Cicero by Anthony Everitt
The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician

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Synopsis

“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.

Anthony Everitt’s 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 U.S. 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.

On Cicero:

“He taught us how to think."
—Voltaire

“I tasted the beauties of language, I breathed the spirit of freedom, and I imbibed from his precepts and examples the public and private sense of a man.”
—Edward Gibbon

“Who was Cicero: a great speaker or a demagogue?”
—Fidel Castro


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Anthony Everitt

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Anthony Everitt, sometime visiting professor in the visual and performing arts at Nottingham Trent University, has written extensively on European culture and is the author of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome. He has served as secretary general of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Everitt lives near Colchester, England's first recorded town, founded by the Romans.
 
Published November 30, 2011 by Random House. 396 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Rome's most celebrated orator and dogged protector of the constitution had “that passionate affection for Rome and its traditions that many newcomers feel when they join an exclusive club.” Understandable, as Cicero was born to the local aristocracy of Arpinum, a town 70 miles south and 3 days jo...

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Publishers Weekly

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Using Cicero's letters to his good friend Atticus, among other sources, Everitt recreates the fascinating world of political intrigue, sexual decadence and civil unrest of Republican Rome. Agai

Apr 01 2002 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

Publishers Weekly

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Using Cicero's letters to his good friend Atticus, among other sources, Everitt recreates the fascinating world of political intrigue, sexual decadence and civil unrest of Republican Rome.

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Star Tribune

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Everitt's "Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician" might not restore Cicero to "the pantheon of our common past," but he does make his claim that every generation needs to "see a giant figure of the past from the perspective of its own time and circumstances."

Jul 06 2002 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

AV Club

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Even as the Roman Empire's borders spread and its wealth grew, it was haunted by the specter of its past, in which governmental power flowed not...

Jul 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

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May 15 2002 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

Deseret News

Since David McCullough has finally given Adams his due in a wonderful, interesting biography, it seems only fair that Cicero get his.

Aug 18 2002 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

http://www.unrv.com

Everett seems to feel Cicero's councilship was a success, whereas I agree with McCullough that Cicero made a few mistakes and his handling of the situation was very questionable.

Jun 19 2015 | Read Full Review of Cicero: The Life and Times of...

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