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The Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE) was considered one of the greatest orators of antiquity, and his writing—on rhetorical theory, government, ethics, philosophy, law, and other topics—remains influential today. Cicero was a politician who put his ideas into practice, but he also wrote extensively about his theories. Much of his writing survives, including hundreds of letters, dozens of speeches, and several treatises on a variety of topics. Among the more noteworthy of his surviving texts is De oratore, or On the Orator, in which he argues that an ideal orator is master of all communication, written and oral. Cicero synthesized rhetoric and philosophy, arguing that the ideal orator—whether communicating via speaking or writing—needed to be knowledgeable about various subjects, including law, history, and ...

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