M.T. Ciceronis Orationes Quaedam Selectae

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by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE) was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist. He is widely considered to be one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.[1] His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the nineteenth century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style.[2]

In addition to his profound skills as a linguist, translator and philosopher, Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary.[3] When Cicero’s letters were rediscovered in the fourteenth century, his teachings and writings became a foundation for the initiation of the fourteenth century Renaissance. According to one historian,[4] “[The] Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity.”[5]

The Peak of Cicero’s authority and prestige came during the eighteenth century Enlightenment.[6] His work had a profound impact on the individuals that were the most influential during the Enlightenment such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu.[7] As a politician, Cicero was a fierce advocate for republican principles.[8] It was this highly pro-republic philosophy that caused Cicero’s work to have a strong impact on the Founding Fathers of the United States.[9] John Adams said of Cicero, “As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight.”[10] Thomas Jefferson names Cicero as one of a handful of major figures who contributed to a tradition of “public right” that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence and shaped American understandings of the “common sense” basis for the right of revolution.[11]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Marcus Tullius Cicero

Title: M.T. Ciceronis Orationes Quaedam Selectae

Publication Info: Editio quarta, auctior & emendatior. Londini: Typis Gulielmi Sayes, impensis J. Knapton, R Wilkin, J. & B. Sprint, B. & S. Tooke, D. Midwinter, B. Cowse, G. Mortlock, W. & J. Innys, & A. Ward, 1722.


Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in original decorative calf binding with copperplate ink signature to title page. Purchased from Rooke Books.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.


  1. Elizabeth Rawson, Cicero: A Portrait (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1994), 303 and Henry Joseph Haskell, This was Cicero (New York: Fawcett Publications, 1964), 300-301.
  2. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, s.v. "Ciceronian period" (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1995), 244.
  3. Gian Biagio Conte, Latin Literature: A History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 199.
  4. Cheney, Dr. Liana. "Italian Renaissance Art: Humanism & Philosophical Background: Neoplatonism, Ficino and Pico." Italian Renaissance Art: Humanism & Philosophical Background: Neoplatonism, Ficino and Pico. http://faculty.uml.edu/CulturalStudies/Italian_Renaissance/8_9.htm (accessed October 24, 2013).
  5. Zielinski, Tadeusz . Cicero im Wandel der Jahrhunderte. Leipzig [etc.: Teubner, 1897.
  6. Wood, Neal. "Essentials of the Mixed Constitution." In Cicero's social and political thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. 168.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Sellers, M. N. S.. "The United States Constitution." In American Republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States Constitution. New York: New York University Press, 1994. 57.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Frisch, Morton J., and Richard G. Stevens. "Letter to Henry Lee." In The political thought of American statesmen; selected writings and speeches.. Itasca, Ill.: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1973. 12.