I’ll Take Cicero’s Word

Anthony Trollope, Life of Cicero Chp. 9:

It has been said of Antony that we hear of him only from his enemies. He left behind him no friend to speak for him, and we have heard of him certainly from one enemy; but the tidings are of a nature to force upon us belief in the evil which Cicero spoke of him. Had he been a man of decent habits of life, and of an honest purpose, would Cicero have dared to say to the Romans respecting him the words which he produced, not only in the second Philippic, which was unspoken, but also in the twelve which followed?

The record of him, as far as it goes, is altogether bad. Plutarch tells us that he was handsome, and a good soldier, but altogether vicious. Plutarch is not a biographer whose word is to be taken as to details, but he is generally correct in his estimate of character. Tacitus tells us but little about him as direct history, but mentions him ever in the same tone. Tacitus knew the feeling of Rome regarding him. Paterculus speaks specially of his fraud, and breaks out into strong repudiation of the murder of Cicero. Valerius Maximus, in his anecdotes, mentions him slightingly, as an evil man is spoken of who has forced himself into notice. Virgil has stamped his name with everlasting ignominy. “Sequiturque nefas Egyptia conjux.” I can think of no Roman writer who has named him with honor. He was a Roman of the day—what Rome had made him—brave, greedy, treacherous, and unpatriotic.

Anthony Trollope - Wikipedia

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