I alluded to this in a reply but I feel like it needs its own post. I absolutely love that Cicero, eternally an outsider by birth during his time, who believed so wholly in the Republic as it could be, whose name belied his class, who had to work infinitely harder to climb the cursus honorum, is the person whose works we have the most of from his time. The great families, the metelli and the claudii, the noblest born senators, the jealous conservative factionalists who abandoned Cicero in his time of need because he was a new man, have faded from history and we know so little about any of them, but over 2000 years later we remember Cicero in such vivid detail, and we love him!
We see Cicero’s world through his lens, our picture of the late Republic is indelibly colored by Cicero’s opinions, his thoughts, his feelings. In his own time he was never truly “allowed” into the most elite echelons of the senate despite his talent and intelligence and yet he is our main, sometimes our only, route of access, point of contact, with the Late Republic. He is the definitive voice of his time, and his immortality is largely due to the merit of his writings, his oratory and philosophy which are still admired and adored. In the end, his works brought him more fame than almost any other Roman politician, and I love that by outlasting through his talent and brilliance those who never thought he belonged, Cicero proved his worth and he proved everyone wrong and, in a way, eventually won.