"My name is Tiro"

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Glossary of Tironian Notes from a 9th Century Manuscript
Public DomainGlossary of Tironian Notes from a 9th Century Manuscript - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
 Tiro was a real historical person, the slave and later freedman of Cicero. Tiro is referred to in many of Cicero’s letters, where Cicero often shows concern for Tiro’s ill health. It is possible that Tiro was born on Cicero’s family estate in Arpinum, but we cannot know for sure. Several ancient writers mention works of Tiro, including the usage and theory of the Latin language and a biography of Cicero, but these have been lost. The Greek writer Plutarch uses Tiro as a source for episodes of Cicero’s life. Tiro is credited with having invented a system of shorthand that was still used by monks hundreds of years later. After Cicero’s death, Tiro retired to an estate near Puteoli, where according to Jerome he died aged 99.

In fiction, Tiro also appears as a character in Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa ancient crime series, and in several books of John Maddox Roberts’ SPQR series. A character called Tyro also appears as Cicero’s slave in the HBO television series Rome.