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The Tools That Shaped Cicero's Political Ideologies

2312 words - 10 pages

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born at Arpinum in the Volscian Hills on January 3, 106 B.C. . Cicero's mother Helvia, was a noble and his father was a farmer who was greatly devoted to reading. Cicero's family had relations with the poplares, as did the family of Gaius Marius of Arpinum whom Cicero regarded as a national hero in his earliest poems . In 90 B.C Cicero would assume the white toga of manhood and education would consume the next ten years of his life . Cicero held the offices of quaestor of Sicily in 75 B.C., aedile in 69 B.C., praetor in 66 B.C. and Consul in 63 B.C. Cicero's life, political ideologies, and political success up until his consulship is the concern of this paper. In ...view middle of the document...

Because of his promise and the Senate's unwillingness to act upon Marius proposed law, the army came to recognize Marius as their leader and not the Senate . Marius's ability to defend the lower class of Rome and identify himself with the upper classes of Rome is a balance that Cicero would come to admire.Cicero admired Marius as a forefather because Marius was able to open high political offices to most citizens of ambition and ability; namely Cicero himself . Cicero " was willing to couple Marius's achievement as his own" in order to gain whatever praise, fame, or favour he could from the situation at hand . However, this is as far as Marius influenced Cicero. Cicero did not believe in Marius's political ideologies that were mainly achieved through his military power. As fact, Cicero's only military service would consist of less than a year in 89 B.C during the Social War and was his only real experience of actual warfare as a soldier . Cicero believed that Marius's virtue lied within his ability to open political offices to those of equestrian birth and for defending the lower and middle class citizens against the corrupt magistrates of Rome.Cicero's education in the philosophy of Stoic and the study of law, undoubtedly, enabled him to become an intellect and as well, shaped and honed his political views. Cicero's political ideas of civic virtue, fair and just government, and the belief that in order for the Republic to regain its prestige the magistrates must aim for the "wealth" of Rome above their own wealth are all influenced by Cicero's education.Cicero studied philosophy under Phaedrus, the Stoic Diodotus, and the Academic Philo of Carissa . Phaedrus of Larissa taught Cicero the traditions of Plato and Aristotle while Diodotus taught Cicero the idea of Stoicism . Diodotus would become a life long friend of Cicero and it becomes apparent that the philosophy of Stoicism had the greatest influence upon Cicero above any other philosophic study. From Diodotus, Cicero received an extensive training in dialect that he explained can be " looked upon as a contracted or compressed eloquence. ".In Stoic ethics, "only the wise man is capable of virtue, and his actions, and only his are morally right actions. ". The distinguishing feature of this belief is the frame of mind that it is done; An unwise man could apply the same actions as a wise man but the unwise man's actions will falter because he is unwise . The Stoics, like Socrates, argued that, " the best, most virtuous, and most divine life was one lived according to reason, not according to pleasure. " The Stoics believed that "to lift one's courage high above all that depends on chance... " is a form of dedication required to receive the virtue of a wise man.Cicero believed that the politicians of his time were, "corrupt and no longer possessed the virtuous character that had been the main attribute of Romans in the earlier days of Roman history. ". Cicero also believed that the loss of...

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