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§ 1. Marcus Tullius Cicero, the greatest of Roman
orators, was born near Arpinum in 106 B.c. His family
vvas of equestrian rank, but had never held any office in
Rome. Cicero was accordingly a novus homo, and his struggle
to obtain the praetorship and consulship was on that
account made harder. He was sent while still a young lad
to Rome, and there studied under the best masters, such as
Archias. In b.c. 91 he assumed the toga virilis, and Ihen
attended the lectures of orators and lawyers. He was
entrusted by his father to the special care of Mucius
Scaevola, the Angur, from whose side he hardly ever
departed. At that time one of the easiest methods of
obtaining fame and success was by means of oratory, and as
Cicero had a natural talent for this art, he cultivated it in
preference to devoting himself to a military life. However,
he served, as was usual with young Romans who aspired
to public office, one campaign, and this happened to be in
the Social War (89 B.c.) under Cn. Pompeius Strabo (the
father of Pompeius the Great). For the next sis years he
took no part in pubHc afFairs, but devoted his time to the
study of rhetoric and the various schools of philosophy;
from Phaedrus he learned the Epicurean system, from Philo
that of the New Academy, and from Diod5tus that of the
The first of his extant speeches is that Pro P. Quinctio,
which was delivered in 81 b.c. Next year, in a criminal
trial, he defended Sextus Roscius Amerinus, whose accuser
was Chrysogonus, the powerful freedman of Sulla. It
was bold in Cicero to undertake this defence and thereby

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