Eternal Lawyer: A Legal Biography of Cicero

Eternal Lawyer: A Legal Biography of Cicero

Eternal Lawyer: A Legal Biography of Cicero

Eternal Lawyer: A Legal Biography of Cicero

Excerpt

Judge Wilkin has done us a great service. He has convinced us that Cicero was not, after all, a political opportunist, a trimmer, but a Roman patriot whose attitudes and actions were invariably determined by his legal training. He was always the lawyer.

As an orator, he was supreme. Oratory is the art of persuasion and Cicero spoke on almost numberless occasions with almost invariable success. Even after nearly two thousand years, the best of his speeches still stir us with the majesty of their diction and their appeal to the deep laid foundation of human rights--that beacon light of Cicero's life the ius gentium.

As a correspondent, Cicero has served as a model for countless generations of letter writers. The great man at ease is still great--perhaps a little querulous as age and failure confront him--but still witty and kindly.

His philosophical paraphrases of Plato are worthy of the great originals. To him, and not to the Greeks, we owe our philosophic terminology. And as a teacher of rhetoric and oratory, he is still the final authority. One may well apply to him as the author of the de Oratore, Dante's description of Aristotle--the "Master of them that know."

No man has ever touched the keys that control the cadences of the monumental Roman speech as has Cicero. Words, phrases, clauses and sentences fail into place at his touch, and the sentences that they build rise into paragraphs that in their orderly sequence have the purposeful directness of the straight and level Roman roads, the sta-

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