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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



2298
Cicero, On Laws, 1.40-1.48
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nanOn the other hand, if we are determined to the practice of goodness, not by its own intrinsic excellence, but for the sake of some private advantage, we are cunning, rather than good men. What will not that man do in the dark who fears nothing but a witness and a judge? Should he meet a solitary individual in a desert place, with a large sum of money about him, and altogether unable to defend himself from being robbed, how would he behave? In such a case the man whom we have represented to be honest from principle, and the nature of the thing itself, would converse with the stranger, assist him, and show him the way. But as to the man who does nothing for the sake of another, and measures every thing by the advantage it brings to himself, it is obvious, I suppose, how such a one would act; and should he deny that he would kill the man or rob him of his treasure, his reason for this cannot be that he apprehends there is any moral turpitude in such actions, but only because he is afraid of a discovery, and the bad consequences that would thence ensue. A sentiment this, at which not only learned men, but even clowns must blush.


nanIt is therefore an absurd extravagance in some philosophers to assert that all things are necessarily just, which are established by the civil laws and the institutions of the people. Are then the laws of tyrants just, simply because they are laws? If the thirty tyrants of Athens imposed certain laws on the Athenians, and if these Athenians were delighted with these tyrannical laws, are we therefore bound to consider these laws as just? For my own part, I do not think such laws deserve any greater estimation than that past during our own interregnum, which ordained, that the dictator should be empowered to put to death with impunity, whatever citizens he pleased, without hearing them in their own defence. There can be but one essential justice, which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked. But if justice consists in submission to written laws and national customs, and if, as the Epicureans persist in affirming, every thing must be measured by utility alone, he who wishes to find an occasion of breaking such laws and customs, will be sure to discover it. So that real justice remains powerless if not supported by nature, and this pretended justice is overturned by that very utility which they call its foundation. But this is not all. If nature does not ratify law, all the virtues lose their sway. What becomes of generosity, patriotism, or friendship? Where should we find the desire of benefitting our neighbours, or the gratitude that acknowledges kindness? For all these virtues proceed from our natural inclination to love and cherish our associates. This is the true basis of justice, and without this, not only the mutual charities of men, but the religious services of the gods, would become obsolete; for these are preserved, as I imagine, rather by the natural sympathy which subsists between divine and human beings, than by mere fear and timidity. If the will of the people, the decrees of the senate, the adjudications of magistrates, were sufficient to establish justice, the only question would be how to gain suffrages, and to win over the votes of the majority, in order that corruption and spoliation, and the falsification of wills, should become lawful. But if the opinions and suffrages of foolish men had sufficient weight to outbalance the nature of things, might they not determine among them, that what is essentially bad and pernicious should henceforth pass for good and beneficial? Or why should not a law able to enforce injustice, take the place of equity? Would not this same law be able to change evil into good, and good into evil? As far as we are concerned, we have no other rule capable of distinguishing between a good or a bad law, than our natural conscience and reason. These, however, enable us to separate justice from injustice, and to discriminate between the honest and the scandalous. For common sense has impressed in our minds the first principles of things, and has given us a general acquaintance with them, by which we connect with Virtue every honourable and excellent quality, and with Vice all that is abominable and disgraceful. Now we must entirely take leave of our senses, ere we can suppose that law and justice have no foundation in nature, and rely merely on the transient opinions of men. We should not venture to praise the virtue of a tree or a horse, in which expression there is an abuse of terms, were we not convinced that this virtue was in their nature, rather than in our opinion. For a stronger reason, it is mainly with respect to the moral nature of things, that we ought to speak of honour and shame among men. If opinion could determine respecting the character of universal virtue, it might also decide respecting particular or partial virtues. But who will dare to determine that a man is prudent and cautious in his moral disposition, from any external appearances. For virtue evidently lies in perfect rationality, and this resides in the inmost depths of our nature. The same remark applies to all honour and honesty, for we judge of true and false, creditable and discreditable, rather by their essential qualities, than their external relations. Thus we judge according to their intrinsic nature, that rationality of life, which is virtue, must be ever constant and perpetual, and that inconstancy must necessarily be vicious. We form an estimate of the opinions of youths, but not by their opinions. Those virtues and vices which reside in their moral natures, must not be measured by opinions. And so of all moral qualities, we must discriminate between honourable and dishonourable by reference to the essential nature of the things themselves. The good we commend, must needs contain in itself something commendable. For as I before stated, goodness is not a mode of opinion: it is what it is, by the force of its very essence. If it were otherwise, opinion alone might constitute virtue and happiness, which is the most absurd of suppositions. And since we judge of good and evil by their nature, and since good and evil are the true constituents of honour and shame, we should judge in the same manner all honourable and all shameful qualities, testing them by the law of nature, without prejudice or passion.
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nanBut our steady attention to this moral law of nature is often too much disturbed by the dissention of men and the variation of opinions. We might perhaps obey this law of nature more exactly, if we attended more accurately to the evidence of our senses, which being absolutely natural, are less likely to be deceived by artificial objects. Those objects, indeed, which sometimes present to us one appearance, sometimes another, we term fictions of the senses; but it is far otherwise. For neither parent, nor nurse, nor master, nor poet, nor drama, deceive our senses; nor do popular prejudices seduce them. But our delusions are connected with corruption of our mental opinions. And this corruption is either superinduced by those causes of error I have enumerated, which, taking possession of the young and uneducated, betray them into a thousand perversities, or by that voluptuousness which is the mimic of goodness, implicated and interfused through all our senses -- the prolific mother of all human disasters. For she so corrupts us by her bewitching blandishments that we no longer perceive that things may be essentially excellent, though they have none of this deliciousness and pruriency. (Quae natura bona sunt quia, dulcedine hac et scabie carent.)


nanFrom what I have said on this subject, it may then easily be concluded, that Justice and Equity are desirable for their own sake. For all virtuous men love Justice and Equity, for what they are in themselves; and we cannot believe that such virtuous men should delude themselves by loving something which does not deserve their affection. Justice and Right are therefore desirable and amiable in themselves; and if this is true of Right, it must be true of all the moral virtues with which it is connected. What then shall we say of liberality? Is it to be exercised gratuituously, or does it covet some reward and recompense? If a man does good without expecting any recompense for his kindness, then it is gratuitous: if he does expect compensation, it is a mere matter of traffic. Doubtless, he who truly deserves the reputation of a generous and good-natured man, performs his philanthropical duties without consulting his secular interests. In the same way the virtue of justice demands neither emolument nor salary, and therefore we desire it for its own sake, because it is its own reward. And for this reason we should entertain the same estimate of all moral virtues.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

20 results
1. Plato, Laws, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

700b. one class of song was that of prayers to the gods, which bore the name of hymns ; contrasted with this was another class, best called dirges ; paeans formed another; and yet another was the dithyramb, named, I fancy, after Dionysus. Nomes also were so called as being a distinct class of song; and these were further described as citharoedic nomes. So these and other kinds being classified and fixed, it was forbidden to set one kind of words to a different class of tune.
2. Xenophon, Memoirs, 2.1 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

3. Aeschines, Against Timarchus, 191, 190 (4th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

4. Cicero, Brutus, 276 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Cicero, Brutus, 276 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

276. accedebat ordo rerum plenus artis, actio liberalis totumque dicendi placidum et sanum genus. Quod si est optimum suaviter dicere, nihil est quod melius hoc quaerendum putes. Sed cum a nobis paulo ante dictum sit tria videri esse quae orator efficere deberet, ut doceret, ut delectaret, ut moveret: duo summe tenuit, ut et rem illustraret disserendo et animos eorum qui audirent devinciret devinceret L : corr. M2G2 voluptate; aberat tertia illa laus, qua permoveret atque atque FOG : et C incitaret animos, quam plurimum pollere diximus; nec erat ulla vis atque contentio: sive consilio, quod eos, quorum altior oratio actioque esset ardentior, furere atque bacchari arbitraretur, sive quod natura non esset ita factus sive quod non consuesset sive quod non nosset nosset Friedrich : posset L . Hoc unum illi, si nihil utilitatis habebat, afuit; si opus erat, defuit.
6. Cicero, On Laws, 1.18-1.39, 1.41-1.48, 2.15-2.16, 2.22 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

7. Cicero, On Duties, 3.104 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.104. Non fuit Iuppiter metuendus ne iratus noceret, qui neque irasci solet nec nocere. Haec quidem ratio non magis contra Reguli quam contra omne ius iurandum valet. Sed in iure iurando non qui metus, sed quae vis sit, debet intellegi; est enim ius iurandum affirmatio religiosa; quod autem affirmate quasi deo teste promiseris, id tenendum est. Iam enim non ad iram deorum, quae nulla est, sed ad iustitiam et ad fidem pertinet. Nam praeclare Ennius: Ó Fides alma ápta pinnis ét ius iurandúm Iovis! Qui ius igitur iurandum violat, is Fidem violat, quam in Capitolio vicinam Iovis optimi maximi, ut in Catonis oratione est, maiores nostri esse voluerunt. 3.104.  "He need not have been afraid that Jupiter in anger would inflict injury upon him; he is not wont to be angry or hurtful." This argument, at all events, has no more weight against Regulus's conduct than it has against the keeping of any other oath. But in taking an oath it is our duty to consider not what one may have to fear in case of violation but wherein its obligation lies: an oath is an assurance backed by religious sanctity; and a solemn promise given, as before God as one's witness, is to be sacredly kept. For the question no longer concerns the wrath of the gods (for there is no such thing) but the obligations of justice and good faith. For, as Ennius says so admirably: "Gracious Good Faith, on wings upborne; thou oath in Jupiter's great name!" Whoever, therefore, violates his oath violates Good Faith; and, as we find it stated in Cato's speech, our forefathers chose that she should dwell upon the Capitol "neighbour to Jupiter Supreme and Best.
8. Cicero, De Oratore, 1.17, 1.53 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.17. Est enim et scientia comprehendenda rerum plurimarum, sine qua verborum volubilitas iis atque inridenda est, et ipsa oratio conformanda non solum electione, sed etiam constructione verborum, et omnes animorum motus, quos hominum generi rerum natura tribuit, penitus pernoscendi, quod omnis vis ratioque dicendi in eorum, qui audiunt, mentibus aut sedandis aut excitandis expromenda est; accedat eodem oportet lepos quidam facetiaeque et eruditio libero digna celeritasque et brevitas et respondendi et lacessendi subtili venustate atque urbanitate coniuncta; tenenda praeterea est omnis antiquitas exemplorumque vis, neque legum ac iuris civilis scientia neglegenda est. 1.53. Quis enim nescit maximam vim exsistere oratoris in hominum mentibus vel ad iram aut ad odium aut ad dolorem incitandis vel ab hisce eisdem permotionibus ad lenitatem misericordiamque revocandis? Quae nisi qui naturas hominum vimque omnem humanitatis causasque eas, quibus mentes aut incitantur aut reflectuntur, penitus perspexerit, dicendo quod volet perficere non poterit. Atque totus hic locus philosophorum proprius videtur, neque orator me auctore umquam repugnabit;
9. Cicero, Republic, 2.69 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.69. dici possit. Tum Laelius: Video iam, illum, quem expectabam, virum cui praeficias officio et muneri. Huic scilicet, Africanus, uni paene (nam in hoc fere uno sunt cetera), ut numquam a se ipso intuendo contemplandoque discedat, ut ad imitationem sui vocet alios, ut sese splendore animi et vitae suae sicut speculum praebeat civibus. Ut enim in fidibus aut tibiis atque ut in cantu ipso ac vocibus concentus est quidam tenendus ex distinctis sonis, quem inmutatum aut discrepantem aures eruditae ferre non possunt, isque concentus ex dissimillimarum vocum moderatione concors tamen efficitur et congruens, sic ex summis et infimis et mediis interiectis ordinibus ut sonis moderata ratione civitas consensu August. C.D. 2.21 dissimillimorum concinit; et quae harmonia a musicis dicitur in cantu, ea est in civitate concordia, artissimum atque optimum omni in re publica vinculum incolumitatis, eaque sine iustitia nullo pacto esse potest.
10. Cicero, In Pisonem, 46 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

11. Cicero, Orator, 128 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

12. Cicero, Pro S. Roscio Amerino, 47, 50, 67, 46 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

13. Vergil, Aeneis, 4.173-4.197 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.173. black storm-clouds with a burst of heavy hail 4.174. along their way; and as the huntsmen speed 4.175. to hem the wood with snares, I will arouse 4.176. all heaven with thunder. The attending train 4.177. hall scatter and be veiled in blinding dark 4.178. while Dido and her hero out of Troy 4.179. to the same cavern fly. My auspices 4.180. I will declare—if thou alike wilt bless; 4.181. and yield her in true wedlock for his bride. 4.182. Such shall their spousal be!” To Juno's will 4.183. Cythera's Queen inclined assenting brow 4.184. and laughed such guile to see. Aurora rose 4.185. and left the ocean's rim. The city's gates 4.186. pour forth to greet the morn a gallant train 4.187. of huntsmen, bearing many a woven snare 4.188. and steel-tipped javelin; while to and fro 4.189. run the keen-scented dogs and Libyan squires. 4.190. The Queen still keeps her chamber; at her doors 4.191. the Punic lords await; her palfrey, brave 4.192. in gold and purple housing, paws the ground 4.193. and fiercely champs the foam-flecked bridle-rein. 4.194. At last, with numerous escort, forth she shines: 4.195. her Tyrian pall is bordered in bright hues 4.196. her quiver, gold; her tresses are confined 4.197. only with gold; her robes of purple rare
14. Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, 6.2.20 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

6.2.20.  The pathos of the Greeks, which we correctly translate by emotion, is of a different character, and I cannot better indicate the nature of the difference than by saying that ethos rather resembles comedy and pathos tragedy. For pathos is almost entirely concerned with anger, dislike, fear, hatred and pity. It will be obvious to all what topics are appropriate to such appeals and I have already spoken on the subject in discussing the exordium and the peroration.
15. Suetonius, Augustus, 33.1 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

16. Cassius Dio, Roman History, 52.36.1-52.36.3 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

52.36.1.  Therefore, if you desire to become in very truth immortal, act as I advise; and, furthermore, do you not only yourself worship the divine Power everywhere and in every way in accordance with the traditions of our fathers, but compel all others to honour it. 52.36.2.  Those who attempt to distort our religion with strange rites you should abhor and punish, not merely for the sake of the gods (since if a man despises these he will not pay honour to any other being), but because such men, by bringing in new divinities in place of the old, persuade many to adopt foreign practices, from which spring up conspiracies, factions, and cabals, which are far from profitable to a monarchy. Do not, therefore, permit anybody to be an atheist or a sorcerer. 52.36.3.  Soothsaying, to be sure, is a necessary art, and you should by all means appoint some men to be diviners and augurs, to whom those will resort who wish to consult them on any matter; that there ought to be no workers in magic at all. For such men, by speaking the truth sometimes, but generally falsehood, often encourage a great many to attempt revolutions.
17. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, 7.147 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

7.147. The deity, say they, is a living being, immortal, rational, perfect or intelligent in happiness, admitting nothing evil, taking providential care of the world and all that therein is, but he is not of human shape. He is, however, the artificer of the universe and, as it were, the father of all, both in general and in that particular part of him which is all-pervading, and which is called many names according to its various powers. They give the name Dia (Δία) because all things are due to (διά) him; Zeus (Ζῆνα) in so far as he is the cause of life (ζῆν) or pervades all life; the name Athena is given, because the ruling part of the divinity extends to the aether; the name Hera marks its extension to the air; he is called Hephaestus since it spreads to the creative fire; Poseidon, since it stretches to the sea; Demeter, since it reaches to the earth. Similarly men have given the deity his other titles, fastening, as best they can, on some one or other of his peculiar attributes.
18. Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.16.10 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

19. Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.16.10 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

20. Stoic School, Stoicor. Veter. Fragm., 2.1021



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
antiphon Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
cicero, on etymology of lex/nomos Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
cicero, pro sex. roscio amerino Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
cicero, references to the furies Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
clodia Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
de re publica Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 137
deditio noxae Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
distributive justice Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
dyck, a. Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
ennius Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
furies Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
ideology polis Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
impiety Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
impius Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
ius Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 137
justice Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 137
kennedy, d. Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
law, natural Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
law (nomos), in on law and justice Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
lex coloniae genetiuae luliae ursonensis Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
lex sacra of spoleto Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
macrobius Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
mommsen, th., religious Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
multa Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
on law and justice (attrib. archytas), on compliance of law with nature and proportion Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
on law and justice (attrib. archytas), on rulers Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
on law and justice (attrib. archytas) Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
piaculum Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
piety, roman Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
polis Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
prosopopoeia Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
res publica, definition of Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 137
rights Gilbert, Graver and McConnell, Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy (2023) 137
ritual Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
roscius, sex. Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
rulers, in on law and justice Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483
sacrifice, expiatory Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
scaurus, marcus aemilius Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
sin Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
spoleto Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
stroh, w. Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
suetonius Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
superstitio Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
theology, roman Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
tiberius Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
tomb regulations Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
tradition, roman religious' Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
tradition, roman religious Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
tragedy Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
tromp, s. p. c. Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
varro, marcus terentius Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
vengeance, divine Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 32
vipsanius agrippa, m. Duffalo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate (2006) 137
wissowa, g. Ando and Ruepke, Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006) 24
zeus, as νόμιος\u200e and νεμήιος\u200e Wolfsdorf, Early Greek Ethics (2020) 483