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The Life of Cicero
Volume One

written by "Trollope, Anthony, 1815-1882"
...re cœpimus,"44 "The Republic having been restored, I then first applied myself to pleadings, both private and public." Of Cicero's politics at that time we are enabled to form a 55fair judgment. Marius had been his townsman; Sulla had been his captain. But the one thing dear to him was the Republic—what he thought to be the Republic. He was neither Marian nor Sullan. The turbulence in which so much noble blood had flowed—the "crudelis interitus oratorum," the crushing out of the old legalized form of government—was abominable to him. It was his hope, no doubt his expectation, that these old forms should be restored in all their power. There seemed to be more probability of this—there was more probability of it—on the side of Sulla than the other. On Sulla's side was Pompey, the then rising man, who, being of the same age with Cicero, had already pushed himself into prominence, who was surnamed the Great, and who "triumphed" during these very two years in which Cicero began his career; who through Cicero's whole life was his bugbear, his stumbling-block, and his mistake. But on that side were the "optimates," the men who, if they did not lead, ought to lead the Republic; those who, if they were not respectable, ought to be so; those who, if they did not love their country, ought to love it. If there was a hope, it was with them. The old state of things—that oligarchy which has been called a Republic—had made Rome what it was; had produced power, civilization, art, and literature. It had enabled such a one as Cicero was himself to aspire to lead, though he had been humbly born, and had come to Rome from an untried provincial family. To him the Republic—as he fancied that it had been, as he fancied that it might be—was all that was good, all that was gracious, all that was beneficent. On Sulla's side lay what chance there was of returning to the old ways. When Sulla was declar...

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