See also: Cicéron (homonymy)
Cicéron (in Latin Marcus Tullius Cicero ) was born the January 3rd 106 av. J. - C., with Arpinum in Italy and died the December 7th 43 av. J. - C. close to Arpinum. It was a Roman statesman and a Latin author.
Remarkable speaker, it published an abundant production considered as a model of the traditional Latin expression, and of which the greatest part reached us. If he enorgueillit to have saved the Roman Republic of Catilina, his political life variously were appreciated and commented on: intellectual mislaid in the middle of a free-for-all, arrived Italian assembled to Rome, opportunist changeable, “passive instrument of the crawling monarchy” of Pumped then César according to Theodor Mommsen and Jerome Carcopino but also, for Pierre Grimal, the intermediary which transmitted part of Greek philosophy to us.
Years of training
He is born in 106 av. J. - C. in the Municipe from Arpinum (to 110 km in the south-east of Rome), of a family of plebeian origin high to the equestrian row. Its cognomen , Cicero , can be translated by “chick-pea, wart”. This Cognomen would come to him from one of its ancestors whose end of the nose would have had the shape of chick-pea.
Cicéron is sent to Rome to study the right; it has in particular as most famous professors Jurisconsulte S of the time, the Scævola. These studies of right are accompanied by a philosophical solid formation, near the academician Philon de Larisse (at one time when the New Academy was still marked by the skepticism and the probabilism of Carnéade) and near the Stoïcien Diodote. Like all the young Roman citizens, Cicéron makes his Military service at 17 years: it is under the orders of Pompeius Strabo, father of Large the Pompée, during the social Guerre; it is probably at that time that it becomes acquainted with Pumped. Demobilized at the end of the conflict in 81 av. J. - C, it returns to its studies of right.
Cicéron makes an conspicuous entry with the bar in 81 av. J. - C. with the Pro Quinctio (problem of succession). In 79 av. J. - C., it pronounces the Pro Roscio Amerino ; it attacks one freed from the Roman Dictateur Sylla, feeling supported by the nobilitas . It gains the lawsuit but judge more careful to move away some time from Rome. This is why it leaves to perfect its formation in Greece, of 79 with 77 av. J. - C.: it follows there in particular the teaching of Antiochus d' Ascalon (eclectic academician, successor of Philon de Larisse, also marked by the doctrines stoical aristotelician and ), of Zénon and Phèdre (epicureans) with Athens, of the stoical scientist Posidonius and the Rhéteur Molon with Rhodos.
Beginnings in policy
Cicéron launches out in the political career in Homo novus or " man nouveau" (nobody in its family exerted political responsibilities in Rome): he starts naturally the Cursus honorum by quaestorship, while becoming Questeur in Western Sicily (with Lilybée) in -75. He acquires his celebrity in August -70 by defending the Sicilians in their lawsuit against Caius Verres, former governor of Sicily which is implied in corruption affairs, and which set up a system of plundering of works of art: the charge carried by Cicéron is so vigorous that Verrès, which however will be defended by the largest speaker of the time (Hortensius celebrates it), is exiled with Marseilles immediately after the first speech (the actio PRIMA ); Cicéron made despite everything publish the whole of the speeches which it provided (the Verrines), in order to establish its lawyer reputation engaged against corruption.
After this event which marks truly its entry in the legal and political life, Cicéron follows the stages of the course honorum while becoming municipal official in -69, then Préteur in -66: it defends this year the bill Tribun of the plebs Manilius, which proposes to name Pompée commander-in-chief of the operations of the East, against Mithridate VI; its speech Of light Manilia mark thus a catch of distance compared to the conservative party of the Optimates , which are opposed to this project. As of this time, Cicéron thinks of incarnating a third way in policy, that of the “men of good” ( viri profit ), between the conservatism of the optimates and the increasingly radical “reformism” of the Populares ; however, of -66 with -63, the emergence of personalities like César or Catilina, in the camp of the Populares , which preach radical reforms, led Cicéron to approach the Optimates .
The glorious year -63
From now on near to the conservative party, Cicéron is elected Consul against Catilina for the year -63 thanks to the councils of its brother Quintus Tullius Cicero - he has been the first consul homo novus for more than thirty years (elected not having a consul among its ancestors), which displeases with some: the noble ones estimated that the consulate would be soiled if a new man, some famous that it was, succeeded in obtaining it (Salluste, Conjuration of Catilina , XXIII)
During its consulate, he is opposed to the revolutionary project of the Rullus powerful orator for the constitution of a commission of ten members to the extended capacities, and the massive allotment of the Ager publicus. Cicéron gains the neutrality of his/her colleague the Antonius consul, friend of Catilina and favorable to the project, by yielding to him the load of proconsul of Macedonia which it must occupy the following year. Its speech Of light agraria countered Rullum obtains the rejection of this proposal.
Catilina, having again failed the consular elections in October 63, prepares a coup d'etat, of which Cicéron is informed by escapes. December 3rd, it violently apostrophizes Catilina in full session of the Senate: one often quotes the first sentence of the exorde first Catilinaire : Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia will nostra? ( Until when, Catilina, you of our patience will misuse? ), and it is in this same passage - even if it is not the only place in the work of Cicéron - that one finds the expression proverbial O will tempora! O mores! ( What a time! What a manners! ). Discovered, Catilina leaves Rome, to foment an insurrection in Étrurie, trustful with its accomplices the execution of the coup d'etat in Rome. The following day, Cicéron informs and reassures Roman crowd by pronouncing its second Catilinaire, and promises the amnesty with factious which will give up their criminal projects. Then he manages to make vote by the Roman Sénat a senatus consultum ultimum (exceptional procedure voted at the time of serious crises, and which gives in particular to its (its) profit (S) right to raise an army, to make the war, to contain by all the average allies and fellow-citizens, to have with the inside and the outside supreme, military and civil authority (Salluste, De Conjuratione Catilinae , XXIX, 3)).
But a political scandal suddenly comes to complicate the crisis: the consul appointed for 62, Lucius Licinius Murena is shown by his competitor unhappy Sulpicius to have bought the voters, and the charge is supported by Caton d' Utique. For Cicéron, it is out of the question in such a context to cancel the election and to organize news of them. It thus ensures the defense of Murena ( pro Murena ) and the fact of releasing, in spite of a probable culpability, while being ironical about the stoical rigor which carry out Caton on disproportionate positions and malvenues: Because if All the faults are equal, any offense is a crime; to strangle his/her father is not guiltier than to kill a chicken without need ( pro Murena , XXIX).
In the interval, entreated remained at Rome, and complicities recruited are organized. By chance, they contact delegates Allobroges, promising to grant their tax complaints if they cause a revolt in Gaulle Narbonnese. The delegates, being wary, inform the senators. Cicéron suggests to them requiring entreated written engagements, that they obtain. Having recovered these indisputable material proofs, Cicéron confuses five publicly entreated (third Catilinaire, of December 3rd), of which the former consul and praetor P. Cornelius Lentulus Sura. After debate with the Senate (fourth Catilinaire), it makes them carry out without public judgment, approved by Caton but against the opinion of Jules César, which proposed the life imprisonment. Catilina is killed shortly after with its partisans in a vain battle with Pistoia.
Consequently, Cicéron endeavors to be presented as the saver of the fatherland (it was described besides as Pater patriae , “Father of the fatherland”, by Caton d' Utique) and not without vanity makes so that nobody forgets this glorious year 63.
See also: Conspiracy of Catilina
Cicéron became member of the Roman Sénat, top of the social hierarchy, aristocratic and fortunate medium. It is interesting to know its richness, primarily based on a real estate as for any senator. Cicéron has in Rome even four buildings, and sumptuous a Domus on the Palatin, old working patrician, which it bought in 62 av. J.C with Crassus for 3,5 million Sesterce S. are added to it in the Italian countryside ten farms (villa E), sources of revenue, plus six deversoria , small pied-à-terres. After its purchase of 62, he jokes with his friend Sestius on his financial position: Learn that I am now so in charge of debts which I would have desire for entering a conspiracy, if one granted me to receive there ( AD Fam , V, 6)
Though its fortune is very far from the richissimes Lucullus or Crassus, Cicéron can and wants live luxuriously. In its villa of Tusculum, it makes arrange a Gymnase and pleasant walks on two terraces, which it names Académie and Lycée, evocations of Plato and Aristote. It decorates its villa with Arpinum by an artificial cave, its Amalthéum , evoking Amalthée which nursed Jupiter child.
Its activity of lawyer is the only activity honourable for a senator, interdict of business practice or financial. That does not prevent it from attending the mediums of businesses, placing its surpluses of treasury or borrowing in his/her friend the banker Mr. Pomponius Atticus. It invests sometimes via its bankers, placing for example 2,2 million sesterces in a company of Publicain S. Among these interested relations, Cicéron also speaks to us about Vestorius “ specialist in the loan, which has culture only arithmetic, and whose frequentation for this reason is not always pleasant for him. ” and of Cluvius, financier who will bequeath to him in 45 av. J.C part of his properties, of which shops with Pompéi, in fort bad condition, but Cicéron is a philosophical investor: … two of my shops fell; the others threaten ruin, so much so that, not only the tenants do not want to remain there, but that the rats themselves gave up them. Others would call that a misfortune, I do not even qualify it concern, O Socrate and you philosophical socratic, I will never thank you enough! … While following the idea that Vestorius suggested me to rebuild them, I will be able to draw thereafter from the advantage of this loss temporary (AD Atticum, XIV, 9)
Vicissitudes in a Republic with the drift
After the blow of glare of the business Catilina, the political career of Cicéron continues in half-tone, withdrawal of a political life dominated by the ambitious ones and the demagogs. After the formation in -60 of a secret association enters Pompée, César and Crassus (the First triumvirate), César, consul in -59, proposes to associate Cicéron as police chief in charge of attribution to the ground veterans in Campanie, which the latter believes good to refuse.
In March -58, its political enemies, carried out by the consul Rammer and the Powerful orator of the plebs Clodius Pulcher which dedicates a tough hatred to him since it confused it into -62 in the business of the worship of Bona Dea, make it exile under pretext of illegal processes against the partisans of Catilina, carried out without to have been able to appeal. Designated liquidator of its goods, Clodius makes destroy its house on the Palatine one, and devote to the place a temple with Freedom. As for Cicéron, it depresses in this forced retirement with Dyrrachium.
Supported by the new powerful orator of the plebs Titus Annius Milon, Cicéron can return triumphantly to Rome one year and half later in -56. The Senate compensates it for 2 million sesterces for the destruction of its house. Been obstinated, Cicéron wants to rebuild it, but to recover its ground is problematic, it will be necessary for him to destroy a devoted temple. Cicéron manages to make break the dedication by the Pontife S for legal flaw (speech Pro domo sweated ), but Clodius, elected municipal official, shows it sacrilege before the assembly of the Comices, its bands badger the workmen who began work, set fire to the house of the brother of Cicéron, attack that of Milon. Pumped must intervene to bring back the order and to allow the rebuilding of the house of Cicéron.
N the other hand of this protection of one of the triumvirs, Cicéron pronounces with the Senate the of Provinciis Consularibus obtaining the prolongation of the to be able proconsulaire of César on Gaulle, who allows him to continue the Guerre of Gaules. The political struggles degenerate into confrontations violent one between groups in favor of the populares and the optimates , preventing the normal behavior of the elections. Clodius is killed beginning -52 in one of these meetings; Cicéron naturally takes the defense of its Milon murderer. But the tension is such at the time of the lawsuit that Cicéron, frightened, cannot plead effectively and loses the cause. Milon anticipates a probable judgment while being exiled in Marseilles. Cicéron will publish nevertheless the defense envisaged in its famous Pro Milone .
Recognition of the aristocratic party? Desire to draw aside it from Rome? Cicéron obtains for -51 a mandate of proconsul in Cilicie, small Roman Province of minor Asia which it controls with integrity according to Plutarque ( Vie of Cicéron , XXVI).
The storm of the civil war
With its return in 50 av. J.C, an acute political crisis opposes César to Pompée and to the conservatives of the Senate. Cicéron takes the party of Pompée, while trying to work out an acceptable compromise by César, without success.
When this last invades Italy in 49 av. J.C, Cicéron flees Rome like the majority of the senators, and takes refuge in one of its country houses. Its correspondence with Atticus expresses its distress and its hesitations on the action to be taken. He considers the civil war which starts like a calamity, whatever of it will be the winner. César, which wishes to gather the neutrals and the moderate ones, writes to him then visits him, and proposes to him to regain Rome like mediator. Cicéron refuses and declares party of Pumped. César lets it reflect, but Cicéron ends up joining Pompée in Épire.
According to Plutarque, Cicéron, badly accommodated by Caton which says to him that it would have been more useful for the Republic than it remains in Italy, behaved in dead load and did not take part in any military action carried out by the pompéiens; after the victory of César with Pharsale in 48 av. J.C, it gives up the party pompéien and regains Rome, where it is well accommodated by César. It benefits from it to obtain from César the grace of several of his friends (speech Pro Marcello , Pro Q. Ligario , Pro Rege Deiotarus ). In a letter with Varron of the April 20th 46 av. J.C, it thus gives its vision of its role under the dictatorship of César:
I advise you to do what I propose to do myself - to prevent being considering, even if we cannot prevent that one speaks about it… If our voices are not heard any more with the Senate and in the Forum, that we follow the example of wise old and serve our country through our writings, while concentrating on the questions of ethics and constitutional law. (AD Fam., IX, 2)
Cicéron puts this council into practice, generally resides in its residence of Tusculum and is devoted to its writings, with the translation of the Greek philosophers, to see with the drafting of poetries. Its private life is nevertheless disturbed: he divorces Terentia in -46, and marries shortly after the Publilia young person. In February 45 av. J.C, his/her Tullia daughter dies, causing him a major sorrow expressed in her of Consolatione . He divorces Publilia after this death, because she had been delighted by the death of Tullia.
Cicéron is surprised by the assassination of César, with Ides of march the 44 av. J.C, because entreated had left it out of the confidence because of its excessive anxiety. In the political undulation which follows, Cicéron tries to join the Roman Sénat, and makes approve a general amnesty which disarms the tensions while Marc-Antoine, consul and executor of César, takes again the capacity one wavering moment. But the two men did not manage to agree.
When the young person Octave, heir to César, arrives to Italy, in April, Cicéron thinks of using it against Marc-Antoine, without success. In September it starts to attack Marc-Antoine in a series of speech more and more violent one, Philippiques . Cicéron thus describes its position in a letter with Cassius, one of the assassins of César, the same month:
- I am content that you like my proposal with the Senate and the speech which accompanies it… Antoine is insane, corrupted and quite the worst than César - that you declared the man most contemptible when you killed it. Antoine wants to begin a blood bath… (AD Fam., XII, 2)
But the political situation is not any more that which prevailed in 63 av. J.C, Cicéron cannot reproduce with its Philippiques the effect of its Catilinaires. The Senate, decimated by the civil war and reconstituted by César of many newcomers, is undecided and refuses to declare Marc Antoine public enemy. The following year, after a short confrontation with Modena, Octave and Marc-Antoine reconcile and constitute with Lépide the Second triumvirate, which receives the full powerss.
The three men are not long in agreeing against their personal enemies. In spite of the attachment of Octave to its old ally, it lets Marc-Antoine proscribe Cicéron. This one is assassinated the December 7th 43 av. J.C; its head and its hands are exposed on the Rostres, with the forum on order of Marc-Antoine. His/her Quintus brother and his nephew are carried out shortly after in their birthplace of Arpinum. Only his/her son escapes this repression.
The death of Cicéron
The worship of dead the " honorable" and heroic was very strong in ancient Rome and any man knew that he would be also judged on his attitude, his installations or his remarks at the time of the last moments of his life. According to their political interests or of their admiration towards Cicéron, his biographers sometimes considered his death as example of cowardice (Cicéron was assassinated whereas it was in escape) or more often, on the contrary, as a stoical model of heroism (it tightens its neck with its torturer which cannot support its glance).
The version of the event which Plutarque gives combines these two visions skilfully: At this time, the murderers occurred; it was the Herennius centurion and the military powerful orator Popilius who Cicéron had formerly defended in a charge of parricide. There the powerful orator, taking some men with him, precipitated Cicéron heard it arrive and ordered with his servants to deposit his litter. Itself bearing, of a gesture which was familiar for him, the left hand with its chin, looked at its murderers fixedly. It was covered with dust, had the hair in disorder and the face contracted by the anguish. It tightened the neck with the assassin out of the litter. It was old sixty-four years. According to the order of Antoine, one cut the head and the hands to him, these hands with which he had written Philippiques. After his death, his/her son, Marcus Tullius second of the name, had only one erased enough life. Friend of Brutus, the son of Cicéron will be on several occasions officer, but however remained almost unknown in the political arena, contrary to his father. (Plutarque, Life of Cicéron , 48,1; 3-4)
The philosophy of Cicéron
Extract of History of the Roman literature , Albert, Paul (1827 - 1880) - accessible work on the Gallica site
Philosophy in Rome before CicéronCicéron is the first of the Roman authors which composed in the national language of the works of Philosophie. It is proud, but it seems at the same time to be excused to have devoted to such occupations part of its leisures. Because among its contemporaries, the ones could admit in no way which one devoted to philosophy; others wanted that one did it only with one certain measurement, and without devoting to it too much time and study. Others finally, scorning the Latin letters, preferred lira the works of the Greek on these matters.
Also until our days philosophy was neglected, and Latin letters no it received
As for him, it is convinced that if the Romans had wanted to devote themselves to philosophy, they would have made a success of as well as the Greeks there: didn't they compete fortunately with those in the Poésie and the eloquence? The taste of the philosophical speculations, or, for better saying, the love of philosophy for itself was absolutely foreign to the Romans. However it was above all the men of action and the positive spirits. They had the idea of this science only the day when Greeks spoke to them about it. When they knew the goal of it, when they transfer these foreigners, of which all the Vie was consumed in a study which had not prevented the ruin of their fatherland, and nothing with themselves paid to them that thin wages paid with idlers by other idlers, they scorned or feared perhaps what one made known to them, and those which made known it to them. The Roman Sénat, which accurately represents then the public opinion, drives out Rome, into 593 (161 av JC), the three philosophers appointed by Athens, Carnéade, Diogène and Critolaüs.
The senators did not want that the people and youth were devoted to studies which absorb all the mental activity, make like and seek the leisure, and produce a certain indifference for the things of the real life; but they soon also included/understood that it was interdict with a man really worthy of this name, to remain absolutely foreign with a so important Science. They thus voted with the Senate with Caton Old the the reference of the Greek philosophers; but, returned on their premises, they started to reading Aristote, Plato, Épicure, Zénon. They prohibited to the Greek philosophers the public education of philosophy; but they called them on their premises, were made inform by them, took along them with them in their forwardings. Caton itself, this enemy relentless of the Greeks, studied to them Langue and their philosophy. As for men like Scipion the African, Lélius, Furius, of the jurisconsults like Q. Elius Tubéron and Mucius Scévola, they highly acknowledged the disciples of stoical Panétius and Diogène of Babylon.
It was the Stoïcisme which penetrated initially in Rome, and which at all the times exerted on the Romans the deepest influence. But the other doctrines were not long in being also introduced in Rome, and had disciples there. After the catch of Athens by Sylla (- 87 av JC), the writings of Aristote were brought to Rome; Lucullus joins together a vast library, where the monuments of Greek philosophy were deposited. At the same time, the Romans transfer to arrive in their city the representatives of the principal schools of the Greece. It was allowed any more a Romain well-read man to be unaware of a Science only so much of Masters and works put at the range of all. As we see as among the contemporaries of Cicéron, not only one did not remain foreign being studied philosophical. Each one of them stuck, according to the tendencies of its character, with such or such sect; Lucullus with the New Academy, like Marcus Junius Brutus and Varron. Lucrèce, Atticus, Cassius, Velléius Torquatus, was epicureans. The Jurisconsult S Q. Mucius Scévola, Servius Sulpicius Bufus, Tubéron, Caton, were stoical. There was even a kind of pythagorician, Nigidius Figulus, and a Péripatéticien, Mr. Pupius Pison.
Among the contemporaries of Cicéron, certain Amafinius composed a work on the Épicurisme. Mr. Brutus wrote a treaty On the virtue and Varron summarized the opinions of the old philosophers well on the sovereign.
For them, philosophy was the mark of a high intellectual culture, a kind of distinction or luxury which they wanted to have, but they often did not reduce all philosophy to the Morale while making prevail in the study even of morals the practical side, the immediate applications, by almost limiting it not to be any more but one handbook with the use of the citizen and the man.
Philosophical formation of Cicéron
Cicéron did not make differently than its contemporaries; in its youth, he studied the Philosophie, because it appeared powerful an auxiliary of the eloquence to him; but it was solved to compose of the philosophical works only in the last years of its Vie, i.e. in circumstances where it could not find another use of its leisures. He saw in this work a consolation; here is the first origin of the philosophical works of Cicéron. It is between all of the works of circumstance. Anxious, cut down, patient of spirit, it will request from the ancient Sagesse the remedies of the heart and forces it which it needs.
In its youth, he studied initially the epicureanism: these doctrines then had fort many representatives, since first philosophical writings of the Romans, those of Amafinius, of Catius, and the poem of Lucrèce, are exposures of the epicureanism. Cicéron was the pupil of Phèdre and Zénon, both epicureans. Later Philon the academician, Antiochus d' Ascalon, and stoical Diodote and Posidonius were in turn or simultaneously its teachers. To the example of its compatriots, it did not stick exclusively to any sect, it was eclectic. However its preferences were for the Nouvelle Academy. The doctrines of probabilism and probable were appropriate perfectly for a lawyer. On another side, the Stoicism, by its moral rise, was to have taken on a deeply honest heart. Of this mixture of doctrines philosophy is composed what is called of Cicéron.
Moral philosophyFor Cicéron, as for all the old ones, the paramount question in morals is that of the sovereign well. Which is our supreme good? What makes the value and the goal of the life? Which is fine the last to which must subordinate the particular ends of our acts? All the orientation of our life, all the whole and the details of our control depend on the answer which will be given to this question. ( Acad. I, 2,43)
With that nothing astonishing. This principle, once established, fixes all the others. In any other matter, the lapse of memory and ignorance are prejudicial only as far as the importance of the questions which escape to us. But to ignore the sovereign well, it is to condemn itself to be unaware of all the law of our life, it is to run the serious danger to put itself out of state to learn in which port one will be able to seek asylum. On the other hand, when knowledge of the particular ends of the things one came from there to include/understand which is the good par excellence or the roof of the evil, our life found its way and the whole of our duties their precise formula. ( Of end , V, 6)
And where is necessary it to seek the solution of this problem of the sovereign well? In this part of the heart where wisdom and prudence lie and not in that which is the seat of the passion and which constitutes the weakest part of the heart. ( Of end , II, 34)
The solutions are numerous: It is not more discussed question and which received more different answers, contradictory even, but all these answers can all in all be reduced to three. For the ones, the sovereign well, it is the pleasure; for others, it is honesty or the virtue; for others finally, it is the mixture or the meeting of the pleasure and the virtue. ( Acad. I, 2,45)
Its philosophical work
The first in date of its works is year 700 (54 av JC). It is the treaty On the Republic , or On the government , in six books, addressed to Atticus .
It is a dialog whose interlocutors are the young person Scipion Émilien, Lélius, Manilius Philus, Tubéron, Mucius Scævola, C. Fannius, conversing together about year 625 (- 129) on the constitution and the government of the République, a few years before the great revolution tested by the Gracques. Until 1814, one knew this important work only the conclusion preserved by Macrobe under the title of Songe of Scipion , and some extremely short passages cities by Saint Augustin, Lactance and of the grammairiens. The Philologue Italian Angelo May (1782-1854) discovered on a manuscript Palimpseste comments of Augustin saint on the Psaume S, part of the unobtrusive text of the treated Republic . In spite of these restitutions, the work is still quite defective: whole books if are mutilated that it is hardly if one can recognize the complete plan of the work. The contemporaries, the very whole Antiquity, the Pères of the Church themselves made the greatest case of them; Cicéron speaks about it only with one marked predilection; it is not far from believing with his friends whom it finally succeeded in exceeding the Greek, and who his République is quite higher than that of Plato and with the treaty of Aristote on the Politique.
One finds in Cicéron the famous Platonic theory of the Justice, on which all the treaty of the republic is founded; one finds also the dream of er Pamphilien, this bright vision of the wonders of the other Vie. the dream of Scipion , one of the most perfect pieces that Cicéron wrote, is a hors-d'oeuvre imitated of the Greek and equipped with the Roman. As for Aristote, it is not difficult to announce the many loans either that Cicéron made him. The description of the three pure forms of Constitution S, the Democracy, the Aristocracy, the Royalty; the analysis of the mixed constitutions, the principles suitable for each shape of government, and finally the Theory of the Slavery, do not belong to him into clean. Thus and the dogmatic part and the technical part are imitations of Greece. But what made with the eyes of the contemporaries the originality and the superiority of the work, it is the considerable place which Rome held to with it. Cicéron indeed had taken as ideal of any government the Roman constitution, not such as it existed of sound Temps, already faded in its principle, and leaning obviously towards a military Monarchie, but such as had established the Caton S, the Scipion S, the Fabii: it seemed to him a happy mixture of the three shapes of government, the aristocratic one, the democratic one, the monarchical one.
However, Cicéron also pays a homage supported to the stoical philosophy of the right: Is quidem will vera lex recta ratio naturae congruens, diffused in omnes, constans, sempiterna, quae vocet AD officium subendo… . Through this will to bring back the right to the expression of the reason, of a reason accessible to all (diffused in omnes), it expresses with a precision without equal the doctrines of the natural right: a logical law, conforms to nature, immutable and permanent.
The Consul S represented monarchy, moderate by the short duration of the functions; the senate represented the aristocracy, and the people represented the democracy. The to be able S and attributions of the three orders were so wisely defined; there was a so happy balance between these different forces and noncontrary, that Cicéron abstained from seeking the ideal republic which Plato had imagined, and it had on Aristote this superiority which he could conclude while saying: I found the shape of government most perfect, which Stagyrite had never dared to do. Here what constitutes the originality of this treaty. It is a primarily Roman work; and it is not astonishing that it has excited such an admiration. Of the conquests of Rome shown with Romans, the praise of the national institutions, the glorification of the traditions of the fatherland, all that contemporaries were well made to like the legitimacy. Perhaps it would not be difficult to show that, even conceived thus, this work approaches singularly that of Polybe, philosophical and practical spirit at the same time, and who, also, took for starting point of his universal history the Roman constitution to him.
the LawsThe Treated on the Laws , which probably appeared into 702 (- 52), at the time when Cicéron had just been named Augure, can be regarded as the complement of the treaty on the Republic . It presents same qualities and the same defects as this last. It is neither a purely philosophical work, nor a work of pure Jurisprudence, but a kind of compromise between the speculation and the practice. In the first book, obviously inspired of Plato, and probably also of the special treaty of Chrysippe on the Law ( Perished nomou ), Cicéron shows with a great rise in thought and style the existence of a law universal, eternal, immutable, in conformity with the divine Raison and merging with it. It is it which constitutes the natural Right, former and higher than the positive Droit; it existed before no law had been written, before no Cité had been founded. After this beautiful introduction, Cicéron gives up the Métaphysique law, and passes on to the examination positive laws. But one is needed of it that it seeks in the study of the laws the applications to the various shapes of government, like made Montesquieu. Just as there was in its eyes of another republic only the Roman République, it seems that there are other laws only the laws of Rome. First blow it met the most perfect legislation; it is limited to an enumeration of the texts, which one could reproach a lack of a methodical and rational nature. The laws which draw especially its attention are those which regulate the details and the ordinance of the Culte. What is explained quite naturally by its promotion with the augurat. He perhaps wanted to appear with the eyes of his contemporaries deeply versed in the Connaissance of the things of the Religion, and quite worthy of the crowned deposit which was entrusted to him.
All the second book is devoted to this arid inventory. The third book, disfigured by some gaps, is devoted to the Politique. Cicéron examines there the Nature and the organization of the capacity, the character of the various functions of the State, the salutary antagonism, which must exist between the forces which constitute it. These questions of a so sharp general interest, since they touch directly with the problem of political freedom, had a considerable importance and a kind of topicality for the contemporaries of Cicéron. Which was to be the share of the Aristocratie or the senate, and that of the Peuple in the Gouvernement of the republic? Time was not distant where César was to solve the question. All the advised spirits envisaged a catastrophe; one endeavoured to consolidate the Autorité senate and laws to oppose to the democratic flood a stronger barrier. Quintus, the brother of Cicéron, represents, in the discussion relative to this serious question, obstinacy and the mortuary patricians. It goes even until fighting the institution of the tribunat which it declares ill-advised and dangerous. Cicéron, without entirely accepting the opinions of his/her brother, recognizes the dangers however that such a magistrature can offer for the maintenance of the Paix and of the Liberté; but it also shows that it is not extremely difficult to mislead the people, and to thus break between the hands of the powerful orator S a frightening weapon. He advises to do it; he believes the thing right and useful. What did it have to think later, when it saw César putting into practice, to destroy the constitution of the State, a theory which it believed made to save it?
We have only the first three books of the treaty of the Laws: there were probably six of them. The fourth was devoted to the examination of the political right, the fifth with the criminal right, the sixth with the Civil law. These books are lost. One must all the more consider it regrettable it that no other work of Cicéron on similar matters can replace them for us.
Let us not forget that the treaties of the Republic and the Laws were written at one time when the Roman constitution was still upright, before the Civil war and antique freedom ruins it. This circumstance explains the character of the two works: they are at the same time theoretical and practical, and even techniques. When the revolution is consumed, the speculative element will dominate in the Philosophie of Cicéron, and the reality of the public life escaping to him, it will take refuge in contemplation.
The first in date of these philosophical works of the second period of its Vie is that which one indicates under the title of the Académiques ( Academica ). One can regard it as the natural introduction to the works which follow. Indeed, the Philosophie of Cicéron was to borrow from the principal systems of the Greek the often contradictory elements which constitute it. Cicéron is neither a peripatetician nor an academician; it belongs rather to the Nouvelle Academy. It was most recent of the philosophical doctrines, that which time of Cicéron enjoyed, among the Romans, of the more high consideration. The moderate skepticism which characterized it, this theory of probable set up in absolute criterium; this tendency of the new academicians to expose and refute the ones by the others opinions of the various schools; resources that such a system offered to the art of public speaking: here what undoubtedly determined the preferences of Cicéron.
It is often judged that Cicéron is much more interesting as historian of philosophy than like Philosophe, and in that it resembles extremely its Masters of the new Academy. The work that we have under the title of Academica composes of two books: there were of them two editions, one in two books, the other into four; we preserved the first book of the second edition, and the second of the first. It is a summary of the history of Greek philosophy since Socrate to the representatives of the old Academy, summary presented by learned the Varron. Cicéron speaks then and exposes the doctrines of the Nouvelle Academy; finally Lucullus establishes the differences which separate the new Academy from old. It is in this work which Cicéron declares in philosophy what it will be always, a man who never says: I am certain, but I believe ( opinator ). Besides one reproaches him sometimes too for having only often carried same indecision in the acts of his life Politique.
The year even which followed the death of Caton to Utique, Cicéron wrote and addressed to Brutus, nephew of Caton, the treaty which has as a title: Of truths goods and truths evils . It translated, by the word De Finibus , the Greek title of the work of Chrysippe on the same subject (Πεϱὶ τελέν/ Peri telen ).
This problem of the sovereign, turned over well in all directions by the schools of antiquity, was the stone of key of each one of them. In what the man does have it to make consist the Vrai well? Is this in pleasure? In the absence of the Pain, in the pleasure of the life under the government of the Virtue, in the virtue alone? All these solutions had been given and others still which, less radical, tried to grant together pleasure and the virtue. According to whether one adopted such or such doctrines, one was in the control of the life the man of the pleasure, the man of the austere and rigorous duty, or the man of the temperaments, who adapts to the circumstances, does not break in visor with anybody, and, without ceasing being honest, can get along up to a certain point with those which are not it.
There were then with Rome representatives of each one of these opinions, and the majority of them were shown in practice faithful to their theories. The treaty of Cicéron, which is the complete exposure and the discussion of the doctrines of Épicure, of Zénon, the Péripatéticien S and old the Académie, was to thus be of a quite sharp interest for its contemporaries. The same characters as it puts in scene, Manlius Torquatus, Caton, Atticus, Papius Piso, and who expose the system of Philosophie adopted by each one of them, gave the life so to speak to these doctrines. In the first book, Manlius Torquatus develops the principles of the epicureanism, i.e. the theory of the pleasure considered as the sovereign well. It is a clever, but extremely incomplete plea. He is refuted in the second book by another plea of Cicéron. The epicureanism is the only doctrines that Cicéron never wanted to admit in its universal eclecticism; and however he was the friend of the most remarkable epicurean of this time, Atticus. With the third book, it is Caton which exposes the stoical doctrines. This book is often regarded as more Beau and most solid of all the work. Cicéron always had for stoicism a secret sympathy of which it could not slacken. He scoffed more once of excesses at the proud doctrines; but it included/understood well that only it made the large citizens and truly honest people. He refutes it in the fourth book, but slightly, by disputing the originality of his principles to him, which he claims borrowed from the socratiques ones. The fifth book is devoted to the exposure of the doctrines of the old Academy.
Tusculanes are year 709 (- 45). César is Master of the republic, Caton d' Utique has just given itself death; there is no more Liberté. The dictator is human, lenient towards its enemies; but it can render comprehensible to them that, living to him, they will be nothing in the State but what it will like. Cicéron has just composed the Éloge of Caton , work lost for us; César answered by a Anti-Caton , lampoon scorning towards a famous death, left it lesson given to its adversaries which would like exalter at the expense of the dictator that which could not be opposed to its intentions. This year is also remembered by the death of Tullia, adored girl of Cicéron. Cicéron, disgusted spectacle which Rome offers, where César does not meet only one any more opponent, withdrew itself in its country house of Tusculum, preferred villa of his/her daughter, and it tries to forget that the public life is prohibited to him, while being devoted to the study of the Philosophie. The subjects of its meditations are in connection with the state of sound heart. What the Dead? what the pain? Is it possible to reduce the afflictions of the Esprit? What the Passion S? And how the Sage have does to act with these enemies of its rest? Finally what the Virtue? And is it enough to live happy? He proposes also a reflection on the suicide, means to release itself from death. Here are the questions which it treats in the Tusculanes . It does it with its ordinary abundance and its eloquence. But one feels the real impotence of the Citoyen to be satisfied with these discussions with oneself. Obviously its spirit is with Rome; and all the philosophy which it exposes seems to be for him only one makeshift. However it feels well that the moment had just prepared to support in Homme the tests which seem held to the last friends of freedom. As it is with the Stoïcisme as it will ask its virile lesson.
Of the nature of the godsThe treaty of the Natural of the Gods , although more dogmatic, offers the same character. He was written into 710 (- 44), very little of time before the death of César, and was addressed to Brutus. Cicéron successively puts in scene a epicurean, Velleius; a stoical , Balbus, and a academician, Cotta, which expose and discuss the opinions of old the Philosophe S on the Gods and the Providence. The Athéisme disguised Épicure is refuted rather highly by Cotta, which seems here to be used as figurehead in Cicéron. It is also Cotta which beats in breach the arguments of stoical on Providence; unfortunately part of its essay is lost for us. Perhaps one will be astonished that Cicéron did not speak in the debate. If it pushes back with Cotta the doctrines of Épicure, should it be believed that it pushes back also the stoical opinion so deeply religious? On is this serious question, like the academicians, decree with a vague probabilism? Its declared admirors do not believe it, and claim that on this point it was extremely far away from the skepticism. It is indeed a rather probable opinion there.
But, which imports, it is to note the extreme discretion of its attitude, which corresponds so well with the uncertainty of its convictions. Cicéron is persuaded that the Croyance in the existence of the gods and their action on the world must exert a deep influence on the Vie; that it is of fundamental importance for the Gouvernement of the Cité. Thus it should be maintained among the people. It is the Politique and forecasts it which speaks. He does not find the arguments of stoical quite conclusive, and he refutes them by Cotta. It is the academician who speaks. Lastly, it extremely inclines to believe that the gods exist, and that they control the world; he believes it, because it is there an opinion common to all the people; and that this universal agreement is equivalent for him to a Loi of nature ( consensus omnium populorum lex naturae putanda is ). As for the plurality of the gods, although it is not expressed categorically on this point, it seems that he does not believe in it, or at least which he reduces like stoical the gods to be so to speak only emanations of the single God. This one, it conceives it like a free Esprit and without mixture of mortal element, perceiving and driving all, and gifted itself of an eternal movement.
It does not save the fables of the Polythéisme gréco-Roman; he scoffs and condemns the immoral Légende S communes to all the people. It is this part of the book of Cicéron (delivers III) which charmed especially the philosophers of the eighteenth century. It was not difficult to turn into ridiculous the popular religion; one can even say that at the time of Cicéron that had become a philosophical commonplace. The ones, by pushing back with contempt these fables which they considered coarse, pushed back also any belief; the others adopted the stoical doctrines. Cicéron does not find it unattackable; but the Existence of the gods is necessary; all the people believe in it; it will thus believe in it too. It reasons about in the same way on the Immortalité of the heart, and would say readily with Plato from which it borrows the majority of his arguments: “It is a beautiful risk to be run and a beautiful hope. It is necessary to enchant oneself of it. ”
Of the divination
It is much more explicit on the Foi than deserves the Divination. The structure which supports this title is most original that he wrote. Although it discusses the opinions there of the stoical ones, it is felt that it is here on its ground, that it saw functioning under its eyes the Roman religion, that it was Augure, and that it knows what it is necessary to believe of the divine revelations. This work, as well as the third book of the Natural of the Gods , were the large arsenal where the Christian drew arguments against the Polythéisme.
It is about impossible to determine the character and the range of the incomplete work which we have under the title of On the Destiny ( De Fato ).
The small treaties, On old age and On the friendship , addressed to Atticus, are full with grace and softness. The choice of the subjects was appropriate perfectly for the philosophical range of the Esprit of Cicéron: these are two pleas, of which the first is extremely clever and the second full one with approval and even with eloquence.
the Paradoxes of stoical the are an oratorical exercise of Casuistique, often judged of a poor value.
The latest to date of these philosophical writings is the Traité duties , which appeared into 710 (- 44), after the death of César. He is addressed by Cicéron to his Marcus son, who then studied the Philosophie with Athens under the direction of Cratippe. The first book treats the honest one, the second of useful, the third of the comparison between the honest one and the useful one. The bottom of the Work and them divisions are borrowed from Panétio the stoical one, author of a Traité on the duty . One should not ask Cicéron, even in the questions of Morale where it is most affirmative, of major research about the first principles and a scientific rigor. Cicéron is a practical spirit; its book is a collection of excellent precepts, addressed to his/her son. He wants to make a good Roman citizen of it, to prepare it with the achievement of the Owe S which constitute this Vertu of the absolute and society man who does not have anything excessive. From there, temperaments necessary between stoical inflexibility and peripatetism much more reconciling.
A German philosopher, Christian Garve (1748-1792), thus summarized the principal characters of this moral philosophy:
When author examines not nature moral of man in general, but that he explains only the duties that the company imposes to him, one realizes that he included/understood the philosophy of his Master perfectly; he exposes it with greatest clearness, and, we do not doubt it, it enriched it by its clean discovered. But, in the purely theoretical research, the development of the abstract concepts, when it is question of discovering the simple parts of certain morals qualities or of solving certain difficulties which arise, Cicéron does not succeed in being clear when it copies; and, when it flies of its own wings, its ideas do not penetrate quite front, but remain attached to the surface. Does he speak about the nature of the benevolence, decorum, and rules of the good tone, company and in the manner of leading itself to it, means of being made like and respect? He is instructive by his clearness and his precision, he is interesting by the truth of what he says, and even by the novel ideas that one believes to see there. But doctrines of the perfect and imperfect virtue, the double decorum and the good order, the demonstration of the proposal which says that the social virtue is the first of all the virtues, demonstration based on the idea of wisdom, and especially the theory of the collisions, which fills all the third book, neither are so clearly expressed nor developed so well.
Singular thing! While the constitutions of the old republics lowered political pride, while making depend the size on the popular favor, the prejudices of the old world nourished philosophical pride by granting the privilege of the instruction only to the men whom them birth or their fortune intended to control their similar. It is by a continuation in this manner of seeing that the moral precepts of Cicéron so often degenerate into maxims of policy. Thus, when it prescribes terminals with curiosity, it is so that it does not prevent from being delivered to the political matters; thus it recommends before all this species of justice which the administrators by their impartiality and their satisfying exert; and he blames especially the injustices which are made by those which are with the head of the armies and the governments. It is for the same reason that it extends so lengthily on the means of going pleasant to the people, on the eloquence, like milking the way of the honors, on the rights of the war; therefore the love of the people and the honor appear to him things of the highest utility, therefore its examples are all drawn from the history politique.
Lost philosophical works
The other philosophical works of Cicéron did not reach us. We have only one fragment of the Timée ( Timaeus, seu of universo ), imitation of Plato . The treaties Of glory ( Of gloria libri duet AD Atticum ), the OEconomique , translation of Xénophon, the Protagoras , translation of Plato, the Praise of Caton ( Laus Catonis ), composed after death of this one in Utique into 708 (- 46); another praise of Porcia, girl of Caton; a book on Philosophy ( Of philosophia liber AD Hortensium , year 708); a Consolation ( Consolatio, sive of minuendo luctu ) that Cicéron was addressed to itself after the death of his/her Tullia daughter, perished for us. Probably of others still underwent the same fate, of which we do not know even the titles.
Opinion on its philosophy
The judgments on Cicéron Philosophe were often very severe: Cicéron is not a philosopher; it is a Romain who, according to the Greek philosophers, composes on certain questions of the clear writings, elegant and even eloquent. He devotes himself to this study in the forced leisures which miseries of time create to him; he finds there a distraction with his sad thoughts and a consolation. He also flattered himself to dispute with the Greeks the victory in this kind, as he had done for the eloquence, and to give to his fatherland a philosophical literature which it missed.
Some judge that the originality was lacking to him, and that he was concerned with it besides very little. One can hardly doubt that he believed higher than the majority of the Greek S than he imitated, if one excludes Plato of it. And it is extremely probable that it was indeed higher to them under the report/ratio of the style, elegance and abundance. Perhaps even it was convinced that the practical good sense, of which it was gifted at most point, made of him a Philosophe much more remarkable and more useful to its contemporaries than the Zénon and the Épicure. It seems to acknowledge this claim in the treated Duties , its last work. And it would not be astonishing that the contemporaries for whom it wrote had shared this vision. The Philosophie of Cicéron was indeed to be in their eyes true philosophy, that which only was appropriate for Romans.
Despite everything these criticisms, it is a merit quite difficult to refuse in Cicéron: it is for us one of the most invaluable sources for the Histoire of philosophy, thanks to the extreme scarcity of the preserved works. Also let us add that it carried in the composition of its writings admirable qualities of its spirit and its style. It does not have the sovereign grace of Plato, it cannot be to him compared in the form of the dialog; because Cicéron cannot converse, it is necessary that it pleads: but at which would find one more clearness, of elegance, glare and movement?
The expression'' Cicéron translator of Grecs" show the victory of the large Roman speaker through the philosophical terms which he invented in Latin starting from the Greek words and which knew a great fortune in Occident. It is him which invented a specific vocabulary to give an account of Greek philosophy. It created thus Latin Néologisme S such as providencia , qualitas , medietas
Cicéron is regarded as more the Latin great author traditional, as well by its style as by the moral height of its sights.
It is also necessary to pay homage to its slave and secretary Marcus Tullius Tiro (in French, Tiron), whose competence is probably not foreign with the quantity of works which reached us. Cicéron frees it towards -54 or -53, and Tiron remained his/her collaborator.
Many works translated into French, line
See in appendix the list of works translated into French in the article Works of Cicéron
Pleadings and Speech
Among the speeches of Cicéron, 88 are known, and 58 were preserved. Here a list of principal. Those which are entitled " Pro xxx" or " In xxx" are made up pleadings at the time of lawsuit, the name " xxx" being the name of the part represented by Cicéron (" Pro") or of the opposing party (" In").
81 : Pro Quinctio
- 80: Pro Roscio Amerino
- 77: Pro Roscio Comodeo
- 70: In Verrem ( Against Glasses )
- 69: Pro Tullio ; Pro Fonteio ; Pro Cæcina
- 66: speech Pro light Manilia , known as also De Imperio Cn. Pompei
- 66 : Pro Cluentio
- 63: Speech Of Light agraria countered Rullum ; Pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo ; In Catilinam I-IV ; Pro Murena
- 62: Pro Sulla ; Pro Archia
- 59: Pro Flacco
- 57 (return of exile): Post Reditum in Quirites ( After return, speech with the citizens ); Post Reditum in Senatu ( After return, speech with the Senate ); Pro Domo sweated (For its house); De Haruspicum responsis ( On the answer of the haruspices )
- 56: Pro Sestio ; In Vatinium ; Pro Cælio ; Pro Balbo
- 55: In Pisonem
- 54: Pro Cn. Plancio ; Pro Rabirio Postumo ; Pro Scauro
- 52: Pro Milone : For Milon (lost lawsuit)
- 46 (speech in front of César): Pro Marcello ; Pro Q. Ligario ; Pro Rege Deiotarus
- 44: Philippiques , speech against Marc Antoine
Treaties of rhetoricCicéron enjoys sound living of a reputation of excellent speaker. According to Pierre Grimal.
Six works of Cicéron are preserved to us, treating art of the Rhétorique:
- 84: Of inuentione , on the composition of the argumentation in rhetoric
- 55: De Oratore , on the art of public speaking
- 54: Of partitionibus oratoriis , on the subdivisions of the speech
- 52: Of optimo generates oratorum , on the best style of speaker
- 46: Brutus (short history of the Roman art of public speaking); Orator AD Brutum ( On the Speaker ), two works dedicated to Marcus Junius Brutus
- 44: Topica , elements of the argumentation
- 54 : De Republica
- 52: Of legibus ( Of the laws )
- 45: Hortensius (lost work, which marked in its youth Augustin d' Hippone); '' Lucullus '' or '' Academia Priora ''; Academia Posteriora
- 45 : Of finibus bonorum and malorum ( On the end of good and bad things ); Tusculanæ Disputationes ( debates held with Tusculum ); De Natura Deorum ( Of the nature of the gods ); Of divinatione ( Of the divination ); '' Of fato '' ( Of the destiny )
- 44: Cato Maior of senectute (on Caton Old the); Laelius of amicitia (on the friendship); Of officiis (Of the duties)
- unknown date: Paradoxa Stoicorum (stoical Paradoxes); Commentariolum petitionis (notes on its candidature, probably written by his/her Quintus brother)
LettersThe correspondence of Cicéron was abundant throughout its life. There remain to us some 800 letters, and a hundred the answers which were addressed to him. They are gathered by recipients:
- AD Atticum , letters with Atticus, his/her friend and banking
- AD Familiares , letters with the friends
- AD Quintum , letters with his/her brother Quintus Tullius Cicero
- AD Brutum , letters with Marcus Junius Brutus
- Marcus Tullius Cicero Ciceron, Correspondence. Volume I, Letters 1 to 129 (69 with 56 av. J. - C.) (translated from Latin by Mr. de Golbery). - Clermont-Ferrand: Paleo, coll “Sources of the ancient history: Roman history”, 2004. - 267 p., 21 cm. - ISBN 2-84909-116-2.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero Ciceron, Correspondence. Volume II, Lettres 130 to 265 (55 with 51 av. J. - C.) (translated from Latin by Mr. de Golbery). - Clermont-Ferrand: Paleo, coll “Sources of the ancient history: Roman history”, 2004. - 282 p., 21 cm. - ISBN 2-84909-117-0.
We have of them only fragments, of which only one is of some extent:
- Of consulatu suo ( Of its consulate ) - 78 preserved worms
- Of temporibus am - 2 preserved worms
But Voltaire wonders about this bad reputation:
- Pourquoi thus Cicéron does it pass for a bad poet? Because it rained in Juvénal to say it, because one charged worms to him ridiculous: “O fortunatam natam, me consule, Romam!” These is so bad worms, that the translator, who wanted to express the French defects of them, could not make a success of even there. “O fortunate Rome, Under my consulate born!” does not return to much close ridiculous of the worms Latin. I ask whether it is possible that the author of the beautiful piece of poetry that I have just quoted made worms so impertinent? There are stupidities that a man of genius and direction can never say.
O will tempora! O mores! - What a time (we live)! What a manners! ( Catilinaire, I )
- Who exchanges his labor against money is sold itself and places itself in the rows of the slaves.
- - The capacity is in the people, the authority in the Senate ( the Laws , 3,12)
- - That the weapons are erased in front of the toga ( 2nd Philippique , VIII)
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