Cicero’s Journal: Childhood

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I, Marcus Tullius Cicero, am about to tell you, dear reader, the history of my life, beginning with my childhood and education and ending with my failure to defend our Republic from tyranny (more on that later).

I will begin with my childhood (and what a good childhood it was). I was born in the countryside, in the town of Arpinum. Even after I joined the senate I still loved to visit Aprinum when I had the chance, although my schedule rarely permitted it (it is a journey of three days from Rome to Arpinum). If one only knew of my record of politics, it is doubtful that they would guess that I hailed from Arpinum and was born an eques.

My family has been based in Arpinum for many generations. In my political career, I have been attacked many times for not being a native Roman. Such attacks wound me deeply. Still, I would not change anything about my upbringing even if given the opportunity. I am a Roman citizen and a lover of the country that adopted both my brother, Quintus, and I. Furthermore, I have never ceased for even a single moment in my entire life to defend Roman interests. Notwithstanding, I am proud of my ancestors and my roots in the hills of Arpinum, and of my family history of land-owning and farming.

Many have postulated that I gained my affection for civics from my paternal grandfather, Marcus Cicero. He was a leading man in the local politics of Arpinum. However, perhaps preferring to be a big fish in a small pond, he never endeavoured to reach beyond Arpinum and begin a national career, despite the request of one leading Roman statesman that he join the senate in Rome. And why would he? The government in Rome was mostly content to leave Arpinum to decide its own course and rarely interfered in local politics.

My grandfather had two sons. My father, Marcus, and my uncle, Lucius. My uncle rebelled against the conservative views of my grandfather, and the climax of his career was a military campaign against pirates that threatened Roman trade alongside the grandfather of my most recent and greatest mortal enemy, the tyrannical Marcus Antonius.

My father instilled in me my scholarly disposition. He combined Greek and Latin studies, just as I have done and as I have tried to inspire my own son to do. This combination enables one to study the greatest philosophy and literature ever written. It is to this education that I ascribe my enhanced powers of observation and reason as well as my excellence in the art of oration, something that has served me well in my career in politics.

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