Anthony Everitt's fascination with ancient Rome began when he studied classics in school and has persisted ever since. He read English literature at Cambridge University and served four years as secretary general of the Arts Council for Great Britain. A visiting professor of arts and cultural policy at Nottingham Trent University and City University, Everitt has written extensively on European culture and development, and has contributed to the Guardian and Financial Times since 1994. Cicero, his first biography, was chosen by both Allan Massie and Andrew Roberts as the best book of the year in the United Kingdom. Anthony Everitt lives near Colchester, England's first recorded town, founded by the Romans, and is working on a biography of Augustus.
Everitt's first book is a good read that anyone interested in ancient Rome will enjoy. It is also the first one-volume life of the Roman leader in 25 years. To create a work that flowed and was therefore more colorful for the lay reader, Everitt, the former secretary-general of the Arts Council for Great Britain, has taken liberties when describing a person or a place that may annoy scholars. Yet reading this book is an excellent way to understand the players of the period and the culture that produced them. Bloody, articulate, erudite, sexist, slave-owning-Cicero and his circle were all that, but Everitt is careful to recognize that the orator was a product of his age. This is not strictly a political history; Everitt scrutinizes Roman society in discussing events of the orator's life and, when describing Cicero's marriage, acquaints the reader with various aspects of that institution and the home of the era. Throughout, he is willing to admit when the evidence for a theory is weak and when he is extrapolating from the assumptions of scholars. Recommended for public and undergraduate collections.-Clay Williams, Hunter Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
'Just a note to say how much I enjoyed Anthony Everitt's
Cicero, which I will certainly be choosing as my Book of the
Year. I found it the most wonderfully written and perfectly paced
book I've read (or reviewed) in ages. The way Everitt carefully and
comprehensively unfolded the drama brought back the excitement of
ancient history superbly. Congratulations on spotting a real
winner."-Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon and Wellington
"Anthony Everitt is a brilliant guide to the intricacies of Roman politics... Everitt has written a book which is unobtrusively crammed with fascinating information about Roman life and customs, splendidly clear and coherent in its narrative and altogether convincing in its portraiture." -Sunday Independent (Dublin)
"We know more about Cicero than about almost any other figure of antiquity. We know so much about him, thanks to the happy chance which has seen so much of his correspondence preserved, that it is possible to write the sort of biography of Cicero that one might write about someone from, say, the nineteenth century. Anthony Everitt has done just that, sympathetically and very well. This is an engrossing book, written lucidly for the general reader, and one that only a foolish expert would disdain." -Allan Massie, Literary Review
"Of all the arts, that of politics has advanced least since the days of Greece and Rome. This week's new biography of Rome's most famous politician by Anthony Everitt tries to answer the question, why?...Cicero mastered the essence of politics. He preached the difference between authority and power. He was an orator who wrote poetry, a politician who read history, ruthless yet able to articulate the demands of clemency, democracy and the rights of free men under law...If good government is rooted in history and history in biography, Cicero is the man of the hour." -Simon Jenkins, The Times
"In the course of Cicero's long life, he made several powerful enemies, often through his own witty put-downs, and he was accused of everything from cowardice and self-importance to histrionics, homosexuality, and incest. But the great majority of his contemporaries - and of course posterity itself - were much kinder to Cicero, and this engrossing new biography by Anthony Everitt does a superb job of explaining why...Cicero's political life forms the real backbone of this book...As an explicator, Everitt is admirably informative and free from breathlessness. He has a sophisticated conception of character, too, including a willingness - so crucial in biographers - to embrace contradictions."-Independent on Sunday
"Mr. Everitt introduces the man graciously to a new generation, and will endear him anew to all those who never grasped the sense, let alone the beauty, of that multi-clausal prose." -The Economist
"Everitt is an attentive biographer who continuously rehearses and refines his account of the motives of his subject...His achievement is to have replaced the austere classroom effigy with an altogether rounder, more awkward and human person." -Financial Times
Using Cicero's letters to his good friend Atticus, among other sources, Everitt recreates the fascinating world of political intrigue, sexual decadence and civil unrest of Republican Rome. Against this backdrop, he offers a lively chronicle of Cicero's life. Best known as Rome's finest orator and rhetorician, Cicero (103 -43 B.C.) situated himself at the center of Roman politics. By the time he was 30, Cicero became a Roman senator, and 10 years later he was consul. Opposing Julius Caesar and his attempt to form a new Roman government, Cicero remained a thorn in Caesar's side until the emperor's assassination. Cicero supported Pompey's attempts during Caesar's reign to bring Rome back to republicanism. Along the way, Cicero put down conspiracies, won acquittal for a man convicted of parricide, challenged the dictator Sulla with powerful rhetoric about the decadence of Sulla's regime and wrote philosophical treatises. Everitt deftly shows how Cicero used his oratorical skills to argue circles around his opponents. More important, Everitt portrays Cicero as a man born at the wrong time. While Cicero vainly tried to find better men to run government and better laws to keep them in order, Republican Rome was falling down around him, never to return to the glory of Cicero's youth. A first-rate complement to Elizabeth Rawson's Cicero or T.N. Mitchell's monumental two-volume biography, Everitt's first book is a brilliant study that captures Cicero's internal struggles and insecurities as well as his external political successes. Maps. (On sale June 11) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.