An accomplished poet, philosopher, rhetorician, and humorist, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) was also the greatest forensic orator Rome ever produced. But to Cicero, service to the res publica (literally, "the public affair") was a Roman citizen's highest duty. At age 26 (in 80 BC), he successfully defended a man prosecuted unjustly by a crony of the bloodthirsty dictator Sulla. In 69 BC, he brought to order the corrupt Sicilian governor Verres. As consul in 63 BC, he put down the Catilinarian conspiracy; later, he was sent into exile for refusing to join the First Triumvirate. Late in life, he led the Senate's gallant but unsuccessful battle against Antony, for which he paid with his life on 7 December 43 BC.