Cicero’s ideal statesman in theory and practice

Author: Zarecki, Jonathan Peter
Title: Cicero’s ideal statesman in theory and practice
Editor: University of Florida
Year edition: 2005
Pages: 171
Keywords: Biographie - Biografia - Biography, Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: PhD Thesis [Abstract] : In this dissertation I argue that Cicero had no ideological problems with monarchy. During the composition of the De Republica , and especially after Pompeius’ sole consulship in 52, Cicero recognized that Rome had evolved beyond the Greek polis model, and that rule by the Senate was no longer practical. Monarchy was the solution to the problems of empire. Through a careful consideration of the terminology he uses to describe one-man rule, I will demonstrate that Cicero did not in fact consider monarchy to be an unacceptable form of government in the late Republic. Most historians hold that the idea of monarchy in Rome was abhorrent to Cicero, and to Romans in general. I argue to the contrary, that Roman hatred of monarchy actually traces back no further than the mid-second century, and only emerges as a major theme in Roman political rhetoric with Caesar’s dictatorship. My aim here is to demonstrate that Cicero’s philosophical writings reveal a nuanced, and in part, sympathetic, view of the possibility that Rome will return to a monarchial form of government. Cicero’s reluctance to support the primacy of either Pompeius or Caesar is not indicative of distaste for one-person rule. Rather, the problem with either Pompeius or Caesar ruling Rome as a monarchy was that Cicero did not think that either man was intellectually or morally capable of performing a just monarch’s duties. Thus the creation of the rector rei publicae. This is the name Cicero gave to his concept of the ideal Roman magistrate, and it is a blueprint for the type of monarch Cicero hoped that first Pompeius, and then Caesar, would become. Since Cicero realized that he could not lead the state on his own, he was content to be the Laelius, or moral and philosophical advisor, to someone else’s Scipio. Both Pompeius and Caesar, however, failed to live up to the ideals of the rector . This dissertation will examine exactly how both men failed to live up to Cicero’s ideal, and the reasons for Cicero’s seemingly ambiguous opinions towards them.
Author initials: Zarecki 2005