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BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.

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VICERO (Marcus Tullius), was one of the greatest men

of antiquity, whether we consider him as an orator, a ftatesman, or a philosopher. He was born Jan. 3, in the 647th year of Rome, about 107 years before Christ. His mother's name was Helvia, who was rich and well descended. As to his father's family, nothing was delivered of it but in extremes : which is not to be wondered at in the history of a man, whose life was so exposed to envy, as Cicero's, and who fell a victim at last to the power of his enemies. Some derive his descent from kings, others from mechanics : but the truth, as it commonly happens in such cases, lay between both : for his family, though it had never borne any of the great offices of the republic, was yet very ancient and honourable; of principal distinction and nobility in that part of Italy in which it resided; and of equestrian rank, from its first admission to the freedom of Rome. The place of his birth was Arpinum; a city anciently of the Samnites, now part of the kingdom of Naples. It had the honour also of producing the great C. Marius ; which gave occasion to Pompey to say in a public speech, that Rome was indebted to this corporation for two citizens, who had, each in his turn, preserved it from ruin. The territory of Arpinum was rude and mountainous, to which Cicero applies Homer's description of Ithaca :

'Tis rough indeed, yet breeds a generous race. The family seat was about three miles from the town, in a Vol. IV.

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situation extremely pleasant, and well adapted to the nature

of the climate. It was surrounded with groves and shady walks, leading from the house to a river, called Fibrenus; which was divided irito two equal streams by a little island, covered with trees and a portico, contrived both for study and exercise, whither Cicero used to retire, when he had any particular work upon his hands. The clearness and rapidity of the stream, murmuring through a rocky channel; the shade and verdure of its banks, planted with tall poplars; the remarkable coldness of the water; and, above all, its falling by a cascade into the nobler river Liris, a little below the illand, presents us with the idea of a most beautiful scene. This is the description which Cicero himself has, in several parts of his works, given of the place. But there cannot be a better proof of its delightfulness, than that it is now pofseffed by a convent of monks, and called the Villa of St. Dominic. Upon which the fine writer of his life could not forbear crying out, “ Strange revolution ! to see Cicero's porticos converted to monkish cloisters! the feat of the most refined reason, wit, and learning, to a nursery of superstition, bigotry, and enthusiasm! What a pleasure,” says he “must it give to these Dominican inquisitors, to trample on the ruins of a jnan,.whole writings; by spreading the light of reafon and liberty: through:the world, have been one great instrú-ment of obstructing their mwearied pains to enslave it !”

He was educated at Rone with his cousins, the young Aculeos, in a method approved and directed by L. Crassus, and placed there in a public schvol. order an ệminent greek master; which was thought the best way of educating one, who was designed to appear on the public stage, and who, as Quintilian observes,

ought to be so bred, as not to fear the sight of men; since that can never be rightly learned in solitude, which is to be produced before crowds.” Cicero's father, encouraged by the promising genius of his son, fpared no cost nor pains to improve it by the help of the ableit masters; and among the other instructors of his early youth, put him under the care of the poet Archias, who came to Rome with an high reputation for learning and poetry, when Cicero was about five years old ; and who was afterwards defended by Cicero in a moft elegant oration, which is still extant.

After finishing the course of these puerile studies, he took the manly gown, or the ordinary robe of the citizens, which in his time it was usual to do at the age of 16: and being then introduced into the forum, was placed under the care of Q. Mucius Scævola the augur, the principal lawyer as well as ftatesman of that age ; and after his death applied himself to another of the fame family, Scævola the high priest; a person of equal character for probity and Ikill in the law. Under

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these masters he acquired a complete knowledge of the laws of his country: a foundation useful to all who design to enter into public affairs; and thought to be of such consequence at Rome, that it was the common exercise of boys at school, to learn the laws of the 12 tables by heart, as they did their poets and classic authors. In the mean time he did not neglect his poetical studies, which he had pursued under Archias : for he now translated " Aratus on the phenomena of the heavens," into latin verse, of which many fragments are still extant; and published also an original poem of the heroic kind, in honour of his countryman C. Marius. This was much admired and often read by Atticus ; and old Scævola was so pleased with it, that in the epigram, which he seems to have made upon it, he declares, that it would live as long as the roman name and learn ing sublisted. Some have been ready to think, that Cicero's poetical genius would not have been inferior to his oratorial, if it had been cultivated with the same diligence: but this perhaps we shall do well to attribute to that fondness for a favourite character, which will not suffer us to deny it any pefection or accomplishment. “Non omnes poffumus omnia,” is a truth which may be applied to the greatest genius that ever was born; and which, if it had been considered a little more than it has been, would have prevented many even of uncommon abilities, from making themselves ridiculous, by pretending to qualities which they have not pofseffed. There seems to have been something in Cicero too copious and exuberant, ever to have submitted to that discipline and correctness which poetry requires; and though he is said to have had the honour of correcting Lucretius's poem, yet it is certain, that all his own productions in this way were entirely eclipsed by those of the succeeding generation, and treated even with some degree of contempt.

The peace of Rome being now disturbed by a domestic war, which writers call the Italic, Social, or Marfic; Cicero took the opportunity of making a campaign, and served as a volunteer under Sylla. For though he had not much of the warlike in his make, and therefore, as we may suppose, would not be urged very powerfully by his natural inclination into such fort of scenes, yet even those, who applied themselves to the peaceful studies, and the management of civil affairs at Rome, were obliged to acquire a competent share of military skill, for the fake of governing provinces and commanding armies, to which they all succeeded of course from the administration of the great offices of state. Cicero's attention and pains however were chiefly employed in improving himself in those studies, which conduced to perfect him in the arts of peace. He was constant in his at. tendance upon orators and philosophers; resumed his oratorial

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studies under Molo the Rhodian, who was one of the princi. pal orators of that age; and is supposed to have written those rhetorical pieces on the subject of invention, which he afterwards condemned, and retracted in his advanced age, as unworthy of his maturer judgement. He became the scholar of Philo the academic; studied logic with Diodorus the stoic; and declaimed daily in latin and greek with his fellow students M. Piso and Q. Pompeius, who were a little older than himself, and with whom he had contracted an intimate friendship. And that he might neglect nothing which could any ways contribute to his perfection, he spent the intervals of his leisure in the company of ladies; such at least, as were remarkable for their politeness and knowledge of the fine arts : in which he Thould be imitated and followed by the learned and philosophers of every age ; such sort of converse being indeed the best, I had almost said, the only means of reforming that pedantry, and brushing off that ruft which men are apt to contract from a life of solitude and study.

Cicero had now run through all that course of discipline, which he lays down as neceflary to form the complete orator; and perfe&tly accomplished, he offered himself to the bar at the age of 26; he unilertakes the cause of P. Quinctius, and de. fends S. Rofcius of Ameria, in a manner which gained him the applause of the whole city-the same age, as the learned have observed, in which Demosthenes first began to distinguish himself in Athens; as if, in these geniuses of the first magnitude, that was the proper season of blooming towards maturity.

He was 28 years old, when he set forward upon his travels to Greece and Asia; the fashionable tour of all those, who travelled either for curiosity or improvement. His first visit was to Athens, the capital seat of arts and sciences; where he met with his school-fellow T. Pomponius, who, from his love to Athens, and his spending a great part of his days in it, obtained the surname of Atticus: and here they revived and confirmed that memorable friendship which sublisted between them through life, with so celebrated a constancy and affection. From Athens he passed into Asia, and after an excursion of two years, came back again to Italy. This voyage of Cicero ieems to be the only scheme and pattern of travelling, from which any real benetit is to be expected. He did not ftir abroad till he had completed his education at home; for nothing can be more pernicious to a nation, than the necessity of a foreign one. He had acquired in his own country whatever was proper to form a worthy citizen and magistrate ; and therefore went, confirmed by a maturity of age and reason against the impreslions of rice, not so much to learn, as to polish what he had learned, los visiting those places where arts and sciences flourished in their

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greatest perfection ; and he staid no where any longer than his benefit, not his pleasure, detained him. Hence at length he returned, poffeffed of every accomplishment, which could improve and adorn a man of sense.

Cicero was now arrived at Rome, and after one year more spent at the bar, obtained in the next place the dignity of quæso : tor. Among the causes which he pleaded before his quæstorship was that of the famous comedian Roscius, whom a fingular merit in his art had recommended to the familiarity and friendship of the greatest men in Rome. The quæstors were the general receivers or treasurers of the republic, and were fent annually into the provinces distributed to them, as they always were, by lot. The island of Sicily happened to fall to Cicero's share; and that part of it, for it was thought considerable enough to be divided into two provinces, which was called Lilybæum. This office he received not as a gift, but a trust; and he acquitted himself so extremely well in it, that he gained the love and admiration of all the Sicilians. In the hours of leisure from his provincial affairs he employed him

very diligently, as he used to do at Rome, in his rhetorical ftudies. Before he left Sicily, he made the tour of the island to see every thing in it that was curious, and especially the city of Syracuse; where he discovered the tomb of Archimedes to the magiftrates who were shewing him the curiosities of the place, but who, to his surprise, knew nothing at all of any such tomb. He came away from Sicily, highly pleased with the success of his administration, and flattering himself that all Rome was celebrating his praises, and that the people would grant him whatever he should defire. In this imagination he landed at Puteoli, a considerable port adjoining to Baixe, where was a perpetual resort of the rich and great, as well for the delights of its situation, as the use of its baths and hot waters. But here, as he himself pleasantly tells the story, he was not a little mortified by the first friend he met: who asked him, “ how long he had left Rome, and what news there? when he answered, that he came from the provinces : From Afric, I suppose, says another : and upon his replying with some indignation, No, I come from Sicily; a third, who stood by, and · had a mind to be thought wiser, said presently, How ! did not

you know that Cicero was quæstor of Syracuse ? Upon which, perceiving it in vain to be angry, he fell into the 'humour of the place, and made himself one of the company who came to the waters.”

We have no account of the precise time of Cicero's marriage with Terentia, but it is supposed to have been celebrated immediately after his return from his travels to Italy, when he was about 30 years old. He was now disengaged from his B3

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