“Letters to Atticus IV” by Cicero

Letters to Atticus IV

A collection of letters written by Cicero to his close friend Atticus during his declining years, i.e., the period between the death of his daughter and his own murder, which is also a period of crisis in Roman history, from the fall of the Republic to the rise of dictatorship and the Roman Empire. The letters provide rare insights into Cicero as a person, friend, prolific writer and astute statesman.

The Tyranny Lives On

“vivit tyrannis, tyrannus occidit!
eius interfecti morte laetamur cuius facta defendimus!”
“The tyranny lives on, the tyrant is dead!
We rejoice at his slaughter and defend his acts!”

The most poignant portion of the letters is Cicero reaction to and reflections on the assassination of Caesar and its aftermath. From elation to caution, to disillusionment, fear and anxiety, and finally resignation. The realization that killing a tyrant doesn’t result in the abolition of tyranny unless the people abolish the tyrant in themselves.

Those words uttered by Cicero more than two thousand years ago, resounding through history, still ring true today.


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