Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 BCE – 43 BCE

Bust of Cicero

 

Father – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Mother – Helvia
Spouse – Terentia, Publilia
Children – Marcus, Tullia

 

 

Please note: we have chosen to use the new format BCE (before common era) rather than the old BC (before Christ) 

EARLY YEARS
106 BCE (3rd January)
Cicero was born Marcus Tullius Cicero at Arpinum, south east of Rome. His father, Marcus Tullius Cicero, was an equestrian while his mother, Helvia was a good organiser.
104 – 102 BCE (around)
Cicero’s brother, Quintus, was born.
100 BCE
The young Cicero was given a basic education by his father.
95 – 90 BCE (around)
Marcus Tullius Cicero and his brother Quintus were taken to Rome to further their education in Greek, Latin, Philosophy, Rhetoric, Law and Literature. They lodged in the house of Lucius Licinius Crassus, (consul of Rome in 95 BCE). Being in Rome also offered far better future prospects than living in the provinces.
YOUNG ADULT
90 BCE (17th March)
Cicero received the toga virilis (toga of manhood) upon reaching the age of sixteen. He now lodged with Scaevola.
90-88 BCE (during)
Social Wars
Marcus Tullius Cicero Served in the army under Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, father of Pompey the Great.
84 BCE (during)
Cicero wrote ‘De Inventione’ a series of essays on rhetoric.
83 BCE (during)
Cicero began working as a lawyer in Rome.
81 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Quinctio’ on behalf of Publius Quintius.
80 BCE (during)
Marcus Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Roscio Amerino’ on behalf of Roscius of Ameria who was accused of murdering his father. Cicero’s defence was successful and Roscius of Ameria was acquitted.
79 BCE (during)
Marcus Tullius Cicero married Terentia daughter of a Patrician.
79-77 BCE (during)
Cicero studied Rhetoric in Athens and Rhodes.
77 BCE (during)
Cicero returned to law and made the speech ‘Pro Q. Roscio Comoedo’ on behalf of his friend, the comic actor Roscius, who was seeking compensation after a slave that he was teaching to be an actor was killed. It had been agreed that Roscius and the slave’s owner would split all future earnings of the slave once he was working as an actor.
PUBLIC OFFICE
75 BCE (during)
Marcus Tullius Cicero was appointed quaestor for western Sicily
70 BCE (date unknown)
Made his speech ‘Divinatio in Q. Caecilium In Verrem’ arguing that he, Cicero, would be a better prosecutor in the trial of Verres than Quintus Caecilius. Verres was a Roman magistrate in Sicily who was being tried for mismanagement of the province. Verres was represented by Quintus Hortensius Hortalus one of the most notable orators/lawyers of the time. After Cicero took and won the case he took that position.
69 BCE (during)
Cicero was appointed one of the four Aediles.
69 BCE (during)
Cicero successfully defended Aulus Caecina.
67 BCE (during)
Lex Gabinia
This law, proposed by Aulus Gabinius, tribune of the Plebs, granted Pompey extraordinary proconsular powers in any region within 50 miles of the Mediterranean Sea. The move was introduced to allow Pompey to deal with pirates that were patrolling the Mediterranean Sea.
66 BCE (during)
Cicero was appointed Praetor.
66 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Lege Manilia’ in support of the Manilian law which extended Pompey’s command of the army enabling him to fight and defeat Mithridates.
65 BCE (during)
Lucius Sergius Catilina was facing extortion charges for his governorship of Africa but was acquitted by a jury that may have been bribed.
64 or 65 BCE (during)
A son, Marcus, was born to Cicero and Terentia.
63 BCE (during)
Cicero was appointed Consul over Lucius Catilina who has stood against him.
63 BCE (during)
Catiline Conspiracy
Cicero uncovered a plot to assassinate him and overthrow the Roman Republic. The leader of the conspiracy was Lucius Sergius Catilina. Cicero made four powerful speeches known collectively as ‘In Catilinam, Pro Murena’, denouncing Catilina and causing him to flee Rome. After the seizure of letters incriminating all members of the conspiracy the Senate debated what should be done with the conspirators. Cicero argued for the death penalty while others including Julius Caesar argued for life imprisonment. The death penalty advocates won and the conspirators were strangled. However, they had not had a proper trial.
63 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro C. Rabirio’ in defence of Gaius Rabirius. Rabirius was a senator who had been responsible for the death of Lucius Appuleius Saturninus in 100 BCE. Julius Caesar persuaded Titus Labienus, whose uncle had been killed for being a follower of Saturninus, to bring a case against Rabirius for the murder of Saturninus and his uncle. Although Rabirius was condemned Metellus Celer removed the flag in Janiculum thereby postponing the trial.
62 BCE (during)
The Bona Dea scandal
Bona Dea was a yearly event whereby the Vestal Virgins and a number of notable Patrician women held a secret rite to Bona Dea. The event was being hosted by Caesar’s wife Pompeia and men were strictly forbidden from attending. However, a tall unknown woman was seen at the event and it was widely assumed that the unknown woman was in fact a man, Publius Clodius Pulcher. Rumours abounded that Clodius was having an affair with Pompeia and Caesar divorced her.
61 BCE (during)
Publius Clodius Pulcher was tried for sacrilege for attending the Bona Dea rite dressed as a woman. Clodius claimed that he had an alibi but Cicero, who was acting as Prosecutor easily dismissed the alibi. Nevertheless Clodius was acquitted by a jury that had probably been bribed. Clodius, a powerful citizen became Cicero’s enemy.
FIRST TRIUMVIRATE
61 BCE (during)
The first triumvirate was formed by Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Cicero was invited to join but declined the offer.
59 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Flacco’ in defence of Lucius Valerius Flaccus who was accused of mismanagement of the province of Asia.
59 BCE (during)
Julius Caesar proposed a new set of Agrarian Laws whereby wasteland in Italy to Pompey’s soldiers and homeless poor people. This move was in part made by Caesar to keep Pompey on side and also to increase his own popularity. The move was opposed by Cato and Cicero and was vetoed by the Senate. However, Caesar ignored the Senate’s veto, took the bill to the people and passed it into law.
58 BCE (during)
Gallic Wars
Julius Caesar began fighting the Gallic tribes for control of Gaul. Cicero supported Caesar’s war.
58 BCE (May)
Clodius accused Cicero of killing Roman citizens following the Catiline conspiracy without a trial. A few months earlier Clodius, tribune of the Plebs, had introduced a new law stating that anyone who killed a Roman citizen without a trial should be exiled. Cicero was duly exiled and went to Greece. His house and land were confiscated and destroyed. A monument to liberty built on the site.
57 BCE (August)
Cicero returned to Rome. He was helped by a number of people including Pompey.
57 BCE (September)
Cicero made the speech ‘De Domo Sua’ to the college of Pontiffs, arguing for the return of his house and land. He won the case and his land was restored to him.
57 BCE (September)
Cicero made the speech ‘Post Reditum ad Quirites’ to the citizens of Rome after his return from exile.
57 BCE (September)
Cicero made the speech ‘Post Reditum ad Senatum’ to the Senate after his return from exile.
57 BCE (during)
Cicero became increasingly opposed to the actions of Julius Caesar. He still hoped that Rome could return to being a Republic. Pompey and Crassus were also increasingly concerned about the popularity of Caesar among the citizens of Rome and the First Triumvirate was at risk of falling apart.
57 BCE or 56 BCE (during)
The Tribune Rutilius Lupus spoke to the Senate concerning the Campanian land. The Campanian land was rich and fertile and had been a source of income to the treasury prior to Caesar’s Agrarian Land Act. Although no action was taken there continued to be discontent regarding this stretch of land. Cicero proposed that a debate concerning the Campanian land should be held by the Senate on 15th May 56BCE.
56 BCE (March)
Cicero made a speech ‘Pro Sestio’ in support of Publius Sestius who had helped secure Cicero’s return from exile and who was now accused of political violence.
56 BCE (April)
Luca Conference
This conference, called by Julius Caesar and held at Luca was attended by Julius Caesar, Pompey Magnus and Crassus. An agreement was reached whereby Caesar’s governorship of Gaul was extended for a further five years, Pompey and Crassus would be elected as Consuls from 55 BCE and would afterwards be given the provinces of Spain and Syria respectively. Cicero played no part in the conference.
56 BCE (4th April)
Made speech ‘Pro Caelio’ in support of Marcus Caelius Rufus who was accused of political violence. Cicero successfully defended him against the prosecution of Clodius and Balbus.
56 BCE (after April)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Balbo’ in support of Cornelius Balbus who was accused of falsely obtaining Roman citizenship.
56 BCE (after April)
Cicero voted in favour of allocating more money and soldiers to support Julius Caesar’s Gallic wars.
56 BCE (after April)
Cicero made a palinode, a recantation of earlier statements which was in effect a peace with Caesar. This is thought to be a part of the series of speeches ‘Provinciis Consularibus’.
54 BCE (during)
Cicero spoke against Gabinius who was charged with treason. While he had been governor of Syria, Gabinius had gone to Egypt to restore Ptolemy to the throne without the permission of the Senate. Gabinius was acquitted on this charge. However, he was also charged with extortion and for this charge Cicero spoke in his defence. Pompey and Julius Caesar also spoke on behalf of Gabinius but the jury found him guilty and he was exiled.
54 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Rabirio Postumo’ in defence of Gaius Rabirius Postumus. Ptolemy had promised to pay the Roman army a sum of money if they would help restore him to his throne. Such a payment was illegal. Gaius Rabirius Postumus was a financier who had gone to Egypt to collect the payment of money from Ptolemy on behalf of himself and others who were owed money by the Egyptian King. When Postumus returned to Rome he was put on trial.
54 BCE (during)
Cicero began writing ‘De Rupublica’ (On the Republic)
54 BCE (Autumn)
Caesar’s daughter, Julia, wife of Pompey, died in childbirth. The marriage had held the alliance between Caesar and Pompey together.
54 BCE- 52 BCE (during)
The gangs of Milo and Clodius began fighting against each other and Clodius was murdered by slaves loyal to Milo.
53 BCE (June)
Crassus was killed while fighting in the east.
LATER YEARS
52 BCE (during)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Milone’ in defence of Milo who was charged with the murder of Clodius. However, despite Cicero’s assertion that Milo acted in self defence he was found guilty and exiled.
51 BCE (during)
Cicero’s ‘De Rupublica’ (On the Republic) was published.
51 BCE (during)
Cicero wrote ‘De Legibus’ (On the Laws). The work was published in four books which take the form of a dialogue between Cicero, his brother Quintus and their friend Atticus and describe what Cicero thinks the laws of Rome should be and how they should operate.
51 BCE (during)
Cicero served as proconsul of Cilicia.
50 BCE (Summer)
Cicero returned to Rome.
50 BCE (during)
Tensions increased between Pompey and Caesar over Julius Caesar’s continued presence in Gaul. The Gallic Wars had been won at the Battle of Alesia in 52 BCE and Caesar’s extended governorship of Gaul had come to an end.
49 BCE (10th January)
Civil War between Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus erupted when Caesar, accompanied by the thirteenth legion crossed the Rubicon and marched on Rome. Pompey and the Senate fled Rome. Pompey went to Brundisium in Southern Italy. Cicero went to Formiae. Cicero later wrote criticising Pompey’s decisions to flee Julius Caesar’s advance.
49 BCE (21st January)
Cicero wrote to Atticus of his utter amazement that Pompey had fled Rome. He also wrote of his own dilemma in deciding whether to follow Pompey or pledge support to Caesar.
49 BCE (March)
Julius Caesar had followed Pompey and was nearing Brundisium when Pompey decided to flee to Greece.
49 BCE (April)
Although Cicero supported the Republic and Pompey he was still undecided as to what course of action to take. He sent and received around 100 letters from friends and family on the subject of what action he should take. Among the correspondence received were letters from his daughter Tullia, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar advising him to remain neutral.
49 BCE (June)
Cicero finally made the difficult decision to join Pompey in Greece. His commitment to the Republic was stronger than his own personal view that Pompey was inept and that his preparations for battle were insufficient and any desire to remain neutral.
49 BCE (August)
Knowing Pompey had left Italy Caesar decided to delay following him to Greece and instead marched his army to Spain where they defeated Pompey’s soldiers at the Battle of Ilerda.
49 BCE (December)
Caesar returned to Rome where he was appointed Dictator of Rome
48 BCE (Summer)
Caesar took his army to Greece in pursuit of Pompey.
48 BCE (10th July)
Battle of Dyrrhachium
The forces of Pompey successfully beat off the attacks of Julius Caesar. However, Pompey thought that the retreat of Caesar’s army was a ruse and did not pursue the retreating Romans.
48 BCE (9th August)
Battle of Pharsalus
The forces of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony defeated the forces of Pompey Magnus. Pompey fled to Egypt where he was killed by Ptolemy XIII.
48 BCE (after 9th August)
Cicero returned to Italy
47 BCE (date unknown)
Marcus Tullius Cicero divorced his wife, Terentia.
47 BCE (September)
Cicero met Julius Caesar who pardoned him and Cicero was able to return to Rome. However, he did not return to politics but spent much time writing.
46 BCE (April)
Caesar was made Dictator for a period of 10 years.
46 BCE (September)
Cicero spoke in the Senate for the first time in 6 years ‘Pro Marcello’ was made after Caesar pardoned Marcellus, a staunch opponent of Caesar.
46 BCE (during)
Cicero wrote ‘Brutus – an explanation of his orational style’.
46 BCE (during)
Cicero wrote ‘De Optimo Genere Oratorum’, a history of Roman oratory in the form of a dialogue where Brutus and Atticus ask Cicero about the leading Roman orators.
46 BCE (During)
Cicero wrote ‘Paradoxa Stoicorum’, a defence of the six stoic ethical paradoxes.
46 BCE (During)
Cicero made the speech ‘Pro Ligario’ in defence of Ligarius who was accused of committing crimes in Africa. Ligarius’s accuser was also guilty of committing crimes in Africa.
46 BCE (December)
Cicero married Publilia a wealthy girl who had been his ward.
45 BCE (February)
Cicero’s daughter Tullia became ill and died.
45 BCE (after February)
Cicero divorced Publilia because she was happy at the death of Cicero’s daughter. The joy may have been because although she was Cicero’s wife, Cicero had more love for his daughter than anyone else.
45 BCE (during)
Julius Caesar decided that his successor should be his great-nephew Octavian
44 BCE (15th March)
Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate by 31 conspirators who were critical of the way Caesar was ruling Rome. Cicero was not one of the conspirators.
44 BCE (17th March)
Mark Antony, Consul of Rome, called a meeting of the Senate for 17th March. At the meeting it was agreed that the conspirators would be pardoned.
44 BCE (18th March)
Julius Caesar was given a public funeral
44 BCE (18th March)
Caesar’s will was read. In it he adopted Octavian and nominated him his successor. However, Mark Antony continued to act as leader.
44 BCE (April)
Octavian returned to Rome. He tried to persuade Mark Antony to hand over Caesar’s assets to him but Mark Antony refused. Octavian then won much public support by using his own money to fulfil the terms of Caesar’s will that everyone living in Rome should receive a cash payment.
44 BCE (June)
Octavian staged a series of games in honour of Julius Caesar
44 BCE (September)
Cicero, leader of the Senate, became increasingly critical of Mark Antony’s actions and began making a series of 14 speeches known as the ‘Philippics against the Mark Antony’. The last speech was made in April 43 BCE.
44 BCE (late September)
Cicero left Rome for his country house. He was fearful of reprisals following his critique of Mark Antony.
44 BCE (Autumn/Winter)
Cicero’s Philippics were increasingly critical of Mark Antony and went so far as to suggest that he was an enemy of the state. In turn Cicero supported Octavian believing that he would return Rome to a Republican state.
44 BCE (November)
Mark Antony left Rome for Northern Italy.
43 BCE (21st April)
The forces of Octavian defeated those of Mark Antony at the Battle of Mutina. Mark Antony fled to Gaul.
43 BCE (August)
Octavian was officially adopted posthumously by Julius Caesar
43 BCE (August)
Octavian marched on Rome and demanded to be made Consul.
SECOND TRIUMVIRATE
43 BCE (November)
Octavian met with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus and together they reached an agreement whereby they would have special powers for a period of 5 year which would allow them to jointly rule Rome in a three-way dictatorship. The terms of the Second Triumvirate left the Senate without any real power. Furthermore they set in motion proscriptions on some 300 Senators and 2000 members of the equestrian class. Because of the help Cicero had given him Octavian argued for two days to keep Cicero’s name off the list but to no avail, Cicero’s name was included on the list.
43 BCE (7th December)
Cicero was caught just outside Formia as he was leaving to try to reach Macedonia. He was assassinated by beheading. His body was brought back to Rome and his head and hands were nailed to the walls on public display.

 

Published Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:25 pm – Updated – Jul 15, 2019 @ 12:19 pm

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2014 – 2019). Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 BCE – 43 BCE. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/cicero-106-bce-43-bce/ Last Accessed August 20th, 2019