Born in Arpinum on January 3, 106 B.C., Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman orator, writer, and politician. In Rome, Cicero studied law, oratory, philosophy, and literature, before embarking on a political career. Banished from Rome in 59 B.C. for the execution of some members of the Catiline group, Cicero devoted himself to literature. Cicero was pardoned by Julius Caesar in 47 B.C., and returned to Rome to deliver his famous speeches, known as the "Philippics," urging the senate to declare war on Marc Antony. Cicero's chief works, written between 46 and 44 B.C., can be classified in the categories of philosophical works, letters, and speeches. The letters, edited by his secretary Tiro, showcase a unique writing style and charm. The most popular work of the period was De Officiis, a manual of ethics, in which Cicero espoused fundamental Christian values half a century before Christ. Cicero was murdered in Formiae, Italy, on December 4, 43 B.C., by Antony's soldiers after the triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius was formed.
D. R. Shackleton Bailey was Pope Professor of Latin Language and Literature, Harvard University.
Author's (Mark Ahavel) Biography The author was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1963 in a Roman Catholic hospital during the middle of Vatican II (1962-'64). And his exact birthday coincides with the day that the prophet Muhammad completed is Hijrah (migration) to Medina, according to Muslim tradition, a significant event in the life of the Prophet for Muslims. In 1963, the Baha'i Faith celebrated their 100th anniversary and they established their International House of Justice on Mt. Carmel, Haifa, Israel. From the year and the date of the author's birth, one can certainly find ecumenical and interfaith significance, perhaps a portent of his destiny. The author was baptized as an infant in a Roman Catholic parish, and was raised in a Protestant congregation and its parochial school from kindergarten to the 5th grade. These were faith-formative years for the author, raised in a Christian tradition. He felt the Call to the Ministry during his first two years of college but it was unclear what kind of ministry God was wooing him to. He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education at a private Christian liberal arts college of his denomination by the end of 1985. He was in the seminary from 1990 to 1994, earning his Masters of Divinity degree in May 1994. He served five years in the pastoral ministry in a conservative Christian body. He was sensing God was leading him to a more ecumenical ministry. His ecumenical ministry began through creating and managing a global online prayer site In 2009, the same year, he began teaching the World Religions course at the community college as an Adjunct Instructor. The teaching of this broad course stretched his own understanding tremendously and he intensified his research in the world's religions, beyond the Judeo-Christian foundation of which he was most acquainted. He is a member in the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature.