Fifty Key Classical Authors

By Alison Sharrock; Rhiannon Ash | Go to book overview

studying philosophy in Athens. The main inspiration for On Duties is Stoic; the second-century Stoic philosopher Panaetius, connected with Scipio Aemilianus, is an important authority to whom Cicero often openly refers. Cicero's work is divided into three books. The first lays out the four virtues of wisdom, social virtue (justice and liberality), greatness of spirit and decorum ('seemliness' or 'appropriateness'). It might seem a little odd to us to include under the last heading thoughts on 'manners' such as conversation, appearance and even interior decor, but this is due to what we might perhaps call our more fragmented approach to life-issues. For a Roman, housing appropriate to one's station and avoiding luxury as it avoided poverty was a sign and part of a well-ordered whole. It was precisely this kind of harmony and integrity that Catiline lacked in Cicero's description discussed above. The second book considers various beneficial things, such as good reputation, health and wealth. The final book relates the first two: we learn that the truly beneficial is what is honourable and just, justice being an important theme of the work. The treatise ends with expressions of affection towards and hope for Marcus, somewhat undermined, for us, by the parting shot: 'be assured that you are very dear indeed to me, and will be far dearer if you take delight in such guidance and advice' (On Duties 3.121). Bullied sons are an inevitable element in Roman patriarchy, but it shouldn't be supposed that Cicero was even aware that anyone would consider his sentiments other than the most proper and appropriate for a father and a good citizen.


Notes
1
Against Verres 2.4.56, Against Catiline 1.2.1, On His House 137.3, On Behalf of King Deiotarus 31.1.
2
These speeches, fourteen of which are extant, were called Philippics-an allusion to the speeches of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon. Quotations show that there were at least three more in antiquity.
3
The Senate was in theory an advisory group for the consuls (the top magistrates at Rome, who held office in pairs, for one year at a time) and was made up of former magistrates (quaestor, aedile, praetor and consul, in that ascending order of importance). In practice, the Senate's advice was taken as binding (usually). Orators also regularly addressed the Roman people, speaking from the rostrum to anyone who happened to be there or to various types of specially convened gathering.
4
An honest evaluation would have to say that Cicero can sometimes go on a bit too long for modern taste, which tends to prefer brief soundbites.
5
Clodia is called an amica. This feminine form of amicus doesn't have the positive political and social implications of the masculine form, but on

-212-

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Fifty Key Classical Authors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents viii
  • Preface x
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xxi
  • In the Beginning 1
  • Homer 3
  • Notes 11
  • Further Reading 12
  • Athenian Hegemony 33
  • Aeschylus 35
  • Notes 42
  • Notes 49
  • Further Reading 50
  • Notes 56
  • Notes 64
  • Further Reading 65
  • Thucydides 74
  • Fourth Century 93
  • Lysias 95
  • Xenophon 103
  • Further Reading 118
  • Notes 127
  • Hellenistic 137
  • Menander 139
  • Notes 144
  • Further Reading 168
  • Early Roman 169
  • Ennius 171
  • Notes 184
  • Further Reading 185
  • Late Republican 201
  • Cicero 203
  • Notes 212
  • Notes 220
  • Catullus 228
  • Augustan 243
  • Virgil 245
  • Notes 268
  • Further Reading 276
  • Notes 290
  • Further Reading 291
  • Notes 295
  • Further Reading 296
  • Neronian and Flavian 297
  • Seneca the Younger 299
  • Notes 308
  • Petronius 310
  • Notes 321
  • Further Reading 322
  • Notes 328
  • Further Reading 329
  • Notes 333
  • Trajan and Hadrian 343
  • Plutarch 345
  • Further Reading 350
  • Further Reading 365
  • Further Reading 370
  • Notes 375
  • (Not) the End 377
  • Lucian 379
  • Notes 392
  • Timeline 407
  • Index 413
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