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University of Chicago
Joseph Regenstein Library
Department of Photoduplication
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Further reprodu ction of, or q u o t a t i o n
f r o m , this m a t e r i a l m a y not be m a d e w i t h o u t
per mission f r o m the author.
Thesis No.
M i l l
cm I 2
n i l
; i
! 6,
Xlbe XHntversttp of Chicago
C I C E R O ’S A T T I T U D E T O W A R D S
S I S T E R M A R Y A L E X A I D I A T R O U A R D , O.P.
The author wishes to express her thanks to Professor B. L.
Ullman for his kindness In proposing the topic for this disserta­
tion and also for his consideration In making suggestions for the
Improvement of the work.
To Professor Blanche B. Boyer, one of
the readers, the author also desires to acknowledge her deepest
gratitude for the Interest evinced during the time of the reading
of the dissertation and after the final draft was made.
An ex ­
pression of indebtedness is likewise owed Mr. R. T. Bruere for
his helpful hints to enhance the dissertation and to the staff of
Classics library for their invaluable assistance.
I N T R O D U C T I O N ................................................
THE SUPREMACY OF THE ROMAN S T A T E .................
EXCELLENCE OF THE LATIN L A N G U A G E .................
OF THE G R E E K S ........................................
MODERN GREEKS ........................................
CICERO A MAN OF L E T T E R S ............................
C O N C L U S I O N ...................................................
An endeavor to determine an attitude is unquestionably a
difficult undertaking.
The very intangibility of the matter ren­
ders the effort problematic.
Especially Is this true In the at­
tempt to discover Cicero’s attitude towards the Greeks because,
aside from the complications Inherent in the actual labor of dis­
covering what his attitude was, there is the additional obligation
of discerning the motives that Influenced him to express himself
in terms which otherwise conflict with previous statements of his.
To arrive at some definite conclusion regarding the opin­
ion of Cicero relative to the Greeks, it will then be necessary,
not only to study all the passages in which he gives expression
to his attitude, but it will likewise be Indispensable to under­
stand the motives which prompted his reactions to the Greeks.
A scrutiny of the works of Cicero reveals an astonishing
divergency in the expression of the sentiments he entertained for
the Greeks.
In view of the circumstances of his early training
and education his preference for Greek culture is natural; like­
wise his fondness for things Greek was augmented by the fact that
in his day the Romans of his class were, with few exceptions,
Philhellenes. Yet, strange to say, there are many passages in
the works of Cicero that strike the reader as incongruous with
the conviction that Cicero can be called unreservedly a <piX£X\T)v.
Consequently, in attempting to understand what appears contradic­
tory in the expression of Cicero's attitude towards the Greeks,
it will be necessary to inquire into the circumstances which gave
rise to this anomalous situation.
Thus, we have endeavored to
assemble all the passages in Cicero in which he has mentioned the
Greeks, first selecting such remarks as afford the Inference that
he was pro-Greek, and then instances in which he censures the
Greeks or their institutions, and finally the numerous occasions
on which he coupled the name of the Romans with that of the
Greeks, usually to the detriment of the latter.
The next step leads us to an investigation of the motives
underlying the conflicting statements and thence to an attempt to
justify, if possible, Cicero’s Inconsistencies.
This endeavor
necessitates the obligation of inquiring into the attitude of the
populace of Rome towards the Greeks and likewise an examination
of the question whether Cicero made any conscious efforts in his
speeches, for instance, to ingratiate himself with the people by
subscribing to their attitude toward the Greeks.
It is also incombent upon us to study the attitude of the educated classes for
whom his treatises were meant.
In this connection we learn that
in order to assure the materialization of his literary efforts—
namely, to make the Romans philosophically conscious— Cicero was
forced to remove the prejudices which threatened success from thi
This prejudice took the shape of intolerance towards
the study of philosophy In general and distrust of the ability of
a Roman to vie with the problem.
Another difficulty besetting
C icero’s literary endeavors was the question of a Latin philosoph
leal terminology.
In his endeavor to cope with these difficulties and to
win approbation for his work as well as to assure the support of
popular opinion In the case of his orations we discover Cicero
ever the ardent patriot who was always willing to sacrifice his
reputation for Intellectual acumen and the natural love he enter­
tained for Greek culture to the attainment of the goal he had in
view— namely, the advancement of his fellow-citizens.
Finally, as a last resort the letters of Cicero are em­
ployed as the safest criteria upon which to determine what was
his attitude towards the Greeks."1'
All the passages quoted from Greek and Roman writers,
unless otherwise Indicated, are taken from the Teubner text of
the respective authors.
There is evidence of a direct and an Indirect nature to
warrant the assumption that Cicero, like the majority of the emi­
nent Romans of his day,^" had yielded to the advances of Hellenism
which had steadily gained ground in Rome since the period of the
Scipionic Circle.
Cicero was, according to his own admission, a Philhellene,
and we learn furthermore from Plutarch that the completeness with
which he adapted himself to Greek culture merited for him the
epithet Tpaixos.
Moreover, in a letter to his brother Quintus,
Cicero acknowledged without fear of censure that he was Indebted
for all he had accomplished to the arts and studies transmitted
by the records and philosophical teachings of the Greeks.
How ­
ever, Cicero did not confine himself to the mere protestation of
his pro-Greek tendencies, but gave an earnest of his admiration
of Greek culture both In his writings and In his speeches.
In his estimation, Athens, the flower of Greece,
was the
center from which mankind had derived all the good things of life
— humanity, learning, religion, grain, rights, and laws.
over, through the Institution of the Eleusinian mysteries, Athens
had contributed greatly to the advancement of civilization by
bringing man from a state of barbarism and savagery Into a mode
of life that was both refined and Instructive.
1A. Besan^on, Les adversalres de 1 'Hellenisme a Rome pen­
dant la peri ode republlcalne (fcarls:Felix Alcan, 191'oT, p. 24ST
For a brief summary of the progress of Hellenism in Rome cf. T. J
Haarhoff, The Stranger at the Gate (London: Longmans, Green and
Co., 1938), p p . 162-67.
"Ad A t t . I. 15. 1: "praeter ceteros q>tX£XATives et sumus
et habemur."
3Plut. C l c . 5. 2.
fr. i. 1. 28.
-4Clcero, who enjoyed such a pre-eminent position among men of elo­
quence, reiterated that It was In Athens, the seat of learning,^
where oratory was discovered and perfected,
and in which, b e ­
cause of its discerning Judgment which rejected anything that was
not pure and elegant, 3 only true eloquence was tolerated, 4 the
orator first made his appearance. 5
However, in addition to bestowing upon Athens the d i s ­
tinction of being the inventrlx of eloquence, Cicero extended to
the Greeks as a race many other enviable achievements: literature
and art as well as charm of speech, richness of diction, and keenness of intellect.
There is no dearth of evidence to prove that
Cicero was fully convinced that the Greeks deserved the tribute
of praise which he was not hesitant to bestow.
The innumerable
references to Greek men of genius testify to the truth of his
In his characteristically eclectic way,
Cicero has es­
tablished a canon, as it were, of the most representative figures
of every phase of Greek culture, not sparing to endow the IndividQ
uals of the various groups with the highest encomia.
1B r u t . 332.
2Pe o r a t . I . 13; B r u t . 39.
*^Orat. 25.
^De o p . gen, or. 7.
5B r u t . 26.
6 Pro F l a c . 9.
Cicero’s eclectic philosophical creed, which may easily
be applied to his method of judging works of a literary nature,
Is expressed in T. P. iv. 7: "sed defendat, quod quisque sentit;
sunt enim iudlcla libera: nos institutum tenebimus nullisque
unius disciplinae legibus adstrictl, quibus In philosophia necessarlo pareamus, quid sit in quaque re maxime probabile, semper
In a dissertation entitled, ’’Quid cum de Ingenlo et litterls turn de poetls Graecorum Cicero sensit” (Pissortat1ones philologlcae Halenses. IV [1880], 221-90), E. Lange endeavors to
make an exhaustive study of the Innumerable passages In which
Cicero has occasion to express his opinion of Greek genius.
book is concerned primarily with an attempt to determine Cicero’s
ability to pass Judgment on Greek culture, and with this phase of
Cicero’s talent we are not concerned.
A more exhaustive work
dealing with the ability of Cicero to cope with Greek genius Is
made by V. Clavel, De M. T. Cicerone Graecorum lnterprete (Paris:
Llbralrie de L. HachetTe et C i e ., 1&68). However, our remarks
will be confined to the citation of passages from Cicero In which
he seems to have established a canon of the most representative
exponents of Greek philosophy, literature, and art.
-5Besides avowing the universality of Greek literature,1
Cicero evaluates the writers whose genius had won for Greece the
admiration of the world. He is of the opinion that Homer is an
artist without an equal,
a poet capable of charmingly vivid de5
who, because of his pre-eminence, has appropriated
the general name of poet to himself.
No other poet, with the
exception of Sophocles,
has received such singular praise from
Cicero, although he admired many of them and quoted copiously
from their writings.
As we should expect, Cicero was more profuse in his men­
tion of Greek men of eloquence.
Although, as Cicero said, it was
characteristic of the Attic orators to speak in a style that was
elevated, artistic, and copious,
yet he believed that it was a
matter of wonder how far Demosthenes excelled all the rest of
He it was who, in the opinion of the best Judges, was the
prince of orators,
than whom there was no one who surpassed him
in the powerful, the adroit, and the temperate style of speak­
ing,^-0 whom all orators wished to resemble,^ especially Cicero
himself, 12 who preferred him to all other men. 13 And although
Cicero undoubtedly held Demosthenes in the highest esteem, yet he
was not slow to recognize laudable qualities in other Attic orators.
He praised Lysias as a most charming and exquisite writer, 14
the first openly to profess the art of speaking. 15 Cicero found
him a model worthy of imitation because of his simplicity of
However, without doubt, Lysias was eclipsed by Demos17
who could, when he wished, speak with simplicity, al-
1Pro A r c h . 23.
2Pe div. ii. 97.
3T. D. v. 114.
4T o p . 55.
5De d l v . i. 54.
Cf. Lange, op. c l t ., pp. 248 ff.; Clavel, op. c i t .,
pp. 48 ff.
or. 12.
O r a t . 6.
De op
141; De ojg. g e n . o r . 13.
100 r a t . 23.
^ D e o p . g e n . or. 6.
12B r u t . 289; De o r a t . 1 260.
130rat. 23.
J-~Ibid. 29.
De op. gen. or. 9.
ryBrut. 48.
Brut. 66:
"nam ut horvun concisis sententiis, interdum
autem non satis apertls [autem] cum brevltate turn nlmio acumine
offlcit Theopompus elatione atque altltudine orationis suae— quod
, „
-6though Lysias had never been able to arrive at the grandeur or
Demosthenes.^ Frequently Cicero coupled the name of Aeschines
with that of Demosthenes and presaged the judgment of future
ages by calling Isocrates the father of eloquence.
No less characteristically eclectic was his choice of
historians: Herodotus, the father of history,
had as a second
Thucydides, whom Cicero judged to have recorded events graviter
et probe
The most lavish praise, however, was reserved for the
great triad of philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
these three, Socrates, the father and fountain head of all true
philosophy, 8 in whom all wisdom and eloquence was concentrated, 9
was the first one to call philosophy down from h e a v e n , ^ and dis­
entangle It from the mystery in which It was previously enshrouded, 11 who before all men was proclaimed the wisest man In Greece; 12
the greatest of these three, however, was, in the mind of Cicero,
idem Lysiae Demosthenes— sic Catonis luminibus obstruxit haec
posteriorum quasi exaggerate altius oratio."
*De o p . gen, or. 10.
^Ibld. 14. Cf. ibid. passim.
3 De orat. ii. 10: "ut Ille pater eloquentiae de se Iso­
crates scripsi^ Ipse." Cf. R. C. Jebb, Attic Orators(London:
Macmillan & Co., 1893), II, 434: wThe IsocratTc style has become
the basis for all the rest. That style in Its essential charac­
teristics of rhythm has passed Into the prose of Cicero; modern
prose has been modelled on the Roman; and thus in forming a lit­
erary rhetoric of Attica, Isocrates founded that of all litera­
^De leg, i. 5.
8Pe orat. i l . 56.
6Orat. 30.
7N. D. i. 93; De fin.II. 1.
8De orat. I. 42; Brut. 31; T. D. iv. 6; ibid.
ill . 8.
De orat. III. 60:
is, qul omnium eruditorum testimonio
totiusque iudicio Graeciae cum prudentia et acumine et venustate
et subtilitate turn vero eloquentia, etc." Ibid. ii. 270:
uti el ferunt, qul melius haec norunt, Socratem opinor . . . .
longe lepore et humanitate omnibus praestitisse."
10T. D. v. 10.
^ A c a d . I. 15: "'Socrates mihl videtur . . . . primus a
rebus occultis et ab Ipsa natura Involutis, In quibus omnes ante
cum phllosophi occupati fuerunt, avocavisse philosophiam et ad
vitam communem adduxisse.'"
Varro is the speaker here, although
the sentiment is surely Cicero's.
De amic. 7; De sen. 78; Acad. I. 16.
-7the divine Plato, •*- the prince^ and master^ of philosophers, the
Homer of Philosophers,
whom Jove himself would have Imitated
were he to speak Greek,
and whom Cicero acknowledged as his own
It Is probably because Cicero found Plato not only
an Inspiration to philosophy but also a model of eloquence,
he rated him so highly.
Finally, In the category of philosophers, Cicero espeO
cially admired Aristotle both because of his acute subtlety In
dialectics 9 and his power of eloquence. lO Indeed, Cicero ac­
knowledged him almost unrivalled among philosophers,"^ as he
yielded place only to Plato. 12
In the matter of art Cicero confessed that his weakness
for collecting objects of vertu 13 had exposed him to the posai14
bility of criticism.
However, to judge from the failure of
modern critics to come to some unanimous decision in regard to
Cicero's appreciation of art, 15 one is led to suspect that, at
best, his knowledge of Greek art was superficial.
^De o p . g e n . or. 17; N. D. i i . 32; Ad A t t . iv. 16. 3; De
le g . i i i . T .
2Orat. 62.
3I b l d ♦ lO.
4T. D. i. 79.
SB r u t . 121.
Ad f a m . i. 9. 18:
"Id enim iubet Ilie idem Plato, quern
ego vehementer auctoremque sequor." T. D. v. 36:
"ex hoc igitur
Platonis quasi quodam sancto augustoque 7onte nostra omnis manabit oratio."
De o r a t . i. 47:
"hoc maxume admirabar Platonem, quod
mihi tin] oratlonibus lrridendis ipse esse orator summus videbatur."
Orat. 62: "exstitit et gravitate <(et suavitate]> princeps
Plato.” T. D. i. 24: "num eloquentia Platonem superare possumus?"
~^De orat. ii. 152.
^T o p . 6; Orat. 172.
10T. D. i. 7; Acad, ii. 119.
1:LIbid. Ii. 132.
T. D. i. 22:
"Aristoteles, longe omnibus— Platonem sem­
per excipTo— praestans et ingenio et diligentia."
13 Ad A t t . I. 9. 2: "genus hoc est voluptatis meae."
the numerous occasions on which Cicero requested Attlcus to se­
cure art treasures from Greece.
Vide Ad A t t . i. 1. 5; 3. 2; 4.
3; 6.
1; 8. 2; 9. 2; 10. 3; 11. 3.
^4I b l d . i. 8. 2:
"nam in eo genere sic studio efferlmur
ut . . . ~ aE aliis prope reprehend! simus.”
15 For a short summary of the various opinions regarding
Cicero's attitude towards Greek art see G. Showerman, "Cicero's
Appreciation of Greek Art." American Journal of Philology. XXV
(1904), 307, n. 1.
-8we are able to judge from his writings that in art as well as in
literature Cicero endeavored to establish a canon of representa­
tive exponents. Hence, In sculpture he seemed to reckon Myron,
Polyclitus, and Lysippus as the most distinguished artists of
their profession,1 while in painting, Zeuxis, Aglaophon, and
Apelles are pre-eminent.
Aside from this direct evidence which Cicero puts at our
disposal to enable us to Judge his predilection for Greek culture,
there are Innumerable incidents In his life which substantiate
this evidence and permit us to draw the same conclusion.
In the first place, the circumstances of his education
were such as to predispose him towards Greek culture. Although
It is true that he availed himself of the advantages accruing
from association with such outstanding Romans as the Scaevolae,
yet in the majority of cases his teachers were Greeks.
In fact,
if we are to give credence to the statement of Suetonius, Cicero
was deterred from resorting to the school of the Roman Lucius
Plotius Gallus by the advice of men of great authority who be4
lieved that as teachers, the Greeks were superior to the Romans.
Upon his own authority, however, we learn that In his youth Cic­
ero had Intimate connections with at least three of the most emi­
nent exponents of the chief philosophical schools of the day, the
Epicurean Fhaedrus, the Stoic Diodotus, and the Academician Philo;
orat. ill. 26.
But see Showerman, oj>. c l t . . pp.
De orat. loc. c l t . Cf. Brut. 70.
SIbid. 306; De amlc. 1.
Suet. De rhet. 2: "de hoc Cicero In epistola ad M. TItlnnlum sic refert: Equidem memoria teneo, pueris nobis primum
Latine docere coeplsse Plotlum quondam.
Ad quern cum fleret
concursus, quod studioslsslmus quisque apud eum exerceretur,
dolebam mihl idem non licere.
Contlnebar autem doctlsslmorum
hominum auctorltate, qul exlstlmabant Graecls exercltationlbus
all melius ingenia posse." This letter of Cicero’s is not pre­
served elsewhere.
3Ad fam. xili. 1. 2: "a Phaedro, qul nobis, cum puerl
essemus." C7t also De f i n . I. 16.
Brut. 309:
"eram cum Stoico DIodoto, qul cum habitavisset apud <Jme^ mecumque vlxisset." T. D. v. 113:
"Diodotus Stoicus caecus multos annos nostrae domT vTxit."
Brut. 306:
"cum princeps Academlae Philo . . . . toturn
el me tra&ldi admirabili quodam ad philosophlam studio concitatus." Cf. Plut. Cic. 3. 1.
-9hls Interest In philosophy, however, was only a means to an end,
for he Judged that It was incumbent on a speaker to have acquain­
tance with this field.^ His attention was concentrated more on
the study of oratory.
Molo of Rhodes was In Rome during the pe­
riod of Cicero*s youth, and It was under his guidance that he
pursued the practice of eloquence.
Xt was customary for such
teachers to require their pupils to declaim in Greek for, as they
themselves knew little Latin, they were unable to correct their
Roman pupils. To this practice Cicero readily subscribed.
As a
matter of fact, he later Incurred the displeasure of the Romans
because he spoke in Greek before a Greek senate in Sicily.
was also in this early stage of his education that Cicero enjoyed
the inspiration of the poet Archias, the same to whom he later
acknowledged his Indebtedness. 5 After his first public case, 6
however, Cicero decided to leave Rome to study abroad that he
might thereby effect a change in his habit of speaking. 7 He
spent six months at Athens studying philosophy with Antiochus
and other philosophers,
but he was more zealous In the pursuit
of rhetorical exercises, which he practiced under the direction of
Demetrius.^0 From Athens he went to Asia Minor and there engaged
in declaiming with the most eloquent men of Asia. 11 Finally, he
1T. D. I. 7: "ut Aristoteles . . . . coepit . . . . prudentlam cum eloquentia lungere, sic nobis placet nec pristinum di­
cendl studium deponere et In hac maiore et uberiore arte versari."
2B r u t . 312.
I b i d . 310: "commentabar declamitans . . . . idque faciebam multum etiam Latlne sed Graece saeplus, vel quod Graeca ora­
tio plura ornamenta suppedltans consuetudlnem similiter Latlne
dicendl afferebat vel quod a Graecis summls doctorlbus, nisi
Graece dicerem neque corrigi possem neque doceri.”
^In V e r r . ii. 4. 147.
^Fro Arch. 1.
6B r u t . 312.
Ibid. 314:
"sed cum censerem remissions et moderatione
vocis et commutato genere dicendl me et periculum vitare posse et
temperatius dicere, ut consuetudlnem dicendl mutarem, ea causa
mihi In Aslam profIciscendi fuit.” Plut. C l c . 3. 5b says that
Cicero left Rome because he had offended Sulla by taking the
brief for Roscius.
SBrut. 315.
9T. D. II. 26.
^"9B r u t . loc . clt.
11---Ibid. 315-16:
"post a me Asia tota peragrata est cum
summls quidem oratoribus, quibuscum exercebar ipsis lubentlbus;
quorum erat princeps Menippus Stratonlcensls . . . . assidulssume
-10went to Rhodes to avail himself of the association with M o l o , his
old teacher*. "*■ So phenomenal was the success he attained in d i s ­
coursing in Greek that Molo was obliged to lament the loss of the
reputation Greece had held for eloquence and culture which he be2
lieved had been wrested from it by Cicero.
Moreover, Cicero
himself was satisfied with the results of his sojourn abroad, and
after two years he returned to Rome
ready to take his place among
the foremost
Romans of his day.
Thus it was that having imbibed
the lessons of philosophy and eloquence from
the Greeks, he d e ­
voted himself to speeches in court and won the applause of his
It was not until many years later, when the state, for
political reasons, had no longer any use for his eloquence and
Cicero desisted from his oratorical pursuits
and considered how
he might best be of service to his fellow-citizens in his period
of political eclipse,
that he took upon himself to communicate
by means of
writing what he had learned from his association with
the Greeks.
Thus,In the capacity of a man of letters, he proautem mecum fuit Dionysius Kagnes; erat etiam Aeschylus Cnidius,
Adramyttenus Xenocles. Hi turn in Asia rhetorum principes numerabantur."
Cf. Plut. C l c . 4.
1B r u t . 316.
2 Plut. Clc. 4. 6 f - 7 .
3 B r u t . 316:
„ ita recepi me biennio post non modo exercltatior sed prope mutatus."
^Ibid. 312:
"dicta tantvun commendationis habuit, ut non
ulla esset quae non dlgna nostro patrocinio videretur.
Inde multae quas nos dillgenter elaboratas et tanquam elucubratas
I b i d . 321:
"nam cum propter assiduitatem in causis et Industriam turn propter exquisitius et minume volgare orationis genus animos hominum ad me dicendl novltate converteram."
^Ad f a m . I. 9. 23:
"anlmum ab orationibus diiungo fere."
Further proof that he abstained from forensic speeches is the
fact that there are references to only two orations for this pe­
riod, one, In Plsonem. which Is extant and the second, Pro G a l l l o ,
which has not come down to us.
De d l v . 11. 1:
"quaerenti mlhi mu It urnqua et diu cogitanti quanam re possem prodesse quam plurimis, ne quando intermi tterem consulere rel p., nulla maior occurrebat, quam si optlmarum artlum vias traderem meis clvlbus."
N. D . I. 7:
"nam cum
otio langueremus et is esset rel publicae status ut earn unius conailio atque cura gubernari necesse esset, primum Ipsius rel pub­
licae causa philosophiam nostris hominibus explicandam putavi."
De d l v . i i . 7:
"quod cum accidisset nostrae rel p., turn
prlstinis orbati muneribus haec studia renovare coepimus ut et
animus molestils hac potisslmum re levaretur et prodessemus clvl­
bus nostris qua re cumque possemus."
De f i n . I. 10:
"ego vero,
-11posed to put at the disposal of the Romans the entire system of
Greek philosophy.^" To his mind there was no course better suited
to his time of life and more useful in educating his fellowcltlzens as well as more consonant with his own worthy achieve2
ments than to acquaint the Romans, whose political steps it was
denied him to guide,
with the transcendent intellects of the
Such a proposal in itself is an eloquent testimony of his
conviction that Greek culture was not to be despised; furthermore,
the method he adopted in accomplishing this undertaking affords
us an opportunity to discern even more fully how deeply Cicero
was imbued with Greek thought and how thoroughly familiar he was
with the exponents of the various schools of Greek philosophy.
In acquainting the Romans with philosophy Cicero had no
notion of establishing a new philosophical sect, but chose rather
to identify himself with the Academy.
The eclectic method of
this school attracted him because, In his opinion, It was the
least arrogant and at the same time the most consistent of the
existing schools;
furthermore, it particularly appealed to Cic­
ero because it was especially adaptible to the purposes of ora­
quoniam forensibus, operis, laboribus, periculls non deseruisse
mihi vldeor praesldium, in quo a populo Romano locatus sum, debeo
profecto, quantumcumque possum, in eo quoque elaborare, ut sint
opera, studio, labore meo doctiores cives mei."
1De d l v . Ii. 4: "quod enira munus rel p. adferre maius
meliusve possumus quam si docemus atque erudimus iuventutem, his
praesertim moribus atque temporlbus, quibus lta prolapsa est ut
omnium opibus refrenanda ac coercenda sit."
A c a d . I. 11:
"nunc vero et fortunae gravlssimo percussus vulnere et administratione rel publicae liberatus doloris medicinam a philosophia peto et otii oblectationem hanc honestissimam.
Aut enim huic aetati hoc maxime aptum est, aut his rebus si
quas dlgnas laude gessimus hoc in prlmls consentaneum, aut etiam
ad nostros cives erudiendos nihil utilius, aut si haec lta non
sunt nihil aliud video quod agere possimus."
De l e g , i. 5: "non solum mihi videris eorum 3tudiis,
qul tuis litteris delectantur, sed etiam patriae debere hoc munus,
ut ea, quae salva per te est, per te eundem sit ornata."
4Pe f i n . I. 7.
5T. D. v . 83; ibid. v. 32.
6De d l v . Ii. 1.
P arad. proem. 2: "quia nos ea philosophia plus utimur
quae peperit dicendl copiam." De fato 3:
nec enim, id
quod recte existimas, oratoria Ilia studia deserui, quibus etiam
te Incendi, quamquam flagrantisslmum acceperam, nec ea quae nunc
tracto minuunt, sed augent potius illam facultatem.
Nam cum hoc
-12Clcero made no secret of the fact that he was following
Greek sources and his method can easily be traced In the writings
themselves; moreover his letters afford ample means of surmising
how he proceeded to amass and select his material.
In the first
place, his models, Insofar as content and form are concerned,
were Greek.
Thus when he was engaged In writing the De re publics
he had before him the precedent established by Plato, Aristotle,
and the entire Peripatetic school;^ again, the style of the his­
torian Theopompus furnished the model for a private memoir he was
contemplating and the form of the De oratore purported to be
that of a work of Aristotle,
while Plato had provided him with
the suggestion to preface his Laws with a proem.
Wien asked why
he had failed to make the aged Scaevola partake in the dialogue
of the second book of the De re publica. he replied that in a sim­
ilar work of Plato, the master had seen fit to dismiss the old
man Cephalas from the scene.
Cicero also mentioned that in the
matter of dialogue he had taken Heraclides as his model for the
De re publlca.
Again, in the enumeration of the works which he
has already completed, Cicero, following the example of Aristotle
and Theophrastus, included his rhetorical treatises in the list
of philosophical essays;
Aristotle again furnished the model for
the introductions which preface each book of the Academlca.
In the actual process of writing Cicero was, to a large
extent, dependent upon Greek works, some of which he himself did
not have in his own library.
Thus we frequently find him asking
his friend Attlcus to send him some particular Greek treatise for
which he had an urgent need, 9 at one time a work of Philoxenus, lO
at another, one of Phaedrus, 11 while he had to ask twice for the
— -
genere philosophiae, quod nos sequimur, magnam habet orator societatem;
subtilitatem enim ab Academia mutuatur et ei vicissim reddit ubertatem orationis et ornamenta dicendi."
"*De d i v . ii. 3:
"magnus locus philosophiaeque proprius a
Platone Arl'stotele Theophrasto totaque Peripateticorum familia
tractatus uberrime.”
2Ad Att. ii.. 6.
4 De l e g . i i . 16.
3Ibld. xiii. 19. 4.
6 I b i d . xiii. 19. 4.
3Ad At t . i v . 16. 3.
7De div. ii. 4.
Ad A t t . iv. 16. 2.
9Ibid. i. 20 . 7.
I b i d . xiii. 8. 1.
i:LIbid. xiii. 39. 2.
works of DIcaearchus, his pet,^ before he received t h e m .3 Some­
times he mentioned his sources much in the same manner in which
modern writers acknowledge their authorities; thus Cicero may say,
"Antlsthenes in his book entitled Natural Philosophers says,"
"this is what Posidonius says in the fifth book of his On the Na­
ture of the Gods,
or "Aristotle in the third book of his phi­
losophy, "^”or again, "the KvSpiai A 64a 1 of Epicurus run t h u s ."7
Frequently, however, he was content merely with citing the name
of the authors he is employing without specifying the particular
We can visualize Cicero at work as we read his letter to
"I have in my hand the treatise on the constitution of
Pellene and you should see the heap of DIcaearchus that I have
piled at m y feet."
Then too we can sympathize with him in his
futile search to find material that he wished to employ."^ When
engaged on the Dg offlclls. he tells Atticus that he has exhausted
Panaetlus on the subject, and is looking forward to receiving the
works of Posidonius on the same t o p i c . ^
Sometimes, indeed, his sources failed him and he was
obliged to beg Atticus to secure the information; 12 moreover, his
Implicit dependence on his sources led him into errors to which
1Ibid. xiii. 31. 2; ibid. xiii. 32. 2.
2T. D. i.
5Ad A t t . xiii.
33. 2.
4N. D.
5I b l d . i. 123.
7I b i d . 1. 85.
®E.g., in
A c a d . ii. 98: "a Clitomacho sumam." Ibid. ii.
"a Clitomacho in eo libro." De d l v . ii. 97:
"videsne me
non ea dicere quae Carneades sed ea quae princeps Stoicorum Panaetius dixerit?"
De o f f . i. 6: "in quaestione potissimum Stoicos . . . . hauriemus .1T~ _I b i d . ii. 60:
"Panaetius, quern multum
in his libris secutus s u m ' N. D. ill. 35:
"referre Heraclitum
ut opinor sequentes."
I b i d . T i i . 44: "haec Carneades aiebat."
Ad A t t . ii. 6. 1: "Eratosthenes, quem mihi proposueram." I b i d .
xTli'. 12. 3: "sunt Antlochia."
I b i d . x v i . 11. 4: "evun locum 1*031donius persecutus est." These are but a few of the countless ref­
erences which Cicero made to the Greek writers whom he consulted.
9Ibid. ii. 2. 2.
*~° I b i d. xiii. 32. 2: "TpmoXi-rixdv non invenio et epistulam eius quam ad Aristoxenum misit."
X1I b l d . xvi. 11. 4.
12Ibid. xiii. 30. 2:
"mi, sicunde potes, erues, qui decem
legati Mummio fuerint. Polybius non nominat."
Atticus called his attention.
Of course, Cicero did not always mention his sources of
Information, but the numerous passages cited are sufficient to
prove that he was heavily Indebted to the Greeks.
Moreover, the
research of modern scholars, who have traced the material found
in the treatises of Cicero back to their ancient sources and have j
demonstrated by comparison with the originals, how closely, at
times, Cicero reproduced the Greek authorities,
adds further
testimony regarding his dependence upon the Greeks and substan­
tiates our assertion that he deserved the epithet Phllhellene.
In addition, there are several other reasons from which
we may adduce evidence of Cicero’s admiration for the Greeks.
Aside from his philosophical and rhetorical treatises he wrote
several poems, among which was a history of his consulship In
which has come down to us in part only In the translation
of it which he made into Latin.
In this poem, as he rejoiced to
relate, he had exhausted the scent box of Isocrates and all the
rouge pot-a of his disciples, together with some of the color of
In fact, Cicero prided himself that he had frightg
ened the Greeks out of the thought of elaborating it; moreover,
he was anxious that Atticus should see to It that Athens and the
other Greek towns should have a full supply of it In stock.
thermore, in writing It he did not resort to the device of Lucullus who interspersed a few barbarisms and solecisms in a Greek
^Ibid. v l . 2. 3: "DIcaearchi tabulis credidi . . . . itaque Istum ego locum totidem verbis a DIcaearcho transtuli."
Cf. Clavel, 0£. clt.. passim.
For an exhaustive list of the numerous modern works con­
cerned with the Onelien of Cicero’s treatises c f . the bibliography
which Is appended to each of the disquisitions ofJhis various essays by M. Schanz and C. Hosius, Geschlchte der romlsohen Litteratur (Munich: Beck, 1927), I, 494 tt.
4Ad A t t . 1. 19. 10; ibid. I. 20. 6; ibid. ii. 1. 1.
5Ibld. ii. 1. 1.
g 1 T
Ibid. ii. 1. 2: "quamquam ad me scripsit lam Rhodo Po­
sidonius se, nostrum Illud 6x6|ivr)^a cum legeret, quod ego ad
eum, ut o m a t l u a de isdem rebus scriberet, miseram, non modo non
excltatum esse ad scrlbendum, sed etiam plane deterritum. Quid
conturbavi Graeoam nationem.
Ita, vulgo qui instabant,
ut darem slbl, quod ornarent, iam exhibere mihi molestiam destiterunt .n
-15work of his so as to Indicate that It was the product of a Roman,^
hut rather succeeded so well as to merit the admiration of Caesar, 2 who had not read anything better In Greek. 3
Moreover, Just as he thought that it was useful to declaim
in Greek, so too he believed that it was to the advantage of the
one who aimed to acquire eloquence to translate the Greek master­
pieces Into Latin that thereby the excellencies of the original
might be transferred to the Roman products.
Indeed, when he
found that the Roman poets failed to Inspire him, he used to
translate poems from the Greek In order that he might further
embellish his discussion.
This practice he likewise recommended
to his son.
There are extant some fragments quoted by later
Latin writers to attest that Cicero practiced what he preached.
In one Instance, we are able to verify the assertion of these
writers by the statement of Cicero himself.
Thus many later
Romans state that Cicero translated the Oeconomicus of Xenophon,
a fact which Cicero likewise mentioned In his De offlclls.
extant De optlmo genere oratorum was intended as a prooemlum to a
translation of the speeches of Demosthenes and Aeschines In the
Indictment and defense of Cteaiphon,
but whether the translation
was ever made Is a matter of speculation.^0 Cicero Is also cred­
ited with a translation of Plato's Protagoras.11 and a consider­
able portion of Cicero's Timaeus is likewise, as Clavel illus­
1Ibid. I. 19. lO.
2Ad Q. fr. ii. 14 (13). 2.
3I b l d . ii. 16. 5.
A '
De o r a t . I. 155:
"postea mihi placuit, eoque sum usus
adulescens, ut summorum oratorum Graecas orationes explicarem.
Quibus lectis hoc assequebar, ut, cum ea quae legeram Graece, La­
tins redderem, non solum optimis verbis uterer et tamen usitatis,
sed etiam exprimerem quaedam verba imitando, quae nova nostris
essent, dum modo essent idonea." This practice is likewise recom­
mended by Quintilian, I n s t . x. 5. 4.
5T. D. II. 26: "sed sicubi ill! defecerunt--verti enim
multa de Tfraecls, ne quo ornament© in hoc genere dlsputationls
careret Latina oratio."
6Pe o f f , i. 1.
7Cf. Serv. ad Verg. Georg. I. 43; ii. 412; A e n . I. 703;
Prise, v i l l . 4. 1 9 ;"~I)onat. T e r . Phor. 351; Pliny N.TTT xviii. 224.
De o f f . II. 87.
De o p . g e n , o r . 14.
10G. L. Hendrickson, "Cicero de optlmo genere oratorum,"
A J P . XLVII (1926), 109.
■^Prisc. v i . 11. 63; vill. 7. 35; Donat. T e r . Phor. 611.
-16trates,! an almost word for word translation of the work of Plato
hearing the same title.
However, In the matter of his translation from Greek poe­
try we have more copious evidence Inasmuch as some of the attempts
have survived.
For Instance, there are considerable fragments of
the translation Cicero made of the Phaenomena and the Prognostlea
of Aratus, to which he refers several times.
In addition, other
writers knew of many other Greek poems which Cicero turned Into
Latin, but none of these translations has survived.
What shall we say of the countless Instances in which
Cicero translated short passages from Greek, or of the Innumer­
able quotations which he gave directly In the original, as evi­
dence of a profound and copious knowledge of Greek literature?
His fondness for Homer is shown by his frequent translations from
the Iliad and the Odyssey; the tragedians are next in number as
far as frequency of translation is concerned ;3 however, translations of other Greek poets are not Inconsiderable.
There Is likewise the habit which Cicero practiced to a
large extent in his letters of scattering Greek words and phrases
profusely— a habit which also must be mentioned as a further
proof of his fondness for the Greek language.
All this evidence concurs In establishing the belief that
Cicero Is to be taken at his word when he acknowledges himself a
<piA€X\T)v. His works exhibit an Intimate acquaintance with Greek
thought 8 and his admiration for the Greeks themselves 9 as well as
their culture "
0 Is apparent on many occasions.
"*"Clavel, 0£. clt. . pp. 132-58.
2Ad Att. Ii. 1. 11; Ibid. xv. 16a. 1; N. D. II. 104.
3Alcyones. Uxorlus. Nilus are mentioned by
*"* Capltollnus
Gord. 3. 4UT. Suet. Ter"!
— — 5 quotes four lines from his 'LImon.
Cf. Clavel, o£. clt.. pp. 227 ff., for references to the
passages paraphrased Trom Homer.
5Ibld., pp. 54-63.
6I b i d .. pp. 66-104.
This practice was also followed in his philosophical
Cf. Clavel,
0 £. clt. .pp.
242 ff., for examples.
8Cf. supra,
pp. 8-10; vide also pp. 12-14.
9 C f . supra.
pp. 5-7.
"*"°Cf. supra,
pp. 1-2; vide also p. 8 .
If we confine ourselves to the evidence assembled in the
previous chapter, we are, of necessity, obliged to concede that
Cicero was unquestionably Philhellenic in his sympathies. Yet in
presenting the material we have neglected to record the many In­
stances which could be cited to prove that he was not absolutely
favorable in his attitude towards the Greeks.
Such Instances we
cannot overlook if we are to arrive at a Just estimate of Cicero *3
opinion regarding the Greeks.
Consequently it will devolve upon
us not only to study this conflicting evidence, but likewise to
attempt to explain the contradictions.
In the first place, Cicero’s treatment of contemporary
Greeks was in strange contrast to his avowal of admiration for
the great scholars and artists of early Greece.
The studied
aloofness which characterized his attitude towards the Greeks of
his day is best Illustrated by a letter which Cicero wrote to his
brother Quintus, who at the time was governor of Asia.
In this
letter Cicero patronizingly urged Quintus to fulfil his duty as
provincial governor conscientiously in order that he might there­
by repay the debt owed to Greece.*" Notwithstanding this obliga­
tion, Quintus was to maintain sun extremely cautious and careful
choice In the matter of intimacy with both provincials and Greeks,
fr. I. 1. 27-28:
"cum vero ei generi homlnum praesimus, non modo In quo ipsa sit sed etiam a quo ad alios pervenisse putetur humanltas, certe ils earn potissimum tribuere debemus, a
quibus accepimus. Non enim me hoc lam dlcere pudebit, praesertira
In ea vita atque Ils rebus gestls, in quibus non potest residere
inertlae aut levitatis ulla suspicio, nos ea, quae consecuti sumus, Ils studiis et artibus esse adeptos, quae sint nobis Graeciae
monumentis discipllnlsque tradita.
Quare praeter communem fidem,
quae omnibus debetur, praeterea nos isti homlnum generi praeclpue
debere videmur, ut, quorum praeceptls sumus eruditi, apud eos Ipsos, quod ab Ils didlcerimus, veliraus expromere."
Ibid. I. 1. 18: "quare sint haec fundaments dignitatis
tuae . . . . dilectus in familiar!tatlbus et provinclallum hominum et Graecorum percautus et dlllgens."
-18because a too close Intimacy was not safe, for although, they
dared not offer opposition, still In their haarts they hated the
Roman magistrate.^" In general, they were deceitful and treacher2
ous, trained by perpetual subjection In the art of sycophancy.
Only In some few cases was he to make an exception,
for the
greatest care had to be taken in so Important a command where
morals were so debased and provincial life Itself so corrupting.
In one of his speeches Cicero detailed the usual lot of a Roman
Undeniably it was a wretched one, for despite the ef­
forts made by the individual Roman to perform his duty, he suc­
ceeded only in breeding hatred, whereas his negligence begot re­
criminations; firmness was dangerous, kindness rewarded only with
thanklessness; moreover, the talk of the provincials was full of
treachery; everyone appeared friendly, but in his heart he was
angry; hatred was concealed, flattery, on the other hand, was
The arrival of a magistrate was awaited with great expec­
tation, his presence marked with deference, but at his departure
he was deserted.
Cicero’s own conduct was in strict accord with the rules
he had laid down for admitting Greeks to intimacy.
There were
few Indeed of that nation in his coterie of friends and correspond0
In certain Instances, however, he deemed it expedient to
I b i d . i. 1. 16:
atque etiam e Graecis ipsis diligenter
cavendae sunt quaedam familiaritates . . . . nlmiae famlliaritates eorum neque tarn fideles sunt— non enlm audent advers'ari nostrls voluntatlbus— et [non] invldent non nostris solum verum
etiam s u l s.M
I bid.: "sic vero fallaces sunt permulti et leves et dluturna servitute ad nlmlam assentationem erudlti.”
Ibid.: "Atque etiam e Graecis Ipsis diligenter cavendae
sunt quae<Tam familiaritates praeter hominum perpaucorum, si qui
sunt vetere Graecia digni."
4 Ibid. I. 1. 19:
M In tanto lmperio, tarn depravatis moribus, tarn corruptrice p r o v i n c i a l
®Pro F l a c . 87:
”0 condiciones mlseras adminlstrandarum
provinciarum, in quibus dillgentia plena slmultatum est negligentla vituperationum, ubi severitas periculosa est, llberalltas In­
grata, sermo insidiosus, adsentatio perniciosa, frons omnium familiaris, multorum animus Iratus, Iracundlae occultae, blanditiae
apertae; venientes praetores expectant, praesentibus inserviunt,
abeuntes deserunt!"
J. P. Mahaffy, The Greek World under Roman Sway (London:
Macmillan and Co., 1890), p. 133. Cf. also W. Allen, '"The Teren11 anus of the IIEPI YT0Y2," A J P . LXII (January, 1941), 53, 59, for
references to low social status of the Greeks In Rome.
-19make exceptions: thus, In a letter recommending a certain Greek,
Cicero admitted that, contrary to his custom, he was on hospitable
terms with this particular Greek,^ and, In his office of advocate,
circumstances sometimes compelled him to mitigate the severity of
his Judgment of the Greek character, as was the case in his de ­
fense of Archlas, or in his endeavor to establish the credit of
the Sicilian witnesses against Verres.2 However, that he had no
genuine admiration for the Greeks as a race is patent, and that
there was nothing more abhorrent to the proud Roman than intimacy
with Greeks is evident from the scurrilous attack upon Piso In
which Cicero seems to have exhausted his vocabulary of abusive
words .^
Moreover, it was in the sad school of experience that
Cicero had learned to be wary of the Greeks.
There was the case,
for example, of the Greek tutor Dionysius, whom Attlcus had intro­
duced to him.
The letters to Attlcus after this introduction
show a growing affection for the man and on account of his scholarship 5 Cicero found great delight in studying with him. 6 He was
anxious to have him as an Instructor for himself and his son,
and though the boy found him subject to fits of temper, yet Cic­
ero was much Impressed by his erudition.® When Dionysius is absent, Cicero wishes to be remembered to him, 9 and yet In spite of
this demonstration of affection, this man whom Cicero held In
1Ad f a m . xiii. 78. 1: "Democritus
Sicyonius non solum
hospes meus est, sed etiam, quod non multis contigit, Graecis praesertim, valde famlliaris
In V e r r . i l . 2. 7: "nihil ceterorum simile Graecorum,
nulla desidia, nulla luxuries, contra sumnxus labor in publicls
prlvatlsque rebus, summa parsimonla, summa dlllgentia."
Cf. also
ibid. ii. 1. 63.
3 In P i s o . 22:
«nec tamen muslcus lacebat In suorum Grae­
corum footore et' caeno."
Cf. B. L. Ullman, "Horace, Catullus,
and Tigellius," C P . X (1915), 276 ff., for reference to the I11repute attached to musicians In Rome.
In Piso. 67:
"Graeci stipati quini In lectulis, saepe plures." “ For the meaning of this
see B. L. Ullman, "Horace on the Nature of Satire." TAPA.
XLVIII (1917), 121.
Cf. also R e d , in s e n . 16; In Pro M i l o ."55
Cicero said disparingly of Clodlus: "comites Graecul'i quocumque
4Ad A t t . v. 3. 3; ibid. v. 9. 3; ibid. vii. 4. 1.
5Ibid. vii. 7. 1.
6I b l d . Iv. 11. 2.
7Ibid. Iv. 15. 10.
8I b l d . v i . 1. 12.
9I b l d . iv. 14. 2; ibid. iv. 18. 5; Ibid. Iv. 19. 2.
-20greater honor than Scipio held Panaetius,^- took flight at a crit2
ical moment rather than share Cicero’s fate,
because, as Cicero
complained, he looked down upon his misfortune.
Cicero wrote to him In the most respectful terms requesting him
to resume the tutorship of his son,
but Dionysius answered with
a denial haughtier than Cicero ever used in refusing the meanest
Cicero was sorry to lose a good master for his son but
he rejoiced to be rid of the ungrateful fellow,
for his conduct
was the height of ingratitude, and ingratitude included all sins.
To be sure, Cicero reflected, he should have known better than to
expect loyalty from a Greek; 8 he closed the whole Incident by
wishing Attlcus the continued friendship of Dionysius, which was
equivalent to wishing him prosperity, for only so long would At9
ticus find Dionysius a friend.
It was at Just about this same
period that Cicero had a similar experience with another Greek
tutor, named Chrysippus.^
Probably the only real exception which Cicero made in ad­
mitting Greeks freely to his friendship was the case of Tiro, his
freedman, and him Cicero loved dearly.
When Tiro fell 111 on the
way back from Cilicia, Cicero regretfully 11 left him behind at
Patrae 12 rather than endanger his health; 13 he was very solicitous
for his comfort and speedy recovery, 14 sending him a slave who,
because of his learning, might entertain him, and a cook; 15 Cicero
1Ibid. lx. 12. 2.
2Ibid. vl11. 5. 1; i b i d . vii. 18. 3.
3Ibid. viii. 4. 1; ibid. x. 16. 1.
Ad A t t ♦ viii. 4. 1: "ad quern ego quas litteras, del immortales, miseram, quantum honoris significantes, quantum amoris!
Dlcaearchum mehercule aut Arlstoxenum diceres arcessi, non unum
hominem omnium loquaclsslmum et minlme aptum ad docendum."
5Ibid. viii. 4. 2.
6I b i d . viii. 10. 1.
7Ibid. viii. 4. 2.
Ibid. vii. 18. 3: "ornnino, quid ille facere debuerit
In nostra ilia fuga, quid docto homlne et amico dignum fuerit,
cum praesertim rogatus esset, scio, sed haec non nimis exquiro
a Graecis."
I b i d . x. 16. 1: "velim, ut tibi amicus sit. Hoc cum
tibl opto, opto, ut beatus sis, erit enim tam diu."
10Ibid. vii. 2. 8.
11Ad f a m . x v i . 1. 1.
12Ad A t t . vii. 2. 3.
15Ad f a m . xvi. 3. 2.
14I b id . xvi. 5. 2.
15Ibid. xvi. 15. 2.
-21llkewlse left a horse and mule for him at Brundlslum;^ moreover,
he Instructed Curius, a Roman banker,
to spare no expense for
whatever Tiro needed, and requested him to keep Tiro at his house 3
rather than trust him to the charge of the Greek physician Lyso,
whose carelessness Cicero suspected because he had not replied to
his letter but chiefly because all Greeks were careless.
Nevertheless, this treatment of Tiro does not necessarily
invalidate the statement that Cicero was adamant in denying his
friendship to the Greeks, for in the first place Tiro was merely
a freedman, and most probably Cicero did not really think of Tiro
as a Greek.
In his life of Cicero, Plutarch mentions that the
Roman not only associated with Greek scholars but likewise corresponded with persons of that race.
However, we discover that
although there were Greeks with whom Cicero was on intimate terms,
still upon closer investigation we find that invariably they were
teachers, some of whom, in accordance with the fashion then prevry
alent in Rome, lived with Cicero,
but certainly these were not
regarded by Cicero in the same light as his Roman friends.
thermore, if Cicero actually corresponded with any Greek, no such
correspondence has survived for, as we have mentioned before,
there is among the numerous letters of Cicero not one addressed
to a Greek, and in the collection of Book xiii, which contains
letters of introduction and recommendation, only two are concerned
with Greeks; one to obtain a favor for the Epicurean Patro with
whom he emphatically disagrees in matters pertaining to philosophy, 9 and another, to which we have already referred, lO recommend1Ibid. xvi. 9. 3.
2Ibld.xiii. 17. 1.
3Ibid. xvi. 4. 2.
Ibid. : "Lyso enlm noster vereor ne negligentior sit,
primum qui a omnes Graeci, deinde quod, cum a me litteras accepisset, mihi nullas remlslt."
5 Plut. C l c . 8. 4e.
6Ib l d.24. 9a.
7E.g., Brut. 309:
"Diodoto, qui cum habitavisset apud
<me> mecum vixisset, nuper est domi meae mortuus." N. D. 1. 6:
"et cum mini me videbamur turn maxlme philosophabamur; quod et orationes declarant refertae philosophorum sententiis et doctissimorum homlnum familiaritates, quibus semper domus nostra floruit."
Brut. 332:
"Aristus hospes e't familiaris meus."
De f i n . 1. 6:
*familiarem nostrum Posidonium."
Supra. p. 18, n. 6.
®Ad f a m . xiii. 1. 2: "Cum Patrone Epicurio mihi omnia
sunt, nisi quocl in philosophia vehementer ab eo dissentio."
10S u p r a . p. 19, n. 1.
-22ing Democritus of Sicyon.
Moreover, in his travels and his performance of provin­
cial duties, Cicero had learned to despise the Greeks. Their
fickleness, their fawning, their spirit of subservience not to
duty but to the advantages of the moment had disgusted him."*- On
his way through Greece to Cilicia to assume the governorship he
had ample opportunity to study this aptitude of the Greeks to
flatter their Roman conquerors. The Athenians were loud in their
praise of his righteous conduct as a magistrate; at Ephesus, the
natives thrust themselves upon him as if he had been appointed
their governor.
The attitude which Cicero assumed towards contemporary
Greeks was not entirely the result of the unhappy experiences he
had encountered in his personal dealings with them. Among the
Romans, tradition was a very powerful factor.
The Romans of old
were believed to have distinguished themselves by certain cardi­
nal virtues which every Roman considered he himself had inherited
in an eminent degree. These virtues Cicero proudly mentioned in
his remarkable introduction to the Tusculan Disputations. They
were: gravltas. constantla. magnltudo anlml, probltas. and fides .5
Consequently, when Cicero detected in the Greeks vices which were
diametrically opposed to these noble ideals by which he character­
ized the Romans, it is not surprising that he held the latter in
contempt. Thus, in contrast to the Roman gravltas. Cicero ab­
horred the levltas which he believed was ingrained in the Greek
This levltas Cicero detected in the many vices to which
Greece was heir. The devious ramifications of the fault were
fr. i. 2. 4: "pertaesum est levitatis, assentationis, animorum non officiis sed temporibus servientium."
Ad Att. v. 10. 2: "hoc
animadversum Graecorum laude et
multo sermone celebratur."
Ibid. v. 13. Is "verum tamen decumani, quasi venissem
cum imperio, Graeci quasi Ephesio praetori se alacres obtulerunt.”
Cf. Haarhoff, oj>. cit.. pp. 205-6 for examples of the flattery
which the Greeks displayed towards the Romans.
St. Kroll. Die Kultur der Ciceronischen Zeit (Leipzig:
Dieterich, 1933), lT"32“7F:
5T. D. i. 2.
®Pro Flac. 57:
"levltas propria Graeoorum."
-23manifest in the impertinence which abounded in Greece,^ in the
deceit for which the Greeks had a special aptitude,
and in their
disregard for truth and honor in giving testimony.
It was Cic­
ero's belief that in every phase of life, both public and private,
Greece gave evidence of the prevalence of these- national blemishes.
For instance, what could be more in keeping with lack of dignity
than the custom of allowing comic poets to stigmatize the moral
obliquities of prominent political leaders?
The respect due the
high position of such men demanded a more effective means of crit­
icizing their failure to abide by the faith entrusted in them.
much more dignified method prevailed in Rome where censors were
appointed by the people as custodians of public morals.
Laws of the Twelve Tables forbade libellous songs and defamatory
True, we are told that the Code of Solon contained a
provision forbidding unbridled personal abuse; we are forced to
admit, however, that the law must have fallen into desuetude for
the comedies of Aristophanes give us an estimate of how much 11Q
cense the Greek poets enjoyed in this respect; while, on the
^De orat. 11, 18: "hoc vitio cumulate est erudltisslma
ilia Graecorum natio."
Ad (J. fr. i. 2. 4: "ego cum Graecorum querelas nlmlum
valere sentirem propter homlnum ingenla ad fallendum parata."
3 Pro F l a p . 9: "testimoniorum religionem et fldem numquam
ista natio coluit."
^R. P. iv, 11: "quern Ilia [sc. comoedla] non adtlgit,
vel potius quern non vexavit? Cui pepercit? Esto, populares h o­
mines Inprobos In re publica seditlosos, Cleonem Cleophontem Hyperbolum laesit.
Patiamur, etsl eiusraodi elves a censore melius
est quam a poeta notari; sed Periclen, cum lam suae civitati
maxima auctoritate plurimos annos domi et belli praefuisset, vlolari versibus et teos agi in scaena non plus decult, quam si
Plautus noster voluisset aut Naevlus Publio et Gnaeo Sclpionl aut
Caecllius Marco Catoni maledicere."
Cf. M, Radln, "Freedom of
Speech In Ancient Athens," A J P . XLVIII (1927), 215-30, for a ref­
erence to the outspoken license of Attic comedy.
®De le g . III. 7: "oensores . . . . mores popull regunto."
Pro Cluent. 129; Ad f a m. ill. 13. 2.
n. P. iv. 12.
G. Grote, History of Greece (London: John Murray, 1869),
III, 142.
R. J. Bonner, Lawyers and Litigants In Ancient Athens
(Chicago: University of Chicago tress, 1927 ), p. S51.
A few examples from Aristophanes will suffice.
In A o h .
425; Eq. 425; and V e sp . 424 Cleon is assailed; N u b . 423 f f ., Soorates is the butt of Aristophanes' Jibes.
-24other hand, the effect of censorial control is commended both by
ancient 1 and modern 2 writers. Furthermore, with the same impos­
ing gravltas the Romans preferred men to supervise the conduct of
their own wives under the prudent suggestions of this same censor
rather than allow the custom prevailing in Greece where Gynaeconoml were appointed to curtail the irregularities among women.
Cicero made a more serious charge against the Greeks in
denying their trustworthiness as witnesses. The various experi­
ences of Cicero in his capacity of pleader in cases in which
Greeks had been recruited to bear witness for Romans indicted on
charges of extortion after their return from provincial adminis­
tration were calculated to confirm this opinion of h i s .
The celebrated case in which Cicero took a brief in de­
fense of Lucius Valerius Flaccus affords us an ample opportunity
to study Cicero’s reaction to the Greek character. The prosecu­
tor, Decimus Laelius, following the example of Cicero’s thorough
preparation in the suit against Verres, had assembled a multitude
of Greek witnesses to verify the charge made against Flaccus.
Cicero, in turn, proceeded to belittle the trustworthiness of
such men, resorting to the sarcasm which Plutarch esteemed one
of Cicero’s most potent weapons in disabling an opponent. Thus
he endeavored to prove that truth and honor in giving testimony
had never been cherished by anyone of the Greek nation.
In ap­
plying the charge to the Greeks suborned for the trial of Flaccus,
Cicero called attention to their expression and effrontery which
betrayed their utter disregard for truth.
Moreover, this weak­
ness, according to the statement of Cicero, was universally prev­
1Livy iv. 8. 2: "idem hie annus censurae initium fuit,
rei a parva origlne ortae, quae deinde tanto incremento aucta
est, ut morum disclplinaeque Romanae penes earn regimen esset."
Plut. Cat. Mai. 16. 1: xopo<pf| 66
is Sot i Ti|xfj<a axderns i) dpxt)
xat Tpdxov xivd Tfjs noXiTeias in iTeXe i<oo is, dXXrjv xe xoXXV)v ££ouatav (fxouoa xat
nepf Td f)9r) xai xoOs pious Sg6xaoiv.
T. Mommsen, Romlsche Geschlchte (8th e d .; Berlin: Weidmann, 1889), I, 308.
R. J?. iv. 6. For a discussion of the Greek institution
of Gynaeconoml cf. G. Schomann, The Antiquities of Greece. trans.
E. G. barely and J. S. Mann (London: Rivingtons, 1580), pT 535.
4Plut. Cic. 27. 1.
Pro Flac» 9, Cf. supra, p. 23, n. 3, for the quotation.
Pro Flac. 10: "videte, quo vultu, qua cpnfidentia dicant; turn intellegetis, qua religione Glcant." •
-25alent, for although the witnesses whose testimony he was attempt­
ing to discredit were Asi'atic Greeks, yet he affinned that the
charges which he imputed to them on this score were applicable to
all the Greeks without exception.1 Indeed, it was a nation that
had no religious scruples at all in giving testimony.
The Greeks,
who considered an oath a Joke, testimony a game, reputation empty
shadows, for whom fame, profit, favor, and good will all depend
on lying,
take their stand as witnesses with the Intention of
doing harm, for there Is nothing they fear more than to be worsted
in an argument.^ When questioned, they always answer more than
Is required, never making an effort to prove that what they say
is true, but rather to make a display of themselves by talking.
On another occasion, when Cicero was conducting a suit for Rabirlus, he referred to the method which the Greeks employed when
called upon to give answer to the proseciutor. He said that the
Greeks raised their eyebrows and shrugged their shoulders.
over, in the speech In defense of Flaccus, Cicero did not hesi­
tate to mention Individual Greeks by name, heaping upon them all
the opprobrium he had attributed to the race in general.
The ex­
ample of a certain Athenagoras was typical. When called upon to
take his stand, like a Greek among Greeks he did not speak of the
crime, but complained of his punishment.
In the case of another
witness, Cicero refrained from making any statement until he should
1Ibid. 9: "verum tamen hoc dico de toto genere Graecorum."
"dicit enim natio minime In testlmonlis dicen2Ibld. 23:
dis religlosa. n
"num illos Item putatis quibus ius iurandum
3I bi d . 12:
locus est, testimonium ludus, exlstlmatio [vestra] tenebrae,
laus merces gratia gratulatio proposita est omnis in impudenti
Ibid. 11: "Graecus testis cum ea voluntate processit ut
laedat, non iuris iurandi 3ed laedendi verba mediatur; vine! refelli coargui putat esse turplssimum; ad Id se parat, nihil curat
5Ibid. 10:
"numquam nobis ad rogatum respondent, semper
accusatori plus quam ad rogatum, numquam laborant quem ad modum
probent quod dicunt, sed quem ad modum se explicent dicendo."
Fro R a b . Post. 36:
"dixerunt hie modo nobiscum ad haec
subsellia qulbus superciliis renuentes huic decem milium criminl1
lam nostis Insulsitatem Graecorum; umeris gestum agebant turn temporis credo causa."
Pro F l ac . 17: "processit Ille et Graecus apud Graecos
non de culpa sua dixit, sed de poena questus est."
-26hear his testimony, In order not to afford him an opportunity to
change It or Invent new lies.^" Thus Cicero argued, one witness
after the other gave evidence that would prove his contention,
namely that there was no weight, no constancy, no fixed policy in
the Greeks and finally no trustworthiness In their testimony.
Although he recoiled from wearying his listeners with an enumera­
tion of the countless details and numberless Instances of this
national failing,
yet he was confident that he had supplied suf4
ficient evidence to prove the corrupt practices of the Greeks.
In conclusion, so generally were the Greeks regarded as faithless
in keeping their trust that even those who knew no Greek were
familiar with the Greek expression:
"Testify for me and I ’ll
testify for you."®
Without doubt these charges make it difficult to identify
the one who made them with Cicero, the Philhellene.
Yet, the
task becomes increasingly more perplexing when we consider that
the denial of Greek trustworthiness In giving testimony Is but
one of the examples which can be cited to arouse suspicion regard­
ing the assumption that Cicero was unreservedly pro-Greek In his
In addition to indicting the entire Greek nation as
faithless to an oath, Cicero heaped upon it other charges which
are no less incriminating.
Thus, for example, there was that fault which abounded
among the Greeks and which the Romans chose to designate as inep0
t la e .
To illustrate how unconscious the Greeks were of the prev1 I b i d . 51:
"Itaque etsi teneo quid sit dlcere paratus,
nihil tamen contra dlsputabo priusquam dixerit.
Totum enlm convertet atque alia finget.
Quam ob rem et ille servet quod paravit, et ego me ad id quod adtulerit Integrum conservabo.”
2Ibid. 36:
enlm mihi quod haec causa maxlme postulat, nullam gravitatem nullam constantlam nullum firmum In Graecis
hominibus consilium, nullum denlque esse testimonii fidem."
Ibi d . 12:
"sed non dilatabo orationem me a m ; etenlm po­
test esse Infinite, si mihi libeat totius gentis In testlmonlis
dicendis explicare levitatem."
4 Ibid. 20:
"satisne vobis coarguere his auctoribus dissolutara Graecorum consuetudinem licentiamque impudentem videmur?"
®Ibid. 10:
"Unde Illud est: da mihi testimonium mutuum?
num Gallorum, num Hlspanorum putatur? Totum lstud Graecorum est,
ut etiam qui Graece nesciunt hoc quibus verbis a Graecis d i d soleat sciant."
De o r a t ♦ ii. 18.
Cf. supra, p. 23, n. 1, for quotation.
Although Cicero himself Is not one of the Interlocutors In De
-27alence of the evil, Cicero adduced the fact that they had never
found it necessary to employ a word that would denote this fail­
ing. As he maintained, it was futile to seek a Greek term to in­
dicate the word ineptla.^
Although the fault manifested itself in various aspects,
yet Cicero insisted that in no way was it more noticeable than in
the readiness of the Greeks, at a moment’s notice,
to engage in
the most subtle disputation on the most difficult and unnecessary
point no matter how inopportune the occasion.
An example to .illustrate the point more fully may be taken
from the De oratore. Catulus, one of the interlocutors who dis­
played no love for the Greeks, tells a long story about a certain
Greek, Phormio by n a m e . This Phormio, in the presence of Hannibal,
whose reputation as a military genius was universally known, de­
livered a lengthy discourse upon the duties of a general and upon
the whole art of war for the benefit of the Carthaginian veteran.
Now this Greek had never seen a battle front nor was he in any
manner acquainted with military tactics.
Consequently, when he
came to the end of his long speech, Hannibal is reputed to have
remarked, not indeed in very good Greek, but very frankly, that
he had seen many old men in their dotage, but never one deeper in
his dotage than Phormio.
The type represented by Phormio was by
no means rare
and the fault itself could be traced to the orator
who was the first to offer to speak most copiously on
any subject whatsoever that could be brought under discussion or
oratore, yet it must be conceded that certain characters express
opinions congenial with Cicero’s own thoughts. This is particu­
larly true in the case of Crassus, who undoubtedly was the mouth­
piece of Cicero in this particular dialogue.
Other characters
are likewise made the exponents of Cicero’s views.
Cf. W. B.
Owen, Cicero♦s De oratore (Boston: Leach, Shewell, & Sanborn,
1895), I, xxvi-Xxvii.
^De or a t . ii. 18: "itaque quod vim huius mail Graeci non
vident, ne nomen quldem ei vitio imposuerunt.
Ut enlm quaeras
omnia, quomodo Graeci ineptum appellant non reperies."
De smile» 17: "doctorum est lsta consuetudo eaque Grae­
corum, ut Iis ponatur de quo disputent quamvls subito; magnum
opus est egetque exercitatione non parva.”
De o r a t . loc. c l t .: ”omnium autem ineptiarum, quae sunt
innumerabiles,' haud sclam an nulla sit maior, quam, ut illi solent, quocumque in loco, quoscumque inter homines visum est, de
rebus aut difficillimis aut non necessariis argutissime dlsputare.”
4Ibid. ii. 75.
5Ibld. ii. 77.
6Ibid. ill. 129; ibid. i. 103.
-28lnqulry and who professed to teach his pupils how the worse might
he made, by the force of eloquence, to appear the better c a u s e d
As a consequence, the practice has since become widespread,
the host of Impertinent Greeks who had no regard for time, place,
or person, 3 continued to Intrude themselves upon Roman ears. 4
However, the Ineptlae of the Greeks was not confined ex­
clusively to their Impertinence in speaking on all occasions upon
any topic whatsoever
Cicero likewise detected other manifesta­
tions of this failure to recognize the importance of certain sit­
For instance, what was more in keeping with this n a ­
tional failure than the habit of employing people who, In the
eyes of the Romans, were unsuited for positions of great trust?
As a result of this incapacity, the Greeks frequently sent actors
as ambassadors to treat of the most serious affairs; moreover,
it was not uncommon to find the very dregs of society among the
Greek witnesses suborned to bear testimony in the Roman courts.
Furthermore, not only did Cicero discover In the Greeks
certain reprehensible traits of character, but he likewise pointed
out the causes to which these faults could be traced.
Fickleness is a matter of birth; deceit, of education,
Cicero has said,
and It was his belief, moreover, that a prepon­
derant factor In contributing to the Ill-repute of the Greeks was
the system of education prevailing In Greece.
And what vain labor
^Brut. 30.
2 "
De orat. I. 103:
"postea vero vulgo hoc facere coeperunt
hodieque facTunt, ut nulla sit res neque tanta neque tarn improvisa neque tarn nova, de qua se non omnia quae d i d possint profiteantur esse dlcturos."
Ibid. 11. 20:
"ac si tibi videntur qui temporls, qui
loci, qui hominum rationem non habent ineptl, sicut debent vlderl, etc.”
4 Ibid. 11. 19:
"horum Graecorum, qui se inculcant auribus nostris."
®R. P. Iv. 13:
"Aeschines Atheniensis, vir eloquentissim u s , cum aduTescens tragoedias actltavisset, rem publicam capessivit, et Aristodemum tragicum item actorem raaxlmls de rebus pa­
d s ac belli legatum ad Phillppum Athenienses saepe miserunt.
E.g., In A n t ♦ v. 5. 12:
"at ille legit aleatores, legit
exsules, legit Graecos— o consessum ludlcum praeclorum."
In Verr.
i i . 3. 69:
"quorum civis Romanus nemo erat, sed Graeci sacrilegl.” Pro F l a c . passim.
^Pro F l a c . 5 (fr. preserved by St. Jerome Ad G a l . 1. 3
and E jd. 10. 3T:
ingenita levltas et erudlta vanitasT"
-29did the Greeks expend on the subject!1 The chief basis of attack
upon Greek education seems to have been the inefficacy of a sys­
tem in which physical development of the youth was stressed rath­
er than the Intellectual. Unfortunately, however, the section of
De re publics which treated the topic in detail is extremely frag­
mentary, yet from other sources, we may Judge what faults Cicero
believed the Greeks committed in their method of education.
How could sound moral principles be Inculcated when the
most unnatural excesses were tolerated in the palaestrae and gymp
nasla, the school rooms of the Greek boys?
It was in these
places of training in which the Greeks displayed such a lack of
propriety in setting up statues of Cupid or Amor --places orig4
inally contrived for exercise and amusement — that objectionable
manners were taught^ and the lack of restraint gave free rein to
lust, 6 and attached disgrace to youths who did not have lovers; 7
moreover, in a system in which great importance was placed on
music, both vocal and instrumental, 8 laxity in morals was, in the
eyes of the Roman, a necessary consequence.
At first, it was
true, the Greeks were strict about retaining ancient melodies,
yet due either to the debilitating seductiveness of the new music
Itself, or to the relaxation of the strictness of their own lives,
this new type of music gradually superseded the old, producing a
tendency towards effeminacy.
Furthermore, the enervating Influence engendered by a sys­
tem in which there was undue emphasis on athletics and music was
augmented by the Impertinence Inculcated In the schools of higher
learning. Here the youth were taught to raise the most subtle
1R. P. Iv. 3: "principio discipllnam puerilem Ingenuis,
de qua Graeci multurn frustra laborarunt.”
^ C f . Plato Euthyd. 271; Lysias 204 for references to the
custom of delivering lectures in the gymnasia.
^De leg.. fr. 2 (ed. Sichirollo).
^De orat. II. 21.
^De o f f . i. 130.
6T. D. iv. 70.
Cf. Plut. M o t . 274 D.
7R. P. I v . 3.
^T. D. I. 4.
De leg. II. 38: "civitatumque hoc multarum in Graecia
interfuit, antiquoin vocum conservare modum; quarum mores laps! ad
mollltlas parlter sunt Immutati cum cantibus, aut hac dulcedine
corruptelaque depravati, ut quidam putant, aut quom severitas eorum ob alia vitia cecidlsset, turn fuit in auribus anlmisque mutatis etiam rautatlonl locus.” Cf. Plato R e p . 424 C-D.
-30arguments Irrespective of the inopportuneness of the moment,^ and
attack and abuse those whose views were not in accord with their
Likewise, notwithstanding the attempts to elevate the mlnda
of the people to a more intellectual plane, the frivolity ingrained
in the Greeks showed Itself in the readiness of the Greeks who
were gathered in the gymnasia to hear the lectures of the profes­
sors, to abandon their lessons at the first sound of the discus
and to run off to anoint themselves for exercise.
It was Cicero’s belief that by this system of education,
Greek culture as a whole had been vitiated and a certain effemi­
nacy had permeated the race.
Eloquence, for Instance, had become
less virile under the Influence of Demetrius, who In his effort
to be agreeable, had given It a soft and tender air;^ the poets,
likewise, contributed In no small degree to the ever-increasing
growth of the vice by verses calculated to enervate manly vigor
and taint doctrines with vicious beliefs,
and by their seductive
1De orat. ii. 18:
omnium autem Ineptiarum, quae sunt
i n n u m e r a b T T e E a u d sciam an nulla sit maior quam ut illl solent,
quocumque In loco quoscumque Inter homines visum est, de rebus
aut difficillimis aut nec necessariis argutissime disputare."
De fin. ii. 80: "sit ista in Graecorum levitate perversitas, qui maledictis insectantur eos, a quibus de veritate
Pro Flac. 57. C f . supra, p. 22, n. 6, for quotation.
^De orat. ii. 21: "nam et saeculis multls ante gymnasia
Inventa sunt, quam in iis philosophi garrire coeperunt, et hoc
Ipso tempore, quom omnia g y m n a s i a philosophi teneant, tamen eorum
auditores discum audire quam philosophum malunt; qui simul ut increpuit in media oratlone de maxumls rebus et gravlssumis disputationem philosophorum omnes unctionis causa relinquont.”
^Brut. 37-38:
"[Demetrius] Phalereus . . . . non tarn armls institutus quam palaestra.
Itaque delectabat magis Atheniensis quam inflammabat . . . . hie primus inflexit orationem et earn
mollem teneramque reddidit et suavis, slcut fult, videri malult
quam gravis, sed suavitate ea qua perfunderet animos, non qua perfrlngeret."
®T. D. ii. 27: "sed videsne, poetae quid mall adferant?
lamentantTs Tnducunt fortissimos vlros, molliunt animos nostros,
ita sunt deinde dulces, ut non legantur modo, sed etiam ediscantur." Cf. Plato Pol. 386 ff., In which he deplored the cowardice
promoted through the tales of the poets, whom he consequently ex­
cluded from his Ideal state.
T. D. III. 3: "accedunt etiam poetae, qui cum magnam
speciem doctrinae sapientiaeque prae se tulerunt, audluntur leguntur ediscuntur et inhaerescunt penitus In mentibus.
Cum vero eodem quasi maxumus quidam magister populus accessit atque omnis
undique ad vitia consentiens multitudo turn plane Inflcimur opinionum pravitate a naturaque descisclmus."
-31meters which strain after soothing effects.^- Even the phlloso2
phers Interspersed poetical quotations in their lectures,
were not calculated to fire noble actions.
In the same manner,
the artists regarded voluptas as the object of their art.
Cicero was also of the opinion that the evils which re­
sulted from the faulty system of education were further augmented
by certain other circumstanoes, such as the position of the mari­
time cities of Greece.
The Phoenicians were the first to intro5
duce greed, luxury, and Insatiable desires into Greece.
over, by the very charm of their situation, the Greek Islands
together with the customs and institutions prevailing In them,
had succumbed to many extravagant and enervating desires.
what was said of the islands was just as truly applicable to the
motherland of Greece,
and it was to the seductive influence of
the maritime cities that Greece could trace many of the evils and
revolutions to which she was heir.
In view of the evidence assembled In this chapter It Is
imperative that we modify our view regarding Cicero*s attitude
towards the Greeks.
No longer can we look upon him as the cptX6X\t|v he claimed to be.
Indeed we are inevitably brought to ques-
O ra t . 152, 153.
Cf. Quint. I n s t . xii. 10. 33 for the
different effects produced by the rigidity of the Latin meters
and the flexible Greek verse.
2T. D. II. 26.
B r u t . 37:
"processerat enim In solem et pulverem non ut
e militari tabernaculo sed ut e Theophrasti umbraculls."
4De f i n , ii. 115.
5R. P. H i , fr. 3.
Ibid. ii. 8:
"multa etiam ad luxuriam Invitamenta perniciosa civitatibus subpeditantur marl, quae vel capiuntur vel
Inportantur; atque habet etiam amoenitas Ipsa vel sumptuosas vel
desidiosas inlecebras multas cupiditatum . . . . quid dicam Insulas Graeciae?
quae fluctibus cinctae natant paene ipsae simul
cum civltatum institutis et moribus.”
Ibid. Ii. 9: "atque haec quidem, ut supra dixi, veteris
I b i d . 11.
"Id haut scio an liceat de cuncta
Graecia verlssime dicere."
Cf. H. Wachtler, Cicero De re publi­
cs in Auswohl (Leipzig: Teubner, 1930), pp. 29-30, for a discus­
sion o t the restrictions made by Plato and Aristotle regarding
the location of an ideal state.
R. P. Ii. 9: "quae causa perspicua est malorum commutatlonumque Graeciae propter ea vitla maritimarum urbium quae ante
paulo perbreviter adtigi."
Cf. Ad A t t . vl. 2. 3: "is (sc. Dicaearchus] multis nominibus In Tropiioniana Chaeronis narratione
Graecos in eo reprendit, quod mare tantum secuti sint."
-32tion the sincerity of his assertion and we are furthermore con­
fronted with the perplexing problem of determining the motives
which prompted such contradictory opinions.
Aside from the numerous occasions on which he spoke d i ­
rectly of the Greeks, both to their credit and to their discredit,
Cicero made countless references to them in relation to the Ro­
mans, thereby affording us additional opportunities to study his
various opinions of the Greeks.
In practically every one of these
Instances In which he coupled the name of the Romans with that of
the Greeks, the latter suffered by the comparison, for he main­
tained without reservation that In all things the Romans had
shown themselves superior to the Greeks.
The locus classlcus of his contention Is the preface to
the Tusculan Disputations.^ This, however, is only a summary of
what he had maintained throughout the entire corpus of his work
whenever opportunity afforded Itself to Illustrate his contention.
Thus the statement In this passage that the Roman state had been
endowed with laws and Institutions surpassing those of the Greeks
is but an epitome of what Cicero had elaborated In his two trea­
tises on political science, the De re publica and the De lejgibus,
to Illustrate the surpassing greatness of Roman political insti­
tutions .
The object of the De r^e public a was to formulate his no­
tion of an ideal state.
Plato and other Greeks, It was true, had
T. D. 1. 1-2: "sed meum semper iudiclum fuit omnia nos­
tros aut Tnvenlsse per se sapientius quam Graecos aut accepta ab
illis fecisse meliora, quae quidem digna statuissent In quibus
Nam mores et Instituta vitae resque domestlcas
ac familiaris nos profecto et melius tuemur et lautius, rem vero
publicam nostri maiores certe melioribus temperaverunt et Institutls et legibus. Quid loquar de re militari?
in qua cum virtute nostri multum valuerunt, turn plus etiam discipline.
ilia, quae nature, non litteris adsecuti sunt, neque cum Graecia
neque ulla cum gente sunt conferenda.
Quae enlm tanta gravltas,
quae tanta constantia, magnitudo animi, probitas, fides, quae tarn
excellens In omnl genere vlrtus in ullis fuit, ut sit cum maiorlbus nostris comparanda?"
2Ibid. i. 2.
-34written much on the same subject, and, although Cicero was diffi­
dent about vying with such eminent authorities,^ yet, while ad­
mitting the excellence of these works, he deemed the utopias which
they had visualized unsuited to m e n ’s actual lives and habits, 2
and accordingly he proceeded to draw up his own ideal constitution,
employing the Roman Republic as his pattern,
not with the object
of thereby circumventing the difficulty of formulating an original
one, but rather in order to show by illustrations from actual his4
tory that Rome was the greatest of all states.
Thus, as he
launched upon his undertaking, he declared that he would the more
easily accomplish the work by picturing the Roman commonwealth
from the moment of its birth, continuing on to the period of its
vigor and maturity, instead of arbitrarily creating an imaginary
state, as Socrates had done in Plato’s Republic.8
The foundation of the city by Romulus, son of Mars,
at a
period when "small credence was given to fables"
left no oppor­
tunity for suspecting the story to be purely the figment of folkQ
Moreover, Cicero called attention to the forethought of
Romulus in choosing for his city a site far removed from the lust
for trafficking and sailing the seas, thereby avoiding the dangers
which brought about the final overthrow of Corinth and Carthage,
and shunning the allurements to pleasure and extravagance which
1R. P. i. 36.
2 Ibid. ii. 21:
princeps llle, quo nemo in scribendo
praestantior fuit, aream sibi sumpsit in qua civitatem extrueret
arbitratu suo, praeclaram ille quidem fortasse, sed a vita homlnum abhorrentem et a moribus, rellqui disseruerunt sine ullo
certo exemplar! formaque rei publicae de generibus et de ratlonibus civitatum."
Cf. Polyb. vi. 47. 7-10, in which Polybius
compares Plato’s Republic to an excellently wrought statue which
becomes imperfect and incongruous when contrasted with the liv­
ing m o d e l .
3R . _P. i. 70: M
"quam . . . . simul et qualis sit etoptimam esse ostendam, expositaque ad exemplum nostra re publica, accommodabo ad earn si potero omnem 111am orat ion em quae est mihi
habenda de optlmo civitatis statu.” It must be acknowledged at
the outset that Sciplo, who is the chief spokesman in the De re
publica. represents, in all probability, Cicero’s own views. “T o r
th.e assumption of this statement cf. G. H. Sabine and S. B. Smith,
Cicero on the Commonwealth (Columbus: Ohio State Universitv Press.
W ,
Intros'.', p.- 41'.---4R. p . ii. 66.
5Ib l d. ii. 3.
6Ibld. ii. 4.
7 I b l d .ii. 18.
8Ibld. ii. 19.
-35brlng revolution in their wake, to which the whole of Greece had
succumbed by reason of its many maritime cities.^In attributing the foundation of the city to the work of
Romulus, son of Mars, Cicero emphasized his pro-Roman attitude In
that by rejecting other legends centered more or less about Greek
he extricated himself from the embarrassment of acknowl­
edging Indebtedness to Greek intervention, although it must be
admitted that Cicero deserves no credit for uniqueness in prefer­
ring this particular legend, inasmuch as the version was preserved
by the early annalists Fablus Plctor and Clncius Allmentus, and
later became the official one adopted by Livy, Dionysius of Hall­
carnassus, and Plutarch.
This legend continued popular until
the Aeneas legend, authorized by Vergil, took precedence.
thermore, the difficulty Inherent In determining the factual value
of legends in general, makes It impossible to comment on Cicero*a
powers of discernment in adopting the Romulean legend In prefer­
ence to any other; moreover, to call into question the historic­
ity of the divine origin of the foundation of the city, would
strike at a basic concept which prevailed not only among the Ro­
mans but was the common belief of all peoples of antiquity In re­
gard to their primitive origin.
Continuing the history of the regal period, Cicero pro­
ceeded to outline the events subsequent to the foundation of Rome.
After a long reign of thirty-seven years, during which time Rom­
ulus had established two excellent institutions, Ihe ausplcla. "an
act that was the beginning of the commonwealth," and the senate,
a body of elders whose association with him would make for better
government, 6 he took his place among the immortals. 7 With an In1Ibid. Ii. 7-9.
Cf. supra, p. 31.
^Cf. Dion Hal. i. 72-73 for a summary of the various leg­
Vide also G. De Sanctis, Storla del Romani (Turin: Fratelli
Boca Editori, 1907), I, 191, for a further discussion of them.
E. Pais, Ancient Legends of Roman History, trans. M. E.
Cosenza (New Y o r k : Dodd, Mead & C o ., 1§05), p . 47.
F. Cauer,
De fabulis Graecis ad Romam conditam pertinentibus," Berliner Studlen. I (1884), 451, has a discussion of
the legend.
5Livy I. 6-7.
6R. P. Ii. 15-17.
Cf. also De o f f . II. 26-27 for Cicero's
estimate of the greatness of the Roman senate.
7R. P. Ii. 17.
-36slght surpassing the Spartan Lycurgus, who had made the kingship
In his state hereditary, the new nation, bereft of Its founder,
sought a successor whose kingly virtue and wisdom rather than his
royal ancestry would be the determining factor in recommending
the choice.
So it was that Kuma Pompilius, a stranger, was se­
It was 'to him that Rome was Indebted for her piety and
for the establishment of the "greater auspices," the perfecting
of the religious ceremonials, and other functions designed to
promote religion.
To Numa, then, as Cicero Informs us, Rome owed
her sacred laws and Institutions.^" Thus Just as Cicero attrib­
uted to the secular laws of Rome qualities which made its citi­
zens better members of the state, so too he Judged the divine in­
stitutions of Rome superior In exerting a beneficent Influence
which contributed to the attainment of a piety not to be found in
other nations.
In his estimation, piety and religion were char3
acteristics distinctly Roman.
The unique and Incomparable excellence of the Roman com­
monwealth, however, consisted, according to Cicero, in features
the like of which could be discovered In no other state.
Is, the equalized balance of a system In which the three types of
constitutions were blended Into an harmonious whole had no coun­
For as Cicero proceeded to Illustrate, a monarchical
form of government, such as Romulus had established, was adminis5
tered by the nod and caprice of one man.
In such a ruler a po­
tential Phalaris Invariably lurked no matter what efforts he might
make to appear benevolent; moreover, In this type of government,
the kingship was hereditary and such a succession necessarily
1Ibid. ii. 23-27.
2N. D. Ii. 8.
3Har. resp. 19: "quam
volumus licet patres conscrlptl
ipsi nos amemus, tamen nec numero HIspanos nec robore Gallos nec
calliditate Poenos nec artibus Graecos nec denique hoc ipso huius
gentis ac terrae domestico nativoque sensu Italos Ipsos ac Lati­
nos, sed pietate ac religione atque hac una sapientia quod deorum
numine omnia regi gubernarlque perspeximus, omnis gentis nationesque superavimus."
4R. P. ii. 42:
t*sed quod proprium sit in nostra re pub­
lica, quo niKil possit esset praeclarius, Id persequar si potero
subtilius; quod erit eius modi, nihil ut tale ulla in re publica
This observation was not original with Cicero; Po­
lybius, in the sixth book of his history, praises the balance of
the executive, legislative, and Judicial functions of the Roman
S ta t e.
5Ibid. I. 43.
6Ib id. 1. 44.
-37overlooked the disqualifications the ruler might possess that
w o u l d render him undesirable.^- In like manner, there were in­
herent weaknesses in an aristocratic form of government, in the
best examples of which the condition of the people was closely
akin to slavery and easily degenerated into the appalling situa3
tion which Athens witnessed under the rule of the Thirty Tyrants;
whereas a popular government, in which the selection of the magis4
trates is left to chance, as in Athens,
where national prestige
was lost because there was no distinction of rank,3 is but a step
removed from the fury and license of a mob.
But by a combina­
tion of the best elements of the three types, the early Romans
had unmlstakenly given certain evidence of their profound pollt7
ical wisdom.
Consequently, to arrive at this state of perfection, king­
ship had to be abolished.
The pretext for this transition is
given legal basis by the necessity of deposing so unworthy a king
as Tarqulnius Superbus, who according to tradition was the sev­
enth sind last king of Rome. Unable to brook the arrogance of
this monarch, Lucius Brutus, a private citizen, took the burden
of government into his own hands and banished Tarquin and his
whole family, 8 and in the place of the king, two magistrates with
military power were chosen annually by common consent.
quently, by a progression according to "nature's road," Rome fi­
nally reached the culmination of the ideal s t a t e , s h a p i n g its
constitution in accordance with the accumulated experience of
successive generations, so that, unlike the constitutions of the
various Greek states, the Roman constitution was not the product
1Ib l d. i. 50.
2 Ibld. i. 43.
^Ibld. i. 51. Cf. J. W. Headlam-Morley, Election by Lot
at Athens (Snd ed. rev. D. C. Macgregor; Cambridge: tfniverslty
"Fress, 1933 ), passim.
5R. P. i. 43.
6Ibid. i. 44.
7De leg, ill. 12: "quae
res quam sapientlsslme moderatlssimeque constitute esset a maioribus nostrls, etc."
8R. P. ii. 46.
Ibid. ii. 53. This fragment has been restored from the
summary given by St. Augustine in Civ. Del v. 12.
1 — —
R!. J?. ii. 30:
atqui multo id facilius cognosces, in­
quit Africanus, si progredientem rem publicam atque in optimum
statum natural! quodam itinere et oursu venlentem videris."
-38of one m a n 1s genlua.^
To understand the Import of this last statement would ne­
cessitate an Investigation Into the unbroken evolution traceable
in the continual adjustments required of the small town community
to meet the needs of its becoming an empire. With this question
we are not concerned. However, the ability with which the Romans
faced the exigencies of their expanding state throws light on a
characteristic that did not escape the notice of Cicero.
To coun­
terbalance their proverbial conservatism, the Romans possessed
the happy trait of making discoveries for themselves or else im2
proving upon what they had already received from the Greeks.
Speaking of this same characteristic of the Romans to utilize
what was best in other nations, Sallust explained that they pre3
ferred to copy rather than to envy good ideas.
In like manner,
Dionysius of Halicarnassus attributed the rise of Rome from utter
obscurity to a position of unrivalled prominence to the form of
government which the Romans fashioned out of their many experiences,
always extracting something useful from every occasion.
Moreover, in the same degree as the Roman Republic itself
was regarded by Cicero as superior to any other government, so
too, according to his statement, the laws regulating It were pro­
portionately better than those operating in other states. Accord­
ingly, when Cicero was formulating the laws which were to govern
his ideal state, he adopted those In use In the Roman Republic,
hence, the laws designed to provide a religious system for his
ideal state were the ones prevailing in Rome,
while the legisla­
tive, judicial, and executive powers Invested in the officials of
1Ibid. i i . 2: "is dicere solebat ob hanc causam praestare nostrae civitatis statum ceteris civltatlbus, quod in IIlis sIngull fuissent fere quorum suam quisque rem publlcam constitulsset leglbus atque lnstitutis suis, ut Cretum Minos, Lacedaemoniorum Lycurgus, Athenlenslum, quae persaepe commutata
esset, turn Theseus turn Draco turn Solo turn Clisthenes turn multi
alii, postremo exsanguem lam et iacentem doctus vlr Phalereus
sustentasset Demetrius, nostra autem res publica non unius esset
lngenlo sed multorum, nec una homlnls vita sed aliquot constituta
saeculls et aetatibus."
2Ibld. II. 30.
3Sall. Catll. 41. 38. Cf. also Polyb. v l . 10. 13-14.
4DIon. Hal. i. 9. 4.
5Pe leg, ill. 4. Cf. also ibid. 1. 20.
6Ibid. II. 23.
-39that model state bore striking resemblance to those existing in
R o m e .^ To be sure, the laws in vogue in Rome were those in ac2
cord with nature while those of Lycurgus, Draco, and Solon were,
in comparison, incredibly crude and almost ridiculous.
On other occasions Cicero found opportunity to censure in
a specific w a y some of the laws of Greece.
For example, he in­
veighed against the unjust agrarian legislation that was initiated
in Sparta.
Such legal procedure, he believed, engendered dissen­
sion and in time the contagion of the evil spread, dragging the
rest of Greece down to ruin.
Moreover, the irresponsible seated
assemblies of the Greeks,
which met in the theater, 6 were addi­
tional reasons for eliciting the disapproval of Cicero.
men of no experience took their places in the assembly, and with­
out a moment's reflection, acted upon questions of vital impor7
tance— a mere chance action of a Greek assembly.
They raised
their hands and a resolution was born.
Truly, Cicero affirmed,
it was to the licentious freedom and irresponsibility of such
assemblies that Greece could trace the loss of its pristine power
1 I b i d . iii. 12:
"sed ea paene nostrae civitatls, etsl a
te paulum adlaturn est n o v i . Rectisslme, Quinte, anlmadvertls;
haec est enlm, quam Sclpio laudat in 1111s librls et quam maxima
probat temperationem rei publicae, quae efficl non potuisset nisi
tali discriptione maglstratum, . . . . quae res quom saplentlsslme
moderatissimeque constitute esset a maioribus nostris, nihil habul
sane, non modo mu 1turn, quod putarem novandum in legibus."
2 Ibid. ii. 62.
3De orat. i. 197.
De o f f . ii. 79-80:
"quam autem habet aequltatem ut agrum
multis annis aut etiam saeculls ante possessum qui nullum habuit
habeat, qui autem habuit amittat?
Ac propter hoc iniuriae genus
LacedaemonII Lysandrum ephorum expulerunt, Agim regem, quod nunquam antea apud eos acclderat, necaverunt, exque eo tempore tantae discordiae secutae sunt, ut et tyranni exlsterent et optumates exterminarentur et praeclarissime constitute res publica
Nec vero solum ipsa cecidit, sed etiam reliquam
Graeciam evertit contagionibus malorum quae a Lacedaemonils profectae manarunt latius."
3Pro F l a c . 16.
Cicero emphasizes the "seated assemblies"
in contrast to those of the Romans in which the members stood.
Cf. A c a d , ii. 144; B r u t . 289; O r a t . 213; T . D. iii. 48; Lex a g .
ii. 5. 13.
8Cf. G. Busolt, Grlechlsche Staatskunde. Vol. IV, I, 1 of
Muller, Handbuch der Alterturnswlssenschaft (3rd e d .; Munich, 1920),
p. 448.
Pro F l a c . 23:
mo turn quendam temerarlum Graeculae cont io n i s ."
8I b i d . 17.
-40and glory. ^
Aside from the fact that the province of law was, in Cic­
ero’s estimation* one of the crowning glories of the Romans— a
subject which formed the chief topic of conversation, as Cicero
admitted, when he was engaged in demonstrating how much more sa­
gacious the Roman intellect was than that of other nations, and
more especially than the Intellect of Greece — the Romans gave
further evidence of profound Insight by the maintenance of the
highly respected custom of devoting attention to the study and
interpretation of their laws.
This duty of interpreting the law
to the people and answering questions in regard to it devolved
upon the most eminent men of the state. 4 The auctorltas 5 acquired
by this class was in striking contrast to the corresponding illreput e attached to those of the Greeks who set themselves up as
legal advisors.
Greek literature is singularly deficient in
supplying proofs that legal education was stressed; this failure
on the part of the Greeks, however, does not necessarily validate
Cicero's contention.
Ibid. 16: "Itaque ut hanc Graeciam quae iam dlu suls
conslliis perculsa et affllcta est omlttam, ilia vetus quae quon­
dam oplbus lmperlo gloria floruit, hoc uno malo concidit, libertate immoderate ac llcentla contionum.
Cum in theatro lmperltl
homines rerum omnium rudes lgnarlque consederant, turn be11a inutllla susclplebant, turn sedltlosos homines rel publlcae praeficiebant, turn optime merltos clvls e civitate elclebant." Cicero
believed the cruelty and fickleness of the Athenians towards
their citizens was patent. Cf. R. P. 1. 5: "nec vero levitatis
Athenlensium crudelitatlaque in ampTisslmos civls exempla deflciunt
De orat. 1. 197: "de quo multa soleo in sermonlbus cotidianls dlcere, cum homlnum nostrorum prudentlam ceteris omnibus
et maxlme Graecis antepono."
5Pe off. 11. 65.
4De leg. i. 14.
Cicero placed the auctorltas of these jurisconsult!. as
they were called, in the same category as the senatus consults,
the edicts of the magistrates, etc. Cf. T o p . £'&: Msl quls ius
civile dloat id esse, quod in legibus, senatus consultls, rebus
ludicatis, iuris peri torum auctoritate, edictis magistratuum, mo ­
re, aequltate consistat."
6De orat. 1. 198: "itaque,
ut apud Qraecos lnflmi homi­
nes mercodula adducti minlstros se praebent in ludlclls oratoribus, 11 qui apud lllos xpaYVurv m o t vocantur, sic in nostra olvltate contra amplissimus quisque et clarisslmus vir, etc."
Juv. w i . 123.
Bonner, op. clt.. p. 176.
-41There was still another element required to make the su­
periority of the Roman commonwealth complete, namely, military
It was to Tullus Hostilius, one of the kings of Rome,
that Cicero allotted the honor of inspiring the Romans to accom­
plish outstanding military exploits.^- Consequently, Just as the
Romans were foremost in the display of religious sentiments, so
too as a nation they were celebrated for their greatness of spirit,
their passion for military renown being illustrated by the fact
that their statues were usually represented as wearing the garb
of a soldier.
Moreover, the difference between the Romans and
Greeks in the display of martial spirit was sufficiently inspir­
ing to provoke esteem for native ability.
In accord with this
sentiment, Cicero, although he acknowledged the Greeks to be pos­
sessed of a certain degree of bravery corresponding to their men­
tal powers, yet denied that they had courage sufficient to look
the enemy In the face; he likewise despised the military prowess
of those who like the Spartans marched to battle "to the beat of
anapests."^ Furthermore, Cicero was embarrassed by the few names
he could recall when he endeavored to mention the outstanding heroes of Hellas,
whereas time failed him in his attempt to pro­
nounce Judgment on the valor and discipline exhibited by his own
In fact It was due to this very virtue displayed In
military service that the Roman Republic had won everlasting glory
for the name of Rome, and that it had forced the world to bow b e­
fore Roman arms; In a word, all its glorious pursuits, the applause
and toil of the forum, all lie under the care and protection of
martial valor.
1R. P. ii. 31.
2Pe o f f . I. 61.
3T. D. Ii. 65.
^Ibld. i i . 37: "Mllitiam vero— nostram dico, non Spartiatarum, quorum procedit ad modum <acies> ac tlblam, nec adhibetur
ulla sine anapaestls pedibus hortatio."
Cf. Thuc. v. 70.
3Pe fin. II* 62: "Graecis hoc modicum est, Leonidas,
Epamlnondas, tres aliqui aut quattuor, etc."
"ego, si nostros colligere coepero, perficiam
Illud quldem, ut se virtuti tradat constringendam voluptas, sed
dies me deficiet."
7 Pro M u r . 22:
"ac nlmlrum (dlcendum
est enlm, quod sentlo) rel mllitaris vlrtus praestat ceteris omnibus. Haec nomen
populo Romano, haec huic urbi aeternam gloriam peperit, haec orbem
-42We can reasonably Infer that in the province of law and
government, religion, and military discipline Cicero esteemed the
Romans unequalled.
terrarum parere huic imperlo coegit; omnes urbanae res, omnia
haec nostra praeclara studla, et haec forensis laus et Industria
latent in tutela ac praesldio belllcae virtutls."
Notwithstanding the claims which Cicero made for superior
discernment of the Romans in matters of politics, religion, and
war, yet, perforce, he was obliged to admit that in learning and
in all branches of literature the Greeks surpassed the Romans.^
Still he could find a reason to excuse the Romans on the plea
that victory was easy for the Greeks when there was no contest.
By this statement Cicero meant to insinuate that the Greeks had
given glorious tokens of their eminence in intellectual pursuits
only insofar as they had not the Romans to compete with them, for
as he was at no loss to Illustrate, Greece had reached the cul­
mination of Its civilization long before Rome had disengaged It­
self from the struggles of a state aspiring to world dominion.
Comparatively speaking, as far as a city or state goes,
Rome was still young,
on the other hand, when Romulus, the king
of the barbarians— If one accepts the distinction made by the
Greeks on the basis of language, although the epithet would not
hold good if manners were the criterion --established his city,
Greece was already approaching old age.
Moreover, at the period
in which Rome was undergoing the struggle for existence, Hellas
had attained that glory and renown which were destined to be
wrested from her as soon as the Romans were free to set them­
selves up as rivals.
Thus, when Greece witnessed the culmination
of her fame, Rome was still under the dominion of regal tyranny.
Every genre of literature, every aspect of art and culture had
arrived at its fullest maturity In Greece long before Rome was
able to turn Its attention to the more peaceful pursuits of art
and letters.
This much is attested by the annals which give
proof that poets and musicians flourished in Hellas at the time
1T. D. i. 3.
3R. P. I. 58.
5I b i d .
2 Ibld.
4I b l d .
6B r u t . 41.
-44of the establishment of Rome;^- in fact, Homer, the poet par ex2
cellence among the Greeks, Hesiod, and Archilochus lived many
years before Rome produced its first poet.
Likewise, Greek elo4
quence, if computed by Roman annals, was ancient.
whom Cicero placed foremost among the Greeks for general excel5
lence, was according to Roman date a person of remote antiquity,
but according to that of the Greeks, he was almost a modern.
Furthermore, the charm of ^u6(J.6?, which added so much elegance to
judicial and forensic oratory, was known four centuries in Hellas
before it was recognized in Rome.
Likewise the great historian
Thucydides flourished, not in the infancy of Athens, but rather
when the city was in its prime; 8 and the law-givers, Lycurgus 9
and S o l o n , ^ antedated the early period of Roman history; finally,
Socrates, from whom it was said that philosophy had its birth, ^
lived long before the introduction of the study in R o m e .12
What was more, Greece did not arrive at consummate skill
except by a process of gradual evolution.
This point Cicero well
illustrated in the case of the development of eloquence, which he
maintained originated in Athens, 13 a city which, although much
XR. P. ii. 18.
2T o p . 55.
^T. D. 1. 3.
4B r u t . 49.
^Acad. ii. 2: **sed quo plus in negotiis gerendis res
quam verba prosunt, hoc erat memoria ilia praestantior. Quam fuisse in Themistocle, quern facile Graeciae principem ponimus, singularem ferunt." Cicero is not consistent in hisestimate
of the
greatest of the Greeks. In T. D. 1. 4 and De o r at . ill. 139Epaminondas is named greatest; in De o f f . ii. 6$ Pericles occupies
this position.
C f . J. Reid, Cicero1s Academica (London: Macmil­
lan & Co., 1885), p. 172, n. 2.
Brut. 41. Themlstocles, of course, was not considered
by critics among the outstanding Attic orators.
But to the Ro­
mans, the word orator was synonymous with the word statesman.
Cf. infra, p. 51. Hence Themlstocles is mentioned here in the
history of Greek oratory which Cicero prefixed to his account of
Roman oratorical achievements, not to give prominence to his pow­
ers of eloquence but to emphasize the fact that Greek orators of
any note lived long before Roman men of eloquence came to the
fore. However, in his summary of Greek orators, Themlstocles is
mentioned favorably by Cicero.
Cf. B r u t . 28.
70rat. 171.
6Br u t.27.
9T. D. v. 7.
10B r u t .39.
i:LIbId. 31.
T . D. iv. 6. Cf. Infra, p. 48. nn. 4 and 5.
De orat. I. 13. Cf. supra, p. 4 and n. 2.
-45older than Rome, did not acquire the gift of oratorical skill
until a comparatively late date;^ yet its success was such that
in time eloquence came to "be regarded as peculiar to Athens.
corresponding evolution was likewise noticeable in sculpture and
and in like manner, Greece saw many a poet before Ho4
mer was born.
Nor was there occasion to despise the early at­
tempts of the Roman historians, for even among the Greeks, in
their formative period, history was nothing else but annals.^
That Rome was not yet in a position to lay claim to the
possession of consummate artists in the field of literature, of
art, and of philosophy who could match the great geniuses that
had distinguished themselves at the period when Greece was in its
prime, was no reason to despair.
Rome was still young; moreover,
in aspiring to arrive at the highest perfection, it was honorable
if only the second or even the third place was won.
Thus among
the poets there was room not only for Homer, Sophocles, Archilo­
chus, and Pindar, but also for those of second and still lower
The same itas true for the orator, for while Demosthenes
was indisputably superior to all others, nevertheless, eloquence
did not want for lesser luminaries; nor did the nobleness of
Plato deter Aristotle from writing, nor in turn, did the success
of Aristotle extinguish the zeal for philosophy among the less
Similarly, the perfection of the Olympian Jove and the
Coan Venus did not cause subsequent sculptors to renounce their
. 9
art .
It was true, however, as Cicero had to admit, that the
national temperament of the Romans had retarded the progress of
the arts and sciences.
A nation characterized by gravitas was
naturally adverse to encouraging poetry, hence It was late before
the poet was welcomed at R o m e . ^ This attitude towards poetry Is
1B r u t . 39.
^ I b i d . 50: ”hoc autem studium non erat commune Graeciae
sed proprlum Athenarum." Cf. also De o£. ge n , o r . 13.
3Brut. 69-71; Orat. 5.
4B r u t . 71.
SDe o r a t ♦ i i . 51:
"Graeci quoque [ipsi] sic Initio scriptitarunt ut noster Cato, ut Pictor, ut PIso.
Erat enim historia
nihil aliud nisi annalium confectlo."
6Orat. 4.
7Ibld. 5.
BIbid. 6.
9I b id .
10T. D. i. 3.
-46lec ted In the remark of Cato which Is preserved by Aulus Gellius: poetlcae artIs honos non erat. SI quls in ea re studebat
aut sese ad convlvia adpllcabat 1crassator» vocabatur♦^ Conse­
quently, Cicero concluded, the lighter the esteem in which poetry
was held the less was the devotion paid to It.
poetry was not completely without Its representatives among the
Romans. Ennius, for example, was a wonderful poet, despite what
the Imitators of Euphorion had said to the contrary.
tive of the ill-repute in which the other poets of Rome were held
by their own countrymen, Cicero considered it a mark of a wellread man to have acquaintance with and deep appreciation of his
own native literature.
Similarly, though Latin literary prose had made little
progress, still it was not entirely without an exponent, as the
acknowledgment of Its debt to Varro testifies.
Cicero likewise
regretfully admitted that no Roman historian had thus far found a
prominent place among men of letters, for the exclusive devotion
to eloquence as a means of furthering activity in the Forum had
precluded the possibility of directing attention to the writing
of history; nevertheless, Attlcus is made to say in the dialogue
■^Aul. Gel . x l . 2. 5.
^T. D. loc. c l t .
5Ibld. H i . 45.
De fin. 1. 5:
rudem enim esse omnino in nostris poetls
aut inertissimae segnitiae est aut fastidii dellcatlssimi. Mihi
quldem null! satis erudlti videntur quibus nostra ignota sunt.
An 'Utlnam ne in nemore . . . . ? *
nihilo minus legimus quam hoc
Idem Graecum, quae autem de bene beateque vlvendo a Platone disputata saint, haec explicari non placebit Latine?"
A ca d . 1. 9: " ’Sunt,1 lnquam, 'Ista Varro. Nam nos in
nostra urbe peregrinantis errantisque tamque hospites tui llbri
quasi donrum deduxerunt, ut possemus aliquando qui et ubi essemus
Tu aetatem patriae tu descriptiones temporum, tu sacrorum lura tu sacerdotum, tu domesticam tu bellicam disciplinam,
tu sedem regionum locorum tu omnium dlvlnarum humanarumque rerum
nomina genera officia causas aperuisti; plurlmum quidem poetls
nostris omninoque Latinis et litteris luminis et verbis attulisti
atque Ipse varium et elegans omni fere numero poema fecistl, philosophlamque multis locls inchoasti, ad impellendum satis, ad edocendum parum.........
De orat. 11. 55: "minima mirum si ista res adhuc nostra
lingua lnlustrata non est. Nemo enim studet eloquentiae nostrorum
hominum, nisi ut in causis atque in foro eluceat; apud Graecos
autem eloquent1ssimi homines, remoti a causis forensibus cum ad
ceteras res inlustris turn ad hlstoriam scribendam [maxlme] se applioaverunt." To understand the Import of this remark we must
recall the ancient attitude towards history.
Even as late as
-47De leglbus that people believed that the Romans would rival the
Greeks in this branch of literature too, were Cicero to compete
with them.'*'
In like manner, Rome was slow to adopt the fine arts.
Music, for instance, which was universally esteemed In Greece,
was never exceedingly popular In Rome,
Cicero would not, however,
have It believed that the Romans were entirely unsympathetic to
music, for he labored to draw the Inference from C a to ’s Orlglnes
and from a provision of the Laws of the Twelve Tables that music
was not completely neglected.
Yet for all his straining, the
Romans really had no profound appreciation of the aesthetic value
of music.
Cicero himself furnished evidence of this fact. He
was annoyed at the amount of attention the music1an-philosopher
Aristoxenus gave to the subject;
furthermore, so little progress
had been made In the technique of music that we find Vitruvius
acknowledging the difficulty of translating musical treatises
from Greek Into Latin because in his language there were no equiv5
alents for the technical terms.
Similarly, Cicero reasoned, If the Romans had given seri­
ous attention to painting, the works of Pabius Pictor would have
Inspired others of his country to vie with the Greeks.
as he concluded, "public esteem Is the nurse of all arts and all
men are fired to application by fame, whilst those pursuits which
meet with general disapproval always lie neglected."
Quintilian it was considered an art rather than a science.
Inst. x. 1. 31: ". . . . est enim proxima poetls et quodammodo
carmen solutum."
Cicero himself laid emphasis on Its close asso­
ciation with oratory.
Cf. De orat. ii. 62.
*De leg. I . 5.
^T. D. i. 4.
Cf. Plato Pr o t. 326 B and Aristotle P o l.
a for dTscussions of the place of music in Greek education.
3T. D. I v . 3-4.
4Pe f i n , v. 50.
5 Vitr. De arch. v. 4: n
"harmonica autem est musica litteratura obscura et dil'ficllls, . . . . quam si volumus explicare,
necesse est etlam Graecis verbis utl, quod nonnulla eorum Latinas
non habent appellationes."
6T. D. 1. 4:
censemus, si Pabio . . . . laudi datum
esset, quod pingeret, non multos etiam apud nosfuturos Polyclitos et Parrhasios fuisse?"
*7Ibid. The evidence of Pliny is contradictory.
In his
Naturalls lils’torla xxxv. 4. 19 he maintained that the Romans early
gave evidence of1 a taste for painting, making his deduction from
the cognomen Plctor.
-48Agaln, the contrast of national traits can be traced In
the exact sciences; for the Greeks were particularly devoted to
geometry; the Romans, on the other hand, utilized the knowledge
of the science for the practical purpose of measuring and reck­
oning ."*■
Cicero also found means to extenuate the neglect of philos­
ophy among the Romans, For, although the study was of long stand2
Ing, as he endeavored to prove by the Incident of Numa’s being
Identified with the Pythagoreans,
and from the inference that
the Athenians would not have sent philosophers to Rome as their
ambassadors on a diplomatic mission in 155 B.C. If the Romans had
not evinced some acquaintance with philosophy;
still there were
wanting monuments to prove this Interest, for the Romans, too ab­
sorbed in practical undertakings, preferred to promote the advance
of philosophy by their exemplary lives than by writing about It.
While conceding philosophy as a special province of the
Greeks, Cicero arrogated to the Romans undeniable supremacy In
A somewhat more modest claim Is put into the mouth of
1T. D. 1. 5: "In summo apud Illos honore geometria fuit,
itaque niKil mathematlcis Inlustrius; at nos metiendi ratiocinandique utilitate huius artis terminavimus modum."
2Ibid. Iv. 5.
3Cf. infra, p. 91, n. 4.
^T. D. Iv. 5: "quibus adulescentibus Stoicum DIogenen et
Academicum Carneadem video ad senatum ab Atheniensibus missos es­
se legatos, qul cum rei publicae nullam umquam partem attigissent
essetque eorum alter Cyrenaeus, alter Babylonius, numquam profecto scholis assent excitati neque ad Illud munus elect!, nisi in
quibusdam principibus temporibus Illis fuissent studia doctrinae.fl
The date 155 B.C. was traditionally considered as marking the for­
mal Introduction of philosophy in Rome.
Cf. W. S. Ferguson, Hel­
lenistic Athena (London: Macmillan & Co., 1911), pp. 325 f f ., for
the history o£ this embassy and Its consequence.
5T. D. Iv. 5: nqui cum cetera litteris mandarent alii
lus civile, alii orationes suas, alii monuments maiorum, hanc amplissimam omnium artium, bene vivendi disclpllnam, vita magis
quam litteris persecuti sunt.
Itaque Illius verae elegantisque
philosophise quae ducta a Socrate in Peripateticis adhuc permanslt et idem alio modo dicentibus Stolcis, cum AcademicI eorum
controversial dlsceptarent, nulla fere sunt aut pauca admodum La­
tina monuments sive propter magnitudinem rerum occupationemque
hominum, sive etism quod Imperitis ea probari posse non arbitrabantur.
Cf. Quint. Inst. xil. 2. 30 for a similar sentiment.
6De orat. III. 69: "haec
autem, ut ex Apennlno fluminum
sic ex communi' sapientiae lugo sunt doctrinarum facta divortia,
ut philosophi tanquam In superum mare Ionium defluerent Graecum
quoddam et portuosum, oratores autem In Inferum hoc Tuscum et barbarum scopulosum atque Infestum laberentur."
-49Brutus who, while admitting the former supremacy of the Greeks,
asserted that as a result of Cicero's own oratorical achievements,
the honors were shared by the Greeks and Romans alike.’1' In contrast to other studies, oratory early found favor with the Romans. 2
This ready acceptance of eloquence at Rome Is easily explainable.
Suetonius tells us that oratory seemed useful and honorable and
that many devoted themselves to it for defense and glory,
cause the practically minded Romans were quick to perceive that
oratory could be employed as a means to promote efficient public
Interest and activity; consequently, they ass ^ned It the fore4
most place among the civic professions.
In fact, so universally
was the welcome extended to the orator and so phenomenal his suc­
cess, that In this one respect Cicero deemed the Romans to have
surpassed all other nations.
In proof thereof, Cicero, In his
history of oratory, the Brutus, reviewed a galaxy of nearly two
hundred Roman representatives in this particular field,
many of
whom he considered the equals, if not the rivals, of the Greek
not hesitating to attribute to himself no little share
in bringing about the consummation of this triumph.
Moreover, although In acknowledging the Roman debt to
Greek eloquence, Cicero had prefaced the Brutus with a brief sum9
mary of the most eminent Greek representatives,
still It was his
confirmed belief that the Romans had Improved the system which
B r u t . 254:
"quo enim uno vincebamur a victa Graecia,
id aut ereptum <Cp®r te^> illis est aut certe nobis cum Graecis
c ommunlc atum."
2T. D. I. 5.
Suet. De r h e t . 1: "paulatim et ipsa utilis honestaque apparult, multique earn et praesidii causa et gloriae appetiverunt."
4Pe o f f . Ii. 66.
3Pe orat♦ 1. 15:
"ingenia vero, ut multis rebus possumus
iudicare, nostrorum homlnum multum ceteris hominibus omnium gen­
tium praestiterunt."
Duff, A Literary History of Rome from the Origins to the
Close of the GoTden Age (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1 § 3 2 ), p. 3 8 V .
^Thus In B r u t . 63 Cicero matched Cato the Censor with Lys­
ias; in ibid. 138 he esteemed Antonius and Crassus the rivals of
the Greek orators.
Cf. also De orat. Ii. 122.
In De o f f . II. 47
Cicero called Crassus the Roman Demosthenes, and In R. j?. ill. 42
Laelius Is complimented as rivaling the Attic orators.
®Brut. 123; Orat. 108; De o f f , i. 3.
9Brut. 26-52.
-50they had borrowed from the Greek masters, having regulated the
training and discipline necessary for the Roman notion of an Ideal
orator. Thus, In the technical division of oratory, the Greeks
showed themselves extremely ridiculous, Indulging in niceties
without sufficient Judgjnent as men who had no experience in real
pleading.'*' Then too, the training of the Greek orator was calcu­
lated to make him more fit for parade than for the arduous tasks
of the Forum.
Demetrius Phalereus was the first to give eloquence
a certain objectionable turn,
and the orators thenceforward passed
whole years in sedentary declamation, like tragedians, training
their voices In order to please and entertain their audience
rather than to Inflame the passions. The epideictic speeches of
the Greeks furnish an example of the deleterious effects of such
training; in contrast to the simple unadorned brevity of the Roman
laudatory orations, the Greek panegyrics were composed to delight
instead of to promote forensic eloquence.
Indeed, the test of
the supremacy of the Roman orators over the Greeks, who In their
fondness for argument rather than truth, had long been disturbed
by a controversy over the word "orator ,"3 rested on the practical
application of the art of speaking In the comitia and judicial
processes of real Importance.
Among the Romans there was no need
for the Greek masters who had never seen the Forum and had never ^
been present at a trial, to repeat their hackneyed precepts, for
like the Stoics, the Greeks were good at arguments which they con­
ducted according to certain rules, yet they made a poor appearance
in actual pleading.
■^e orat. ii. 78-84.
Brut. 37-38. Cf. Quint. Inst. x. 1. 33: "nec versicolorem 111am, qua Demetrius Phalereus dicebatur uti, vestem bene
ad forensem pulverem facere."
i. 251.
4Ibid. ii. 341.
—— —
Ibid. i. 47: "verbi enim controversia lam diu torquet *
Graeculos homines contentionis cupidiores quam veritatis."
Brut♦ 289: "quare si anguste et exiliter dicere est Atticorum, sint sane Attici; sed In comitium veniant, ad stantem iudicem dicant; subsellia grandiorem et pleniorem vocem desiderant."
7De orat. II. 74: "nec
mihi opus est Graeco aliquo doc­
tors, qui mihi pervolgata praecepta decantet, cum Ipse numquam
forum, nunquam ullum iTidicium aspexerit.”
Brut. 118: "quam hoc Idem in nostris contingere Intellego quod in Graecis ut omnes fere Stoic! prudentissiml In disserendo sint et Id arte faciant sintque architecti paene verborum,
Idem traducti a disputando ad dlcendum lnopes reperlantur."
-51How ever, the most noticeable difference existing between
Greek and Roman orators was the Ignorance of law prevalent among
the former ,1 and Ignorance of law Cicero believed led to litiga2
The Romans, on the contrary, Insisted that a knowledge of
civil law was imperative for the accomplished orator.
own training in law under the Scaevolae bears witness to the prac4
tice of such instruction.
To understand fully the Import of
this requirement we must take into consideration the Roman con­
ception of an orator. This term was applied to a professional or
official attitude rather than to a faculty, and the orator in­
cluded "the teacher, the publicist, the religious teacher of the
present as well as the man devoted to legal, Judicial, and legis5
lative activities.
This conception is reflected somewhat in
Cicero’s remark to his son: "The door of generous patronage is
opened to the orator whose heart is in his work and who follows
the custom of our forefathers in undertaking the defense of many
clients without reluctance and without compensation. 6
De orat. i. 253:
illi dlsertlsslmi homines
mlnlstros habent in causis iuris perltos, cum ipsi sint imperltissimi."
^De leg. i . 18.
^De orat. i. 197.
Cf. Quint. Inst. xli„* 3. 1-12.
Cf. supra. p. 8 . n. 3.
*^P. Monroe, Source Book of the History of Education for
the Greek and Roman Period (New YorTcl Mac'mi 1 lan <Sc Co.. l'd'Ol).
4&r.---------------6De off. ii. 66.
Although Cicero admitted with some reservation the suprem­
acy of the Greeks in matters pertaining to culture and learning,
still on one ground he withheld the concession entirely, namely,
in regard to language.
In undertaking to attain the goal which
he set before himself of presenting an encyclopedia of philosophy
to the Romans, Cicero found further reasons to vaunt the superi­
ority of the Romans over the Greeks in matters of vocabulary.
was his belief that Latin was not only richer In its vocabulary
than the Greek"*" but that It was unquestionably superior, a con2
tention which he had maintained In face of opposition and which
he lost no opportunity to argue.
Thus, In order to substantiate his assertions regarding
the superiority of the Latin tongue, Cicero adduced examples to
illustrate that the Romans were more judicious In their choice of
words, more discerning In their ability to denote certain concepts
with greater finesse than the Greeks, and more richly endowed with
a stock of terms for which no equivalents could be found in Greek.
As a whole Cicero believed that philosophical ideas could
be much better connoted by Latin terms than by Greek.
Hence he
maintained that as the Romans had excelled the Greeks in other
fields, so they had surpassed them in giving a more appropriate
De fin. I. 10: "non eat omnino hie docendi locus; sad
Ita sentio et saepe disserui, Latlnam llnguam non modo non inopem,
ut vulgo putarent, sed locupletiorem etiam esse quam Graecam."
N. D. I. 8 : "quo In genere tanturn profecisse videmur ut a Graecls ne verborum quidem copia vinceremur." Cf. A p u l . Florid♦ 113
for a similar boast.
De fin. III. 5°: "et quonlam saepe diximus, et quidem
cum aliqua querela non Graecorum modo, sed eorum etiam qui se
Graecos magis quam nostros haberi volunt, nos non modo non vinci
a Graecis verborum copia, sed esse in ea etiam superiores."
3T. D. III. 10: "multoque melius haec notata sunt verbis
Latinls quam Graecis, quod allis quoque multis locis reperletur."
-53name to a most extraordinary gift— divination .1 For, whereas the
Greeks designated the notion by the term ^ a v T i a word, accord
ing to the interpretation of Plato, derived from puavia3 which
Cicero equated with the Latin word furor, frenzy ,4 the Romans,
however, got their word divinatio from d lv i . meaning g od s .5 Here
we see that Cicero, although unable to give the origin of the
term p.ccvt<x, the meaning of which he asserted is marked more dis —
criminately by the Romans, yet he seems to have connected the
Greek word with ^.atveaeai, furere.*7
In what respect the Romans gave evidence of their Judi­
cious selection is a topic too subjective for comment; one point
however cannot be passed over without discussion, and that is the
question of the inconsistency of Cicero's etymologizing on the
word ii.avia. Throughout the entire treatise —
De divinatione
we in'variably find him employing n,avia - furor. yet in the Tusculan
Disputations we discover him attempting to illustrate the discrim
ination of the Romans in making a distinction between insania.
unsoundness of the mind, and furor, frenzy,
by insisting, con­
trary to what he had said above,
that the Greeks designated fu­
ror by the term n.eXdYX°^
Cta the error committed here by
Cicero we quote Dougan:
^De d i v . i. 1: "itaque ut alia nos melius multa quam
Graeci, sic huic praestantisslmae rei nomen nostri."
2I bl d . Cf. De l e g , ii. 32; N. D. i. 55.
3 Plato Phaedr. 244 B - C ; T i m . 71 E.
— — div.
" loc. cit.
T. D. ili. 11:
"Graeci autem {xaviav unde appellant, non
facile dixerTm; earn tamen lpsam distinguimus nos melius quam illi
P. 0. van der Chys, "Responaio ad quaestionem ab ordine
philosophorum in Academia Gandavensi propositam: Quaeritur, ut ex
operibus Ciceronls non tantum omnia ilia loca delnceps seligantur
quibus ipse quascumque tandem ob caussas aut aeque aut inique de
Graecis Judicasse censendus sit, verum etiam ut ilia Judicii sive
aequitas sive iniquitas argumentorum rationibus probetur." Annales Academlae Gandavensls (1824-25), p. 61. But see A. S. Pease,
Cicero's De ~c?lv l n a t l o n e B k . _I, in the University of Illinois
Studies in Language and Literature. VI (Urbana: University of^
Illinois Press, 192OTi l9S, for the various opinions of scholars
regarding the etymology of n.avTixfj.
8De div. i. 4, 5, 18, 66, 70, 80, 118, 126; i i . 16, 100,
101, 112.
9T. D. ill. 11.
10Cf. supra, n. 8.
X1T. D. l o c . c i t .
-54Clcero takes (xavia to be the Greek general term and
seems to find no particular term to correspond to lnaanla
and only an Inadequate term to correspond to furor" But
he does not indicate a Latin general term to include lnsanla and furor and his assertions with regard to pavla
and peXaYXol 1a are incorrect, pcivicc not neXayxoXia being
the usual word for furor in Hippocrates and other preCiceronian Greek writers .1
Purthermore, in moralizing upon the shortcomings of the
Greek language, Cicero zealously defended the possibility of ex­
pressing philosophical ideas better in Latin. Accordingly we
find him asserting that to describe all the emotions of the soul,
the Greeks employed the word xd0os, which he equated with the
Latin morbus. and rejected on occasion for his preferred perturbatlo; whereas he maintained that the Latin more aptly employed
aegrltudo to signify the distress of the soul since this condi­
tion is similar to that of the body in an unhealthy state .4
In this instance Cicero has committed several errors: in
the first place, morbus is not the equivalent of xd9oa, but is
rather translated by v6o 09, as Cicero himself did in the fourth
book of the Tusculan Disputations♦
Moreover, although he pre­
ferred perturbatlo as the proper rendition of xd©os> yet by a
strange irony the word never became generalized but wp.s supplanted
by the literal translation passlo. which was first employed as a
philosophical term by St. Augustine, 7 as Llscu has pointed out. 8
1T. W. Dougan and R. M. Henry, Cicero’s Tusculan Disputa­
tions (Cambridge: University Press. 1934). if. lTTI
T. D. ill. 7: "haec enim fere sunt eius modi, quae
GraecI x<f0Tj appellant; ego poteram'morbos,• et id verbum esset e
verbo, sed in consuetudinem nostram non caderet. Nam misereri,
invidere, gestlrl, laetari, haec omnia morbos Graeci appellant,
motus animi rationi non obtemperantis, nos autem hos eosdem motus
concitati animi recte, ut opinor, perturbatlones dlxerimus, mor­
bos autem non satis usitate, nisi quid aliud tibi videtur.
ill. 23. Cf. De f in , iii. 35.
3T. D. iv. 10.
Cf. Reid, o£. c i t .. p. 148, n. 5, for a
4T. D. H i . 23.
'Cf. Stephanus, T. G. L., xd0os, q. v. VT, 21c.
T. D. iv. 23: "ex
perturbationibus autem primum morbi
conficiunTur, quae vocant illi voofjpaTa .**
Aug. Civ. Del viii. 17: "quia verbum de verbo x d 6o<a
passlo diceretur motus animi contra rationem."
^M. Llscu, fitude sur la langue de la philosophic morale
chez Clceron (Paris: Societe HTfidition “
"Ties Belles Let'fcres
-55Furthermore, in attributing greater exactness to the Latin be ­
cause it designated the distress of the soul by aegrltudo. Cicero
failed to take into account that aegrltudo was only one of the
four passions which the Stoics included in the general term xd 0T] .1
Again Cicero blundered when he denied that the Greeks had
distinct terms for dolor and labor. avowing that they called "dil­
igent men devotees or rather lovers of pain," an idea which the
Romans expressed better by the word laborlosus.
Host commenta­
tors Justly remark that Cicero failed to observe that the Greek
denoted labor by %6vo% and dolor by SXyos ;3 and although Liscu
recognized the mistake of Cicero, still he sought to extenuate
the fault by suggesting that in the original which Cicero was us ­
ing, the Greek word was <piXox6vooy, which the Roman inexactly
translated by studlosus vel potius amans dolorls.^
Cicero did not confine his criticism of the poverty of
the Greek tongue to philosophical terms but extended it to the
language in general.
As a result we find him, in his effort to
accentuate the wisdom of the Romans in their choice of words, d e ­
claring that "the reclining at feasts" was more fitly expressed
by the Latin convlvlum 5 than by the Greek oup.ic6oiov or odvCeixvov.6
By employing the term convlvlum. a living together, to correspond
to oujaic6 o i o v , a drinking together, or oiivOe m v o v , an eating to-
Diog. Laert. v i . 1. 63: nept itaGGv: eTvai y^vrj T^'rxepa
XuTir)v, <p6(3ov, 4rci0un.tav, f)6ovdv; Stob. Eclog. i i . 166; Clem. Alex.
Strom, ii. 108.
T. D. i i . 35:
"haec duo Graeci illi, quorum copiosior
est lingua quam nostra, uno nomine appellant.
Itaque industrios
homines illi studiosos vel potius amantls dolorls appellant, nos
commodius laboriosos."
T. W. Dougan, Cicero *s Tusculan Disputations (Cambridge:
University Press, 1905), I, 155; ft. Kfelhner. CiceroTs‘ Tusculan
Disputations (2nd e d .; Jena: F. Frommann, 1835), p. 196; A. Muret, Variae lec 11ones. ed. D. Ruhnken (Leyden: S. & J. Luohtmans.
1789), p. 4 5 ^
Liscu, op. cit., pp. 185-86.
De sen. 45:
"bene enim maiores accubitionem epularem
amicorum, quia "vitae coniunctionem haberet, convlvlum nomlnaverunt melius quam Graeci, qui hoc Idem turn compotatlonem turn concenationem vocant, ut quod In eo genere minimum est, id maxIme
Ad f a m. ix. 24. 3: "qui est in conviviis dulclssimus,
ut sapien"ETus nostri quam Graeci; Illi oopixdoia aut o d v G e mv a , id
est compotatlones aut concenatlones, nos convlvia, quod turn maxi*
me simul vivitur."
-56gether, the Romans seemed to emphasize, as Cicero intimated, the
interchange of sentiment and rational Intercourse instead of the
gratification of the appetite. However, irrespective of the dis­
tinction which Cicero made, we may settle the argument by stating
that even among later writers there is no agreement as to whether
the Latin or the Greek employs the better term. Nonius'*' and Isl2
dore of Seville accorded preference to the Latin word, while
Muret adjudged the Greek more elegant.
Cicero likewise found occasion to censure the poverty of
the Greek language for its inability to supply exact equivalents
for many Latin words.
In the De leglbus. for instance, he denied
that the Greeks had a word to express the Latin vultus. counte4
nance, or expression.
Davis in his edition of De leglbus sug­
gested xp 6oci»cov as the Greek for vultus ;5 however, sensu strlcto.
xp 6ocraov is the face proper, which the Romans denoted by the word
facies. a term which is unquestionably distinct from vultus.
Boethius we discover an Interesting passage that might somewhat
elucidate the difficulty.
Laboring under the same problem of
terminology that confronted so many Roman philosophers Boethius
Is attempting to discover a word for wperson” ; he gives the Greek
xp 6oo)ica as the equivalent for the Latin personas. masks.
Non. De prop, sera. 4218: "convivil proprletatem M. Tul­
lius de senectute demonstrat."
Isid. Sev. Orig. xx. 1. 3: "apud nos vero a convictu
rectlus appellatur.
Vel quia vitae collocutionem habet, item con­
vlvlum a raultitudine convescentium."
Muret, op. cit., p. 456.
4De leg. i. 27: "quoius vim Graeci norunt, nomen omnino
non habent."
J. Davisius. Cicero's De leglbus (C suiterbury: C. Crownfield, 1727), p. 34, nTlT,
Non. De d l ff . aim, slgnlf♦ 427M:
"vultus et facies hoc
Vultus est voluntas quae pro motu suiiml in facie ostendltur; facies Ipsa oris species." Isid. Sev. Orig. x i . 1. 34:
"vultus vero dictus, eo quod per eum suiiml voluntas ostendltur.
Secundum voluntatem enim In varios motus mutatur, unde et dlfferunt sibi utraque; nam facies simpliciter accipitur de unlusculusque naturall aspectu. Vultus autem animorum quailtatem
Boeth. Contra Eutyc. ill. 1.4 f f . : "Graeci quoque has
personas xpdoama vocant ab eo quod ponsuitur In facie atque ante
oculos obtegant vultum:
xapd t o O xpdv t o O s awtav Tf9ea©ai. Sed
quonleun personis Inductis histriones Indlviduos homines quorum
Intererat In tragoedla vel In comoedla ut dictum est repraesenta-
-57eve r, the matter is not conclusive, for we read of later writers
still striving to find a word for vultus in Greek.
Chys quotes
Wyttenbach as offering ^©os to translate vultus,^ yet commentators
are not unanimous in accepting the suggestion. Thus in dealing
with a suspected passage in the Characters of Theophrastus in
which the word ^jeo* occurs, Casaubon quotes Aristotle as his au­
thority to prove that ^jeog may have the foroe of vultus. facial
expression,^ but Jebb maintains that, although ^0os may denote
approximately what we mean by air or mien, still it has nowhere
the definite sense of countenance.
Nor was Cicero able to find a Greek word to equate with
frugl or with the corresponding virtue frugalitas.
However, it
is not due to the poverty of the Greek tongue, as Cicero would
have it, that he was unable to find a word to connote the meaning
which the Romans attached to frugl and frugalltas. for these terms
were those which the Romans used to describe their ancestors and
the virtue which characterized them as true Romans; hence, the
words, in time, came to have a very restricted meaning which could
not be expressed in any other language with the exactness the Ro­
mans gave them. Nevertheless, in general, the meaning of fruga­
lltas is essentially the same as that of oaxppocrtSvT), as we may in­
fer from the wider sense in which Cicero employed the term in the
fourth book of the Tusculans.
bant, . . . . ldclrco ceteros quoque homines, quorum certa pro
sul forma esset agnltlo, et Latini personam et Graeci itp6oaMca
^"Chys, o p . c i t .. p. 63.
Casaubon, Theophrastus 1 Char. (Canterbury: C. Crownfield, 1712), p. 38.
The reference is to Aristotle's Physiognomica.
•— — —
R. C. Jebb. Theophrastus Char. (London: Macmillan & Co..
1907), p. 197.
^T. D. ill. 16: "veri 'etiam simile illud est, qui sit
temperans— quern Graeci o&<ppova appellant eamque virtutem oowppoo<5vr)v vocant, quam soleo e quidem turn temper anti am, turn mode rati onem appellare, non numquam etiam modestiam; sed haud sclo an recte ea virtus frugalltas appellari possit, quod angustlus apud
Graecos valet, qui frugi homines xpnotpoue appellant, id est tantum modo utills; at illud est latius."
Cf. Chys, op. cit., pp.
5C f . J. Marquart and A. Mau, Das Prlvatleben der Romer
(2nd ed.; Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1886),
T . D. iv. 36:
nam numquam haec eadem vooabula ad frugalitatis nomen tamquam ad caput referre volumus."
-58We have already had occasion to note the assertion of
Cicero about the inability of the Greeks to express the word lneptus.^ A glance at what the Romans comprehended by the term
will probably be sufficient to make it clear why the notion is
untranslatable in any language by a single word: Nam qui aut tempus quid postulet non vldet aut plura loquitur aut se ostendat
aut eorum. qulbuscum est. vel dignitatis vel cotmnodl ratlonem non
habet aut denlque in allquo genere aut lnconclnnus aut multus eat,
is ineptus esse dlcltur.
In passing we may state that Cicero’s opinion regarding
the superiority of the Latin language was not generally held by
other Romans. The complaint of Lucretius about the poverty of
his native Latin is well known.
Seneca labored under difficul­
ties in his endeavor to discuss philosophical topics which had no
names in Latin; in general, he concedes the superiority of the
Cf. supra, p. 27, n. 1. The statement of Cicero regard­
ing the inability of the Greeks to express the term does not, of
course, pass unchallenged. Thus Prisclan Inst. xiii. 17 gives
liu>p6? as an equivalent of Ineptus; an old gloss suggests avorytos,
Gloss. Graec.-Lat. et Lat.-Graec. (G. Goetz [Leipzig: Teubner,
1888], II", 528); orTcvSpdvrja for the corresponding noun, ibid.,
p. 81. A modern commentator, Wyttenbach, offers aToitos (cf1.
A. S. Wilkins, Cicero’s De oratore [2nd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1890], 11^ 11 ff.TT The word fixoitos is also accepted by
R. Kiihner (Stuttgart: Hoffmann, 1858), p. 143, and K. G. Kuniss
(Leipzig: K. T. Koehler, 1837), p. 516, in their respective edi­
tions of De oratore.
In general, however, these suggestions are not accepted
by other commentators, who, while professing the undeniable co­
piousness of the Greek language, yet admit that, although the
term suggested above may include some one phase of the all-embrac­
ing Latin word, still none comprehends the exact notion Implied
by ineptus♦ Cf. the editions of De oratore by the following:
0 . k. Wilier (Leipzig: Libraria Darnmannia, 1819), p. 196;
J. A.
Ernestius (London: Whittaker, 1824), p. 107; F. Ellendt (Eisleben: G. Reichardt, 1841), p. 105;
J. Piderit (5th e d .; Leip­
zig: Teubner, 1878), p. 192; J. Sorof (Berlin: Weldmann, 1882),
p. 19. However, as Wilkins aptly observes, the reason is to be
attributed not to any fault of the Greek but rather to the supe­
rior analytical powers of the language of Hellas. Cf. Wilkins,
o p . cit.. p. 12.
2De orat. ii. 17.
R. N. i. 831: "concedit nobis patrii sermonis egestas.”
Ibid. i. T39; iii. 260.
4E p . ad Luc. 58. 1:
quanta verborum nobis paupertas,
immo egestas sTt, numquam magis quam h o d i e m o die intellexi.
Mille res inciderunt, cum forte de Platone loqueremur, quae nomlna
deslderarent nec haberent."
-59Greek language,^ a belief which Is shared by Quintilian,^ Lactan• 4 The latter denies that Cicero is to be
tius, 3 and Boethius.
taken seriously when he boasts of the copiousness of the Latin
So far we have assembled all the passages in Gicero in
which he mentioned the Greeks.
On some occasions, as we have al­
ready seen, he bestowed the highest praise upon them ungrudgingly,
sometimes he was mercilessly severe in his Judgment, especially
In regard to their morality, and in nearly every instance in which
he associated the name of the Romans with them the Greeks suffered
by the comparison.
What motive or motives prompted the incongru­
ity furnishes the problems which we propose to discuss in the fol­
lowing pages.
1De Ira i. 4. 2: "cetera quae pluribus apud Graecos nominibus in species lram distinguunt, quia apud nos vocabula sua
non habent, praeteribo." D ialog, x i . 2. 6 : "quam diu fuerit ullus litteris honor, quam diu steterit aut Latinae linguae potentia aut Graecia gratia, vigebit cum maximis viris."
Inst. xii. 10. 34: "his
ilia potentiora, quod res plurimae carent appellationibus, ut eas necesse sit transferre aut
circumire; etiam in iis, quae denominata sunt, summa paupertas in
eadem nos frequentissime revolvit; at illis non verborum modo,
sed linguarum etiam inter se differentium copia est."
Inst. iv. 8. 1: "sed melius Graeci A 6yov dicunt quam
nos verbum, sive sermonem.
Adyos enim et sermonem significat, et
ratlonem, quia ille est et vox, et sapientia Dei."
4Contra Eutv. lii. 25:
"sed peritior Graecia sermonem.
5I bl d . ill. 55:
"neque enim verborum inops Graecia est,
ut Marcus Tullius alludit."
Cf. infra, p. 94, n. 4, for the boast
of Cicero.
In endeavoring to account for the contradictions discov­
ered in Cicero's evaluation of the Greeks, one Is likely, on first
thought, to attribute the superior attitude which he takes towards
them to race prejudice. This supposition, of course, cannot be
gainsaid, for it Is a basic trait In all peoples to acquiesce In
the glory of their own nation at the expense of another. In the
case of the Romans In general, and Cicero In particular, the prin­
ciple is strikingly applicable.
Rome was the master of Greece
and Cicero, as he often liked to repeat, had saved Rome In the
year of his glorious consulship. Hence, it is to such a motive,
for Instance, that we can Impute his unfounded boast of the su­
premacy of the Latin language. For as we have endeavored to Il­
lustrate, In most cases in which Cicero asserts
the superiority
of the Latin over theGreek, we are able either to disprove his
statement or at least give a logical reason for the failure of
the Greek to supply a term for some purely Roman notion.
Again, It is only in accordance with the Roman conception
of religion that we can accede to the claims of Cicero on this
In the eyes of the Romans, religion was little more than
a compact between the gods and men, an obligation strikingly sim­
ilar to the covenant of the Jews of the Old Testament, as Tertullian remarked.^ Like civil law, It served a most obvious prac­
tical end. To the Romans the religion of the commonwealth, which
was closely associated with civic life--a fact Illustrated by the
coupling of lmperlum with auspiclum — was, in reality, nothing
^De praes. haret. 40: "si Numae Pompilii superstitiones
revolvamus, si sacerdotalia officia et insignia et privilegia, si
sacrlficalia ministeria et instruments et vasa Ipsorum sacrificiorum ac piaculorum et votorum curiositates consideremus, nonne
manifesto diabolus morositatem illam Iudaicae legis imltatus est?"
2W. Kroll, Die Kultur der CIceronischen Zeit (Leipzig:
Dietrich, 1933), I l 7 3 .
-61more than a social and political expedient whereby the masses
could be kept under the control of the state .1 Moreover, the In­
sistence that the foundation and continued prosperity of Rome
were the result of divine favor,
Is another Illustration of the
same utilitarian value attached to religion.
Furthermore, the
very acknowledgment of the existence of gods was but another expedient to prevent the fabric of social life from degenerating,
although it must be admitted that Cicero’s personal belief in a
supreme Being was not vitiated by any such ulterior motive.
No truer commentary could be found on the religious spir5
it of the Romans than the observation made by Polybius,
an ob­
servation which at once admits the utilitarian value of religion
for the Romans and at the same time explains its Inherent weak­
Polybius's emphasis on the pomp of the religious cere­
monies. which, as we learn from De natura deorum. consisted of
rituals, auspices, and interpretation of the prophetic books,
not overdone.
Livy called Rome a "city full of superstition,"
and the pontiff Cotta, one of the interlocutors in the De natura
deorum, speaking of the extent to which the priestly college had
duped the superstitious masses, wonders how soothsayer could meet
soothsayer without smiling.
Religion such as this could not preserve Its unabated
vigor, especially among a people who like the Romans admitted the
religious philosophy of the Greeks and the fanaticism of Oriental
Nevertheless, the tenacity with which the Romans held
fast to the external forms long after the original spirit had dis­
appeared, might easily furnish a pretext to so enthusiastic a pa­
triot as Cicero to vaunt the glory that was once Rome's.
Moreover, upon what grounds Cicero arrogated supremacy
for Roman law cannot be fully estimated because the fragmentary
condition of the codes of the early Greek legislators renders
comparison difficult; yet whatever credit the Romans deserved as
1De div. II. 70.
2N. D. ill. 5.
3Ibid. I. 3.
^W. D. Hooper, "Cicero's Religious Beliefs," Classical
Journal. XIII (1917), B 8 f f .
5Polyb. vi. 56. 6.
6N. D. ill. 5.
7Livy vi. 5. 6 .
SN. D. i. 71.
J. Marquardt and T. Mommsen, Handbuoh der romischen Alterthumer (2nd ed.; Leipzig: Hirzel, 1665), vT, 'i4.
-62master builders of legal masonry, their debt to Oreece for the
structural foundation Is acknowledged by Greeks and Romans alike.
Especially is the influence of the Greeks attested in the formu2
lation of the Laws of the Twelve Tables --the fundamental code of
the Roman people.
Be this as it may, Cicero, who learned the
Laws of the Twelve Tables when he was a boy, esteemed them above
the libraries of the philosophers.
In many other instances Cicero shared with his fellow
Romans a prejudice against the Greeks. This prejudice is espe­
cially noticeable in the contemptuous terms which he like other
Romans employed to designate the Greeks. Thus Cicero was the
first to popularize the word Graecuius as applicable to the odious
race. In speaking of the objectionable actions of the Greeks, he
endeavored to make them more reprehensible by coupling them with
this term of reproach;
likewise, in referring to the faults which
he imputed to the Greeks, he emphasized his contempt by appending
the word as an opprobrious modifier.
In the same manner, any
Roman who resorted to the manners of the Greeks was In danger of
being Identified by Cicero with the worthless race,
and Cicero
could find no more abusive word for his opponents them to make
Dion. Hal. x. 55. 57; Dion. xliv. 26; Livy 111. 9. 57.
Cf. P. P. Girard and P. Senn, Textes de droit romaln (6th ed.;
Paris: Rousseau & C l e., 1937), pp. 9-lT.
2Pe leg. II. 64, 65-66, 67; ill. 14; Livy III. 34; Pliny
N. H. xliv. 5. 21; Strabo xiv. 1. 25; Plor. i. 17. 24.
3LIvy ill. 34.
4De leg. II. 59.
SDe orat. I. 195: "fremant omnes licet, dicam quod sentlo:biblTothecas mehercule omnium philosophorum unus mihi videtur XII tabularum llbellus, si quis legum fontes et capita viderlt, et auctorltatls pondere et utilltatls ubertate superare."
®Pro Seat. 126: "sed Graeculorum Instituto contlonem
Interrogare solebat." Pr'o Flac. 23: "moturn quendam temerarlum
Graeculae contionis." T. D. I . 86: "ineptum sane negotlum et
7De orat. I. 47: "verbi
enim controversia iam diu torquet
Graeculos-EoraTnes." Ibid. I. 102: "tanquam allquo! Graeculo otioso et loquacl et fortasse docto atque erudlto quaestiunculam."
Pro Scaur. 4: "at Graeculi quidem multa flngunt." Ad fam. vii.
18. 1: "Itaque, quonlam vestrae cautlones infirmae sunTT^ Graoculam tibl mlsl cautionem chirograph! mei." In Ant. v. 14: "Grae­
culi iudicis modo palliati, modo togati."
De orat. I. 221: "aut ilium ineptum et Graeculum putent." In Verr. ii. 4. 127: "erudltus homo et Graeculus, qui
haec subtTliter iudioat."
In Ant, xlii. 16. 33: "de duobus nequissimis Graeculis."
-63them associates of the Infamous people .1 Following the precedent
established by Cicero, later Romans employed the term Graecuius
with the same abusive force.
Petronlus used a variant of the
word In ______
Cena Trlmalchlonls;
Martial disavowed
resorting; to any
license permitted to the Greek poets;
Pliny too evinced his con4
tempt for the race by employing the word,
again, we discover
Suetonius using It.
Probably the best known case is that of
Juvenal, who was so unsparing In his insulting remarks about the
Two instances occur in Florus which likewise give evi7
dence of the disdain for the Greeks;
one occurrence of the word
is found in Ausonius; even in the Christian writers, the word
still retains its odious implication; moreover, we hear of cer­
tain Romans who were censured because of their association with
Pro Sest. 110:
’’Graeculum se atque otiosum putari voluit*"
Pro M i l o . &5: "comites Graeculi quocumque ibat.” In P i s .
”sed ut draeculum, ut adsentatorem, ut poetam.” Post. r e d .
s e n . 14: "belua immanis cum Graeculis philosophari.”
^Petr. 76. 10: "qui venerat forte in coloniam nostram,
Graeculio, Serapa nomine, consiliator deorum.”
5Mart. ii. 86. 3:
"nusquam Graecula quod recantat echo."
^Plin. Ep. x. 40. 2: "gymnasils indulgent Graeculi."
Pan. 13. 5: "sea Graeculus magister adsistit, quam magnum est
unum ex omnibus patrio more, patria virtute laetarl et sine aemulo, sine exemplo secum certare, secum contendere ac, sicut imperare solum, ita solum esse, qui debeat imperare."
5 Suet. T i b . 11. 1: "sine
lictore aut viatore gymnasio
interdum obambuTans, xrrutuaque cum Graeculis offlcia usurpans
prope ex aequo."
Ibid. 56: "nihilo lenior in convictores Grae­
culos, quibus vel maxims adquiescebat."
D i v . Claud. 15. 4: "ao
ne cui haec mira sint, litigatori Graeculo vox in altercations
6Juv. iii. 78:
"Graeculus esuriens."
Ibid. v i . 185-86:
"quam quod se non putat ulla formosam nisi quae de" Tusca Graecula
facta est."
^Flor. E p l t . ii. 7. 9: "quae non spiculis, non sagittis,
nec ullo Graeculo ferro." Ibid. iv. 2. 24:
"Graecula civitas
non pro mollitie nominis et vallum rumpere et incendere machines
ausa et congredi navibus."
Mnam gloriosum Graeculus nomen pu­
Auson. E p . xxii. 5:
tat, quod sermo H e a t Doricus."
®Min. Fel. O c t . 21. 5: "rudes illos homines et agrestes
multa docuit ut Graeculus et politus: litteras imprimere, etc."
Aug. C i v . Del i. 4: "postremo illud Iunonis templum sibi elegerat avaritla et superbia levlum Graeculorum."
I bi d . ix. 5:
ait Tullius, verbl controversia iam diu torqueat homines Graecu­
los contentionis cupidiores quam veritatis."
Contra Acad, iii. 8:
"quod ab ipsorum Graeculorum levitate abhorreret."
-64the Greeks "by having the term applied to them;-*- however, several
instances occur in post-Augustan Latin In which the term has no
particularly offensive meaning, but is simply employed as an
equivalent of Graecus.
In like manner, the attitude of Cicero towards the Greeks
can be ascertained by his fondness for resorting to uncomplimen­
tary terms to describe them or their actions.
Thus, as we have
already mentioned, lneptlae was a favorite word of his to describe
the Inopportuneness of the Greeks.
The charge of lneptlae. how­
ever, carries weight only when considered from a Roman point of
view. As we have seen, the very notion of Ineptus has a connota4
tion peculiarly Roman; hence to bring the charge against the
Greeks in globo as an Instance of a national blemish would be an
admission that we are looking at them through the eyes of Romans.
Moreover, Cicero does not reserve this word to designate the
Greeks alone; frequently he applied it to himself, as when he was
contemplating building a shrine for Tullia or erecting a portico
for the Academy; on other occasions, he employed the word or its
derivatives to Indifferent actions of his own.
Many other examples
could be cited to show that Cicero did not restrict the word to
the Greeks.8
iSpart. VI t . H a dr . I. 5: "lmbutusque impensius Graecis
studiis, Ingenio eius sic ad ea decllnante ut a nonnullis Graecu­
lus diceretur.” Incert. A u c. Epit. de Caes. 14. 2: "Aelius Adrianus . . . . hie Graecis litteris Impensius eruditus a plerisque
Graeculus appellatus est.” Amm. Marc.' xvii. 9. 3: "extrema minitans Iulianum compellationibus incessebat et probris, Aslanum appellans Graeculum et fallacem, et specie sapientiae stolidum."
E.g., Graeculus is used as a modifier of vitls In Col.
ill. 2. 4; Pliny if. !
h . xiv. 25; of mala. in ibid. xv. 50; of rosa
in ibid. x x i . 18; xxvi. 42.
Cf. supra, pp. 26 f f . Vide also p. 28. n. 3.
Cf. supra, p. 58.
®Ad Att. x l i . 36. 1: "haec meae tlbi lneptlae (fateor
enim) ferendae sunt."
®Ibid. vi. 1. 26: "nura inepti fuerimus, si nos quoque
Ac ademl a e T e c erimus ?”
*^Ad fam. viii. 14. 1: "ad te cum inanibus epistulis mltterem, facerem Inepte." Ad Att. xli. 24. 2: "et ut ad meas ineptlas redeam." Ibid. II. I d 1: "sed etiam Inepte pereKrinantem.” Ibid. iv. IS'.' 6.
Ibid. vi. 1. 14: "Cassius Ineptas litteras misit." Ibid.
II. 20. 6"i t
rX Vibrio libros accepi. Poeta ineptus et tamen sc it
nihil, sed est non lnutilis." Ad fam. viii. 3. 3; ibid. xlii. 1.
4; Ibid. vii. 6. 1; Ibid. i i i . T . 5; ibid. viii. l4. 4; Ad a. fr.
iii. 8. 4; Ad Att. iii. 23. 1; etc. “
-65Another term which Cicero used frequently to belittle the
Greeks was levltas. This fault, which he maintained was ingrained
in them,"*" was, in the eyes of the Romans, the most characteristic
feature of the Greeks.
Aside from the numerous occasions upon
which Cicero applied the term to the Greeks,
later Romans per4
petuated the idea.
Again, we can discern the extent to which race prejudice
motivated Cicero inasmuch as he denied to the Greeks the ability
to keep their trust.
Quintilian seems to try to exonerate Cic­
ero of any guilt in this matter by attributing his accusation to
mere judicial expedience;
still, from time immemorial the Romans
regarded Graeci and fallaces or some other such term connoting
the idea of deceit or wile as synonymous.
Vergil speaks of the
^"Cf. supra, p. 22, n. 6 .
^E. Wolfflin, "Zur Psychologie der Volker des Altertums,"
Archlv fur latelnlsche Lexlkographle und Grammatlk, VII (1892),
14 0: "Die er s t e und d ur ch s chi age'nde iJlgenscha^t der Griechen vom
Standpunkte der Romer aus 1st die levltas, wogegen die Romer fur
slch die gravitaa in Anspruch nehmen.
Schon Cicero erhebt diesen
Vorwurf an zahlreichen Stellen, und pro Placco 57 levitas propria
Graecorum sagt er doch deutlich genug, dass dieselbe die Griechen
recht elgentlich charakterislere."
5Pro F l a c . 5, 12, 24, 37, 57, 61; Pro L i g . 11; De fin. ii.
80; De orat. 14. 18; Ad
fr. i. 2. 4; R.
. I. 5.
Sen. Cont. i. 6. 12: "levis et Graeca sententia." Lucan. B e ll . Civ~ TTi. 301-2:
"ausa est servare iuventus non Graia
levitate fidem, etc.” Lact. Inst. i. 15. 14:
"quod malum a
Graecis ortum est, quorum levltas instructa dicendi facultate et
Ibid. 1. 18. 7: "sed haec Graecorum fortasse culpa sit,
qui res levissimas pro maxi ml s habuerunt."
I b i d . III. 14. 7:
"ne Graecos reprehendam quorum levitatem semper accusat."
C i v . Del I. 4: "sibi elegerat avaritia et superbia levium Grae­
Ibid. Ii. 14:
"suasit levitati lasclviaeque Graeco­
rum." Firm'. Mat. M a t h . I. 2. 3: "Itall fiunt regall ^semper nobllitate praefulgidi, . . . . leves Graeci."
I b id . i. 2. 4: "nec
levitati Graecorum."
De er. prof. r e l . 7. 6 : hamat enim Graeco­
rum levltas eos qui sIbl' aliquld contulerint." -^US* Contra Acad.
III. 8 : "Ipsorum Graeculorum levitate abhorreret."
Isid. Sev.
O rl g . Ix. 3. 5: "Romanos graves, Graecos leves."
® C f . supra, p p . 24 ff .
Quint. Inst. x i . 1. 89:
"quod ad nationes exteras pertlnet, Cicero varTeT detracturus Graecis testibus fldem doctrinam IIs concedit ac litteras, seque elus gentis amatorem esse
Ad (J. fr. i. 1. 16: "sic vero fallaces sunt permulti."
Val. Flac. Arg. viii. 275-76: "te Graecia fallax persequor." Fulg.
Mith. i. 18: irsolet Igitur adludere his speciebus et honeste mendax Graecia et poetica garrulitas semper de falsitate ornata."
Amm. Marc. xvii. 9. 3: "Aslanum appellans Graeculum et fallacem."
-66gullo of the primitive people of Greece ;1 moreover, the Greeks
were notoriously untrustworthy while the sincerity of the Romans,
on the other hand, formed a favorite contrast to the patent ly4
Ing and deception of the Greeks.
There were many other failings which Cicero Imputed to
the Greeks, who, as Pliny avowed, were the parents of all vices:
they were effeminate, garrulous,
trained in the art of syco8
phancy, ungrateful,
in a word, they were all that a noble Roman
abhorred. Such was Cicero's notion of the Greek character.
Yet we cannot admit that by attributing to race prejudice
the attitude which Cicero assumed towards the Greeks, we have
Verg. Aen. ii. 65-66: "accipe nunc Danaum insidias, et
crimine ab uno <3isee omnis."
Ibid. ii. 105-6: "turn vero ardemus
scitari et quaerens causas ignari scelerum tantorum artlsque Pelasgae." Ibid. ii. 152-53: "ille, dolis .lnstructus et arte Felasga 3ustullfc exutas vinclis ad sidera palmas." Cf. Stat. Achil.
i. 846-47:
"heu simplex nimiumque rudis, qui callida dona Graiorumque dolos variumque ignoret TJlixem."
Plaut. Asin. 199: "cetera quae volumus uti Graeca mercaraur fide." C i c . Ad f am . vii. 18. 1: "Graeculam tibi misi cautlonem chirographi mei .',r Auson. E p . xxli. 23-24:
"mercator quoque foro venalium mutuator ad Graecam fldem."
Ibid. ix. 41-42:
"nobiscum invenies catenoptia, si libet uti, non Poena, sed Grae­
ca fide."
Livy xlii. 47. 7: "religionis haec Romanae esse, non
versutiarum Punlcarum neque calllditatis Graecae, apud quos fallere hostem quam vi superare gloriosius fuerit."
Juv. iii. 86,.
92-93, 104 f f .: "quid quod adulandi gens prudentlssima laudat.
. . . . haec eadem licet et nobis laudare, sed illis creditur.
. . . . non sumus ergo pares: melior, qui semper et omni nocte
dieque potest aliena sumere vultum a facie, etc." Val. Max. iv.
7. 4: "haec sunt vera Romanae amlcitlae indicia, Ilia gentis ad
fingendum paratae monstro similia mendacla."
Curt. R u f . Hist. Alex. viii. 10. 12: "inde Graeci mentlendl traxere licentlam." Plin.. N. H. xii. 11: "statimque ei
Graeclae fabulositas superfuit, etc."
Ibid. v. 1. 4: "minus
profecto ralrentur portentosa Graeclae mendacla." SI1. Ital. Pun.
x vl l . 426: "periuria Graia resignat." Pulg.Mlth. Ii. 5: "Grae­
cia enim quantum stupenda mendacio." Tert. A p o l . xlvl. 18: "ami­
cus [sc. Christianus] et inimicus [sc. Graecus]' erroris? veritatis interpolator et Integrator, et expressor, et furator eius
et custos?" Hier. Ep. xxxvlil. 5: impostor et Graecus est."
Lact. Inst. i. 15. 14: "Incredlbile est quantas mendaclorum ne­
bulas excltaverit."
Plin. N. H. xv. 19: "Graeci vitiorum omnium genltores."
6Cf. supra, p. 31.
7De orat. i. 102. 105.
1 r1
fr. 1* 1. 16. Cf. supra, p. 18, n. 1, for quota­
tion. Ad- 5 . fr. I. 2. 4. Cf. supra. p. 22, n. 1, for quotation.
~*0f. supra, p. 20.
-67solved the problem of the Inconsistencies noticeable in his esti­
mate of them. For, if we ascribe what he said unfavorably of
them to this motive, then we would be at a loss to know to what
we should impute his favorable comments.
Moreover his adverse
criticism is not altogether unfounded. The evidence of the Greeks
themselves substantiates many of his contentions.
Thus when Cic­
ero cast aspersion on Greek probity he was not making a question­
able charge. The copious evidence from the pages of the Greek
writers strongly corroborates his statement. From the earliest
times we see the continual struggle between guile and honor. He­
siod complained of the bribed princes who meted out unrighteous
judgment,^- while Herodotus contrasted the Persian truthfulness
with the lying Greeks;
again, Herodotus testified that the agora,
the very heart of Greek life, was a veritable haunt of perjury
and deceit. 3 At a later period we have Thucydides 4 and Euripides 5
furnishing examples of the unreliability of the Greeks; further­
more, to judge from the numerous references in the Attic orators
to the faithlessness of the people, we might easily conclude that
perjury was a comparatively common offense.
Nearer Cicero,s own
time, Polybius afforded substantial evidence which is far more
devastating than the charge of Cicero himself.
Remarking on the
untrustworthiness of Greek officials, Polybius said that even
were they trusted with no more than one talent and although they
had ten copyists and as many seals and twice as many witnesses,
still they could not keep their faith.
This opinion of the Greek
character is further attested by Plutarch.
Nor was Cicero the first to criticize the exaggerated em­
phasis of the Greek on physical training.
As early as thesixth
^•Hes. 0£. et dies 37 ff.
2H e r o d .i. 150.
5Ibid. i. 153; Diog. Laert. i. 103.
Thuc. i. 4. 90 for Themlstocles 1 deception about the
walls of Piraeus; ibid. iv. 11. 23 for the bad faith of the Athe­
nians after the armistice of Pylos; ibid. v. 16. 45 for Alcibiades' deception of the Lacedaemonian envoys.
8In Iphigenia in Taurls. Thoas the king asks Iphigenia
what she wants him to cTo with the Greek prisoners.
She tells him
to put them in chains, whereupon he asks: xoT Q€ o* £k<puyoiev flv;
and Iphigenia replies: itioidv *E\Xde oloev o 66fiv. I p h. T. 1203-5.
Cf. R. J. Bonner, Evidence in the Athenian Courts (Chi­
cago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), pp"I 86 f f ., for citatlon of examples.
7Poly. 6. 56. 13.
8Plut. Mor. 531 B.
century B.C. Xenophanes of Colophon denounced athleticism as a
foolish custom honoring physical strength more than intellectual
power, since a city could not be governed by the champion boxer
or racer, but needed a man of exceptional wisdom.^" At a later
date we hear of the same aversion towards athleticism. A certain
Greek, Philopoemen by name, who, although he showed special apti­
tude for wrestling, yet, on learning that such a course would be
detrimental to military life, refused to devote himself to this
kind of sport.
In like manner, the strictures passed on athlet3
ics by Plato,
and Aristotle’s denunciation of specialization in
trained professionals,^ together with the censure of Galen ,3 suf­
fice to show that the Greek too opposed overemphasis on athletics.
In the mind of the Roman, the most evil consequence at­
tendant upon athleticism was the glory which a people thus edu­
cated attached to a victor in the boxing contest at the Olympic
games in preference to a triumph at Rome.
Euripides was quite
in harmony with these sentiments of Cicero. We discover him ut­
tering a bitter tirade against the Olympic games. To the Hellenes
he Imputed the blame of honoring a useless pleasure.
Not Indeed
was the fatherland to be saved by the winning of a crown for
wrestling nor speed of foot nor flinging quoits.
Such rewards
should be saved for those who by their temperance and Justice
saved the city from strife and sedition.
Other writers of Hellas likewise deplored the havoc such
a system wrought upon the morale of military spirit.
People like
the Spartans, for example, once pre-eminent on the field of battle,
gradually lost prestige in military exploits as soon as the en­
slavement and immorality engendered in the gymnasia and wrestling
schools sapped the very vitality of manhood; the Hellenes, in
time, preferred to be nimble athletes and handsome wrestlers
rather than brave soldiers.
It is significant that in the Ideal
state of Plato, there was no place for athletics, but instead
^Xenoph., fr. 2 (ed. Diehl).
2Plut. Philop. 3. 2-3.
3Plat. Legg. 832 E.
^Arist. Pol. 1335 b.
3Gal. M e d . et Gym.
®Pro Flac. 31: "hocest apud Graecos quoniam de
gravitate dlcimus prope maius et gloriosius quam Romae triumphasse."
Eur. Autol.. fr. 3 (e d. Duncan).
8Arist. Pol. 1338 b.
9Plut. Mor. 274 D.
-69there was substituted a more practical gymnastic training based
on the requirements of war.'*'
Cicero had found it difficult to name more than a few
2 Judging from the constant vauntoutstanding heroes of Greece.
ing of the heroes of Thermopylae and especially those of Mara­
thon^ one might suspect that the Greeks experienced the same dif­
Yet to Indict the nation as a whole on the charge of
cowardice would invite criticism.
The statement of Aristotle
claiming both £v 9oiiov xal 6 lavoriT ixov may be taken as a fairly
representative estimate of the Hellenistic spirit. Moreover,
whatever claims the Greeks may have had to bravery, there Is in£*
dication in the theorizing of Thucydides
and Plato about the
causes of deterioration In national valor, that the primitive
bravery did not continue to be maintained in all Its Integrity.
The sad decline which Cicero noticed in Attic eloquence
was deplored even more loudly by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
his account, the decline and gradual decay which began at the
death of Alexander of Macedon brought eloquence, In his own day,
to the verge of extinction.
A new type of oratory, Intolerably
ostentatious, shameless, and dissolute, superseded the former
philosophic eloquence, deluding the multitude and robbing Hellas
of Its dignity and Its claims to renown.
We have already mentioned the failure of the Greeks to
furnish evidence of their insistence on legal education,
while we must admit that, as a matter of fact, neither in Greece
nor Rome was there a profession of lawyers or barristers who fol­
lowed a practice In the modern sense of the word; still we know
Re p . 404 f f .; Le g g. 794 f f ., 833 ff.
Cf. supra, p. 41.
^Herod. vil. 226; Sim., fr. 5.
4H e r o d . v i . 112; Aristop. A o h . 181; Eq. 781, 1334; Thucy.
I. 74.
5Arlst. Pol. 1327 b.
H i . 83.
*^Plat. L e g g . 706 ff.
Diony. De antlq. orat. 1 (fragment quoted and translated
by W. H. Roberts, Dionysius oT Hallearnassus The Three Literary
Letters [Cambridge: l/nlversity tress. l90lj, pp. 43-44}.
Cf. s u p r a , p. 40.
-70from Quintilian 1 that an institution for dispensing legal infor­
mation prevailed in Greece as well as in Rome. However, we may
* 2
confirm the ill-repute Cicero attached to the Greek itpavixaT ixo i,
as they were called, from Plutarch,
who In advising the would-beperfect statesman of his duties towards his fellow-citizens warned
him against resorting to this class of people; whereas, on the
other hand, the reputation of those who followed this same pro­
fession in Rome was so great that their homes were esteemed as
oracles of the state.
And, although the institution of the
pragmatic1 warrants the inference that the Greek orators in
general resorted to this class of men to decide certain intrica­
cies of the law which they were incompetent to discuss, yet, as
a matter of fact, there is not wanting evidence that, on the
whole, Greek pleaders were not entirely ignorant of legal ques­
tions: Antiphon, for example, the first of the Attic orators,
proved himself useful to those who consulted him on matters perg
taining to law,
and we learn from Aristophanes that a legal ed­
ucation was pursued by Hyperbolus before he entered upon his po7
lltical career.
On the other hand, we cannot impute the superiority which
Cicero assigned to Roman civilization and culture purely to chau­
vinism. The words of the Greeks too attest the greatness of the
Roman State. We have already had occasion to mention the commenQ
dation of Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
The glorification of the
Roman commonwealth by Polybius was no less enthusiastic than that
by Cicero.
In seeking a worthy prototype from among the Greek
polities, Polybius rejected the Athenian 9 and Theban 10 hegemonies
as mere accidents, while he dismissed Plato’s Republic as corre­
sponding to reality as closely as a finely wrought statue does to
Inst. xli. 3. 4:
"neque ego sum nostri moris ignarus
oblitusve eorum, qui velut ad arculas sedent et tela agentibus
submlnistrant, neque Idem Graecos quoque nescio factltasse, unde
nomen his pragmatlcorum datum est.
^Cf. supra, p. 40, n. 6.
*^Wor. 815 B.
^Cic. De orat. i. 200.
®Cf„ Quintilian ’8 remark supra. n. 1, and the reference
to the institution made by Plutarch 'in his Moralla (supra, n. 3).
6Thuc. viii• 68.
7N u b . 874-76.
®Cf. supra. p. 38, n. 4.
^Polyb. v i . 44. 1 ff.
10Ibid. vi. 43. 2 ff.
-71its living mo d el ;1 Sparta alone tie deemed a fit comparison,2 al­
though the defects of the Laconian constitution became manifest
as soon as Sparta sought to extend its powers beyond the Peloponnese, while Rome, which aimed at the subjugation of Italy alone,
succeeded In bringing the whole world tinder its sway.
1Ibld. vi. 44. 7.
vi. 50. 4-6.
2Ibid. vi. 48.
1 ff.
It Is evident that, if we desire to determine the reasons
which gave rise to the inconsistencies discernible In Cicero’s
writings concerning the Greeks, we must dismiss the supposition
that the solution is to be found exclusively in race prejudice as
the motivating factor. But to what then must we attribute the
conflicting evidence? Are we to believe with Boissier that It
was "his misfortune not to have that firm resolution which fixes
a man in his opinion, and to pass from one opinion to another be­
cause he saw clearly the good and evil of all"?^ This censure is,
I believe, applicable to his political career but Inadequate to
explain the conflict of opinions regarding the Greeks.
quently, we must seek elsewhere for ,a solution to the problem.
In consideration of the general apathy of the masses of
Rome towards the Greeks, we might ask, "Is it possible that Cic­
ero Intended his treatises for a more select group of men who
were permeated with the ever-increasing influence of Greek cul­
ture and consequently that the treatises contain opinions that
ran counter to the current beliefs which he expressed only in his
We have already mentioned that Plutarch relates that Cic­
ero was spoken of as being a rpaix 6s.^ This term, together with
a second one, axoXaaT 1x 69, likewise applied to Cicero, Plutarch
informs us, was the familiar taunt on the lips of the lowest of
G. Boissier, Cicero and H l 3 Friends, trans. A. D. Jones
(New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1925), p.
Besan^on, 0£. clt.. p. 326.
Cf. T. Petersson, Cicero: A Biography (Berkeley: Univer­
sity of California Press, 1920/, p.*~4.
Cf. supra. p. 3, n. 3.
-73the Roman populace.^- Cicero himself gave voice to the disfavor
which the multitude entertained for the display of learning and
the efforts made accordingly by the public speaker to ingratiate
himself by concealing his erudition. Thus Crassus, the mouthpiece
of Cicero in De oratore. maintained that it was incumbent on the
orator to appear not too erudite lest his audience should think
him a pedantic Greek.
Elsewhere he stressed the necessity under
which an orator labored of penetrating the minds of his hearers,
taking into consideration their sentiments and outlook on life;
however, on no occasion was he to borrow from the Greeks when he
was to speak on such a topic as Justice and honesty.
A somewhat
similar attitude was taken by Antonius, the other Important inter­
locutor of De oratore. who is, in general, representative of the
oratorical theories repudiated by Cicero. He was of the opinion
that an orator would be more agreeable to the Roman people and
better approved if he should give as little indication as possible
of artifice and none whatsoever of having studied Greek litera­
However, he had no objection to a diligent inquiry into
Greek thought provided it was done in private, thereby offsetting
the danger of diminishing one’s authority with one's fellow-citizens,
since a reputation for learning and all suspicion of arti­
fice were prejudicial to the orator with those who have the deciPlut. Cicero 5. 2b: xat x 6v
itpOxov £v *P<j4jjltj xp 6vov
euXapGs 5ifb*e xaT xa*is dpxa'is 6xv“np&s upotrfte i xai xap'qijL&Xe'Ixo,
xaOxa 6f| xd ‘Pajpaitov xols pavaooaxdxo»s upoxeipa xai ouvVjGii M n a xa rpaixds xai oxoXaaxixds dxotScov.
^Wilkins, 0£. c l t .. I, 151.
Cf. also supra, p. 26, n. 6.
De orat. i. 221: "neque vult ita sapiens inter stultos
vlderi, ut iT qui audiant aut ilium ineptum aut Graeculum putent."
4 Ibid. i. 225-24:
oportet venas cuiusque generis
aetatis ordinis et eorum, apud quos aliquid aget aut erit acturua,
mentes sensusque degustet; philosophorum autem libros reservet
sibi ad huiusce modi Tusculani requiem atque otium, ne, si quando
ei dicendum erit de iustitia et fide, mutuetur a Platone."
^Ibld. ii. 153: ’’semper existimavi iucundiorem et probabiliorem huic populo oratorem fore, qui primum quam minimam
artlflcii alicuius, deinde nullam Graecarum rerum significationem daret."
Ibid.: "atque ego idem existumavi pecudis esse, non hominis, quom tantas res Graeci susciperent profiterentur agerent
seque et videndi res obscurissimas et bene vivendi et copiose dicendi rationem daturos hominibus pollicerentur, non admovere aurem
et, si palam audire eos non euderes, ne minueres apud tuos civis
auctoritatem tuam, subauscultando tamen excipere voces eorum et
procul quid narrarent attendere
-74sion of affairs because it lessened the authority of the speaker
and the trustworthiness of his speech.^ In summary, Cicero char­
acterized the peculiarities which distinguished these two eminent
orators: Crassus repudiated the culture of the Greeks entirely,
preferring In every circumstance the authority of the Romans,
while, on the other hand, Antonlus believed that an orator would
be more readily received If he should seem to be Innocent of Greek
learning; in a word, the one Imagined that he should have more
authority If he appeared to despise the Greeks, and the other if
he seemed to know nothing of them.
Here we may stop to consider whether Cicero himself seems
to have made any efforts to conciliate the public who held learn­
ing, especially of things Greek, In such contempt. At least, we
can assume that he was not completely oblivious of the propriety
of resorting to the Greeks for topics for illustration.
He him3
self intimates as much In his Orator.
Furthermore, without doubt the most numerous instances in
which Cicero expressed an unfavorable view of the Greeks are to
be found In his speeches.
Witness, for example, the indictment
of the Greek nation in globo on the charge of untrustworthiness
which he made In his speech Pro Flacco.
Moreover, there is a
conspicuous absence of Greek quotations In the speeches, which
may be taken as an Indication that Cicero hesitated to exhibit
his knowledge of a language of a people so despicable In the eyes
of the Roman populace.
Again, the speech against Verres commonly known as De slgnls affords us a striking example of his effort to evince an abIbid. II. 156: "sed tamen haec est mea sententia, quam
videbar exposulsse: ego lsta studia non improbo, moderata modo
slnt; opinionem Istorum studiorum et suspiclonem artlflcil apud
eos, qui res iudicent, oratori adversariam esse arbltror. Inminult enim et oratoris auctoritatem et orationis fldem .1
Ibid. il. 4: "sed fuit hoc In utroque eorum, ut Crassus
non tam existimari vellet non didicisse, quam Ilia despicere et
nostrorun hominum In omul genere prudentiam Graecis anteferre;
Antonlus autem probabiliorem hoc populo orationem fore censebat
suam, si omnino didicisse numquam putaretur; atque Ita se uterque
graviorem fore, si alter contemnere alter ne nosse quldem Graecos
3 Orat. 152:
exemplis domesticis, nisi ea leglsses, uterer alienis vel Latinis, si ulla reperirem, vel Graecis
si deceret."
Cf. supra, pp. 24-26.
-75solute Ignorance of the art and artists of the Greeks.
ingly, we find him In the beginning of the speech, after he had
mentioned the name of a certain sculptor, hastening to add that
he had learned the name of the artist in the course of his inves­
tigation as prosecutor^— an excuse which he Intended should hold
good for his subsequent display of acquaintance with the Greek
works of art and their creators.
However, to impress on his hear­
ers that he was no connoisseur, he pretended, now and again, ei2
ther to find it difficult to recall the name of the artist,
to require prompting.
Finally, Cicero admitted that although
this decorative stuff, these artistic productions, statues, and
pictures, and so on afforded the Greeks exceedingly great pleasure, 4 yet he himself personally placed no value on such things. 5
A somewhat similar attempt is made to repudiate Greek learning in
the oration Pro Murena, in which Cicero admits with apology his
Interest in Greek philosophy.
It is likewise evident from the speeches of Cicero that
the most potent weapon in winning popular applause was to brand
his adversaries as close associates of the Greeks and as imitators
of their revolting ways.
In the scurrilous attack which Cicero
made on Piso, he could find nothing more despicable to say about
the man than that he "lolled amid tipsy and malodorous Greeks,"
who crowded on a single couch five or more,
and that when he de■^In Verr. ii. 4. 4: "unum Cupidinis marmoreum Praxiteli
--nlmlrum clidici etiam dum in is turn inquiro, artificum nomina."
Cf. ibid. ii. 4. 94.
' 1"o
Ibid. i i . 4. 5:
is dicebatur esse Myronis, ut opinor,
et certe.w Ibid. i i . 4. 4: "idem opinor artifex eiusdemmodi
Cupidinem fecit7"
Ibid. ii. 4. 5: "sed earum artif Icem— quam? quemnam?
recte admones— Polyclltum esse dicant."
Ibid♦ ii. 4. 132: "delnde hie ornatus, haec opera atque
artificiasTgna tabulae pictae Graecos homines nimio opere delectant." Ibid. ii. 4. 134: "Graeci rebus 1st is, quas non contemnimus delectantur."
5I b l d . i i . 4. 13:
"dicet aliquis: ’Quid? tu iata permagno
ae st imas ? ’ figo vero ad me am rationem usumque meum non aestimo."
Pro M u r♦ 63: "nostri autem illi--fatebor enim Cato me
quoque in adules'centia diffisum lngenio meo quaesslsse adiumenta
doctrina, etc."
7In Plson. 22: "hie autem non tam conclnnus helluo nec
tam musicus iacebat in suorum Graecorum foetore et caeno."
®Ibid. 67: "Graeci stipati quini in lectulls saepe plures."
-76veloped an enthusiasm for learning "this monster of animalism
turned philosopher by the aid of miserable Greeks and then be­
came an E p i c u r e a n " a learned man was he Indeed, well Instructed
by his Greek slaves with whom he now supped openly on the stage,
though previously only behind the curtain.
Of his archenemy,
Clodius, Cicero said that he was the boon companion of these
wretched Greeks; of another associate of Clodius, Gellius by
name, Cicero affirmed that after a profligate and licentious
youth, this man wished to become a student of Greek learning, but
little good did the Greeks do for him.^ Still a third, Albuclus,
with the levity characteristic of the Greeks, celebrated a triumph
In his province.
Cicero likewise endeavored to make Antony ap­
pear more detested in the eyes of the Romans by charging him with
appointing Jurymen who offered no guarantee of integrity. Thus
Cicero asserted that among those whom Antony had appointed to sit
on the bench as Jurymen were gamblers, exiles, Greeks— an insidi­
ous climax indeed--one from Crete, an audacious and abandoned fel­
low, another from Athens, also a man of questionable repute, all
without doubt making an eminent bench of Jurymen.
Such evidence certainly Illustrates the Ill-repute in
Post red, in sen. 14: "cum vero etiam litteras studere
Inciplt et belua lmmania cum Graeculis philosophari, turn est Epicureus.”
De prov. con. 14: "Itaque ille alter aut ipse est homo
doctus et a suis Graecis subtilius eruditus, quibuscum lam In
exostra helluatur--antea post siparium solebat."
Pro Mil. 55: "comites Graeculi quocumque Ibat."
4 Pro Seat. 110: "deinde
ex impuro adulescente et petulante posteaquam rem paternam ab ldiotarum divltlis ad phllosophorum reculam perduxit, Graeculum se atque otlosum putari voluit,
studio lltterarum se subito dedidit. Nihil sane Attic! iuvabant
anagnostae, libelli pro vino etiam saepe oppignerabantur."
De prov. con. 15: "constabat enim Graecum hominem ac
levem in Tpsa provincia quasi triumphasse."
^In A n t. v. 12-14: "at Ille legit aleatores, legit exsules, lelgTt <3raeoos--o concessum iudicum praeclarum, o dignita­
tem consllii admirandam.
Avet animus apud consilium lllud pro
reo dicere--Cydam Cretensem, portentum insulae, hominem audacisslmum et perditissimum. Sed facite non esse: num Latine scit?
. . . . Nam Lysiaden Atheniensem plerique n o v i m u s .......... Quaero
lgitur: si Lysiades cltatus iudex non responderit excuseturque
Areopagites esse nec debere eodem tempore Romae et Athenis res
iudicare, accipietne excusatlonem Is qui quaestioni praeerit Grae­
culi ludicls modo palliatl, modi togati? . . . . Cretensis Iudex
Isque nequissimus.
which the Greeks were held, but we question whether the aspersion
cast upon the association of Romans with Greeks really indicates
Cicero's attitude towards the Greeks.
Is it not more likely,
that because he was aware of the antipathy of the populace towards
the Greeks, he naturally endeavored to Identify his adversaries
with these loathesome people merely as a means of damaging the
reputation of those whom he was attacking? In the first place,
we must remember the caution which Cicero himself made against
taking what he said In court as an indication of his own personal
opinion.^ This point he stressed elsewhere.
It will be recalled
that in speaking of the military renown of the Romans we quoted
from Cicero's speech Pro Murena a passage In which he proclaimed
that the glorious achievements wrought by the Romans In arms were
the mainstay of the Republic.
This statement was unquestionably
in contradiction to the line frequently quoted from his poem, ce3
dant arma togae; furthermore, Cicero himself, referring to this
very passage from his defense of Murena, remarked that he was
then addressing a Jury and not an audience of scholars and conse4
quently he had to play to the gallery a little.
too often demanded that a particular situation be taken into ac­
count. For instance, in his speech Pro Flacco It devolved upon
him as the counsel for the defense to discredit the Greek wit­
nesses summoned for the prosecution, but, on the other hand, when
it suited his purpose to inspire confidence In the testimony of
the witnesses he did not hesitate to commend them.
A similar
•^Pro Cluent. 139: "sed errat vehementer, si quis in orationlbus nostris quas in ludicils habulmus auctorltates nostras
conslgnatas se habere arbitratur.
Omnes enim Illae causaruin ac
temporum sunt, non hominum Ipsorum aut patronorum.
Nam si causae
ipsae pro se loqui possent nemo adhiberet oratorem.
Nunc adhibemur ut ea dlcamus, non quae nostra auctorltate constltuantur, sed
quae ex re Ipsa causaque ducantur."
2 Cf. supra, p. 41, n. 7.
3Cf. De Off, i. 77.
^De fin. iv. 74: "non ego tecum lam Ita locabor, ut Isdem his de rebus, cum L. Murenam te accusante defenderem.
imperitos turn ilia dicta sunt, aliquid etiam coronae datum."
5Pro Flac. 61-64:
"Adspiciant hunc flotfem legatorum laudatorumque Flacci ex vera atque Integra Graecia; turn se Ipse ex­
pendant, turn cum his se comparent, turn si audebunt dignltatl horum
anteponant suam. Adsunt Athenienses . . . . adsunt Lacedaemonil
. . . . adsunt ex Achaia cuncta multi legati ......... Hlsce utltur laudatorlbus Flaccus, his innocentiae testlbus ut <Graecls>
Graecorum auxilio resistamus."
Ibid. 71:
"homines sunt tota ex
Asia frugallssiml sanctlssimi, a Graecorum luxurla et levitate
remotissimi, patres famlllas suo oontenti, aratores, rusticani."
-78example is furnished in his attack upon Verres in the case of the
Sicilian witnesses whom he wished to use as evidence against his
Moreover, whenever expediency required he could lay aside
his assumed ignorance of Greek learning and acknowledge his debt
to the intelligent and inspiring precepts which he had learned
from the poet Archias
Then too there are passages in his ora­
tions in which he paid exceedingly great tribute to the Greeks:
in Pro Placco he admitted the claims of •the Athenians that from
their city sprang the humanities as well as all civilization;
likewise, in the same speech, he attributed every advantage of
culture and learning to the genius of the Greeks; finally, he
acknowledged the universality of Greek poetry in Pro Archla.
Another reason for rejecting the assumption that the dis­
crepancies noted in the expression of the opinion Cicero enter­
tained of the Greeks can be attributed to his desire to cater to
the populace may be adduced from the fact that he did not confine
his adverse criticism exclusively to his speeches, which alone
would probably come to the notice of the masses.
Thus the charge
lneptla which he made against the Greeks is found in De oratore and the examples used to illustrate the prevalence of the
failing are likewise found in his essays. 7 Nor is it only in his
orations that Cicero used the term of contempt, Graeculi. in
speaking of the Greeks, but he also employed it in his treatises
and letters.
It is obvious then that we must seek some other solution
to account, at least in part, for Cicero's conflicting remarks
about the Greeks. For, although the orations furnish the great■
~*Tn Verr. ii. 1. 63: "homines autem lpsi Lampsaceni cum
summe in omnes elves Romanos officiosi, turn praeterea maxime sedati et quieti, prope praeter ceteros ad summum Graecorum otium potlus quam ad ullam vim aut tumultum adcoramodati." Ibid. i i . 2. 7:
"nihil ceterorum simile Graecorum, nulla desidia, nulla luxuries,
contra summus labor In publlcis privatisque rebus, summa parsimonla, summa dlligentia."
Cf. supra,
p. 3, n. 6.
4 Pro Arch. 2,
Cf. supra, p. 4, n. 6.
Cf. supra, p. 5, n. 1.
6Cf. supra, p. 23, n. 1, and pp. 26-28.
7Cf. De orat. ii. 75; R. P.iv. 6,
13; T. D. i. 86; ii.
41; iv. 70;De off. 1. 130; ii. 875; Defin, ii. 80.
orat. i. 47, 102; T. D. i. 86;Ad fam. vii.
18. 1; De
orat. i. ISfSl.
-79est number of Instances In which Cicero criticized the Greeks,
still we must not overlook the fact that he did not hesitate to
play on the sympathy, or rather the antipathy In this case, of
his audience; furthermore, when he found It expedient to regard
the Greeks in a favorable light he had no scruple in putting aside
popular sentiments.
Finally, inasmuch as he spoke ill of the
Greeks when he had no reason to fear offending public opinion, it
must be admitted that the problem must be solved otherwise.
Are we to seek the answer for the disparity of opinions
in the distinction Cicero made between the classic Greeks and
those of his own day? Or, are the discrepancies traceable to his
admiration of their Intellectual attainments while, on the other
hand, his disapprobation arises from his contempt of them because
he deemed them lax morally?
We have noted in what esteem he held such men as Plato
and Demosthenes, how charmed he was with the poetry of Homer.
Moreover, we have heard him caution his brother against Intimacy
with the Greeks and we have referred to his disapproval of their
moral character.
There Is indeed some reason to believe that he
did not consider the Greeks of his own time of the same type as
those of ancient Greece. In advising Quintus on how to conduct
himself in his province he promised him that, if he would abide
by the lofty principles he had enunciated, the Greeks would think
that someone from the records of their ancient history had slipped
in on them.'*' Furthermore, in the matter of intimacy, he made ex­
ception for some few Greeks provided that they were worthy of an2
clent Greece.
Likewise, there are certain passages in Cicero
which suggest that he regarded Greece as dependent upon Its past
splendor for whatever reputation it now enjoyed. For Instance,
he affirmed that in Athens, whose renown was once so great that
the now shattered and weakened name of Greece was supported and
upheld by it,
learning had long been neglected, and there re­
mained only the seats of studies which the Athenians themselves
did not cultivate but which the foreigners enjoyed, being capti1Ad £. fr. i. 1. 7.
Ibid. 1. 1. 16: "atque etiam e Graecis ipsis diligenter
cavendae sunt quaedam famillaritates praetor hominum perpaucorum,
si qui sunt vetere Graecia digni."
Pro F l a c . 62: "auctoritate autem tanta est ut lam fractum prope ac debilitatum Graeciae nomen huius urbis laude nitatur."
vated by the very name and authority of the place,1 for while the
Athenians were born in an atmosphere of learning they were dis­
solved in idleness and had failed to preserve as their own that
which was left and consigned to them.
Cicero made Atticus re­
flect this same sentiment in De leglbus. In this passage his
friend mused that in Athens it was not so much the stately build­
ings and the exquisite works of ancient art which delighted him
but rather the recollection of its peerless men— where they used
to live and carry on their discussions— even to gaze upon their
tombs gave him pleasure.
These reflections are in accord with the belief current
among the educated Romans of Cicero’s day.
It was to the Greeks
that men looked for models of eloquence and learning, but they
found the Greeks wanting in examples of manliness, vigilance, and
industry.^ In truth, they were a nation rich in fine words while
the Romans, on the contrary, excelled in fine deeds.
Yet Cicero
was not silent regarding the debt Rome owed Greece, though In
none of his works did he mention the Greeks as men to be revered
because of their code of morality. Thus he admitted that in
learning the Greeks surpassed the Romans,
and It was to them
that they were likewise indebted for philosophy and sciences.
De orat. III. 43:
"Athenis lam diu doctrina Ipsorum
Atheniensi'um Inter lit, domlcllium tan turn In ilia urbe remane t
studiorum, quibus vacant elves, peregrlnl fruuntur capti quodam
modo nomine urbis et auctoritate."
2Ibid. iii. 131: "illi nati In litteris, ardentes his
studiis, otio vero diffluentes non modo nihil adqulslerint, sed
ne rellctum quldem et traditum et suum conservarint."
De leg. II. 4: "me quldem ipsae lllae nostrae Athenae
non tam operibus magnificis exquisitlsque antiquorum artlbus delectant quam recordatione summorum virorum ubi quisque habitare,
ubi sedere, ubi disputare sit solitus, studioseque eorum etiam
sepulchra contemplor."
4Sail. Eg. ad Caes. Ii. 9: "parantur haec disclpllna
Sed vlrEus" vTgilantia, labor apud Graecos nulla sunt."
Cf. also Sail. Cat. 8.
®Pro Scaur. 3: "In omnibus monumentis Graeciae, quae
sunt verbis orriatiora quam rebus." Quint. Inst. x i i . 2. 30:
"quantum enim Graeci praeceptis valent, tantum Romani, quod est
maius, exemplis."
TP. D. I. 3: "doctrina Graecia nos et omni litterarum
genere superabat." De h a r . reap. 19: "nec artlbus Graecos . . . .
7De fin. II. 68.
In fact, ho avowed In his letter to Quintus on the duties of a
magistrate that he was not ashamed tro acknowledge that the abil­
ity he displayed In accomplishing great deeds was made possible
by the studies and arts he had learned from the Greeks from whom
civilization not only sprang but likewise extended to the rest of
the world.^ But notwithstanding the fact that examples of learn­
ing were to be derived from the Greeks, nevertheless it was to
the Romans that men must turn for examples of virtue.
Moreover, Cicero was able to trace among the Greeks a cer­
tain amount of decadence which antedated hi3 own period.
illustrated this fact in the decline which he noted in Attic ora­
tory. Thus the deleterious effects produced by one of the lineal
descendants of the Attic orators, Demetrius Phalereus, who gave
eloquence a certain sensuous aspect,
culminated in the inroads
of Asianism.
Consequently, in place of its former vigor. Attic
eloquence was characterized by an artificial gloss.
As with
eloquence, so too with philosophy, which as Cicero recorded in a
letter to Atticus written from Athens, was in a state of confu/*
The once flourishing school of the Academy was now bereft
of adherents and people actually wondered why Cicero came forward
Ad (J. fr. i. 1. 27-28:
’’cum vero ei genere homlnum
praesimus, non modo in quo Ipsa sit sed etiam a quo ad alios pervenisse putetur humanltas, certe IIs earn potissimum tribuere debemus, a quibus acceplmus. Non enim me hoc lam dieere pudebit,
praesertim in ea vita atque lis rebus gestis, In quibus non pot­
est residere Inertiae aut levitatis ulla suspicio, non ea, quae
consecuti sumus, IIs studiis et artlbus esse adeptos, quae sint
nobis Graeciae monumentis disclplinisque tradita.”
De orat. H i . 137:
"nam ut virtutis a nostris sic doctrinae sunt ab illis [sc. Graecis] exempla petenda.”
^Brut. 38.
4Ibid. 51:
ut semel e Piraeo eloquentia evecta
est, omnis peragravit insulas atque ita peregrinate tota Asia
est, ut se externis oblineret moribus omnemque illam salubritatem Atticae dictionis et quasi sanitatem perderet ac loqui paene
5Ibld. 36:
"sucus Ille et sanguis incorruptus usque ad
hanc aetatem oratorum fuit, in qua naturalis Inesaet, non fucatus nltor.”
Ad A t t . v. 10. 5: "sed multum ea philosophia sursum deorsum, si quTcTem est in Aristo, apud quern eram.”
N. D. I. 11: "quam nunc prope modum orbam esse in Ipsa
Graecla inteTlego.’’ De leg. I. 38:
sed lam tamen fractam et
convictam sectam 3ecutI sunt."
-82as a champion of a derelict system.^- The Stoics likewise were
left now almost solitary In their schools and had to content
themselves with committing their lofty ideals of conduct to writ­
ing, for another system of morality prevailed since new customs
were Introduced Into Greece.3
Therefore it cannot be overlooked that Cicero did enter­
tain a different feeling for the ancient Greeks than that with
which he regarded those living at his own time. The former he
admired for their genius, the latter he shunned for their moral
obliquities. However, we may ask, are we able to justify all the
Inconsistencies In Cicero’s expression of his attitude towards
the Greeks by assuming that the difference resulted from his rel­
ative evaluation of their Intellectual and moral attainments? I
think not, for we are again confronted with conflicting evidence.
For, whereas he was adamant In refusing the Greeks to his personal
friendship, still he entrusted his only son to the Greeks to be
educated and, with the exception of Gorgias, whom Cicero, because
he thought he had flattered the vices of his son rather than cul4
tivated his good qualities, commanded young Marcus to dismiss,
he was well satisfied with the results.
Moreover, it was not only the ancient Greek men of letters
that he praised; some of the contemporary Greeks, especially Cic­
ero's teachers, received no mean commendation from their Roman
pupil. Molo, his teacher of eloquence In Rome, whom he later
visited in Rhodes to acquire greater skill In speaking,
one of the many Instances which might be cited. Cicero was like­
wise fond of Athens and spent six months there renewing his stud■^N. D. I. 6: wmultis etiam sens! mirabile videri earn
nobis potissTmum probatam esse philosophiam, quae lucem eriperet
et quasi noctem quondam rebus offunderet, desertaeque disciplinae et iam pridem relictae patrocinium necopinatum a nobis esse
Pro Cael. 41; "prope soli lam In scholis sunt relicti."
Ibid. 40; "sed etiam apud Graecos doctlsslmos homines,
quibus cum facere non possent, loqui tamen et scribere honeste et
magjiifice licebat, alia quaedam mutatis Graeciae temporibus praecepta extiterunt.
^Ad fam. xvi. 21. 6; "de Gorgia autem quod mihi scribis,
erat quldem ille in cotidiana declamatione utilis, sed omnia postposul, dum modo praeceptis patris parerem; 6iappV)6ev enim scripserat, ut eum dimitterem statim.” This passage Is from a letter
of young Cicero to Tiro.
5Brut. 312.
6Ibid. 316.
-83ies.1 Much later In life, on hla way back from Cilicia, he touched
at Rhodes and gladly spent some time in Athens in fond remembrance
of his former pursuits in those places.
Furthermore, so great
was his love for Athens that he contemplated building a porch for
the Academy in order that there might be some memento of him in
that great metropolis.
Thus we are forced to conclude that the distinction made
between classic Greeks and those of Cicero's own time relative to
their genius and character respectively is not consistent enough
to employ as an invariable index to test the conflicting state­
ments which Cicero made concerning the Greeks.
It is quite evi­
dent that a more fundamentally universal motive must be sought as
the underlying principle to explain the reasons for the dissonant
sentiments found in the works of this Roman statesman.
1Ibid. 315.
2 Plut. C l c . 36. 7.
3 1'
Ad Att. vi. 1. 26; "imam etiam velim cogltes. Audio
Appium icp3xoXov Eleusine facere. Num inepti fuerimus, si nos
quoque Academiae feqerimus?,, Ibid. v i . 6. 2: "me tamen de Academiae itpoizti'Ktp lubes cogitare .1I
In seeking a basis upon which we may posit some theory
that can be regarded as a feasible solution to determine what
factors Influenced Cicero*s attitude towards the Greeks, it is
unquestionably necessary to take into consideration the various
circumstances which provoked Cicero to express himself on this
topic. Consequently we must take cognizance of the entire corpus
of his works. As a rule, his speeches manifest, as we have al­
ready attempted to illustrate, a certain deference, by no means
Impolitic, to public opinion, and naturally must be employed Ju­
diciously as sources upon which we might formulate a workable
theory. Accordingly, we have but his essays and his letters by
means of which we can hope to arrive at some conclusive evidence.
For the moment, however, let us dismiss the letters, which in the
final analysis must always be appealed to as the most authorita­
tive source in view of their freedom from any motive other than
that of expressing Cicero’s private opinion, and turn our atten­
tion exclusively to his treatises.
Then let us ask a most ele­
mentary question: Why did Cicero write them? And let us permit
Cicero himself to answer the query in his own words:
"If the
government had not fallen into the hands of men who wanted to de­
stroy it, then in the first place I should be devoting my energies
more to public speaking than to writing, as I used to do when the
republic stood, and In the second place, I should be committing
to written form not these present essays but my public speeches. «1
Consequently we see that Cicero devoted himself to writ­
ing not as a matter of choice but rather because he was a victim
of circumstances, for since he was kept by armed treason from
practical politics and from engaging In forensic oratory, he was
not content to lead a life of leisure; furthermore, he did not
^■De off, ii. 3.
2Ibid. H i . 1: "nam et a re publics forensibusque negotlis
armls impils"vique prohlbltl otlum persequimur et ob earn causam
urbe relicta rura peragrantes saepe soli sumus."
-85in tend that the solitude forced upon him by necessity should find
him idle.'*' Hence, amid the calamities overwhelming the republic,
he prided himself that as a result of the freedom afforded him by
his political eclipse he had spent his time committing to writing
matters not all familiar to his countrymen but still quite worthy
of their notice.
In a word, Cicero proposed, in order that there
might be no interruption in his service to the state, to expound
the entire system of philosophy in Latin.
The ambition to make Greek thought dynamic in the Roman
world was thus incited by motives that were largely patriotic.
Only those who were familiar with the Greek language could avail
themselves of the pleasure of reading philosophical literature,
and in undertaking this "labor of love"5 Cicero aimed to increase
the intellectual resources of his fellow-citizens by making ac­
cessible to them the ways of noblest learning. Thus by his rhe­
torical works, which in accordance with Aristotle's dictum making
eloquence and philosophy closely interdependent,
Cicero had inQ
eluded as a part of his program, he hoped, by employing the
Latin tongue as a vehicle of expression, to make them Independent
of Greek writers and to dispense with the need of Greek librar­
1Ibid. H i . 3.
Ibid. ii. 5: "maximis igitur in malls hoc tamen boni
assecuti vTctemur, ut ea litteris mandaremus, quae nec erant satis
nota nostris et erant cognitions dignissima."
De div. ii, 1: "quaerenti mihi multum et diu cogitanti
quanam re possem prodesse quam plurimis, ne quando intermitterem
consulere rei p., nulla maior occurrebat quam si optimarum artium
vias traderem mels civibus."
4N. D. i. 7: "nam cum otio langueremus et is esset rei
publicae status ut earn unius consillo atque cura gubernari necesse
esset, primum ipsius rei publicae causa philosophiam nostris hominibua explicandum putavi, magni existimans interesse ad decus
et ad laudem civitatis res tam gravis tamque praeclaras Latinis
etiam litteris contineri
5De fin, i. 3.
De off. i. 1:
"quam quidem ad rem nos, ut videmur, mag­
num attulimus adiumentum hominibus nostris, ut non modo Graecarum
litterarum rudes, sed etiam docti allquantum se arbitrentur adeptos et ad discendum et ad iudicandum.
7Arist. Rhet. A, X f f .
8T. D. i. 7; De d i v . ii. 4; Top. 2.
®De div. ii. 5:
"magnificum illud etiam Romanisque homi­
nibus gloriosum, utGraecis de philosophia litteris non egeant."
Nevertheless, the proposal to furnish an encyclopaedia of
philosophy for Roman readers involved several almost insurmount­
able obstacles. First there was the questionable propriety of a
Roman--and he one of consular rank— engaging in a literary career;
secondly, there were difficulties arising from the attitude which
the Romans took towards philosophy; thirdly, an equally serious
problem resulted from the disdain with which the Romans regarded
native literary ability; and finally, there was the tremendous
task of creating a philosophical vocabulary for the Latin language.
Fully aware of the disapproval evinced by the Romans
toward a statesman who adopted a literary career,
Cicero sought
to Justify his role as a man of lecters by his insistence that
there was no other course open to him.
Such a role he deemed
most noble,^ and to the very end of his life, when he was again
engaged in active participation in political affairs, he reiter­
ated the patriotic motive which had prompted his literary pur­
suits .3
The facts of Cicero’s life are eloquent testimonies that
this was no mere pretext for indulging his taste for learning.
He had always been foremost in devoting his energies to the state,
and the manner in which he employed his well-spent leisure might
be reasonably pcur'doned. It was not so easy, however, to overcome
the objections of the second group. From the introductory remarks
1T, D. ii. 6; "quodsi haec studia traducta erunt ad nos­
tros, ne bibTiothecis quldem Graecis egebimus.”
Acad, ii. 5: "reliqui qui etiam si haec non improbent
tamen earum rerum disputationem principlbus civitatis non ita de­
coram putent."
3De off, ii. 2; iii. 3; Ad $. fr. iii. 7. 2; Ad fern, iv.
3. 4.
^T. D. i. 5: "philosophia iacult usque ad hanc aetatem
nec ullumThalnilt lumen litterarum Latinarum; quae inlustranda et
excltanda nobis est, ut, si occupati profuimus allquid civibus
nostris, proslmus etiam, si possumus, otiosi." Acad. 1. 11; "aut
enlm huic aetati hoc maxlme aptum est, aut his rebus si quas dignas laude gesslmus hoc imprimis consentaneum, aut etiam ad nos­
tros elves erudiendos nihil utilius aut si haec Ita non sunt nihil
aliud video quod agere possimus."
3In Ant. 11. 20: "tantum dicam breviter, te neque illos
neque ullas omnino litteras nosse, me nec rei publicae nec amicls
umquam defulsse et tamen me omni genere monimentorum meorum perfeclsse operis subslclvls, ut meae viglllae meaeque litterae et
iuventuti utilitatis et nomini Romano laudis aliquid adferrent."
-87of the De flnibus we learn that there were three types of Romans
who did not share Cicero's sentiments regarding philosophy.
The great rival of Cicero at the bar, Hortensius, was
among those who repudiated philosophy altogether,
and there were
many who agreed with him;
In the second group, the orator Anto­
nlus was representative; he merely dabbled In philosophy superfi4
It was his custom, when he had leisure, to read Creek
literature, not for the purpose of improving his ability In speak­
ing, but simply for amusement, for there was little to be gained
from the Greeks.
In fact, just as he walked in the sun for anoth­
er purpose, yet acquired a deeper color, so too with the reading
of Greek literature, his language, as it were, gained some com­
plexion thereby; but if he ever had the misfortune to chance upon
books of the Greek philosophers, he understood not a word.
metrically oppose^ to those who took such an attitude, were men
like Varro who, being well acquainted with Greek culture, pre­
ferred to draw knowledge from the very source rather than follow
little streams.
It was not Varro’s purpose to waste time writ­
ing treatises in Latin, for since philosophy had already been
carefully expounded in Greek, he judged that the Roman who had
any interest in the subject, if he were learned in the teachings
of the Greeks, would prefer to read the Greek writings rather
than those of a Roman; on the other hand, if the Roman shrank
from the science and system of the Greeks, he would not care for
philosophy at all, which cannot be understood without Greek learn7
Therefore he was unwilling to write what the unlearned
would not be able to comprehend and the learned would not take
the trouble to read,
since the latter preferred to go to the
Greeks, while the former would not accept the attempt at all.
1De fin. I. 1: "nam quibusdam, et iis quldem non admodum
indoctis, totum hoc dlsplicet, philosopharl. Quidam autem non
tarn id reprehendunt, si remissius agatur, sed tanturn studium tamque multam operam ponendam in eo non arbitrantur.
Erunt etiam,
et ii quldem eruditi Graecis litteris, contemnentes Latinas, qui
se dicant in Graecis legendis operam malle consuaere."
2Ibid. I. 2.
3Acad.i i . 5.
^De orat. II. 156: "minlme, Inquit Antonlus, ac si decrevi philosopharl potius ut Neoptolemus apud Ennius paucis: nam
omnino haud placet.
Cf. T. D. II. 1.
3Pe orat. ii. 59-60.
8Acad.i. 8.
7Ibid. I. 4.
9Ibld. I. 5.
Of a nature somewhat similar to those who believed that
the Romans were Incapable of matching their wits with the Greek
philosophers were those who assumed the attitude of suspicion r e ­
garding native literary talent.
They were admittedly a difficult
group to deal wlth,^ and Glcero was at a loss to comprehend the
motive which prompted such contempt for Roman literary endeavors.
Finally there were those Romans, accomplished students of
Greek learning, who doubted the possibility of conveying In Latin
the teachings they had received from the Greeks.
True, the prob­
lem of a Latin philosophical terminology was not one to be under­
Previous to Cicero's venture no notable attempts, with
the exception of Lucretius, had been made to present philosophy
in the Latin tongue. Of Lucretius, Cicero had little to say.
However, the poet's contribution to a philosophical terminology
was negligible insofar as Cicero was concerned, for the scope of
Lucretius' poem, confined as It was to the mechanical and physical
aspects of Epicureanism, was extremely narrow In comparison with
Cicero's aim to discuss the entire system of philosophy. Further­
more, the restriction placed on Lucretius by the Latin hexameter
could be ignored to advantage by the prose writer.
On the other
hand, little or no assistance could be got from the works of the
other Roman Epicureans whose efforts to put Greek philosophy Into
Latin consisted of translations of worse originals.^ As true dis0
clples of Epicurus, whose language was notoriously unintelligible,
these Romans were no models of lucidity and consequently had to
be disregarded. 8 Under such circumstances, it devolved upon CicXDe fin, i. 4.
Ibid. i. 10: "ego autem mirari <(satis> non queo unde
hoc sit tam insolens domesticarum rerun fastidlum."
N. D. I. 8: "complures enim Graecis institutibus eruditi
ea quae didicerant cum civltatibus suis communicare non poterant,
quod ilia quae a Graecis accepissent Latlne d i d posse dlfflderent."
K. C. Reiley, Studies in the Philosophical Terminology
of Lucretius and Cicero (New York: '(jfo'lumbla University Press,
15 09 )', p p . 25-27.
^Ad fam. xv. 19. 2: "Ipse enim Epicurus, a quo omnes Catll et Amafinii, mall verborum Interpretes, etc."
6Pe fin, ii. 15.
7Acad. I. 6; T. D. iv.
6, 7; ii. 7; ill. 33; De fin,iii.
40. C f . J. S. Reid, ReliquiaeAc ad emlc orum
(London: TJacmillan &
Co., 1885), Introd., p. 21.
8Ac a d . i. 5.
-89ero to create a philosophical terminology for Latin.
In general all these classes from which Cicero anticipated
impediments to the fulfillment of his plan of transferring Greek
thought Into Latin may be reduced to two, namely those who repu­
diated philosophy and those who had succumbed to the influence of
These were indeed two distinct groups with no bond of
sympathy between them. Those who rejected philosophy objected to
it on the grounds that It was at the same time not consonant with
Roman gravitas and likewise savored of the volatile Greeks whom
they despised, believing, like Cicero’s own father, that the more
Greek a Roman knew the greater knave he waa,^- or like one of Cic­
ero's friends of whom he said Jokingly that he disliked the Greeks
so much that he even avoided the Greek road on his way to his vilO
However, a greater number of the Roman nobles belonged to
the second class.
By education they were naturally predisposed
towards the Greeks, for since the Romans did not think It was In
harmony with their notion of gravltas for a Roman to keep a
there was no alternative but to attend Greek masters.
It Is not surprising then to find that the majority of the edu­
cated classes of the Romans were thoroughly imbued with Greek
thought and culture.
No one better than Cicero himself realized the difficul­
ties confronting him In his endeavor to mollify these two groups,
nor was he indifferent to the necessity of overcoming their sev-
De orat. II. 265: n"ut illud M. Cicero senex, huius virl optiml noatri famillaris pater, nostros homines similes esse
Syrorum venalium: ut quisque optime Graece sciret, Ita ease nequiasimum."
2 Ad f a m . vil. 1. 3: M
"Graecos Ita non ames, ut ne ad villam quldem tuam via Graecia Ire soleas."
Besan<;on, op. clt . . p. 242.
4Orat. 144: "at dignitatem docere non habet.
Certe si
quasi in iudo." C f . T. D. v. 113. Unquestionably there was a
certain hesitancy to countenance a Roman assuming the role of
teacher as a profession as we may Infer from the edict of the
censor Crassus whereby the Roman rhetors were driven out of the
C f . Dis o r a t . iii. 93: "quos ego censor edicto meo sustuleram, non quo, ut nescio quos dicere aiebant, acui Ingenia adulescentium nollem, sed contra ingenia obtundl nolui corroborari
Impudentiam." The wording of this edict of Crassus is preserved
by Aul. Gel. xv. 11. 2 and also by Suetonius In his prooemium to
De rhetorlbua. Likewise the incident of Cicero's being deterred
from hearing the Roman Plotius may be recalled In this connection.
supra. P« 8, n* 4.
eral objections in order to assure the success of his efforts.
It Is In the methods which he employed In attempting to silence
the objectors and at the same time to win approval for his liter­
ary achievements that we hope to find a partial solution for his
Inconsistent attitude towards the Greeks.
Knowing well that all the arts which could win the good
will of the Roman people must possess an admirable dignity and a
very welcome utility,^ Cicero made his apologia for philosophy
accordingly. He aimed to show that philosophy was a vital prin­
ciple In the guidance of the most active duties of life. Prom it
the statesman drew Inspiration to further the interest of philan­
thropy and patriotism, as he labored to Illustrate in the De re
Rome Itself was witness of this fact, since it had
produced more men who, although they were not philosophers In the
strict sense of the word, nevertheless had put Into practice the
teachings and the discoveries of the philosophers.
Moreover, the advantages accruing to oratory from the
study of philosophy were numberless. 4 As Cicero saw It, there
was nothing so well calculated as philosophy to promote adequate
fullness and attractiveness of style; furthermore, the restraint
of philosophy modulated a too vigorous style in speaking,
at the same time eloquence was promoted.
This was especially
Pro Mur. 23: "omnes enim artes quae nobis populi Romani
studia concllient, et admirabilem dignitatem et pergratam utllltatem debent habere.”
^Cf. especially R.
1. 13. The application of ethical
ideas to politics is considered by Duff, 0£. cit.. p. 384, the
greatest merit of the De re publlca.
R. P. iii. 7: ”plurls vero haec tulit una civltas, si
minus sapTentis, quoniam id nomen illl tarn restricte tenent, at
certe summa laude dignos, quoniam sapientium praecepta et Inventa
^A. Lieby, Quantum phllosophlae studio ad augendam dlcendi facultatem Cicero trlbuerlt (Parts: Societas traliica Libraria.
TS’Oi;, pp. 65-VT.
6T. D. i. 7.
6Pe off. I. 3: ”te hortor . . . . hos etiam de philosophia llbros, qui lam Illls fere se aequarunt, studiose legas— vis
enim maior in Illls dicendi— sed hoc quoque colendum est aequabile et temperatum orationis genus.”
7T. D. 11. 9: Mltaque mihl semper Peripateticorum Academlaeque consuetudo de omnibus rebus in contrarias partis disserendl non ob earn causam solum placuit, quod aliter non posset, quid
in quaque re veri simile esset inveniri, sed etiam quod esset ea
maxuma dicendi exercitatio." Cf. Parad. 2; De fato 3.
-91true In the case of the Academy.^- Personally, Cicero attributed
his success as a master of forensic oratory, in a great measure,
to the study of philosophy,
which increased rather than Impaired
his powers of eloquence.
In reply to those who considered philosophy unbecoming to
the Roman statesman, Cicero recalled the examples of the most Il­
lustrious personages of Roman history whose devotion to the study
of philosophy did not prevent the performance of noble deeds In
furthering the advance of the military and political glory of
Prom the earliest period of Its history, Rome did not
want for men who united experience In governing the state with
the study and mastery of philosophy.
Thus, Numa Pompilius, one
of the kings of Rome, had displayed such knowledge and wisdom
that a strange anachronism had become current whereby, although
prior to Pythagoras by almost two centuries, Numa was accounted
one of the disciples of this philosopher.^ A more striking ex5
ample was the case of Cato, a citizen, senator, and general,
of the staunchest defenders of the mos malorum, who, although he
spent his life combatting Greek Intrusion upon Roman life and man­
ners, in his declining years turned to the teaching of the Greeks,®
a fact to which Cicero attributed the eloquence which he makes
Cato display in discoursing on old age.
There was also Lucullus,
acknowledged as one of the most able commanders,
who amidst the
most arduous tasks of a soldier's life found time for letters and
Others no less renowned for their patriotism, as
Weise, Die grlechjsohen Worter 1m Latein (Leipzig:
Hlrzel, 1882), p. 244.
Orat. 12:
"et fateor me oratorem, si modo sim aut etiam
quicumque sim, non ex rhetorum officinis, sed ex Academiae spatiis exstitisse .,r
De fato 3: "nec enim, id quod recte existimas, oratoria
ilia studTa deserui . . . . nec ea quae nunc tracto minuunt sed
augent potius illam facultatem."
4Pe orat. ii. 154.
Cf. T. D. iv. 2-3.
Vide also J. Davis,
Cicero1s Tusculan Disputations (3rd e d . ; London: J. J. Knapton,
1730), p. &65, For a list of the ancient writers who were under
the impression that Numa and Pythagoras were contemporaries.
®Brut. 65.
®Acad. ii. 5.
rt ~
De sen♦ 3.
Acad. ii. 3.
9Ibid. ii. 4.
P. Scipio Africanus Minor, C. Laelius, and L. Furius Philo, had
Greeks in constant attendance upon them. 2
Moreover, in his history of Roman oratory, Cicero labored
to prove that, in the majority of cases, the greatest success at­
tended those orators who added acquaintance with Greek culture to
the mastery of eloquence,
for as Cicero admitted in his De off1ciis, the eloquent and Judicious speaker received the highest es­
teem and his hearers regarded him as possessed of understanding
and wisdom beyond all others.
Furthermore, it was incumbent upon Cicero not only to con­
vince the Romans of the inherent value of philosophy, but likewise
to dissipate the mistaken notion that it was synonymous with Greek
culture. His works themselves he offered as eloquent testimony
that a Roman was competent to turn philosopher and he hoped that
what he said of his Academica would, in effect, be the Judgment
pronounced on his literary achievement as a whole.
Just as he could not subscribe to the views of those who
disdained the Greeks, so, on the other hand, he believed that
those Romans who desired to be styled Greeks out and out deserved
the Just censure of Lucilius. 6 The problem of eradicating the
unnatural preference for foreign culture and of stimulating pride
in native ability taxed Cicero's ingenuity to the utmost.
means adopted by him to compass his end of relieving the Romans
of their inferiority complex regarding the ability of their fellow-citizens to vie with the literary achievements of Hellas lay
1R. P. iii. 5. Cf. Pro Arch. 16.
^De orat. ii. 154.
3Cf. Brut. 78, 81, 94, 104, etc.
4Pe off. 11. 48.
Ad Att. xiii. 13. 1: "ut in tali genere ne apud Graecos
quidem simile quicquam."
De fin. i. 9: "nisi qui se plane Graecum dici velit, ut
a Scaevola est praetore salutatus Athenis Albuclus. Quern quldem
locum comit multa venustate et omni sale idem Lucilius, apud quern
praeclare Scaevola:
Graecum te, Albuci, quam Romanum atque Sabinum,
municipem Ponti, Tritani, centurionum,
praeclarorum hominum ac primorum signiferumque,
maluisti dici.
Graece ergo praetor Athenis,
id quod maluisti, te, cum ad me accedls, saluto:
'chaere,' inquam, 'Tite!' lictores, turma omnis chorusque:
'chaere, Tite!' hinc hostis mi Albuclus, hinc inimicus.
Sed lure Mucius."
-93ln the emphasis which he placed on the excellence or Roman genius
manifested in the provinces of government, oratory, and war, in
contrast to the corresponding weakness displayed by the Greeks in
these particular fields of action.
In those instances in which
he was obliged to admit the superiority of the Greeks, he labored
to show that it was due rather to the fact that the Romans were
engaged in some other pursuit and consequently were not free to
compete and outrival them.'*'
Aware of the difficulties besetting Cicero in his endeavor
to arouse the Romans to a more intellectual plane and at the same
time to dispel the complacency which others of them entertained
for Greek culture, we can understand more sympathetically what
motives prompted his utterances about the Greeks.
Thus, it served
his purpose to assume a superior attitude towards them and to
strive to impress his readers that his convictions were unimpeach­
In doing so he at times hazarded his reputation for crit­
ical acumen and frequently had to sacrifice the admiration that
he, as an educated Roman, could not help entertaining for the
Thus the Ideal state which he depicted In De re publica
was a veritable apotheosis of the Roman commonwealth. Moreover,
the circumstances under which Cicero wrote might have warranted
discouragement for the future of Rome, and the bitter resentment
at his own political eclipse might have afforded him sufficient
grounds for suggesting changes whereby the Inevitable overthrow
of Rome might be averted. Yet Cicero was convinced of the etero
nity of Rome and, although keenly aware that only theoretically
did the Rome of his day correspond to the perfect system of checks
and counterchecks that Polybius believed were traceable In the
Roman constitution,
still Cicero made no gesture to alter or
1T . D. iv. 1: "cum multis locis nostrorum hominum ingenla virtuEesque, Brute, soleo mirari, turn maxima in his studiis,
quae sero admodum expedite In hanc civitatem e Graecia transtulerunt.”
J. Vogt, Ciceros Glaube an Rom (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer,
1935), p. 93.
In one of his more-Eopei’ul moments for the survi­
val of Rome, Cicero wrote to a friend attributing his despair
over conditions to the ravings of old age, recalling how, when he
was a boy, he used to hear his elders indulge In the same gloomy
Cf. Ad f a m . II. 14. 6.
3Polyb. vi. 11. 11.
-94In like manner, despite the difficulties he encountered
In attempting to render the flexible Greek of his sources into
the language of the practical and objective Romans, he must have
realized how much superior the Greek was as a medium of expres­
sion for philosophical thought.^- Yet such an admission, as we
have pointed out, he would not make. The insistence of Cicero on
the superiority of the Latin language to the Greek does more cred
it to his patriotism than to his critical acumen.
It is almost
Inconceivable that one whose thorough mastery of the Greek tongue
provoked the admiration of his Greek tutor LIolo could have been
so completely oblivious of the fact that the Greek was a better
Instrument by far to convey philosophical thought.
But Cicero
was confronted by the tremendously difficult task of creating a
philosophical terminology out of a language that was not readily
flexible nor capable of expressing the subtle nuances of thought,
and It would have been detrimental to his purpose of thereby mak­
ing philosophy acceptable to the Romans in Latin dress to acknowl
edge the deficiencies.
Thus under the circumstances he assumed a
a defense mechanism, and, unlike his contemporary Lucretius, who
laboring under the same difficultv complained of the patrii sermonls egeatas. Cicero reversed the charges, Inveighing against
the supposed shortcomings of the Greek language in a triumphant
apostrophe: C) verborum lnops lnterdum. qulbus abundare te semper
putas, Graecia!^
■'’The principle which Cicero formulated to guide him in
the creation of a philosophical terminology was as follows: De
fin. III. 15: "equidem soleo etiam quod uno Graeci, si aliter
non possum, idem pluribus verbis exponere. Et tamen puto concedi
nobis oportere ut Graeco verbo utaraur, si quando minus occurret
This process Involved the coining of new words and the
employment of metaphorical terms (cf. Acad. I. 25; Orat. 211).
And although, as a rule, rather than resort to the brilliancy of
the Greek TOrat. 164: "potius nostrorum verborum utamur quasi
splendore Graecorum” ), Cicero endeavored to use Latin words con­
sistently (T. D. I. 15: "dicam, si potero, Latine.
Scis enim me
Graece loqui In Latino sermone non plus solere quam In Graeco Latine." Acad. I. 25:
"enitar ut Latine loquar. De off.
i. Ill:
”ut enim sermone eo debemus uti, qui notusest nobis, ne, ut quidam Graeca verba Incalcantes iure optimo rldeamur” ), yet he did
not hesitate to sanction the use of a Greek word occasionally
(Acad. i. 25: ”Graecis licebit utare, cum voles” ).
Cf. supra, p. 10, n. 2.
3R. N. I. 139; III. 260; i. 831.
T. D. II. 35. There are not wanting those who seek to
defend Cicero. Munro extols the living Latin of Cicero's day as
-95How ever , it cannot be overlooked that the very means which
Cicero adopted of making the Romans independent of the Greeks by
presenting philosophy to them in Latin dress involved a paradox,
for it was the Greek philosophy that he was offering them in or­
der to free them from the influence of the Greeks.
But this same
anomalous situation likewise accounts for some of the diversities
revealed in Cicero’s expression of his opinion of the Greeks.
pendent as he was on his Greek sources, his intimate contact of
necessity revealed to him the inherent value of the Greek contri­
bution to learning which he had always been taught to appreciate
by the circumstances of his education.
Perforce, he was brought
face to face with the great heritage of Greece, the excellence of
which he was neither slow to perceive nor unwilling to admit.
Consequently, it might be pertinent to ask whether he was really
convinced of the superiority he claimed for the Romans.
If we
recall the passage from the Orator in which he had said that he
paid high tribute to the Romans both to encourage others and be­
cause he loved his own people^" we might suspect that he was not.
Nevertheless, in the struggle between conviction and patriotism,
it was seldom that the former triumphed for, despite whatever
opinion he had to the contrary, he did not intend that his works
should be a Roman extension of Greek erudition or speculation.
It Is to be noticed that, In making the transfer from Greek to
Latin, Cicero did not Intend to play the role of a mere translator,
but while preserving Intact the doctrines of his chosen authori-
being superior to the Greek, which was no longer the Attic of a
Plato or a Demosthenes but had become the lingua franca of the
civilized world (cf. H. A. J. Munro, Luc retlus * De rerum natura
(4th ed. ; London: Deighton Bell & Co.~ 1900], Tl, ll^
ever, the statement, irrespective of Its value, Is scarcely an
extenuation of Cicero's wholly unsubstantiated Indictment of the
Greek language, since the subjects which he was treating were not
found expressed in the colloquial Greek of the day. There can be
no extenuation for Cicero in this excuse. He blundered in his
blindness to prove his point that Latin could serve as a vehicle
for philosophical thought, yet It must be acknowledged to his
credit that he succeeded In moulding the Latin so as to make it a
fit instrument to convey the philosophy of the Greeks and thereby
merited the glory of becoming the creator of Latin philosophical
terminology, an honor which ancient writers as well as modern com­
mentators too numerous to mention have admitted.
~*~Orat. 23: "sed ego Idem, qul In illo sermone nostro qui
est expositus in Bruto multum tribuerim Latinis, vel ut hortarer
alios vel quod amarem meos."
-96ties, he added his own criticism and arrangement.1 He avowed
that in accordance with his practice, he was not slavishly imitating,
but rather borrowing from the Greeks with slight modifi3
selecting only that which suited his purpose. 4 Prac­
tically every book of each treatise is Introduced by a preface.
These introductions collectively constitute a history of the philosophical situation in Rome and contribute valuable information
that could not be found in any Greek treatise.
As such they are
decidedly Roman; moreover, another element that was added by Cic­
ero as a distinctly Roman feature was the setting of the various
Furthermore, the exempla, episodes, and illustrations
are for the most part taken from Roman history, except in cases
where embarrassment might ensue.
Likewise, the individuals en­
gaged in the dialogues are without exception illustrious Romans.
The consistency with which Cicero adhered to this plan often pre­
sented difficulties; thus, in making Lucullus, Cato, and Hortensius appear as the principal speakers in the Academica Cicero was
confronted by the fact that, although these men were not illiter­
ate, still they were insufficiently intimate with philosophical
subtleties to carry on a disputation on such topics as Cicero
wished to discuss; yet Cicero never sought to evade the diffi1De fin. 1. 6.
gDe o f f , ii. 60.
3Ibid. ill. 7.
Ibid. i. 6:
sequimur igitur hoc quidem tempore et hac
in quaestione potissixnum Stolcos, non ut interpretes, sed ut solemus, e fontibus eorum iudicio arbitrioque nostro quantum quoque
modo videbitur, hauriemus."
Petersson, oj£. cit. . p. 587.
Exceptions must be made for the fifth book of De flnlbus.
the scene being laid in Athens; however, only Roman citizens par­
ticipate in the dialogue.
For example, in speaking of tyrants, Cicero said he pre­
ferred to draw illustrations from foreign history (cf. De off, ii.
26). Again, when dealing with the subject of official integrity,
Cicero cited examples from Roman history (ibid♦ ii. 75-76), while
in the very next paragraph an illustration of avarice is taken
from Greek history (cf. ibid. i i . 77).
Ad A t t . xiii. 12. 3: "ergo illam 'AxaSiqp ixifiv, in qua
homines nobiles illi quidem, sed nullo modo philologl nlmis acute
loquuntur, ad Varronem transferamus." Ibid. xiii. 16. 1:
'AxaSiqix ixf|v at5vra£iv totam ad Varronem traduxerimus . Primo fult
Catuli, Luculli, Hortensii; deinde, quia Ttapd t o xp6itov videbatur,
quod erat hominibus nota non ilia quidem dTiatdeuaia sed in lis re­
bus dTpi>|f(a simul ac veni ad villam, eosdem sermones ad Catonem
Brutumque transtull."
-97culties by assigning the parts to any of the Greek philosophers
who crowded the city and who were closely associated with the
prominent Romans of the day. What Cicero really did then was to
make the Romans philosophically conscious by giving them in Latin
dress those first principles which he had learned from the Greeks;
furthermore, by introducing these first principles In Roman set­
tings, with Roman statesmen as speakers, he established the
thoughts inspired by Greek philosophy on a Roman, a national basis.
In seeking to determine what motives prompted Cicero to
express himself as he did relative to the Greeks, we have endeav­
ored to employ the writings which for the most part engaged his
late years.
In general they have proved safe criteria upon which
to base an assumption that will account for the attitude which
Cicero assumed towards the Greeks. However, in consideration of
the fact that the attitude which Cicero assumed in these works
was not infrequently conditioned by the motives he had in view In
bringing his literary efforts to materialization, the treatises
are not always an infallible Index of Cicero’s personal opinion.
If the speeches have been rejected because they were not free from
the suspicion that Cicero adopted views that were consonant with
the popular attitude of the masses towards the Greeks, the trea­
tises must likewise be employed cautiously inasmuch as they too
express the opinions which prevailed for and against the Greeks
among the educated classes of Rome.
Furthermore, since they rep­
resent but a comparatively short period in the career of Cicero
they cannot be used as indexes of the opinions which Cicero may
have entertained at an earlier age.
Thus, if we discard both the
speeches and the treatises, we have only the letters of Cicero
upon which to build a theory.
The letters as a whole offer the very advantages which
the other works of Cicero lack.
In the first place, they were
not conditioned by any endeavor either to conciliate or repudiate
the impressions conceived by the Romans regarding the Greeks.
them Cicero had not to fear offending the fickle masses, nor was
It Incumbent upon him to convince his correspondents that the Ro­
mans were the equals if not the superiors of the Greeks, still
less was he obliged to temper the overfondness of the Romans for
the products of the Greeks.
Moreover, the topics include a record
of the most memorable events quorum pars magna fult as well as
the most Insignificant experiences of Cicero’s private life. Their
-98very spontaneity makes them admirable sources from which to draw
a frank estimate of the personal opinions of Cicero.
they extend over a long period of years— from 68 B.C. to the year
of Cicero's death, 43 B.C.
However, a diligent investigation of the numerous pages
which comprise the corpus of Cicero's letters affords but little
elucidation of the problem at hand.
The most striking effect pro­
duced by a perusal of them is the conviction that Cicero was a
scholar, a gentleman, and a man of affairs.
In brief, his polish
and refinement are best described by the word urbanltas. Whatever
conclusions can be drawn from this source regarding the expression
of his attitude towards the Greeks must be derived rather from
what he does not say about them than from any direct statement.
Thus we are led to believe that Cicero was an ardent ad­
mirer of Greek culture.
He was unremitting in dunning Atticus to
send him the art treasures which he had purchased for him In
Greece.^ Moreover, he leaves no doubt In the mind of Atticus that
he Is anxious to fall heir to his library,
the acquisition of
which will make him richer than Crassus.
That the library of
Atticus was well stacked with Greek books we may Infer from the
frequent requests Cicero made to him to send him Greek books from
his collection.
Furthermore, Cicero avows that after the Greek
slave Tyrannio, whom Atticus had lent him to arrange his library,
had completed the work, his house seemed to have acquired a soul.5
In like manner, Cicero expresses his willingness to oblige his
^~Ad A t t . 1. 7. 1: "tu velim ea, quae nobis emisse et parasse scrlbis, des operam ut quam prlmum habeamus."
Ibid.I. 9.
2: "signa Megarica et Hennas, de quibus ad me scripsistl, veheraenter expecto.
Qtuicquid efusdem generis habebis, dlgnum Academia
tlbl quod videbltur, ne dubitaris mittere et arcae nostrae confidlto.......... peto abs te, ut haec diligenter cures." Ibid. I.
11. 3: "tu velim, quae Academlae nostrae parasti, quam prlmum
mlttas." Cf. also Ibid.
i. 5. 5. 8. 2. 10. 3.
Ibid. i. 7. 1: "velim cogites, id quod mihi pollicitus
es, quern ad modum bibliothecam nobis conficere possis."
I. 10. 4: "bibliothecam tuam cave cuiquam despondeas, quamvis
acrem amatorem Inveneris; nam ego omnes meas vindemiolas eo r e ­
servo, ut Illud subsidium senectuti parem."
Ibid. i. 11. 3:
"IIbros vero tuos cave cuique tradas; nobis eos, quern ad modum scribls, conserva."
3 Ibid. 1. 4. 3: "quod si adsequor, supero Crassum dlvitiis atque omnium vicos et prata contemno.
Cf. supra, p. 12, nn. 8-11, and p. 13, n. 1.
5Ad Att. Iv. 7. 2.
brother In replenishing his Greek library, especially since It
tended to his oim advantage as well.1
Moreover, In the role of Kix£ptov 6 <pi\6oo<po«s2 he made no
effort to hide the fact that he was closely dependent on Greek
Likewise, he was proud of his own accomplishments In
the Greek language.
nor did he hesitate to rank his Academica
superior to any works that the Greeks had produced.
Neither was
Cicero hesitant to admit that he was indebted to the philosophic
teachings of the Greeks for all the good he had accomplished In
his public end private l i f e .
Without doubt such evidence Is sufficient to prove the
admission of Cicero 7 and the statement of Plutarch S that Cicero
was a Philhellene.
Yet although Cicero evinces a profound love
for Greek culture, the mention of Cicero's personal relation with
contemporary Greeks Is conspicuously absent In his letters.
we have had occasion to state, there are no Greeks among his n u ­
merous correspondents, nor is there mention by name of many Greeks
except his teachers and a few slaves.
On the other hand, Cicero
admired Greece, especially Athens.'*'0
Furthermore, there are certain suspicions that Cicero did
not appraise the character of the Greeks very highly.
It will be
remembered that he cautioned his brother to beware of admitting
any Greek to intimacy,'*'1 though in this case it must be kept In
mind that he referred particularly to the Asiatic Greeks whom
Livy characterized as the most worthless people among mankind.
That he did not put the Greek on the same level with the Romans
is evident from his pique at a bankrupt Greek expecting the same
1Ad <J. fr. ill. 4. 5.
C f . supra, pp. 12— 14.
A t t . II. 12. 3.
Cf. s u p r a , pp. 14-15.
5Ad A t t . xiii. 13. 1.
fr. i. 1. 27-28.
Cf. supra. p. 81, n. 1, for
Ad A t t . I. 15. 1.
Cf. supra, p. 3, n. 2, for quotation.
8P l u t. C l c .5.
2Cf. supra,pp. 18-19.
10C f . supra, p. 83, n. 3, for his
plan to build a porch
for the Academy in Athens.
1XCf. supra, pp. 17-18.
12LIvy x x x v i . 17. 5: "hie Syri et Aslatlcl Graeci, vilisslma genera hominum et servituti nata."
privileges as a Roman knight.^ The same conclusion might be drawn
from the indignation he displayed at the aspiration of an Athenian
contemplating the enlargement of Rome.
Likewise, it is in one
of his letters that he brands the whole race of Greeks as care't
although in this instance, we must make allowances, be­
cause Cicero's concern for his beloved Tiro, who suffered at the
hands of the negligent Greek physician, Lyso, may have put the
otherwise urbane Cicero off his guard, thereby revealing some
elemental instinct in his character.
In like manner we can lay
the indictment made against the unfaithful Dionysius to a pique
of Cicero at finding himself outwitted by a freedman.
The stock
words— levitas . ineptus. and f a 11 ax— used by the Romans to d e ­
scribe the Greeks or their character— all occur in the letters.
In one of the letters to Quintus, Cicero speaks of their natural
aptitude to deceive and of their levitas, and again, in the let­
ter to Quintus on the duties of a governor, he reiterated the
Nevertheless, It must be remembered that the reference
Is to Asiatic Greeks. In like manner the censure of the Greeks
on the charge of lneptiae is only to be Inferred from the con7
trast with the staid Roman custom.
Moreover, the contemptuous
designation Graeculus occurs but once in the epistulae.
On the whole, the evidence of the letters seems to iden­
tify Cicero with the group of Romans who Besanqon believes sucg
cumbed to Hellenistic Influence.
Whatever aversions Cicero
might casually evince for the contemporary Greeks Is a pardonable
attitude in the victorious Romans.
Ad Att. Iv. 7. 1: "de Apollonlo quod scribis, qui Illi
di IratiI homlnl Graeco, qui conturbat atque idem putat sibi licere quod equitibus Romanis.”
Ibid. xiii. 35. 1: ”o rem Indignam!
Gentills tuus urbem auget, quam hoc blennlo prlmum vidit, et el parum magna visa
est, quae etiam Ipsum capere potuerit.
Hac de re igitur expecto
litteras tuas.”
Cf. supra, p. 21, n. 4.
Cf. supra. pp. 19-20.
Ad §* fr. 1.2. 4. Cf* supra, p* 23, n. 2, for quotation.
Ad (J. fr. i. 1. 16. Cf. supra, p. 18, n. 2, for quotation
Ad fam. vii. 5. 3: "sed more Romano, quo modo homines
non inept! locuntur."
Ad fam. vii. 18. 1. Cf. supra, p. 62, n. 7, for quotation
Besanqon, o£. cit.. p. 242.
It is unquestionab'ly trite to remark that no period of
Roman history is so well known as that which embraces the declin­
ing years of the Republic.
Furthermore, no one more than Cicero
is responsible for the fullness of our knowledge of the time for,
from his first appearance in the Forum at the age of twenty-seven
until the year of his death (43 B.C.) he was contributing to the
repleteness of this knowledge either by his speeches, which were
in most cases published, by his letters, which extend over a long
span of time, and by his essays, which are illuminating insofar
as they give us an insight Into the cultural development of the
Consequently, we should expect to find it a comparatively
easy task to determine from such varied sources the attitude which
Cicero took towards the Greeks whose influence was so Increasingly
dominant In his age. However, such is not the case, for there
are many clrcmnstancea which conditioned his reactions and con­
tributed to the complexity of the problem.
As we would expect, a man of Cicero's training and educa­
tion should exhibit a notable fondness and a growing appreciation
for Greek culture, and we are to some extent, not disappointed in
our expectations.
Like the majority of the well-to-do Romans, he
had the advantages accruing from early Instruction of Greek teach­
ers and the opportunities resulting from study abroad in the vari­
ous seats of Greek culture.
Moreover, he was not outdone by any
Roman of his day In the number of Greek men of letters who, In
accord with the custom then prevailing, were established In his
home, and, in time, he allowed these same advantages and opportu­
nities to his only son.
Furthermore, this urbane gentleman gave
evidence of his predelictlon for Greek culture by exhibiting d e ­
light in Greek works of art and by deriving pleasure from the
study of Greek literature and philosophy.
It is true, however,
that now and again, the veneer wears thin, and Cicero displays
primitive emotions In cases In which he Is outwitted or provoked
by a Greek.
Thus, if we are to judge by his actions, Cicero was
undoubtedly a- Philhellene. However, his words sometime belie
-102this assumption.
In his speeches particularly we are confronted,
with evidence which demands a readjustment of our conviction that
Cicero was thoroughly pro-Greek. Yet a too hasty conclusion must
be avoided, for we must not overlook the fact that while the ma­
jority of the educated Romans succumbed to the influences of Hel­
lenism, the masses were still hostile to the Greeks.
as Cicero himself admits, it was necessary for a popular pleader
to take into consideration the attitude of his audience— a cau­
tion which Cicero by no means neglected.
As a result, the ora­
tions must, to a large extent be employed judiciously in an at­
tempt to discover Cicero's attitude towards the Greeks.
In addition to the speeches, we have at our disposal Cic­
e r o ’s letters and essays upon which to build an hypothesis.
the case of the latter, we are again confronted by problems which
conditioned the expression of Cicero's reaction to the Greeks,
and these problems must be considered if we are to determine what
Influenced him to refer to the Greeks as he did In his essays.
Rome was a city devoted unreservedly to politics. The
ambition of every true Roman was to be a vital factor in the state.
This ambition he pursued for the furtherance of the glory of the
city and the Increase of his own personal prestige.
Cicero was
typically Roman In his aspirations and his sincere love for Rome
transcended the ties of family and friends.
Consequently, when
his active participation In the affairs of the city was curtailed
by those who placed their own advantages before the good of the
country, he felt himself deprived of the most glorious heritage
of every Roman citizen. His voice was silent In the Senate; In
the proceedings of the Forum he took no part. This Indeed was
not the otlum cum dlgnltate that he had anticipated as a reward
for his unselfish devotion to Rome.
Unable, however, to acquiesce
in this enforced Inactivity, he turned his attention to thoughts
of how he might utilize this otlum In order that there might be
no Interruption in his service to his country.
Thus motivated, Cicero assumed the role of a man of let­
ters, purporting to put at the disposal of the Romans the entire
system of philosophy in Latin dress that he might thereby free
his countrymen from the embarrassment of depending on the Greeks,
and at the same time furnish them with Ideals which were consonant
wl;h Roman notions of what was good and noble. The proposition
Involved an anomaly inasmuch as In his endeavor to free the Romans
-103from dependence on the Greeks, he offered them philosophy which
was Greek. The situation was further complicated by the fact
that Cicero himself was reputed a Philhellene and consequently
exposed himself to suspicion Insofar as his motive was concerned.
However, there were other difficulties Inherent In and
attendant upon the enterprise. First of all, there was the ques­
tionable propriety of a man of consular rank engaging in a liter­
ary career.
By his avowal that, were circumstances favorable, he
would be, as he had always been, foremost In active service, he
strove to satisfy such objection.
A more serious difficulty was
the matter of vocabulary; properly speaking, there was no Latin
philosophical terminology at his disposal; consequently he was
obliged to create one. Again, the attitude of the Romans towards
philosophy in general taxed his most persuasive powers, and the
endeavor to make the Romans philosophically conscious Is charac­
terized by all the marks of a truly practical-minded Roman.
Still more drastic means were required to undermine the
Influence of Hellenism, and at the cost of doing violence to his
own better instincts, Cicero labored to prove that the Romans
were unquestionably the peers of the Greeks in every respect.
Confronted by such overwhelming odds, Cicero was forced,
If he wished to realize the materialization of his enterprise, to
take the necessary steps to Insure success. Dependent as he was
on Greek sources, and trained by education to admire and respect
the genius of Greece, Cicero could hardly escape giving proofs of
his convictions; yet he strove to minimize the Influence which
Greece had exerted on him by emphasizing the superiority of the
There was little need for proof that the Romans were su­
perior In those qualities which made for political supremacy, nor
did it require much persuasion to made the Romans despise the
Greeks on grounds of moral conduct.
Nevertheless, it was only
natural, for a people like the Romans, who were not possessed of
a rich literary heritage, to undervalue the attempts made to sup­
ply the deficiencies.
It was Impossible to deny the glory that
redounded to Hellas because of the great luminaries that had shed
lustre on Its name.
Thus, In endeavoring to evade the admission,
Cicero attempted to draw attention to the decadence which over­
whelmed that once famohs name. A new people, rich in natural e n ­
dowments and strong In latent powers, had come to wrest the now
shattered fame that once belonged to Greece.
Too busily engaged
-104in establishing world dominion, this new people had little or no
opportunity to cultivate the Muses or give proof of their Inher­
ent Intellectual possibilities. What efforts had been made, had
not succeeded— because of the distaste of the Romans themselves
for home-products--In establishing the claims of the Romans to
intellectual superiority.
But endowed as the Romans were with
certain natural characteristics, it was only time and encourage­
ment that were needed to show that it was within their power to
outstrip the Greeks In everything that proved worthy of their de­
votion. Thus did Cicero reason and under such pretext did he dis­
semble his attitude towards the Greeks.
In many cases he Is guilty
of chauvinism, and frequently he sacrificed critical acumen to
patriotism, yet under the circumstances, It was only genuine love
of country which could inspire, In the face of so many disadvan­
tages, the sacrifice of his Ideals and arouse confidence In his
native l a nd.
It was thus that Cicero the man of letters argued that he
might effect the end in view in taking his pen in hand.
Yet a
study of Cicero as it Is revealed In his letters, confirms the
statement of Plutarch that Cicero was a rpaix6«s. At least he was
such In his attitude towards Greek learning and culture.
for individual Greeks, especially those who crowded Rome to do
the bidding of their Roman masters, Cicero had nothing but utter
And while he entertained a profound admiration for Roman
Ideals and aspirations, he was perforce obliged to concede the
Intellectual supremacy of the Greeks.
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