Designed for a general readership, this book provides an account of Cicero's personality and career and portrays the political and cultural background of his age. The book examines the reasons for Cicero's eminence as a statesman, philosopher and publicist, and for his massive influence on the literature and oratory of succeeding ages. It charts his rise from obscure provincial origins to the high offices of state in the Roman republic. It describes Cicero's tragically vain attempt to defend the republican constitutions against the war-lords by argument and rhetoric. The author sees this struggle as the epitome of the recurring conflict between reason and repression, and argues that Cicero's career illustrates only too well the limitations of intellectual commitment in the field of Realpolitik.
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