I recently added some texts from the ancient Roman politician and philosopher Cicero (106 – 43 BC) to this blog. Cicero rose to the highest political offices in Rome, and he defended the Roman Republic, a limited version of democracy within an oligarchy, against various attempts by individuals and small groups to usurp power. He […]

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The conditions for Just War have been debated for centuries: it must be fought by a legal and recognized authority, eg, a government. The cause of the war must be just. The war must be fought with the intention to establish good or correct evil, and there must be a reasonable chance of success. The war must […]

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In Verrem (“Against Verres”) is a series of speeches made by Cicero in 70 BC, during the corruption and extortion trial of Gaius Verres, the former governor of Sicily. The speeches made Cicero famous. This is the only known case where he acted as prosecutor. Verres basically plundered Sicily as governor, and he went into exile before the […]

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The following description of Cicero’s life is mainly quoted from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There is also a short description of his life in the context of ancient political philosophy at the Stanford Encyclopedia. The ancient historian Plutarch wrote a long biography of him in 75 CE, which you can find at the MIT […]

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The speech was given in 63 BC before the Roman Senate. The following quote from the Perseus Digital Library first summarizes the political background, then reprints the text of the speech.  THE ARGUMENT. Lucius Catiline, a man of noble extraction, and who had already been praetor, had been a competitor of Cicero’s for the consulship; the […]

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This little piece was composed by Cicero as a sort of preface to his translation of the Orations of Demosthenes and Aeschines de Coronâ; the translations themselves have not come down to us. I. THERE are said to be classes of orators as there are of poets. But it is not so; for of poets […]

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