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Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician Paperback – May 6 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 6 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037575895X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758959
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
To understand Cicero's life, which spanned the first two thirds of the first century BC, it is necessary to picture the world in which he lived, and especially the nature of Roman politics. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Smac on Feb. 10 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read Anthony Everitt's books on Augustus, Hadrian and now Cicero. I first read Augustus and I loved it so much that I read it a second time. I assumed I would enjoy Hadrian as well, and sure enough I did. I thoroughly enjoyed Everitt's writing style and the way he presented the facts in a clear and concise manner. So, I decided I would try Cicero, and I was so excited to get it in the mail. I delved into it right away , even putting the book I had already started aside. I kind of noticed that I wasn't able to be pulled into the story right away, but chalked it up to idea that maybe Cicero was just not a person I found all that interesting, but I decided to keep going. Then i realized that it wasn't so much the story of Cicero that I was having trouble with, it was the way Everitt was presenting the information. He seemed to have changed his writing style in this book and I found he was all over the place. He wasn't clear whom it was he was talking about in certain areas, so it was easy to get mixed up on which "he" Everitt was talking about. I would have to go back over a few paragraphs to try and figure it out. Anyway, I finished the book and I still felt that I had a good idea of the kind of person Cicero was, and so for that I give marks to Everitt. I just feel it wasn't his best work out of the three I read from him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yanick Dube on Nov. 12 2010
Format: Paperback
No contest, Cicero is an important figure of 1st century BC Rome, which comes alive through his voluminous correspondence, a large chunk of which has been published in Ancient times. Unfortunately, this biography reads, at times, too much like a digest of this correspondence. And despite the abundance of this material, I am still puzzled as to the man's motivations and even his accomplishments. At least half the book is dedicated to providing enough context to understand his actions and thoughts, but I find myself wishing for several hundred pages more so that the man can be exposed more fully. This book is an OK read for a first foray into Rome's history in this period and Cicero, but if you are interested in the orator, this is nothing more than a decent introduction.
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I loved them all. Anthony can really bring you back in time. His books a very easy to read and flow. If he wasn't describing something that happened 2,000 years ago I would have thought he was there.
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Format: Paperback
This is simply one of the best books I have ever read about the late republic. It also brought a figure who I was very unaware of into the light for me. Because of this book I understand so much more about the Roman world than I did beforehand.
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Format: Paperback
This is a standard biography of Cicero's life, written well to meet those aims. Everitt drops in nice tidbits of Roman life--shopping malls, insurance-arson scams, and Vestigial Virgin drag queens--but this biography lacks both A.) historical perspective and B.) philosophical perspective on Cicero. Someone who knows little of Cicero before reading this book, would not know a whole more about Cicero's worldview. We learn that he believed in the representative Republic, in some degree of personal freedom--but he also believed in deterministic, pantheistic Stoicism. How could these be reconciled? How is determinism and liberty compatible? How is determinism and virtue compatible? How could these beliefs impact the Founding Fathers? This is what lacks from the book--why Cicero's beliefs led to his life, and why his life led to the Enlightenment.
This book nonetheless does it's basic job, and the portrayals of Cato, Pompey, Caesar, and Octavian are strong. Cato comes off as the noble idealist--as Cicero would have seen him--and the emperors and would-be emperors come off as the practical power mongerers that they probably were. Crassus and Cataline are like cartoonish villains, yet, by their idiotic deeds and schemes they might have been. This would be a good book simply to flesh out one's knowledge of a time slowly being forgotten in the Postmodern West.
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By A Customer on April 28 2004
Format: Paperback
Anthony Everitt takes an interesting, more introspective look at Cicero. He takes into account classical historians like Livy or Plutarch but sanitizes their records with thorough scholarly research that makes for a fuller, more updated picture. He doesn't, to my surprise, laud him to no end; if anything, Everitt spends more time exploring Cicero's hubris and his nervousness, traits that led to some political pitfalls. He also discusses the major players - Julius Caesar, Octavian, Antony, etc. - along with lesser-known but prominent figures that won't be found in many books, especially Catalina (a conspirator) and Clodius (Cicero's foe). Through it all, though, Everitt takes on a thoroughly literary tone that offers some respite from the pedagogic stuffiness of other books on Rome. An excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
Anthony Everitt's biography of Cicero is a fine yet pedestrian account of the ancient politician. In almost every respects, it could serve as the basis for an A&E or History Channel documentary; it outlines the basic facts, presents a scandal or two, but does nothing to engage the mind or reveal deep truths about the human condition. This book is neither insightful nor provocative, like Christian Meier's Caesar. Nor does Everitt adequately explain why Cicero held such a fascination for generations to come, including (if not especially) our own founding fathers, John Adams in particular. And for a biography about a man best remembered for his writings, precious little space is spent discussing Cicero's written ideas. One gets more of a sense of Cicero as a person from Colleen McCullough's fictional Masters of Rome series.
That's the negative. The positive is that Everitt's account is well-presented and the events surrounding Cicero's life are inherently interesting. Everitt particularly shines in depicting Cicero's activities after Caesar's assassination, arguing that for the few short months left to his life Cicero was the preeminent man of the hour - mainly because he was the last one of the elder generation left standing.
The bottom line is that Everitt's Cicero is a book that nobody should regret reading. It's a fine review of the end of the Roman Republic, and a good refresher course for those who maybe haven't visited Ancient Rome in a while. Those looking for some substance, however, and those who are serious Roman scholars, will be disappointed.
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