Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt
Book Review by pompeius magnus
Lets start things off with a brief synopsis of the book`s content. In a nut shell the book is a chronological outlook on the life of Cicero, from his days as a pupil, to his dominance in the courts, to his controversial speeches, and his end at the hands of Anthony's goonies. The author seems to be very biased in Cicero's favor, so the way he writes about Cicero may be in question but that is what history is all about, creating your own interpretations on historical facts.
Going off that its on to my interpretation of how Everett interpreted Cicero. Before I get to my analysis it is important to mention that the reading of Cicero came right after I just finished the 6 book series of Colleen McCullough in which she choose to be more biased towards Caesar,so my opinions will be a mixture of the two.
First off, I really enjoyed reading this book, I found it both entertaining and informative. Everettes mixture of personal reactions and exerpts from Cicero's various letters to Atticus, his witty speeches, and his many essays. The quotes Everette chose to use got a laugh out of me several times, as a man so brillant yet so clever is very rare, even today.
Everette's interpretation of Cicero's youth was very well done. He set up future events such as the first meeting between Cicero and his closest friend Atticus. The splash of Cicero into the courts was well documented in this book, as well as his introduction to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, one of the most important friendships in the history of the roman republic and empire.
Next, this is where there is a conflict in feelings about Ciceros consulship between Everett and me, I took McCulloughs views on Cicero's councilship. This is where Cicero needed to work on things was in the area of politics. Cicero was a new man from Marius's country and was challenging a group of men with strong birth, and even though he was right he handled the aftermath very badly.
He executed the conspirators without a trial, but a vote from the senate. This is where Caesar and Cicero start to become bitter rivals. 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. He also kept parading around how he had saved his country.
- ...more Book Reviews!
- Roman Republic by P. Matyszak
- Caesar by Christian Meier
- Sons of Caesar by P. Matyszak
Then, comes the fun part, Cicero vs. Caesar. Everett seems to side with the republicans, not the same as the USA party but the protectors of the republic a dying government it may have been, and sees Caesar as a tyrant. After getting both points of view from the contrasting writers of Everett and McCullough I would support the feelings of Everett that the Caesar was becoming a tyrant, even though I love to study Caesar and admire him tremendously.
I also found it very interesting and well organized how Everett would go off of the events biography to move on to his various writings that he did. Other than that the rest of the book was just an analysis of the rest of Ciceros life which I have no disputed arguments with.