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Ancient Rome

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Ancient Rome

Print Cicero Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.61

     challenging words:    citizenships, hotheaded, impassioned, pater, prerequisite, rejuvenate, archenemy, quaestor, undercut, estrange, distasteful, uprising, best, honorific, hailed, latter
     content words:    Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Republic, Social War, As Cicero, When Cicero, Pater Patriae, On January, Via Appia, Pro Milone, Julius Caesar

By Vickie Chao

1     In the world of politics, mastering the art of public speaking is a critical element to a person's success. This seemingly simple - yet hard to achieve - prerequisite has rung true since the beginning of time. Among all the statesmen who were able to connect with their audiences and hold them spellbound, Cicero of ancient Rome was undoubtedly one of the very best!
2     Cicero -- full name Marcus Tullius Cicero -- was born in 106 B.C. His family was a very wealthy one from a town called Arpinum. Because of his family fortune, Cicero was able to attend prestigious schools and receive a top-notch education. After he was done with his studying in 89 B.C., he joined the military. At that time, the Roman Republic was in the midst of the so-called Social War (91 B.C. - 88 B.C.) The Social War was essentially a struggle between Rome and its Italian allies over who could be considered Roman citizens. Rome insisted that only its residents could lay claim to that right, but its allies disagreed and, subsequently, revolted. To undercut the rebels, the Roman Republic granted citizenships to all the Italians who did not take part in the uprising. That strategic move quickly dissolved the alliance. In no time, only a handful of cities continued to fight. For those hotheaded ones, the Romans dealt with them using strict force and eventually subdued them all.
3     During his brief stint in the Roman army, Cicero found violence distasteful. After he concluded his service, he started to work as an advocate in the court. His brilliant defense on behalf of Quinctius in 81 B.C. was his first shining moment. His smart arguments over this case of a complicated financial dispute showed his true talents in making speeches. As Cicero gradually took on more clients, he began to build up his reputation. Clearly, his impressive courtroom performance helped to pave the road to his next big career move. In 75 B.C., Cicero crossed into the public sector and became a quaestor (financial administrator or treasurer) in western Sicily. In 63 B.C., he won the consular election and became the most powerful person in the whole of the Roman Republic!

Paragraphs 4 to 8:
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