the meeting place for judicial and other public business in ancient Rome).
Thus a forensic orator is one who practices legal oratory. The Greek
lawyer, Corax (5th century B.C.) established the principles of legal oratory (which will be familiar to anyone who has read a few Grisham novels here and
there, or watched any legal dramas on the TV!)
Other Quotes by Cicero
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.
Peace is liberty in tranquility.
The nobler a man, the harder it is for him to suspect inferiority in others.
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a
What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than
that of the man who instructs the rising generation?
Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but
not how many friends.