A written republic : Cicero's philosophical politics by Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Baraz, Yelena; Cicero, Marcus

By Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Baraz, Yelena; Cicero, Marcus Tullius

In the 40's BCE, in the course of his compelled retirement from politics lower than Caesar's dictatorship, Cicero grew to become to philosophy, generating an important and demanding physique of labor. As he was once aware, this used to be an strange project for a Roman statesman simply because Romans have been usually opposed to philosophy, perceiving it as international and incompatible with pleasant one's accountability as a citizen. How, then, are we to appreciate Cicero's choice to pursue philosophy within the context of the political, highbrow, and cultural lifetime of the overdue Roman republic? In A Written Republic, Yelena Baraz takes up this query and makes the case that philosophy for Cicero used to be now not a retreat from politics yet a continuation of politics by way of different ability, an alternate approach to life a political lifestyles and serving the country less than newly constrained stipulations.

Baraz examines the rhetorical conflict that Cicero phases in his philosophical prefaces--a conflict among the forces that will oppose or help his undertaking. He provides his philosophy as in detail attached to the hot political situations and his exclusion from politics. His goal--to gain the nation via offering new ethical assets for the Roman elite--was conventional, no matter if his approach to translating Greek philosophical wisdom into Latin and mixing Greek assets with Roman historical past was once unorthodox.

A Written Republic presents a brand new point of view on Cicero's belief of his philosophical undertaking whereas additionally including to the wider photo of late-Roman political, highbrow, and cultural life.

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What follows is a serious attempt on his part to respond to this resistance and demonstrate that the traditional view is flawed and, ultimately, destructive for those who hold it. Yet, before he expresses his views, he qualifies them, and the qualification is one that recurs again in the prefaces and is important for understanding Cicero’s presentation of his project. He hastens to ascribe his need to do philosophy to the situation in which he finds himself—a state of forced inactivity in his usual, public, areas of engagement.

51 Cf. v. II B 1: tempus, aetatem, vitam consumere. It is used negatively of philosophical practice (associated with otium) by Antonius in De Oratore. 219). 52 It is frequently coupled with other negative qualities, most commonly ignavia (Cat. 4, Jug. 2). The pairing is picked up by the imitator in Rep. 9. Cf. 328 on the overuse of “typical Sallustian words,” including socordia, in the Epistulae. , Cicero’s description of ways in which the Sicilians are unlike the decadent Greeks, nulla desidia, nulla luxuries, contra summus labor in publicis privatisque rebus, summa parsimonia, summa diligentia, “no idleness, no luxury, on the contrary, intense effort in private and public affairs, highest frugality, highest diligence” (Ver.

Scipionem, alios44 praeterea civitatis nostrae praeclaros viros solitos ita dicere, quom maiorum imagines intuerentur, vehementissime sibi animum ad virtutem accendi. scilicet non ceram illam neque figuram tantam vim in sese habere, sed memoria rerum gestarum eam flammam egregiis viris in pectore crescere neque prius sedari quam virtus eorum famam atque gloriam adaequaverit. (Jug. 4) For I have often heard that Quintus Maximus, Publius Scipio, and, in addition, other famous men of our state were accustomed to saying that when they looked upon the busts of their ancestors, their spirit was enflamed most powerfully with desire for excellence.

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