Cicero's Defending The Republic

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Before judging how vigorously Cicero defended the republic we must establish what he actually did in an attempt to defend the republic. Between 55 BC and 52 BC Cicero was largely out of politics however he was called upon to govern Cilicia in 51 BC to help establish a newly passed law that stated there must be a five-year gap between holding office and taking up a provincial command. Though perhaps the greatest act was his passive opposition to Caesar in order to stay loyal to Pompey and thus the republic as Caesar himself was a reformer. Cicero very rarely liked being out of Rome, even hated being out of Rome at points; he intended to be where the political action was –in Rome. However when he was called upon to govern Cilicia after…show more content…
Pompey was pro-republic and thus Cicero ended up taking his side, we know Cicero felt he had a duty to the republic because of his writings (De re publica) and clearly his refusal to stay neutral was of no surprise to many, even Caesar. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BCE, Cicero fled Rome, but remained in Italy. Caesar continuously wrote Cicero, hoping to woo the popular and respected former consul to his camp, but Cicero refused to yield. By 48 BCE, Cicero had joined the Pompeians at Pharsalus. Clearly this was quite a vigorous act, Cicero undertook this in full knowledge it could perhaps lead to his death as Caesar’s army, though lacking numbers, was full of war veterans. However one could call this acting against the republic, as Cicero spent more time with Pompey and his legions it was clear that the upkeep of the republic was not the motive of war but defeating Caesar was. He quarrelled with several of the more prominent Pompeian commanders over their eagerness to shed Roman blood. In Cicero’s opinion, the Pompeians had lost all sense of perspective in their lust to destroy…show more content…
Under Caesar’s rule, Cicero turned inward, focusing his efforts on writing for the future. As he explained to Marcus Terentius Varro (a surviving leader of one of Pompey’s legions) in a letter in 46 BC, “I advise you to do what I am advising myself – avoid being seen, even if we cannot avoid being talked about…. If our voices are no longer heard in the Senate and in the Forum, let us follow the example of the ancient sages and serve our country through our writings, concentrating on questions of ethics and constitutional law.” One could call this vigorous acting if we take Cicero’s circumstances into account. He was under house arrest for the most part and unable to speak in public unless called to do so; instead of focusing on the lost republic of now he focused on the future of the republic via his writings; defending the republic not just from Caesar but from many others in the future was an extremely smart ploy and he made the best of a bad situation. Concluding, the vigorousness of Cicero’s actions to defend the republic from individuals was not a constant and changed regularly throughout the period of time. Though it seemed his refusal to stay neutral at the time and support Pompey was in defence of the republic against Caesar its clear this turned out to be the wrong choice. Cicero could have perhaps done a lot more had

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