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On the Laws

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Book Overview: 

On the Laws (Latin: De Legibus) was written shortly after Cicero's "On the Commonwealth" during the last years of the Roman Republic. The three surviving books (out of an original six), in order, expound on Cicero's beliefs in Natural Law, recast the religious laws of Rome (in reality a rollback to the religious laws under the king Numa Pompilius) and finally talk of his proposed reforms to the Roman Constitution.

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Community Reviews

“Many years later, the emperor Augustus (who had acquiesced in Cicero’s murder) found one of his grandsons with a work of Cicero’s in his hand. The youngster tried to hide the book under his cloak, but Augustus took it from him and read through a large part of it where he stood. Then, handing it bac

Scipio’s dream is great. The rest of Commonwealth is of interest but only fragments remain. Laws is nicely set but dull.

It is terribly difficult to judge fragments, and especially to compare them with complete works such as Plato's Republic. That being said, Cicero clearly takes a much different approach than does Plato. He proposes that philosophy must be intermixed with pragmatism and experience to produce the opti

I won't discuss The Republic because I really did not find it very informative or interesting. Beyond Cicero describing his own consulship and exile it was rather basic information on the republic working at its best.

What was really interesting for me was The Laws. Here Cicero is attempting to right

Cicero’s Republic
11 May 2020

This is sort of a lost book. Not quite but it certainly isn’t complete, namely because it was only recently discovered, namely in the 19th Century when somebody was having a look for something else while they were down in the Vatican library. In fact, since it was discov

Cicero. The Republic and the Laws ed. By Niall Rudd. New York: Oxford, 1997.

Thesis: Nature has given to mankind a desire to defend the well-being of the community (R1.1).

The “republic” is the “property of the public,” and the “public” is defined as a legal gathering. It comes together because men w

Its difficult to give the two works a fair appraisal, as they survive only with large sections missing. Perhaps the most interesting section of the Republic was his discussion of the Roman constitution and how it developed historically. Cicero's philosophy is pretty derivative, taking heavily from P

The works included here are rather fragmentary -especially The Republic, so it's hard to give the works a fair appraisal. That being said, I did gain some insight into ancient Roman politics. I also think some of the ideas in here speak to us all these centuries later. There is one quote that had to

In high school I read Cicero in third year Latin. My teacher, like most classics teachers, found him indispensable. The proposition he put was twofold:Cicero was a master of Latin prose (very difficult to translate because of his long, complex sentences) and Cicero was a defender of a republic that

Excellent dialogues on the nature of the good, themes of justice, evil, and other matters. While arguments against some Platonic ideas , for example, the ultimate benefit of his idea of The Good driving all the other abstractions have been proffered by ancients and moderns alike, Plato remains emine

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