The mos maiorum is the unwritten code from which the ancient Romans derived their social norms. It is the core concept of Roman traditionalism, distinguished from but in dynamic complement to written law; the mos maiorum was collectively the time-honoured principles, behavioural models, social practices that affected private and military life in ancient Rome. The Roman family was hierarchical; these hierarchies were traditional and self-perpetuating, that is, they supported and were supported by the mos maiorum. The pater familias, or head of household, held absolute authority over his familia, both an autonomous unit within society and a model for the social order, but he was expected to exercise this power with moderation and to act responsibly on behalf of his family; the risk and pressure of social censure if he failed to live up to expectations was a form of mos. The distinctive social relationship of ancient Rome was that between client. Although the obligations of this relationship were mutual, they were hierarchical.
The relationship was not a unit, but a network, as a patronus might himself be obligated to someone of higher status or greater power, a cliens might have more than one patron, whose interests might come into conflict. If the familia was the discrete unit underlying society, these interlocking networks countered that autonomy and created the bonds that made a complex society possible. Although one of the major spheres of activity within patron-client relations was the law courts, patronage was not itself a legal contract. Patronage served as a model when conquerors or governors abroad established personal ties as patron to whole communities, ties which might be perpetuated as a family obligation. In this sense, mos becomes less a matter of unchanging tradition than precedent. Roman conservatism finds succinct expression in an edict of the censors from 92 BC, as preserved by the 2nd-century historian Suetonius: "All new, done contrary to the usage and customs of our ancestors, seems not to be right."
However, because the mos maiorum was a matter of custom, not written law, the complex norms that it embodied evolved over time. The ability to preserve a strongly-centralised sense of identity while it adapted to changing circumstances permitted the expansionism that took Rome from city-state to world power; the preservation of the mos maiorum depended on consensus and moderation among the ruling elite whose competition for power and status threatened it. Democratic politics, driven by the charismatic appeal of individuals to the Roman people undermined the conservative principle of the mos; because the higher magistracies and priesthoods were the prerogative of the patricians, the efforts of plebeians for access could be cast as a threat to tradition. Reform was accomplished by legislation, written law replaced consensus; when plebeians gained admission to nearly all the highest offices, except for a few arcane priesthoods, the interests of plebeian families who ascended to the elite began to align with those of the patricians, creating Rome's nobiles, an elite social status of nebulous definition during the Republic.
The plebs and their support of popular politicians continued as a threat to the mos and elite consensus into the late Republic, as noted in the rhetoric of Cicero. The auctoritas maiorum could be evoked to validate social developments in the name of tradition. Following the collapse of the Roman Republic after the death of Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar disguised his radical program as piety toward the mos maiorum. During the transition to the Christian Empire, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus argued that Rome's continued prosperity and stability depended on preserving the mos maiorum, the early Christian poet Prudentius dismissed the blind adherence to tradition as "the superstition of old grandpas" and inferior to the new revealed truth of Christianity. After the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and ascension of the various Barbarian kingdoms, the old Roman mores were either superseded by or synthesized with the traditions of the Germanic elite and subsequent feudal values.
Traditional Roman values were essential to the mos maiorum: The Latin word fides encompasses several English words, such as trust/trustworthiness, good faith/faithfulness, confidence and credibility. It was an important concept in Roman law; the concept of fides was personified by the goddess Fides whose role in the mos maiorum is indicated by the antiquity of her cult. Her temple is dated from around 254 BC and was located on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, near the Temple of Jupiter. Pietas was the Roman attitude of dutiful respect towards the gods, homeland and family, which required the maintenance of relationships in a moral and dutiful manner. Cicero defined pietas as "justice towards the gods.” It went beyond sacrifice and correct ritual performance to inner devotion and righteousness of the individual, it was the cardinal virtue of the Roman hero Aeneas in Vergil's Aeneid. The use of the adjectival form Pius. Like Fides, Pietas was cultivated as a goddess, with a temple vowed to her in 191 BC and dedicated ten years later.
First Catilinarian conspiracy
The first Catilinarian conspiracy was a plot to murder the consuls of 65 BC and seize power. Historians consider it unlikely that Catiline would have been involved in the first Catilinarian conspiracy or, that the conspiracy existed at all. In all likelihood, Catiline was not involved in the so-called first Catilinarian conspiracy, although several historical sources implicate him in it. There does not seem to be a single account, represented in all of the sources: rather, it seems that the accounts represent a collection of rumors accusing different political figures in attempts to tarnish their names; as it pertains to Catiline, much of the information originates in Cicero’s speech In Toga Candida, given during his election campaign in 64 BC. Only fragments of this speech still exist, in the writing of Asconius Pedianus; the consuls-designate, Publius Autronius Paetus and Publius Cornelius Sulla, were prevented from entering office because of ambitus, electoral corruption, under the Lex Acilia Calpurnia.
Thus, the two other leading candidates, Lucius Manlius Torquatus and Lucius Aurelius Cotta, were elected in a second election and were to enter office on January 1, 65 BC. Catiline, incensed because he was not allowed to stand for the consulship, conspired with Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso and the former consuls-designate to slaughter many of the senators and the new consuls the day they assumed office, they would name themselves the consuls for the year and Piso would have been sent to organize the provinces in Hispania. Alternatively, Suetonius claims that Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus directed the conspiracy, but he fails to mention Catiline's involvement. Instead of assuming the consulship, Crassus is accused of planning to become dictator and intending to name Caesar magister equitum. In 62 BC, after Catiline's death, Cicero defended Publius Sulla in court after he was indicted for being a member of the second conspiracy. In order to free his client of implication in the first Catilinarian conspiracy, he places the blame on Catiline who, had waged war against the Republic in the previous months.
In the end, Publius Sulla was acquitted, Catiline's name was further tarnished, Cicero received a large loan to purchase a home. It is not clear who participated in this alleged conspiracy, as the different accounts accuse different people, but Catiline's association with it appears to have been developed after the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy. Cicero's accusations prior to 63 BC are unfounded, since Rome had no penalty for libel. Furthermore, Catiline had little motive to participate in this conspiracy since he had been denied little, he still held the aspiration of obtaining the consulship legitimately the next year, the conspiracy involved the murder of the consul, Manlius Torquatus, who supported Catiline. Seager, Robin. "The First Catilinarian Conspiracy", JSTOR, July, 1964. Retrieved March 17, 2013. Holmes, Patrick. "The'First' Catilinarian Conspiracy: A Further Re-examination of the Evidence", Reinvention: a Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2013
Temple of Castor and Pollux
The Temple of Castor and Pollux is an ancient temple in the Roman Forum, central Italy. It was built in gratitude for victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus. Castor and Pollux were the the "twins" of Gemini, the twin sons of Zeus and Leda, their cult came to Rome from the Greek culture of Southern Italy. The Roman temple is one of a number of known Dioscuri temples remaining from antiquity; the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, his allies, the Latins, waged war on the infant Roman Republic. Before the battle, the Roman dictator Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis vowed to build a temple to the Dioscuri if the Republic were victorious. According to legend Castor and Pollux appeared on the battlefield as two able horsemen in aid of the Republic; the temple stands on the supposed spot of their appearance. One of Postumius’ sons was elected duumvir in order to dedicate the temple on 15 July 484 BC. In Republican times the temple served as a meeting place for the Roman Senate, from the middle of the 2nd century BC the front of the podium served as a speaker's platform.
During the imperial period the temple housed the office for weights and measures, was a depository for the State treasury. The archaic temple was reconstructed and enlarged in 117 BC by Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus after his victory over the Dalmatians. Gaius Verres again restored this second temple in 73 BC. In 14 BC a fire that ravaged major parts of the forum destroyed the temple, Tiberius, the son of Livia by a previous marriage and adopted son of Augustus and the eventual heir to the throne, rebuilt it. Tiberius' temple was dedicated in 6 AD; the remains visible today are from the temple of Tiberius, except the podium, from the time of Metellus. According to Edward Gibbon, the temple of Castor served as a secret meeting place for the Roman Senate. Frequent meetings of the Senate are reported by Cicero, he said the senate was roused to rebellion against Emperor Maximinus Thrax and in favor of future emperor Gordian I at the Temple of Castor in 237 AD. If still in use by the 4th-century, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire.
The temple was already falling apart in the fourth century, when a wall in front of the Lacus Juturnae was erected from reused material. Nothing is known of its subsequent history, except that in the 15th century, only three columns of its original structure were still standing; the street running by the building was called via Trium Columnarum. In 1760, the Conservatori, finding the columns in a state of imminent collapse, erected scaffolding for effecting repairs. Both Piranesi and the young English architect George Dance the Younger were able to climb up and make accurate measurements. Today the podium survives without the facing, as do the three columns and a piece of the entablature, one of the most famous features in the Forum; the octastyle temple was peripteral, with eight Corinthian columns at the short sides and eleven on the long sides. There was a single cella paved with mosaics; the podium measures 7 m in height. The building was constructed in opus caementicium and covered with slabs of tuff which were removed.
According to ancient sources, the temple had a single central stairway to access the podium, but excavations have identified two side stairs. The temple complex was excavated and studied between 1983 and 1989 by a joint archaeological mission of the Nordic academies in Rome, led by Inge Nielsen and B. Poulsen; the Roman temple is one of a number of known Dioscuri sites remaining from antiquity. Among others, the Baroque basilica church of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples is built on the site of a Temple of Castor and Pollux, its porch and pediment survived until the 1688 Sannio earthquake. The vanished Anakeion near the Acropolis in Athens was a Dioscuri temple. Writing in about 150 AD, Pausanias described it as ancient. Pausanias identified another temple in Argos depicting Castor and Pollux, their sons Anaxias and Mnasinus, their wives Hilaeira and Phoebe; the extensive ruins of the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento, include the site of another Temple of the Dioscuri. In his 1888 description of the Dioscuri temple in ancient Greek colonial city of Naucratis in Egypt, Ernest Arthur Gardner remarked that such temples were common enough to have a characteristic orientation.
Temples to the gods tended to face east. Temples to heroes and demi-gods such as Castor and Pollux faced west. Aedes Castoris in Foro Romano
The Parthian Empire known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran; the empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians adopted the art, religious beliefs, royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. The court did appoint a small number of satraps outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris, although several other sites served as capitals; the earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients; the Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius.
Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman–Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources.
These include Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources. Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae; the Parni most spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia. The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, the Seleucid empires. After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Greek, Babylonian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain.
A. D. H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated his regnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased. However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. Homa Katouzian and Gene Ralph Garthwaite claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis and Maria Brosius state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC, it is unclear who succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC, yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC, Brosius in 217 BC. Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is "the first established regnal date of Parthian history."
Due to these and other discrepancies
Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis. Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. During the early empire, the Roman army in Syria accounted for three legions with auxiliaries, they defended the border with Parthia. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis around 34 AD. Syrian province forces were directly engaged in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 AD. In 66 AD, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order in Judaea and quell the revolt.
The legion, was ambushed and destroyed by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership. The future emperor Vespasian was put in charge of subduing the Jewish revolt. In the summer of 69, with the Syrian units supporting him, launched his bid to become Roman emperor, he defeated his rival Vitellius and ruled as emperor for ten years when he was succeeded by his son Titus. Based on an inscription recovered from Dor in 1948, Gargilius Antiquus was known to have been the governor of a province in the eastern part of the Empire Syria, between his consulate and governing Asia. In November 2016, an inscription in Greek was recovered off the coast of Dor by Haifa University underwater archaeologists, which attests that Antiquus was governor of the province of Judea between 120 and 130 prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt. Syria Palæstina was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135; the Syria-based legion took part in the quelling of the revolt in 132–136, in the aftermath, the emperor Hadrian added the depopulated province of Judea to the province of Syria thus forming Syria-Palaestina.
The governor of Syria retained the civil administration of the whole large province undiminished, held for long alone in all Asia a command of the first rank. It was only in the course of the second century that a diminution of his prerogatives occurred, when Hadrian took one of the four legions from the governor of Syria and handed it over to the governor of Palestine, it was Severus who at length withdrew the first place in the Roman military hierarchy from the Syrian governor. After having subdued the province amidst resistance from the capital Antioch in particular, he ordained its partition into a northern and a southern half, gave to the governor of the former, called Coele-Syria, two legions, to the governor of the latter, the province of Syro-Phoenicia, one legion; the emperor Septimius Severus divided up Roman Syria in the fashion it would remain until the rule of the Tetrarchs. Under his reign it was divided into three parts, Coele Syria in the north with Antioch as its provincial capital, Syria Phoenice with Tyre as the provincial capital and in the south Syria Palestina with Caesarea Maritima as the provincial capital.
From the 2nd century, the Roman Senate included several notable Syrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius. Syria was of crucial strategic importance during the Crisis of the Third Century. In 244 AD, Rome was ruled by a native Syrian from Philippopolis in the province of Arabia Petraea; the emperor was Marcus Iulius Philippus, more known as Philip the Arab. Philip became the 33rd emperor of Rome upon its millennial celebration. Roman Syria was invaded in 252/253 after a Roman field army was destroyed in the battle of Barbalissos by the King of Persia Shapur I which left the Euphrates river unguarded and the region was pillaged by the Persians. In 259/260 a similar event happened when Shapur I again defeated a Roman field army and captured the Roman emperor, alive at the battle of Edessa. Again Roman Syria suffered as cities were captured and pillaged. From 268 to 273, Syria was part of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire. Following the reforms of Diocletian, Syria Coele became part of the Diocese of Oriens.
Sometime between 330 and 350, the province of Euphratensis was created out of the territory of Syria Coele along the western bank of the Euphrates and the former realm of Commagene, with Hierapolis as its capital. After c. 415 Syria Coele was further subdivided into Syria I, with the capital remaining at Antioch, Syria II or Syria Salutaris, with capital at Apamea on the Orontes. In 528, Justinian I carved out the small coastal province Theodorias out of territory from both provinces; the region remained one of the most important provinces of the Byzantine Empire. It was occupied by the Sassanids between 609 and 628 recovered by the emperor Heraclius, but lost again to the advancing Muslims after the battle of Yarmouk and the fall of Antioch; the city of Antioch was recovered by Nikephorus Phocas in 963 AD, along with other parts of the country, at that time under the Hamdanids, although still under the official suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphs and claimed by the Fatimid caliphs. After emperor John Kurkuas's failed to recover Syria up to Jerusalem a Muslim "reconquest" of Syria followed in the late 970s undertaken by the Fatimid caliphate which resulted in the o
The First Triumvirate was an informal alliance between three prominent Roman politicians: Julius Caesar and Crassus, at the end of the Roman Republic. The constitution of the Roman Republic was a complex set of checks and balances designed to prevent a man from rising above the rest and creating a monarchy. In order to bypass these constitutional obstacles, Caesar and Crassus forged a secret alliance in which they promised to use their respective influence to help each other. According to Goldsworthy, the alliance was "not at heart a union of those with the same political ideals and ambitions", but one where "all seeking personal advantage." As the nephew of Gaius Marius, Caesar was at the time well connected with the Populares faction, which pushed for social reforms. He was moreover Pontifex Maximus—the most important priest of the Roman religion—and could influence politics, notably through the interpretation of the auspices. Pompey was recognised as the greatest military leader of the time, having notably won the wars against Sertorius, Mithridates and the Cilician Pirates.
Crassus was known for his fabulous wealth. Both Pompey and Crassus had extensive patronage networks; the alliance was cemented with the mariage of Pompey with Caesar's daughter Julia in 59 BC. Thanks to this alliance, Caesar thus received an extraordinary command over Gaul and Illyria for five years, so he could start his conquest of Gaul. In 56 BC the Triumvirate was renewed at the Lucca conference, in which the triumvirs agreed to share the Roman provinces between them; the latter embarked into an expedition against the Parthians to match Caesar's victories in Gaul, but died in the disastrous defeat of Carrhae in 53 BC. The death of Crassus ended the Triumvirate, left Caesar and Pompey facing each other. Pompey sided with the Optimates, the conservative faction opposed to the Populares—supported by Caesar—and fought Caesar in the senate. In 49 BC, once the conquest of Gaul complete, Caesar refused to release his legions and instead invaded Italy from the north by crossing the Rubicon with his army.
The following civil war led to Caesar's victory over Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC and the latter's assassination in Ptolemaic Egypt where he fled after the battle. In 44 BC Caesar was assassinated in Rome and the following year his heir Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. In the background of the formation of this alliance were the frictions between two political factions of the Late Republic, the populares and optimates; the former drew support from the plebeians. They espoused policies addressing the problems of the urban poor and promoted reforms that would help them redistribution of land for the landless poor and farm and debt relief, it challenged the power the nobiles exerted over Roman politics through the senate, the body that represented its interests. The Optimates were an anti-reform conservative faction that favoured the nobles, wanted to limit the power of the plebeian tribunes and the Plebeian Council and strengthen the power of the senate.
Julius Caesar was a leading figure of the populares. The origin of the process that led to Caesar seeking the alliance with Pompey and Crassus traces back to the Second Catilinarian conspiracy, which occurred three years earlier in 63 BC when Marcus Tullius Cicero was one of the two consuls. In 66 BC Catiline, the leader of the plot, presented his candidacy for the consulship, but he was charged with extortion and his candidacy was disallowed because he announced it too late. In 65 BC he was brought to trial along with other men who had carried out killings during the proscriptions of Lucius Cornelius Sulla when the dictator had declared many of his political opponents enemies of the state, he received the support of many prominent men and he was acquitted through bribery. In 63 BC Catiline was a candidate for the consulship again, he presented himself as the champion of debtors. Catiline was defeated again and Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius Hybrida were elected, he plotted a coup d'état together with a group of fellow aristocrats and disaffected veterans as a means of preserving his dignitas.
One of the conspirators, Gaius Manlius, assembled an army in Etruria and civil unrest was prepared in various parts of Italy. Catiline was to lead the conspiracy in Rome, which would have involved arson and the murder of senators, he was to join Manlius in a march on Rome. The plot was to start with the murder of Cicero. Cicero discovered this, exposed the conspiracy, produced evidence for the arrest of five conspirators, he had them executed without trial with the backing of a final decree of the Senate – a decree the senate issued at times of emergency. This was done. Julius Caesar opposed this measure; when Catiline heard of this he led his forces in Pistoria with the intention of escaping to northern Italy. He was defeated; the summary executions were an expedient to discourage further violence. However, this measure, an unprecedented assertion of senatorial power over the life and death of Roman citizens, backfired for the optimates, it was seen by some as a violation of the rig
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement, it was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches, he was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on The Rostra. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume and Edmund Burke was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history the last days of the Roman Republic. Cicero was born in 106 BC in a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome, he belonged to the tribus Cornelia. His father possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter. Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans chose down-to-earth personal surnames.
The famous family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus and Catulus. During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers and historians. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience, it was his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite. Cicero's interest in philosophy figured in his career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy, founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome.
Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato's philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Titus Pomponius; the latter two became Cicero's friends for life, Pomponius would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Asia Minor and Rhodes; this was to avoid the potential wrath of Sulla, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his p