Restoring the Sacred

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Words of Relevance: Cicero (On Duties)

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C. - 43 B.C.), considered perhaps the greatest of Rome's orators, never missed an opportunity to castigate Julius Caesar, for what Cicero considered his unlawful ambitions and his demagoguery. Caesar, you will recall, was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.,

Cicero wrote his great essay: De Officiis (On Duties), the last of his dogmatic works, in 44 B.C., the last year of his life.  The essay, which is divided into three books and written in the form of a letter to his son, contains many statements one could easily find relevant to our times.  He clearly had disdain for the "change" to the republic brought about by the reign of Caesar, and was not afraid to trumpet his feelings.  He even made clear what he thought about the successors of Caesar who implemented Caesar's policies after his death.

Here's the quote:
"For my part, when the republic was being run by the men to whom it had entrusted itself, I devoted all my concern and all my thoughts to it.  But then a single man came to dominate everything, there was no longer any room for consultation or for personal authority...I only wish that the republic had remained in its original condition, rather than fall into the hands of men greedy not merely for change, but for revolution."

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