De Officiis - Vol. 1

By Ambrose; Ivor J. Davidson | Go to book overview

Book 3

Chapter 1 Active Leisure

3.1-7 introduces book 3. It is based on Cic.'s opening to his third book, Off. 3.1-4. There Cic. speaks of the enforced solitude and otium in which he has been writing, away from his political and legal career in Rome. He contrasts his own involuntary withdrawal from public life with the voluntary otium enjoyed intermittently by the elder Scipio Africanus (see on 3.2), and praises Scipio for the way in which he used his leisure-time productively to plan his political activities: he was never idle or alone, for he took counsel with himself in his free hours (Off. 3.1-4). Cic. plays with the antithesis of otium and negotium, evoking three different senses of otium : (i) 'leisure-time' (as taken by Scipio); (ii) 'absence from public activity' (as forced on Cic. himself): and (iii) 'political stability' (Griffin and Atkins, 101 n. 1, drawing on Holden, 349, 351; otiosum in Off. 3.1 has the first meaning, and otiosus the second). Classically, the commonest notion of otium is the image of leisure-time spent on literary pursuits, especially in a country retreat (an ideal which retained a strong appeal in the late fourth century: witness Augustine and his friends at Cassiciacum): e.g. Cic. Tusc. 1.3-8; Ov. Trist. 1.41; Plin. Epp. 1.9; 8.9. Otium can also refer to the contemplative life as opposed to political activity (e.g. Cic. Off. 1.69-70; Sen. Ot. sap.; Brev. vit. 14 ff.); orthodox Stoicism was nevertheless traditionally hostile to political quietism, which it associated closely with Epicurean assumptions. See J. M. André, Recherches sur l'otium romain (Paris, 1962); id. L'Otium dans la vie intellectuelle et morale romaine, des origines à l'époque augustéenne (Paris, 1966); W. A. Laidlaw, 'Otium', G & R 15 (1968), 42-52.

In his prologue, Cic. goes on to exhort Marcus to pursue his

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De Officiis - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ambrose iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Note on Cicero Citations xxiii
  • Abbreviations and Editions of Other Works by Ambrose xxiv
  • Introduction 1
  • II- Date 3
  • III- Model 6
  • IV- Themes and Perspectives 19
  • V- Composition 33
  • VI- Purpose of the Work 45
  • VII- Constructing an Ecclesial Community- Ambrose''s Ethical Vision 64
  • VIII- The Influence of de Officiis 96
  • IX- Latinity 105
  • Text and Translation 113
  • Book 1 439
  • Book 2 692
  • Book 3 802
  • Select Bibliography 909
  • Indexes 953
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