How Extraordinary Were Cicero's Achievements?

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How extraordinary were Cicero’s achievements in the years 76BC to 63 BC? Marcus Tillius Cicero. We know more about this man than any other in ancient history. Partially on account of his natural abilities and partly on account of the times in which he lived, has left a name associated with some of the most important events in the history of the world. With his brilliant oratory skills, it is no coincidence that Cicero climbed to the top of the Cursus Honorum in the years of 76-63BC despite his lack of noble support and “new man” status. His oratory along with the clever support in which he gained put Cicero in the most important job in Rome, but just how extraordinary was this great feat? From birth Cicero’s career was at a disadvantage. Born in the town of Arpinum, 70 miles South East of Rome, Cicero was not classed as being truly Roman and often was referred to as an “immlgrant”. Although it was possible to succeed if you came from a town like Arpinum, Cicero had another piece of the political jigsaw missing; he was not born into the elite social class- the nobiles. Although Cicero’s own family were well off respectable people, none of them had a place in the Senate. The Senate consisted of the nobiles and very were jealous about who joined their prestigious ranks. Cicero’s main goal in life was to become Consul. This was going to be another problem for Cicero as all consulships had been held by the top 20 families in Rome, something he was not part of. Much of the reason for the top 20 families being elected was their patron client networks. These networks consisted of rich upper class Romans (patrons) who had poor Romans (clients) dependant on them as a means to survive, in return for food and money the clients would vote for whoever their patron asked. As we all know Cicero did achieve his consulship dream, yet he done it with the “New Man” status. This

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