The Roman statesman Cicero is no exception. Cicero is remembered more for having been a great orator, interpreter of Greek philosophy, and a philosopher in his own right, rather than an as iron-willed sage or near sage like the Stoic Cato the younger. Yet Cicero seems to have been tough enough in the face of hardship. He was exiled, betrayed by his longtime wife, endured the sudden untimely death of his favorite daughter, and was eventually assassinated on account of his support for the Republic and opposition to Caesar and Mark Anthony.
Cicero was named an enemy of the state, yet he enjoyed popular support and was hidden from his persecutors for a time. When they finally caught up with him, he is reported to have said, “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.” He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out in a gladiatorial gesture indicating that he wouldn't resist.
That sounds pretty tough to me. Cicero tried to subordinate the intellectual or theoretical exercise of philosophy to a life of virtuous practice. He was an unceasing supporter of the Republic and fearless when faced with his own death. It is on this basis – considering the example Cicero set by his actions – that we might learn something about being mentally strong from his eclectic philosophy. Here are 5 great pieces of advice on fortitude from Cicero's mouth: