His innate conservatism, extreme caution, and habitual temporizing were possible obstacles to the achievement of true political virtuosity, and in a state and age dedicated to war his failure to display military talent or to become a soldier of distinction may have been no less a hindrance. Of the seven premier statesmen of the century he was the only one without military expertise or experience. Despite his vacillation and procrastination on many occasions, and his lack of dependability, he could occasionally act decisively and not without courage. Essentially an exceedingly proud person, often self-satisfied and given to exaggerating his accomplishments, he could also be extraordinarily generous and loyal to others, displaying little or no envy at their successes, even turning his own polished wit against himself. Neither was he a particularly vindictive man toward his enemies, nor one who gloated over their failures. A certain detachment of manner, aloofness from the fray, and coldness in his personal relationships were perhaps political handicaps. […] At a time when toughness was a requisite for survival, he was remarkably deficient in that quality.
—Neal Wood (Cicero’s Social and Political Thought, p. 54f.)