"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child"
- Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero (106 B.C. -43 B.C.) 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.
If you're rusty on the finer details of advocacy, the word forensic is defined as 'pertaining to, connected with, or used in courts of law' (coming from the word forum, which was 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.
It's difficult to pick just one Cicero quote. Here are a few more:
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.
Peace is liberty in tranquility.
While there's life, there's hope.
Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.
What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?
This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.
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