Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Marcus Tullius Cicero

"We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be set free"

Marcus Tullius Cicero came into philosophical fame during the Roman Republic era. At a very young age, Cicero, who came from a modest home, made it his ambition to hold a high political position in Rome. Unfortunately, his middle class ancestry restricted his ability in achieving his goals. As a result he sought a military position to gain authority. Cicero proved to be an ineffective soldier, which gradually lead him to select a career in law. In 63 B.C. he moved up in the Roman oligarchy by acquainting himself with many politicians who aided him in obtaining the title of "consul", the highest Roman office. In three years an effective rebel occurred against the Republic from the First Triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. They seized control of the Senate and enforced the ideals of the Roman Empire. Cicero was meant to be included because of his influence, but he clung to the old Republic ideals, which lead to his exile, and he was forbidden to take part in politics. During his exile, Cicero furthered his studies in philosophy for a year. Cicero still dreamed of the reincarnation of the old Republic, and wrote about the republic and on laws. During this time, it is most likely that the above quote was uttered.

Philosophy and jurisprudence were directly related in Cicero's studies. His studies included his despise of the Roman lifestyle, which consisted of low morals and disrespect for life. This lifestyle built the foundation for the laws that were set to keep Rome in order. Cicero's quote that in order to be truly content and limitless to the world, citizens must abide by the laws made by the Senate. "We are in bondage to the law..." suggests that as a group, the citizens of Rome were slaves to a greater influence, the laws that made Rome an exceptional kingdom. The laws made by the Senate were made to respect and protect the foundation of Rome and the interests of its people, "...in order that we may be set free." Cicero implies that, if the citizens of Rome follow the laws, they will be able to live their lives without being looked down upon by the rest of the citizens who follow the laws. In Cicero's political career, he held an important position in the Senate and was greatly respected.

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