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Book 

renowned only for his ignoble and low rhythms, that he said that Roscius had
come to mankind through the goodwill of the gods. And if anyone should say
that what he said in his Commonwealth was of his own choice, while what he
said about Roscius was for the sake of his case, there is no reason not to turn the
argument on its head. But anyone making such an argument would unwitting-
ly discredit it, at least as far as the present inquiry is concerned, rather than
gaining the support of the orator. Someone who is enthralled by fashionable
opinion or his own tastes and is not guided by true principles does not deserve
belief in the search for truth or in just judgments. Nor do I think he would
blame rhetoric itself for the corruption of individual rhetoricians. So even if
some musicians play ignoble music through the desire to please the crowd, that
is not the fault of the art itself. Furthermore, Cicero™s own country, at the time
of King Numa and his successors, had citizens who were educated in music,
even if they were quite rustic. According to what he himself says, it accom-
panied them in private festivities and in all public rituals.µ
[a] I admire not only the elegance of the substance, but of the language
as well. ˜˜If they quarrel,™™ it says: a quarrel is said to be the competition
of men who are well disposed to one another, not a lawsuit between
enemies . . . Therefore the law believes that neighbors quarrel among
themselves, they do not go to law. [ + Nonius °.]
[c] The limits for caring about men :are not9 the same as the limits of
their lives: and so the sanctity of burial is part of the ponti¬cal law.·
[ + Nonius ±·.·]
[d] They put innocent men to death because they had left unburied
those whom they were unable to collect from the ocean because of the
violence of the storm. [ + Nonius .±]
[e] And in that dispute I did not take the side of the people, but of the
respectable citizens. [ + Nonius µ±.±µ]
[f] It is not easy to resist a powerful populace if you give them no rights
or very few.° [ + Priscian .·.±«]
This wordy passage is included here because it is the only evidence that C. discussed
music in Book ; there is no reason to believe that the discussion was nearly as important
in C. as in Plato™s Republic.
The citation is from the Twelve Tables (©©, µ Crawford). Nonius here cites two sentences

from the same context under a single heading.
On the law of burial see On the Laws .µµ“·.

The Athenian commanders at the battle of Arginusae in °  were subsequently

condemned to death for not having recovered the bodies of the dead.
A reference to Scipio™s support for the Lex Cassia tabellaria of ±·, which introduced the

secret ballot in trials before the people. A fuller account of this debate is at On the Laws
.µ“ below. On the need to give rights to the people see above, .µ“µ·.

On the Commonwealth

Uncertain location in Book 
[g] If only I could have foretold to him truly, faithfully, and fully.±
[ + Nonius .±]
[±b] armbands [ + Priscian, Twelve First Verses of the Aeneid ..±«]

Doubtful fragments
[·e] Whoever seeks the good opinion of men through feasts and parties
and expenditures shows openly that he lacks the true glory which arises
from virtue and a sense of honor. [Anonymi Paradoxa Koronne, cited by
[b] Ru¬nus De bono pacis .±: Furthermore, since the peace of the
household is an element of the peace of the city, if the peace of the household is
to be violated by its members to avoid destroying civil peace, then the domestic
peace between father and son will have to be torn apart, just as we read that
those men wrote who eloquently discussed the condition of the commonwealth.
[b] Seneca, Moral Letters. .µ: Cicero says that if he were to live twice as
long he would not have time to read the lyric poets.
The text of this fragment is uncertain, as is its signi¬cance.
On the Bielowski fragments, see above, Book , n. .

Ru¬nus of Atina wrote in the twelfth century, and it is very unlikely that he had any direct
knowledge of On the Commonwealth.

Book µ

[±] Augustine, City of God .±: Thus, when the Roman commonwealth
was in the condition that Sallust describes,± it was no longer terrible and
highly criminal, as he says, but altogether no commonwealth at all according
to the argument set out in the discussion concerning the commonwealth held
by the greatest leaders of the time. Cicero himself, speaking at the outset of
the ¬fth book, not using the voice of Scipio or one of the others but in his
own voice, ¬rst quoted the verse of the poet Ennius in which he said:
The Roman state stands upon the morals and men of old.
He then said: ˜˜That verse, in its brevity and its truthfulness, he seems
to me to have spoken as if from an oracle. For if the state had not had
such morals, then the men would not have existed; nor, if such men
had not been in charge, would there have been such morals as to be able
to establish or preserve for so long a commonwealth so great and ruling
so widely. And so, before our time, ancestral morality provided out-
standing men, and great men preserved the morality of old and the insti-
tutions of our ancestors. [a] But our own time, having inherited the
commonwealth like a wonderful picture that had faded over time, not
only has failed to renew its original colors but has not even taken the
trouble to preserve at least its shape and outlines. What remains of the
morals of antiquity, upon which Ennius said that the Roman state
stood? We see that they are so outworn in oblivion that they are not
only not cherished but are now unknown. What am I to say about the
men? The morals themselves have passed away through a shortage of

Sallust, Histories ±.± Maurenbrecher. Ennius, Annals · Warmington.
± 

On the Commonwealth

men; and we must not only render an account of such an evil, but in a
sense we must defend ourselves like people being tried for a capital
crime. It is because of our own vices, not because of some bad luck, that
we preserve the commonwealth in name alone but have long ago lost its
[b] Grillius, Commentary on Cicero™s Rhetoric p. .± Martin: In his
Politics Cicero says that the leader of the commonwealth ought to be a very
great and very learned man, so as to be wise and just and temperate and elo-
quent, in order to be able to express ¬‚uently and easily his inner thoughts to
rule the people. He also ought to know the law and to know Greek litera-
ture. That is demonstrated by Cato™s actions: by studying Greek at an ad-
vanced age he indicated how useful it was.
[]  ®© ¬ © µ?: * :Nothing is as9 regal as the explanation of
equity, which involved the interpretation of the law: private citizens
used to seek justice from kings, and for that reason ¬elds and groves
and pastures that were wide and fertile were marked o¬ as royal and
were cultivated without the toil and e¬ort of the kings themselves, so
that no concerns about private a¬airs might distract them from the af-
fairs of the people. There were no private arbitrators of lawsuits, but
everything was dealt with by royal judgments. Our king Numa seems to
have held most closely to this ancient custom of the kings of Greece.
All the other kings, even though they performed this function too, still
spent a great deal of time in waging war and observing its laws; but the
long peace of Numa was the mother of law and religion in Rome, and
he also wrote laws which, as you know, still survive; and that is appro-
priate for the citizen we are now considering. *
[two or four leaves missing]
[] But just as for a good head of a household there is need for some
experience in farming, building, and accounting. [ + Nonius ·.]
[µ]  © ° ©: * You won™t mind, will you :if your overseer9 has some
knowledge of roots and seeds?
® ©¬© µ : Not at all, if there is some need.
 © °© : But you don™t think that that is the main interest of an
® ©¬© µ : Certainly not, since in that case his activities would often
leave the farming unsupervised.
 © °© : And so, just as the overseer knows the nature of the land, and

See above, ..

Book µ

the manager knows how to read, but each of them subordinates the
pleasure of learning to practical utility, so too the leader we are talking
about will have been eager to learn about justice and laws and will have
given close attention to their sources, but he will not distract himself by
giving legal opinions and constant reading and writing, so that, in a way,
he can serve as a manager and overseer for the commonwealth: he will be
very learned in the fundamentals of law, without which no one can be
just, and he will not be ignorant of the civil law, but in the same way that
a helmsman knows the stars and a doctor physics. Each of them uses
these materials for his own art, but he does not distract himself from his
own function. This man will recognize *
[gap of unknown length]
[]  © ° © : * states, in which they seek the praise and respect of the
best man, and ¬‚ee shame and disgrace. But they are not frightened so
much by the fear and penalties established by law as by a sense of shame,
which nature has given men as a sort of fear of criticism that is not
undeserved. The leader of commonwealths strengthens this sense of
shame by his opinions, and he brings it to perfection by institutions and
education, so that shame does as much as fear to keep citizens from
crime. These things are also relevant to praise, and they could be dilated
on much more fully and elaborately.
[·] As far as private life and habits are concerned, a system has been set
out involving proper marriage rites, the legitimacy of children, the
sanctity of the dwellings of the Penates and the Lares of the families, in
such a way that everyone makes use of the advantages of the community
as well as his own, so that there is no possibility of living well in the
absence of a good commonwealth, nor is anything more blessed than a
well-ordered state. As a result, it is very surprising to me that so great . . .
learned *
[end of the manuscript]
[a] Cicero, Letters to Atticus .±±.±: I spend all my time contemplating the
importance of that man whom (in your opinion at least) I portrayed quite
carefully in my book. Do you have in mind that guide of the commonwealth
who is the foundation of the whole system? This is what Scipio says, I think in
Book µ: ˜˜As a helmsman aims at a good voyage, a doctor at saving his
patient, a general at victory, so this guide of the commonwealth aims at

C.™s de¬nition of uerecundia here is a translation of a Stoic de¬nition of aidos as ˜˜avoidance
of justi¬ed criticism™™ (Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, ed. von Arnim, ©©© ±°µ.°). This
perhaps reveals C.™s mechanism for linking Stoic ethics with Roman customary morality.

On the Commonwealth

the blessedness of the life of his citizens, that they should be solid in their
resources, rich in property, well endowed with glory, honorable in virtue.
I want him to be the person to perfect this task, which is the greatest and
best among mankind.™™
[b] Augustine, Epist. ±°.·: And where do I ¬nd that leader of his country
whom your letter praises, ˜˜who looks out for the interest of the people
more than for their desires™™?µ
[a] Augustine, City of God µ.±: Even Cicero could not conceal this in his
book On the Commonwealth, where he speaks of the education of the ¬rst
citizen of the state, who he says must be nourished on glory and then states
that his ancestors did many great and wonderful deeds out of desire for
[c] Then the character of a great man would be sought in virtue, labor,
and industry if his ¬erce nature did not with too much spirit somehow
. . . him . . . [ + Nonius .]
[d] This virtue is called courage, and it includes greatness of spirit and
great scorn for death and pain. [ + Nonius °±.]
[±°a] Marcellus in his ¬erceness and pugnacity, Maximus in his caution
and deliberation. [ + Nonius ·.]
[±±b] Ammianus Marcellinus °..±°: Because of their stubbornness, rash-
ness imitates liberty, headlong boldness imitates steadfastness, and an empty
¬‚ow of speech imitates eloquence; but as Cicero states, it is immoral for a judge
under oath to be deceived through the deceit of such arts. What he says is:
˜˜And since nothing ought to be so uncorrupted in the commonwealth as
a vote or as a formal opinion, I do not undertand why someone who
corrupts them by money deserves punishment while someone who does
so by eloquence gets praised. In my opinion, the person who corrupts a
judge through his oratory rather than through bribery does all the more
harm, because no one can corrupt a decent person with money, but he
can with speech.™™·
Ammianus Marcellinus °..·: After them [sc. the early orators], Cicero is
the greatest of all; and in rescuing people trapped in the con¬‚agration of the
courtroom through the torrents of his commanding eloquence, he a¬rmed that

An almost identical phrase is found in Cicero™s speech On Behalf of Sulla µ, but it may

well also have been used in On the Commonwealth, the text Augustine is discussing here.

The sentence is incomplete and the text is corrupt; this translation accepts Leopardi™s
emendation (indoles for indolem), but the sense is still unclear.
Scipio is presumably the speaker; the location of this fragment is determined by its
connection with the next one.

Book µ

it might not be blameworthy for men not to be defended, but that it could
not fail to be criminal for them to be defended badly.
[±±a] Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights ±..“·: And after this he [Seneca] adds
most crudely: ˜˜You will ¬nd even in Cicero™s prose writings some things that
will show you that his reading of Ennius was not a waste of time.™™ Then he
quotes things that he ¬nds objectionable in Cicero because of their Ennian
origin, such as what he wrote in his book On the Commonwealth: ˜˜just as
the Laconian Menelaus had a certain sweet-speaking charm™™; and else-
where: ˜˜he should cultivate brief-speaking in oratory.™™
[±±c] When Scipio had said this, Mummius approved completely “ he
was in fact steeped in hatred of the rhetoricians. [ + Nonius µ±.±]
[±°b] bounded by the circuit of the globe [ + Charisius ±.±.±·«]
[±°c] because he could present your families with a share of the burdens
of his old age . . . [ + Nonius ·.]±°
[±±d] Then excellent seeds were sown for the best crop. [ + Brevis
Expositio on Virgil, Georgics ±.±]
Not in Ziegler. Heck plausibly assigns this otherwise unlocated fragment to Book µ

because of its close connection to Ammianus™ other citation from what appears to be a
similar context. A discussion of the proper use of rhetoric was clearly a part of the
description of the statesman.

Cited for the use of orbi as ablative; there is no context.
The reference and point of this fragment are unclear.

Book 

[±a] Cicero, Letters to Atticus ·..: If I had not had that idea about a tri-
umph, which you also approve of, then you would not ¬nd me much short of
that man who is described in the sixth book. Why should I be silent with
you, who gobbled up those books? As it is, I will have no doubts about aban-
doning so grand a thing, if it is better to do so; it is impossible for both to pro-
ceed together, to campaign for a triumph and to speak freely on public af-
[±b] You are awaiting the complete foresight of this leader, which de-
rives its name from seeing ahead. [ + Nonius .]
[±c] Therefore this citizen must so prepare himself as always to be
armed against things which disturb the stability of the state. [ + Nonius
[±d] That discord of the citizens which is called sedition because people
go apart in following di¬erent leaders. [ + Nonius µ.]
[±e] And in fact in a civil discord, when the respectable citizens are
more important than the majority, I believe that citizens should be
weighed rather than counted. [ + Nonius µ±.±·]
[±f] The passions exercise powerful control over thoughts; they compel
and command innumerable things, and since they can in no way be ful-
¬lled and satiated, they drive to every sort of crime those whom they
C. was torn between his desire to be awarded a triumph for his military actions as governor
of Cilicia in µ±“µ° “ to be eligible for which he could not reenter Rome and formally
relinquish his proconsulate “ and his hope of being able to mediate between the senate and
Caesar. The letter was written only three weeks before the outbreak of war.

For the derivation of prudentia, ˜˜wisdom,™™ from prouideo, ˜˜to foresee,™™ see ˜˜Text and
Translation™™ above and .· n. ±.

Sedition is derived from se-, ˜˜apart,™™ and ire, ˜˜to go.™™

Book 

have in¬‚amed with their enticements. [ + Nonius .±]
[±g] Who has beaten down its force and unbridled ferocity. [ + Nonius
[a] Which was all the greater, since, although the two colleagues were
in the same position, they were not only not hated equally, but a¬ection
for Gracchus dispelled the hatred for Claudius. [ + Aulus Gellius, Attic
Nights ·.±.±± and Nonius °.±µ]
[b] Whoever among the number of the best men and leading citizens
has o¬ered :aid to sedition?9 abandons the solemn and digni¬ed
sound of his voice and respectability.µ [ + Nonius °.±]
[c] so that, as he writes, a thousand men should go down to the forum
daily with cloaks dyed in purple [ + Nonius µ°±.·]
[d] In their case, as you remember, the funeral was suddenly adorned
by a crowd of the most insigni¬cant people, collected with cash.·
[ + Nonius µ±·.µ]
[e] Our ancestors wanted marriages to be solidly established.
[ + Nonius µ±.· and Priscian .·°.±±«]
[f] The speech of Laelius, which we have all read, :shows9 how
pleasing to the immortal gods are the earthenware vessels of the priests
and the sacri¬cial vessels (as he writes) of Samian pottery. [ + Nonius
[] Macrobius, Commentary ±..“: It was this occasion that provoked
Scipio to tell of the dream about which he said that he had kept silence for a
long time. For when Laelius complained that there were no public statues of
Scipio Nasica in gratitude for his having killed a tyrant, Scipio replied,
after other comments, in the following words:
˜˜© ° ©: But although for wise men the consciousness of noble
deeds is itself the greatest reward for virtue, it is also true that virtue,
which is divine, has no desire for statues anchored in lead or for tri-

Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (father of the tribune) and Gaius Claudius Pulcher were
censors in ±. Both were accused of treason (perduellio); Gracchus™ support kept Claudius
from being convicted.
The text is corrupt and the translation and supplement are uncertain.

˜˜As he writes™™ introduces a quotation from the archaic Greek elegist Xenophanes of
Colophon (fr. .“ West) describing the decadence resulting from Colophon™s alliance
with Lydia. The subject of this fragment (possibly demagogues) is uncertain.

A verb is supplied for the incomplete quotation. The fragment refers to Laelius™ speech
˜˜On the priestly colleges™™ delivered in ±µ against proposals to have members of the
colleges elected rather than coopted.

Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio, the pontifex maximus, led the mob that mur-
dered Tiberius Gracchus.

On the Commonwealth

umphs with fading laurel leaves, but seeks some more lasting and fresh
kinds of reward.
˜˜¬ ¬© µ : And what are those?
˜˜©° © : Permit me, since this is now the third day of our holiday™™
and the rest which leads to the narration of the dream, in which he teaches
that those are the more lasting and fresh kinds of reward which he himself
saw in heaven set aside for good leaders of commonwealths.
[] Favonius Eulogius, On the Dream of Scipio ±.µ: Cicero, writing
about the commonwealth in imitation of Plato, made use also of the passage
concerning the return to life of Er the Pamphylian±° who, as he says, ˜˜came

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