The Republic and The Laws

By Cicero; Niall Rudd | Go to book overview

BOOK 3

I-II. Introduction, followed by the proposed laws

MARCUS: Well then, I'll follow, as I have from the start, the lead of that inspired man whom I praise more often, perhaps, than is necessary, because I regard him with something like veneration.

ATTICUS: No doubt you mean Plato.

MARCUS: The very man.

ATTICUS: Ah no. You will never praise him too warmly or too often. Even our friends,* who don't like to hear anyone praised except their own leader, allow me to be as devoted to him as I please.

MARCUS: And they're quite right. What devotion could be more fitting for a man of your discrimination, who in my view has achieved in both his life and his writings the very difficult feat of combining seriousness with good humour?

ATTICUS: I'm glad I interrupted you, for you've given a splendid proof of your high opinion of me! But carry on as you began.

2

MARCUS: First, then, let us praise the law itself in terms which are both true and appropriate to its nature.

ATTICUS: By all means, just as you did in the case of the law governing religious practices.

MARCUS: You appreciate, then, that a magistrate's function is to take charge and to issue directives which art right, beneficial, and in accordance with the laws. As magistrates are subject to the laws, the people are subject to the magistrates. In fact it is true to say that a magistrate is a speaking law,* and law a silent magistrate. Nothing is so closely bound up with the decrees and terms of nature (and by that I wish to be understood as meaning law) as authority. Without that, no house or state or clan can survive-- no, nor the human race, nor the whole of nature, nor the very universe itself. For the universe obeys God; land and sea abide by the laws of the universe; and human life is subject to the commands of the supreme law.

3

If I may come, now, to matters which are closer to us and more familiar--all ancient peoples were once subject to kings. That kind

4

-150-

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The Republic and The Laws
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS i
  • OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction ix
  • NOTE ON THE TEXT xxxii
  • NOTE ON THE TRANSLATION xxxiv
  • Bibliography xxxvi
  • TABLE OF DATES (BC) xlii
  • THE REPUBLIC 1
  • Book 1 3
  • Book 2 35
  • Book 3 60
  • Book 4 76
  • Book 5 81
  • Book 6 85
  • THE LAWS 95
  • Book 1 97
  • Book 2 121
  • Book 3 150
  • APPENDIX NOTES ON THE ROMAN CONSTITUTION 170
  • EXPLANATORY NOTES 175
  • INDEX OF NAMES 222
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