Cicero = Billy Badass, or “I’ll Never Change My Mind”

Petrarch, Epistulae Familiares 18.14:

“While the pagan crowd adores Hercules, I marvel at and adore our Cicero, not indeed as a god, but as a man of divine genius. And I am stupefied beyond belief at the heads of some of the learned people of our age, who are accustomed to compare Cicero to various other men who, though I do not deny their greatness, are certainly unequal to him. Yet, just as I would like others to allow me my own free judgment, so I will allow it to them. But I know what I have in my mind, and it is so fixed that it can be dislodged by no force – not even if Demosthenes himself returned from the dead and strained himself with all his purpose and with all of the power of his eloquence on this alone. Not even if all of his competitors, who tried both while he was alive and after his death, to shroud his noble name in the clouds of envy, and did it all the more because they no longer feared his response and had the favor of his impious and bloodthirsty enemy, who could neither satiate his anger nor diminish his bile by Cicero’s death.”

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