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Archive for February 21st, 2020

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For this day’s work, lords, you have encouraged treason and opened the prison doors to free the traitors. A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the carrier of the plague. You have unbarred the gates of Rome to him.

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I have seen the words above online used as a meme, attributed to the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero from the year 42 BCE. I immediately thought they described to a tee the current situation at hand here in this country, especially with the revelations of continued Russian meddling for and collusion with our president*** from the last couple of days.

These words  certainly could be applied to this president*** and his enablers and to think they came from over two thousand years ago was enlightening. The ways of treason and the traitor have not changed much over the ages.

Taylor Caldwell

Taylor Caldwell

Unfortunately, though I feel resonance between those words and these times, those are not the actual words of Cicero. They are from a 1965 novel, A Pillar of Iron, from bestselling author Taylor Caldwell. The book is a fictionalized account of the life of Cicero and his fight to save the Republic from approaching tyranny. He was assassinated for his efforts at the urging of Marc Anthony in 43 BCE.

While the words as we see them are not the actual words of Cicero at the time, much of their intent is derived from his orations of that time. Caldwell did her research and scoured the words of Cicero to create her own fictional interpretation of what Cicero may have said when he addressed the Senate then.

So, while the traitorous treachery Caldwell’s version of Cicero called out in the words at the top of the page may have come from 1965, their meaning most likely was born in some part in the words of Cicero from over 2000 years back. And whether they are from 2000 years ago or just 55 years, fact or fiction, they are words to which we should pay attention.

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