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Primus Pilus

Cicero, Great Statesman Or Over-rated

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Was Cicero a great statesman? Hard to say. One has to approach the question from two views. Firstly, the view from that of a Roman of his day. If the Roman of the day was monied, and was politically connected, I venture that he was viewed as an annoyance, although at times useful. If the Roman of the day was a Pleb., I also venture he was viewed as a champion, especially if one were fortunate enough to hear his 'honeyed' speeches in person.

Secondly, the view from today, compared to the modern statesmen. I feel Cicero would fit right in with most of today's 'statesmen'. I feel that many statesmen or so called statesmen nowadays just don't measure up to many Roman Republic politicians. Certainly the modern ones don't exhibit the skill or eloquence of speech that Cicero did.

In his speeches Cicero unfailingly self promotes himself, and I feel, that he felt this was necessary to further his political career. Not coming from the monied aristocracy this was a necessary tactic. I feel this is one reason why Cicero leaves such a 'bad taste' in readers mouths so to speak. His use of sophistry should not be compared to the 'sophistry' used by modern politicians.

In conclusion, from a 21st century perspective he is likely over-rated as a statesman. But to me Cicero's skill at rhetoric will always be viewed as his strength. Maybe this is how we should remember him.

Alex

This thread and the precedent have a bunch of notable contributions (Note: Catilina, not

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