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than lift a hand against someone else, then he will be just but stupid in
losing his own life while sparing another™s. Likewise, if in battle his own
side is routed and the enemy is pursuing, and the just man gets hold of a
wounded man on a horse, will he spare him at the cost of his own death,
or will he knock him o¬ the horse so that he can escape the enemy
himself? If he does so he is smart but wicked, and if he doesn™t he is just
but stupid.™™ [±] And so, after dividing justice into two parts, one civil and
the other natural, he overturned both by showing that what is called civil
justice is wisdom but not justice, while natural justice is indeed justice but is

Carneades. The quotation from Lactantius extends through ±.

Book 

unwise. These arguments are clever and venomous, and Cicero could not refute
them: for when he made Laelius reply to Furius and speak on behalf of justice,
he left these arguments unanswered and avoided them like a trap, with the
result that Laelius appears to have defended not natural justice, which had
been charged with stupidity, but civil justice, which Furius had admitted to be
wisdom but shown to be unjust.·
[a] Cicero, On the Supreme Good and Evil .µ: If you knew, said
Carneades, that a poisonous snake was hiding somewhere and that an
incautious person from whose death you would pro¬t was about to sit on
top of it, you would behave wickedly if you did not warn him not to sit
down, but you would not be punished for it: who could prove that you
[·] ° © ¬ µ: I ask you: if there should be two people, of whom one is
the best of men, the fairest, the most just, the most honorable, and the
other of outstanding criminality and boldness; and if the state should be
so wrong as to think the good man to be wicked, criminal, and evil, and to
consider the wicked man to be utterly honorable and honest; and that as a
result of this opinion of all the citizens the good man should be harassed
and attacked, his hands cut o¬ and his eyes put out “ that he should be
condemned, put in chains, tortured, and sent into exile in poverty, so that
in strict law he should appear to all to be the most wretched of men, while
on the other hand the wicked man should be praised, cultivated, and
cherished by all, that all o¬ces and powers and wealth should be
conferred on him, and that he be considered by universal belief to be the
best of men and worthy of every good thing “ what person will ever be so
crazy as to have any doubt as to which he would prefer to be?
[] What applies to individuals also applies to nations: there is no
state so stupid that it would not prefer to rule unjustly than to be
enslaved justly. I will not go far for proof: when I was consul, I was in
charge of the investigation of the Numantine treaty, and you were in my
council.° Who did not know that Quintus Pompeius had made a treaty
Lactantius™ inference about Laelius™ speech is “ as his own quotations from it show “
wrong: he is unwilling to acknowledge a non-Christian defense of natural justice.
The second half of this quotation concerns Laelius™ speech and appears on p. ·°.

Sect. · is quoted by Lactantius, Inst. µ.±.µ“; the second half of the section is preserved

in the palimpsest as well. The argument is drawn from Plato, Republic .±a“d.
After a particularly disastrous battle in the war against Numantia in ±·, the consul

Hostilius Mancinus made a disadvantageous treaty to save his army. The senate, at
Scipio™s suggestion, repudiated the treaty; Mancinus was, with his own approval, turned
over to the Numantines as compensation. Quintus Pompeius had made a similar treaty
after being defeated in ±° but repudiated it himself with the senate™s approval. Many

On the Commonwealth

and that Mancinus was in the same situation? One of them, an extraordi-
narily good man, spoke in favor of the bill that I proposed on the advice of
the senate, and the other defended himself as strongly as possible. If you
are looking for decency, honor, and trustworthiness, Mancinus had
them; but if you want calculation, planning, and prudence, Pompeius
stands out. Which *
[a large and uncertain amount is missing; the next leaf begins at ±]
[b] But he is certainly not to be listened to by our young people: if his
beliefs match what he says, he is a terrible man; if not (as I prefer to
believe), his speech is still appalling. [ + Nonius .±µ + .±]
[a] It would not disturb me, Laelius, if I did not think that these people
desired it, and if I did not myself want you to take some part in our
conversation, especially as you said yourself yesterday that we would
have too much of your speaking. That is impossible, and we all ask that
you not give us too little. [Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights ±..]±
[a] Cicero, Letters to Atticus ·..: I am happy that you are enjoying your
little daughter and that you approve of the idea that love of one™s children is
something natural. In fact, if that is not true, then there can be no natural
link between one man and another, and if that is removed all social bonds
are destroyed. ˜˜Just ¬ne!™™ says Carneades in a disgusting fashion; but he
is smarter than our friend Lucius and Patro. They make self-interest
the only standard and think that nothing is done for someone else™s sake;
and in saying that a man ought to be good in order to avoid trouble, not
because it is naturally right, they don™t recognize that they are speaking of
a clever person, not about a good man. But all this, I think, is to be found in
the book which you give me heart by praising.
[a] Cicero, On the Supreme Good and Evil .µ: It is clear that if equity,
faith, and justice do not derive from nature, and if all these things are
measured by utility, then it is impossible to ¬nd any good man. Laelius
said quite enough on this score in On the Commonwealth.
[b] Cicero, Letters to Atticus ±°..: And if, as you remind me, I stated
correctly in that book that there is nothing good except what is honorable,
and nothing bad except what is disgraceful . . .
[b] In this respect I agree that justice that is troubled and in danger is
not appropriate to a philosopher. [Priscian ..±«]

Romans thought this procedure dishonorable; the Numantines were also not amused.
Gellius wrongly assigns the quotation to Book .
± 
Both Epicureans.
This and the next two quotations appear to give the starting point of Laelius™ argument on
behalf of justice.

Book 

[°b] Augustine, City of God .: When Cicero asserted that Hercules and
Romulus became gods, he said: ˜˜It was not their bodies that were taken up
to the sky; nature would not permit what is derived from the earth to stay
anywhere but on the earth.™™
[°a] What riches will you put in the path of this man? What military
commands? What kingdoms? Such things he believes to be human, but
judges his own goods to be divine. [ + Lactantius, Inst. µ.±.]
[°d] I suppose that Fabricius did not have access to the generosity of
Pyrrhus, or Curius to the wealth of the Samnites.µ [ + Nonius ±.±·]
[°e] We have heard from our good friend Cato himself that when he
went to his home in the Sabine country he used to go to see his [sc.
Curius™] hearth “ where he sat and rejected the gifts of the Samnites,
once his enemies and later his clients. [ + Nonius µ.]
[°a±“, “µ] Virtue desires honor, and virtue has no other reward. But
it accepts this reward without bother and does not demand it harshly.
And if either the ingratitude of the whole people or the hostility of many
or powerful enemies despoil virtue of its rewards, then it has many
consolations to give it pleasure, and it sustains itself above all by its own
dignity. [ + Lactantius, Inst. µ.±., , ]
[ inc. µ] . . . unless someone wants to raise up· Mount Athos from its
base as a monument. But what Athos or Olympus is big enough . . .
[ + Priscian .µµ.«]
[] True law is right reason, consonant with nature, spread through all
people. It is constant and eternal; it summons to duty by its orders, it
deters from crime by its prohibitions. Its orders and prohibitions to
good people are never given in vain; but it does not move the wicked by
these orders or prohibitions. It is wrong to pass laws obviating this law; it
is not permitted to abrogate any of it; it cannot be totally repealed. We
cannot be released from this law by the senate or the people, and it needs
no exegete or interpreter like Sextus Aelius. There will not be one law at
Rome and another at Athens, one now and another later; but all nations at
all times will be bound by this one eternal and unchangeable law, and the
god will be the one common master and general (so to speak) of all
Compare Scipio™s speech at ±.“.

Generals of the early Roman republic who were not attracted by the wealth of their
Lactantius breaks up a single passage of C. in the course of his discussion of it. His own
comments are omitted here. For the ideas, compare C.™s comments on his own exile at ±.·
above. Text uncertain.
The de¬nition of law here is Stoic; it is elaborated more fully in On the Laws ±.¬.

On the Commonwealth

people. He is the author, expounder, and mover of this law; and the
person who does not obey it will be in exile from himself. Insofar as he
scorns his nature as a human being, by this very fact he will pay the
greatest penalty, even if he escapes all the other things that are generally
recognized as punishments. [ + Lactantius, Inst. ..“]
[.±c] There is no one who would not rather die than be transformed into
the shape of an animal while still having a human mind; all the more
miserable is it to have a beast™s mind in a human body. That seems to me
as much worse as the mind is more noble than the body. [Lactantius, Inst.
[ inc. ] The notorious Sardanapalus, much uglier in his vices than in
his name. [ + Scholiast on Juvenal ±°.]
He [Sardanapalus] ordered this to be carved on his tomb. [Arusianus
Messius ·.·.±«]
Cicero, Tusculan Disputations µ.±°µ: . . . from this we can recognize the
mistake of Sardanapalus, the wealthy king of Syria. He ordered this to be
carved on his tomb: ˜˜I possess all the things I have eaten and all that my
sated lust has enjoyed; the many other wonderful things lie abandoned.™™
What else, says Aristotle, would you carve on the tomb of a cow rather
than a man?
[.±d] Augustine, Against Julianus .±.µ: He did not think that what is
˜˜good™™ for a ram is good for Publius Africanus.
[] Augustine, City of God ±.±: There is a very strong and vigorous
argument in On the Commonwealth against injustice on behalf of justice. In
the earlier argument, for injustice against justice, it was said that a
commonwealth could not survive and grow without injustice; and the
strongest statement was that it is unjust for men to be enslaved to
masters. But if an imperial state, a great commonwealth, does not
subscribe to that injustice, then it cannot rule over provinces.° The
answer made by justice is that empire is just because slavery is useful for
such men and that when it is rightly done, it is done on their behalf, that
is, when the right to do injury is taken away from wicked people: the
conquered will be better o¬, because they would be worse o¬ if they had
not been conquered. In order to bolster this reasoning, Cicero supplies a
This and the following fragment are omitted by Ziegler but clearly belong here. The
presence of the introductory formula in this fragment makes it clear that C. quoted the
epitaph itself here as well as in the later Tusculan Disputations, and it is likely that the
context in the two works was very similar. The example of Sardanapalus was taken from
Aristotle™s lost Protrepticus.
A summary of part of Philus™ argument above, .°a and .±b.

Book 

noble illustration drawn from nature, and says:± ˜˜Do we not see that the
best people are given the right to rule by nature herself, with the greatest
bene¬t to the weak? Why then does god rule over man, the mind over the
body, reason over desire, anger, and the other ¬‚awed portions of the
[·b] There is a kind of unjust slavery when people who could be
independent belong to someone else; but when they are slaves . . . 
[ + Nonius ±°.]
[·a] The di¬erent types of rule and slavery must be recognized. The
mind is said to rule over the body, and is also said to rule over desire; but
it rules the body the way a king rules his subjects or a parent his children,
while it rules desire the way a master rules his slaves, in that it subdues
and controls it. The rule of kings and generals and magistrates and
fathers and nations directs their citizens and allies in the same way that
the mind rules bodies, while masters subdue their slaves in the same way
that the best part of the mind, wisdom, subdues the ¬‚awed and weak
parts of that same mind, such as desires, anger, and other disturbances.
[ + Augustine, Against Julianus .±.±]
Augustine, City of God ±.±±:µ Cicero writes that there are eight legal forms
of punishment: ¬nes, chains, whipping, compensation in kind, loss of
status, exile, death, and slavery.
[a] Augustine, City of God .: In the third book of Cicero™s On the
Commonwealth, unless I am mistaken, it is argued that no war is under-
taken by a good state except on behalf of good faith or for safety.
[µa] Isidore, Etymologies ±.±.“: There are four types of war: just,
unjust, civil, and more than civil. A just war is one that is ¬rst declared and
then waged to recover stolen property or to ¬ght o¬ enemies. An unjust war is
one that is started out of madness rather than for a legitimate cause. About this
Cicero says in On the Commonwealth: ˜˜Those wars are unjust which are
undertaken without cause. For aside from vengeance or for the sake of
¬ghting o¬ enemies no just war can be waged.™™ And a little later he adds:
˜˜No war is considered just unless it is announced and declared and
unless it involves recovery of property.™™
Part of the quotation is preserved only by Augustine™s fuller citation at Against Julianus
.±.±. Compare the discussion of reason and the passions above at .·“.

Compare the argument for natural slavery at Aristotle, Politics ±.µ“ ±µa±·“±µµb±µ.

A re¬nement of the argument in favor of monarchy above at ±.µ“°.

Also in Isidore µ.·.; not included by Ziegler.

˜˜More than civil™™ is an allusion to the opening words of Lucan™s ¬rst-century- epic on

the Roman Civil War: he refers to war between relatives.

On the Commonwealth

[µb] But our nation has gained control of the entire world through
defending its allies [ + Nonius .±]
[b] Augustine, City of God .: What he means by ˜˜safety,™™· or what
safety he wants to be understood, he shows elsewhere: ˜˜But many individuals
escape by a speedy death from these punishments which are felt by even
the most stupid of people “ want, exile, chains, and whips. For states,
however, death itself is the punishment, death, which frees individuals
from punishment. For the state ought so to be established as to be
eternal, and therefore there is no natural death of a commonwealth as
there is for a man, for whom death is not only necessary but at times
desirable. When a state is removed, destroyed, extinguished, it is some-
how similar (comparing small to great) to the death and collapse of the
entire cosmos.™™
[±] ¬  ¬© µ : * . . . Asia . . . Tiberius Gracchus, who was persistent
in support of the citizens but neglected the rights and treaties of the allies
and the Latins. If that license should become customary and spread
more widely and should transform our power from right to might, so
that those who are now our willing subjects should be held by terror,
even if those of us who are getting on in years have almost ¬nished our
watch, I am still concerned about our descendants and about the immor-
tality of the commonwealth, which could be eternal if our life were
conducted in accordance with ancestral laws and customs.µ°
[a] When Laelius had ¬nished speaking, all those present indicated
their great delight with what he had said, but  © ° © above all seemed
positively ecstatic: You have defended many cases, Laelius, so well that I
would not :hesitate to compare9 you to our colleague Servius Galba,µ±
whom during his lifetime you declared the best orator of all; and I would
not even compare any of the Attic orators to you in sweetness or . . .
[six leaves missing]

Cf. a above.

The reference to Asia must allude to Tiberius™ attempt to use the money derived from the
bequest to Rome of his kingdom and fortune by Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum, in
±, to pay for the settlement of poor citizens on public land. As noncitizens (allies and
Latins) were not eligible for these land distributions and were being expelled from public
land which they had long used, Laelius™ description is reasonably accurate. In ±° as
consul, Laelius himself had proposed an agrarian law but had withdrawn the proposal
because of senatorial opposition; he had not suggested the displacement of allies and
Latins. The two Latin words, ius and uis, are visually almost identical.
This fragment is preserved in the manuscript and was the very end of Laelius™ speech.
The next paragraph follows immediately.
Galba was also a member of the college of augurs.

Book 

[b] :He said9 that he lacked two things, con¬dence and a good
voice, which kept him from speaking to a crowd or in the forum.µ
[ + Nonius .]
[c] The bull bellowed with the groans of the men shut inside it.µ
[Scholiast on Juvenal .]
[]  © °© : * bring back.µ So who would call that state a ˜˜concern of
the people,™™ that is a commonwealth, at the time when everyone was
crushed by the cruelty of one man and there was no single bond of law or
agreement or association of the group, which is what is meant by
˜˜people™™? The same applies to Syracuse. That great city, which Timaeus
says is the greatest of the Greek cities and the most beautiful of all cities “
its glorious citadel, its harbor that ¬‚ows into the center of the town to the
foundations of the city itself, its broad streets and porticoes and temples
and walls “ none of these made it any more of a commonwealth at the
time when Dionysius controlled it: nothing belonged to the people, and
the people itself belonged to a single man. And so where there is a tyrant,
then it is wrong to say, as I did yesterday, that there is a ¬‚awed
commonwealth: the logic of the argument compels me to say that it is no
commonwealth at all.
[] ¬  ¬© µ: You™re completely right, and I see the direction of your
 ©°©: So you see that a state that is completely controlled by an
oligarchy also cannot truly be called a commonwealth.
¬ ¬ © µ: That is my opinion.
 ©°©: And you are right. What was the ˜˜concern of the Athenians™™
at the time when, after the great Peloponnesian War, the Thirty Tyrants
ruled that city with great injustice?µµ Did the ancient glory of the city, or
its beauty, or the theater, gymnasia, porticoes and gateways, or the citadel
and the marvelous works of Phidias, or the great harbor of Piraeus make
it into a commonwealth?
¬ ¬ © µ: Hardly, since there was no ˜˜concern of the people.™™
 ©°©: What about at Rome, when the decemvirs ruled in their third

The person referred to is the fourth-century Athenian rhetorician Isocrates.
The sixth-century- Sicilian tyrant Phalaris is said to have punished people by shutting
them in a hollow bronze bull and heating it, so that their screams seemed to be the bellows
of the bull.
Scipio is still speaking, arguing that Agrigentum when ruled by Phalaris cannot be
considered a true republic. ˜˜Bring back™™ may refer to the fact that Scipio, after the
destruction of Carthage, returned the bull of Phalaris (which had been captured by the
See ±. above.
Carthaginians) to Agrigentum.

On the Commonwealth

year without any right of appeal to the people, and liberty had lost its
¬ ¬ © µ: There was no ˜˜concern of the people™™ “ and in fact the
people acted to recover its ˜˜concerns.™™µ·
[µ]  © ° ©: I come now to the third type, where there may seem to be
di¬culties. When everything is said to be done through the people and
everything is said to be in the people™s power, when the crowd punishes
anyone it wants, when they snatch and seize and hold and scatter
whatever they want: can you deny, Laelius, that that is a commonwealth?
Everything belongs to the people, and we want the commonwealth to be
the ˜˜concern of the people.™™
¬ ¬ © µ: But there is no state that I would more quickly deny to be a
commonwealth than the one that is completely in the power of the crowd.
If we did not consider Syracuse to be a commonwealth, or Agrigentum,
or Athens, when there were tyrants, or here at Rome when there were
decemvirs, then I don™t see how the name ˜˜commonwealth™™ is any more
appropriate to the rule of the crowd. In the ¬rst place, according to your
excellent de¬nition, there is no ˜˜people™™ unless it is bound by agreement

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