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This Fine Art Photograph is based on a bust located in the Hall of Philosophers in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. This particular bust is dated to the first half of the 1st century AD, the time of the Principate. It is probably a copy of a copy of an original. The bust feels like it’s of the Veristic school (Roman realistic portraiture) of
sculpture. However, it also has some of the idealizing elements associated with Augustan sculpture.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in 106 BC in Arpinum, (modern-day Arpino) Italy. He belonged to a wealthy and prominent municipal family of the Ordo Equites. He received an elite education. Cicero was an industrious individual, rising early in the morning and working throughout the day. He was a prolific writer.
We know him mostly through his correspondence with his close friend Atticus and his legal arguments; many published in written form after the trials had taken place. Cicero was an effective orator and a talented lawyer. This gained him public approbation when he was still quite young. Like most young Romans of means, Cicero climbed the Cursus Honorum, eventually becoming consul in 63 BC. His was the first in his family to do so, thus he was called a new man (homo novus).
Cicero, during his Consulship, was most known for his defeat of the Catilinarian rebellion. However, he also executed several Catilinarian ringleaders without trial and this led to his exile after he finished his term of office. When he returned to Italy, he was greeted as a hero. Cicero resumed his place in the Senate. He was a
key influential figure during the Triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey Magnus and Marcus Crassus. After Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, the death of Crassus in the East and the falling out of Pompey and Caesar, Cicero aligned himself with Pompey. After Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus, Caesar pardoned Cicero. After Caesar’s assassination, Cicero aligned himself with Octavian against Antony
in the struggle for leadership of the Caesarian faction. It was then that he penned his Philippics, orations against Antony. These speeches would cost him his life and the lives of his brother and son when Octavian, Antony and Lepidus formed the 2nd Triumvirate against Brutus, Cassius and the Republicans. He perished during
the proscriptions in 43 BC.
Cicero came to prominence as an orator and attorney in a case brought against Verres, the governor of Sicily. To hear Cicero tell it, Verres was a really bad guy. The weight of the evidence Cicero presented at trial was so great and so damning that Verres’ team didn’t even put up a defense. The disgraced former governor slunk out of Rome and into exile in Massilia.
Cicero was interested in a wide variety of subjects, philosophy and rhetoric among them. He was able to “translate” Greek texts for his Latin readers. In the time of the Principate and later, his texts were required reading for young Roman students.
Craig took this picture for Pro Romanis several years ago on a photographic expedition to Rome. Craig Phares is a photographer, artist, designer, and programmer. He built his first game on a TI-85 calculator when he should have been doing math homework, and has never stopped, creating numerous jaw-dropping digital masterpieces for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. Craig studied sculpture at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, while constantly improving his design and programming skills on his own time. He went on to work for several advertising agencies, finally leaving to form his own company. Craig is the founder of Six Overground, a progressive digital agency focused on building full-scale digital platforms. His company has produced award-winning work for major brands and corporations including Citigroup, Estée Lauder, Havaianas HBO, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, NFL, U.S. Air Force, and USDA. When he’s not glued to a computer monitor, you’ll find him in the real world, dreaming up the next big thing. To learn more about Craig, visit his website at http://sixoverground.com/about/.