From the start, I am drawn into the character of Tiro.  His voice is rich in texture and his story promises much.

  1. do you think Tiro really developed shorthand?  Yes, a form of it but the development of shorthand – Greek – stenos (narrow) and graphe (writing).  Earliest mid-4th century BC – a Parthenon stone found, based on vowels.  Oldest datable ref – middle Egypt naming Apollonios as “semeiographer”.  In Ancient Rome – Marcus Tullium Tiro (103-4 BC), a slave to Cicero.  Tronian notes.  China, Japan, Europe all had some form of shorthand.  Today = Gregg (1888 John Robert Gregg) and is phonetic.


  1. Pg. 4, Imperium = Latin for political power or the power of life/death.
  1. Tiro describes his position as a temporary assignment but says, pg 5, “My job would be to supervise arrangements, hire transport, pay teachers, and so forth, and after a year go back to my old master.  In the end, like many a useful volume, I was never returned. “  Tiro is a writer, first, so this statement seemed apropos.


  1. Pg. 21 -  what do you think of the fate of 15 yr old Popillius for stabbing his father through the eye: stripped & flayed, put in a sack with a dog, a cock and a viper and then thrown into the River Tiber!?   Love these Roman tortures!!
  1. Do you think that Cicero succeed with the 10 tribunes enough to succeed in the end to save Sthenius?  He did, 10:0!  However, it was in Dec. that Sthenius was condemned by Verres and by late spring of the next year Cicero still had not save him, except that he had immunity so long as he stayed in Rome.  How long was this going to take?


  1. Pg 51 – rebel slaves – impaled and pulled upright on crosses and left to die by Crassus’ army.   Yewwwww.  Crassus crucified over 6,000 men covering 350 miles….one per every 17 miles.
  1. pg 55 – Praetorian -  a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors.   Aedileship – an office of the Roman Republic responsible for public buildings and regulation of public festivals.


  1. Pg 100-102  Cicero goes after the bookkeeper for the “extra” set of books (how clever), isn’t that also how Al Capone was captured from his bookkeepers records and him not paying taxes?
  1. Pg. 105  The Pit at the Stone Quarries!  Roman names appeared as released on the records while Syrian names were executed but in reality the Romans were killed and the pirates released.


  1.   Pg 106 – Syrians seemed too easily to remove the Verres’s statue after Cicero’s speech, don’t you think?  After all, wasn’t Syria rated #2 in support of Verres?  Now the Senate says they were pressured into it by Metellus.
  1.   Let’s talk about “Behind Every Great Man, there’s a great Woman”  (Proverb but not listed in either Bartletts or The Oxford)  Terentia plays a great role in Cicero’s life and actions.  For instance:

Pg. 66 – What is the point of incurring Pompey’s friendship?
Pg. 90 – Not enough evidence!
Pg. 122 – make your speech shorter!  Which he does to success.
Pg. 146- she feigns illness so as not to come down & meet Pompey in her own house, a man who goes on to tell Cicero to take the 1.5 M from Verres and drop the case.  Cicero calls Pompey the “rent Collector” and here is where Cicero’s earlier deal with Pompey has come to light… Pompey ensured that Cicero would get Glabrios to consent to a quick trial of Verres.  Pompey now wants it over to end the embarrassment the case has brought.

  1. Pg. 148 – Cicero – “The trouble with Lucius is that he thinks politics is a fight for justice.  Politics is a profession.”  How true, how true! 


  1. pg. 149/150 – Cicero demanded the maximum (to defy Pompey), a full loss of civil rights, in perpetuity,  but said all that was left was 1.5 M in assets and perhaps the assets of anyone who supported Verres, if it could be so proven.
  1.   Pg 185-186 – did you think Cicero’s plan of Pompey feigning disinterest in championing the pirates battle in the Senate would work to actually get him unanimously approved to do so?


  1. Pg 185 – Cincinnatus was a Roman hero who served briefly as dictator in 439 BC , no myth, except that Cicero says he was “plucked from his plow to save the country from disaster” which according to Wikipedia is also true.  Seems it took Cincinnatus only 16 days of ordained dictatorship to fight the Aequians and Sabines and return to his fields a common citizen.
  1. Pg 187 – Terentia freaks over Pompey possibly fighting the pirates for Rome’s sake!  She leaps at Cicero when he comes home only to hear that Pompey will be retiring…(the ploy…did it work on Terentia too)  Even Cicero knew that Terentia kept Cicero sharp “the whetstone to his blade!”


  1. pg 190 -  It is Pompey through Cicero’s speech of retirement where the famous line comes “It is clear to me, after the meeting of the Senate yesterday, that I do not have their trust, and therefore I want to tell you that however much I am petitioned, I shall not consent to be nominated; and if nominated, I shall not serve.”  (Words good enough to use at any homeowner’s association elections!
  1.   Did you notice that the chapters are not labeled “Chapter” but rather “Roll”?   If you recall on the first page he says he has a few dozen small rolls of tablum with which to tell write his story.  Harris remains authentic to the character.


  1.   Pg. 193 – What did you think of Cicero’s coup attempt by having Pompey feign disinterest against the pirates and yet convincing the Pedarii (Senators) to support Pompey unanimously?
  1. Pg 200 – As Tiro begins to transcribe his shorthand of the information he gathered at the National Archive, he recalls Cicero’s historic reference to Gracchus vying for Octavius’s removal – tribe by tribe – to gain support of his bill to divide the land amongst the people after the slaughtering of 5,000 people in Numantia and Crassius’s threat to Cicero which was to remind him that, yes, while Gracchus had succeeded, Octavius’s people later beat Gracchus to death with clubs and sticks and thrown him into the Tiber?  When Crassus threatens Cicreo with the similarity of today and then, was Tiro so affected by this?  (There have been worse deaths by the Romans!) 


  1. Pg 202 – How would the current senators use this tactic to gain Pompey’s head of the force against the pirates?  Oh, remove Trebellius, a Crassus supporter, from the Senate!  Do you think that herein lies the “measure of the man” for Cicero?  To ruse the voters into voting Pompey in so that the Senators do what is necessary to see it happen?  It was all an elaborate staged event to bend the populace to the will of Pompey with Cicero behind the wheel!  What do you think would have happened had Pompey and Crassus acted in unison, which was what Catulus wanted?
  1.   Pg 212 – With Pompey out of Rome (as world commander), Cicero had no great man hovering over him….consulship was close!


  1. Pg 214/215 – At 10 yrs old, Tullia is betrothed to Frugi (a member of Cicero’s consul and family friend) in 5 years hence.  Terentia argues with Cicero considering the connection the Frugi family was making with hers.  Terentia was jealous that she had no son of her own and Cicero was fond of Frugi
  1.   Pg 221 – last paragraph…I shall not dwell on the details of Cicero’s praetorships …interesting that Harris again has character detail…talking directly to the reader.


  1. Pg 224/226 Sergius Catilina – governor of Africa – pillager/rapist, taxer, etc. To be prosecuted by Africans.  But Catulus had won Catalina’s acquittal in a previous rape case and now Pius was looking to Cicero to represent the Africans and prosecute Catilina!  If Cicero does not and they find someone else, it will happen at a time where Cicero and Catilina are headed to consulship.  Cicero does not want this! (pg 231)
  1. Pg 233 – Plubius Clodius Pulcher, a 20 yr old -  announces he will prosecute Catilina to make a name for himself!  Herein starts the ruse by Catilina & Clodius to make Cicero want to defend Catilina himself and to think it was of his own design!! Ha!  Just like Cicero did to the Senators to have Pompey lead the fight against the pirates!  But really Cicero does this to protect his own consulship because with Catilina as his running mate not his opponent, he  would then have no obligation to support Cicero for consul.  If Catilina is acquitted, Cicero would break from him immediately but if found guilty, Catilina would go into exile.   Either way, Cicero is free of Catilina!


  1. Pg 237- Terentia goes against Cicero defending Catilina. Telling him to denounce Catilina and expose him to the Senate!  Also to support Cicero to stop them!  Cicero does exactly that…once again following Terentia’s lead but with a twist – he did it during the election! (pg 283/287)
  1. pg 2343/244 Cicero quits as defender of Catilin since his baby boy is just born.  No honor in the job and now they are enemies!


  1. Pg 265/277 – Tiro under duress agrees to hide in Crassus’s house to take notes on a meeting that includes Catilina, Cesaer, Hybrida in anticipation of his triumph at the polls after much bribery.  The aristocrats would back Hybrida and Catilina would win over Cicero.  The meeting covered 4 parts: 1 seize control of the state by sweeping the board in the general elections (securing both consulships, all 10 tribunates, & a couple of praetorships. 2 the introduction by the tribunes of a great land reform bill that would break up the big publicly owned estates and redistribute them as farms to 5000 of the urban plebs.  3 the election of 10 commissioners , headed by Crassus & Caesar who would sell off conquered land and purchase further vast estates for Italy.  4 annexation of Egypt based on King Ptolemy’s order to bequeath his entire country to the Roman people, again, the revenue from this was to be given to the commissioners for further acquisition of land in Italy. 


  1. Pg 298 – the aristocrats supported Cicero with Hybrida second.   Catilina lost and was now financially ruined from all the bribery.
  1. Pg 304 – The art of life is to deal with problems as they arrive, rather than destroy one’s spirit by worrying about them too far in advance…” 


  1. What do you think of the ending?  And how did history judge Cicero?


Notes:  For free books – Gutenberg Project
For some that are loaded online, I found Imperium accidently at ISSUU.Com!


Next Read: Franzen’s Freedom