The political activity of Cicero during retirement
Institutional Communication Service
18 May 2020
Guido Milanese, lecturer at the Institute of Italian Studies, proposes a reflection on the current situation leading us to discover the life of Marcus Tullio Cicero, from the peak of his political career to his retirement from public life.
After the great successes of his youth and early adulthood, Cicero lived a rather troubled life; in his last years, overwhelmed by the clashes of political and military factions, the 60-year-old politician, lawyer and writer was forced to retire from public life. Between 45 and 44 BC, he embraced once again the philosophical interests of his youth, when he had studied with some of the most famous professors of the time.
Cicero experienced this forced retirement as an opportunity: one of the masters of his youth, Antiochus of Ascalona, had taught him that one should not necessarily envisage an irresolvable contrast between the life of the intellectual and public commitment: intellectual life can be considered as the driver, hidden but necessary, that provides public activity with its raison d'être and its foundation. Cicero was determined not to stop caring for the State, and carried on with its commitment; he thus turned a defeat into a legacy that for so many centuries has been the foundation for reflection on what it means to be a community of people living together.