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Title: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations - Also, Treatises On The Nature Of The Gods, And On The Commonwealth
Author: Cicero, Marcus Tullius, 106 BC-43 BC
Language: English
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  CICERO'S TUSCULAN DISPUTATIONS, the Republic, and the Nature of the Gods.
  LIVY. 2 Vols.
  EURIPIDES. 2 Vols.

12mo, Cloth, $1.50 per Volume.

HARPER & BROTHERS _will send either of the above works by mail, postage
prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price_.


The greater portion of the Republic was previously translated by
Francis Barham, Esq., and published in 1841. Although ably performed,
it was not sufficiently close for the purpose of the "CLASSICAL
LIBRARY," and was therefore placed in the hands of the present editor
for revision, as well as for collation with recent texts. This has
occasioned material alterations and additions.

The treatise "On the Nature of the Gods" is a revision of that usually
ascribed to the celebrated Benjamin Franklin.


_Tusculan Disputations_

_On the Nature of the Gods_

_On the Commonwealth_



In the year A.U.C. 708, and the sixty-second year of Cicero's age, his
daughter, Tullia, died in childbed; and her loss afflicted Cicero to
such a degree that he abandoned all public business, and, leaving the
city, retired to Asterra, which was a country house that he had near
Antium; where, after a while, he devoted himself to philosophical
studies, and, besides other works, he published his Treatise de
Finibus, and also this treatise called the Tusculan Disputations, of
which Middleton gives this concise description:

"The first book teaches us how to contemn the terrors of death, and to
look upon it as a blessing rather than an evil;

"The second, to support pain and affliction with a manly fortitude;

"The third, to appease all our complaints and uneasinesses under the
accidents of life;

"The fourth, to moderate all our other passions;

"And the fifth explains the sufficiency of virtue to make men happy."

It was his custom in the opportunities of his leisure to take some
friends with him into the country, where, instead of amusing themselves
with idle sports or feasts, their diversions were wholly speculative,
tending to improve the mind and enlarge the understanding. In this
manner he now spent five days at his Tusculan villa in discussing with
his friends the several questions just mentioned. For, after employing
the mornings in declaiming and rhetorical exercises, they used to
retire in the afternoon into a gallery, called the Academy, which he
had built for the purpose of philosophical conferences, where, after
the manner of the Greeks, he held a school, as they called it, and
invited the company to call for any subject that they desired to hear
explained, which being proposed accordingly by some of the audience
became immediately the argument of that day's debate. These five
conferences, or dialogues, he collected afterward into writing in the
very words and manner in which they really passed; and published them
under the title of his Tusculan Disputations, from the name of the
villa in which they were held.

       *       *       *       *       *



I. At a time when I had entirely, or to a great degree, released myself
from my labors as an advocate, and from my duties as a senator, I had
recourse again, Brutus, principally by your advice, to those studies
which never had been out of my mind, although neglected at times, and
which after a long interval I resumed; and now, since the principles
and rules of all arts which relate to living well depend on the study
of wisdom, which is called philosophy, I have thought it an employment
worthy of me to illustrate them in the Latin tongue, not because
philosophy could not be understood in the Greek language, or by the
teaching of Greek masters; but it has always been my opinion that our
countrymen have, in some instances, made wiser discoveries than the
Greeks, with reference to those subjects which they have considered
worthy of devoting their attention to, and in others have improved upon
their discoveries, so that in one way or other we surpass them on every
point; for, with regard to the manners and habits of private life, and
family and domestic affairs, we certainly manage them with more
elegance, and better than they did; and as to our republic, that our
ancestors have, beyond all dispute, formed on better customs and laws.
What shall I say of our military affairs; in which our ancestors have
been most eminent in valor, and still more so in discipline? As to
those things which are attained not by study, but nature, neither
Greece, nor any nation, is comparable to us; for what people has
displayed such gravity, such steadiness, such greatness of soul,
probity, faith--such distinguished virtue of every kind, as to be equal
to our ancestors. In learning, indeed, and all kinds of literature,
Greece did excel us, and it was easy to do so where there was no
competition; for while among the Greeks the poets were the most ancient
species of learned men--since Homer and Hesiod lived before the
foundation of Rome, and Archilochus[1] was a contemporary of
Romulus--we received poetry much later. For it was about five hundred
and ten years after the building of Rome before Livius[2] published a
play in the consulship of C. Claudius, the son of Cæcus, and M.
Tuditanus, a year before the birth of Ennius, who was older than
Plautus and Nævius.

II. It was, therefore, late before poets were either known or received
among us; though we find in Cato de Originibus that the guests used, at
their entertainments, to sing the praises of famous men to the sound of
the flute; but a speech of Cato's shows this kind of poetry to have
been in no great esteem, as he censures Marcus Nobilior for carrying
poets with him into his province; for that consul, as we know, carried
Ennius with him into Ætolia. Therefore the less esteem poets were in,
the less were those studies pursued; though even then those who did
display the greatest abilities that way were not very inferior to the
Greeks. Do we imagine that if it had been considered commendable in
Fabius,[3] a man of the highest rank, to paint, we should not have had
many Polycleti and Parrhasii? Honor nourishes art, and glory is the
spur with all to studies; while those studies are always neglected in
every nation which are looked upon disparagingly. The Greeks held skill
in vocal and instrumental music as a very important accomplishment, and
therefore it is recorded of Epaminondas, who, in my opinion, was the
greatest man among the Greeks, that he played excellently on the flute;
and Themistocles, some years before, was deemed ignorant because at an
entertainment he declined the lyre when it was offered to him. For this
reason musicians flourished in Greece; music was a general study; and
whoever was unacquainted with it was not considered as fully instructed
in learning. Geometry was in high esteem with them, therefore none were
more honorable than mathematicians. But we have confined this art to
bare measuring and calculating.

III. But, on the contrary, we early entertained an esteem for the
orator; though he was not at first a man of learning, but only quick at
speaking: in subsequent times he became learned; for it is reported
that Galba, Africanus, and Lælius were men of learning; and that even
Cato, who preceded them in point of time, was a studious man: then
succeeded the Lepidi, Carbo, and Gracchi, and so many great orators
after them, down to our own times, that we were very little, if at all,
inferior to the Greeks. Philosophy has been at a low ebb even to this
present time, and has had no assistance from our own language, and so
now I have undertaken to raise and illustrate it, in order that, as I
have been of service to my countrymen, when employed on public affairs,
I may, if possible, be so likewise in my retirement; and in this I must
take the more pains, because there are already many books in the Latin
language which are said to be written inaccurately, having been
composed by excellent men, only not of sufficient learning; for,
indeed, it is possible that a man may think well, and yet not be able
to express his thoughts elegantly; but for any one to publish thoughts
which he can neither arrange skilfully nor illustrate so as to
entertain his reader, is an unpardonable abuse of letters and
retirement: they, therefore, read their books to one another, and no
one ever takes them up but those who wish to have the same license for
careless writing allowed to themselves. Wherefore, if oratory has
acquired any reputation from my industry, I shall take the more pains
to open the fountains of philosophy, from which all my eloquence has
taken its rise.

IV. But, as Aristotle,[4] a man of the greatest genius, and of the most
various knowledge, being excited by the glory of the rhetorician
Isocrates,[5] commenced teaching young men to speak, and joined
philosophy with eloquence: so it is my design not to lay aside my
former study of oratory, and yet to employ myself at the same time in
this greater and more fruitful art; for I have always thought that to
be able to speak copiously and elegantly on the most important
questions was the most perfect philosophy. And I have so diligently
applied myself to this pursuit, that I have already ventured to have a
school like the Greeks. And lately when you left us, having many of my
friends about me, I attempted at my Tusculan villa what I could do in
that way; for as I formerly used to practise declaiming, which nobody
continued longer than myself, so this is now to be the declamation of
my old age. I desired any one to propose a question which he wished to
have discussed, and then I argued that point either sitting or walking;
and so I have compiled the scholæ, as the Greeks call them, of five
days, in as many books. We proceeded in this manner: when he who had
proposed the subject for discussion had said what he thought proper, I
spoke against him; for this is, you know, the old and Socratic method
of arguing against another's opinion; for Socrates thought that thus
the truth would more easily be arrived at. But to give you a better
notion of our disputations, I will not barely send you an account of
them, but represent them to you as they were carried on; therefore let
the introduction be thus:

V. _A._ To me death seems to be an evil.

_M._ What, to those who are already dead? or to those who must die?

_A._ To both.

_M._ It is a misery, then, because an evil?

_A._ Certainly.

_M._ Then those who have already died, and those who have still got to
die, are both miserable?

_A._ So it appears to me.

_M._ Then all are miserable?

_A._ Every one.

_M._ And, indeed, if you wish to be consistent, all that are already
born, or ever shall be, are not only miserable, but always will be so;
for should you maintain those only to be miserable, you would not
except any one living, for all must die; but there should be an end of
misery in death. But seeing that the dead are miserable, we are born to
eternal misery, for they must of consequence be miserable who died a
hundred thousand years ago; or rather, all that have ever been born.

_A._ So, indeed, I think.

_M._ Tell me, I beseech you, are you afraid of the three-headed
Cerberus in the shades below, and the roaring waves of Cocytus, and the
passage over Acheron, and Tantalus expiring with thirst, while the
water touches his chin; and Sisyphus,

    Who sweats with arduous toil in vain
    The steepy summit of the mount to gain?

Perhaps, too, you dread the inexorable judges, Minos and Rhadamanthus;
before whom neither L. Crassus nor M. Antonius can defend you; and
where, since the cause lies before Grecian judges, you will not even be
able to employ Demosthenes; but you must plead for yourself before a
very great assembly. These things perhaps you dread, and therefore look
on death as an eternal evil.

VI. _A._ Do you take me to be so imbecile as to give credit to such

_M._ What, do you not believe them?

_A._ Not in the least.

_M._ I am sorry to hear that.

_A._ Why, I beg?

_M._ Because I could have been very eloquent in speaking against them.

_A._ And who could not on such a subject? or what trouble is it to
refute these monstrous inventions of the poets and painters?[6]

_M._ And yet you have books of philosophers full of arguments against

_A._ A great waste of time, truly! for who is so weak as to be
concerned about them?

_M._ If, then, there is no one miserable in the infernal regions, there
can be no one there at all.

_A._ I am altogether of that opinion.

_M._ Where, then, are those you call miserable? or what place do they
inhabit? For, if they exist at all, they must be somewhere.

_A._ I, indeed, am of opinion that they are nowhere.

_M._ Then they have no existence at all.

_A._ Even so, and yet they are miserable for this very reason, that
they have no existence.

_M._ I had rather now have you afraid of Cerberus than speak thus

_A._ In what respect?

_M._ Because you admit him to exist whose existence you deny with the
same breath. Where now is your sagacity? When you say any one is
miserable, you say that he who does not exist, does exist.

_A._ I am not so absurd as to say that.

_M._ What is it that you do say, then?

_A._ I say, for instance, that Marcus Crassus is miserable in being
deprived of such great riches as his by death; that Cn. Pompey is
miserable in being taken from such glory and honor; and, in short, that
all are miserable who are deprived of this light of life.

_M._ You have returned to the same point, for to be miserable implies
an existence; but you just now denied that the dead had any existence:
if, then, they have not, they can be nothing; and if so, they are not
even miserable.

_A._ Perhaps I do not express what I mean, for I look upon this very
circumstance, not to exist after having existed, to be very miserable.

_M._ What, more so than not to have existed at all? Therefore, those
who are not yet born are miserable because they are not; and we
ourselves, if we are to be miserable after death, were miserable before
we were born: but I do not remember that I was miserable before I was
born; and I should be glad to know, if your memory is better, what you
recollect of yourself before you were born.

VII. _A._ You are pleasant: as if I had said that those men are
miserable who are not born, and not that they are so who are dead.

_M._ You say, then, that they are so?

_A._ Yes; I say that because they no longer exist after having existed
they are miserable.

_M._ You do not perceive that you are asserting contradictions; for
what is a greater contradiction, than that that should be not only
miserable, but should have any existence at all, which does not exist?
When you go out at the Capene gate and see the tombs of the Calatini,
the Scipios, Servilii, and Metelli, do you look on them as miserable?

_A._ Because you press me with a word, henceforward I will not say they
are miserable absolutely, but miserable on this account, because they
have no existence.

_M._ You do not say, then, "M. Crassus is miserable," but only
"Miserable M. Crassus."

_A._ Exactly so.

_M._ As if it did not follow that whatever you speak of in that manner
either is or is not. Are you not acquainted with the first principles
of logic? For this is the first thing they lay down, Whatever is
asserted (for that is the best way that occurs to me, at the moment, of
rendering the Greek term [Greek: axiôma]; if I can think of a more
accurate expression hereafter, I will use it), is asserted as being
either true or false. When, therefore, you say, "Miserable M. Crassus,"
you either say this, "M. Crassus is miserable," so that some judgment
may be made whether it is true or false, or you say nothing at all.

_A._ Well, then, I now own that the dead are not miserable, since you
have drawn from me a concession that they who do not exist at all can
not be miserable. What then? We that are alive, are we not wretched,
seeing we must die? for what is there agreeable in life, when we must
night and day reflect that, at some time or other, we must die?

VIII. _M._ Do you not, then, perceive how great is the evil from which
you have delivered human nature?

_A._ By what means?

_M._ Because, if to die were miserable to the dead, to live would be a
kind of infinite and eternal misery. Now, however, I see a goal, and
when I have reached it, there is nothing more to be feared; but you
seem to me to follow the opinion of Epicharmus,[7] a man of some
discernment, and sharp enough for a Sicilian.

_A._ What opinion? for I do not recollect it.

_M._ I will tell you if I can in Latin; for you know I am no more used
to bring in Latin sentences in a Greek discourse than Greek in a Latin

_A._ And that is right enough. But what is that opinion of Epicharmus?

    I would not die, but yet
    Am not concerned that I shall be dead.

_A._ I now recollect the Greek; but since you have obliged me to grant
that the dead are not miserable, proceed to convince me that it is not
miserable to be under a necessity of dying.

_M._ That is easy enough; but I have greater things in hand.

_A._ How comes that to be so easy? And what are those things of more

_M._ Thus: because, if there is no evil after death, then even death
itself can be none; for that which immediately succeeds that is a state
where you grant that there is no evil: so that even to be obliged to
die can be no evil, for that is only the being obliged to arrive at a
place where we allow that no evil is.

_A._ I beg you will be more explicit on this point, for these subtle
arguments force me sooner to admissions than to conviction. But what
are those more important things about which you say that you are

_M._ To teach you, if I can, that death is not only no evil, but a

_A._ I do not insist on that, but should be glad to hear you argue it,
for even though you should not prove your point, yet you will prove
that death is no evil. But I will not interrupt you; I would rather
hear a continued discourse.

_M._ What, if I should ask you a question, would you not answer?

_A._ That would look like pride; but I would rather you should not ask
but where necessity requires.

IX. _M._ I will comply with your wishes, and explain as well as I can
what you require; but not with any idea that, like the Pythian Apollo,
what I say must needs be certain and indisputable, but as a mere man,
endeavoring to arrive at probabilities by conjecture, for I have no
ground to proceed further on than probability. Those men may call their
statements indisputable who assert that what they say can be perceived
by the senses, and who proclaim themselves philosophers by profession.

_A._ Do as you please: We are ready to hear you.

_M._ The first thing, then, is to inquire what death, which seems to be
so well understood, really is; for some imagine death to be the
departure of the soul from the body; others think that there is no such
departure, but that soul and body perish together, and that the soul is
extinguished with the body. Of those who think that the soul does
depart from the body, some believe in its immediate dissolution; others
fancy that it continues to exist for a time; and others believe that it
lasts forever. There is great dispute even what the soul is, where it
is, and whence it is derived: with some, the heart itself (_cor_) seems
to be the soul, hence the expressions, _excordes_, _vecordes_,
_concordes;_ and that prudent Nasica, who was twice consul, was called
Corculus, _i.e._, wise-heart; and Ælius Sextus is described as
_Egregie_ cordatus _homo, catus Æliu' Sextus_--that great
_wise-hearted_ man, sage Ælius. Empedocles imagines the blood, which is
suffused over the heart, to be the soul; to others, a certain part of
the brain seems to be the throne of the soul; others neither allow the
heart itself, nor any portion of the brain, to be the soul, but think
either that the heart is the seat and abode of the soul, or else that
the brain is so. Some would have the soul, or spirit, to be the
_anima_, as our schools generally agree; and indeed the name signifies
as much, for we use the expressions _animam agere_, to live; _animam
efflare_, to expire; _animosi_, men of spirit; _bene animati_, men of
right feeling; _exanimi sententia_, according to our real opinion; and
the very word _animus_ is derived from _anima_. Again, the soul seems
to Zeno the Stoic to be fire.

X. But what I have said as to the heart, the blood, the brain, air, or
fire being the soul, are common opinions: the others are only
entertained by individuals; and, indeed, there were many among the
ancients who held singular opinions on this subject, of whom the latest
was Aristoxenus, a man who was both a musician and a philosopher. He
maintained a certain straining of the body, like what is called harmony
in music, to be the soul, and believed that, from the figure and nature
of the whole body, various motions are excited, as sounds are from an
instrument. He adhered steadily to his system, and yet he said
something, the nature of which, whatever it was, had been detailed and
explained a great while before by Plato. Xenocrates denied that the
soul had any figure, or anything like a body; but said it was a number,
the power of which, as Pythagoras had fancied, some ages before, was
the greatest in nature: his master, Plato, imagined a threefold soul, a
dominant portion of which--that is to say, reason--he had lodged in the
head, as in a tower; and the other two parts--namely, anger and
desire--he made subservient to this one, and allotted them distinct
abodes, placing anger in the breast, and desire under the præcordia.
But Dicæarchus, in that discourse of some learned disputants, held at
Corinth, which he details to us in three books--in the first book
introduces many speakers; and in the other two he introduces a certain
Pherecrates, an old man of Phthia, who, as he said, was descended from
Deucalion; asserting, that there is in fact no such thing at all as a
soul, but that it is a name without a meaning; and that it is idle to
use the expression "animals," or "animated beings;" that neither men
nor beasts have minds or souls, but that all that power by which we act
or perceive is equally infused into every living creature, and is
inseparable from the body, for if it were not, it would be nothing; nor
is there anything whatever really existing except body, which is a
single and simple thing, so fashioned as to live and have its
sensations in consequence of the regulations of nature. Aristotle, a
man superior to all others, both in genius and industry (I always
except Plato), after having embraced these four known sorts of
principles, from which all things deduce their origin, imagines that
there is a certain fifth nature, from whence comes the soul; for to
think, to foresee, to learn, to teach, to invent anything, and many
other attributes of the same kind, such as to remember, to love, to
hate, to desire, to fear, to be pleased or displeased--these, and
others like them, exist, he thinks, in none of those first four kinds:
on such account he adds a fifth kind, which has no name, and so by a
new name he calls the soul [Greek: endelecheia], as if it were a
certain continued and perpetual motion.

XI. If I have not forgotten anything unintentionally, these are the
principal opinions concerning the soul. I have omitted Democritus, a
very great man indeed, but one who deduces the soul from the fortuitous
concourse of small, light, and round substances; for, if you believe
men of his school, there is nothing which a crowd of atoms cannot
effect. Which of these opinions is true, some God must determine. It is
an important question for us, Which has the most appearance of truth?
Shall we, then, prefer determining between them, or shall we return to
our subject?

_A._ I could wish both, if possible; but it is difficult to mix them:
therefore, if without a discussion of them we can get rid of the fears
of death, let us proceed to do so; but if this is not to be done
without explaining the question about souls, let us have that now, and
the other at another time.

_M._ I take that plan to be the best, which I perceive you are inclined
to; for reason will demonstrate that, whichever of the opinions which I
have stated is true, it must follow, then, that death cannot be an
evil; or that it must rather be something desirable; for if either the
heart, or the blood, or the brain, is the soul, then certainly the
soul, being corporeal, must perish with the rest of the body; if it is
air, it will perhaps be dissolved; if it is fire, it will be
extinguished; if it is Aristoxenus's harmony, it will be put out of
tune. What shall I say of Dicæarchus, who denies that there is any
soul? In all these opinions, there is nothing to affect any one after
death; for all feeling is lost with life, and where there is no
sensation, nothing can interfere to affect us. The opinions of others
do indeed bring us hope; if it is any pleasure to you to think that
souls, after they leave the body, may go to heaven as to a permanent

_A._ I have great pleasure in that thought, and it is what I most
desire; and even if it should not be so, I should still be very willing
to believe it.

_M._ What occasion have you, then, for my assistance? Am I superior to
Plato in eloquence? Turn over carefully his book that treats of the
soul; you will have there all that you can want.

_A._ I have, indeed, done that, and often; but, I know not how it comes
to pass, I agree with it while I am reading it; but when I have laid
down the book, and begin to reflect with myself on the immortality of
the soul, all that agreement vanishes.

_M._ How comes that? Do you admit this--that souls either exist after
death, or else that they also perish at the moment of death?

_A._ I agree to that. And if they do exist, I admit that they are
happy; but if they perish, I cannot suppose them to be unhappy,
because, in fact, they have no existence at all. You drove me to that
concession but just now.

_M._ How, then, can you, or why do you, assert that you think that
death is an evil, when it either makes us happy, in the case of the
soul continuing to exist, or, at all events, not unhappy, in the case
of our becoming destitute of all sensation?

XII. _A._ Explain, therefore, if it is not troublesome to you, first,
if you can, that souls do exist after death; secondly, should you fail
in that (and it is a very difficult thing to establish), that death is
free from all evil; for I am not without my fears that this itself is
an evil: I do not mean the immediate deprivation of sense, but the fact
that we shall hereafter suffer deprivation.

_M._ I have the best authority in support of the opinion you desire to
have established, which ought, and generally has, great weight in all
cases. And, first, I have all antiquity on that side, which the more
near it is to its origin and divine descent, the more clearly, perhaps,
on that account, did it discern the truth in these matters. This very
doctrine, then, was adopted by all those ancients whom Ennius calls in
the Sabine tongue Casci; namely, that in death there was a sensation,
and that, when men departed this life, they were not so entirely
destroyed as to perish absolutely. And this may appear from many other
circumstances, and especially from the pontifical rites and funeral
obsequies, which men of the greatest genius would not have been so
solicitous about, and would not have guarded from any injury by such
severe laws, but from a firm persuasion that death was not so entire a
destruction as wholly to abolish and destroy everything, but rather a
kind of transmigration, as it were, and change of life, which was, in
the case of illustrious men and women, usually a guide to heaven, while
in that of others it was still confined to the earth, but in such a
manner as still to exist. From this, and the sentiments of the Romans,

    In heaven Romulus with Gods now lives,

as Ennius saith, agreeing with the common belief; hence, too, Hercules
is considered so great and propitious a God among the Greeks, and from
them he was introduced among us, and his worship has extended even to
the very ocean itself. This is how it was that Bacchus was deified, the
offspring of Semele; and from the same illustrious fame we receive
Castor and Pollux as Gods, who are reported not only to have helped the
Romans to victory in their battles, but to have been the messengers of
their success. What shall we say of Ino, the daughter of Cadmus? Is she
not called Leucothea by the Greeks, and Matuta by us? Nay, more; is not
the whole of heaven (not to dwell on particulars) almost filled with
the offspring of men?

Should I attempt to search into antiquity, and produce from thence what
the Greek writers have asserted, it would appear that even those who
are called their principal Gods were taken from among men up into

XIII. Examine the sepulchres of those which are shown in Greece;
recollect, for you have been initiated, what lessons are taught in the
mysteries; then will you perceive how extensive this doctrine is. But
they who were not acquainted with natural philosophy (for it did not
begin to be in vogue till many years later) had no higher belief than
what natural reason could give them; they were not acquainted with the
principles and causes of things; they were often induced by certain
visions, and those generally in the night, to think that those men who
had departed from this life were still alive. And this may further be
brought as an irrefragable argument for us to believe that there are
Gods--that there never was any nation so barbarous, nor any people in
the world so savage, as to be without some notion of Gods. Many have
wrong notions of the Gods, for that is the nature and ordinary
consequence of bad customs, yet all allow that there is a certain
divine nature and energy. Nor does this proceed from the conversation
of men, or the agreement of philosophers; it is not an opinion
established by institutions or by laws; but, no doubt, in every case
the consent of all nations is to be looked on as a law of nature. Who
is there, then, that does not lament the loss of his friends,
principally from imagining them deprived of the conveniences of life?
Take away this opinion, and you remove with it all grief; for no one is
afflicted merely on account of a loss sustained by himself. Perhaps we
may be sorry, and grieve a little; but that bitter lamentation and
those mournful tears have their origin in our apprehensions that he
whom we loved is deprived of all the advantages of life, and is
sensible of his loss. And we are led to this opinion by nature, without
any arguments or any instruction.

XIV. But the greatest proof of all is, that nature herself gives a
silent judgment in favor of the immortality of the soul, inasmuch as
all are anxious, and that to a great degree, about the things which
concern futurity:

    One plants what future ages shall enjoy,

as Statius saith in his Synephebi. What is his object in doing so,
except that he is interested in posterity? Shall the industrious
husbandman, then, plant trees the fruit of which he shall never see?
And shall not the great man found laws, institutions, and a republic?
What does the procreation of children imply, and our care to continue
our names, and our adoptions, and our scrupulous exactness in drawing
up wills, and the inscriptions on monuments, and panegyrics, but that
our thoughts run on futurity? There is no doubt but a judgment may be
formed of nature in general, from looking at each nature in its most
perfect specimens; and what is a more perfect specimen of a man than
those are who look on themselves as born for the assistance, the
protection, and the preservation of others? Hercules has gone to
heaven; he never would have gone thither had he not, while among men,
made that road for himself. These things are of old date, and have,
besides, the sanction of universal religion.

XV. What will you say? What do you imagine that so many and such great
men of our republic, who have sacrificed their lives for its good,
expected? Do you believe that they thought that their names should not
continue beyond their lives? None ever encountered death for their
country but under a firm persuasion of immortality! Themistocles might
have lived at his ease; so might Epaminondas; and, not to look abroad
and among the ancients for instances, so might I myself. But, somehow
or other there clings to our minds a certain presage of future ages;
and this both exists most firmly, and appears most clearly, in men of
the loftiest genius and greatest souls. Take away this, and who would
be so mad as to spend his life amidst toils and dangers? I speak of
those in power. What are the poet's views but to be ennobled after
death? What else is the object of these lines,

    Behold old Ennius here, who erst
    Thy fathers' great exploits rehearsed?

He is challenging the reward of glory from those men whose ancestors he
himself had ennobled by his poetry. And in the same spirit he says, in
another passage,

    Let none with tears my funeral grace, for I
    Claim from my works an immortality.

Why do I mention poets? The very mechanics are desirous of fame after
death. Why did Phidias include a likeness of himself in the shield of
Minerva, when he was not allowed to inscribe his name on it? What do
our philosophers think on the subject? Do not they put their names to
those very books which they write on the contempt of glory? If, then,
universal consent is the voice of nature, and if it is the general
opinion everywhere that those who have quitted this life are still
interested in something, we also must subscribe to that opinion. And if
we think that men of the greatest abilities and virtues see most
clearly into the power of nature, because they themselves are her most
perfect work, it is very probable that, as every great man is
especially anxious to benefit posterity, there is something of which he
himself will be sensible after death.

XVI. But as we are led by nature to think there are Gods, and as we
discover, by reason, of what description they are, so, by the consent
of all nations, we are induced to believe that our souls survive; but
where their habitation is, and of what character they eventually are,
must be learned from reason. The want of any certain reason on which to
argue has given rise to the idea of the shades below, and to those
fears which you seem, not without reason, to despise; for as our bodies
fall to the ground, and are covered with earth (_humus_), from whence
we derive the expression to be interred (_humari_), that has occasioned
men to imagine that the dead continue, during the remainder of their
existence, under ground; which opinion has drawn after it many errors,
which the poets have increased; for the theatre, being frequented by a
large crowd, among which are women and children, is wont to be greatly
affected on hearing such pompous verses as these,

    Lo! here I am, who scarce could gain this place,
    Through stony mountains and a dreary waste;
    Through cliffs, whose sharpen'd stones tremendous hung,
    Where dreadful darkness spread itself around.

And the error prevailed so much, though indeed at present it seems to
me to be removed, that although men knew that the bodies of the dead
had been burned, yet they conceived such things to be done in the
infernal regions as could not be executed or imagined without a body;
for they could not conceive how disembodied souls could exist; and,
therefore, they looked out for some shape or figure. This was the
origin of all that account of the dead in Homer. This was the idea that
caused my friend Appius to frame his Necromancy; and this is how there
got about that idea of the lake of Avernus, in my neighborhood,

    From whence the souls of undistinguish'd shape,
    Clad in thick shade, rush from the open gate
    Of Acheron, vain phantoms of the dead.

And they must needs have these appearances speak, which is not possible
without a tongue, and a palate, and jaws, and without the help of lungs
and sides, and without some shape or figure; for they could see nothing
by their mind alone--they referred all to their eyes. To withdraw the
mind from sensual objects, and abstract our thoughts from what we are
accustomed to, is an attribute of great genius. I am persuaded, indeed,
that there were many such men in former ages; but Pherecydes[8] the
Syrian is the first on record who said that the souls of men were
immortal, and he was a philosopher of great antiquity, in the reign of
my namesake Tullius. His disciple Pythagoras greatly confirmed this
opinion, who came into Italy in the reign of Tarquin the Proud; and all
that country which is called Great Greece was occupied by his school,
and he himself was held in high honor, and had the greatest authority;
and the Pythagorean sect was for many ages after in such great credit,
that all learning was believed to be confined to that name.

XVII. But I return to the ancients. They scarcely ever gave any reason
for their opinion but what could be explained by numbers or
definitions. It is reported of Plato that he came into Italy to make
himself acquainted with the Pythagoreans; and that when there, among
others, he made an acquaintance with Archytas[9] and Timæus,[10] and
learned from them all the tenets of the Pythagoreans; and that he not
only was of the same opinion with Pythagoras concerning the immortality
of the soul, but that he also brought reasons in support of it; which,
if you have nothing to say against it, I will pass over, and say no
more at present about all this hope of immortality.

_A._ What, will you leave me when you have raised my expectations so
high? I had rather, so help me Hercules! be mistaken with Plato, whom I
know how much you esteem, and whom I admire myself, from what you say
of him, than be in the right with those others.

_M._ I commend you; for, indeed, I could myself willingly be mistaken
in his company. Do we, then, doubt, as we do in other cases (though I
think here is very little room for doubt in this case, for the
mathematicians prove the facts to us), that the earth is placed in the
midst of the world, being, as it were, a sort of point, which they call
a [Greek: kentron], surrounded by the whole heavens; and that such is
the nature of the four principles which are the generating causes of
all things, that they have equally divided among them the constituents
of all bodies; moreover, that earthy and humid bodies are carried at
equal angles by their own weight and ponderosity into the earth and
sea; that the other two parts consist, one of fire, and the other of
air? As the two former are carried by their gravity and weight into the
middle region of the world, so these, on the other hand, ascend by
right lines into the celestial regions, either because, owing to their
intrinsic nature, they are always endeavoring to reach the highest
place, or else because lighter bodies are naturally repelled by
heavier; and as this is notoriously the case, it must evidently follow
that souls, when once they have departed from the body, whether they
are animal (by which term I mean capable of breathing) or of the nature
of fire, must mount upward. But if the soul is some number, as some
people assert, speaking with more subtlety than clearness, or if it is
that fifth nature, for which it would be more correct to say that we
have not given a name to than that we do not correctly understand
it--still it is too pure and perfect not to go to a great distance from
the earth. Something of this sort, then, we must believe the soul to
be, that we may not commit the folly of thinking that so active a
principle lies immerged in the heart or brain; or, as Empedocles would
have it, in the blood.

XVIII. We will pass over Dicæarchus,[11] with his contemporary and
fellow-disciple Aristoxenus,[12] both indeed men of learning. One of
them seems never even to have been affected with grief, as he could not
perceive that he had a soul; while the other is so pleased with his
musical compositions that he endeavors to show an analogy betwixt them
and souls. Now, we may understand harmony to arise from the intervals
of sounds, whose various compositions occasion many harmonies; but I do
not see how a disposition of members, and the figure of a body without
a soul, can occasion harmony. He had better, learned as he is, leave
these speculations to his master Aristotle, and follow his own trade as
a musician. Good advice is given him in that Greek proverb,

    Apply your talents where you best are skill'd.

I will have nothing at all to do with that fortuitous concourse of
individual light and round bodies, notwithstanding Democritus insists
on their being warm and having breath, that is to say, life. But this
soul, which is compounded of either of the four principles from which
we assert that all things are derived, is of inflamed air, as seems
particularly to have been the opinion of Panætius, and must necessarily
mount upward; for air and fire have no tendency downward, but always
ascend; so should they be dissipated that must be at some distance from
the earth; but should they remain, and preserve their original state,
it is clearer still that they must be carried heavenward, and this
gross and concrete air, which is nearest the earth, must be divided and
broken by them; for the soul is warmer, or rather hotter, than that
air, which I just now called gross and concrete: and this may be made
evident from this consideration--that our bodies, being compounded of
the earthy class of principles, grow warm by the heat of the soul.

XIX. We may add, that the soul can the more easily escape from this
air, which I have often named, and break through it, because nothing is
swifter than the soul; no swiftness is comparable to the swiftness of
the soul, which, should it remain uncorrupt and without alteration,
must necessarily be carried on with such velocity as to penetrate and
divide all this atmosphere, where clouds, and rain, and winds are
formed, which, in consequence of the exhalations from the earth, is
moist and dark: but, when the soul has once got above this region, and
falls in with, and recognizes, a nature like its own, it then rests
upon fires composed of a combination of thin air and a moderate solar
heat, and does not aim at any higher flight; for then, after it has
attained a lightness and heat resembling its own, it moves no more, but
remains steady, being balanced, as it were, between two equal weights.
That, then, is its natural seat where it has penetrated to something
like itself, and where, wanting nothing further, it may be supported
and maintained by the same aliment which nourishes and maintains the

Now, as we are usually incited to all sorts of desires by the stimulus
of the body, and the more so as we endeavor to rival those who are in
possession of what we long for, we shall certainly be happy when, being
emancipated from that body, we at the same time get rid of these
desires and this rivalry. And that which we do at present, when,
dismissing all other cares, we curiously examine and look into
anything, we shall then do with greater freedom; and we shall employ
ourselves entirely in the contemplation and examination of things;
because there is naturally in our minds a certain insatiable desire to
know the truth, and the very region itself where we shall arrive, as it
gives us a more intuitive and easy knowledge of celestial things, will
raise our desires after knowledge. For it was this beauty of the
heavens, as seen even here upon earth, which gave birth to that
national and hereditary philosophy (as Theophrastus calls it), which
was thus excited to a desire of knowledge. But those persons will in a
most especial degree enjoy this philosophy, who, while they were only
inhabitants of this world and enveloped in darkness, were still
desirous of looking into these things with the eye of their mind.

XX. For if those men now think that they have attained something who
have seen the mouth of the Pontus, and those straits which were passed
by the ship called Argo, because,

    From Argos she did chosen men convey,
    Bound to fetch back the Golden Fleece, their prey;

or those who have seen the straits of the ocean,

    Where the swift waves divide the neighboring shores
    Of Europe, and of Afric;

what kind of sight do you imagine that will be when the whole earth is
laid open to our view? and that, too, not only in its position, form,
and boundaries, nor those parts of it only which are habitable, but
those also that lie uncultivated, through the extremities of heat and
cold to which they are exposed; for not even now is it with our eyes
that we view what we see, for the body itself has no senses; but (as
the naturalists, ay, and even the physicians assure us, who have opened
our bodies, and examined them) there are certain perforated channels
from the seat of the soul to the eyes, ears, and nose; so that
frequently, when either prevented by meditation, or the force of some
bodily disorder, we neither hear nor see, though our eyes and ears are
open and in good condition; so that we may easily apprehend that it is
the soul itself which sees and hears, and not those parts which are, as
it were, but windows to the soul, by means of which, however, she can
perceive nothing, unless she is on the spot, and exerts herself. How
shall we account for the fact that by the same power of thinking we
comprehend the most different things--as color, taste, heat, smell, and
sound--which the soul could never know by her five messengers, unless
every thing were referred to her, and she were the sole judge of all?
And we shall certainly discover these things in a more clear and
perfect degree when the soul is disengaged from the body, and has
arrived at that goal to which nature leads her; for at present,
notwithstanding nature has contrived, with the greatest skill, those
channels which lead from the body to the soul, yet are they, in some
way or other, stopped up with earthy and concrete bodies; but when we
shall be nothing but soul, then nothing will interfere to prevent our
seeing everything in its real substance and in its true character.

XXI. It is true, I might expatiate, did the subject require it, on the
many and various objects with which the soul will be entertained in
those heavenly regions; when I reflect on which, I am apt to wonder at
the boldness of some philosophers, who are so struck with admiration at
the knowledge of nature as to thank, in an exulting manner, the first
inventor and teacher of natural philosophy, and to reverence him as a
God; for they declare that they have been delivered by his means from
the greatest tyrants, a perpetual terror, and a fear that molested them
by night and day. What is this dread--this fear? What old woman is
there so weak as to fear these things, which you, forsooth, had you not
been acquainted with natural philosophy, would stand in awe of?

    The hallow'd roofs of Acheron, the dread
    Of Orcus, the pale regions of the dead.

And does it become a philosopher to boast that he is not afraid of
these things, and that he has discovered them to be false? And from
this we may perceive how acute these men were by nature, who, if they
had been left without any instruction, would have believed in these
things. But now they have certainly made a very fine acquisition in
learning that when the day of their death arrives, they will perish
entirely. And if that really is the case--for I say nothing either
way--what is there agreeable or glorious in it? Not that I see any
reason why the opinion of Pythagoras and Plato may not be true; but
even although Plato were to have assigned no reason for his opinion
(observe how much I esteem the man), the weight of his authority would
have borne me down; but he has brought so many reasons, that he appears
to me to have endeavored to convince others, and certainly to have
convinced himself.

XXII. But there are many who labor on the other side of the question,
and condemn souls to death, as if they were criminals capitally
convicted; nor have they any other reason to allege why the immortality
of the soul appears to them to be incredible, except that they are not
able to conceive what sort of thing the soul can be when disentangled
from the body; just as if they could really form a correct idea as to
what sort of thing it is, even when it is in the body; what its form,
and size, and abode are; so that were they able to have a full view of
all that is now hidden from them in a living body, they have no idea
whether the soul would be discernible by them, or whether it is of so
fine a texture that it would escape their sight. Let those consider
this, who say that they are unable to form any idea of the soul without
the body, and then they will see whether they can form any adequate
idea of what it is when it is in the body. For my own part, when I
reflect on the nature of the soul, it appears to me a far more
perplexing and obscure question to determine what is its character
while it is in the body--a place which, as it were, does not belong to
it--than to imagine what it is when it leaves it, and has arrived at
the free æther, which is, if I may so say, its proper, its own
habitation. For unless we are to say that we cannot apprehend the
character or nature of anything which we have never seen, we certainly
may be able to form some notion of God, and of the divine soul when
released from the body. Dicæarchus, indeed, and Aristoxenus, because it
was hard to understand the existence and substance and nature of the
soul, asserted that there was no such thing as a soul at all. It is,
indeed, the most difficult thing imaginable to discern the soul by the
soul. And this, doubtless, is the meaning of the precept of Apollo,
which advises every one to know himself. For I do not apprehend the
meaning of the God to have been that we should understand our members,
our stature, and form; for we are not merely bodies; nor, when I say
these things to you, am I addressing myself to your body: when,
therefore, he says, "Know yourself," he says this, "Inform yourself of
the nature of your soul;" for the body is but a kind of vessel, or
receptacle of the soul, and whatever your soul does is your own act. To
know the soul, then, unless it had been divine, would not have been a
precept of such excellent wisdom as to be attributed to a God; but even
though the soul should not know of what nature itself is, will you say
that it does not even perceive that it exists at all, or that it has
motion? On which is founded that reason of Plato's, which is explained
by Socrates in the Phædrus, and inserted by me, in my sixth book of the

XXIII. "That which is always moved is eternal; but that which gives
motion to something else, and is moved itself by some external cause,
when that motion ceases, must necessarily cease to exist. That,
therefore, alone, which is self-moved, because it is never forsaken by
itself, can never cease to be moved. Besides, it is the beginning and
principle of motion to everything else; but whatever is a principle has
no beginning, for all things arise from that principle, and it cannot
itself owe its rise to anything else; for then it would not be a
principle did it proceed from anything else. But if it has no
beginning, it never will have any end; for a principle which is once
extinguished cannot itself be restored by anything else, nor can it
produce anything else from itself; inasmuch as all things must
necessarily arise from some first cause. And thus it comes about that
the first principle of motion must arise from that thing which is
itself moved by itself; and that can neither have a beginning nor an
end of its existence, for otherwise the whole heaven and earth would be
overset, and all nature would stand still, and not be able to acquire
any force by the impulse of which it might be first set in motion.
Seeing, then, that it is clear that whatever moves itself is eternal,
can there be any doubt that the soul is so? For everything is inanimate
which is moved by an external force; but everything which is animate is
moved by an interior force, which also belongs to itself. For this is
the peculiar nature and power of the soul; and if the soul be the only
thing in the whole world which has the power of self-motion, then
certainly it never had a beginning, and therefore it is eternal."

Now, should all the lower order of philosophers (for so I think they
may be called who dissent from Plato and Socrates and that school)
unite their force, they never would be able to explain anything so
elegantly as this, nor even to understand how ingeniously this
conclusion is drawn. The soul, then, perceives itself to have motion,
and at the same time that it gets that perception, it is sensible that
it derives that motion from its own power, and not from the agency of
another; and it is impossible that it should ever forsake itself. And
these premises compel you to allow its eternity, unless you have
something to say against them.

_A._ I should myself be very well pleased not to have even a thought
arise in my mind against them, so much am I inclined to that opinion.

XXIV. _M._ Well, then, I appeal to you, if the arguments which prove
that there is something divine in the souls of men are not equally
strong? But if I could account for the origin of these divine
properties, then I might also be able to explain how they might cease
to exist; for I think I can account for the manner in which the blood,
and bile, and phlegm, and bones, and nerves, and veins, and all the
limbs, and the shape of the whole body, were put together and made; ay,
and even as to the soul itself, were there nothing more in it than a
principle of life, then the life of a man might be put upon the same
footing as that of a vine or any other tree, and accounted for as
caused by nature; for these things, as we say, live. Besides, if
desires and aversions were all that belonged to the soul, it would have
them only in common with the beasts; but it has, in the first place,
memory, and that, too, so infinite as to recollect an absolute
countless number of circumstances, which Plato will have to be a
recollection of a former life; for in that book which is inscribed
Menon, Socrates asks a child some questions in geometry, with reference
to measuring a square; his answers are such as a child would make, and
yet the questions are so easy, that while answering them, one by one,
he comes to the same point as if he had learned geometry. From whence
Socrates would infer that learning is nothing more than recollection;
and this topic he explains more accurately in the discourse which he
held the very day he died; for he there asserts that, any one, who
seeming to be entirely illiterate, is yet able to answer a question
well that is proposed to him, does in so doing manifestly show that he
is not learning it then, but recollecting it by his memory. Nor is it
to be accounted for in any other way, how children come to have notions
of so many and such important things as are implanted, and, as it were,
sealed up, in their minds (which the Greeks call [Greek: ennoiai]),
unless the soul, before it entered the body, had been well stored with
knowledge. And as it had no existence at all (for this is the
invariable doctrine of Plato, who will not admit anything to have a
real existence which has a beginning and an end, and who thinks that
that alone does really exist which is of such a character as what he
calls [Greek: eidea], and we species), therefore, being shut up in the
body, it could not while in the body discover what it knows; but it
knew it before, and brought the knowledge with it, so that we are no
longer surprised at its extensive and multifarious knowledge. Nor does
the soul clearly discover its ideas at its first resort to this abode
to which it is so unaccustomed, and which is in so disturbed a state;
but after having refreshed and recollected itself, it then by its
memory recovers them; and, therefore, to learn implies nothing more
than to recollect. But I am in a particular manner surprised at memory.
For what is that faculty by which we remember? what is its force? what
its nature? I am not inquiring how great a memory Simonides[13] may be
said to have had, or Theodectes,[14] or that Cineas[15] who was sent to
Rome as ambassador from Pyrrhus; or, in more modern times,
Charmadas;[16] or, very lately, Metrodorus[17] the Scepsian, or our own
contemporary Hortensius[18]: I am speaking of ordinary memory, and
especially of those men who are employed in any important study or art,
the great capacity of whose minds it is hard to estimate, such numbers
of things do they remember.

XXV. Should you ask what this leads to, I think we may understand what
that power is, and whence we have it. It certainly proceeds neither
from the heart, nor from the blood, nor from the brain, nor from atoms;
whether it be air or fire, I know not, nor am I, as those men are,
ashamed, in cases where I am ignorant, to own that I am so. If in any
other obscure matter I were able to assert anything positively, then I
would swear that the soul, be it air or fire, is divine. Just think, I
beseech you: can you imagine this wonderful power of memory to be sown
in or to be a part of the composition of the earth, or of this dark and
gloomy atmosphere? Though you cannot apprehend what it is, yet you see
what kind of thing it is, or if you do not quite see that, yet you
certainly see how great it is. What, then? Shall we imagine that there
is a kind of measure in the soul, into which, as into a vessel, all
that we remember is poured? That indeed is absurd; for how shall we
form any idea of the bottom, or of the shape or fashion of such a soul
as that? And, again, how are we to conceive how much it is able to
contain? Shall we imagine the soul to receive impressions like wax, and
memory to be marks of the impressions made on the soul? What are the
characters of the words, what of the facts themselves? and what, again,
is that prodigious greatness which can give rise to impressions of so
many things? What, lastly, is that power which investigates secret
things, and is called invention and contrivance? Does that man seem to
be compounded of this earthly, mortal, and perishing nature who first
invented names for everything; which, if you will believe Pythagoras,
is the highest pitch of wisdom? or he who collected the dispersed
inhabitants of the world, and united them in the bonds of social life?
or he who confined the sounds of the voice, which used to seem
infinite, to the marks of a few letters? or he who first observed the
courses of the planets, their progressive motions, their laws? These
were all great men. But they were greater still who invented food, and
raiment, and houses; who introduced civilization among us, and armed us
against the wild beasts; by whom we were made sociable and polished,
and so proceeded from the necessaries of life to its embellishments.
For we have provided great entertainments for the ears by inventing and
modulating the variety and nature of sounds; we have learned to survey
the stars, not only those that are fixed, but also those which are
improperly called wandering; and the man who has acquainted himself
with all their revolutions and motions is fairly considered to have a
soul resembling the soul of that Being who has created those stars in
the heavens: for when Archimedes described in a sphere the motions of
the moon, sun, and five planets, he did the very same thing as Plato's
God, in his Timæus, who made the world, causing one revolution to
adjust motions differing as much as possible in their slowness and
velocity. Now, allowing that what we see in the world could not be
effected without a God, Archimedes could not have imitated the same
motions in his sphere without a divine soul.

XXVI. To me, indeed, it appears that even those studies which are more
common and in greater esteem are not without some divine energy: so
that I do not consider that a poet can produce a serious and sublime
poem without some divine impulse working on his mind; nor do I think
that eloquence, abounding with sonorous words and fruitful sentences,
can flow thus without something beyond mere human power. But as to
philosophy, that is the parent of all the arts: what can we call that
but, as Plato says, a gift, or, as I express it, an invention, of the
Gods? This it was which first taught us the worship of the Gods; and
then led us on to justice, which arises from the human race being
formed into society; and after that it imbued us with modesty and
elevation of soul. This it was which dispersed darkness from our souls,
as it is dispelled from our eyes, enabling us to see all things that
are above or below, the beginning, end, and middle of everything. I am
convinced entirely that that which could effect so many and such great
things must be a divine power. For what is memory of words and
circumstances? What, too, is invention? Surely they are things than
which nothing greater can be conceived in a God! For I do not imagine
the Gods to be delighted with nectar and ambrosia, or with Juventas
presenting them with a cup; nor do I put any faith in Homer, who says
that Ganymede was carried away by the Gods on account of his beauty, in
order to give Jupiter his wine. Too weak reasons for doing Laomedon
such injury! These were mere inventions of Homer, who gave his Gods the
imperfections of men. I would rather that he had given men the
perfections of the Gods! those perfections, I mean, of uninterrupted
health, wisdom, invention, memory. Therefore the soul (which is, as I
say, divine) is, as Euripides more boldly expresses it, a God. And
thus, if the divinity be air or fire, the soul of man is the same; for
as that celestial nature has nothing earthly or humid about it, in like
manner the soul of man is also free from both these qualities: but if
it is of that fifth kind of nature, first introduced by Aristotle, then
both Gods and souls are of the same.

XXVII. As this is my opinion, I have explained it in these very words,
in my book on Consolation.[19] The origin of the soul of man is not to
be found upon earth, for there is nothing in the soul of a mixed or
concrete nature, or that has any appearance of being formed or made out
of the earth; nothing even humid, or airy, or fiery. For what is there
in natures of that kind which has the power of memory, understanding,
or thought? which can recollect the past, foresee the future, and
comprehend the present? for these capabilities are confined to divine
beings; nor can we discover any source from which men could derive
them, but from God. There is therefore a peculiar nature and power in
the soul, distinct from those natures which are more known and familiar
to us. Whatever, then, that is which thinks, and which has
understanding, and volition, and a principle of life, is heavenly and
divine, and on that account must necessarily be eternal; nor can God
himself, who is known to us, be conceived to be anything else except a
soul free and unembarrassed, distinct from all mortal concretion,
acquainted with everything, and giving motion to everything, and itself
endued with perpetual motion.

XXVIII. Of this kind and nature is the intellect of man. Where, then,
is this intellect seated, and of what character is it? where is your
own, and what is its character? Are you able to tell? If I have not
faculties for knowing all that I could desire to know, will you not
even allow me to make use of those which I have? The soul has not
sufficient capacity to comprehend itself; yet, the soul, like the eye,
though it has no distinct view of itself, sees other things: it does
not see (which is of least consequence) its own shape; perhaps not,
though it possibly may; but we will pass that by: but it certainly sees
that it has vigor, sagacity, memory, motion, and velocity; these are
all great, divine, eternal properties. What its appearance is, or where
it dwells, it is not necessary even to inquire. As when we behold,
first of all, the beauty and brilliant appearance of the heavens;
secondly, the vast velocity of its revolutions, beyond power of our
imagination to conceive; then the vicissitudes of nights and days, the
fourfold division of the seasons, so well adapted to the ripening of
the fruits of the earth, and the temperature of our bodies: and after
that we look up to the sun, the moderator and governor of all these
things; and view the moon, by the increase and decrease of its light,
marking, as it were, and appointing our holy days; and see the five
planets, borne on in the same circle, divided into twelve parts,
preserving the same course with the greatest regularity, but with
utterly dissimilar motions among themselves; and the nightly appearance
of the heaven, adorned on all sides with stars; then, the globe of the
earth, raised above the sea, and placed in the centre of the universe,
inhabited and cultivated in its two opposite extremities, one of which,
the place of our habitation, is situated towards the north pole, under
the seven stars:

    Where the cold northern blasts, with horrid sound,
    Harden to ice the snowy cover'd ground;

the other, towards the south pole, is unknown to us, but is called by
the Greeks [Greek: antichthona]: the other parts are uncultivated,
because they are either frozen with cold, or burned up with heat; but
where we dwell, it never fails, in its season,

    To yield a placid sky, to bid the trees
    Assume the lively verdure of their leaves:
    The vine to bud, and, joyful, in its shoots,
    Foretell the approaching vintage of its fruits:
    The ripen'd corn to sing, while all around
    Full riv'lets glide; and flowers deck the ground:

then the multitude of cattle, fit part for food, part for tilling the
ground, others for carrying us, or for clothing us; and man himself,
made, as it were, on purpose to contemplate the heavens and the Gods,
and to pay adoration to them: lastly, the whole earth, and wide
extending seas, given to man's use. When we view these and numberless
other things, can we doubt that they have some being who presides over
them, or has made them (if, indeed, they have been made, as is the
opinion of Plato, or if, as Aristotle thinks, they are eternal), or who
at all events is the regulator of so immense a fabric and so great a
blessing to men? Thus, though you see not the soul of man, as you see
not the Deity, yet, as by the contemplation of his works you are led to
acknowledge a God, so you must own the divine power of the soul, from
its remembering things, from its invention, from the quickness of its
motion, and from all the beauty of virtue. Where, then, is it seated,
you will say?

XXIX. In my opinion, it is seated in the head, and I can bring you
reasons for my adopting that opinion. At present, let the soul reside
where it will, you certainly have one in you. Should you ask what its
nature is? It has one peculiarly its own; but admitting it to consist
of fire, or air, it does not affect the present question. Only observe
this, that as you are convinced there is a God, though you are ignorant
where he resides, and what shape he is of; in like manner you ought to
feel assured that you have a soul, though you cannot satisfy yourself
of the place of its residence, nor its form. In our knowledge of the
soul, unless we are grossly ignorant of natural philosophy, we cannot
but be satisfied that it has nothing but what is simple, unmixed,
uncompounded, and single; and if this is admitted, then it cannot be
separated, nor divided, nor dispersed, nor parted, and therefore it
cannot perish; for to perish implies a parting-asunder, a division, a
disunion, of those parts which, while it subsisted, were held together
by some band. And it was because he was influenced by these and similar
reasons that Socrates neither looked out for anybody to plead for him
when he was accused, nor begged any favor from his judges, but
maintained a manly freedom, which was the effect not of pride, but of
the true greatness of his soul; and on the last day of his life he held
a long discourse on this subject; and a few days before, when he might
have been easily freed from his confinement, he refused to be so; and
when he had almost actually hold of that deadly cup, he spoke with the
air of a man not forced to die, but ascending into heaven.

XXX. For so indeed he thought himself, and thus he spoke: "That there
were two ways, and that the souls of men, at their departure from the
body, took different roads; for those which were polluted with vices
that are common to men, and which had given themselves up entirely to
unclean desires, and had become so blinded by them as to have
habituated themselves to all manner of debauchery and profligacy, or to
have laid detestable schemes for the ruin of their country, took a road
wide of that which led to the assembly of the Gods; but they who had
preserved themselves upright and chaste, and free from the slightest
contagion of the body, and had always kept themselves as far as
possible at a distance from it, and while on earth had proposed to
themselves as a model the life of the Gods, found the return to those
beings from whom they had come an easy one." Therefore, he argues, that
all good and wise men should take example from the swans, who are
considered sacred to Apollo, not without reason, but particularly
because they seem to have received the gift of divination from him, by
which, foreseeing how happy it is to die, they leave this world with
singing and joy. Nor can any one doubt of this, unless it happens to us
who think with care and anxiety about the soul (as is often the case
with those who look earnestly at the setting sun), to lose the sight of
it entirely; and so the mind's eye, viewing itself, sometimes grows
dull, and for that reason we become remiss in our contemplation. Thus
our reasoning is borne about, harassed with doubts and anxieties, not
knowing how to proceed, but measuring back again those dangerous tracts
which it has passed, like a boat tossed about on the boundless ocean.
But these reflections are of long standing, and borrowed from the
Greeks. But Cato left this world in such a manner as if he were
delighted that he had found an opportunity of dying; for that God who
presides in us forbids our departure hence without his leave. But when
God himself has given us a just cause, as formerly he did to Socrates,
and lately to Cato, and often to many others--in such a case, certainly
every man of sense would gladly exchange this darkness for that light:
not that he would forcibly break from the chains that held him, for
that would be against the law; but, like a man released from prison by
a magistrate or some lawful authority, so he too would walk away, being
released and discharged by God. For the whole life of a philosopher is,
as the same philosopher says, a meditation on death.

XXXI. For what else is it that we do, when we call off our minds from
pleasure, that is to say, from our attention to the body, from the
managing our domestic estate, which is a sort of handmaid and servant
of the body, or from duties of a public nature, or from all other
serious business whatever? What else is it, I say, that we do, but
invite the soul to reflect on itself? oblige it to converse with
itself, and, as far as possible, break off its acquaintance with the
body? Now, to separate the soul from the body, is to learn to die, and
nothing else whatever. Wherefore take my advice; and let us meditate on
this, and separate ourselves as far as possible from the body, that is
to say, let us accustom ourselves to die. This will be enjoying a life
like that of heaven even while we remain on earth; and when we are
carried thither and released from these bonds, our souls will make
their progress with more rapidity; for the spirit which has always been
fettered by the bonds of the body, even when it is disengaged, advances
more slowly, just as those do who have worn actual fetters for many
years: but when we have arrived at this emancipation from the bonds of
the body, then indeed we shall begin to live, for this present life is
really death, which I could say a good deal in lamentation for if I

_A._ You have lamented it sufficiently in your book on Consolation; and
when I read that, there is nothing which I desire more than to leave
these things; but that desire is increased a great deal by what I have
just heard.

_M._ The time will come, and that soon, and with equal certainty,
whether you hang back or press forward; for time flies. But death is so
far from being an evil, as it lately appeared to you, that I am
inclined to suspect, not that there is no other thing which is an evil
to man, but rather that there is nothing else which is a real good to
him; if, at least, it is true that we become thereby either Gods
ourselves, or companions of the Gods. However, this is not of so much
consequence, as there are some of us here who will not allow this. But
I will not leave off discussing this point till I have convinced you
that death can, upon no consideration whatever, be an evil.

_A._ How can it, after what I now know?

_M._ Do you ask how it can? There are crowds of arguers who contradict
this; and those not only Epicureans, whom I regard very little, but,
somehow or other, almost every man of letters; and, above all, my
favorite Dicæarchus is very strenuous in opposing the immortality of
the soul: for he has written three books, which are entitled Lesbiacs,
because the discourse was held at Mitylene, in which he seeks to prove
that souls are mortal. The Stoics, on the other hand, allow us as long
a time for enjoyment as the life of a raven; they allow the soul to
exist a great while, but are against its eternity.

XXXII. Are you willing to hear then why, even allowing this, death
cannot be an evil.

_A._ As you please; but no one shall drive me from my belief in

_M._ I commend you, indeed, for that; though we should not be too
confident in our belief of anything; for we are frequently disturbed by
some subtle conclusion. We give way and change our opinions even in
things that are more evident than this; for in this there certainly is
some obscurity. Therefore, should anything of this kind happen, it is
well to be on our guard.

_A._ You are right in that; but I will provide against any accident.

_M._ Have you any objection to our dismissing our friends the
Stoics--those, I mean, who allow that the souls exist after they have
left the body, but yet deny that they exist forever?

_A._ We certainly may dismiss the consideration of those men who admit
that which is the most difficult point in the whole question, namely,
that a soul can exist independently of the body, and yet refuse to
grant that which is not only very easy to believe, but which is even
the natural consequence of the concession which they have made--that if
they can exist for a length of time; they most likely do so forever.

_M._ You take it right; that is the very thing. Shall we give,
therefore, any credit to Pauæstius, when he dissents from his master,
Plato? whom he everywhere calls divine, the wisest, the holiest of men,
the Homer of philosophers, and whom he opposes in nothing except this
single opinion of the soul's immortality: for he maintains what nobody
denies, that everything which has been generated will perish, and that
even souls are generated, which he thinks appears from their
resemblance to those of the men who begot them; for that likeness is as
apparent in the turn of their minds as in their bodies. But he brings
another reason--that there is nothing which is sensible of pain which
is not also liable to disease; but whatever is liable to disease must
be liable to death. The soul is sensible of pain, therefore it is
liable to perish.

XXXIII. These arguments may be refuted; for they proceed from his not
knowing that, while discussing the subject of the immortality of the
soul, he is speaking of the intellect, which is free from all turbid
motion; but not of those parts of the mind in which those disorders,
anger and lust, have their seat, and which he whom he is opposing, when
he argues thus, imagines to be distinct and separate from the mind. Now
this resemblance is more remarkable in beasts, whose souls are void of
reason. But the likeness in men consists more in the configuration of
the bodies: and it is of no little consequence in what bodies the soul
is lodged; for there are many things which depend on the body that give
an edge to the soul, many which blunt it. Aristotle, indeed, says that
all men of great genius are melancholy; so that I should not have been
displeased to have been somewhat duller than I am. He instances many,
and, as if it were matter of fact, brings his reasons for it. But if
the power of those things that proceed from the body be so great as to
influence the mind (for they are the things, whatever they are, that
occasion this likeness), still that does not necessarily prove why a
similitude of souls should be generated. I say nothing about cases of
unlikeness. I wish Panætius could be here: he lived with Africanus. I
would inquire of him which of his family the nephew of Africanus's
brother was like? Possibly he may in person have resembled his father;
but in his manners he was so like every profligate, abandoned man, that
it was impossible to be more so. Whom did the grandson of P. Crassus,
that wise and eloquent and most distinguished man, resemble? Or the
relations and sons of many other excellent men, whose names there is no
occasion to mention? But what are we doing? Have we forgotten that our
purpose was, when we had sufficiently spoken on the subject of the
immortality of the soul, to prove that, even if the soul did perish,
there would be, even then, no evil in death?

_A._ I remembered it very well; but I had no dislike to your digressing
a little from your original design, while you were talking of the
soul's immortality.

_M._ I perceive you have sublime thoughts, and are eager to mount up to

XXXIV. I am not without hopes myself that such may be our fate. But
admit what they assert--that the soul does not continue to exist after

_A._ Should it be so, I see that we are then deprived of the hopes of a
happier life.

_M._ But what is there of evil in that opinion? For let the soul perish
as the body: is there any pain, or indeed any feeling at all, in the
body after death? No one, indeed asserts that; though Epicurus charges
Democritus with saying so; but the disciples of Democritus deny it. No
sense, therefore, remains in the soul; for the soul is nowhere. Where,
then, is the evil? for there is nothing but these two things. Is it
because the mere separation of the soul and body cannot be effected
without pain? But even should that be granted, how small a pain must
that be! Yet I think that it is false, and that it is very often
unaccompanied by any sensation at all, and sometimes even attended with
pleasure; but certainly the whole must be very trifling, whatever it
is, for it is instantaneous. What makes us uneasy, or rather gives us
pain, is the leaving all the good things of life. But just consider if
I might not more properly say, leaving the evils of life; only there is
no reason for my now occupying myself in bewailing the life of man, and
yet I might, with very good reason. But what occasion is there, when
what I am laboring to prove is that no one is miserable after death, to
make life more miserable by lamenting over it? I have done that in the
book which I wrote, in order to comfort myself as well as I could. If,
then, our inquiry is after truth, death withdraws us from evil, not
from good. This subject is indeed so copiously handled by Hegesias, the
Cyrenaic philosopher, that he is said to have been forbidden by Ptolemy
from delivering his lectures in the schools, because some who heard him
made away with themselves. There is, too, an epigram of Callimachus[20]
on Cleombrotus of Ambracia, who, without any misfortune having befallen
him, as he says, threw himself from a wall into the sea, after he had
read a book of Plato's. The book I mentioned of that Hegesias is called
[Greek: Apokarterterôn], or "A Man who starves himself," in which a man
is represented as killing himself by starvation, till he is prevented
by his friends, in reply to whom he reckons up all the miseries of
human life. I might do the same, though not so fully as he, who thinks
it not worth any man's while to live. I pass over others. Was it even
worth my while to live, for, had I died before I was deprived of the
comforts of my own family, and of the honors which I received for my
public services, would not death have taken me from the evils of life
rather than from its blessings?

XXXV. Mention, therefore, some one, who never knew distress; who never
received any blow from fortune. The great Metellus had four
distinguished sons; but Priam had fifty, seventeen of whom were born to
him by his lawful wife. Fortune had the same power over both, though
she exercised it but on one; for Metellus was laid on his funeral pile
by a great company of sons and daughters, grandsons, and
granddaughters; but Priam fell by the hand of an enemy, after having
fled to the altar, and having seen himself deprived of all his numerous
progeny. Had he died before the death of his sons and the ruin of his

    With all his mighty wealth elate,
    Under rich canopies of state;

would he then have been taken from good or from evil? It would indeed,
at that time, have appeared that he was being taken away from good; yet
surely it would have turned out advantageous for him; nor should we
have had these mournful verses,

    Lo! these all perish'd in one flaming pile;
    The foe old Priam did of life beguile,
    And with his blood, thy altar, Jove, defile.

As if anything better could have happened to him at that time than to
lose his life in that manner; but yet, if it had befallen him sooner,
it would have prevented all those consequences; but even as it was, it
released him from any further sense of them. The case of our friend
Pompey[21] was something better: once, when he had been very ill at
Naples, the Neapolitans, on his recovery, put crowns on their heads, as
did those of Puteoli; the people flocked from the country to
congratulate him--it is a Grecian custom, and a foolish one; still it
is a sign of good fortune. But the question is, had he died, would he
have been taken from good, or from evil? Certainly from evil. He would
not have been engaged in a war with his father-in-law;[22] he would not
have taken up arms before he was prepared; he would not have left his
own house, nor fled from Italy; he would not, after the loss of his
army, have fallen unarmed into the hands of slaves, and been put to
death by them; his children would not have been destroyed; nor would
his whole fortune have come into the possession of the conquerors. Did
not he, then, who, if he had died at that time, would have died in all
his glory, owe all the great and terrible misfortunes into which he
subsequently fell to the prolongation of his life at that time?

XXXVI. These calamities are avoided by death, for even though they
should never happen, there is a possibility that they may; but it never
occurs to a man that such a disaster may befall him himself. Every one
hopes to be as happy as Metellus: as if the number of the happy
exceeded that of the miserable; or as if there were any certainty in
human affairs; or, again, as if there were more rational foundation for
hope than fear. But should we grant them even this, that men are by
death deprived of good things; would it follow that the dead are
therefore in need of the good things of life, and are miserable on that
account? Certainly they must necessarily say so. Can he who does not
exist be in need of anything? To be in need of has a melancholy sound,
because it in effect amounts to this--he had, but he has not; he
regrets, he looks back upon, he wants. Such are, I suppose, the
distresses of one who is in need of. Is he deprived of eyes? to be
blind is misery. Is he destitute of children? not to have them is
misery. These considerations apply to the living, but the dead are
neither in need of the blessings of life, nor of life itself. But when
I am speaking of the dead, I am speaking of those who have no
existence. But would any one say of us, who do exist, that we want
horns or wings? Certainly not. Should it be asked, why not? the answer
would be, that not to have what neither custom nor nature has fitted
you for would not imply a want of them, even though you were sensible
that you had them not. This argument should be pressed over and over
again, after that point has once been established, which, if souls are
mortal, there can be no dispute about--I mean, that the destruction of
them by death is so entire as to remove even the least suspicion of any
sense remaining. When, therefore, this point is once well grounded and
established, we must correctly define what the term to want means; that
there may be no mistake in the word. To want, then, signifies this: to
be without that which you would be glad to have; for inclination for a
thing is implied in the word want, excepting when we use the word in an
entirely different sense, as we do when we say that a fever is wanting
to any one. For it admits of a different interpretation, when you are
without a certain thing, and are sensible that you are without it, but
yet can easily dispense with having it. "To want," then, is an
expression which you cannot apply to the dead; nor is the mere fact of
wanting something necessarily lamentable. The proper expression ought
to be, "that they want a good," and that is an evil.

But a living man does not want a good, unless he is distressed without
it; and yet, we can easily understand how any man alive can be without
a kingdom. But this cannot be predicated of you with any accuracy: it
might have been asserted of Tarquin, when he was driven from his
kingdom. But when such an expression is used respecting the dead, it is
absolutely unintelligible. For to want implies to be sensible; but the
dead are insensible: therefore, the dead can be in no want.

XXXVII. But what occasion is there to philosophize here in a matter
with which we see that philosophy is but little concerned? How often
have not only our generals but whole armies, rushed on certain death!
But if it had been a thing to be feared, L. Brutus would never have
fallen in fight, to prevent the return of that tyrant whom he had
expelled; nor would Decius the father have been slain in fighting with
the Latins; nor would his son, when engaged with the Etruscans, nor his
grandson with Pyrrhus have exposed themselves to the enemy's darts.
Spain would never have seen, in one campaign, the Scipios fall fighting
for their country; nor would the plains of Cannæ have witnessed the
death of Paulus and Geminus, or Venusia that of Marcellus; nor would
the Latins have beheld the death of Albinus, nor the Leucanians that of
Gracchus. But are any of these miserable now? Nay, they were not so
even at the first moment after they had breathed their last; nor can
any one be miserable after he has lost all sensation. Oh, but the mere
circumstance of being without sensation is miserable. It might be so if
being without sensation were the same thing as wanting it; but as it is
evident there can be nothing of any kind in that which has no
existence, what can there be afflicting to that which can neither feel
want nor be sensible of anything? We might be said to have repeated
this over too often, only that here lies all that the soul shudders at
from the fear of death. For whoever can clearly apprehend that which is
as manifest as the light--that when both soul and body are consumed,
and there is a total destruction, then that which was an animal becomes
nothing--will clearly see that there is no difference between a
Hippocentaur, which never had existence, and King Agamemnon, and that
M. Camillus is no more concerned about this present civil war than I
was at the sacking of Rome, when he was living.

XXXVIII. Why, then, should Camillus be affected with the thoughts of
these things happening three hundred and fifty years after his time?
And why should I be uneasy it I were to expect that some nation might
possess itself of this city ten thousand years hence? Because so great
is our regard for our country, as not to be measured by our own
feeling, but by its own actual safety.

Death, then, which threatens us daily from a thousand accidents, and
which, by reason of the shortness of life, can never be far off, does
not deter a wise man from making such provision for his country and his
family as he hopes may last forever; and from regarding posterity, of
which he can never have any real perception, as belonging to himself.
Wherefore a man may act for eternity, even though he be persuaded that
his soul is mortal; not, indeed, from a desire of glory, which he will
be insensible of, but from a principle of virtue, which glory will
inevitably attend, though that is not his object. The process, indeed,
of nature is this: that just in the same manner as our birth was the
beginning of things with us, so death will be the end; and as we were
noways concerned with anything before we were born, so neither shall we
be after we are dead. And in this state of things where can the evil
be, since death has no connection with either the living or the dead?
The one have no existence at all, the other are not yet affected by it.
They who make the least of death consider it as having a great
resemblance to sleep; as if any one would choose to live ninety years
on condition that, at the expiration of sixty, he should sleep out the
remainder. The very swine would not accept of life on those terms, much
less I. Endymion, indeed, if you listen to fables, slept once on a time
on Latmus, a mountain of Caria, and for such a length of time that I
imagine he is not as yet awake. Do you think that he is concerned at
the Moon's being in difficulties, though it was by her that he was
thrown into that sleep, in order that she might kiss him while
sleeping. For what should he be concerned for who has not even any
sensation? You look on sleep as an image of death, and you take that on
you daily; and have you, then, any doubt that there is no sensation in
death, when you see there is none in sleep, which is its near

XXXIX. Away, then, with those follies, which are little better than the
old women's dreams, such as that it is miserable to die before our
time. What time do you mean? That of nature? But she has only lent you
life, as she might lend you money, without fixing any certain time for
its repayment. Have you any grounds of complaint, then, that she
recalls it at her pleasure? for you received it on these terms. They
that complain thus allow that if a young child dies, the survivors
ought to bear his loss with equanimity; that if an infant in the cradle
dies, they ought not even to utter a complaint; and yet nature has been
more severe with them in demanding back what she gave. They answer by
saying that such have not tasted the sweets of life; while the other
had begun to conceive hopes of great happiness, and, indeed, had begun
to realize them. Men judge better in other things, and allow a part to
be preferable to none. Why do they not admit the same estimate in life?
Though Callimachus does not speak amiss in saying that more tears had
flowed from Priam than his son; yet they are thought happier who die
after they have reached old age. It would be hard to say why; for I do
not apprehend that any one, if a longer life were granted to him, would
find it happier. There is nothing more agreeable to a man than
prudence, which old age most certainly bestows on a man, though it may
strip him of everything else. But what age is long, or what is there at
all long to a man? Does not

    Old age, though unregarded, still attend
    On childhood's pastimes, as the cares of men?

But because there is nothing beyond old age, we call that long: all
these things are said to be long or short, according to the proportion
of time they were given us for. Artistotle saith there is a kind of
insect near the river Hypanis, which runs from a certain part of Europe
into the Pontus, whose life consists but of one day; those that die at
the eighth hour die in full age; those who die when the sun sets are
very old, especially when the days are at the longest. Compare our
longest life with eternity, and we shall be found almost as short-lived
as those little animals.

XL. Let us, then, despise all these follies--for what softer name can I
give to such levities?--and let us lay the foundation of our happiness
in the strength and greatness of our minds, in a contempt and disregard
of all earthly things, and in the practice of every virtue. For at
present we are enervated by the softness of our imaginations, so that,
should we leave this world before the promises of our fortune-tellers
are made good to us, we should think ourselves deprived of some great
advantages, and seem disappointed and forlorn. But if, through life, we
are in continual suspense, still expecting, still desiring, and are in
continual pain and torture, good Gods! how pleasant must that journey
be which ends in security and ease! How pleased am I with Theramenes!
Of how exalted a soul does he appear! For, although we never read of
him without tears, yet that illustrious man is not to be lamented in
his death, who, when he had been imprisoned by the command of the
thirty tyrants, drank off, at one draught, as if he had been thirsty,
the poisoned cup, and threw the remainder out of it with such force
that it sounded as it fell; and then, on hearing the sound of the
drops, he said, with a smile, "I drink this to the most excellent
Critias," who had been his most bitter enemy; for it is customary among
the Greeks, at their banquets, to name the person to whom they intend
to deliver the cup. This celebrated man was pleasant to the last, even
when he had received the poison into his bowels, and truly foretold the
death of that man whom he named when he drank the poison, and that
death soon followed. Who that thinks death an evil could approve of the
evenness of temper in this great man at the instant of dying? Socrates
came, a few years after, to the same prison and the same cup by as
great iniquity on the part of his judges as the tyrants displayed when
they executed Theramenes. What a speech is that which Plato makes him
deliver before his judges, after they had condemned him to death!

XLI. "I am not without hopes, O judges, that it is a favorable
circumstance for me that I am condemned to die; for one of these two
things must necessarily happen--either that death will deprive me
entirely of all sense, or else that, by dying, I shall go from hence
into some other place; wherefore, if all sense is utterly extinguished,
and if death is like that sleep which sometimes is so undisturbed as to
be even without the visions of dreams--in that case, O ye good Gods!
what gain is it to die? or what length of days can be imagined which
would be preferable to such a night? And if the constant course of
future time is to resemble that night, who is happier than I am? But if
on the other hand, what is said be true, namely, that death is but a
removal to those regions where the souls of the departed dwell, then
that state must be more happy still to have escaped from those who call
themselves judges, and to appear before such as are truly so--Minos,
Rhadamanthus, Æacus, Triptolemus--and to meet with those who have lived
with justice and probity![23] Can this change of abode appear otherwise
than great to you? What bounds can you set to the value of conversing
with Orpheus, and Musæus, and Homer, and Hesiod? I would even, were it
possible, willingly die often, in order to prove the certainty of what
I speak of. What delight must it be to meet with Palamedes, and Ajax,
and others, who have been betrayed by the iniquity of their judges!
Then, also, should I experience the wisdom of even that king of kings,
who led his vast troops to Troy, and the prudence of Ulysses and
Sisyphus: nor should I then be condemned for prosecuting my inquiries
on such subjects in the same way in which I have done here on earth.
And even you, my judges, you, I mean, who have voted for my acquittal,
do not you fear death, for nothing bad can befall a good man, whether
he be alive or dead; nor are his concerns ever overlooked by the Gods;
nor in my case either has this befallen me by chance; and I have
nothing to charge those men with who accused or condemned me but the
fact that they believed that they were doing me harm." In this manner
he proceeded. There is no part of his speech which I admire more than
his last words: "But it is time," says he, "for me now to go hence,
that I may die; and for you, that you may continue to live. Which
condition of the two is the best, the immortal Gods know; but I do not
believe that any mortal man does."

XLII. Surely I would rather have had this man's soul than all the
fortunes of those who sat in judgment on him; although that very thing
which he says no one except the Gods know, namely, whether life or
death is most preferable, he knows himself, for he had previously
stated his opinion on it; but he maintained to the last that favorite
maxim of his, of affirming nothing. And let us, too, adhere to this
rule of not thinking anything an evil which is a general provision of
nature; and let us assure ourselves, that if death is an evil, it is an
eternal evil, for death seems to be the end of a miserable life; but if
death is a misery, there can be no end of that. But why do I mention
Socrates, or Theramenes, men distinguished by the glory of virtue and
wisdom? when a certain Lacedæmomian, whose name is not so much as
known, held death in such contempt, that, when led to it by the ephori,
he bore a cheerful and pleasant countenance; and, when he was asked by
one of his enemies whether he despised the laws of Lycurgus, "On the
contrary," answered he, "I am greatly obliged to him, for he has
amerced me in a fine which I can pay without borrowing, or taking up
money at interest." This was a man worthy of Sparta. And I am almost
persuaded of his innocence because of the greatness of his soul. Our
own city has produced many such. But why should I name generals, and
other men of high rank, when Cato could write that legions have marched
with alacrity to that place from whence they never expected to return?
With no less greatness of soul fell the Lacedæmonians at Thermopylæ, on
whom Simonides wrote the following epitaph:

    Go, stranger, tell the Spartans, here we lie,
    Who to support their laws durst boldly die.[24]

What was it that Leonidas, their general, said to them? "March on with
courage, my Lacedæmonians. To-night, perhaps, we shall sup in the
regions below." This was a brave nation while the laws of Lycurgus were
in force. One of them, when a Persian had said to him in conversation,
"We shall hide the sun from your sight by the number of our arrows and
darts," replied, "We shall fight, then in the shade." Do I talk of
their men? How great was that Lacedæmonian woman, who had sent her son
to battle, and when she heard that he was slain, said, "I bore him for
that purpose, that you might have a man who durst die for his country!"
However, it is a matter of notoriety that the Spartans were bold and
hardy, for the discipline of a republic has great influence.

XLIII. What, then, have we not reason to admire Theodorus the Cyrenean,
a philosopher of no small distinction, who, when Lysimachus threatened
to crucify him, bade him keep those menaces for his courtiers? "To
Theodorus it makes no difference whether he rot in the air or
underground." By which saying of the philosopher I am reminded to say
something of the custom of funerals and sepulture, and of funeral
ceremonies, which is, indeed, not a difficult subject, especially if we
recollect what has been before said about insensibility. The opinion of
Socrates respecting this matter is clearly stated in the book which
treats of his death, of which we have already said so much; for when he
had discussed the immortality of the soul, and when the time of his
dying was approaching rapidly, being asked by Criton how he would be
buried, "I have taken a great deal of pains," saith he, "my friends, to
no purpose, for I have not convinced our Criton that I shall fly from
hence, and leave no part of me behind. Notwithstanding, Criton, if you
can overtake me, wheresoever you get hold of me, bury me as you please:
but believe me, none of you will be able to catch me when I have flown
away from hence." That was excellently said, inasmuch as he allows his
friend to do as he pleased, and yet shows his indifference about
anything of this kind. Diogenes was rougher, though of the same
opinion; but in his character of a Cynic he expressed himself in a
somewhat harsher manner; he ordered himself to be thrown anywhere
without being buried. And when his friends replied, "What! to the birds
and beasts?" "By no means," saith he; "place my staff near me, that I
may drive them away." "How can you do that," they answer, "for you will
not perceive them?" "How am I then injured by being torn by those
animals, if I have no sensation?" Anaxagoras, when he was at the point
of death at Lampsacus, and was asked by his friends, whether, if
anything should happen to him, he would not choose to be carried to
Clazomenæ, his country, made this excellent answer, "There is," says
he, "no occasion for that, for all places are at an equal distance from
the infernal regions." There is one thing to be observed with respect
to the whole subject of burial, that it relates to the body, whether
the soul live or die. Now, with regard to the body, it is clear that,
whether the soul live or die, that has no sensation.

XLIV. But all things are full of errors. Achilles drags Hector, tied to
his chariot; he thinks, I suppose, he tears his flesh, and that Hector
feels the pain of it; therefore, he avenges himself on him, as he
imagines. But Hecuba bewails this as a sore misfortune:

    I saw (a dreadful sight) great Hector slain,
    Dragg'd at Achilles' car along the plain.

What Hector? or how long will he be Hector? Accius is better in this,
and Achilles, too, is sometimes reasonable:

    I Hector's body to his sire convey'd,
    Hector I sent to the infernal shade.

It was not Hector that you dragged along, but a body that had been
Hector's. Here another starts from underground, and will not suffer his
mother to sleep:

    To thee I call, my once-loved parent, hear,
    Nor longer with thy sleep relieve thy care;
    Thine eye which pities not is closed--arise;
    Ling'ring I wait the unpaid obsequies.

When these verses are sung with a slow and melancholy tune, so as to
affect the whole theatre with sadness, one can scarce help thinking
those unhappy that are unburied:

    Ere the devouring dogs and hungry vultures...

He is afraid he shall not have the use of his limbs so well if they are
torn to pieces, but is under no such apprehensions if they are burned:

    Nor leave my naked bones, my poor remains,
    To shameful violence and bloody stains.

I do not understand what he could fear who could pour forth such
excellent verses to the sound of the flute. We must, therefore, adhere
to this, that nothing is to be regarded after we are dead, though many
people revenge themselves on their dead enemies. Thyestes pours forth
several curses in some good lines of Ennius, praying, first of all,
that Atreus may perish by a shipwreck, which is certainly a very
terrible thing, for such a death is not free from very grievous
sensations. Then follow these unmeaning expressions:

    On the sharp rock his mangled carcass lie,
    His entrails torn, to hungry birds a prey!
    May he convulsive writhe his bleeding side,
    And with his clotted gore the stones be dyed!

The rocks themselves were not more destitute of feeling than he who was
hanging to them by his side; though Thyestes imagines he is wishing him
the greatest torture. It would be torture, indeed, if he were sensible;
but as he is not, it can be none; then how very unmeaning is this:

    Let him, still hovering o'er the Stygian wave,
    Ne'er reach the body's peaceful port, the grave!

You see under what mistaken notions all this is said. He imagines the
body has its haven, and that the dead are at rest in their graves.
Pelops was greatly to blame in not having informed and taught his son
what regard was due to everything.

XLV. But what occasion is there to animadvert on the opinions of
individuals, when we may observe whole nations to fall into all sorts
of errors? The Egyptians embalm their dead, and keep them in their
houses; the Persians dress them over with wax, and then bury them, that
they may preserve their bodies as long as possible. It is customary
with the Magi to bury none of their order, unless they have been first
torn by wild beasts. In Hyrcania, the people maintain dogs for the
public use; the nobles have their own--and we know that they have a
good breed of dogs; but every one, according to his ability, provides
himself with some, in order to be torn by them; and they hold that to
be the best kind of interment. Chrysippus, who is curious in all kinds
of historical facts, has collected many other things of this kind; but
some of them are so offensive as not to admit of being related. All
that has been said of burying is not worth our regard with respect to
ourselves, though it is not to be neglected as to our friends, provided
we are thoroughly aware that the dead are insensible. But the living,
indeed, should consider what is due to custom and opinion; only they
should at the same time consider that the dead are noways interested in
it. But death truly is then met with the greatest tranquillity when the
dying man can comfort himself with his own praise. No one dies too soon
who has finished the course of perfect virtue. I myself have known many
occasions when I have seemed in danger of immediate death; oh! how I
wish it had come to me! for I have gained nothing by the delay. I had
gone over and over again the duties of life; nothing remained but to
contend with fortune. If reason, then, cannot sufficiently fortify us
to enable us to feel a contempt for death, at all events let our past
life prove that we have lived long enough, and even longer than was
necessary; for notwithstanding the deprivation of sense, the dead are
not without that good which peculiarly belongs to them, namely, the
praise and glory which they have acquired, even though they are not
sensible of it. For although there be nothing in glory to make it
desirable, yet it follows virtue as its shadow; and the genuine
judgment of the multitude on good men, if ever they form any, is more
to their own praise than of any real advantage to the dead. Yet I
cannot say, however it may be received, that Lycurgus and Solon have no
glory from their laws, and from the political constitution which they
established in their country; or that Themistocles and Epaminondas have
not glory from their martial virtue.

XLVI. For Neptune shall sooner bury Salamis itself with his waters than
the memory of the trophies gained there; and the Boeotian Leuctra shall
perish sooner than the glory of that great battle. And longer still
shall fame be before it deserts Curius, and Fabricius, and Calatinus,
and the two Scipios, and the two Africani, and Maximus, and Marcellus,
and Paulus, and Cato, and Lælius, and numberless other heroes; and
whoever has caught any resemblance of them, not estimating it by common
fame, but by the real applause of good men, may with confidence, when
the occasion requires, approach death, on which we are sure that even
if the chief good is not continued, at least no evil is. Such a man
would even wish to die while in prosperity; for all the favors that
could be heaped on him would not be so agreeable to him as the loss of
them would be painful. That speech of the Lacedæmonian seems to have
the same meaning, who, when Diagoras the Rhodian, who had himself been
a conqueror at the Olympic games, saw two of his own sons conquerors
there on the same day, approached the old man, and, congratulating him,
said, "You should die now, Diagoras, for no greater happiness can
possibly await you." The Greeks look on these as great things; perhaps
they think too highly of them, or, rather, they did so then. And so he
who said this to Diagoras, looking on it as something very glorious,
that three men out of one family should have been conquerors there,
thought it could answer no purpose to him to continue any longer in
life, where he could only be exposed to a reverse of fortune.

I might have given you a sufficient answer, as it seems to me, on this
point, in a few words, as you had allowed the dead were not exposed to
any positive evil; but I have spoken at greater length on the subject
for this reason, because this is our greatest consolation in the losing
and bewailing of our friends. For we ought to bear with moderation any
grief which arises from ourselves, or is endured on our own account,
lest we should seem to be too much influenced by self-love. But should
we suspect our departed friends to be under those evils, which they are
generally imagined to be, and to be sensible of them, then such a
suspicion would give us intolerable pain; and accordingly I wished, for
my own sake, to pluck up this opinion by the roots, and on that account
I have been perhaps somewhat more prolix than was necessary.

XLVII. _A._ More prolix than was necessary? Certainty not, in my
opinion. For I was induced, by the former part of your speech, to wish
to die; but, by the latter, sometimes not to be unwilling, and at
others to be wholly indifferent about it. But the effect of your whole
argument is, that I am convinced that death ought not to be classed
among the evils.

_M._ Do you, then, expect that I am to give you a regular peroration,
like the rhetoricians, or shall I forego that art?

_A._ I would not have you give over an art which you have set off to
such advantage; and you were in the right to do so, for, to speak the
truth, it also has set you off. But what is that peroration? For I
should be glad to hear it, whatever it is.

_M._ It is customary, in the schools, to produce the opinions of the
immortal Gods on death; nor are these opinions the fruits of the
imagination alone of the lecturers, but they have the authority of
Herodotus and many others. Cleobis and Biton are the first they
mention, sons of the Argive priestess; the story is a well-known one.
As it was necessary that she should be drawn in a chariot to a certain
annual sacrifice, which was solemnized at a temple some considerable
distance from the town, and the cattle that were to draw the chariot
had not arrived, those two young men whom I have just mentioned,
pulling off their garments, and anointing their bodies with oil,
harnessed themselves to the yoke. And in this manner the priestess was
conveyed to the temple; and when the chariot had arrived at the proper
place, she is said to have entreated the Goddess to bestow on them, as
a reward for their piety, the greatest gift that a God could confer on
man. And the young men, after having feasted with their mother, fell
asleep; and in the morning they were found dead. Trophonius and
Agamedes are said to have put up the same petition, for they, having
built a temple to Apollo at Delphi, offered supplications to the God,
and desired of him some extraordinary reward for their care and labor,
particularizing nothing, but asking for whatever was best for men.
Accordingly, Apollo signified to them that he would bestow it on them
in three days, and on the third day at daybreak they were found dead.
And so they say that this was a formal decision pronounced by that God
to whom the rest of the deities have assigned the province of divining
with an accuracy superior to that of all the rest.

XLVIII. There is also a story told of Silenus, who, when taken prisoner
by Midas, is said to have made him this present for his ransom--namely,
that he informed him[25] that never to have been born was by far the
greatest blessing that could happen to man; and that the next best
thing was to die very soon; which very opinion Euripides makes use of
in his Cresphontes, saying,

    When man is born, 'tis fit, with solemn show,
    We speak our sense of his approaching woe;
    With other gestures and a different eye,
    Proclaim our pleasure when he's bid to die.[26]

There is something like this in Crantor's Consolation; for he says that
Terinæsus of Elysia, when he was bitterly lamenting the loss of his
son, came to a place of divination to be informed why he was visited
with so great affliction, and received in his tablet these three

    Thou fool, to murmur at Euthynous' death!
    The blooming youth to fate resigns his breath:
    The fate, whereon your happiness depends,
    At once the parent and the son befriends.[27]

On these and similar authorities they affirm that the question has been
determined by the Gods. Nay, more; Alcidamas, an ancient rhetorician of
the very highest reputation, wrote even in praise of death, which he
endeavored to establish by an enumeration of the evils of life; and his
Dissertation has a great deal of eloquence in it; but he was
unacquainted with the more refined arguments of the philosophers. By
the orators, indeed, to die for our country is always considered not
only as glorious, but even as happy: they go back as far as
Erechtheus,[28] whose very daughters underwent death, for the safety of
their fellow-citizens: they instance Codrus, who threw himself into the
midst of his enemies, dressed like a common man, that his royal robes
might not betray him, because the oracle had declared the Athenians
conquerors, if their king was slain. Menoeceus[29] is not overlooked by
them, who, in compliance with the injunctions of an oracle, freely shed
his blood for his country. Iphigenia ordered herself to be conveyed to
Aulis, to be sacrificed, that her blood might be the cause of spilling
that of her enemies.

XLIX. From hence they proceed to instances of a fresher date. Harmodius
and Aristogiton are in everybody's mouth; the memory of Leonidas the
Lacedæmonian and Epaminondas the Theban is as fresh as ever. Those
philosophers were not acquainted with the many instances in our
country--to give a list of whom would take up too much time--who, we
see, considered death desirable as long as it was accompanied with
honor. But, notwithstanding this is the correct view of the case, we
must use much persuasion, speak as if we were endued with some higher
authority, in order to bring men to begin to wish to die, or cease to
be afraid of death. For if that last day does not occasion an entire
extinction, but a change of abode only, what can be more desirable? And
if it, on the other hand, destroys, and absolutely puts an end to us,
what can be preferable to the having a deep sleep fall on us, in the
midst of the fatigues of life, and being thus overtaken, to sleep to
eternity? And, should this really be the case, then Ennius's language
is more consistent with wisdom than Solon's; for our Ennius says,

    Let none bestow upon my passing bier
    One needless sigh or unavailing tear.

But the wise Solon says,

    Let me not unlamented die, but o'er my bier
    Burst forth the tender sigh, the friendly tear.[30]

But let us, if indeed it should be our fate to know the time which is
appointed by the Gods for us to die, prepare ourselves for it with a
cheerful and grateful mind, thinking ourselves like men who are
delivered from a jail, and released from their fetters, for the purpose
of going back to our eternal habitation, which may be more emphatically
called our own; or else to be divested of all sense and trouble. If, on
the other hand, we should have no notice given us of this decree, yet
let us cultivate such a disposition as to look on that formidable hour
of death as happy for us, though shocking to our friends; and let us
never imagine anything to be an evil which is an appointment of the
immortal Gods, or of nature, the common parent of all. For it is not by
hazard or without design that we have been born and situated as we
have. On the contrary, beyond all doubt there is a certain power which
consults the happiness of human nature; and this would neither have
produced nor provided for a being which, after having gone through the
labors of life, was to fall into eternal misery by death. Let us rather
infer that we have a retreat and haven prepared for us, which I wish we
could crowd all sail and arrive at; but though the winds should not
serve, and we should be driven back, yet we shall to a certainty arrive
at that point eventually, though somewhat later. But how can that be
miserable for one which all must of necessity undergo? I have given you
a peroration, that you might not think I had overlooked or neglected

_A._ I am persuaded you have not; and, indeed, that peroration has
confirmed me.

_M._ I am glad it has had that effect. But it is now time to consult
our health. To-morrow, and all the time we continue in this Tusculan
villa, let us consider this subject; and especially those portions of
it which may ease our pain, alleviate our fears, and lessen our
desires, which is the greatest advantage we can reap from the whole of

       *       *       *       *       *



I. Neoptolemus, in Ennius, indeed, says that the study of philosophy
was expedient for him; but that it required limiting to a few subjects,
for that to give himself up entirely to it was what he did not approve
of. And for my part, Brutus, I am perfectly persuaded that it is
expedient for me to philosophize; for what can I do better, especially
as I have no regular occupation? But I am not for limiting my
philosophy to a few subjects, as he does; for philosophy is a matter in
which it is difficult to acquire a little knowledge without acquainting
yourself with many, or all its branches, nor can you well take a few
subjects without selecting them out of a great number; nor can any one,
who has acquired the knowledge of a few points, avoid endeavoring with
the same eagerness to understand more. But still, in a busy life, and
in one mainly occupied with military matters, such as that of
Neoptolemus was at that time, even that limited degree of acquaintance
with philosophy may be of great use, and may yield fruit, not perhaps
so plentiful as a thorough knowledge of the whole of philosophy, but
yet such as in some degree may at times deliver us from the dominion of
our desires, our sorrows, and our fears; just as the effect of that
discussion which we lately maintained in my Tusculan villa seemed to be
that a great contempt of death was engendered, which contempt is of no
small efficacy towards delivering the mind from fear; for whoever
dreads what cannot be avoided can by no means live with a quiet and
tranquil mind. But he who is under no fear of death, not only because
it is a thing absolutely inevitable but also because he is persuaded
that death itself hath nothing terrible in it, provides himself with a
very great resource towards a happy life. However, I am not tolerant
that many will argue strenuously against us; and, indeed, that is a
thing which can never be avoided, except by abstaining from writing at
all. For if my Orations, which were addressed to the judgment and
approbation of the people (for that is a popular art, and the object of
oratory is popular applause), have been criticised by some people who
are inclined to withhold their praise from everything but what they are
persuaded they can attain to themselves, and who limit their ideas of
good speaking by the hopes which they conceive of what they themselves
may attain to, and who declare, when they are overwhelmed with a flow
of words and sentences, that they prefer the utmost poverty of thought
and expression to that plenty and copiousness (from which arose the
Attic kind of oratory, which they who professed it were strangers to,
though they have now been some time silenced, and laughed out of the
very courts of justice), what may I not expect, when at present I
cannot have the least countenance from the people by whom I used to be
upheld before? For philosophy is satisfied with a few judges, and of
her own accord industriously avoids the multitude, who are jealous of
it, and utterly displeased with it; so that, should any one undertake
to cry down the whole of it, he would have the people on his side;
while, if he should attack that school which I particularly profess, he
would have great assistance from those of the other philosophers.

II. But I have answered the detractors of philosophy in general, in my
Hortensius. And what I had to say in favor of the Academics, is, I
think, explained with sufficient accuracy in my four books of the
Academic Question.

But yet I am so far from desiring that no one should write against me,
that it is what I most earnestly wish; for philosophy would never have
been in such esteem in Greece itself, if it had not been for the
strength which it acquired from the contentions and disputations of the
most learned men; and therefore I recommend all men who have abilities
to follow my advice to snatch this art also from declining Greece, and
to transport it to this city; as our ancestors by their study and
industry have imported all their other arts which were worth having.
Thus the praise of oratory, raised from a low degree, is arrived at
such perfection that it must now decline, and, as is the nature of all
things, verge to its dissolution in a very short time. Let philosophy,
then, derive its birth in Latin language from this time, and let us
lend it our assistance, and bear patiently to be contradicted and
refuted; and although those men may dislike such treatment who are
bound and devoted to certain predetermined opinions, and are under such
obligations to maintain them that they are forced, for the sake of
consistency, to adhere to them even though they do not themselves
wholly approve of them; we, on the other hand, who pursue only
probabilities, and who cannot go beyond that which seems really likely,
can confute others without obstinacy, and are prepared to be confuted
ourselves without resentment. Besides, if these studies are ever
brought home to us, we shall not want even Greek libraries, in which
there is an infinite number of books, by reason of the multitude of
authors among them; for it is a common practice with many to repeat the
same things which have been written by others, which serves no purpose
but to stuff their shelves; and this will be our case, too, if many
apply themselves to this study.

III. But let us excite those, if possible, who have had a liberal
education, and are masters of an elegant style, and who philosophize
with reason and method.

For there is a certain class of them who would willingly be called
philosophers, whose books in our language are said to be numerous, and
which I do not despise; for, indeed, I never read them: but still,
because the authors themselves declare that they write without any
regularity, or method, or elegance, or ornament, I do not care to read
what must be so void of entertainment. There is no one in the least
acquainted with literature who does not know the style and sentiments
of that school; wherefore, since they are at no pains to express
themselves well, I do not see why they should be read by anybody except
by one another. Let them read them, if they please, who are of the same
opinions; for in the same manner as all men read Plato and the other
Socratics, with those who sprung from them, even those who do not agree
with their opinions, or are very indifferent about them; but scarcely
any one except their own disciples take Epicurus or Metrodorus into
their hands; so they alone read these Latin books who think that the
arguments contained in them are sound. But, in my opinion, whatever is
published should be recommended to the reading of every man of
learning; and though we may not succeed in this ourselves, yet
nevertheless we must be sensible that this ought to be the aim of every
writer. And on this account I have always been pleased with the custom
of the Peripatetics and Academics, of disputing on both sides of the
question; not solely from its being the only method of discovering what
is probable on every subject, but also because it affords the greatest
scope for practising eloquence; a method that Aristotle first made use
of, and afterward all the Aristotelians; and in our own memory Plilo,
whom we have often heard, appointed one time to treat of the precepts
of the rhetoricians, and another for philosophical discussion, to which
custom I was brought to conform by my friends at my Tusculum; and
accordingly our leisure time was spent in this manner. And therefore,
as yesterday before noon we applied ourselves to speaking, and in the
afternoon went down into the Academy, the discussions which were held
there I have acquainted you with, not in the manner of a narration, but
in almost the very same words which were employed in the debate.

IV. The discourse, then, was introduced in this manner while we were
walking, and it was commenced by some such an opening as this:

_A._ It is not to be expressed how much I was delighted, or rather
edified, by your discourse of yesterday. For although I am conscious to
myself that I have never been too fond of life, yet at times, when I
have considered that there would be an end to this life, and that I
must some time or other part with all its good things, a certain dread
and uneasiness used to intrude itself on my thoughts; but now, believe
me, I am so freed from that kind of uneasiness that there is nothing
that I think less worth any regard.

_M._ I am not at all surprised at that, for it is the effect of
philosophy, which is the medicine of our souls; it banishes all
groundless apprehensions, frees us from desires, and drives away fears:
but it has not the same influence over all men; it is of very great
influence when it falls in with a disposition well adapted to it. For
not only does Fortune, as the old proverb says, assist the bold, but
reason does so in a still greater degree; for it, by certain precepts,
as it were, strengthens even courage itself. You were born naturally
great and soaring, and with a contempt for all things which pertain to
man alone; therefore a discourse against death took easy possession of
a brave soul. But do you imagine that these same arguments have any
force with those very persons who have invented, and canvassed, and
published them, excepting indeed some very few particular persons? For
how few philosophers will you meet with whose life and manners are
conformable to the dictates of reason! who look on their profession,
not as a means of displaying their learning, but as a rule for their
own practice! who follow their own precepts, and comply with their own
decrees! You may see some of such levity and such vanity, that it would
have been better for them to have been ignorant; some covetous of
money, some others eager for glory, many slaves to their lusts; so that
their discourses and their actions are most strangely at variance; than
which nothing in my opinion can be more unbecoming: for just as if one
who professed to teach grammar should speak with impropriety, or a
master of music sing out of tune, such conduct has the worst appearance
in these men, because they blunder in the very particular with which
they profess that they are well acquainted. So a philosopher who errs
in the conduct of his life is the more infamous because he is erring in
the very thing which he pretends to teach, and, while he lays down
rules to regulate life by, is irregular in his own life.

V. _A._ Should this be the case, is it not to be feared that you are
dressing up philosophy in false colors? For what stronger argument can
there be that it is of little use than that some very profound
philosophers live in a discreditable manner?

_M._ That, indeed, is no argument at all, for as all the fields which
are cultivated are not fruitful (and this sentiment of Accius is false,
and asserted without any foundation,

    The ground you sow on is of small avail;
    To yield a crop good seed can never fail),

it is not every mind which has been properly cultivated that produces
fruit; and, to go on with the comparison, as a field, although it may
be naturally fruitful, cannot produce a crop without dressing, so
neither can the mind without education; such is the weakness of either
without the other. Whereas philosophy is the culture of the mind: this
it is which plucks up vices by the roots; prepares the mind for the
receiving of seeds; commits them to it, or, as I may say, sows them, in
the hope that, when come to maturity, they may produce a plentiful
harvest. Let us proceed, then, as we began. Say, if you please, what
shall be the subject of our disputation.

_A._ I look on pain to be the greatest of all evils.

_M._ What, even greater than infamy?

_A._ I dare not indeed assert that; and I blush to think I am so soon
driven from my ground.

_M._ You would have had greater reason for blushing had you persevered
in it; for what is so unbecoming--what can appear worse to you, than
disgrace, wickedness, immorality? To avoid which, what pain is there
which we ought not (I will not say to avoid shirking, but even) of our
own accord to encounter, and undergo, and even to court?

_A._ I am entirely of that opinion; but, notwithstanding that pain is
not the greatest evil, yet surely it is an evil.

_M._ Do you perceive, then, how much of the terror of pain you have
given up on a small hint?

_A._ I see that plainly; but I should be glad to give up more of it.

_M._ I will endeavor to make you do so; but it is a great undertaking,
and I must have a disposition on your part which is not inclined to
offer any obstacles.

_A._ You shall have such: for as I behaved yesterday, so now I will
follow reason wherever she leads.

VI. _M._ First, then, I will speak of the weakness of many
philosophers, and those, too, of various sects; the head of whom, both
in authority and antiquity, was Aristippus, the pupil of Socrates, who
hesitated not to say that pain was the greatest of all evils. And after
him Epicurus easily gave in to this effeminate and enervated doctrine.
After him Hieronymus the Rhodian said, that to be without pain was the
chief good, so great an evil did pain appear to him to be. The rest,
with the exceptions of Zeno, Aristo, Pyrrho, were pretty much of the
same opinion that you were of just now--that it was indeed an evil, but
that there were many worse. When, then, nature herself, and a certain
generous feeling of virtue, at once prevents you from persisting in the
assertion that pain is the chief evil, and when you were driven from
such an opinion when disgrace was contrasted with pain, shall
philosophy, the preceptress of life, cling to this idea for so many
ages? What duty of life, what praise, what reputation, would be of such
consequence that a man should be desirous of gaining it at the expense
of submitting to bodily pain, when he has persuaded himself that pain
is the greatest evil? On the other side, what disgrace, what ignominy,
would he not submit to that he might avoid pain, when persuaded that it
was the greatest of evils? Besides, what person, if it be only true
that pain is the greatest of evils, is not miserable, not only when he
actually feels pain, but also whenever he is aware that it may befall
him. And who is there whom pain may not befall? So that it is clear
that there is absolutely no one who can possibly be happy. Metrodorus,
indeed, thinks that man perfectly happy whose body is free from all
disorders, and who has an assurance that it will always continue so;
but who is there who can be assured of that?

VII. But Epicurus, indeed, says such things that it should seem that
his design was only to make people laugh; for he affirms somewhere that
if a wise man were to be burned or put to the torture--you expect,
perhaps, that he is going to say he would bear it, he would support
himself under it with resolution, he would not yield to it (and that by
Hercules! would be very commendable, and worthy of that very Hercules
whom I have just invoked): but even this will not satisfy Epicurus,
that robust and hardy man! No; his wise man, even if he were in
Phalaris's bull, would say, How sweet it is! how little do I regard it!
What, sweet? Is it not sufficient, if it is not disagreeable? But those
very men who deny pain to be an evil are not in the habit of saying
that it is agreeable to any one to be tormented; they rather say that
it is cruel, or hard to bear, afflicting, unnatural, but still not an
evil: while this man who says that it is the only evil, and the very
worst of all evils, yet thinks that a wise man would pronounce it
sweet. I do not require of you to speak of pain in the same words which
Epicurus uses--a man, as you know, devoted to pleasure: he may make no
difference, if he pleases, between Phalaris's bull and his own bed; but
I cannot allow the wise man to be so indifferent about pain. If he
bears it with courage, it is sufficient: that he should rejoice in it,
I do not expect; for pain is, beyond all question, sharp, bitter,
against nature, hard to submit to and to bear. Observe Philoctetes: We
may allow him to lament, for he saw Hercules himself groaning loudly
through extremity of pain on Mount Oeta. The arrows with which Hercules
presented him were then no consolation to him, when

    The viper's bite, impregnating his veins
    With poison, rack'd him with its bitter pains.

And therefore he cries out, desiring help, and wishing to die,

    Oh that some friendly hand its aid would lend,
    My body from this rock's vast height to send
    Into the briny deep! I'm all on fire,
    And by this fatal wound must soon expire.

It is hard to say that the man who was obliged to cry out in this
manner was not oppressed with evil, and great evil too.

VIII. But let us observe Hercules himself, who was subdued by pain at
the very time when he was on the point of attaining immortality by
death. What words does Sophocles here put in his mouth, in his
Trachiniæ? who, when Deianira had put upon him a tunic dyed in the
centaur's blood, and it stuck to his entrails, says,

    What tortures I endure no words can tell,
    Far greater these, than those which erst befell
    From the dire terror of thy consort, Jove--
    E'en stern Eurystheus' dire command above;
    This of thy daughter, Oeneus, is the fruit,
    Beguiling me with her envenom'd suit,
    Whose close embrace doth on my entrails prey,
    Consuming life; my lungs forbid to play;
    The blood forsakes my veins; my manly heart
    Forgets to beat; enervated, each part
    Neglects its office, while my fatal doom
    Proceeds ignobly from the weaver's loom.
    The hand of foe ne'er hurt me, nor the fierce
    Giant issuing from his parent earth.
    Ne'er could the Centaur such a blow enforce,
    No barbarous foe, nor all the Grecian force;
    This arm no savage people could withstand,
    Whose realms I traversed to reform the land.
    Thus, though I ever bore a manly heart,
    I fall a victim to a woman's art.
IX. Assist, my son, if thou that name dost hear,
    My groans preferring to thy mother's tear:
    Convey her here, if, in thy pious heart,
    Thy mother shares not an unequal part:
    Proceed, be bold, thy father's fate bemoan,
    Nations will join, you will not weep alone.
    Oh, what a sight is this same briny source,
    Unknown before, through all my labors' course!
    That virtue, which could brave each toil but late,
    With woman's weakness now bewails its fate.
    Approach, my son; behold thy father laid,
    A wither'd carcass that implores thy aid;
    Let all behold: and thou, imperious Jove,
    On me direct thy lightning from above:
    Now all its force the poison doth assume,
    And my burnt entrails with its flame consume.
    Crestfallen, unembraced, I now let fall
    Listless, those hands that lately conquer'd all;
    When the Nemæan lion own'd their force,
    And he indignant fell a breathless corse;
    The serpent slew, of the Lernean lake,
    As did the Hydra of its force partake:
    By this, too, fell the Erymanthian boar:
    E'en Cerberus did his weak strength deplore.
    This sinewy arm did overcome with ease
    That dragon, guardian of the Golden Fleece.
    My many conquests let some others trace;
    It's mine to say, I never knew disgrace.[31]

Can we then, despise pain, when we see Hercules himself giving vent to
his expressions of agony with such impatience?

X. Let us see what Æschylus says, who was not only a poet but a
Pythagorean philosopher also, for that is the account which you have
received of him; how doth he make Prometheus bear the pain he suffered
for the Lemnian theft, when he clandestinely stole away the celestial
fire, and bestowed it on men, and was severely punished by Jupiter for
the theft. Fastened to Mount Caucasus, he speaks thus:

    Thou heav'n-born race of Titans here fast bound,
    Behold thy brother! As the sailors sound
    With care the bottom, and their ships confine
    To some safe shore, with anchor and with line;
    So, by Jove's dread decree, the God of fire
    Confines me here the victim of Jove's ire.
    With baneful art his dire machine he shapes;
    From such a God what mortal e'er escapes?
    When each third day shall triumph o'er the night,
    Then doth the vulture, with his talons light,
    Seize on my entrails; which, in rav'nous guise,
    He preys on! then with wing extended flies
    Aloft, and brushes with his plumes the gore:
    But when dire Jove my liver doth restore,
    Back he returns impetuous to his prey,
    Clapping his wings, he cuts th' ethereal way.
    Thus do I nourish with my blood this pest,
    Confined my arms, unable to contest;
    Entreating only that in pity Jove
    Would take my life, and this cursed plague remove.
    But endless ages past unheard my moan,
    Sooner shall drops dissolve this very stone.[32]

And therefore it scarcely seems possible to avoid calling a man who is
suffering, miserable; and if he is miserable, then pain is an evil.

XI. _A._ Hitherto you are on my side; I will see to that by-and-by;
and, in the mean while, whence are those verses? I do not remember

_M._ I will inform you, for you are in the right to ask. Do you see
that I have much leisure?

_A._ What, then?

_M._ I imagine, when you were at Athens, you attended frequently at the
schools of the philosophers.

_A._ Yes, and with great pleasure.

_M._ You observed, then, that though none of them at that time were
very eloquent, yet they used to mix verses with their harangues.

_A._ Yes, and particularly Dionysius the Stoic used to employ a great

_M._ You say right; but they were quoted without any appropriateness or
elegance. But our friend Philo used to give a few select lines and well
adapted; and in imitation of him, ever since I took a fancy to this
kind of elderly declamation, I have been very fond of quoting our
poets; and where I cannot be supplied from them, I translate from the
Greek, that the Latin language may not want any kind of ornament in
this kind of disputation.

But, do you not see how much harm is done by poets? They introduce the
bravest men lamenting over their misfortunes: they soften our minds;
and they are, besides, so entertaining, that we do not only read them,
but get them by heart. Thus the influence of the poets is added to our
want of discipline at home, and our tender and delicate manner of
living, so that between them they have deprived virtue of all its vigor
and energy. Plato, therefore, was right in banishing them from his
commonwealth, where he required the best morals, and the best form of
government. But we, who have all our learning from Greece, read and
learn these works of theirs from our childhood; and look on this as a
liberal and learned education.

XII. But why are we angry with the poets? We may find some
philosophers, those masters of virtue, who have taught that pain was
the greatest of evils. But you, young man, when you said but just now
that it appeared so to you, upon being asked by me what appeared
greater than infamy, gave up that opinion at a word. Suppose I ask
Epicurus the same question. He will answer that a trifling degree of
pain is a greater evil than the greatest infamy; for that there is no
evil in infamy itself, unless attended with pain. What pain, then,
attends Epicurus, when he says that very thing, that pain is the
greatest evil! And yet nothing can be a greater disgrace to a
philosopher than to talk thus. Therefore, you allowed enough when you
admitted that infamy appeared to you to be a greater evil than pain.
And if you abide by this admission, you will see how far pain should be
resisted; and that our inquiry should be not so much whether pain be an
evil, as how the mind may be fortified for resisting it. The Stoics
infer from some petty quibbling arguments that it is no evil, as if the
dispute were about a word, and not about the thing itself. Why do you
impose upon me, Zeno? For when you deny what appears very dreadful to
me to be an evil, I am deceived, and am at a loss to know why that
which appears to me to be a most miserable thing should be no evil. The
answer is, that nothing is an evil but what is base and vicious. You
return to your trifling, for you do not remove what made me uneasy. I
know that pain is not vice--you need not inform me of that: but show me
that it makes no difference to me whether I am in pain or not. It has
never anything to do, say you, with a happy life, for that depends upon
virtue alone; but yet pain is to be avoided. If I ask, why? It is
disagreeable, against nature, hard to bear, woful and afflicting.

XIII. Here are many words to express that by so many different forms
which we call by the single word evil. You are defining pain, instead
of removing it, when you say, it is disagreeable, unnatural, scarcely
possible to be endured or borne, nor are you wrong in saying so: but
the man who vaunts himself in such a manner should not give way in his
conduct, if it be true that nothing is good but what is honest, and
nothing evil but what is disgraceful. This would be wishing, not
proving. This argument is a better one, and has more truth in it--that
all things which Nature abhors are to be looked upon as evil; that
those which she approves of are to be considered as good: for when this
is admitted, and the dispute about words removed, that which they with
reason embrace, and which we call honest, right, becoming, and
sometimes include under the general name of virtue, appears so far
superior to everything else that all other things which are looked upon
as the gifts of fortune, or the good things of the body, seem trifling
and insignificant; and no evil whatever, nor all the collective body of
evils together, appears to be compared to the evil of infamy.
Wherefore, if, as you granted in the beginning, infamy is worse than
pain, pain is certainly nothing; for while it appears to you base and
unmanly to groan, cry out, lament, or faint under pain; while you
cherish notions of probity, dignity, honor, and, keeping your eye on
them, refrain yourself, pain will certainly yield to virtue, and, by
the influence of imagination, will lose its whole force.--For you must
either admit that there is no such thing as virtue, or you must despise
every kind of pain. Will you allow of such a virtue as prudence,
without which no virtue whatever can even be conceived? What, then?
Will that suffer you to labor and take pains to no purpose? Will
temperance permit you to do anything to excess? Will it be possible for
justice to be maintained by one who through the force of pain discovers
secrets, or betrays his confederates, or deserts many duties of life?
Will you act in a manner consistently with courage, and its attendants,
greatness of soul, resolution, patience, and contempt for all worldly
things? Can you hear yourself called a great man when you lie
grovelling, dejected, and deploring your condition with a lamentable
voice; no one would call you even a man while in such a condition. You
must therefore either abandon all pretensions to courage, or else pain
must be put out of the question.

XIV. You know very well that, even though part of your Corinthian
furniture were gone, the remainder might be safe without that; but if
you lose one virtue (though virtue in reality cannot be lost), still
if, I say, you should acknowledge that you were deficient in one, you
would be stripped of all. Can you, then, call yourself a brave man, of
a great soul, endued with patience and steadiness above the frowns of
fortune? or Philoctetes? for I choose to instance him, rather than
yourself, for he certainly was not a brave man, who lay in his bed,
which was watered with his tears,

    Whose groans, bewailings, and whose bitter cries,
    With grief incessant rent the very skies.

I do not deny pain to be pain--for were that the case, in what would
courage consist?--but I say it should be assuaged by patience, if there
be such a thing as patience: if there be no such thing, why do we speak
so in praise of philosophy? or why do we glory in its name? Does pain
annoy us? Let it sting us to the heart: if you are without defensive
armor, bare your throat to it; but if you are secured by Vulcanian
armor, that is to say by resolution, resist it. Should you fail to do
so, that guardian of your honor, your courage, will forsake and leave
you.--By the laws of Lycurgus, and by those which were given to the
Cretans by Jupiter, or which Minos established under the direction of
Jupiter, as the poets say, the youths of the State are trained by the
practice of hunting, running, enduring hunger and thirst, cold and
heat. The boys at Sparta are scourged so at the altars that blood
follows the lash in abundance; nay, sometimes, as I used to hear when I
was there, they are whipped even to death; and yet not one of them was
ever heard to cry out, or so much as groan. What, then? Shall men not
be able to bear what boys do? and shall custom have such great force,
and reason none at all?

XV. There is some difference between labor and pain; they border upon
one another, but still there is a certain difference between them.
Labor is a certain exercise of the mind or body, in some employment or
undertaking of serious trouble and importance; but pain is a sharp
motion in the body, disagreeable to our senses.--Both these feelings,
the Greeks, whose language is more copious than ours, express by the
common name of [Greek: Ponos]: therefore they call industrious men
painstaking, or, rather, fond of labor; we, more conveniently, call
them laborious; for laboring is one thing, and enduring pain another.
You see, O Greece! your barrenness of words, sometimes, though you
think you are always so rich in them. I say, then, that there is a
difference between laboring and being in pain. When Caius Marius had an
operation performed for a swelling in his thigh, he felt pain; when he
headed his troops in a very hot season, he labored. Yet these two
feelings bear some resemblance to one another; for the accustoming
ourselves to labor makes the endurance of pain more easy to us. And it
was because they were influenced by this reason that the founders of
the Grecian form of government provided that the bodies of their youth
should be strengthened by labor, which custom the Spartans transferred
even to their women, who in other cities lived more delicately, keeping
within the walls of their houses; but it was otherwise with the

    The Spartan women, with a manly air,
    Fatigues and dangers with their husbands share;
    They in fantastic sports have no delight,
    Partners with them in exercise and fight.

And in these laborious exercises pain interferes sometimes. They are
thrown down, receive blows, have bad falls, and are bruised, and the
labor itself produces a sort of callousness to pain.

XVI. As to military service (I speak of our own, not of that of the
Spartans, for they used to march slowly to the sound of the flute, and
scarce a word of command was given without an anapæst), you may see, in
the first place, whence the very name of an army (_exercitus_[33]) is
derived; and, secondly, how great the labor is of an army on its march:
then consider that they carry more than a fortnight's provision, and
whatever else they may want; that they carry the burden of the
stakes,[34] for as to shield, sword, or helmet, they look on them as no
more encumbrance than their own limbs, for they say that arms are the
limbs of a soldier, and those, indeed, they carry so commodiously that,
when there is occasion, they throw down their burdens, and use their
arms as readily as their limbs. Why need I mention the exercises of the
legions? And how great the labor is which is undergone in the running,
encounters, shouts! Hence it is that their minds are worked up to make
so light of wounds in action. Take a soldier of equal bravery, but
undisciplined, and he will seem a woman. Why is it that there is this
sensible difference between a raw recruit and a veteran soldier? The
age of the young soldiers is for the most part in their favor; but it
is practice only that enables men to bear labor and despise wounds.
Moreover, we often see, when the wounded are carried off the field, the
raw, untried soldier, though but slightly wounded, cries out most
shamefully; but the more brave, experienced veteran only inquires for
some one to dress his wounds, and says,

    Patroclus, to thy aid I must appeal
    Ere worse ensue, my bleeding wounds to heal;
    The sons of Æsculapius are employ'd,
    No room for me, so many are annoy'd.

XVII. This is certainly Eurypylus himself. What an experienced
man!--While his friend is continually enlarging on his misfortunes, you
may observe that he is so far from weeping that he even assigns a
reason why he should bear his wounds with patience.

    Who at his enemy a stroke directs,
    His sword to light upon himself expects.

Patroclus, I suppose, will lead him off to his chamber to bind up his
wounds, at least if he be a man: but not a word of that; he only
inquires how the battle went:

    Say how the Argives bear themselves in fight?

And yet no words can show the truth as well as those, your deeds and
visible sufferings.

    Peace! and my wounds bind up;

but though Eurypylus could bear these afflictions, Æsopus could not,

    Where Hector's fortune press'd our yielding troops;

and he explains the rest, though in pain. So unbounded is military
glory in a brave man! Shall, then, a veteran soldier be able to behave
in this manner, and shall a wise and learned man not be able? Surely
the latter might be able to bear pain better, and in no small degree
either. At present, however, I am confining myself to what is
engendered by practice and discipline. I am not yet come to speak of
reason and philosophy. You may often hear of old women living without
victuals for three or four days; but take away a wrestler's provisions
but for one day, and he will implore the aid of Jupiter Olympius, the
very God for whom he exercises himself: he will cry out that he cannot
endure it. Great is the force of custom! Sportsmen will continue whole
nights in the snow; they will bear being almost frozen upon the
mountains. From practice boxers will not so much as utter a groan,
however bruised by the cestus. But what do you think of those to whom a
victory in the Olympic games seemed almost on a par with the ancient
consulships of the Roman people? What wounds will the gladiators bear,
who are either barbarians, or the very dregs of mankind! How do they,
who are trained to it, prefer being wounded to basely avoiding it! How
often do they prove that they consider nothing but the giving
satisfaction to their masters or to the people! for when covered with
wounds, they send to their masters to learn their pleasure: if it is
their will, they are ready to lie down and die. What gladiator, of even
moderate reputation, ever gave a sigh? who ever turned pale? who ever
disgraced himself either in the actual combat, or even when about to
die? who that had been defeated ever drew in his neck to avoid the
stroke of death? So great is the force of practice, deliberation, and
custom! Shall this, then, be done by

    A Samnite rascal, worthy of his trade;

and shall a man born to glory have so soft a part in his soul as not to
be able to fortify it by reason and reflection? The sight of the
gladiators' combats is by some looked on as cruel and inhuman, and I do
not know, as it is at present managed, but it may be so; but when the
guilty fought, we might receive by our ears perhaps (but certainly by
our eyes we could not) better training to harden us against pain and

XVIII. I have now said enough about the effects of exercise, custom,
and careful meditation. Proceed we now to consider the force of reason,
unless you have something to reply to what has been said.

_A._ That I should interrupt you! By no means; for your discourse has
brought me over to your opinion. Let the Stoics, then, think it their
business to determine whether pain be an evil or not, while they
endeavor to show by some strained and trifling conclusions, which are
nothing to the purpose, that pain is no evil. My opinion is, that
whatever it is, it is not so great as it appears; and I say, that men
are influenced to a great extent by some false representations and
appearance of it, and that all which is really felt is capable of being
endured. Where shall I begin, then? Shall I superficially go over what
I said before, that my discourse may have a greater scope?

This, then, is agreed upon by all, and not only by learned men, but
also by the unlearned, that it becomes the brave and magnanimous--those
that have patience and a spirit above this world--not to give way to
pain. Nor has there ever been any one who did not commend a man who
bore it in this manner. That, then, which is expected from a brave man,
and is commended when it is seen, it must surely be base in any one to
be afraid of at its approach, or not to bear when it comes. But I would
have you consider whether, as all the right affections of the soul are
classed under the name of virtues, the truth is that this is not
properly the name of them all, but that they all have their name from
that leading virtue which is superior to all the rest: for the name
"virtue" comes from _vir_, a man, and courage is the peculiar
distinction of a man: and this virtue has two principal duties, to
despise death and pain. We must, then, exert these, if we would be men
of virtue, or, rather, if we would be men, because virtue (_virtus_)
takes its very name from _vir_, man.

XIX. You may inquire, perhaps, how? And such an inquiry is not amiss,
for philosophy is ready with her assistance. Epicurus offers himself to
you, a man far from a bad--or, I should rather say, a very good man: he
advises no more than he knows. "Despise pain," says he. Who is it saith
this? Is it the same man who calls pain the greatest of all evils? It
is not, indeed, very consistent in him. Let us hear what he says: "If
the pain is excessive, it must needs be short." I must have that over
again, for I do not apprehend what you mean exactly by "excessive" or
"short." That is excessive than which nothing can be greater; that is
short than which nothing is shorter. I do not regard the greatness of
any pain from which, by reason of the shortness of its continuance, I
shall be delivered almost before it reaches me. But if the pain be as
great as that of Philoctetes, it will appear great indeed to me, but
yet not the greatest that I am capable of bearing; for the pain is
confined to my foot. But my eye may pain me, I may have a pain in the
head, or sides, or lungs, or in every part of me. It is far, then, from
being excessive. Therefore, says he, pain of a long continuance has
more pleasure in it than uneasiness. Now, I cannot bring myself to say
so great a man talks nonsense; but I imagine he is laughing at us. My
opinion is that the greatest pain (I say the greatest, though it may be
ten atoms less than another) is not therefore short, because acute. I
could name to you a great many good men who have been tormented many
years with the acutest pains of the gout. But this cautious man doth
not determine the measure of that greatness or of duration, so as to
enable us to know what he calls excessive with regard to pain, or short
with respect to its continuance. Let us pass him by, then, as one who
says just nothing at all; and let us force him to acknowledge,
notwithstanding he might behave himself somewhat boldly under his colic
and his strangury, that no remedy against pain can be had from him who
looks on pain as the greatest of all evils. We must apply, then, for
relief elsewhere, and nowhere better (if we seek for what is most
consistent with itself) than to those who place the chief good in
honesty, and the greatest evil in infamy. You dare not so much as
groan, or discover the least uneasiness in their company, for virtue
itself speaks to you through them.

XX. Will you, when you may observe children at Lacedæmon, and young men
at Olympia, and barbarians in the amphitheatre, receive the severest
wounds, and bear them without once opening their mouths--will you, I
say, if any pain should by chance attack you, cry out like a woman?
Will you not rather bear it with resolution and constancy? and not cry,
It is intolerable; nature cannot bear it! I hear what you say: Boys
bear this because they are led thereto by glory; some bear it through
shame, many through fear, and yet are we afraid that nature cannot bear
what is borne by many, and in such different circumstances? Nature not
only bears it, but challenges it, for there is nothing with her
preferable, nothing which she desires more than credit, and reputation,
and praise, and honor, and glory. I choose here to describe this one
thing under many names, and I have used many that you may have the
clearer idea of it; for what I mean to say is, that whatever is
desirable of itself, proceeding from virtue, or placed in virtue, and
commendable on its own account (which I would rather agree to call the
only good than deny it to be the chief good) is what men should prefer
above all things. And as we declare this to be the case with respect to
honesty, so we speak in the contrary manner of infamy; nothing is so
odious, so detestable, nothing so unworthy of a man. And if you are
thoroughly convinced of this (for, at the beginning of this discourse,
you allowed that there appeared to you more evil in infamy than in
pain), it follows that you ought to have the command over yourself,
though I scarcely know how this expression may seem an accurate one,
which appears to represent man as made up of two natures, so that one
should be in command and the other be subject to it.

XXI. Yet this division does not proceed from ignorance; for the soul
admits of a twofold division, one of which partakes of reason, the
other is without it. When, therefore, we are ordered to give a law to
ourselves, the meaning is, that reason should restrain our rashness.
There is in the soul of every man something naturally soft, low,
enervated in a manner, and languid. Were there nothing besides this,
men would be the greatest of monsters; but there is present to every
man reason, which presides over and gives laws to all; which, by
improving itself, and making continual advances, becomes perfect
virtue. It behooves a man, then, to take care that reason shall have
the command over that part which is bound to practise obedience. In
what manner? you will say. Why, as a master has over his slave, a
general over his army, a father over his son. If that part of the soul
which I have called soft behaves disgracefully, if it gives itself up
to lamentations and womanish tears, then let it be restrained, and
committed to the care of friends and relations, for we often see those
persons brought to order by shame whom no reasons can influence.
Therefore, we should confine those feelings, like our servants, in safe
custody, and almost with chains. But those who have more resolution,
and yet are not utterly immovable, we should encourage with our
exhortations, as we would good soldiers, to recollect themselves, and
maintain their honor. That wisest man of all Greece, in the Niptræ,
does not lament too much over his wounds, or, rather, he is moderate in
his grief:

    Move slow, my friends; your hasty speed refrain,
    Lest by your motion you increase my pain.

Pacuvius is better in this than Sophocles, for in the one Ulysses
bemoans his wounds too vehemently; for the very people who carried him
after he was wounded, though his grief was moderate, yet, considering
the dignity of the man, did not scruple to say,

    And thou, Ulysses, long to war inured,
    Thy wounds, though great, too feebly hast endured.

The wise poet understood that custom was no contemptible instructor how
to bear pain. But the same hero complains with more decency, though in
great pain:

    Assist, support me, never leave me so;
    Unbind my wounds, oh! execrable woe!

He begins to give way, but instantly checks himself:

    Away! begone! but cover first the sore;
    For your rude hands but make my pains the more.

Do you observe how he constrains himself? not that his bodily pains
were less, but because he checks the anguish of his mind. Therefore, in
the conclusion of the Niptræ, he blames others, even when he himself is

    Complaints of fortune may become the man,
    None but a woman will thus weeping stand.

And so that soft place in his soul obeys his reason, just as an abashed
soldier does his stern commander.

XXII. The man, then, in whom absolute wisdom exists (such a man,
indeed, we have never as yet seen, but the philosophers have described
in their writings what sort of man he will be, if he should exist);
such a man, or at least that perfect and absolute reason which exists
in him, will have the same authority over the inferior part as a good
parent has over his dutiful children: he will bring it to obey his nod
without any trouble or difficulty. He will rouse himself, prepare and
arm himself, to oppose pain as he would an enemy. If you inquire what
arms he will provide himself with, they will be contention,
encouragement, discourse with himself. He will say thus to himself:
Take care that you are guilty of nothing base, languid, or unmanly. He
will turn over in his mind all the different kinds of honor. Zeno of
Elea will occur to him, who suffered everything rather than betray his
confederates in the design of putting an end to the tyranny. He will
reflect on Anaxarchus, the pupil of Democritus, who, having fallen into
the hands of Nicocreon, King of Cyprus, without the least entreaty for
mercy or refusal, submitted to every kind of torture. Calanus the
Indian will occur to him, an ignorant man and a barbarian, born at the
foot of Mount Caucasus, who committed himself to the flames by his own
free, voluntary act. But we, if we have the toothache, or a pain in the
foot, or if the body be anyways affected, cannot bear it. For our
sentiments of pain as well as pleasure are so trifling and effeminate,
we are so enervated and relaxed by luxuries, that we cannot bear the
sting of a bee without crying out. But Caius Marius, a plain
countryman, but of a manly soul, when he had an operation performed on
him, as I mentioned above, at first refused to be tied down; and he is
the first instance of any one's having had an operation performed on
him without being tied down. Why, then, did others bear it afterward?
Why, from the force of example. You see, then, that pain exists more in
opinion than in nature; and yet the same Marius gave a proof that there
is something very sharp in pain for he would not submit to have the
other thigh cut. So that he bore his pain with resolution as a man;
but, like a reasonable person, he was not willing to undergo any
greater pain without some necessary reason. The whole, then, consists
in this--that you should have command over yourself. I have already
told you what kind of command this is; and by considering what is most
consistent with patience, fortitude, and greatness of soul, a man not
only restrains himself, but, somehow or other, mitigates even pain

XXIII. Even as in a battle the dastardly and timorous soldier throws
away his shield on the first appearance of an enemy, and runs as fast
as he can, and on that account loses his life sometimes, though he has
never received even one wound, when he who stands his ground has
nothing of the sort happen to him, so they who cannot bear the
appearance of pain throw themselves away, and give themselves up to
affliction and dismay. But they that oppose it, often come off more
than a match for it. For the body has a certain resemblance to the
soul: as burdens are more easily borne the more the body is exerted,
while they crush us if we give way, so the soul by exerting itself
resists the whole weight that would oppress it; but if it yields, it is
so pressed that it cannot support itself. And if we consider things
truly, the soul should exert itself in every pursuit, for that is the
only security for its doing its duty. But this should be principally
regarded in pain, that we must not do anything timidly, or dastardly,
or basely, or slavishly, or effeminately, and, above all things, we
must dismiss and avoid that Philoctetean sort of outcry. A man is
allowed sometimes to groan, but yet seldom; but it is not permissible
even in a woman to howl; for such a noise as this is forbidden, by the
twelve tables, to be used even at funerals. Nor does a wise or brave
man ever groan, unless when he exerts himself to give his resolution
greater force, as they who run in the stadium make as much noise as
they can. The wrestlers, too, do the same when they are training; and
the boxers, when they aim a blow with the cestus at their adversary,
give a groan, not because they are in pain, or from a sinking of their
spirits, but because their whole body is put upon the stretch by the
throwing-out of these groans, and the blow comes the stronger.

XXIV. What! they who would speak louder than ordinary are they
satisfied with working their jaws, sides, or tongue or stretching the
common organs of speech and utterance? The whole body and every muscle
is at full stretch if I may be allowed the expression; every nerve is
exerted to assist their voice. I have actually seen the knees of Marcus
Antonius touch the ground when he was speaking with vehemence for
himself, with relation to the Varian law. For, as the engines you throw
stones or darts with throw them out with the greater force the more
they are strained and drawn back; so it is in speaking, running, or
boxing--the more people strain themselves, the greater their force.
Since, therefore, this exertion has so much influence--if in a moment
of pain groans help to strengthen the mind, let us use them; but if
they be groans of lamentation, if they be the expression of weakness or
abjectness, or unmanly weeping, then I should scarcely call him a man
who yielded to them. For even supposing that such groaning could give
any ease, it still should be considered whether it were consistent with
a brave and resolute man. But if it does not ease our pain, why should
we debase ourselves to no purpose? For what is more unbecoming in a man
than to cry like a woman? But this precept which is laid down with
respect to pain is not confined to it. We should apply this exertion of
the soul to everything else. Is anger inflamed? is lust excited? we
must have recourse to the same citadel, and apply to the same arms. But
since it is pain which we are at present discussing, we will let the
other subjects alone. To bear pain, then, sedately and calmly, it is of
great use to consider with all our soul, as the saying is, how noble it
is to do so, for we are naturally desirous (as I said before, but it
cannot be too often repeated) and very much inclined to what is
honorable, of which, if we discover but the least glimpse, there is
nothing which we are not prepared to undergo and suffer to attain it.
From this impulse of our minds, this desire for genuine glory and
honorable conduct, it is that such dangers are supported in war, and
that brave men are not sensible of their wounds in action, or, if they
are sensible of them, prefer death to the departing but the least step
from their honor. The Decii saw the shining swords of their enemies
when they were rushing into the battle. But the honorable character and
the glory of the death which they were seeking made all fear of death
of little weight. Do you imagine that Epaminondas groaned when he
perceived that his life was flowing out with his blood? No; for he left
his country triumphing over the Lacedæmonians, whereas he had found it
in subjection to them. These are the comforts, these are the things
that assuage the greatest pain.

XXV. You may ask, How the case is in peace? What is to be done at home?
How we are to behave in bed? You bring me back to the philosophers, who
seldom go to war. Among these, Dionysius of Heraclea, a man certainly
of no resolution, having learned fortitude of Zeno, quitted it on being
in pain; for, being tormented with a pain in his kidneys, in bewailing
himself he cried out that those things were false which he had formerly
conceived of pain. And when his fellow-disciple, Cleanthes, asked him
why he had changed his opinion, he answered, "That the case of any man
who had applied so much time to philosophy, and yet was unable to bear
pain, might be a sufficient proof that pain is an evil; that he himself
had spent many years at philosophy, and yet could not bear pain: it
followed, therefore, that pain was an evil." It is reported that
Cleanthes on that struck his foot on the ground, and repeated a verse
out of the Epigonæ:

    Amphiaraus, hear'st thou this below?

He meant Zeno: he was sorry the other had degenerated from him.

But it was not so with our friend Posidonius, whom I have often seen
myself; and I will tell you what Pompey used to say of him: that when
he came to Rhodes, after his departure from Syria, he had a great
desire to hear Posidonius, but was informed that he was very ill of a
severe fit of the gout; yet he had great inclination to pay a visit to
so famous a philosopher. Accordingly, when he had seen him, and paid
his compliments, and had spoken with great respect of him, he said he
was very sorry that he could not hear him lecture. "But indeed you
may," replied the other, "nor will I suffer any bodily pain to occasion
so great a man to visit me in vain." On this Pompey relates that, as he
lay on his bed, he disputed with great dignity and fluency on this very
subject: that nothing was good but what was honest; and that in his
paroxysms he would often say, "Pain, it is to no purpose;
notwithstanding you are troublesome, I will never acknowledge you an
evil." And in general all celebrated and notorious afflictions become
endurable by disregarding them.

XXVI. Do we not observe that where those exercises called gymnastic are
in esteem, those who enter the lists never concern themselves about
dangers? that where the praise of riding and hunting is highly
esteemed, they who practice these arts decline no pain? What shall I
say of our own ambitious pursuits or desire of honors? What fire have
not candidates run through to gain a single vote? Therefore Africanus
had always in his hands Xenophon, the pupil of Socrates, being
particularly pleased with his saying, that the same labors were not
equally heavy to the general and to the common man, because the honor
itself made the labor lighter to the general. But yet, so it happens,
that even with the illiterate vulgar an idea of honor is of great
influence, though they cannot understand what it is. They are led by
report and common opinion to look on that as honorable which has the
general voice. Not that I would have you, should the multitude be ever
so fond of you, rely on their judgment, nor approve of everything which
they think right: you must use your own judgment. If you are satisfied
with yourself when you have approved of what is right, you will not
only have the mastery over yourself (which I recommended to you just
now), but over everybody, and everything. Lay this down, then, as a
rule, that a great capacity, and lofty elevation of soul, which
distinguishes itself most by despising and looking down with contempt
on pain, is the most excellent of all things, and the more so if it
does not depend on the people and does not aim at applause, but derives
its satisfaction from itself. Besides, to me, indeed, everything seems
the more commendable the less the people are courted, and the fewer
eyes there are to see it. Not that you should avoid the public, for
every generous action loves the public view; yet no theatre for virtue
is equal to a consciousness of it.

XXVII. And let this be principally considered: that this bearing of
pain, which I have often said is to be strengthened by an exertion of
the soul, should be the same in everything. For you meet with many who,
through a desire of victory, or for glory, or to maintain their rights,
or their liberty, have boldly received wounds, and borne themselves up
under them; and yet those very same persons, by relaxing that
intenseness of their minds, were unequal to bearing the pain of a
disease; for they did not support themselves under their former
sufferings by reason or philosophy, but by inclination and glory.
Therefore some barbarians and savage people are able to fight very
stoutly with the sword, but cannot bear sickness like men; but the
Grecians, men of no great courage, but as wise as human nature will
admit of, cannot look an enemy in the face, yet the same will bear to
be visited with sickness tolerably, and with a sufficiently manly
spirit; and the Cimbrians and Celtiberians are very alert in battle,
but bemoan themselves in sickness. For nothing can be consistent which
has not reason for its foundation. But when you see those who are led
by inclination or opinion, not retarded by pain in their pursuits, nor
hindered by it from succeeding in them, you may conclude, either that
pain is no evil, or that, notwithstanding you may choose to call an
evil whatever is disagreeable and contrary to nature, yet it is so very
trifling an evil that it may so effectually be got the better of by
virtue as quite to disappear. And I would have you think of this night
and day; for this argument will spread itself, and take up more room
some time or other, and not be confined to pain alone; for if the
motives to all our actions are to avoid disgrace and acquire honor, we
may not only despise the stings of pain, but the storms of fortune,
especially if we have recourse to that retreat which was pointed out in
our yesterday's discussion; for, as if some God had advised a man who
was pursued by pirates to throw himself overboard, saying, "There is
something at hand to receive you; either a dolphin will take you up, as
it did Arion of Methymna; or those horses sent by Neptune to Pelops
(who are said to have carried chariots so rapidly as to be borne up by
the waves) will receive you, and convey you wherever you please. Cast
away all fear." So, though your pains be ever so sharp and
disagreeable, if the case is not such that it is worth your while to
endure them, you see whither you may betake yourself. I think this will
do for the present. But perhaps you still abide by your opinion.

_A._ Not in the least, indeed; and I hope I am freed by these two days'
discourses from the fear of two things that I greatly dreaded.

_M._ To-morrow, then, for rhetoric, as we were saying. But I see we
must not drop our philosophy.

_A._ No, indeed; we will have the one in the forenoon, and this at the
usual time.

_M._ It shall be so, and I will comply with your very laudable

       *       *       *       *       *



I. What reason shall I assign, O Brutus, why, as we consist of mind and
body, the art of curing and preserving the body should be so much
sought after, and the invention of it, as being so useful, should be
ascribed to the immortal Gods; but the medicine of the mind should not
have been so much the object of inquiry while it was unknown, nor so
much attended to and cultivated after its discovery, nor so well
received or approved of by some, and accounted actually disagreeable,
and looked upon with an envious eye by many? Is it because we, by means
of the mind, judge of the pains and disorders of the body, but do not,
by means of the body, arrive at any perception of the disorders of the
mind? Hence it comes that the mind only judges of itself when that very
faculty by which it is judged is in a bad state. Had nature given us
faculties for discerning and viewing herself, and could we go through
life by keeping our eye on her--our best guide--there would be no
reason certainly why any one should be in want of philosophy or
learning; but, as it is, she has furnished us only with some feeble
rays of light, which we immediately extinguish so completely by evil
habits and erroneous opinions that the light of nature is nowhere
visible. The seeds of virtues are natural to our constitutions, and,
were they suffered to come to maturity, would naturally conduct us to a
happy life; but now, as soon as we are born and received into the
world, we are instantly familiarized with all kinds of depravity and
perversity of opinions; so that we may be said almost to suck in error
with our nurse's milk. When we return to our parents, and are put into
the hands of tutors and governors, we are imbued with so many errors
that truth gives place to falsehood, and nature herself to established

II. To these we may add the poets; who, on account of the appearance
they exhibit of learning and wisdom, are heard, read, and got by heart,
and make a deep impression on our minds. But when to these are added
the people, who are, as it were, one great body of instructors, and the
multitude, who declare unanimously for what is wrong, then are we
altogether overwhelmed with bad opinions, and revolt entirely from
nature; so that they seem to deprive us of our best guide who have
decided that there is nothing better for man, nothing more worthy of
being desired by him, nothing more excellent, than honors and commands,
and a high reputation with the people; which indeed every excellent man
aims at; but while he pursues that only true honor which nature has in
view above all other objects, he finds himself busied in arrant
trifles, and in pursuit of no conspicuous form of virtue, but only some
shadowy representation of glory. For glory is a real and express
substance, not a mere shadow. It consists in the united praise of good
men, the free voice of those who form a true judgment of pre-eminent
virtue; it is, as it were, the very echo of virtue; and being generally
the attendant on laudable actions, should not be slighted by good men.
But popular fame, which would pretend to imitate it, is hasty and
inconsiderate, and generally commends wicked and immoral actions, and
throws discredit upon the appearance and beauty of honesty by assuming
a resemblance of it. And it is owing to their not being able to
discover the difference between them that some men ignorant of real
excellence, and in what it consists, have been the destruction of their
country and of themselves. And thus the best men have erred, not so
much in their intentions as by a mistaken conduct. What? is no cure to
be attempted to be applied to those who are carried away by the love of
money, or the lust of pleasures, by which they are rendered little
short of madmen, which is the case of all weak people? or is it because
the disorders of the mind are less dangerous than those of the body? or
because the body will admit of a cure, while there is no medicine
whatever for the mind?

III. But there are more disorders of the mind than of the body, and
they are of a more dangerous nature; for these very disorders are the
more offensive because they belong to the mind and disturb it; and the
mind, when disordered, is, as Ennius says, in a constant error: it can
neither bear nor endure anything, and is under the perpetual influence
of desires. Now, what disorders can be worse to the body than these two
distempers of the mind (for I overlook others), weakness and desire?
But how, indeed, can it be maintained that the mind cannot prescribe
for itself, when she it is who has invented the medicines for the body,
when, with regard to bodily cures, constitution and nature have a great
share, nor do all who suffer themselves to be cured find that effect
instantly; but those minds which are disposed to be cured, and submit
to the precepts of the wise, may undoubtedly recover a healthy state?
Philosophy is certainly the medicine of the soul, whose assistance we
do not seek from abroad, as in bodily disorders, but we ourselves are
bound to exert our utmost energy and power in order to effect our cure.
But as to philosophy in general, I have, I think, in my Hortensius,
sufficiently spoken of the credit and attention which it deserves:
since that, indeed, I have been continually either disputing or writing
on its most material branches; and I have laid down in these books all
the discussions which took place between myself and my particular
friends at my Tusculan villa. But as I have spoken in the two former of
pain and death, this book shall be devoted to the account of the third
day of our disputations.

We came down into the Academy when the day was already declining
towards afternoon, and I asked one of those who were present to propose
a subject for us to discourse on; and then the business was carried on
in this manner:

IV. _A._ My opinion is, that a wise man is subject to grief.

_M._ What, and to the other perturbations of mind, as fears, lusts,
anger? For these are pretty much like what the Greeks call [Greek:
pathê]. I might call them diseases, and that would be a literal
translation, but it is not agreeable to our way of speaking. For envy,
delight, and pleasure are all called by the Greeks diseases, being
affections of the mind not in subordination to reason; but we, I think,
are right in calling the same motions of a disturbed soul
perturbations, and in very seldom using the term diseases; though,
perhaps, it appears otherwise to you.

_A._ I am of your opinion.

_M._ And do you think a wise man subject to these?

_A._ Entirely, I think.

_M._ Then that boasted wisdom is but of small account, if it differs so
little from madness?

_A._ What? does every commotion of the mind seem to you to be madness?

_M._ Not to me only; but I apprehend, though I have often been
surprised at it, that it appeared so to our ancestors many ages before
Socrates; from whom is derived all that philosophy which relates to
life and morals.

_A._ How so?

_M._ Because the name madness[35] implies a sickness of the mind and
disease; that is to say, an unsoundness and an unhealthiness of mind,
which they call madness. But the philosophers call all perturbations of
the soul diseases, and their opinion is that no fool is ever free from
these; but all that are diseased are unsound; and the minds of all
fools are diseased; therefore all fools are mad. For they held that
soundness of the mind depends on a certain tranquillity and steadiness;
and a mind which was destitute of these qualities they called insane,
because soundness was inconsistent with a perturbed mind just as much
as with a disordered body.

V. Nor were they less ingenious in calling the state of the soul devoid
of the light of the mind, "a being out of one's mind," "a being beside
one's self." From whence we may understand that they who gave these
names to things were of the same opinion with Socrates, that all silly
people were unsound, which the Stoics have carefully preserved as being
derived from him; for whatever mind is distempered (and, as I just now
said, the philosophers call all perturbed motions of the mind
distempers) is no more sound than a body is when in a fit of sickness.
Hence it is that wisdom is the soundness of the mind, folly a sort of
unsoundness, which is insanity, or a being out of one's mind: and these
are much better expressed by the Latin words than the Greek, which you
will find the case also in many other topics. But we will discuss that
point elsewhere: let us now attend to our present subject. The very
meaning of the word describes the whole thing about which we are
inquiring, both as to its substance and character. For we must
necessarily understand by "sound" those whose minds are under no
perturbation from any motion as if it were a disease. They who are
differently affected we must necessarily call "unsound." So that
nothing is better than what is usual in Latin, to say that they who are
run away with by their lust or anger have quitted the command over
themselves; though anger includes lust, for anger is defined to be the
lust of revenge. They, then, who are said not to be masters of
themselves, are said to be so because they are not under the government
of reason, to which is assigned by nature the power over the whole
soul. Why the Greeks should call this mania, I do not easily apprehend;
but we define it much better than they, for we distinguish this madness
(_insania_), which, being allied to folly, is more extensive, from what
we call _furor_, or raving. The Greeks, indeed, would do so too, but
they have no one word that will express it: what we call _furor_, they
call [Greek: melancholia], as if the reason were affected only by a
black bile, and not disturbed as often by a violent rage, or fear, or
grief. Thus we say Athamas, Alcmæon, Ajax, and Orestes were raving
(_furere_); because a person affected in this manner was not allowed by
the Twelve Tables to have the management of his own affairs; therefore
the words are not, if he is mad (_insanus_), but if he begins to be
raving (_furiosus_). For they looked upon madness to be an unsettled
humor that proceeded from not being of sound mind; yet such a person
might perform his ordinary duties, and discharge the usual and
customary requirements of life: but they considered one that was raving
as afflicted with a total blindness of the mind, which, notwithstanding
it is allowed to be greater than madness, is nevertheless of such a
nature that a wise man may be subject to raving (_furor_), but cannot
possibly be afflicted by insanity (_insania_). But this is another
question: let us now return to our original subject.

VI. I think you said that it was your opinion that a wise man was
liable to grief.

_A._ And so, indeed, I think.

_M._ It is natural enough to think so, for we are not the offspring of
flints; but we have by nature something soft and tender in our souls,
which may be put into a violent motion by grief, as by a storm; nor did
that Crantor, who was one of the most distinguished men that our
Academy has ever produced, say this amiss: "I am by no means of their
opinion who talk so much in praise of I know not what insensibility,
which neither can exist, nor ought to exist. "I would choose," says he,
"never to be ill; but should I be so, still I should choose to retain
my sensation, whether there was to be an amputation or any other
separation of anything from my body. For that insensibility cannot be
but at the expense of some unnatural ferocity of mind, or stupor of
body." But let us consider whether to talk in this manner be not
allowing that we are weak, and yielding to our softness.
Notwithstanding, let us be hardy enough, not only to lop off every arm
of our miseries, but even to pluck up every fibre of their roots. Yet
still something, perhaps, may be left behind, so deep does folly strike
its roots: but whatever may be left it will be no more than is
necessary. But let us be persuaded of this, that unless the mind be in
a sound state, which philosophy alone can effect, there can be no end
of our miseries. Wherefore, as we began, let us submit ourselves to it
for a cure; we shall be cured if we choose to be. I shall advance
something further. I shall not treat of grief alone, though that indeed
is the principal thing; but, as I originally proposed, of every
perturbation of the mind, as I termed it; disorder, as the Greeks call
it: and first, with your leave, I shall treat it in the manner of the
Stoics, whose method is to reduce their arguments into a very small
space; afterward I shall enlarge more in my own way.

VII. A man of courage is also full of faith. I do not use the word
confident, because, owing to an erroneous custom of speaking, that word
has come to be used in a bad sense, though it is derived from
confiding, which is commendable. But he who is full of faith is
certainly under no fear; for there is an inconsistency between faith
and fear. Now, whoever is subject to grief is subject to fear; for
whatever things we grieve at when present we dread when hanging over us
and approaching. Thus it comes about that grief is inconsistent with
courage: it is very probable, therefore, that whoever is subject to
grief is also liable to fear, and to a broken kind of spirits and
sinking. Now, whenever these befall a man, he is in a servile state,
and must own that he is overpowered; for whoever admits these feelings,
must admit timidity and cowardice. But these cannot enter into the mind
of a man of courage; neither, therefore, can grief: but the man of
courage is the only wise man; therefore grief cannot befall the wise
man. It is, besides, necessary that whoever is brave should be a man of
great soul; that whoever is a man of a great soul should be invincible;
whoever is invincible looks down with contempt on all things here, and
considers them, beneath him. But no one can despise those things on
account of which he may be affected with grief; from whence it follows
that a wise man is never affected with grief: for all wise men are
brave; therefore a wise man is not subject to grief. And as the eye,
when disordered, is not in a good condition for performing its office
properly; and as the other parts, and the whole body itself, when
unsettled, cannot perform their office and business; so the mind, when
disordered, is but ill-fitted to perform its duty. The office of the
mind is to use its reason well; but the mind of a wise man is always in
condition to make the best use of his reason, and therefore is never
out of order. But grief is a disorder of the mind; therefore a wise man
will be always free from it.

VIII. And from these considerations we may get at a very probable
definition of the temperate man, whom the Greeks call [Greek: sôphrôn]:
and they call that virtue [Greek: sôphrosynên], which I at one time
call temperance, at another time moderation, and sometimes even
modesty; but I do not know whether that virtue may not be properly
called frugality, which has a more confined meaning with the Greeks;
for they call frugal men [Greek: chrêsimous], which implies only that
they are useful; but our name has a more extensive meaning: for all
abstinence, all innocency (which the Greeks have no ordinary name for,
though they might use the word [Greek: ablabeia], for innocency is that
disposition of mind which would offend no one) and several other
virtues are comprehended under frugality; but if this quality were of
less importance, and confined in as small a compass as some imagine,
the surname of Piso[36] would not have been in so great esteem. But as
we allow him not the name of a frugal man (_frugi_), who either quits
his post through fear, which is cowardice; or who reserves to his own
use what was privately committed to his keeping, which is injustice; or
who fails in his military undertakings through rashness, which is
folly--for that reason the word frugality takes in these three virtues
of fortitude, justice, and prudence, though it is indeed common to all
virtues, for they are all connected and knit together. Let us allow,
then, frugality itself to be another and fourth virtue; for its
peculiar property seems to be, to govern and appease all tendencies to
too eager a desire after anything, to restrain lust, and to preserve a
decent steadiness in everything. The vice in contrast to this is called
prodigality (_nequitia_). Frugality, I imagine, is derived from the
word _fruge_, the best thing which the earth produces; _nequitia_ is
derived (though this is perhaps rather more strained; still, let us try
it; we shall only be thought to have been trifling if there is nothing
in what we say) from the fact of everything being to no purpose
(_nequicquam_) in such a man; from which circumstance he is called also
_Nihil_, nothing. Whoever is frugal, then, or, if it is more agreeable
to you, whoever is moderate and temperate, such a one must of course be
consistent; whoever is consistent, must be quiet; the quiet man must be
free from all perturbation, therefore from grief likewise: and these
are the properties of a wise man; therefore a wise man must be free
from grief.

IX. So that Dionysius of Heraclea is right when, upon this complaint of
Achilles in Homer,

    Well hast thou spoke, but at the tyrant's name
    My rage rekindles, and my soul's in flame:
    'Tis just resentment, and becomes the brave,
    Disgraced, dishonor'd like the vilest slave[37]--

he reasons thus: Is the hand as it should be, when it is affected with
a swelling? or is it possible for any other member of the body, when
swollen or enlarged, to be in any other than a disordered state? Must
not the mind, then, when it is puffed up, or distended, be out of
order? But the mind of a wise man is always free from every kind of
disorder: it never swells, never is puffed up; but the mind when in
anger is in a different state. A wise man, therefore, is never angry;
for when he is angry, he lusts after something; for whoever is angry
naturally has a longing desire to give all the pain he can to the
person who he thinks has injured him; and whoever has this earnest
desire must necessarily be much pleased with the accomplishment of his
wishes; hence he is delighted with his neighbor's misery; and as a wise
man is not capable of such feelings as these, he is therefore not
capable of anger. But should a wise man be subject to grief, he may
likewise be subject to anger; for as he is free from anger, he must
likewise be free from grief. Again, could a wise man be subject to
grief, he might also be liable to pity, or even might be open to a
disposition towards envy (_invidentia_); I do not say to envy
(_invidia_), for that can only exist by the very act of envying: but we
may fairly form the word _invidentia_ from _invidendo_, and so avoid
the doubtful name _invidia;_ for this word is probably derived from
_in_ and _video_, looking too closely into another's fortune; as it is
said in the Melanippus,

    Who envies me the flower of my children?

where the Latin is _invidit florem._ It may appear not good Latin, but
it is very well put by Accius; for as _video_ governs an accusative
case, so it is more correct to say _invideo florem_ than _flori._ We
are debarred from saying so by common usage. The poet stood in his own
right, and expressed himself with more freedom.

X. Therefore compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for
whoever is uneasy at any one's adversity is also uneasy at another's
prosperity: as Theophrastus, while he laments the death of his
companion Callisthenes, is at the same time disturbed at the success of
Alexander; and therefore he says that Callisthenes met with man of the
greatest power and good fortune, but one who did not know how to make
use of his good fortune. And as pity is an uneasiness which arises from
the misfortunes of another, so envy is an uneasiness that proceeds from
the good success of another: therefore whoever is capable of pity is
capable of envy. But a wise man is incapable of envy, and consequently
incapable of pity. But were a wise man used to grieve, to pity also
would be familiar to him; therefore to grieve is a feeling which cannot
affect a wise man. Now, though these reasonings of the Stoics, and
their conclusions, are rather strained and distorted, and ought to be
expressed in a less stringent and narrow manner, yet great stress is to
be laid on the opinions of those men who have a peculiarly bold and
manly turn of thought and sentiment. For our friends the Peripatetics,
notwithstanding all their erudition, gravity, and fluency of language,
do not satisfy me about the moderation of these disorders and diseases
of the soul which they insist upon; for every evil, though moderate, is
in its nature great. But our object is to make out that the wise man is
free from all evil; for as the body is unsound if it is ever so
slightly affected, so the mind under any moderate disorder loses its
soundness; therefore the Romans have, with their usual accuracy of
expression, called trouble, and anguish, and vexation, on account of
the analogy between a troubled mind and a diseased body, disorders. The
Greeks call all perturbation of mind by pretty nearly the same name;
for they name every turbid motion of the soul [Greek: pathos], that is
to say, a distemper. But we have given them a more proper name; for a
disorder of the mind is very like a disease of the body. But lust does
not resemble sickness; neither does immoderate joy, which is an elated
and exulting pleasure of the mind. Fear, too, is not very like a
distemper, though it is akin to grief of mind, but properly, as is also
the case with sickness of the body, so too sickness of mind has no name
separated from pain. And therefore I must explain the origin of this
pain, that is to say, the cause that occasions this grief in the mind,
as if it were a sickness of the body. For as physicians think they have
found out the cure when they have discovered the cause of the
distemper, so we shall discover the method of curing melancholy when
the cause of it is found out.

XI. The whole cause, then, is in opinion; and this observation applies
not to this grief alone, but to every other disorder of the mind, which
are of four sorts, but consisting of many parts. For as every disorder
or perturbation is a motion of the mind, either devoid of reason, or in
despite of reason, or in disobedience to reason, and as that motion is
excited by an opinion of either good or evil; these four perturbations
are divided equally into two parts: for two of them proceed from an
opinion of good, one of which is an exulting pleasure, that is to say,
a joy elated beyond measure, arising from an opinion of some present
great good; the other is a desire which may fairly be called even a
lust, and is an immoderate inclination after some conceived great good
without any obedience to reason. Therefore these two kinds, the
exulting pleasure and the lust, have their rise from an opinion of
good, as the other two, fear and grief, have from an opinion of evil.
For fear is an opinion of some great evil impending over us, and grief
is an opinion of some great evil present; and, indeed, it is a freshly
conceived opinion of an evil so great that to grieve at it seems right:
it is of that kind that he who is uneasy at it thinks he has good
reason to be so. Now we should exert, our utmost efforts to oppose
these perturbations--which are, as it were, so many furies let loose
upon us and urged on by folly--if we are desirous to pass this share of
life that is allotted to us with ease and satisfaction. But of the
other feelings I shall speak elsewhere: our business at present is to
drive away grief if we can, for that shall be the object of our present
discussion, since you have said that it was your opinion that a wise
man might be subject to grief, which I can by no means allow of; for it
is a frightful, miserable, and detestable thing, which we should fly
from with our utmost efforts--with all our sails and oars, as I may

XII. That descendant of Tantalus, how does he appear to you--he who
sprung from Pelops, who formerly stole Hippodamia from her
father-in-law, King Oenomaus, and married her by force?--he who was
descended from Jupiter himself, how broken-hearted and dispirited does
he not seem!

    Stand off, my friends, nor come within my shade,
    That no pollutions your sound hearts pervade,
    So foul a stain my body doth partake.

Will you condemn yourself, Thyestes, and deprive yourself of life, on
account of the greatness of another's crime? What do you think of that
son of Phoebus? Do you not look upon him as unworthy of his own
father's light?

    Hollow his eyes, his body worn away,
    His furrow'd cheeks his frequent tears betray;
    His beard neglected, and his hoary hairs
    Rough and uncomb'd, bespeak his bitter cares.

O foolish Æetes! these are evils which you yourself have been the cause
of, and are not occasioned by any accidents with which chance has
visited you; and you behaved as you did, even after you had been inured
to your distress, and after the first swelling of the mind had
subsided!--whereas grief consists (as I shall show) in the notion of
some recent evil--but your grief, it is very plain, proceeded from the
loss of your kingdom, not of your daughter, for you hated her, and
perhaps with reason, but you could not calmly bear to part with your
kingdom. But surely it is an impudent grief which preys upon a man for
not being able to command those that are free. Dionysius, it is true,
the tyrant of Syracuse, when driven from his country, taught a school
at Corinth; so incapable was he of living without some authority. But
what could be more impudent than Tarquin, who made war upon those who
could not bear his tyranny; and, when he could not recover his kingdom
by the aid of the forces of the Veientians and the Latins, is said to
have betaken himself to Cuma, and to have died in that city of old age
and grief!

XIII. Do you, then, think that it can befall a wise man to be oppressed
with grief, that is to say, with misery? for, as all perturbation is
misery, grief is the rack itself. Lust is attended with heat, exulting
joy with levity, fear with meanness, but grief with something greater
than these; it consumes, torments, afflicts, and disgraces a man; it
tears him, preys upon his mind, and utterly destroys him: if we do not
so divest ourselves of it as to throw it completely off, we cannot be
free from misery. And it is clear that there must be grief where
anything has the appearance of a present sore and oppressing evil.
Epicurus is of opinion that grief arises naturally from the imagination
of any evil; so that whosoever is eye-witness of any great misfortune,
if he conceives that the like may possibly befall himself, becomes sad
instantly from such an idea. The Cyrenaics think that grief is not
engendered by every kind of evil, but only by unexpected, unforeseen
evil; and that circumstance is, indeed, of no small effect on the
heightening of grief; for whatsoever comes of a sudden appears more
formidable. Hence these lines are deservedly commended:

    I knew my son, when first he drew his breath,
    Destined by fate to an untimely death;
    And when I sent him to defend the Greeks,
    War was his business, not your sportive freaks.

XIV. Therefore, this ruminating beforehand upon future evils which you
see at a distance makes their approach more tolerable; and on this
account what Euripides makes Theseus say is much commended. You will
give me leave to translate them, as is usual with me:

    I treasured up what some learn'd sage did tell,
    And on my future misery did dwell;
    I thought of bitter death, of being drove
    Far from my home by exile, and I strove
    With every evil to possess my mind,
    That, when they came, I the less care might find.[38]

But Euripides says that of himself, which Theseus said he had heard
from some learned man, for the poet had been a pupil of Anaxagoras,
who, as they relate, on hearing of the death of his son, said, "I knew
that my son was mortal;" which speech seems to intimate that such
things afflict those men who have not thought on them before.
Therefore, there is no doubt but that all those things which are
considered evils are the heavier from not being foreseen. Though,
notwithstanding this is not the only circumstance which occasions the
greatest grief, still, as the mind, by foreseeing and preparing for it,
has great power to make all grief the less, a man should at all times
consider all the events that may befall him in this life; and certainly
the excellence and divine nature of wisdom consists in taking a near
view of, and gaining a thorough acquaintance with, all human affairs,
in not being surprised when anything happens, and in thinking, before
the event, that there is nothing but what may come to pass.

                      Wherefore ev'ry man,
    When his affairs go on most swimmingly,
    E'en then it most behooves to arm himself
    Against the coming storm: loss, danger, exile,
    Returning ever, let him look to meet;
    His son in fault, wife dead, or daughter sick;
    All common accidents, and may have happen'd
    That nothing shall seem new or strange. But if
    Aught has fall'n out beyond his hopes, all that
    Let him account clear gain.[39]

XV. Therefore, as Terence has so well expressed what he borrowed from
philosophy, shall not we, from whose fountains he drew it, say the same
thing in a better manner, and abide by it with more steadiness? Hence
came that steady countenance, which, according to Xantippe, her husband
Socrates always had; so that she said that she never observed any
difference in his looks when he went out and when he came home. Yet the
look of that old Roman, M. Crassus, who, as Lucilius says, never smiled
but once in his lifetime, was not of this kind, but placid and serene,
for so we are told. He, indeed, might well have had the same look at
all times who never changed his mind, from which the countenance
derives its expression. So that I am ready to borrow of the Cyrenaics
those arms against the accidents and events of life by means of which,
by long premeditation, they break the force of all approaching evils;
and at the same time I think that those very evils themselves arise
more from opinion than nature, for if they were real, no forecast could
make them lighter. But I shall speak more particularly on these matters
after I have first considered Epicurus's opinion, who thinks that all
people must necessarily be uneasy who believe themselves to be in any
evils, let them be either foreseen and expected, or habitual to them;
for with him evils are not the less by reason of their continuance, nor
the lighter for having been foreseen; and it is folly to ruminate on
evils to come, or such as, perhaps, never may come: every evil is
disagreeable enough when it does come; but he who is constantly
considering that some evil may befall him is loading himself with a
perpetual evil; and even should such evil never light on him, he
voluntarily takes upon himself unnecessary misery, so that he is under
constant uneasiness, whether he actually suffers any evil, or only
thinks of it. But he makes the alleviation of grief depend on two
things--a ceasing to think on evil, and a turning to the contemplation
of pleasure. For he thinks that the mind may possibly be under the
power of reason, and follow her directions: he forbids us, therefore,
to mind trouble, and calls us off from sorrowful reflections; he throws
a mist over our eyes to hinder us from the contemplation of misery.
Having sounded a retreat from this statement, he drives our thoughts on
again, and encourages them to view and engage the whole mind in the
various pleasures with which he thinks the life of a wise man abounds,
either from reflecting on the past, or from the hope of what is to
come. I have said these things in my own way; the Epicureans have
theirs. However, let us examine what they say; how they say it is of
little consequence.

XVI. In the first place, they are wrong in forbidding men to
premeditate on futurity and blaming their wish to do so; for there is
nothing that breaks the edge of grief and lightens it more than
considering, during one's whole life, that there is nothing which it is
impossible should happen, or than, considering what human nature is, on
what conditions life was given, and how we may comply with them. The
effect of which is that we are always grieving, but that we never do
so; for whoever reflects on the nature of things, the various turns of
life, and the weakness of human nature, grieves, indeed, at that
reflection; but while so grieving he is, above all other times,
behaving as a wise man, for he gains these two things by it: one, that
while he is considering the state of human nature he is performing the
especial duties of philosophy, and is provided with a triple medicine
against adversity--in the first place, because he has long reflected
that such things might befall him, and this reflection by itself
contributes much towards lessening and weakening all misfortunes; and,
secondly, because he is persuaded that we should bear all the accidents
which can happen to man with the feelings and spirit of a man; and,
lastly, because he considers that what is blamable is the only evil.
But it is not your fault that something has happened to you which it
was impossible for man to avoid. For that withdrawing of our thoughts
which he recommends when he calls us off from contemplating our
misfortunes is an imaginary action; for it is not in our power to
dissemble or to forget those evils which lie heavy on us; they tear,
vex, and sting us--they burn us up, and leave no breathing time. And do
you order us to forget them (for such forgetfulness is contrary to
nature), and at the same time deprive us of the only assistance which
nature affords, the being accustomed to them? For that, though it is
but a slow medicine (I mean that which is brought by lapse of time), is
still a very effectual one. You order me to employ my thoughts on
something good, and forget my misfortunes. You would say something
worthy a great philosopher if you thought those things good which are
best suited to the dignity of human nature.

XVII. Should Pythagoras, Socrates, or Plato say to me, Why are you
dejected or sad? Why do you faint, and yield to fortune, which,
perhaps, may have power to harass and disturb you, but should not quite
unman you? There is great power in the virtues; rouse them, if they
chance to droop. Take fortitude for your guide, which will give you
such spirits that you will despise everything that can befall man, and
look on it as a trifle. Add to this temperance, which is moderation,
and which was just now called frugality, which will not suffer you to
do anything base or bad--for what is worse or baser than an effeminate
man? Not even justice will suffer you to act in this manner, though she
seems to have the least weight in this affair; but still,
notwithstanding, even she will inform you that you are doubly unjust
when you both require what does not belong to you, inasmuch as though
you who have been born mortal demand to be placed in the condition of
the immortals, and at the same time you take it much to heart that you
are to restore what was lent you. What answer will you make to
prudence, who informs you that she is a virtue sufficient of herself
both to teach you a good life and also to secure you a happy one? And,
indeed, if she were fettered by external circumstances, and dependent
on others, and if she did not originate in herself and return to
herself, and also embrace everything in herself, so as to seek no
adventitious aid from any quarter, I cannot imagine why she should
appear deserving of such lofty panegyrics, or of being sought after
with such excessive eagerness. Now, Epicurus, if you call me back to
such goods as these, I will obey you, and follow you, and use you as my
guide, and even forget, as you order me, all my misfortunes; and I will
do this the more readily from a persuasion that they are not to be
ranked among evils at all. But you are for bringing my thoughts over to
pleasure. What pleasures? Pleasures of the body, I imagine, or such as
are recollected or imagined on account of the body. Is this all? Do I
explain your opinion rightly? for your disciples are used to deny that
we understand at all what Epicurus means. This is what he says, and
what that subtle fellow, old Zeno, who is one of the sharpest of them,
used, when I was attending lectures at Athens, to enforce and talk so
loudly of; saying that he alone was happy who could enjoy present
pleasure, and who was at the same time persuaded that he should enjoy
it without pain, either during the whole or the greatest part of his
life; or if, should any pain interfere, if it was very sharp, then it
must be short; should it be of longer continuance, it would have more
of what was sweet than bitter in it; that whosoever reflected on these
things would be happy, especially if satisfied with the good things
which he had already enjoyed, and if he were without fear of death or
of the Gods.

XVIII. You have here a representation of a happy life according to
Epicurus, in the words of Zeno, so that there is no room for
contradiction in any point. What, then? Can the proposing and thinking
of such a life make Thyestes's grief the less, or Æetes's, of whom I
spoke above, or Telamon's, who was driven from his country to penury
and banishment? in wonder at whom men exclaimed thus:

    Is this the man surpassing glory raised?
    Is this that Telamon so highly praised
    By wondering Greece, at whose sight, like the sun,
    All others with diminish'd lustre shone?

Now, should any one, as the same author says, find his spirits sink
with the loss of his fortune, he must apply to those grave philosophers
of antiquity for relief, and not to these voluptuaries: for what great
abundance of good do they promise? Suppose that we allow that to be
without pain is the chief good? Yet that is not called pleasure. But it
is not necessary at present to go through the whole: the question is,
to what point are we to advance in order to abate our grief? Grant that
to be in pain is the greatest evil: whosoever, then, has proceeded so
far as not to be in pain, is he, therefore, in immediate possession of
the greatest good? Why, Epicurus, do we use any evasions, and not allow
in our own words the same feeling to be pleasure which you are used to
boast of with such assurance? Are these your words or not? This is what
you say in that book which contains all the doctrine of your school;
for I will perform on this occasion the office of a translator, lest
any one should imagine that I am inventing anything. Thus you speak:
"Nor can I form any notion of the chief good, abstracted from those
pleasures which are perceived by taste, or from what depends on hearing
music, or abstracted from ideas raised by external objects visible to
the eye, or by agreeable motions, or from those other pleasures which
are perceived by the whole man by means of any of his senses; nor can
it possibly be said that the pleasures of the mind are excited only by
what is good, for I have perceived men's minds to be pleased with the
hopes of enjoying those things which I mentioned above, and with the
idea that it should enjoy them without any interruption from pain." And
these are his exact words, so that any one may understand what were the
pleasures with which Epicurus was acquainted. Then he speaks thus, a
little lower down: "I have often inquired of those who have been called
wise men what would be the remaining good if they should exclude from
consideration all these pleasures, unless they meant to give us nothing
but words. I could never learn anything from them; and unless they
choose that all virtue and wisdom should vanish and come to nothing,
they must say with me that the only road to happiness lies through
those pleasures which I mentioned above." What follows is much the
same, and his whole book on the chief good everywhere abounds with the
same opinions. Will you, then, invite Telamon to this kind of life to
ease his grief? And should you observe any one of your friends under
affliction, would you rather prescribe him a sturgeon than a treatise
of Socrates? or advise him to listen to the music of a water organ
rather than to Plato? or lay before him the beauty and variety of some
garden, put a nosegay to his nose, burn perfumes before him, and bid
him crown himself with a garland of roses and woodbines? Should you add
one thing more, you would certainly wipe out all his grief.

XIX. Epicurus must admit these arguments, or he must take out of his
book what I just now said was a literal translation; or, rather, he
must destroy his whole book, for it is crammed full of pleasures. We
must inquire, then, how we can ease him of his grief who speaks in this

    My present state proceeds from fortune's stings;
    By birth I boast of a descent from kings;
    Hence may you see from what a noble height
    I'm sunk by fortune to this abject plight.

What! to ease his grief, must we mix him a cup of sweet wine, or
something of that kind? Lo! the same poet presents us with another
sentiment somewhere else:

    I, Hector, once so great, now claim your aid.

We should assist her, for she looks out for help:

    Where shall I now apply, where seek support?
    Where hence betake me, or to whom resort?"
    No means remain of comfort or of joy,
    In flames my palace, and in ruins Troy;
    Each wall, so late superb, deformed nods,
    And not an altar's left t' appease the Gods.

You know what should follow, and particularly this:

    Of father, country, and of friends bereft,
    Not one of all these sumptuous temples left;
    Which, while the fortune of our house did stand,
    With rich wrought ceilings spoke the artist's hand.

O excellent poet! though despised by those who sing the verses of
Euphorion. He is sensible that all things which come on a sudden are
harder to be borne. Therefore, when he had set off the riches of Priam
to the best advantage, which had the appearance of a long continuance,
what does he add?

    Lo! these all perish'd in one blazing pile;
    The foe old Priam of his life beguiled,
    And with his blood, thy altar, Jove, defiled.

Admirable poetry! There is something mournful in the subject, as well
as in the words and measure. We must drive away this grief of hers: how
is that to be done? Shall we lay her on a bed of down; introduce a
singer; shall we burn cedar, or present here with some pleasant liquor,
and provide her something to eat? Are these the good things which
remove the most afflicting grief? For you but just now said you knew of
no other good. I should agree with Epicurus that we ought to be called
off from grief to contemplate good things, if we could only agree upon
what was good.

XX. It may be said, What! do you imagine Epicurus really meant this,
and that he maintained anything so sensual? Indeed I do not imagine so,
for I am sensible that he has uttered many excellent things and
sentiments, and delivered maxims of great weight. Therefore, as I said
before, I am speaking of his acuteness, not of his morals. Though he
should hold those pleasures in contempt which he just now commended,
yet I must remember wherein he places the chief good. For he was not
contented with barely saying this, but he has explained what he meant:
he says that taste, and embraces, and sports, and music, and those
forms which affect the eyes with pleasure, are the chief good. Have I
invented this? have I misrepresented him? I should be glad to be
confuted; for what am I endeavoring at but to clear up truth in every
question? Well, but the same man says that pleasure is at its height
where pain ceases, and that to be free from all pain is the very
greatest pleasure. Here are three very great mistakes in a very few
words. One is, that he contradicts himself; for, but just now, he could
not imagine anything good unless the senses were in a manner tickled
with some pleasure; but now he says that to be free from pain is the
highest pleasure. Can any one contradict himself more? The next mistake
is, that where there is naturally a threefold division--the first, to
be pleased; next, to be in pain; the last, to be affected neither by
pleasure nor pain--he imagines the first and the last to be the same,
and makes no difference between pleasure and a cessation of pain. The
last mistake he falls into in common with some others, which is this:
that as virtue is the most desirable thing, and as philosophy has been
investigated with a view to the attainment of it, he has separated the
chief good from virtue. But he commends virtue, and that frequently;
and indeed C. Gracchus, when he had made the largest distributions of
the public money, and had exhausted the treasury, nevertheless spoke
much of defending the treasury. What signifies what men say when we see
what they do? That Piso, who was surnamed Frugal, had always harangued
against the law that was proposed for distributing the corn; but when
it had passed, though a man of consular dignity, he came to receive the
corn. Gracchus observed Piso standing in the court, and asked him, in
the hearing of the people, how it was consistent for him to take corn
by a law he had himself opposed. "It was," said he, "against your
distributing my goods to every man as you thought proper; but, as you
do so, I claim my share." Did not this grave and wise man sufficiently
show that the public revenue was dissipated by the Sempronian law? Read
Gracchus's speeches, and you will pronounce him the advocate of the
treasury. Epicurus denies that any one can live pleasantly who does not
lead a life of virtue; he denies that fortune has any power over a wise
man; he prefers a spare diet to great plenty, and maintains that a wise
man is always happy. All these things become a philosopher to say, but
they are not consistent with pleasure. But the reply is, that he doth
not mean _that_ pleasure: let him mean any pleasure, it must be such a
one as makes no part of virtue. But suppose we are mistaken as to his
pleasure; are we so, too, as to his pain? I maintain, therefore, the
impropriety of language which that man uses, when talking of virtue,
who would measure every great evil by pain.

XXI. And indeed the Epicureans, those best of men--for there is no
order of men more innocent--complain that I take great pains to inveigh
against Epicurus. We are rivals, I suppose, for some honor or
distinction. I place the chief good in the mind, he in the body; I in
virtue, he in pleasure; and the Epicureans are up in arms, and implore
the assistance of their neighbors, and many are ready to fly to their
aid. But as for my part, I declare that I am very indifferent about the
matter, and that I consider the whole discussion which they are so
anxious about at an end. For what! is the contention about the Punic
war? on which very subject, though M. Cato and L. Lentulus were of
different opinions, still there was no difference between them. But
these men behave with too much heat, especially as the opinions which
they would uphold are no very spirited ones, and such as they dare not
plead for either in the senate or before the assembly of the people, or
before the army or the censors. But, however, I will argue with them
another time, and with such a disposition that no quarrel shall arise
between us; for I shall be ready to yield to their opinions when
founded on truth. Only I must give them this advice: That were it ever
so true, that a wise man regards nothing but the body, or, to express
myself with more decency, never does anything except what is expedient,
and views all things with exclusive reference to his own advantage, as
such things are not very commendable, they should confine them to their
own breasts, and leave off talking with that parade of them.

XXII. What remains is the opinion of the Cyrenaics, who think that men
grieve when anything happens unexpectedly. And that is indeed, as I
said before, a great aggravation of a misfortune; and I know that it
appeared so to Chrysippus--"Whatever falls out unexpected is so much
the heavier." But the whole question does not turn on this; though the
sudden approach of an enemy sometimes occasions more confusion than it
would if you had expected him, and a sudden storm at sea throws the
sailors into a greater fright than one which they have foreseen; and it
is the same in many other cases. But when you carefully consider the
nature of what was expected, you will find nothing more than that all
things which come on a sudden appear greater; and this upon two
accounts: first of all, because you have not time to consider how great
the accident is; and, secondly, because you are probably persuaded that
you could have guarded against it had you foreseen if, and therefore
the misfortune, having been seemingly encountered by your own fault,
makes your grief the greater. That it is so, time evinces; which, as it
advances, brings with it so much mitigation that though the same
misfortunes continue, the grief not only becomes the less, but in some
cases is entirely removed. Many Carthaginians were slaves at Rome, and
many Macedonians, when Perseus their king was taken prisoner. I saw,
too, when I was a young man, some Corinthians in the Peloponnesus. They
might all have lamented with Andromache,

    All these I saw......;

but they had perhaps given over lamenting themselves, for by their
countenances, and speech, and other gestures you might have taken them
for Argives or Sicyonians. And I myself was more concerned at the
ruined walls of Corinth than the Corinthians themselves were, whose
minds by frequent reflection and time had become callous to such
sights. I have read a book of Clitomachus, which he sent to his
fellow-citizens who were prisoners, to comfort them after the
destruction of Carthage. There is in it a treatise written by
Carneades, which, as Clitomachus says, he had inserted into his book;
the subject was, "That it appeared probable that a wise man would
grieve at the state of subjection of his country," and all the
arguments which Carneades used against this proposition are set down in
the book. There the philosopher applies such a strong medicine to a
fresh grief as would be quite unnecessary in one of any continuance;
nor, if this very book had been sent to the captives some years after,
would it have found any wounds to cure, but only scars; for grief, by a
gentle progress and slow degrees, wears away imperceptibly. Not that
the circumstances which gave rise to it are altered, or can be, but
that custom teaches what reason should--that those things which before
seemed to be of some consequence are of no such great importance, after

XXIII. It may be said, What occasion is there to apply to reason, or to
any sort of consolation such as we generally make use of, to mitigate
the grief of the afflicted? For we have this argument always at hand,
that nothing ought to appear unexpected. But how will any one be
enabled to bear his misfortunes the better by knowing that it is
unavoidable that such things should happen to man? Saying this
subtracts nothing from the sum of the grief: it only asserts that
nothing has fallen out but what might have been anticipated; and yet
this manner of speaking has some little consolation in it, though I
apprehend not a great deal. Therefore those unlooked-for things have
not so much force as to give rise to all our grief; the blow perhaps
may fall the heavier, but whatever happens does not appear the greater
on that account. No, it is the fact of its having happened lately, and
not of its having befallen us unexpectedly, that makes it seem the
greater. There are two ways, then, of discerning the truth, not only of
things that seem evil, but of those that have the appearance of good.
For we either inquire into the nature of the thing, of what
description, and magnitude, and importance it is--as sometimes with
regard to poverty, the burden of which we may lighten when by our
disputations we show how few things nature requires, and of what a
trifling kind they are--or, without any subtle arguing, we refer them
to examples, as here we instance a Socrates, there a Diogenes, and then
again that line in Cæcilius,

    Wisdom is oft conceal'd in mean attire.

For as poverty is of equal weight with all, what reason can be given
why what was borne by Fabricius should be spoken of by any one else as
unsupportable when it falls upon themselves? Of a piece with this is
that other way of comforting, which consists in pointing out that
nothing has happened but what is common to human nature; for this
argument doth not only inform us what human nature is, but implies that
all things are tolerable which others have borne and are bearing.

XXIV. Is poverty the subject? They tell you of many who have submitted
to it with patience. Is it the contempt of honors? They acquaint you
with some who never enjoyed any, and were the happier for it; and of
those who have preferred a private retired life to public employment,
mentioning their names with respect; they tell you of the verse[40] of
that most powerful king who praises an old man, and pronounces him
happy because he was unknown to fame and seemed likely to arrive at the
hour of death in obscurity and without notice. Thus, too, they have
examples for those who are deprived of their children: they who are
under any great grief are comforted by instances of like affliction;
and thus the endurance of every misfortune is rendered more easy by the
fact of others having undergone the same, and the fate of others causes
what has happened to appear less important than it has been previously
thought, and reflection thus discovers to us how much opinion had
imposed on us. And this is what the Telamon declares, "I, when my son
was born," etc.; and thus Theseus, "I on my future misery did dwell;"
and Anaxagoras, "I knew my son was mortal." All these men, by
frequently reflecting on human affairs, had discovered that they were
by no means to be estimated by the opinion of the multitude; and,
indeed, it seems to me to be pretty much the same case with those who
consider beforehand as with those who derive their remedies from time,
excepting that a kind of reason cures the one, and the other remedy is
provided by nature; by which we discover (and this contains the whole
marrow of the matter) that what was imagined to be the greatest evil is
by no means so great as to defeat the happiness of life. And the effect
of this is, that the blow is greater by reason of its not having been
foreseen, and not, as they suppose, that when similar misfortunes
befall two different people, that man only is affected with grief whom
this calamity has befallen unexpectedly. So that some persons, under
the oppression of grief, are said to have borne it actually worse for
hearing of this common condition of man, that we are born under such
conditions as render it impossible for a man to be exempt from all

XXV. For this reason Carneades, as I see our friend Antiochus writes,
used to blame Chrysippus for commending these verses of Euripides:

    Man, doom'd to care, to pain, disease, and strife,
    Walks his short journey thro' the vale of life:
    Watchful attends the cradle and the grave,
    And passing generations longs to save:
    Last, dies himself: yet wherefore should we mourn?
    For man must to his kindred dust return;
    Submit to the destroying hand of fate,
    As ripen'd ears the harvest-sickle wait.[41]

He would not allow a speech of this kind to avail at all to the cure of
our grief, for he said it was a lamentable case itself that we were
fallen into the hands of such a cruel fate; and that a speech like
that, preaching up comfort from the misfortunes of another, was a
comfort adapted only to those of a malevolent disposition. But to me it
appears far otherwise; for the necessity of bearing what is the common
condition of humanity forbids your resisting the will of the Gods, and
reminds you that you are a man, which reflection greatly alleviates
grief; and the enumeration of these examples is not produced with a
view to please those of a malevolent disposition, but in order that any
one in affliction may be induced to bear what he observes many others
have previously borne with tranquillity and moderation. For they who
are falling to pieces, and cannot hold together through the greatness
of their grief, should be supported by all kinds of assistance. From
whence Chrysippus thinks that grief is called [Greek: lypê], as it were
[Greek: lysis], that is to say, a dissolution of the whole man--the
whole of which I think may be pulled up by the roots by explaining, as
I said at the beginning, the cause of grief; for it is nothing else but
an opinion and judgment formed of a present acute evil. And thus any
bodily pain, let it be ever so grievous, may be endurable where any
hopes are proposed of some considerable good; and we receive such
consolation from a virtuous and illustrious life that they who lead
such lives are seldom attacked by grief, or but slightly affected by

XXVI. But as besides this opinion of great evil there is this other
added also--that we ought to lament what has happened, that it is right
so to do, and part of our duty, then is brought about that terrible
disorder of mind, grief. And it is to this opinion that we owe all
those various and horrid kinds of lamentation, that neglect of our
persons, that womanish tearing of our cheeks, that striking on our
thighs, breasts, and heads. Thus Agamemnon, in Homer and in Accius,

    Tears in his grief his uncomb'd locks;[42]

from whence comes that pleasant saying of Bion, that the foolish king
in his sorrow tore away the hairs of his head, imagining that his grief
would be alleviated by baldness. But men do all these things from being
persuaded that they ought to do so. And thus Æschines inveighs against
Demosthenes for sacrificing within seven days after the death of his
daughter. But with what eloquence, with what fluency, does he attack
him! what sentiments does he collect! what words does he hurl against
him! You may see by this that an orator may do anything; but nobody
would approve of such license if it were not that we have an idea
innate in our minds that every good man ought to lament the loss of a
relation as bitterly as possible. And it is owing to this that some
men, when in sorrow, betake themselves to deserts, as Homer says of

                   Distracted in his mind,
    Forsook by heaven, forsaking human kind,
    Wide o'er the Aleïan field he chose to stray,
    A long, forlorn, uncomfortable way![43]

And thus Niobe is feigned to have been turned into stone, from her
never speaking, I suppose, in her grief. But they imagine Hecuba to
have been converted into a bitch, from her rage and bitterness of mind.
There are others who love to converse with solitude itself when in
grief, as the nurse in Ennius,

    Fain would I to the heavens find earth relate
    Medea's ceaseless woes and cruel fate.[44]

XXVII. Now all these things are done in grief, from a persuasion of
their truth and propriety and necessity; and it is plain that those who
behave thus do so from a conviction of its being their duty; for should
these mourners by chance drop their grief, and either act or speak for
a moment in a more calm or cheerful manner, they presently check
themselves and return to their lamentations again, and blame themselves
for having been guilty of any intermissions from their grief; and
parents and masters generally correct children not by words only, but
by blows, if they show any levity by either word or deed when the
family is under affliction, and, as it were, oblige them to be
sorrowful. What! does it not appear, when you have ceased to mourn, and
have discovered that your grief has been ineffectual, that the whole of
that mourning was voluntary on your part? What does that man say in
Terence who punishes himself, the Self-tormentor?

    I think I do my son less harm, O Chremes,
    As long as I myself am miserable.

He determines to be miserable: and can any one determine on anything
against his will?

    I well might think that I deserved all evil.

He would think he deserved any misfortune were he otherwise than
miserable! Therefore, you see, the evil is in opinion, not in nature.
How is it when some things do of themselves prevent your grieving at
them? as in Homer, so many died and were buried daily that they had not
leisure to grieve: where you find these lines--

    The great, the bold, by thousands daily fall,
    And endless were the grief to weep for all.
    Eternal sorrows what avails to shed?
    Greece honors not with solemn fasts the dead:
    Enough when death demands the brave to pay
    The tribute of a melancholy day.
    One chief with patience to the grave resign'd,
    Our care devolves on others left behind.[45]

Therefore it is in our own power to lay aside grief upon occasion; and
is there any opportunity (seeing the thing is in our own power) that we
should let slip of getting rid of care and grief? It was plain that the
friends of Cnæus Pompeius, when they saw him fainting under his wounds,
at the very moment of that most miserable and bitter sight were under
great uneasiness how they themselves, surrounded by the enemy as they
were, should escape, and were employed in nothing but encouraging the
rowers and aiding their escape; but when they reached Tyre, they began
to grieve and lament over him. Therefore, as fear with them, prevailed
over grief, cannot reason and true philosophy have the same effect with
a wise man?

XXVIII. But what is there more effectual to dispel grief than the
discovery that it answers no purpose, and has been undergone to no
account? Therefore, if we can get rid of it, we need never have been
subject to it. It must be acknowledged, then, that men take up grief
wilfully and knowingly; and this appears from the patience of those
who, after they have been exercised in afflictions and are better able
to bear whatever befalls them, suppose themselves hardened against
fortune; as that person in Euripides,

    Had this the first essay of fortune been,
    And I no storms thro' all my life had seen,
    Wild as a colt I'd broke from reason's sway;
    But frequent griefs have taught me to obey.[46]

As, then, the frequent bearing of misery makes grief the lighter, we
must necessarily perceive that the cause and original of it does not
lie in the calamity itself. Your principal philosophers, or lovers of
wisdom, though they have not yet arrived at perfect wisdom, are not
they sensible that they are in the greatest evil? For they are foolish,
and foolishness is the greatest of all evils, and yet they lament not.
How shall we account for this? Because opinion is not fixed upon that
kind of evil, it is not our opinion that it is right, meet, and our
duty to be uneasy because we are not all wise men. Whereas this opinion
is strongly affixed to that uneasiness where mourning is concerned,
which is the greatest of all grief. Therefore Aristotle, when he blames
some ancient philosophers for imagining that by their genius they had
brought philosophy to the highest perfection, says, they must be either
extremely foolish or extremely vain; but that he himself could see that
great improvements had been made therein in a few years, and that
philosophy would in a little time arrive at perfection. And
Theophrastus is reported to have reproached nature at his death for
giving to stags and crows so long a life, which was of no use to them,
but allowing only so short a span to men, to whom length of days would
have been of the greatest use; for if the life of man could have been
lengthened, it would have been able to provide itself with all kinds of
learning, and with arts in the greatest perfection. He lamented,
therefore, that he was dying just when he had begun to discover these.
What! does not every grave and distinguished philosopher acknowledge
himself ignorant of many things, and confess that there are many things
which he must learn over and over again? And yet, though these men are
sensible that they are standing still in the very midway of folly, than
which nothing can be worse, they are under no great affliction, because
no opinion that it is their duty to lament is ever mingled with this
knowledge. What shall we say of those who think it unbecoming in a man
to grieve? among whom we may reckon Q. Maximus, when he buried his son
that had been consul, and L. Paulus, who lost two sons within a few
days of one another. Of the same opinion was M. Cato, who lost his son
just after he had been elected prætor, and many others, whose names I
have collected in my book on Consolation. Now what made these men so
easy, but their persuasion that grief and lamentation was not becoming
in a man? Therefore, as some give themselves up to grief from an
opinion that it is right so to do, they refrained themselves, from an
opinion that it was discreditable; from which we may infer that grief
is owing more to opinion than nature.

XXIX. It may be said, on the other side, Who is so mad as to grieve of
his own accord? Pain proceeds from nature, which you must submit to,
say they, agreeably to what even your own Crantor teaches, for it
presses and gains upon you unavoidably, and cannot possibly be
resisted. So that the very same Oileus, in Sophocles, who had before
comforted Telamon on the death of Ajax, on hearing of the death of his
own son, is broken-hearted. On this alteration of his mind we have
these lines:

    Show me the man so well by wisdom taught
    That what he charges to another's fault,
    When like affliction doth himself betide,
    True to his own wise counsel will abide.[47]

Now, when they urge these things, their endeavor is to prove that
nature is absolutely and wholly irresistible; and yet the same people
allow that we take greater grief on ourselves than nature requires.
What madness is it, then, in us to require the same from others? But
there are many reasons for our taking grief on us. The first is from
the opinion of some evil, on the discovery and certainty of which grief
comes of course. Besides, many people are persuaded that they are doing
something very acceptable to the dead when they lament bitterly over
them. To these may be added a kind of womanish superstition, in
imagining that when they have been stricken by the afflictions sent by
the Gods, to acknowledge themselves afflicted and humbled by them is
the readiest way of appeasing them. But most men appear to be unaware
what contradictions these things are full of. They commend those who
die calmly, but they blame those who can bear the loss of another with
the same calmness, as if it were possible that it should be true, as is
occasionally said in love speeches, that any one can love another more
than himself. There is, indeed, something excellent in this, and, if
you examine it, something no less just than true, that we love those
who ought to be most dear to us as well as we love ourselves; but to
love them more than ourselves is absolutely impossible; nor is it
desirable in friendship that I should love my friend more than myself,
or that he should love me so; for this would occasion much confusion in
life, and break in upon all the duties of it.

XXX. But we will speak of this another time: at present it is
sufficient not to attribute our misery to the loss of our friends, nor
to love them more than, if they themselves could be sensible of our
conduct, they would approve of, or at least not more than we do
ourselves. Now as to what they say, that some are not at all appeased
by our consolations; and, moreover, as to what they add, that the
comforters themselves acknowledge they are miserable when fortune
varies the attack and falls on them--in both these cases the solution
is easy: for the fault here is not in nature, but in our own folly; and
much may be said against folly. But men who do not admit of consolation
seem to bespeak misery for themselves; and they who cannot bear their
misfortunes with that temper which they recommend to others are not
more faulty in this particular than most other persons; for we see that
covetous men find fault with others who are covetous, as do the
vainglorious with those who appear too wholly devoted to the pursuit of
glory. For it is the peculiar characteristic of folly to perceive the
vices of others, but to forget its own. But since we find that grief is
removed by length of time, we have the greatest proof that the strength
of it depends not merely on time, but on the daily consideration of it.
For if the cause continues the same, and the man be the same, how can
there be any alteration in the grief, if there is no change in what
occasioned the grief, nor in him who grieves? Therefore it is from
daily reflecting that there is no real evil in the circumstance for
which you grieve, and not from the length of time, that you procure a
remedy for your grief.

XXXI. Here some people talk of moderate grief; but if such be natural,
what occasion is there for consolation? for nature herself will
determine, the measure of it: but if it depends on and is caused by
opinion, the whole opinion should be destroyed. I think that it has
been sufficiently said, that grief arises from an opinion of some
present evil, which includes this belief, that it is incumbent on us to
grieve. To this definition Zeno has added, very justly, that the
opinion of this present evil should be recent. Now this word recent
they explain thus: those are not the only recent things which happened
a little while ago; but as long as there shall be any force, or vigor,
or freshness in that imagined evil, so long it is entitled to the name
of recent. Take the case of Artemisia, the wife of Mausolus, King of
Caria, who made that noble sepulchre at Halicarnassus; while she lived,
she lived in grief, and died of it, being worn out by it, for that
opinion was always recent with her: but you cannot call that recent
which has already begun to decay through time. Now the duty of a
comforter is, to remove grief entirely, to quiet it, or draw it off as
much as you can, or else to keep it under, and prevent its spreading
any further, and to divert one's attention to other matters. There are
some who think, with Cleanthes, that the only duty of a comforter is to
prove that what one is lamenting is by no means an evil. Others, as the
Peripatetics, prefer urging that the evil is not great. Others, with
Epicurus, seek to divert your attention from the evil to good: some
think it sufficient to show that nothing has happened but what you had
reason to expect; and this is the practice of the Cyrenaics. But
Chrysippus thinks that the main thing in comforting is, to remove the
opinion from the person who is grieving, that to grieve is his bounden
duty. There are others who bring together all these various kinds of
consolations, for people are differently affected; as I have done
myself in my book on Consolation; for as my own mind was much
disordered, I have attempted in that book to discover every method of
cure. But the proper season is as much to be attended to in the cure of
the mind as of the body; as Prometheus in Æschylus, on its being said
to him,

    I think, Prometheus, you this tenet hold,
    That all men's reason should their rage control?


    Yes, when one reason properly applies;
    Ill-timed advice will make the storm but rise.[48]

XXXII. But the principal medicine to be applied in consolation is, to
maintain either that it is no evil at all, or a very inconsiderable
one: the next best to that is, to speak of the common condition of
life, having a view, if possible, to the state of the person whom you
comfort particularly. The third is, that it is folly to wear one's self
out with grief which can avail nothing. For the comfort of Cleanthes is
suitable only for a wise man, who is in no need of any comfort at all;
for could you persuade one in grief that nothing is an evil but what is
base, you would not only cure him of grief, but folly. But the time for
such precepts is not well chosen. Besides, Cleanthes does not seem to
me sufficiently aware that affliction may very often proceed from that
very thing which he himself allows to be the greatest misfortune. For
what shall we say? When Socrates had convinced Alcibiades, as we are
told, that he had no distinctive qualifications as a man different from
other people, and that, in fact, there was no difference between him,
though a man of the highest rank, and a porter; and when Alcibiades
became uneasy at this, and entreated Socrates, with tears in his eyes,
to make him a man of virtue, and to cure him of that mean position;
what shall we say to this, Cleanthes? Was there no evil in what
afflicted Alcibiades thus? What strange things does Lycon say? who,
making light of grief, says that it arises from trifles, from things
that affect our fortune or bodies, not from the evils of the mind.
What, then? did not the grief of Alcibiades proceed from the defects
and evils of the mind? I have already said enough of Epicurus's

XXXIII. Nor is that consolation much to be relied on, though it is
frequently practised, and sometimes has some effect, namely, "That you
are not alone in this." It has its effect, as I said, but not always,
nor with every person, for some reject it; but much depends on the
application of it; for you ought rather to show, not how men in general
have been affected with such evils, but how men of sense have borne
them. As to Chrysippus's method, it is certainly founded in truth; but
it is difficult to apply it in time of distress. It is a work of no
small difficulty to persuade a person in affliction that he grieves
merely because he thinks it right so to do. Certainly, then, as in
pleadings we do not state all cases alike (if I may adopt the language
of lawyers for a moment), but adapt what we have to say to the time, to
the nature of the subject under debate, and to the person; so, too, in
alleviating grief, regard should be had to what kind of cure the party
to be comforted can admit of. But, somehow or other, we have rambled
from what you originally proposed. For your question was concerning a
wise man, with whom nothing can have the appearance of evil that is not
dishonorable; or at least, anything else would seem so small an evil
that by his wisdom he would so overmatch it as to make it wholly
disappear; and such a man makes no addition to his grief through
opinion, and never conceives it right to torment himself above measure,
nor to wear himself out with grief, which is the meanest thing
imaginable. Reason, however, it seems, has demonstrated (though it was
not directly our object at the moment to inquire whether anything can
be called an evil except what is base) that it is in our power to
discern that all the evil which there is in affliction has nothing
natural in it, but is contracted by our own voluntary judgment of it,
and the error of opinion.

XXXIV. But the kind of affliction of which I have treated is that which
is the greatest; in order that when we have once got rid of that, it
may appear a business of less consequence to look after remedies for
the others. For there are certain things which are usually said about
poverty; and also certain statements ordinarily applied to retired and
undistinguished life. There are particular treatises on banishment, on
the ruin of one's country, on slavery, on weakness, on blindness, and
on every incident that can come under the name of an evil. The Greeks
divide these into different treatises and distinct books; but they do
it for the sake of employment: not but that all such discussions are
full of entertainment. And yet, as physicians, in curing the whole
body, attend to even the most insignificant part of the body which is
at all disordered, so does philosophy act, after it has removed grief
in general; still, if any other deficiency exists--should poverty bite,
should ignominy sting, should banishment bring a dark cloud over us, or
should any of those things which I have just mentioned appear, there is
for each its appropriate consolation, which you shall hear whenever you
please. But we must have recourse again to the same original principle,
that a wise man is free from all sorrow, because it is vain, because it
answers no purpose, because it is not founded in nature, but on opinion
and prejudice, and is engendered by a kind of invitation to grieve,
when once men have imagined that it is their duty to do so. When, then,
we have subtracted what is altogether voluntary, that mournful
uneasiness will be removed; yet some little anxiety, some slight
pricking, will still remain. They may indeed call this natural,
provided they give it not that horrid, solemn, melancholy name of
grief, which can by no means consist with wisdom. But how various and
how bitter are the roots of grief! Whatever they are, I propose, after
having felled the trunk, to destroy them all; even if it should be
necessary, by allotting a separate dissertation to each, for I have
leisure enough to do so, whatever time it may take up. But the
principle of every uneasiness is the same, though they may appear under
different names. For envy is an uneasiness; so are emulation,
detraction, anguish, sorrow, sadness, tribulation, lamentation,
vexation, grief, trouble, affliction, and despair. The Stoics define
all these different feelings; and all those words which I have
mentioned belong to different things, and do not, as they seem, express
the same ideas; but they are to a certain extent distinct, as I shall
make appear perhaps in another place. These are those fibres of the
roots which, as I said at first, must be traced back and cut off and
destroyed, so that not one shall remain. You say it is a great and
difficult undertaking: who denies it? But what is there of any
excellency which has not its difficulty? Yet philosophy undertakes to
effect it, provided we admit its superintendence. But enough of this.
The other books, whenever you please, shall be ready for you here or
anywhere else.

       *       *       *       *       *


On other perturbations of the mind.

I. I have often wondered, Brutus, on many occasions, at the ingenuity
and virtues of our countrymen; but nothing has surprised me more than
their development in those studies, which, though they came somewhat
late to us, have been transported into this city from Greece. For the
system of auspices, and religious ceremonies, and courts of justice,
and appeals to the people, the senate, the establishment of an army of
cavalry and infantry, and the whole military discipline, were
instituted as early as the foundation of the city by royal authority,
partly too by laws, not without the assistance of the Gods. Then with
what a surprising and incredible progress did our ancestors advance
towards all kind of excellence, when once the republic was freed from
the regal power! Not that this is a proper occasion to treat of the
manners and customs of our ancestors, or of the discipline and
constitution of the city; for I have elsewhere, particularly in the six
books I wrote on the Republic, given a sufficiently accurate account of
them. But while I am on this subject, and considering the study of
philosophy, I meet with many reasons to imagine that those studies were
brought to us from abroad, and not merely imported, but preserved and
improved; for they had Pythagoras, a man of consummate wisdom and
nobleness of character, in a manner, before their eyes, who was in
Italy at the time that Lucius Brutus, the illustrious founder of your
nobility, delivered his country from tyranny. As the doctrine of
Pythagoras spread itself on all sides, it seems probable to me that it
reached this city; and this is not only probable of itself, but it does
really appear to have been the case from many remains of it. For who
can imagine that, when it flourished so much in that part of Italy
which was called Magna Græcia, and in some of the largest and most
powerful cities, in which, first the name of Pythagoras, and then that
of those men who were afterward his followers, was in so high esteem;
who can imagine, I say, that our people could shut their ears to what
was said by such learned men? Besides, it is even my opinion that it
was the great esteem in which the Pythagoreans were held, that gave
rise to that opinion among those who came after him, that King Numa was
a Pythagorean. For, being acquainted with the doctrine and principles
of Pythagoras, and having heard from their ancestors that this king was
a very wise and just man, and not being able to distinguish accurately
between times and periods that were so remote, they inferred, from his
being so eminent for his wisdom, that he had been a pupil of

II. So far we proceed on conjecture. As to the vestiges of the
Pythagoreans, though I might collect many, I shall use but a few;
because they have no connection with our present purpose. For, as it is
reported to have been a custom with them to deliver certain precepts in
a more abstruse manner in verse, and to bring their minds from severe
thought to a more composed state by songs and musical instruments; so
Cato, a writer of the very highest authority, says in his Origins, that
it was customary with our ancestors for the guests at their
entertainments, every one in his turn, to celebrate the praises and
virtues of illustrious men in song to the sound of the flute; from
whence it is clear that poems and songs were then composed for the
voice. And, indeed, it is also clear that poetry was in fashion from
the laws of the Twelve Tables, wherein it is provided that no song
should be made to the injury of another. Another argument of the
erudition of those times is, that they played on instruments before the
shrines of their Gods, and at the entertainments of their magistrates;
but that custom was peculiar to the sect I am speaking of. To me,
indeed, that poem of Appius Cæcus, which Panætius commends so much in a
certain letter of his which is addressed to Quintus Tubero, has all the
marks of a Pythagorean author. We have many things derived from the
Pythagoreans in our customs, which I pass over, that we may not seem to
have learned that elsewhere which we look upon ourselves as the
inventors of. But to return to our purpose. How many great poets as
well as orators have sprung up among us! and in what a short time! so
that it is evident that our people could arrive at any learning as soon
as they had an inclination for it. But of other studies I shall speak
elsewhere if there is occasion, as I have already often done.

III. The study of philosophy is certainly of long standing with us; but
yet I do not find that I can give you the names of any philosopher
before the age of Lælius and Scipio, in whose younger days we find that
Diogenes the Stoic, and Carneades the Academic, were sent as
ambassadors by the Athenians to our senate. And as these had never been
concerned in public affairs, and one of them was a Cyrenean, the other
a Babylonian, they certainly would never have been forced from their
studies, nor chosen for that employment, unless the study of philosophy
had been in vogue with some of the great men at that time; who, though
they might employ their pens on other subjects--some on civil law,
others on oratory, others on the history of former times--yet promoted
this most extensive of all arts, the principle of living well, even
more by their life than by their writings. So that of that true and
elegant philosophy (which was derived from Socrates, and is still
preserved by the Peripatetics and by the Stoics, though they express
themselves differently in their disputes with the Academics) there are
few or no Latin records; whether this proceeds from the importance of
the thing itself, or from men's being otherwise employed, or from their
concluding that the capacity of the people was not equal to the
apprehension of them. But, during this silence, C. Amafinius arose and
took upon himself to speak; on the publishing of whose writings the
people were moved, and enlisted themselves chiefly under this sect,
either because the doctrine was more easily understood, or because they
were invited thereto by the pleasing thoughts of amusement, or that,
because there was nothing better, they laid hold of what was offered
them. And after Amafinius, when many of the same sentiments had written
much about them, the Pythagoreans spread over all Italy: but that these
doctrines should be so easily understood and approved of by the
unlearned is a great proof that they were not written with any great
subtlety, and they think their establishment to be owing to this.

IV. But let every one defend his own opinion, for every one is at
liberty to choose what he likes: I shall keep to my old custom; and,
being under no restraint from the laws of any particular school, which
in philosophy every one must necessarily confine himself to, I shall
always inquire what has the most probability in every question, and
this system, which I have often practised on other occasions, I have
adhered closely to in my Tusculan Disputations. Therefore, as I have
acquainted you with the disputations of the three former days, this
book shall conclude the discussion of the fourth day. When we had come
down into the Academy, as we had done the former days, the business was
carried on thus:

_M._ Let any one say, who pleases, what he would wish to have

_A._ I do not think a wise man can possibly be free from every
perturbation of mind.

_M._ He seemed by yesterday's discourse to be free from grief; unless
you agreed with us only to avoid taking up time.

_A._ Not at all on that account, for I was extremely satisfied with
your discourse.

_M._ You do not think, then, that a wise man is subject to grief?

_A._ No, by no means.

_M._ But if that cannot disorder the mind of a wise man, nothing else
can. For what--can such a man be disturbed by fear? Fear proceeds from
the same things when absent which occasion grief when present. Take
away grief, then, and you remove fear.

The two remaining perturbations are, a joy elate above measure, and
lust; and if a wise man is not subject to these, his mind will be
always at rest.

_A._ I am entirely of that opinion.

_M._ Which, then, shall we do? Shall I immediately crowd all my sails?
or shall I make use of my oars, as if I were just endeavoring to get
clear of the harbor?

_A._ What is it that you mean, for I do not exactly comprehend you?

V. _M._ Because, Chrysippus and the Stoics, when they discuss the
perturbations of the mind, make great part of their debate to consist
in definitions and distinctions; while they employ but few words on the
subject of curing the mind, and preventing it from being disordered.
Whereas the Peripatetics bring a great many things to promote the cure
of it, but have no regard to their thorny partitions and definitions.
My question, then, was, whether I should instantly unfold the sails of
my eloquence, or be content for a while to make less way with the oars
of logic?

_A._ Let it be so; for by the employment of both these means the
subject of our inquiry will be more thoroughly discussed.

_M._ It is certainly the better way; and should anything be too
obscure, you may examine that afterward.

_A._ I will do so; but those very obscure points you will, as usual,
deliver with more clearness than the Greeks.

_M._ I will, indeed, endeavor to do so; but it well requires great
attention, lest, by losing one word, the whole should escape you. What
the Greeks call [Greek: pathê] we choose to name perturbations (or
disorders) rather than diseases; in explaining which, I shall follow,
first, that very old description of Pythagoras, and afterward that of
Plato; for they both divide the mind into two parts, and make one of
these partake of reason, and the other they represent without it. In
that which partakes of reason they place tranquillity, that is to say,
a placid and undisturbed constancy; to the other they assign the turbid
motions of anger and desire, which are contrary and opposite to reason.
Let this, then, be our principle, the spring of all our reasonings. But
notwithstanding, I shall use the partitions and definitions of the
Stoics in describing these perturbations; who seem to me to have shown
very great acuteness on this question.

VI. Zeno's definition, then, is this: "A perturbation" (which he calls
a [Greek: pathos]) "is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason, and
against nature." Some of them define it even more briefly, saying that
a perturbation is a somewhat too vehement appetite; but by too vehement
they mean an appetite that recedes further from the constancy of
nature. But they would have the divisions of perturbations to arise
from two imagined goods, and from two imagined evils; and thus they
become four: from the good proceed lust and joy--joy having reference
to some present good, and lust to some future one. They suppose fear
and grief to proceed from evils: fear from something future, grief from
something present; for whatever things are dreaded as approaching
always occasion grief when present. But joy and lust depend on the
opinion of good; as lust, being inflamed and provoked, is carried on
eagerly towards what has the appearance of good; and joy is transported
and exults on obtaining what was desired: for we naturally pursue those
things that have the appearance of good, and avoid the contrary.
Wherefore, as soon as anything that has the appearance of good presents
itself, nature incites us to endeavor to obtain it. Now, where this
strong desire is consistent and founded on prudence, it is by the
Stoics called [Greek: boulêsis], and the name which we give it is
volition; and this they allow to none but their wise man, and define it
thus: Volition is a reasonable desire; but whatever is incited too
violently in opposition to reason, that is a lust, or an unbridled
desire, which is discoverable in all fools. And, therefore, when we are
affected so as to be placed in any good condition, we are moved in two
ways; for when the mind is moved in a placid and calm motion,
consistent with reason, that is called joy; but when it exults with a
vain, wanton exultation, or immoderate joy, then that feeling may be
called immoderate ecstasy or transport, which they define to be an
elation of the mind without reason. And as we naturally desire good
things, so in like manner we naturally seek to avoid what is evil; and
this avoidance of which, if conducted in accordance with reason, is
called caution; and this the wise man alone is supposed to have: but
that caution which is not under the guidance of reason, but is attended
with a base and low dejection, is called fear. Fear is, therefore,
caution destitute of reason. But a wise man is not affected by any
present evil; while the grief of a fool proceeds from being affected
with an imaginary evil, by which his mind is contracted and sunk, since
it is not under the dominion of reason. This, then, is the first
definition, which makes grief to consist in a shrinking of the mind
contrary to the dictates of reason. Thus, there are four perturbations,
and but three calm rational emotions; for grief has no exact opposite.

VII. But they insist upon it that all perturbations depend on opinion
and judgment; therefore they define them more strictly, in order not
only the better to show how blamable they are, but to discover how much
they are in our power. Grief, then, is a recent opinion of some present
evil, in which it seems to be right that the mind should shrink and be
dejected. Joy is a recent opinion of a present good, in which it seems
to be right that the mind should be elated. Fear is an opinion of an
impending evil which we apprehend will be intolerable. Lust is an
opinion of a good to come, which would be of advantage were it already
come, and present with us. But however I have named the judgments and
opinions of perturbations, their meaning is, not that merely the
perturbations consist in them, but that the effects likewise of these
perturbations do so; as grief occasions a kind of painful pricking, and
fear engenders a recoil or sudden abandonment of the mind, joy gives
rise to a profuse mirth, while lust is the parent of an unbridled habit
of coveting. But that imagination, which I have included in all the
above definitions, they would have to consist in assenting without
warrantable grounds. Now, every perturbation has many subordinate parts
annexed to it of the same kind. Grief is attended with enviousness
(_invidentia_)--I use that word for instruction's sake, though it is
not so common; because envy (_invidia_) takes in not only the person
who envies, but the person, too, who is envied--emulation, detraction,
pity, vexation, mourning, sadness, tribulation, sorrow, lamentation,
solicitude, disquiet of mind, pain, despair, and many other similar
feelings are so too. Under fear are comprehended sloth, shame, terror,
cowardice, fainting, confusion, astonishment. In pleasure they
comprehend malevolence--that is, pleased at another's
misfortune--delight, boastfulness, and the like. To lust they associate
anger, fury, hatred, enmity, discord, wants, desire, and other feelings
of that kind.

But they define these in this manner:

VIII. Enviousness (_invidentia_), they say, is a grief arising from the
prosperous circumstances of another, which are in no degree injurious
to the person who envies; for where any one grieves at the prosperity
of another, by which he is injured, such a one is not properly said to
envy--as when Agamemnon grieves at Hector's success; but where any one,
who is in no way hurt by the prosperity of another, is in pain at his
success, such a one envies indeed. Now the name "emulation" is taken in
a double sense, so that the same word may stand for praise and
dispraise: for the imitation of virtue is called emulation (however,
that sense of it I shall have no occasion for here, for that carries
praise with it); but emulation is also a term applied to grief at
another's enjoying what I desired to have, and am without. Detraction
(and I mean by that, jealousy) is a grief even at another's enjoying
what I had a great inclination for. Pity is a grief at the misery of
another who suffers wrongfully; for no one is moved by pity at the
punishment of a parricide or of a betrayer of his country. Vexation is
a pressing grief. Mourning is a grief at the bitter death of one who
was dear to you. Sadness is a grief attended with tears. Tribulation is
a painful grief. Sorrow, an excruciating grief. Lamentation, a grief
where we loudly bewail ourselves. Solicitude, a pensive grief. Trouble,
a continued grief. Affliction, a grief that harasses the body. Despair,
a grief that excludes all hope of better things to come. But those
feelings which are included under fear, they define thus: There is
sloth, which is a dread of some ensuing labor; shame and terror, which
affect the body--hence blushing attends shame; a paleness, and tremor,
and chattering of the teeth attend terror--cowardice, which is an
apprehension of some approaching evil; dread, a fear that unhinges the
mind, whence comes that line of Ennius,

    Then dread discharged all wisdom from my mind;

fainting is the associate and constant attendant on dread; confusion, a
fear that drives away all thought; alarm, a continued fear.

IX. The different species into which they divide pleasure come under
this description; so that malevolence is a pleasure in the misfortunes
of another, without any advantage to yourself; delight, a pleasure that
soothes the mind by agreeable impressions on the ear. What is said of
the ear may be applied to the sight, to the touch, smell, and taste.
All feelings of this kind are a sort of melting pleasure that dissolves
the mind. Boastfulness is a pleasure that consists in making an
appearance, and setting off yourself with insolence.--The subordinate
species of lust they define in this manner: Anger is a lust of
punishing any one who, as we imagine, has injured us without cause.
Heat is anger just forming and beginning to exist, which the Greeks
call [Greek: thymôsis]. Hatred is a settled anger. Enmity is anger
waiting for an opportunity of revenge. Discord is a sharper anger
conceived deeply in the mind and heart. Want an insatiable lust. Regret
is when one eagerly wishes to see a person who is absent. Now here they
have a distinction; so that with them regret is a lust conceived on
hearing of certain things reported of some one, or of many, which the
Greeks call [Greek: katêgorêmata], or predicaments; as that they are in
possession of riches and honors: but want is a lust for those very
honors and riches. But these definers make intemperance the fountain of
all these perturbations; which is an absolute revolt from the mind and
right reason--a state so averse to all rules of reason that the
appetites of the mind can by no means be governed and restrained. As,
therefore, temperance appeases these desires, making them obey right
reason, and maintains the well-weighed judgments of the mind, so
intemperance, which is in opposition to this, inflames, confounds, and
puts every state of the mind into a violent motion. Thus, grief and
fear, and every other perturbation of the mind, have their rise from

X. Just as distempers and sickness are bred in the body from the
corruption of the blood, and the too great abundance of phlegm and
bile, so the mind is deprived of its health, and disordered with
sickness, from a confusion of depraved opinions that are in opposition
to one another. From these perturbations arise, first, diseases, which
they call [Greek: nosêmata]; and also those feelings which are in
opposition to these diseases, and which admit certain faulty distastes
or loathings; then come sicknesses, which are called [Greek:
arrhôstêmata] by the Stoics, and these two have their opposite
aversions. Here the Stoics, especially Chrysippus, give themselves
unnecessary trouble to show the analogy which the diseases of the mind
have to those of the body: but, overlooking all that they say as of
little consequence, I shall treat only of the thing itself. Let us,
then, understand perturbation to imply a restlessness from the variety
and confusion of contradictory opinions; and that when this heat and
disturbance of the mind is of any standing, and has taken up its
residence, as it were, in the veins and marrow, then commence diseases
and sickness, and those aversions which are in opposition to these
diseases and sicknesses.

XI. What I say here may be distinguished in thought, though they are in
fact the same; inasmuch as they both have their rise from lust and joy.
For should money be the object of our desire, and should we not
instantly apply to reason, as if it were a kind of Socratic medicine to
heal this desire, the evil glides into our veins, and cleaves to our
bowels, and from thence proceeds a distemper or sickness, which, when
it is of any continuance, is incurable, and the name of this disease is
covetousness. It is the same with other diseases; as the desire of
glory, a passion for women, to which the Greeks give the name of
[Greek: philogyneia]: and thus all other diseases and sicknesses are
generated. But those feelings which are the contrary of these are
supposed to have fear for their foundation, as a hatred of women, such
as is displayed in the Woman-hater of Atilius; or the hatred of the
whole human species, as Timon is reported to have done, whom they call
the Misanthrope. Of the same kind is inhospitality. And all these
diseases proceed from a certain dread of such things as they hate and
avoid. But they define sickness of mind to be an overweening opinion,
and that fixed and deeply implanted in the heart, of something as very
desirable which is by no means so. What proceeds from aversion, they
define thus: a vehement idea of something to be avoided, deeply
implanted, and inherent in our minds, when there is no reason for
avoiding it; and this kind of opinion is a deliberate belief that one
understands things of which one is wholly ignorant. Now, sickness of
the mind has all these subordinate divisions: avarice, ambition,
fondness for women, obstinacy, gluttony, drunkenness, covetousness, and
other similar vices. But avarice is a violent opinion about money, as
if it were vehemently to be desired and sought after, which opinion is
deeply implanted and inherent in our minds; and the definition of all
the other similar feelings resembles these. But the definitions of
aversions are of this sort: inhospitality is a vehement opinion, deeply
implanted and inherent in your mind, that you should avoid a stranger.
Thus, too, the hatred of women, like that felt by Hippolytus, is
defined; and the hatred of the human species like that displayed by

XII. But to come to the analogy of the state of body and mind, which I
shall sometimes make use of, though more sparingly than the Stoics.
Some men are more inclined to particular disorders than others; and,
therefore, we say that some people are rheumatic, others dropsical, not
because they are so at present, but because they are often so: some are
inclined to fear, others to some other perturbation. Thus in some there
is a continual anxiety, owing to which they are anxious; in some a
hastiness of temper, which differs from anger, as anxiety differs from
anguish: for all are not anxious who are sometimes vexed, nor are they
who are anxious always uneasy in that manner: as there is a difference
between being drunk and drunkenness; and it is one thing to be a lover,
another to be given to women. And this disposition of particular people
to particular disorders is very common: for it relates to all
perturbations; it appears in many vices, though it has no name. Some
are, therefore, said to be envious, malevolent, spiteful, fearful,
pitiful, from a propensity to those perturbations, not from their being
always carried away by them. Now this propensity to these particular
disorders may be called a sickness from analogy with the body; meaning,
that is to say, nothing more than a propensity towards sickness. But
with regard to whatever is good, as some are more inclined to different
good qualities than others, we may call this a facility or tendency:
this tendency to evil is a proclivity or inclination to falling; but
where anything is neither good nor bad, it may have the former name.

XIII. Even as there may be, with respect to the body, a disease, a
sickness, and a defect, so it is with the mind. They call that a
disease where the whole body is corrupted; they call that sickness
where a disease is attended with a weakness, and that a defect where
the parts of the body are not well compacted together; from whence it
follows that the members are misshapen, crooked, and deformed. So that
these two, a disease and sickness, proceed from a violent concussion
and perturbation of the health of the whole body; but a defect
discovers itself even when the body is in perfect health. But a disease
of the mind is distinguishable only in thought from a sickness. But a
viciousness is a habit or affection discordant and inconsistent with
itself through life. Thus it happens that, in the one case, a disease
and sickness may arise from a corruption of opinions; in the other
case, the consequence may be inconstancy and inconsistency. For every
vice of the mind does not imply a disunion of parts; as is the case
with those who are not far from being wise men. With them there is that
affection which is inconsistent with itself while it is foolish; but it
is not distorted, nor depraved. But diseases and sicknesses are parts
of viciousness; but it is a question whether perturbations are parts of
the same, for vices are permanent affections: perturbations are such as
are restless; so that they cannot be parts of permanent ones. As there
is some analogy between the nature of the body and mind in evil, so is
there in good; for the distinctions of the body are beauty, strength,
health, firmness, quickness of motion: the same may be said of the
mind. The body is said to be in a good state when all those things on
which health depends are consistent: the same may be said of the mind
when its judgments and opinions are not at variance with one another.
And this union is the virtue of the mind, which, according to some
people, is temperance itself; others make it consist in an obedience to
the precepts of temperance, and a compliance with them, not allowing it
to be any distinct species of itself. But, be it one or the other, it
is to be found only in a wise man. But there is a certain soundness of
mind, which even a fool may have, when the perturbation of his mind is
removed by the care and management of his physicians. And as what is
called beauty arises from an exact proportion of the limbs, together
with a certain sweetness of complexion, so the beauty of the mind
consists in an equality and constancy of opinions and judgments, joined
to a certain firmness and stability, pursuing virtue, or containing
within itself the very essence of virtue. Besides, we give the very
same names to the faculties of the mind as we do to the powers of the
body, the nerves, and other powers of action. Thus the velocity of the
body is called swiftness: a praise which we ascribe to the mind, from
its running over in its thoughts so many things in so short a time.

XIV. Herein, indeed, the mind and body are unlike: that though the mind
when in perfect health may be visited by sickness, as the body may, yet
the body may be disordered without our fault; the mind cannot. For all
the disorders and perturbations of the mind proceed from a neglect of
reason; these disorders, therefore, are confined to men: the beasts are
not subject to such perturbations, though they act sometimes as if they
had reason. There is a difference, too, between ingenious and dull men;
the ingenious, like the Corinthian brass, which is long before it
receives rust, are longer before they fall into these perturbations,
and are recovered sooner: the case is different with the dull. Nor does
the mind of an ingenious man fall into every kind of perturbation, for
it never yields to any that are brutish and savage; and some of their
perturbations have at first even the appearance of humanity, as mercy,
grief, and fear. But the sicknesses and diseases of the mind are
thought to be harder to eradicate than those leading vices which are in
opposition to virtues; for vices may be removed, though the diseases of
the mind should continue, which diseases are not cured with that
expedition with which vices are removed. I have now acquainted you with
the arguments which the Stoics put forth with such exactness; which
they call logic, from their close arguing: and since my discourse has
got clear of these rocks, I will proceed with the remainder of it,
provided I have been sufficiently clear in what I have already said,
considering the obscurity of the subject I have treated.

_A._ Clear enough; but should there be occasion for a more exact
inquiry, I shall take another opportunity of asking you. I expect you
now to hoist your sails, as you just now called them, and proceed on
your course.

XV. _M._ Since I have spoken before of virtue in other places, and
shall often have occasion to speak again (for a great many questions
that relate to life and manners arise from the spring of virtue); and
since, as I say, virtue consists in a settled and uniform affection of
mind, making those persons praiseworthy who are possessed of her, she
herself also, independent of anything else, without regard to any
advantage, must be praiseworthy; for from her proceed good
inclinations, opinions, actions, and the whole of right reason; though
virtue may be defined in a few words to be right reason itself. The
opposite to this is viciousness (for so I choose to translate what the
Greeks call [Greek: kakia], rather than by perverseness; for
perverseness is the name of a particular vice; but viciousness includes
all), from whence arise those perturbations which, as I just now said,
are turbid and violent motions of the mind, repugnant to reason, and
enemies in a high degree to the peace of the mind and a tranquil life,
for they introduce piercing and anxious cares, and afflict and
debilitate the mind through fear; they violently inflame our hearts
with exaggerated appetite, which is in reality an impotence of mind,
utterly irreconcilable with temperance and moderation, which we
sometimes call desire, and sometimes lust, and which, should it even
attain the object of its wishes, immediately becomes so elated that it
loses all its resolution, and knows not what to pursue; so that he was
in the right who said "that exaggerated pleasure was the very greatest
of mistakes." Virtue, then, alone can effect the cure of these evils.

XVI. For what is not only more miserable, but more base and sordid,
than a man afflicted, weakened, and oppressed with grief? And little
short of this misery is one who dreads some approaching evil, and who,
through faintheartedness, is under continual suspense. The poets, to
express the greatness of this evil, imagine a stone to hang over the
head of Tantalus, as a punishment for his wickedness, his pride, and
his boasting. And this is the common punishment of folly; for there
hangs over the head of every one whose mind revolts from reason some
similar fear. And as these perturbations of the mind, grief and fear,
are of a most wasting nature, so those two others, though of a more
merry cast (I mean lust, which is always coveting something with
eagerness, and empty mirth, which is an exulting joy), differ very
little from madness. Hence you may understand what sort of person he is
whom we call at one time moderate, at another modest or temperate, at
another constant and virtuous; while sometimes we include all these
names in the word frugality, as the crown of all; for if that word did
not include all virtues, it would never have been proverbial to say
that a frugal man does everything rightly. But when the Stoics apply
this saying to their wise man, they seem to exalt him too much, and to
speak of him with too much admiration.

XVII. Whoever, then, through moderation and constancy, is at rest in
his mind, and in calm possession of himself, so as neither to pine with
care, nor be dejected with fear, nor to be inflamed with desire,
coveting something greedily, nor relaxed by extravagant mirth--such a
man is that identical wise man whom we are inquiring for: he is the
happy man, to whom nothing in this life seems intolerable enough to
depress him; nothing exquisite enough to transport him unduly. For what
is there in this life that can appear great to him who has acquainted
himself with eternity and the utmost extent of the universe? For what
is there in human knowledge, or the short span of this life, that can
appear great to a wise man? whose mind is always so upon its guard that
nothing can befall him which is unforeseen, nothing which is
unexpected, nothing, in short, which is new. Such a man takes so exact
a survey on all sides of him, that he always knows the proper place and
spot to live in free from all the troubles and annoyances of life, and
encounters every accident that fortune can bring upon him with a
becoming calmness. Whoever conducts himself in this manner will be free
from grief, and from every other perturbation; and a mind free from
these feelings renders men completely happy; whereas a mind disordered
and drawn off from right and unerring reason loses at once, not only
its resolution, but its health.--Therefore the thoughts and
declarations of the Peripatetics are soft and effeminate, for they say
that the mind must necessarily be agitated, but at the same time they
lay down certain bounds beyond which that agitation is not to proceed.
And do you set bounds to vice? or is it no vice to disobey reason? Does
not reason sufficiently declare that there is no real good which you
should desire too ardently, or the possession of which you should allow
to transport you? and that there is no evil that should be able to
overwhelm you, or the suspicion of which should distract you? and that
all these things assume too melancholy or too cheerful an appearance
through our own error? But if fools find this error lessened by time,
so that, though the cause remains the same, they are not affected, in
the same manner, after some time, as they were at first, why, surely a
wise man ought not to be influenced at all by it. But what are those
degrees by which we are to limit it? Let us fix these degrees in grief,
a difficult subject, and one much canvassed.--Fannius writes that P.
Rutilius took it much to heart that his brother was refused the
consulship; but he seems to have been too much affected by this
disappointment, for it was the occasion of his death: he ought,
therefore, to have borne it with more moderation. But let us suppose
that while he was bearing this with moderation, the death of his
children had intervened; here would have started a fresh grief, which,
admitting it to be moderate in itself, yet still must have been a great
addition to the other. Now, to these let us add some acute pains of
body, the loss of his fortune, blindness, banishment. Supposing, then,
each separate misfortune to occasion a separate additional grief, the
whole would be too great to be supportable.

XVIII. The man who attempts to set bounds to vice acts like one who
should throw himself headlong from Leucate, persuaded that he could
stop himself whenever he pleased. Now, as that is impossible, so a
perturbed and disordered mind cannot restrain itself, and stop where it
pleases. Certainly whatever is bad in its increase is bad in its birth.
Now grief and all other perturbations are doubtless baneful in their
progress, and have, therefore, no small share of evil at the beginning;
for they go on of themselves when once they depart from reason, for
every weakness is self-indulgent, and indiscreetly launches out, and
does not know where to stop. So that it makes no difference whether you
approve of moderate perturbations of mind, or of moderate injustice,
moderate cowardice, and moderate intemperance; for whoever prescribes
bounds to vice admits a part of it, which, as it is odious of itself,
becomes the more so as it stands on slippery ground, and, being once
set forward, glides on headlong, and cannot by any means be stopped.

XIX. Why should I say more? Why should I add that the Peripatetics say
that these perturbations, which we insist upon it should be extirpated,
are not only natural, but were given to men by nature for a good
purpose? They usually talk in this manner. In the first place, they say
much in praise of anger; they call it the whetstone of courage, and
they say that angry men exert themselves most against an enemy or
against a bad citizen: that those reasons are of little weight which
are the motives of men who think thus, as--it is a just war; it becomes
us to fight for our laws, our liberties, our country: they will allow
no force to these arguments unless our courage is warmed by anger.--Nor
do they confine their argument to warriors; but their opinion is that
no one can issue any rigid commands without some bitterness and anger.
In short, they have no notion of an orator either accusing or even
defending a client without he is spurred on by anger. And though this
anger should not be real, still they think his words and gestures ought
to wear the appearance of it, so that the action of the orator may
excite the anger of his hearer. And they deny that any man has ever
been seen who does not know what it is to be angry; and they name what
we call lenity by the bad appellation of indolence. Nor do they commend
only this lust (for anger is, as I defined it above, the lust of
revenge), but they maintain that kind of lust or desire to be given us
by nature for very good purposes, saying that no one can execute
anything well but what he is in earnest about. Themistocles used to
walk in the public places in the night because he could not sleep; and
when asked the reason, his answer was, that Miltiades's trophies kept
him awake. Who has not heard how Demosthenes used to watch, who said
that it gave him pain if any mechanic was up in a morning at his work
before him? Lastly, they urge that some of the greatest philosophers
would never have made that progress in their studies without some
ardent desire spurring them on.--We are informed that Pythagoras,
Democritus, and Plato visited the remotest parts of the world; for they
thought that they ought to go wherever anything was to be learned. Now,
it is not conceivable that these things could be effected by anything
but by the greatest ardor of mind.

XX. They say that even grief, which we have already said ought to be
avoided as a monstrous and fierce beast, was appointed by nature, not
without some good purpose, in order that men should lament when they
had committed a fault, well knowing they had exposed themselves to
correction, rebuke, and ignominy; for they think that those who can
bear ignominy and infamy without pain have acquired a complete impunity
for all sorts of crimes; for with them reproach is a stronger check
than conscience. From whence we have that scene in Afranius borrowed
from common life; for when the abandoned son saith, "Wretched that I
am!" the severe father replies,

    Let him but grieve, no matter what the cause.

And they say the other divisions of sorrow have their use; that pity
incites us to hasten to the assistance of others, and to alleviate the
calamities of men who have undeservedly fallen into them; that even
envy and detraction are not without their use, as when a man sees that
another person has attained what he cannot, or observes another to be
equally successful with himself; that he who should take away fear
would take away all industry in life, which those men exert in the
greatest degree who are afraid of the laws and of the magistrates, who
dread poverty, ignominy, death, and pain. But while they argue thus,
they allow indeed of these feelings being retrenched, though they deny
that they either can or should be plucked up by the roots; so that
their opinion is that mediocrity is best in everything. When they
reason in this manner, what think you--is what they say worth attending
to or not?

_A._ I think it is. I wait, therefore, to hear what you will say in
reply to them.

XXI. _M._ Perhaps I may find something to say; but I will make this
observation first: do you take notice with what modesty the Academics
behave themselves? for they speak plainly to the purpose. The
Peripatetics are answered by the Stoics; they have my leave to fight it
out, who think myself no otherwise concerned than to inquire for what
may seem to be most probable. Our present business is, then, to see if
we can meet with anything in this question which is the probable, for
beyond such approximation to truth as that human nature cannot proceed.
The definition of a perturbation, as Zeno, I think, has rightly
determined it, is thus: That a perturbation is a commotion of the mind
against nature, in opposition to right reason; or, more briefly, thus,
that a perturbation is a somewhat too vehement appetite; and when he
says somewhat too vehement, he means such as is at a greater distance
from the constant course of nature. What can I say to these
definitions? The greater part of them we have from those who dispute
with sagacity and acuteness: some of them expressions, indeed, such as
the "ardors of the mind," and "the whetstones of virtue," savoring of
the pomp of rhetoricians. As to the question, if a brave man can
maintain his courage without becoming angry, it may be questioned with
regard to the gladiators; though we often observe much resolution even
in them: they meet, converse, they make objections and demands, they
agree about terms, so that they seem calm rather than angry. But let us
admit a man of the name of Placideianus, who was one of that trade, to
be in such a mind, as Lucilius relates of him,

    If for his blood you thirst, the task be mine;
    His laurels at my feet he shall resign;
    Not but I know, before I reach his heart,
    First on myself a wound he will impart.
    I hate the man; enraged I fight, and straight
    In action we had been, but that I wait
    Till each his sword had fitted to his hand.
    My rage I scarce can keep within command.

XXII. But we see Ajax in Homer advancing to meet Hector in battle
cheerfully, without any of this boisterous wrath. For he had no sooner
taken up his arms than the first step which he made inspired his
associates with joy, his enemies with fear; so that even Hector, as he
is represented by Homer,[49] trembling, condemned himself for having
challenged him to fight. Yet these heroes conversed together, calmly
and quietly, before they engaged; nor did they show any anger or
outrageous behavior during the combat. Nor do I imagine that Torquatus,
the first who obtained this surname, was in a rage when he plundered
the Gaul of his collar; or that Marcellus's courage at Clastidium was
only owing to his anger. I could almost swear that Africanus, with whom
we are better acquainted, from our recollection of him being more
recent, was noways inflamed by anger when he covered Alienus Pelignus
with his shield, and drove his sword into the enemy's breast. There may
be some doubt of L. Brutus, whether he was not influenced by
extraordinary hatred of the tyrant, so as to attack Aruns with more
than usual rashness; for I observe that they mutually killed each other
in close fight. Why, then, do you call in the assistance of anger?
Would courage, unless it began to get furious, lose its energy? What!
do you imagine that Hercules, whom the very courage which you would try
to represent as anger raised to heaven, was angry when he engaged the
Erymanthian boar, or the Nemæan lion? Or was Theseus in a passion when
he seized on the horns of the Marathonian bull? Take care how you make
courage to depend in the least on rage. For anger is altogether
irrational, and that is not courage which is void of reason.

XXIII. We ought to hold all things here in contempt; death is to be
looked on with indifference; pains and labors must be considered as
easily supportable. And when these sentiments are established on
judgment and conviction, then will that stout and firm courage take
place; unless you attribute to anger whatever is done with vehemence,
alacrity, and spirit. To me, indeed, that very Scipio[50] who was chief
priest, that favorer of the saying of the Stoics, "That no private man
could be a wise man," does not seem to be angry with Tiberius Gracchus,
even when he left the consul in a hesitating frame of mind, and, though
a private man himself, commanded, with the authority of a consul, that
all who meant well to the republic should follow him. I do not know
whether I have done anything in the republic that has the appearance of
courage; but if I have, I certainly did not do it in wrath. Doth
anything come nearer madness than anger? And indeed Ennius has well
defined it as the beginning of madness. The changing color, the
alteration of our voice, the look of our eyes, our manner of fetching
our breath, the little command we have over our words and actions, how
little do all these things indicate a sound mind! What can make a worse
appearance than Homer's Achilles, or Agamemnon, during the quarrel? And
as to Ajax, anger drove him into downright madness, and was the
occasion of his death. Courage, therefore, does not want the assistance
of anger; it is sufficiently provided, armed, and prepared of itself.
We may as well say that drunkenness or madness is of service to
courage, because those who are mad or drunk often do a great many
things with unusual vehemence. Ajax was always brave; but still he was
most brave when he was in that state of frenzy:

    The greatest feat that Ajax e'er achieved
    Was, when his single arm the Greeks relieved.
    Quitting the field; urged on by rising rage,
    Forced the declining troops again t'engage.

Shall we say, then, that madness has its use?

XXIV. Examine the definitions of courage: you will find it does not
require the assistance of passion. Courage is, then, an affection of
mind that endures all things, being itself in proper subjection to the
highest of all laws; or it may be called a firm maintenance of judgment
in supporting or repelling everything that has a formidable appearance,
or a knowledge of what is formidable or otherwise, and maintaining
invariably a stable judgment of all such things, so as to bear them or
despise them; or, in fewer words, according to Chrysippus (for the
above definitions are Sphærus's, a man of the first ability as a
layer-down of definitions, as the Stoics think. But they are all pretty
much alike: they give us only common notions, some one way, and some
another). But what is Chrysippus's definition? Fortitude, says he, is
the knowledge of all things that are bearable, or an affection of the
mind which bears and supports everything in obedience to the chief law
of reason without fear. Now, though we should attack these men in the
same manner as Carneades used to do, I fear they are the only real
philosophers; for which of these definitions is there which does not
explain that obscure and intricate notion of courage which every man
conceives within himself? And when it is thus explained, what can a
warrior, a commander, or an orator want more? And no one can think that
they will be unable to behave themselves courageously without anger.
What! do not even the Stoics, who maintain that all fools are mad, make
the same inferences? for, take away perturbations, especially a
hastiness of temper, and they will appear to talk very absurdly. But
what they assert is this: they say that all fools are mad, as all
dunghills stink; not that they always do so, but stir them, and you
will perceive it. And in like manner, a warm-tempered man is not always
in a passion; but provoke him, and you will see him run mad. Now, that
very warlike anger, which is of such service in war, what is the use of
it to him when he is at home with his wife, children, and family? Is
there, then, anything that a disturbed mind can do better than one
which is calm and steady? Or can any one be angry without a
perturbation of mind? Our people, then, were in the right, who, as all
vices depend on our manners, and nothing is worse than a passionate
disposition, called angry men the only morose men.[51]

XXV. Anger is in no wise becoming in an orator, though it is not amiss
to affect it. Do you imagine that I am angry when in pleading I use any
extraordinary vehemence and sharpness? What! when I write out my
speeches after all is over and past, am I then angry while writing? Or
do you think Æsopus was ever angry when he acted, or Accius was so when
he wrote? Those men, indeed, act very well, but the orator acts better
than the player, provided he be really an orator; but, then, they carry
it on without passion, and with a composed mind. But what wantonness is
it to commend lust! You produce Themistocles and Demosthenes; to these
you add Pythagoras, Democritus, and Plato. What! do you then call
studies lust? But these studies of the most excellent and admirable
things, such as those were which you bring forward on all occasions,
ought to be composed and tranquil; and what kind of philosophers are
they who commend grief, than which nothing is more detestable? Afranius
has said much to this purpose:

    Let him but grieve, no matter what the cause.

But he spoke this of a debauched and dissolute youth. But we are
inquiring into the conduct of a constant and wise man. We may even
allow a centurion or standard-bearer to be angry, or any others, whom,
not to explain too far the mysteries of the rhetoricians, I shall not
mention here; for to touch the passions, where reason cannot be come
at, may have its use; but my inquiry, as I often repeat, is about a
wise man.

XXVI. But even envy, detraction, pity, have their use. Why should you
pity rather than assist, if it is in your power to do so? Is it because
you cannot be liberal without pity? We should not take sorrows on
ourselves upon another's account; but we ought to relieve others of
their grief if we can. But to detract from another's reputation, or to
rival him with that vicious emulation which resembles an enmity, of
what use can that conduct be? Now, envy implies being uneasy at
another's good because one does not enjoy it one's self; but detraction
is the being uneasy at another's good, merely because he enjoys it. How
can it be right that you should voluntarily grieve, rather than take
the trouble of acquiring what you want to have? for it is madness in
the highest degree to desire to be the only one that has any particular
happiness. But who can with correctness speak in praise of a mediocrity
of evils? Can any one in whom there is lust or desire be otherwise than
libidinous or desirous? or can a man who is occupied by anger avoid
being angry? or can one who is exposed to any vexation escape being
vexed? or if he is under the influence of fear, must he not be fearful?
Do we look, then, on the libidinous, the angry, the anxious, and the
timid man, as persons of wisdom, of excellence? of which I could speak
very copiously and diffusely, but I wish to be as concise as possible.
And so I will merely say that wisdom is an acquaintance with all divine
and human affairs, and a knowledge of the cause of everything. Hence it
is that it imitates what is divine, and looks upon all human concerns
as inferior to virtue. Did you, then, say that it was your opinion that
such a man was as naturally liable to perturbation as the sea is
exposed to winds? What is there that can discompose such gravity and
constancy? Anything sudden or unforeseen? How can anything of this kind
befall one to whom nothing is sudden and unforeseen that can happen to
man? Now, as to their saying that redundancies should be pared off, and
only what is natural remain, what, I pray you, can be natural which may
be too exuberant?

XXVII. All these assertions proceed from the roots of errors, which
must be entirely plucked up and destroyed, not pared and amputated. But
as I suspect that your inquiry is not so much respecting the wise man
as concerning yourself (for you allow that he is free from all
perturbations, and you would willingly be so too yourself), let us see
what remedies there are which may be applied by philosophy to the
diseases of the mind. There is certainly some remedy; nor has nature
been so unkind to the human race as to have discovered so many things
salutary to the body, and none which are medicinal to the mind. She has
even been kinder to the mind than to the body; inasmuch as you must
seek abroad for the assistance which the body requires, while the mind
has all that it requires within itself. But in proportion as the
excellency of the mind is of a higher and more divine nature, the more
diligence does it require; and therefore reason, when it is well
applied, discovers what is best, but when it is neglected, it becomes
involved in many errors. I shall apply, then, all my discourse to you;
for though you pretend to be inquiring about the wise man, your inquiry
may possibly be about yourself. Various, then, are the cures of those
perturbations which I have expounded, for every disorder is not to be
appeased the same way. One medicine must be applied to the man who
mourns, another to the pitiful, another to the person who envies; for
there is this difference to be maintained in all the four
perturbations: we are to consider whether our discourse had better be
directed to perturbations in general, which are a contempt of reason,
or a somewhat too vehement appetite; or whether it would be better
applied to particular descriptions, as, for instance, to fear, lust,
and the rest, and whether it appears preferable to endeavor to remove
that which has occasioned the grief, or rather to attempt wholly to
eradicate every kind of grief. As, should any one grieve that he is
poor, the question is, Would you maintain poverty to be no evil, or
would you contend that a man ought not to grieve at anything? Certainly
this last is the best course; for should you not convince him with
regard to poverty, you must allow him to grieve; but if you remove
grief by particular arguments, such as I used yesterday, the evil of
poverty is in some manner removed.

XXVIII. But any perturbation of the mind of this sort may be, as it
were, wiped away by the method of appeasing the mind, if you succeed in
showing that there is no good in that which has given rise to joy and
lust, nor any evil in that which has occasioned fear or grief. But
certainly the most effectual cure is to be achieved by showing that all
perturbations are of themselves vicious, and have nothing natural or
necessary in them. As we see, grief itself is easily softened when we
charge those who grieve with weakness and an effeminate mind; or when
we commend the gravity and constancy of those who bear calmly whatever
befalls them here, as accidents to which all men are liable; and,
indeed, this is generally the feeling of those who look on these as
real evils, but yet think they should be borne with resignation. One
imagines pleasure to be a good, another money; and yet the one may be
called off from intemperance, the other from covetousness. The other
method and address, which, at the same time that it removes the false
opinion, withdraws the disorder, has more subtlety in it; but it seldom
succeeds, and is not applicable to vulgar minds, for there are some
diseases which that medicine can by no means remove. For, should any
one be uneasy because he is without virtue, without courage, destitute
of a sense of duty or honesty, his anxiety proceeds from a real evil;
and yet we must apply another method of cure to him, and such a one as
all the philosophers, however they may differ about other things, agree
in. For they must necessarily agree in this, that commotions of the
mind in opposition to right reason are vicious; and that even admitting
those things to be evils which occasion fear or grief, and those to be
goods which provoke desire or joy, yet that very commotion itself is
vicious; for we mean by the expressions magnanimous and brave, one who
is resolute, sedate, grave, and superior to everything in this life;
but one who either grieves, or fears, or covets, or is transported with
passion, cannot come under that denomination; for these things are
consistent only with those who look on the things of this world as
things with which their minds are unequal to contend.

XXIX. Wherefore, as I before said, the philosophers have all one method
of cure, so that we need say nothing about what sort of thing that is
which disturbs the mind, but we must speak only concerning the
perturbation itself. Thus, first, with regard to desire itself, when
the business is only to remove that, the inquiry is not to be, whether
that thing be good or evil which provokes lust, but the lust itself is
to be removed; so that whether whatever is honest is the chief good, or
whether it consists in pleasure, or in both these things together, or
in the other three kinds of goods, yet should there be in any one too
vehement an appetite for even virtue itself, the whole discourse should
be directed to the deterring him from that vehemence. But human nature,
when placed in a conspicuous point of view, gives us every argument for
appeasing the mind, and, to make this the more distinct, the laws and
conditions of life should be explained in our discourse. Therefore, it
was not without reason that Socrates is reported, when Euripides was
exhibiting his play called Orestes, to have repeated the first three
verses of that tragedy--

    What tragic story men can mournful tell,
    Whate'er from fate or from the gods befell,
    That human nature can support--[52]

But, in order to persuade those to whom any misfortune has happened
that they can and ought to bear it, it is very useful to set before
them an enumeration of other persons who have borne similar calamities.
Indeed, the method of appeasing grief was explained in my dispute of
yesterday, and in my book on Consolation, which I wrote in the midst of
my own grief; for I was not myself so wise a man as to be insensible to
grief, and I used this, notwithstanding Chrysippus's advice to the
contrary, who is against applying a medicine to the agitations of the
mind while they are fresh; but I did it, and committed a violence on
nature, that the greatness of my grief might give way to the greatness
of the medicine.

XXX. But fear borders upon grief, of which I have already said enough;
but I must say a little more on that. Now, as grief proceeds from what
is present, so does fear from future evil; so that some have said that
fear is a certain part of grief: others have called fear the harbinger
of trouble, which, as it were, introduces the ensuing evil. Now, the
reasons that make what is present supportable, make what is to come
very contemptible; for, with regard to both, we should take care to do
nothing low or grovelling, soft or effeminate, mean or abject. But,
notwithstanding we should speak of the inconstancy, imbecility, and
levity of fear itself, yet it is of very great service to speak
contemptuously of those very things of which we are afraid. So that it
fell out very well, whether it was by accident or design, that I
disputed the first and second day on death and pain--the two things
that are the most dreaded: now, if what I then said was approved of, we
are in a great degree freed from fear. And this is sufficient, as far
as regards the opinion of evils.

XXXI. Proceed we now to what are goods--that is to say, to joy and
desire. To me, indeed, one thing alone seems to embrace the question of
all that relates to the perturbations of the mind--the fact, namely,
that all perturbations are in our own power; that they are taken up
upon opinion, and are voluntary. This error, then, must be got rid of;
this opinion must be removed; and, as with regard to imagined evils, we
are to make them more supportable, so with respect to goods, we are to
lessen the violent effects of those things which are called great and
joyous. But one thing is to be observed, that equally relates both to
good and evil: that, should it be difficult to persuade any one that
none of those things which disturb the mind are to be looked on as good
or evil, yet a different cure is to be applied to different feelings;
and the malevolent person is to be corrected by one way of reasoning,
the lover by another, the anxious man by another, and the fearful by
another: and it would be easy for any one who pursues the best approved
method of reasoning, with regard to good and evil, to maintain that no
fool can be affected with joy, as he never can have anything good. But,
at present, my discourse proceeds upon the common received notions.
Let, then, honors, riches, pleasures, and the rest be the very good
things which they are imagined to be; yet a too elevated and exulting
joy on the possession of them is unbecoming; just as, though it might
be allowable to laugh, to giggle would be indecent. Thus, a mind
enlarged by joy is as blamable as a contraction of it by grief; and
eager longing is a sign of as much levity in desiring as immoderate joy
is in possessing; and, as those who are too dejected are said to be
effeminate, so they who are too elated with joy are properly called
volatile; and as feeling envy is a part of grief, and the being pleased
with another's misfortune is a kind of joy, both these feelings are
usually corrected by showing the wildness and insensibility of them:
and as it becomes a man to be cautious, but it is unbecoming in him to
be fearful, so to be pleased is proper, but to be joyful improper. I
have, in order that I might be the better understood, distinguished
pleasure from joy. I have already said above, that a contraction of the
mind can never be right, but that an elation of it may; for the joy of
Hector in Nævius is one thing--

    'Tis joy indeed to hear my praises sung
    By you, who are the theme of honor's tongue--

but that of the character in Trabea another: "The kind procuress,
allured by my money, will observe my nod, will watch my desires, and
study my will. If I but move the door with my little finger, instantly
it flies open; and if Chrysis should unexpectedly discover me, she will
run with joy to meet me, and throw herself into my arms."

Now he will tell you how excellent he thinks this:

    Not even fortune herself is so fortunate.

XXXII. Any one who attends the least to the subject will be convinced
how unbecoming this joy is. And as they are very shameful who are
immoderately delighted with the enjoyment of venereal pleasures, so are
they very scandalous who lust vehemently after them. And all that which
is commonly called love (and, believe me, I can find out no other name
to call it by) is of such a trivial nature that nothing, I think, is to
be compared to it: of which Cæcilius says,

    I hold the man of every sense bereaved
    Who grants not Love to be of Gods the chief:
    Whose mighty power whate'er is good effects,
    Who gives to each his beauty and defects:
    Hence, health and sickness; wit and folly, hence,
    The God that love and hatred doth dispense!

An excellent corrector of life this same poetry, which thinks that
love, the promoter of debauchery and vanity, should have a place in the
council of the Gods! I am speaking of comedy, which could not subsist
at all without our approving of these debaucheries. But what said that
chief of the Argonauts in tragedy?

    My life I owe to honor less than love.

What, then, are we to say of this love of Medea?--what a train of
miseries did it occasion! And yet the same woman has the assurance to
say to her father, in another poet, that she had a husband

    Dearer by love than ever fathers were.

XXXIII. However, we may allow the poets to trifle, in whose fables we
see Jupiter himself engaged in these debaucheries: but let us apply to
the masters of virtue--the philosophers who deny love to be anything
carnal; and in this they differ from Epicurus, who, I think, is not
much mistaken. For what is that love of friendship? How comes it that
no one is in love with a deformed young man, or a handsome old one? I
am of opinion that this love of men had its rise from the Gymnastics of
the Greeks, where these kinds of loves are admissible and permitted;
therefore Ennius spoke well:

    The censure of this crime to those is due
    Who naked bodies first exposed to view.

Now, supposing them chaste, which I think is hardly possible, they are
uneasy and distressed, and the more so because they contain and refrain
themselves. But, to pass over the love of women, where nature has
allowed more liberty, who can misunderstand the poets in their rape of
Ganymede, or not apprehend what Laius says, and what he desires, in
Euripides? Lastly, what have the principal poets and the most learned
men published of themselves in their poems and songs? What doth Alcæus,
who was distinguished in his own republic for his bravery, write on the
love of young men? And as for Anacreon's poetry, it is wholly on love.
But Ibycus of Rhegium appears, from his writings, to have had this love
stronger on him than all the rest.

XXXIV. Now we see that the loves of all these writers were entirely
libidinous. There have arisen also some among us philosophers (and
Plato is at the head of them, whom Dicæarchus blames not without
reason) who have countenanced love. The Stoics, in truth, say, not only
that their wise man may be a lover, but they even define love itself as
an endeavor to originate friendship out of the appearance of beauty.
Now, provided there is any one in the nature of things without desire,
without care, without a sigh, such a one may be a lover; for he is free
from all lust: but I have nothing to say to him, as it is lust of which
I am now speaking. But should there be any love--as there certainly
is--which is but little, or perhaps not at all, short of madness, such
as his is in the Leucadia--

    Should there be any God whose care I am--

it is incumbent on all the Gods to see that he enjoys his amorous

    Wretch that I am!

Nothing is more true, and he says very appropriately,

    What, are you sane, who at this rate lament?

He seems even to his friends to be out of his senses: then how tragical
he becomes!

    Thy aid, divine Apollo, I implore,
    And thine, dread ruler of the wat'ry store!
    Oh! all ye winds, assist me!

He thinks that the whole world ought to apply itself to help his love:
he excludes Venus alone, as unkind to him.

    Thy aid, O Venus, why should I invoke?

He thinks Venus too much employed in her own lust to have regard to
anything else, as if he himself had not said and committed these
shameful things from lust.

XXXV. Now, the cure for one who is affected in this manner is to show
how light, how contemptible, how very trifling he is in what he
desires; how he may turn his affections to another object, or
accomplish his desires by some other means; or else to persuade him
that he may entirely disregard it: sometimes he is to be led away to
objects of another kind, to study, business, or other different
engagements and concerns: very often the cure is effected by change of
place, as sick people, that have not recovered their strength, are
benefited by change of air. Some people think an old love may be driven
out by a new one, as one nail drives out another: but, above all
things, the man thus afflicted should be advised what madness love is:
for of all the perturbations of the mind, there is not one which is
more vehement; for (without charging it with rapes, debaucheries,
adultery, or even incest, the baseness of any of these being very
blamable; not, I say, to mention these) the very perturbation of the
mind in love is base of itself, for, to pass over all its acts of
downright madness, what weakness do not those very things which are
looked upon as indifferent argue?

    Affronts and jealousies, jars, squabbles, wars,
    Then peace again. The man who seeks to fix
    These restless feelings, and to subjugate
    Them to some regular law, is just as wise
    As one who'd try to lay down rules by which
    Men should go mad.[53]

Now, is not this inconstancy and mutability of mind enough to deter any
one by its own deformity? We are to demonstrate, as was said of every
perturbation, that there are no such feelings which do not consist
entirely of opinion and judgment, and are not owing to ourselves. For
if love were natural, all would be in love, and always so, and all love
the same object; nor would one be deterred by shame, another by
reflection, another by satiety.

XXXVI. Anger, too, when it disturbs the mind any time, leaves no room
to doubt its being madness: by the instigation of which we see such
contention as this between brothers:

    Where was there ever impudence like thine?
    Who on thy malice ever could refine?[54]

You know what follows: for abuses are thrown out by these brothers with
great bitterness in every other verse; so that you may easily know them
for the sons of Atreus, of that Atreus who invented a new punishment
for his brother:

    I who his cruel heart to gall am bent,
    Some new, unheard-of torment must invent.

Now, what were these inventions? Hear Thyestes:

    My impious brother fain would have me eat
    My children, and thus serves them up for meat.

To what length now will not anger go? even as far as madness. Therefore
we say, properly enough, that angry men have given up their power, that
is, they are out of the power of advice, reason, and understanding; for
these ought to have power over the whole mind. Now, you should put
those out of the way whom they endeavor to attack till they have
recollected themselves; but what does recollection here imply but
getting together again the dispersed parts of their mind into their
proper place? or else you must beg and entreat them, if they have the
means of revenge, to defer it to another opportunity, till their anger
cools. But the expression of cooling implies, certainly, that there was
a heat raised in their minds in opposition to reason; from which
consideration that saying of Archytas is commended, who being somewhat
provoked at his steward, "How would I have treated you," said he, "if I
had not been in a passion?"

XXXVII. Where, then, are they who say that anger has its use? Can
madness be of any use? But still it is natural. Can anything be natural
that is against reason? or how is it, if anger is natural, that one
person is more inclined to anger than another? or that the lust of
revenge should cease before it has revenged itself? or that any one
should repent of what he had done in a passion? as we see that
Alexander the king did, who could scarcely keep his hands from himself,
when he had killed his favorite Clytus, so great was his compunction.
Now who that is acquainted with these instances can doubt that this
motion of the mind is altogether in opinion and voluntary? for who can
doubt that disorders of the mind, such as covetousness and a desire of
glory, arise from a great estimation of those things by which the mind
is disordered? from whence we may understand that every perturbation of
the mind is founded in opinion. And if boldness--that is to say, a firm
assurance of mind--is a kind of knowledge and serious opinion not
hastily taken up, then diffidence is a fear of an expected and
impending evil; and if hope is an expectation of good, fear must, of
course, be an expectation of evil. Thus fear and other perturbations
are evils. Therefore, as constancy proceeds from knowledge, so does
perturbation from error. Now, they who are said to be naturally
inclined to anger, or to pity, or to envy, or to any feeling of this
kind, their minds are constitutionally, as it were, in bad health; yet
they are curable, as the disposition of Socrates is said to have been;
for when Zopyrus, who professed to know the character of every one from
his person, had heaped a great many vices on him in a public assembly,
he was laughed at by others, who could perceive no such vices in
Socrates; but Socrates kept him in countenance by declaring that such
vices were natural to him, but that he had got the better of them by
his reason. Therefore, as any one who has the appearance of the best
constitution may yet appear to be naturally rather inclined to some
particular disorder, so different minds may be more particularly
inclined to different diseases. But as to those men who are said to be
vicious, not by nature, but their own fault, their vices proceed from
wrong opinions of good and bad things, so that one is more prone than
another to different motions and perturbations. But, just as it is in
the case of the body, an inveterate disease is harder to be got rid of
than a sudden disorder; and it is more easy to cure a fresh tumor in
the eyes than to remove a defluxion of any continuance.

XXXVIII. But as the cause of perturbations is now discovered, for all
of them arise from the judgment or opinion, or volition, I shall put an
end to this discourse. But we ought to be assured, since the boundaries
of good and evil are now discovered, as far as they are discoverable by
man, that nothing can be desired of philosophy greater or more useful
than the discussions which we have held these four days. For besides
instilling a contempt of death, and relieving pain so as to enable men
to bear it, we have added the appeasing of grief, than which there is
no greater evil to man. For though every perturbation of mind is
grievous, and differs but little from madness, yet we are used to say
of others when they are under any perturbation, as of fear, joy, or
desire, that they are agitated and disturbed; but of those who give
themselves up to grief, that they are miserable, afflicted, wretched,
unhappy. So that it doth not seem to be by accident, but with reason
proposed by you, that I should discuss grief, and the other
perturbations separately; for there lies the spring and head of all our
miseries; but the cure of grief, and of other disorders, is one and the
same in that they are all voluntary, and founded on opinion; we take
them on ourselves because it seems right so to do. Philosophy
undertakes to eradicate this error, as the root of all our evils: let
us therefore surrender ourselves to be instructed by it, and suffer
ourselves to be cured; for while these evils have possession of us, we
not only cannot be happy, but cannot be right in our minds. We must
either deny that reason can effect anything, while, on the other hand,
nothing can be done right without reason, or else, since philosophy
depends on the deductions of reason, we must seek from her, if we would
be good or happy, every help and assistance for living well and



I. This fifth day, Brutus, shall put an end to our Tusculan
Disputations: on which day we discussed your favorite subject. For I
perceive from that book which you wrote for me with the greatest
accuracy, as well as from your frequent conversation, that you are
clearly of this opinion, that virtue is of itself sufficient for a
happy life: and though it may be difficult to prove this, on account of
the many various strokes of fortune, yet it is a truth of such a nature
that we should endeavor to facilitate the proof of it. For among all
the topics of philosophy, there is not one of more dignity or
importance. For as the first philosophers must have had some inducement
to neglect everything for the search of the best state of life: surely,
the inducement must have been the hope of living happily, which
impelled them to devote so much care and pains to that study. Now, if
virtue was discovered and carried to perfection by them, and if virtue
is a sufficient security for a happy life, who can avoid thinking the
work of philosophizing excellently recommended by them, and undertaken
by me? But if virtue, as being subject to such various and uncertain
accidents, were but the slave of fortune, and were not of sufficient
ability to support herself, I am afraid that it would seem desirable
rather to offer up prayers, than to rely on our own confidence in
virtue as the foundation for our hope of a happy life. And, indeed,
when I reflect on those troubles with which I have been so severely
exercised by fortune, I begin to distrust this opinion; and sometimes
even to dread the weakness and frailty of human nature, for I am afraid
lest, when nature had given us infirm bodies, and had joined to them
incurable diseases and intolerable pains, she perhaps also gave us
minds participating in these bodily pains, and harassed also with
troubles and uneasinesses, peculiarly their own. But here I correct
myself for forming my judgment of the power of virtue more from the
weakness of others, or of myself perhaps, than from virtue itself: for
she herself (provided there is such a thing as virtue; and your uncle
Brutus has removed all doubt of it) has everything that can befall
mankind in subjection to her; and by disregarding such things, she is
far removed from being at all concerned at human accidents; and, being
free from every imperfection, she thinks that nothing which is external
to herself can concern her. But we, who increase every approaching evil
by our fear, and every present one by our grief, choose rather to
condemn the nature of things than our own errors.

II. But the amendment of this fault, and of all our other vices and
offences, is to be sought for in philosophy: and as my own inclination
and desire led me, from my earliest youth upward, to seek her
protection, so, under my present misfortunes, I have had recourse to
the same port from whence I set out, after having been tossed by a
violent tempest. O Philosophy, thou guide of life! thou discoverer of
virtue and expeller of vices! what had not only I myself, but the whole
life of man, been without you? To you it is that we owe the origin of
cities; you it was who called together the dispersed race of men into
social life; you united them together, first, by placing them near one
another, then by marriages, and lastly, by the communication of speech
and languages. You have been the inventress of laws; you have been our
instructress in morals and discipline; to you we fly for refuge; from
you we implore assistance; and as I formerly submitted to you in a
great degree, so now I surrender up myself entirely to you. For one day
spent well, and agreeably to your precepts, is preferable to an
eternity of error. Whose assistance, then, can be of more service to me
than yours, when you have bestowed on us tranquillity of life, and
removed the fear of death? But Philosophy is so far from being praised
as much as she has deserved by mankind, that she is wholly neglected by
most men, and actually evil spoken of by many. Can any person speak ill
of the parent of life, and dare to pollute himself thus with parricide,
and be so impiously ungrateful as to accuse her whom he ought to
reverence, even were he less able to appreciate the advantages which he
might derive from her? But this error, I imagine, and this darkness has
spread itself over the minds of ignorant men, from their not being able
to look so far back, and from their not imagining that those men by
whom human life was first improved were philosophers; for though we see
philosophy to have been of long standing, yet the name must be
acknowledged to be but modern.

III. But, indeed, who can dispute the antiquity of philosophy, either
in fact or name? For it acquired this excellent name from the ancients,
by the knowledge of the origin and causes of everything, both divine
and human. Thus those seven [Greek: Sophoi], as they were considered
and called by the Greeks, have always been esteemed and called wise men
by us; and thus Lycurgus many ages before, in whose time, before the
building of this city, Homer is said to have lived, as well as Ulysses
and Nestor in the heroic ages, are all handed down to us by tradition
as having really been what they were called, wise men; nor would it
have been said that Atlas supported the heavens, or that Prometheus was
bound to Caucasus, nor would Cepheus, with his wife, his son-in-law,
and his daughter have been enrolled among the constellations, but that
their more than human knowledge of the heavenly bodies had transferred
their names into an erroneous fable. From whence all who occupied
themselves in the contemplation of nature were both considered and
called wise men; and that name of theirs continued to the age of
Pythagoras, who is reported to have gone to Phlius, as we find it
stated by Heraclides Ponticus, a very learned man, and a pupil of
Plato, and to have discoursed very learnedly and copiously on certain
subjects with Leon, prince of the Phliasii; and when Leon, admiring his
ingenuity and eloquence, asked him what art he particularly professed,
his answer was, that he was acquainted with no art, but that he was a
philosopher. Leon, surprised at the novelty of the name, inquired what
he meant by the name of philosopher, and in what philosophers differed
from other men; on which Pythagoras replied, "That the life of man
seemed to him to resemble those games which were celebrated with the
greatest possible variety of sports and the general concourse of all
Greece. For as in those games there were some persons whose object was
glory and the honor of a crown, to be attained by the performance of
bodily exercises, so others were led thither by the gain of buying and
selling, and mere views of profit; but there was likewise one class of
persons, and they were by far the best, whose aim was neither applause
nor profit, but who came merely as spectators through curiosity, to
observe what was done, and to see in what manner things were carried on
there. And thus, said he, we come from another life and nature unto
this one, just as men come out of some other city, to some much
frequented mart; some being slaves to glory, others to money; and there
are some few who, taking no account of anything else, earnestly look
into the nature of things; and these men call themselves studious of
wisdom, that is, philosophers: and as there it is the most reputable
occupation of all to be a looker-on without making any acquisition, so
in life, the contemplating things, and acquainting one's self with
them, greatly exceeds every other pursuit of life."

IV. Nor was Pythagoras the inventor only of the name, but he enlarged
also the thing itself, and, when he came into Italy after this
conversation at Phlius, he adorned that Greece, which is called Great
Greece, both privately and publicly, with the most excellent
institutions and arts; but of his school and system I shall, perhaps,
find another opportunity to speak. But numbers and motions, and the
beginning and end of all things, were the subjects of the ancient
philosophy down to Socrates, who was a pupil of Archelaus, who had been
the disciple of Anaxagoras. These made diligent inquiry into the
magnitude of the stars, their distances, courses, and all that relates
to the heavens. But Socrates was the first who brought down philosophy
from the heavens, placed it in cities, introduced it into families, and
obliged it to examine into life and morals, and good and evil. And his
different methods of discussing questions, together with the variety of
his topics, and the greatness of his abilities, being immortalized by
the memory and writings of Plato, gave rise to many sects of
philosophers of different sentiments, of all which I have principally
adhered to that one which, in my opinion, Socrates himself followed;
and argue so as to conceal my own opinion, while I deliver others from
their errors, and so discover what has the greatest appearance of
probability in every question. And the custom Carneades adopted with
great copiousness and acuteness, and I myself have often given in to it
on many occasions elsewhere, and in this manner, too, I disputed
lately, in my Tusculan villa; indeed, I have sent you a book of the
four former days' discussions; but the fifth day, when we had seated
ourselves as before, what we were to dispute on was proposed thus:

V. _A._ I do not think virtue can possibly be sufficient for a happy

_M._ But my friend Brutus thinks so, whose judgment, with submission, I
greatly prefer to yours.

_A._ I make no doubt of it; but your regard for him is not the business
now: the question is now, what is the real character of that quality of
which I have declared my opinion. I wish you to dispute on that.

_M._ What! do you deny that virtue can possibly be sufficient for a
happy life?

_A._ It is what I entirely deny.

_M._ What! is not virtue sufficient to enable us to live as we ought,
honestly, commendably, or, in fine, to live well?

_A._ Certainly sufficient.

_M._ Can you, then, help calling any one miserable who lives ill? or
will you deny that any one who you allow lives well must inevitably
live happily?

_A._ Why may I not? for a man may be upright in his life, honest,
praiseworthy, even in the midst of torments, and therefore live well.
Provided you understand what I mean by well; for when I say well, I
mean with constancy, and dignity, and wisdom, and courage; for a man
may display all these qualities on the rack; but yet the rack is
inconsistent with a happy life.

_M._ What, then? is your happy life left on the outside of the prison,
while constancy, dignity, wisdom, and the other virtues, are
surrendered up to the executioner, and bear punishment and pain without

_A._ You must look out for something new if you would do any good.
These things have very little effect on me, not merely from their being
common, but principally because, like certain light wines that will not
bear water, these arguments of the Stoics are pleasanter to taste than
to swallow. As when that assemblage of virtues is committed to the
rack, it raises so reverend a spectacle before our eyes that happiness
seems to hasten on towards them, and not to suffer them to be deserted
by her. But when you take your attention off from this picture and
these images of the virtues to the truth and the reality, what remains
without disguise is, the question whether any one can be happy in
torment? Wherefore let us now examine that point, and not be under any
apprehensions, lest the virtues should expostulate, and complain that
they are forsaken by happiness. For if prudence is connected with every
virtue, then prudence itself discovers this, that all good men are not
therefore happy; and she recollects many things of Marcus Atilius[55],
Quintus Cæpio[56], Marcus Aquilius[57]; and prudence herself, if these
representations are more agreeable to you than the things themselves,
restrains happiness when it is endeavoring to throw itself into
torments, and denies that it has any connection with pain and torture.

VI. _M._ I can easily bear with your behaving in this manner, though it
is not fair in you to prescribe to me how you would have me carry on
this discussion. But I ask you if I have effected anything or nothing
in the preceding days?

_A._ Yes; something was done, some little matter indeed.

_M._ But if that is the case, this question is settled, and almost put
an end to.

_A._ How so?

_M._ Because turbulent motions and violent agitations of the mind, when
it is raised and elated by a rash impulse, getting the better of
reason, leave no room for a happy life. For who that fears either pain
or death, the one of which is always present, the other always
impending, can be otherwise than miserable? Now, supposing the same
person--which is often the case--to be afraid of poverty, ignominy,
infamy, or weakness, or blindness, or, lastly, slavery, which doth not
only befall individual men, but often even the most powerful nations;
now can any one under the apprehension of these evils be happy? What
shall we say of him who not only dreads these evils as impending, but
actually feels and bears them at present? Let us unite in the same
person banishment, mourning, the loss of children; now, how can any one
who is broken down and rendered sick in body and mind by such
affliction be otherwise than very miserable indeed? What reason, again,
can there be why a man should not rightly enough be called miserable
whom we see inflamed and raging with lust, coveting everything with an
insatiable desire, and, in proportion as he derives more pleasure from
anything, thirsting the more violently after them? And as to a man
vainly elated, exulting with an empty joy, and boasting of himself
without reason, is not he so much the more miserable in proportion as
he thinks himself happier? Therefore, as these men are miserable, so,
on the other hand, those are happy who are alarmed by no fears, wasted
by no griefs, provoked by no lusts, melted by no languid pleasures that
arise from vain and exulting joys. We look on the sea as calm when not
the least breath of air disturbs its waves; and, in like manner, the
placid and quiet state of the mind is discovered when unmoved by any
perturbation. Now, if there be any one who holds the power of fortune,
and everything human, everything that can possibly befall any man, as
supportable, so as to be out of the reach of fear or anxiety, and if
such a man covets nothing, and is lifted up by no vain joy of mind,
what can prevent his being happy? And if these are the effects of
virtue, why cannot virtue itself make men happy?

VII. _A._ But the other of these two propositions is undeniable, that
they who are under no apprehensions, who are noways uneasy, who covet
nothing, who are lifted up by no vain joy, are happy: and therefore I
grant you that. But as for the other, that is not now in a fit state
for discussion; for it has been proved by your former arguments that a
wise man is free from every perturbation of mind.

_M._ Doubtless, then, the dispute is over; for the question appears to
have been entirely exhausted.

_A._ I think, indeed, that that is almost the case.

_M._ But yet that is more usually the case with the mathematicians than
philosophers. For when the geometricians teach anything, if what they
have before taught relates to their present subject, they take that for
granted which has been already proved, and explain only what they had
not written on before. But the philosophers, whatever subject they have
in hand, get together everything that relates to it, notwithstanding
they may have dilated on it somewhere else. Were not that the case, why
should the Stoics say so much on that question, Whether virtue was
abundantly sufficient to a happy life? when it would have been answer
enough that they had before taught that nothing was good but what was
honorable; for, as this had been proved, the consequence must be that
virtue was sufficient to a happy life; and each premise may be made to
follow from the admission of the other, so that if it be admitted that
virtue is sufficient to secure a happy life, it may also be inferred
that nothing is good except what is honorable. They, however, do not
proceed in this manner; for they would separate books about what is
honorable, and what is the chief good; and when they have demonstrated
from the one that virtue has power enough to make life happy, yet they
treat this point separately; for everything, and especially a subject
of such great consequence, should be supported by arguments and
exhortations which belong to that alone. For you should have a care how
you imagine philosophy to have uttered anything more noble, or that she
has promised anything more fruitful or of greater consequence, for,
good Gods! doth she not engage that she will render him who submits to
her laws so accomplished as to be always armed against fortune, and to
have every assurance within himself of living well and happily--that he
shall, in short, be forever happy? But let us see what she will
perform? In the mean while, I look upon it as a great thing that she
has even made such a promise. For Xerxes, who was loaded with all the
rewards and gifts of fortune, not satisfied with his armies of horse
and foot, nor the multitude of his ships, nor his infinite treasure of
gold, offered a reward to any one who could find out a new pleasure;
and yet, when it was discovered, he was not satisfied with it; nor can
there ever be an end to lust. I wish we could engage any one by a
reward to produce something the better to establish us in this belief.

VIII. _A._ I wish that, indeed, myself; but I want a little
information. For I allow that in what you have stated the one
proposition is the consequence of the other; that as, if what is
honorable be the only good, it must follow that a happy life is the
effect of virtue: so that if a happy life consists in virtue, nothing
can be good but virtue. But your friend Brutus, on the authority of
Aristo and Antiochus, does not see this; for he thinks the case would
be the same even if there were anything good besides virtue.

_M._ What, then? do you imagine that I am going to argue against

_A._ You may do what you please; for it is not for me to prescribe what
you shall do.

_M._ How these things agree together shall be examined somewhere else;
for I frequently discussed that point with Antiochus, and lately with
Aristo, when, during the period of my command as general, I was lodging
with him at Athens. For to me it seemed that no one could possibly be
happy under any evil; but a wise man might be afflicted with evil, if
there are any things arising from body or fortune deserving the name of
evils. These things were said, which Antiochus has inserted in his
books in many places--that virtue itself was sufficient to make life
happy, but yet not perfectly happy; and that many things derive their
names from the predominant portion of them, though they do not include
everything, as strength, health, riches, honor, and glory: which
qualities are determined by their kind, not their number. Thus a happy
life is so called from its being so in a great degree, even though it
should fall short in some point. To clear this up is not absolutely
necessary at present, though it seems to be said without any great
consistency; for I cannot imagine what is wanting to one that is happy
to make him happier, for if anything be wanting to him, he cannot be so
much as happy; and as to what they say, that everything is named and
estimated from its predominant portion, that may be admitted in some
things. But when they allow three kinds of evils--when any one is
oppressed with every imaginable evil of two kinds, being afflicted with
adverse fortune, and having at the same time his body worn out and
harassed with all sorts of pains--shall we say that such a one is but
little short of a happy life, to say nothing about the happiest
possible life?

IX. This is the point which Theophrastus was unable to maintain; for
after he had once laid down the position that stripes, torments,
tortures, the ruin of one's country, banishment, the loss of children,
had great influence on men's living miserably and unhappily, he durst
not any longer use any high and lofty expressions when he was so low
and abject in his opinion. How right he was is not the question; he
certainly was consistent. Therefore, I am not for objecting to
consequences where the premises are admitted. But this most elegant and
learned of all the philosophers is not taken to task very severely when
he asserts his three kinds of good; but he is attacked by every one for
that book which he wrote on a happy life, in which book he has many
arguments why one who is tortured and racked cannot be happy. For in
that book he is supposed to say that a man who is placed on the wheel
(that is a kind of torture in use among the Greeks) cannot attain to a
completely happy life. He nowhere, indeed, says so absolutely; but what
he says amounts to the same thing. Can I, then, find fault with him,
after having allowed that pains of the body are evils, that the ruin of
a man's fortunes is an evil, if he should say that every good man is
not happy, when all those things which he reckons as evils may befall a
good man? The same Theophrastus is found fault with by all the books
and schools of the philosophers for commending that sentence in his

    Fortune, not wisdom, rules the life of man.

They say never did philosopher assert anything so languid. They are
right, indeed, in that; but I do not apprehend anything could be more
consistent, for if there are so many good things that depend on the
body, and so many foreign to it that depend on chance and fortune, is
it inconsistent to say that fortune, which governs everything, both
what is foreign and what belongs to the body, has greater power than
counsel. Or would we rather imitate Epicurus? who is often excellent in
many things which he speaks, but quite indifferent how consistent he
may be, or how much to the purpose he is speaking. He commends spare
diet, and in that he speaks as a philosopher; but it is for Socrates or
Antisthenes to say so, and not for one who confines all good to
pleasure. He denies that any one can live pleasantly unless he lives
honestly, wisely, and justly. Nothing is more dignified than this
assertion, nothing more becoming a philosopher, had he not measured
this very expression of living honestly, justly, and wisely by
pleasure. What could be better than to assert that fortune interferes
but little with a wise man? But does he talk thus, who, after he has
said that pain is the greatest evil, or the only evil, might himself be
afflicted with the sharpest pains all over his body, even at the time
he is vaunting himself the most against fortune? And this very thing,
too, Metrodorus has said, but in better language: "I have anticipated
you, Fortune; I have caught you, and cut off every access, so that you
cannot possibly reach me." This would be excellent in the mouth of
Aristo the Chian, or Zeno the Stoic, who held nothing to be an evil but
what was base; but for you, Metrodorus, to anticipate the approaches of
fortune, who confine all that is good to your bowels and marrow--for
you to say so, who define the chief good by a strong constitution of
body, and well-assured hope of its continuance--for you to cut off
every access of fortune! Why, you may instantly be deprived of that
good. Yet the simple are taken with these propositions, and a vast
crowd is led away by such sentences to become their followers.

X. But it is the duty of one who would argue accurately to consider not
what is said, but what is said consistently. As in that very opinion
which we have adopted in this discussion, namely, that every good man
is always happy, it is clear what I mean by good men: I call those both
wise and good men who are provided and adorned with every virtue. Let
us see, then, who are to be called happy. I imagine, indeed, that those
men are to be called so who are possessed of good without any alloy of
evil; nor is there any other notion connected with the word that
expresses happiness but an absolute enjoyment of good without any evil.
Virtue cannot attain this, if there is anything good besides itself.
For a crowd of evils would present themselves, if we were to allow
poverty, obscurity, humility, solitude, the loss of friends, acute
pains of the body, the loss of health, weakness, blindness, the ruin of
one's country, banishment, slavery, to be evils; for a wise man may be
afflicted by all these evils, numerous and important as they are, and
many others also may be added, for they are brought on by chance, which
may attack a wise man; but if these things are evils, who can maintain
that a wise man is always happy when all these evils may light on him
at the same time? I therefore do not easily agree with my friend
Brutus, nor with our common masters, nor those ancient ones, Aristotle,
Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemon, who reckon all that I have mentioned
above as evils, and yet they say that a wise man is always happy; nor
can I allow them, because they are charmed with this beautiful and
illustrious title, which would very well become Pythagoras, Socrates,
and Plato, to persuade my mind that strength, health, beauty, riches,
honors, power, with the beauty of which they are ravished, are
contemptible, and that all those things which are the opposites of
these are not to be regarded. Then might they declare openly, with a
loud voice, that neither the attacks of fortune, nor the opinion of the
multitude, nor pain, nor poverty, occasions them any apprehensions; and
that they have everything within themselves, and that there is nothing
whatever which they consider as good but what is within their own
power. Nor can I by any means allow the same person who falls into the
vulgar opinion of good and evil to make use of these expressions, which
can only become a great and exalted man. Struck with which glory, up
starts Epicurus, who, with submission to the Gods, thinks a wise man
always happy. He is much charmed with the dignity of this opinion, but
he never would have owned that, had he attended to himself; for what is
there more inconsistent than for one who could say that pain was the
greatest or the only evil to think also that a wise man can possibly
say in the midst of his torture, How sweet is this! We are not,
therefore, to form our judgment of philosophers from detached
sentences, but from their consistency with themselves, and their
ordinary manner of talking.

XI. _A._ You compel me to be of your opinion; but have a care that you
are not inconsistent yourself.

_M._ In what respect?

_A._ Because I have lately read your fourth book on Good and Evil: and
in that you appeared to me, while disputing against Cato, to be
endeavoring to show, which in my opinion means to prove, that Zeno and
the Peripatetics differ only about some new words; but if we allow
that, what reason can there be, if it follows from the arguments of
Zeno that virtue contains all that is necessary to a happy life, that
the Peripatetics should not be at liberty to say the same? For, in my
opinion, regard should be had to the thing, not to words.

_M._ What! you would convict me from my own words, and bring against me
what I had said or written elsewhere. You may act in that manner with
those who dispute by established rules. We live from hand to mouth, and
say anything that strikes our mind with probability, so that we are the
only people who are really at liberty. But, since I just now spoke of
consistency, I do not think the inquiry in this place is, if the
opinion of Zeno and his pupil Aristo be true that nothing is good but
what is honorable; but, admitting that, then, whether the whole of a
happy life can be rested on virtue alone. Wherefore, if we certainly
grant Brutus this, that a wise man is always happy, how consistent he
is, is his own business; for who, indeed, is more worthy than himself
of the glory of that opinion? Still, we may maintain that such a man is
more happy than any one else.

XII. Though Zeno the Cittiæan, a stranger and an inconsiderable coiner
of words, appears to have insinuated himself into the old philosophy;
still, the prevalence of this opinion is due to the authority of Plato,
who often makes use of this expression, "That nothing but virtue can be
entitled to the name of good," agreeably to what Socrates says in
Plato's Gorgias; for it is there related that when some one asked him
if he did not think Archelaus the son of Perdiccas, who was then looked
upon as a most fortunate person, a very happy man, "I do not know,"
replied he, "for I never conversed with him." "What! is there no other
way you can know it by?" "None at all." "You cannot, then, pronounce of
the great king of the Persians whether he is happy or not?" "How can I,
when I do not know how learned or how good a man he is?" "What! do you
imagine that a happy life depends on that?" "My opinion entirely is,
that good men are happy, and the wicked miserable." "Is Archelaus,
then, miserable?" "Certainly, if unjust." Now, does it not appear to
you that he is here placing the whole of a happy life in virtue alone?
But what does the same man say in his funeral oration? "For," saith he,
"whoever has everything that relates to a happy life so entirely
dependent on himself as not to be connected with the good or bad
fortune of another, and not to be affected by, or made in any degree
uncertain by, what befalls another; and whoever is such a one has
acquired the best rule of living; he is that moderate, that brave, that
wise man, who submits to the gain and loss of everything, and
especially of his children, and obeys that old precept; for he will
never be too joyful or too sad, because he depends entirely upon

XIII. From Plato, therefore, all my discourse shall be deduced, as if
from some sacred and hallowed fountain. Whence can I, then, more
properly begin than from Nature, the parent of all? For whatsoever she
produces (I am not speaking only of animals, but even of those things
which have sprung from the earth in such a manner as to rest on their
own roots) she designed it to be perfect in its respective kind. So
that among trees and vines, and those lower plants and trees which
cannot advance themselves high above the earth, some are evergreen,
others are stripped of their leaves in winter, and, warmed by the
spring season, put them out afresh, and there are none of them but what
are so quickened by a certain interior motion, and their own seeds
enclosed in every one, so as to yield flowers, fruit, or berries, that
all may have every perfection that belongs to it; provided no violence
prevents it. But the force of Nature itself may be more easily
discovered in animals, as she has bestowed sense on them. For some
animals she has taught to swim, and designed to be inhabitants of the
water; others she has enabled to fly, and has willed that they should
enjoy the boundless air; some others she has made to creep, others to
walk. Again, of these very animals, some are solitary, some gregarious,
some wild, others tame, some hidden and buried beneath the earth, and
every one of these maintains the law of nature, confining itself to
what was bestowed on it, and unable to change its manner of life. And
as every animal has from nature something that distinguishes it, which
every one maintains and never quits; so man has something far more
excellent, though everything is said to be excellent by comparison. But
the human mind, being derived from the divine reason, can be compared
with nothing but with the Deity itself, if I may be allowed the
expression. This, then, if it is improved, and when its perception is
so preserved as not to be blinded by errors, becomes a perfect
understanding, that is to say, absolute reason, which is the very same
as virtue. And if everything is happy which wants nothing, and is
complete and perfect in its kind, and that is the peculiar lot of
virtue, certainly all who are possessed of virtue are happy. And in
this I agree with Brutus, and also with Aristotle, Xenocrates,
Speusippus, Polemon.

XIV. To me such are the only men who appear completely happy; for what
can he want to a complete happy life who relies on his own good
qualities, or how can he be happy who does not rely on them? But he who
makes a threefold division of goods must necessarily be diffident, for
how can he depend on having a sound body, or that his fortune shall
continue? But no one can be happy without an immovable, fixed, and
permanent good. What, then, is this opinion of theirs? So that I think
that saying of the Spartan may be applied to them, who, on some
merchant's boasting before him that he had despatched ships to every
maritime coast, replied that a fortune which depended on ropes was not
very desirable. Can there be any doubt that whatever may be lost cannot
be properly classed in the number of those things which complete a
happy life? for of all that constitutes a happy life, nothing will
admit of withering, or growing old, or wearing out, or decaying; for
whoever is apprehensive of any loss of these things cannot be happy:
the happy man should be safe, well fenced, well fortified, out of the
reach of all annoyance, not like a man under trifling apprehensions,
but free from all such. As he is not called innocent who but slightly
offends, but he who offends not at all, so it is he alone who is to be
considered without fear who is free from all fear, not he who is but in
little fear. For what else is courage but an affection of mind that is
ready to undergo perils, and patient in the endurance of pain and labor
without any alloy of fear? Now, this certainly could not be the case if
there were anything else good but what depended on honesty alone. But
how can any one be in possession of that desirable and much-coveted
security (for I now call a freedom from anxiety a security, on which
freedom a happy life depends) who has, or may have, a multitude of
evils attending him? How can he be brave and undaunted, and hold
everything as trifles which can befall a man? for so a wise man should
do, unless he be one who thinks that everything depends on himself.
Could the Lacedæmonians without this, when Philip threatened to prevent
all their attempts, have asked him if he could prevent their killing
themselves? Is it not easier, then, to find one man of such a spirit as
we are inquiring after, than to meet with a whole city of such men?
Now, if to this courage I am speaking of we add temperance, that it may
govern all our feelings and agitations, what can be wanting to complete
his happiness who is secured by his courage from uneasiness and fear,
and is prevented from immoderate desires and immoderate insolence of
joy by temperance? I could easily show that virtue is able to produce
these effects, but that I have explained on the foregoing days.

XV. But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and
tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two
sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as
immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as
all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you
see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome
commotions, which are so much at variance with one another, can you
hesitate to pronounce such a one a happy man? Now, the wise man is
always in such a disposition; therefore the wise man is always happy.
Besides, every good is pleasant; whatever is pleasant may be boasted
and talked of; whatever may be boasted of is glorious; but whatever is
glorious is certainly laudable, and whatever is laudable doubtless,
also, honorable: whatever, then, is good is honorable (but the things
which they reckon as goods they themselves do not call honorable);
therefore what is honorable alone is good. Hence it follows that a
happy life is comprised in honesty alone. Such things, then, are not to
be called or considered goods, when a man may enjoy an abundance of
them, and yet be most miserable. Is there any doubt but that a man who
enjoys the best health, and who has strength and beauty, and his senses
flourishing in their utmost quickness and perfection--suppose him
likewise, if you please, nimble and active, nay, give him riches,
honors, authority, power, glory--now, I say, should this person, who is
in possession of all these, be unjust, intemperate, timid, stupid, or
an idiot--could you hesitate to call such a one miserable? What, then,
are those goods in the possession of which you may be very miserable?
Let us see if a happy life is not made up of parts of the same nature,
as a heap implies a quantity of grain of the same kind. And if this be
once admitted, happiness must be compounded of different good things,
which alone are honorable; if there is any mixture of things of another
sort with these, nothing honorable can proceed from such a composition:
now, take away honesty, and how can you imagine anything happy? For
whatever is good is desirable on that account; whatever is desirable
must certainly be approved of; whatever you approve of must be looked
on as acceptable and welcome. You must consequently impute dignity to
this; and if so, it must necessarily be laudable: therefore, everything
that is laudable is good. Hence it follows that what is honorable is
the only good. And should we not look upon it in this light, there will
be a great many things which we must call good.

XVI. I forbear to mention riches, which, as any one, let him be ever so
unworthy, may have them, I do not reckon among goods; for what is good
is not attainable by all. I pass over notoriety and popular fame,
raised by the united voice of knaves and fools. Even things which are
absolute nothings may be called goods; such as white teeth, handsome
eyes, a good complexion, and what was commended by Euryclea, when she
was washing Ulysses's feet, the softness of his skin and the mildness
of his discourse. If you look on these as goods, what greater encomiums
can the gravity of a philosopher be entitled to than the wild opinion
of the vulgar and the thoughtless crowd? The Stoics give the name of
excellent and choice to what the others call good: they call them so,
indeed; but they do not allow them to complete a happy life. But these
others think that there is no life happy without them; or, admitting it
to be happy, they deny it to be the most happy. But our opinion is,
that it is the most happy; and we prove it from that conclusion of
Socrates. For thus that author of philosophy argued: that as the
disposition of a man's mind is, so is the man; such as the man is, such
will be his discourse; his actions will correspond with his discourse,
and his life with his actions. But the disposition of a good man's mind
is laudable; the life, therefore, of a good man is laudable; it is
honorable, therefore, because laudable; the unavoidable conclusion from
which is that the life of good men is happy. For, good Gods! did I not
make it appear, by my former arguments--or was I only amusing myself
and killing time in what I then said?--that the mind of a wise man was
always free from every hasty motion which I call a perturbation, and
that the most undisturbed peace always reigned in his breast? A man,
then, who is temperate and consistent, free from fear or grief, and
uninfluenced by any immoderate joy or desire, cannot be otherwise than
happy; but a wise man is always so, therefore he is always happy.
Moreover, how can a good man avoid referring all his actions and all
his feelings to the one standard of whether or not it is laudable? But
he does refer everything to the object of living happily: it follows,
then, that a happy life is laudable; but nothing is laudable without
virtue: a happy life, then, is the consequence of virtue. And this is
the unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from these arguments.

XVII. A wicked life has nothing which we ought to speak of or glory in;
nor has that life which is neither happy nor miserable. But there is a
kind of life that admits of being spoken of, and gloried in, and
boasted of, as Epaminondas saith,

    The wings of Sparta's pride my counsels clipp'd.

And Africanus boasts,

    Who, from beyond Mæotis to the place
    Where the sun rises, deeds like mine can trace?

If, then, there is such a thing as a happy life, it is to be gloried
in, spoken of, and commended by the person who enjoys it; for there is
nothing excepting that which can be spoken of or gloried in; and when
that is once admitted, you know what follows. Now, unless an honorable
life is a happy life, there must, of course, be something preferable to
a happy life; for that which is honorable all men will certainly grant
to be preferable to anything else. And thus there will be something
better than a happy life: but what can be more absurd than such an
assertion? What! when they grant vice to be effectual to the rendering
life miserable, must they not admit that there is a corresponding power
in virtue to make life happy? For contraries follow from contraries.
And here I ask what weight they think there is in the balance of
Critolaus, who having put the goods of the mind into one scale, and the
goods of the body and other external advantages into the other, thought
the goods of the mind outweighed the others so far that they would
require the whole earth and sea to equalize the scale.

XVIII. What hinders Critolaus, then, or that gravest of philosophers,
Xenocrates (who raises virtue so high, and who lessens and depreciates
everything else), from not only placing a happy life, but the happiest
possible life, in virtue? And, indeed, if this were not the case,
virtue would be absolutely lost. For whoever is subject to grief must
necessarily be subject to fear too, for fear is an uneasy apprehension
of future grief; and whoever is subject to fear is liable to dread,
timidity, consternation, cowardice. Therefore, such a person may, some
time or other, be defeated, and not think himself concerned with that
precept of Atreus,

    And let men so conduct themselves in life,
    As to be always strangers to defeat.

But such a man, as I have said, will be defeated; and not only
defeated, but made a slave of. But we would have virtue always free,
always invincible; and were it not so, there would be an end of virtue.
But if virtue has in herself all that is necessary for a good life, she
is certainly sufficient for happiness: virtue is certainly sufficient,
too, for our living with courage; if with courage, then with a
magnanimous spirit, and indeed so as never to be under any fear, and
thus to be always invincible. Hence it follows that there can be
nothing to be repented of, no wants, no lets or hinderances. Thus all
things will be prosperous, perfect, and as you would have them, and,
consequently, happy; but virtue is sufficient for living with courage,
and therefore virtue is able by herself to make life happy. For as
folly, even when possessed of what it desires, never thinks it has
acquired enough, so wisdom is always satisfied with the present, and
never repents on her own account.

XIX. Look but on the single consulship of Lælius, and that, too, after
having been set aside (though when a wise and good man like him is
outvoted, the people are disappointed of a good consul, rather than be
disappointed by a vain people); but the point is, would you prefer,
were it in your power, to be once such a consul as Lælius, or be
elected four times, like Cinna? I have no doubt in the world what
answer you will make, and it is on that account I put the question to

I would not ask every one this question; for some one perhaps might
answer that he would not only prefer four consulates to one, but even
one day of Cinna's life to whole ages of many famous men. Lælius would
have suffered had he but touched any one with his finger; but Cinna
ordered the head of his colleague consul, Cn. Octavius, to be struck
off; and put to death P. Crassus[58], and L. Cæsar[59], those excellent
men, so renowned both at home and abroad; and even M. Antonius[60], the
greatest orator whom I ever heard; and C. Cæsar, who seems to me to
have been the pattern of humanity, politeness, sweetness of temper, and
wit. Could he, then, be happy who occasioned the death of these men? So
far from it, that he seems to be miserable, not only for having
performed these actions, but also for acting in such a manner that it
was lawful for him to do it, though it is unlawful for any one to do
wicked actions; but this proceeds from inaccuracy, of speech, for we
call whatever a man is allowed to do lawful. Was not Marius happier, I
pray you, when he shared the glory of the victory gained over the
Cimbrians with his colleague Catulus (who was almost another Lælius;
for I look upon the two men as very like one another), than when,
conqueror in the civil war, he in a passion answered the friends of
Catulus, who were interceding for him, "Let him die?" And this answer
he gave, not once only, but often. But in such a case, he was happier
who submitted to that barbarous decree than he who issued it. And it is
better to receive an injury than to do one; and so it was better to
advance a little to meet that death that was making its approaches, as
Catulus did, than, like Marius, to sully the glory of six consulships,
and disgrace his latter days, by the death of such a man.

XX. Dionysius exercised his tyranny over the Syracusans thirty-eight
years, being but twenty-five years old when he seized on the
government. How beautiful and how wealthy a city did he oppress with
slavery! And yet we have it from good authority that he was remarkably
temperate in his manner of living, that he was very active and
energetic in carrying on business, but naturally mischievous and
unjust; from which description every one who diligently inquires into
truth must inevitably see that he was very miserable. Neither did he
attain what he so greatly desired, even when he was persuaded that he
had unlimited power; for, notwithstanding he was of a good family and
reputable parents (though that is contested by some authors), and had a
very large acquaintance of intimate friends and relations, and also
some youths attached to him by ties of love after the fashion of the
Greeks, he could not trust any one of them, but committed the guard of
his person to slaves, whom he had selected from rich men's families and
made free, and to strangers and barbarians. And thus, through an unjust
desire of governing, he in a manner shut himself up in a prison.
Besides, he would not trust his throat to a barber, but had his
daughters taught to shave; so that these royal virgins were forced to
descend to the base and slavish employment of shaving the head and
beard of their father. Nor would he trust even them, when they were
grown up, with a razor; but contrived how they might burn off the hair
of his head and beard with red-hot nutshells. And as to his two wives,
Aristomache, his countrywoman, and Doris of Locris, he never visited
them at night before everything had been well searched and examined.
And as he had surrounded the place where his bed was with a broad
ditch, and made a way over it with a wooden bridge, he drew that bridge
over after shutting his bedchamber door. And as he did not dare to
stand on the ordinary pulpits from which they usually harangued the
people, he generally addressed them from a high tower. And it is said
that when he was disposed to play at ball--for he delighted much in
it--and had pulled off his clothes, he used to give his sword into the
keeping of a young man whom he was very fond of. On this, one of his
intimates said pleasantly, "You certainly trust your life with him;"
and as the young man happened to smile at this, he ordered them both to
be slain, the one for showing how he might be taken off, the other for
approving of what had been said by smiling. But he was so concerned at
what he had done that nothing affected him more during his whole life;
for he had slain one to whom he was extremely partial. Thus do weak
men's desires pull them different ways, and while they indulge one,
they act counter to another.

XXI. This tyrant, however, showed himself how happy he really was; for
once, when Damocles, one of his flatterers, was dilating in
conversation on his forces, his wealth, the greatness of his power, the
plenty he enjoyed, the grandeur of his royal palaces, and maintaining
that no one was ever happier, "Have you an inclination," said he,
"Damocles, as this kind of life pleases you, to have a taste of it
yourself, and to make a trial of the good fortune that attends me?" And
when he said that he should like it extremely, Dionysius ordered him to
be laid on a bed of gold with the most beautiful covering, embroidered
and wrought with the most exquisite work, and he dressed out a great
many sideboards with silver and embossed gold. He then ordered some
youths, distinguished for their handsome persons, to wait at his table,
and to observe his nod, in order to serve him with what he wanted.
There were ointments and garlands; perfumes were burned; tables
provided with the most exquisite meats. Damocles thought himself very
happy. In the midst of this apparatus, Dionysius ordered a bright sword
to be let down from the ceiling, suspended by a single horse-hair, so
as to hang over the head of that happy man. After which he neither cast
his eye on those handsome waiters, nor on the well-wrought plate; nor
touched any of the provisions: presently the garlands fell to pieces.
At last he entreated the tyrant to give him leave to go, for that now
he had no desire to be happy[61]. Does not Dionysius, then, seem to
have declared there can be no happiness for one who is under constant
apprehensions? But it was not now in his power to return to justice,
and restore his citizens their rights and privileges; for, by the
indiscretion of youth, he had engaged in so many wrong steps and
committed such extravagances, that, had he attempted to have returned
to a right way of thinking, he must have endangered his life.

XXII. Yet, how desirous he was of friendship, though at the same time
he dreaded the treachery of friends, appears from the story of those
two Pythagoreans: one of these had been security for his friend, who
was condemned to die; the other, to release his security, presented
himself at the time appointed for his dying: "I wish," said Dionysius,"
you would admit me as the third in your friendship." What misery was it
for him to be deprived of acquaintance, of company at his table, and of
the freedom of conversation! especially for one who was a man of
learning, and from his childhood acquainted with liberal arts, very
fond of music, and himself a tragic poet--how good a one is not to the
purpose, for I know not how it is, but in this way, more than any
other, every one thinks his own performances excellent. I never as yet
knew any poet (and I was very intimate with Aquinius), who did not
appear to himself to be very admirable. The case is this: you are
pleased with your own works; I like mine. But to return to Dionysius.
He debarred himself from all civil and polite conversation, and spent
his life among fugitives, bondmen, and barbarians; for he was persuaded
that no one could be his friend who was worthy of liberty, or had the
least desire of being free.

XXIII. Shall I not, then, prefer the life of Plato and Archytas,
manifestly wise and learned men, to his, than which nothing can
possibly be more horrid, or miserable, or detestable?

I will present you with an humble and obscure mathematician of the same
city, called Archimedes, who lived many years after; whose tomb,
overgrown with shrubs and briers, I in my quæstorship discovered, when
the Syracusans knew nothing of it, and even denied that there was any
such thing remaining; for I remembered some verses, which I had been
informed were engraved on his monument, and these set forth that on the
top of the tomb there was placed a sphere with a cylinder. When I had
carefully examined all the monuments (for there are a great many tombs
at the gate Achradinæ), I observed a small column standing out a little
above the briers, with the figure of a sphere and a cylinder upon it;
whereupon I immediately said to the Syracusans--for there were some of
their principal men with me there--that I imagined that was what I was
inquiring for. Several men, being sent in with scythes, cleared the
way, and made an opening for us. When we could get at it, and were come
near to the front of the pedestal, I found the inscription, though the
latter parts of all the verses were effaced almost half away. Thus one
of the noblest cities of Greece, and one which at one time likewise had
been very celebrated for learning, had known nothing of the monument of
its greatest genius, if it had not been discovered to them by a native
of Arpinum. But to return to the subject from which I have been
digressing. Who is there in the least degree acquainted with the Muses,
that is, with liberal knowledge, or that deals at all in learning, who
would not choose to be this mathematician rather than that tyrant? If
we look into their methods of living and their employments, we shall
find the mind of the one strengthened and improved with tracing the
deductions of reason, amused with his own ingenuity, which is the one
most delicious food of the mind; the thoughts of the other engaged in
continual murders and injuries, in constant fears by night and by day.
Now imagine a Democritus, a Pythagoras, and an Anaxagoras; what
kingdom, what riches, would you prefer to their studies and amusements?
For you must necessarily look for that excellence which we are seeking
for in that which is the most perfect part of man; but what is there
better in man than a sagacious and good mind? The enjoyment, therefore,
of that good which proceeds from that sagacious mind can alone make us
happy; but virtue is the good of the mind: it follows, therefore, that
a happy life depends on virtue. Hence proceed all things that are
beautiful, honorable, and excellent, as I said above (but this point
must, I think, be treated of more at large), and they are well stored
with joys. For, as it is clear that a happy life consists in perpetual
and unexhausted pleasures, it follows, too, that a happy life must
arise from honesty.

XXIV. But that what I propose to demonstrate to you may not rest on
mere words only, I must set before you the picture of something, as it
were, living and moving in the world, that may dispose us more for the
improvement of the understanding and real knowledge. Let us, then,
pitch upon some man perfectly acquainted with the most excellent arts;
let us present him for awhile to our own thoughts, and figure him to
our own imaginations. In the first place, he must necessarily be of an
extraordinary capacity; for virtue is not easily connected with dull
minds. Secondly, he must have a great desire of discovering truth, from
whence will arise that threefold production of the mind; one of which
depends on knowing things, and explaining nature; the other, in
defining what we ought to desire and what to avoid; the third, in
judging of consequences and impossibilities, in which consists both
subtlety in disputing and also clearness of judgment. Now, with what
pleasure must the mind of a wise man be affected which continually
dwells in the midst of such cares and occupations as these, when he
views the revolutions and motions of the whole world, and sees those
innumerable stars in the heavens, which, though fixed in their places,
have yet one motion in common with the whole universe, and observes the
seven other stars, some higher, some lower, each maintaining their own
course, while their motions, though wandering, have certain defined and
appointed spaces to run through! the sight of which doubtless urged and
encouraged those ancient philosophers to exercise their investigating
spirit on many other things. Hence arose an inquiry after the
beginnings, and, as it were, seeds from which all things were produced
and composed; what was the origin of every kind of thing, whether
animate or inanimate, articulately speaking or mute; what occasioned
their beginning and end, and by what alteration and change one thing
was converted into another; whence the earth originated, and by what
weights it was balanced; by what caverns the seas were supplied; by
what gravity all things being carried down tend always to the middle of
the world, which in any round body is the lowest place.

XXV. A mind employed on such subjects, and which night and day
contemplates them, contains in itself that precept of the Delphic God,
so as to "know itself," and to perceive its connection with the divine
reason, from whence it is filled with an insatiable joy. For
reflections on the power and nature of the Gods raise in us a desire of
imitating their eternity. Nor does the mind, that sees the necessary
dependences and connections that one cause has with another, think it
possible that it should be itself confined to the shortness of this
life. Those causes, though they proceed from eternity to eternity, are
governed by reason and understanding. And he who beholds them and
examines them, or rather he whose view takes in all the parts and
boundaries of things, with what tranquillity of mind does he look on
all human affairs, and on all that is nearer him! Hence proceeds the
knowledge of virtue; hence arise the kinds and species of virtues;
hence are discovered those things which nature regards as the bounds
and extremities of good and evil; by this it is discovered to what all
duties ought to be referred, and which is the most eligible manner of
life. And when these and similar points have been investigated, the
principal consequence which is deduced from them, and that which is our
main object in this discussion, is the establishment of the point, that
virtue is of itself sufficient to a happy life.

The third qualification of our wise man is the next to be considered,
which goes through and spreads itself over every part of wisdom; it is
that whereby we define each particular thing, distinguish the genus
from its species, connect consequences, draw just conclusions, and
distinguish truth from falsehood, which is the very art and science of
disputing; which is not only of the greatest use in the examination of
what passes in the world, but is likewise the most rational
entertainment, and that which is most becoming to true wisdom. Such are
its effects in retirement. Now, let our wise man be considered as
protecting the republic; what can be more excellent than such a
character? By his prudence he will discover the true interests of his
fellow-citizens; by his justice he will be prevented from applying what
belongs to the public to his own use; and, in short, he will be ever
governed by all the virtues, which are many and various. To these let
us add the advantage of his friendships; in which the learned reckon
not only a natural harmony and agreement of sentiments throughout the
conduct of life, but the utmost pleasure and satisfaction in conversing
and passing our time constantly with one another. What can be wanting
to such a life as this to make it more happy than it is? Fortune
herself must yield to a life stored with such joys. Now, if it be a
happiness to rejoice in such goods of the mind, that is to say, in such
virtues, and if all wise men enjoy thoroughly these pleasures, it must
necessarily be granted that all such are happy.

XXVI. _A._ What, when in torments and on the rack?

_M._ Do you imagine I am speaking of him as laid on roses and violets?
Is it allowable even for Epicurus (who only puts on the appearance of
being a philosopher, and who himself assumed that name for himself) to
say (though, as matters stand, I commend him for his saying) that a
wise man might at all times cry out, though he be burned, tortured, cut
to pieces, "How little I regard it!" Shall this be said by one who
defines all evil as pain, and measures every good by pleasure; who
could ridicule whatever we call either honorable or base, and could
declare of us that we were employed about words, and uttering mere
empty sounds; and that nothing is to be regarded by us but as it is
perceived to be smooth or rough by the body? What! shall such a man as
this, as I said, whose understanding is little superior to the beasts',
be at liberty to forget himself; and not only to despise fortune, when
the whole of his good and evil is in the power of fortune, but to say
that he is happy in the most racking torture, when he had actually
declared pain to be not only the greatest evil, but the only one? Nor
did he take any trouble to provide himself with those remedies which
might have enabled him to bear pain, such as firmness of mind, a shame
of doing anything base, exercise, and the habit of patience, precepts
of courage, and a manly hardiness; but he says that he supports himself
on the single recollection of past pleasures, as if any one, when the
weather was so hot as that he was scarcely able to bear it, should
comfort himself by recollecting that he was once in my country,
Arpinum, where he was surrounded on every side by cooling streams. For
I do not apprehend how past pleasures can allay present evils. But when
he says that a wise man is always happy who would have no right to say
so if he were consistent with himself, what may they not do who allow
nothing to be desirable, nothing to be looked on as good but what is
honorable? Let, then, the Peripatetics and Old Academics follow my
example, and at length leave off muttering to themselves; and openly
and with a clear voice let them be bold to say that a happy life may
not be inconsistent with the agonies of Phalaris's bull.

XXVII. But to dismiss the subtleties of the Stoics, which I am sensible
I have employed more than was necessary, let us admit of three kinds of
goods; and let them really be kinds of goods, provided no regard is had
to the body and to external circumstances, as entitled to the
appellation of good in any other sense than because we are obliged to
use them: but let those other divine goods spread themselves far in
every direction, and reach the very heavens. Why, then, may I not call
him happy, nay, the happiest of men, who has attained them? Shall a
wise man be afraid of pain? which is, indeed, the greatest enemy to our
opinion. For I am persuaded that we are prepared and fortified
sufficiently, by the disputations of the foregoing days, against our
own death or that of our friends, against grief, and the other
perturbations of the mind. But pain seems to be the sharpest adversary
of virtue; that it is which menaces us with burning torches; that it is
which threatens to crush our fortitude, and greatness of mind, and
patience. Shall virtue, then, yield to this? Shall the happy life of a
wise and consistent man succumb to this? Good. Gods! how base would
this be! Spartan boys will bear to have their bodies torn by rods
without uttering a groan. I myself have seen at Lacedæmon troops of
young men, with incredible earnestness contending together with their
hands and feet, with their teeth and nails, nay, even ready to expire,
rather than own themselves conquered. Is any country of barbarians more
uncivilized or desolate than India? Yet they have among them some that
are held for wise men, who never wear any clothes all their life long,
and who bear the snow of Caucasus, and the piercing cold of winter,
without any pain; and who if they come in contact with fire endure
being burned without a groan. The women, too, in India, on the death of
their husbands have a regular contest, and apply to the judge to have
it determined which of them was best beloved by him; for it is
customary there for one man to have many wives. She in whose favor it
is determined exults greatly, and being attended by her relations, is
laid on the funeral pile with her husband; the others, who are
postponed, walk away very much dejected. Custom can never be superior
to nature, for nature is never to be got the better of. But our minds
are infected by sloth and idleness, and luxury, and languor, and
indolence: we have enervated them by opinions and bad customs. Who is
there who is unacquainted with the customs of the Egyptians? Their
minds being tainted by pernicious opinions, they are ready to bear any
torture rather than hurt an ibis, a snake, a cat, a dog, or a
crocodile; and should any one inadvertently have hurt any of these
animals, he will submit to any punishment. I am speaking of men only.
As to the beasts, do they not bear cold and hunger, running about in
woods, and on mountains and deserts? Will they not fight for their
young ones till they are wounded? Are they afraid of any attacks or
blows? I mention not what the ambitious will suffer for honor's sake,
or those who are desirous of praise on account of glory, or lovers to
gratify their lust. Life is full of such instances.

XXVIII. But let us not dwell too much on these questions, but rather
let us return to our subject. I say, and say again, that happiness will
submit even to be tormented; and that in pursuit of justice, and
temperance, and still more especially and principally fortitude, and
greatness of soul, and patience, it will not stop short at sight of the
executioner; and when all other virtues proceed calmly to the torture,
that one will never halt, as I said, on the outside and threshold of
the prison; for what can be baser, what can carry a worse appearance,
than to be left alone, separated from those beautiful attendants? Not,
however, that this is by any means possible; for neither can the
virtues hold together without happiness, nor happiness without the
virtues; so that they will not suffer her to desert them, but will
carry her along with them, to whatever torments, to whatever pain they
are led. For it is the peculiar quality of a wise man to do nothing
that he may repent of, nothing against his inclination, but always to
act nobly, with constancy, gravity, and honesty; to depend on nothing
as certainty; to wonder at nothing, when it falls out, as if it
appeared strange and unexpected to him; to be independent of every one,
and abide by his own opinion. For my part, I cannot form an idea of
anything happier than this. The conclusion of the Stoics is indeed
easy; for since they are persuaded that the end of good is to live
agreeably to nature, and to be consistent with that--as a wise man
should do so, not only because it is his duty, but because it is in his
power--it must, of course, follow that whoever has the chief good in
his power has his happiness so too. And thus the life of a wise man is
always happy. You have here what I think may be confidently said of a
happy life; and as things now stand, very truly also, unless you can
advance something better.

XXIX. _A._ Indeed I cannot; but I should be glad to prevail on you,
unless it is troublesome (as you are under no confinement from
obligations to any particular sect, but gather from all of them
whatever strikes you most as having the appearance of probability), as
you just now seemed to advise the Peripatetics and the Old Academy
boldly to speak out without reserve, "that wise men are always the
happiest"--I should be glad to hear how you think it consistent for
them to say so, when you have said so much against that opinion, and
the conclusions of the Stoics.

_M._ I will make use, then, of that liberty which no one has the
privilege of using in philosophy but those of our school, whose
discourses determine nothing, but take in everything, leaving them
unsupported by the authority of any particular person, to be judged of
by others, according to their weight. And as you seem desirous of
knowing how it is that, notwithstanding the different opinions of
philosophers with regard to the ends of goods, virtue has still
sufficient security for the effecting of a happy life--which security,
as we are informed, Carneades used indeed to dispute against; but he
disputed as against the Stoics, whose opinions he combated with great
zeal and vehemence. I, however, shall handle the question with more
temper; for if the Stoics have rightly settled the _ends_ of goods, the
affair is at an end; for a wise man must necessarily be always happy.
But let us examine, if we can, the particular opinions of the others,
that so this excellent decision, if I may so call it, in favor of a
happy life, may be agreeable to the opinions and discipline of all.

XXX. These, then, are the opinions, as I think, that are held and
defended--the first four are simple ones: "that nothing is good but
what is honest," according to the Stoics; "nothing good but pleasure,"
as Epicurus maintains; "nothing good but a freedom from pain," as
Hieronymus[62] asserts; "nothing good but an enjoyment of the
principal, or all, or the greatest goods of nature," as Carneades
maintained against the Stoics--these are simple, the others are mixed
propositions. Then there are three kinds of goods: the greatest being
those of the mind; the next best those of the body; the third are
external goods, as the Peripatetics call them, and the Old Academics
differ very little from them. Dinomachus[63] and Callipho[64] have
coupled pleasure with honesty; but Diodorus[65] the Peripatetic has
joined indolence to honesty. These are the opinions that have some
footing; for those of Aristo,[66] Pyrrho,[67] Herillus,[68] and of some
others, are quite out of date. Now let us see what weight these men
have in them, excepting the Stoics, whose opinion I think I have
sufficiently defended; and indeed I have explained what the
Peripatetics have to say; excepting that Theophrastus, and those who
followed him, dread and abhor pain in too weak a manner. The others may
go on to exaggerate the gravity and dignity of virtue, as usual; and
then, after they have extolled it to the skies, with the usual
extravagance of good orators, it is easy to reduce the other topics to
nothing by comparison, and to hold them up to contempt. They who think
that praise deserves to be sought after, even at the expense of pain,
are not at liberty to deny those men to be happy who have obtained it.
Though they may be under some evils, yet this name of happy has a very
wide application.

XXXI. For even as trading is said to be lucrative, and farming
advantageous, not because the one never meets with any loss, nor the
other with any damage from the inclemency of the weather, but because
they succeed in general; so life may be properly called happy, not from
its being entirely made up of good things, but because it abounds with
these to a great and considerable degree. By this way of reasoning,
then, a happy life may attend virtue even to the moment of execution;
nay, may descend with her into Phalaris's bull, according to Aristotle,
Xenocrates, Speusippus, Polemon; and will not be gained over by any
allurements to forsake her. Of the same opinion will Calliphon and
Diodorus be; for they are both of them such friends to virtue as to
think that all things should be discarded and far removed that are
incompatible with it. The rest seem to be more hampered with these
doctrines, but yet they get clear of them; such as Epicurus,
Hieronymus, and whoever else thinks it worth while to defend the
deserted Carneades: for there is not one of them who does not think the
mind to be judge of those goods, and able sufficiently to instruct him
how to despise what has the appearance only of good or evil. For what
seems to you to be the case with Epicurus is the case also with
Hieronymus and Carneades, and, indeed, with all the rest of them; for
who is there who is not sufficiently prepared against death and pain? I
will begin, with your leave, with him whom we call soft and voluptuous.
What! does he seem, to you to be afraid of death or pain when he calls
the day of his death happy; and who, when he is afflicted by the
greatest pains, silences them all by recollecting arguments of his own
discovering? And this is not done in such a manner as to give room for
imagining that he talks thus wildly from some sudden impulse; but his
opinion of death is, that on the dissolution of the animal all sense is
lost; and what is deprived of sense is, as he thinks, what we have no
concern at all with. And as to pain, too, he has certain rules to
follow then: if it be great, the comfort is that it must be short; if
it be of long continuance, then it must be supportable. What, then? Do
those grandiloquent gentlemen state anything better than Epicurus in
opposition to these two things which distress us the most? And as to
other things, do not Epicurus and the rest of the philosophers seem
sufficiently prepared? Who is there who does not dread poverty? And yet
no true philosopher ever can dread it.

XXXII. But with how little is this man himself satisfied! No one has
said more on frugality. For when a man is far removed from those things
which occasion a desire of money, from love, ambition, or other daily
extravagance, why should he be fond of money, or concern himself at all
about it? Could the Scythian Anacharsis[69] disregard money, and shall
not our philosophers be able to do so? We are informed of an epistle of
his in these words: "Anacharsis to Hanno, greeting. My clothing is the
same as that with which the Scythians cover themselves; the hardness of
my feet supplies the want of shoes; the ground is my bed, hunger my
sauce, my food milk, cheese, and flesh. So you may come to me as to a
man in want of nothing. But as to those presents you take so much
pleasure in, you may dispose of them to your own citizens, or to the
immortal Gods." And almost all philosophers, of all schools, excepting
those who are warped from right reason by a vicious disposition, might
have been of this same opinion. Socrates, when on one occasion he saw a
great quantity of gold and silver carried in a procession, cried out,
"How many things are there which I do not want!" Xenocrates, when some
ambassadors from Alexander had brought him fifty talents, which was a
very large sum of money in those times, especially at Athens, carried
the ambassadors to sup in the Academy, and placed just a sufficiency
before them, without any apparatus. When they asked him, the next day,
to whom he wished the money which they had for him to be paid: "What!"
said he, "did you not perceive by our slight repast of yesterday that I
had no occasion for money?" But when he perceived that they were
somewhat dejected, he accepted of thirty minas, that he might not seem
to treat with disrespect the king's generosity. But Diogenes took a
greater liberty, like a Cynic, when Alexander asked him if he wanted
anything: "Just at present," said he, "I wish that you would stand a
little out of the line between me and the sun," for Alexander was
hindering him from sunning himself. And, indeed, this very man used to
maintain how much he surpassed the Persian king in his manner of life
and fortune; for that he himself was in want of nothing, while the
other never had enough; and that he had no inclination for those
pleasures of which the other could never get enough to satisfy himself;
and that the other could never obtain his.

XXXIII. You see, I imagine, how Epicurus has divided his kinds of
desires, not very acutely perhaps, but yet usefully: saying that they
are "partly natural and necessary; partly natural, but not necessary;
partly neither. That those which are necessary may be supplied almost
for nothing; for that the things which nature requires are easily
obtained." As to the second kind of desires, his opinion is that any
one may easily either enjoy or go without them. And with regard to the
third, since they are utterly frivolous, being neither allied to
necessity nor nature, he thinks that they should be entirely rooted
out. On this topic a great many arguments are adduced by the
Epicureans; and those pleasures which they do not despise in a body,
they disparage one by one, and seem rather for lessening the number of
them; for as to wanton pleasures, on which subject they say a great
deal, these, say they, are easy, common, and within any one's reach;
and they think that if nature requires them, they are not to be
estimated by birth, condition, or rank, but by shape, age, and person:
and that it is by no means difficult to refrain from them, should
health, duty, or reputation require it; but that pleasures of this kind
may be desirable, where they are attended with no inconvenience, but
can never be of any use. And the assertions which Epicurus makes with
respect to the whole of pleasure are such as show his opinion to be
that pleasure is always desirable, and to be pursued merely because it
is pleasure; and for the same reason pain is to be avoided, because it
is pain. So that a wise man will always adopt such a system of
counterbalancing as to do himself the justice to avoid pleasure, should
pain ensue from it in too great a proportion; and will submit to pain,
provided the effects of it are to produce a greater pleasure: so that
all pleasurable things, though the corporeal senses are the judges of
them, are still to be referred to the mind, on which account the body
rejoices while it perceives a present pleasure; but that the mind not
only perceives the present as well as the body, but foresees it while
it is coming, and even when it is past will not let it quite slip away.
So that a wise man enjoys a continual series of pleasures, uniting the
expectation of future pleasure to the recollection of what he has
already tasted. The like notions are applied by them to high living;
and the magnificence and expensiveness of entertainments are
deprecated, because nature is satisfied at a small expense.

XXXIV. For who does not see this, that an appetite is the best sauce?
When Darius, in his flight from the enemy, had drunk some water which
was muddy and tainted with dead bodies, he declared that he had never
drunk anything more pleasant; the fact was, that he had never drunk
before when he was thirsty. Nor had Ptolemy ever eaten when he was
hungry; for as he was travelling over Egypt, his company not keeping up
with him, he had some coarse bread presented him in a cottage, upon
which he said, "Nothing ever seemed to him pleasanter than that bread."
They relate, too, of Socrates, that, once when he was walking very fast
till the evening, on his being asked why he did so, his reply was that
he was purchasing an appetite by walking, that he might sup the better.
And do we not see what the Lacedæmonians provide in their Phiditia?
where the tyrant Dionysius supped, but told them he did not at all like
that black broth, which was their principal dish; on which he who
dressed it said, "It was no wonder, for it wanted seasoning." Dionysius
asked what that seasoning was; to which it was replied, "Fatigue in
hunting, sweating, a race on the banks of Eurotas, hunger and thirst,"
for these are the seasonings to the Lacedæmonian banquets. And this may
not only be conceived from the custom of men, but from the beasts, who
are satisfied with anything that is thrown before them, provided it is
not unnatural, and they seek no farther. Some entire cities, taught by
custom, delight in parsimony, as I said but just now of the
Lacedæmonians. Xenophon has given an account of the Persian diet, who
never, as he saith, use anything but cresses with their bread; not but
that, should nature require anything more agreeable, many things might
be easily supplied by the ground, and plants in great abundance, and of
incomparable sweetness. Add to this strength and health, as the
consequence of this abstemious way of living. Now, compare with this
those who sweat and belch, being crammed with eating, like fatted oxen;
then will you perceive that they who pursue pleasure most attain it
least; and that the pleasure of eating lies not in satiety, but

XXXV. They report of Timotheus, a famous man at Athens, and the head of
the city, that having supped with Plato, and being extremely delighted
with his entertainment, on seeing him the next day, he said, "Your
suppers are not only agreeable while I partake of them, but the next
day also." Besides, the understanding is impaired when we are full with
overeating and drinking. There is an excellent epistle of Plato to
Dion's relations, in which there occurs as nearly as possible these
words: "When I came there, that happy life so much talked of, devoted
to Italian and Syracusan entertainments, was noways agreeable to me; to
be crammed twice a day, and never to have the night to yourself, and
the other things which are the accompaniments of this kind of life, by
which a man will never be made the wiser, but will be rendered much
less temperate; for it must be an extraordinary disposition that can be
temperate in such circumstances." How, then, can a life be pleasant
without prudence and temperance? Hence you discover the mistake of
Sardanapalus, the wealthiest king of the Assyrians, who ordered it to
be engraved on his tomb,

    I still have what in food I did exhaust;
    But what I left, though excellent, is lost.

"What less than this," says Aristotle, "could be inscribed on the tomb,
not of a king, but an ox?" He said that he possessed those things when
dead, which, in his lifetime, he could have no longer than while he was
enjoying them. Why, then, are riches desired? And wherein doth poverty
prevent us from being happy? In the want, I imagine, of statues,
pictures, and diversions. But if any one is delighted with these
things, have not the poor people the enjoyment of them more than they
who are the owners of them in the greatest abundance? For we have great
numbers of them displayed publicly in our city. And whatever store of
them private people have, they cannot have a great number, and they but
seldom see them, only when they go to their country seats; and some of
them must be stung to the heart when they consider how they came by
them. The day would fail me, should I be inclined to defend the cause
of poverty. The thing is manifest; and nature daily informs us how few
things there are, and how trifling they are, of which she really stands
in need.

XXXVI. Let us inquire, then, if obscurity, the want of power, or even
the being unpopular, can prevent a wise man from being happy. Observe
if popular favor, and this glory which they are so fond of, be not
attended with more uneasiness than pleasure. Our friend Demosthenes was
certainly very weak in declaring himself pleased with the whisper of a
woman who was carrying water, as is the custom in Greece, and who
whispered to another, "That is he--that is Demosthenes." What could be
weaker than this? and yet what an orator he was! But although he had
learned to speak to others, he had conversed but little with himself.
We may perceive, therefore, that popular glory is not desirable of
itself; nor is obscurity to be dreaded. "I came to Athens," saith
Democritus, "and there was no one there that knew me:" this was a
moderate and grave man who could glory in his obscurity. Shall
musicians compose their tunes to their own tastes? and shall a
philosopher, master of a much better art, seek to ascertain, not what
is most true, but what will please the people? Can anything be more
absurd than to despise the vulgar as mere unpolished mechanics, taken
singly, and to think them of consequence when collected into a body?
These wise men would contemn our ambitious pursuits and our vanities,
and would reject all the honors which the people could voluntarily
offer to them; but we know not how to despise them till we begin to
repent of having accepted them. There is an anecdote related by
Heraclitus, the natural philosopher, of Hermodorus, the chief of the
Ephesians, that he said "that all the Ephesians ought to be punished
with death for saying, when they had expelled Hermodorus out of their
city, that they would have no one among them better than another; but
that if there were any such, he might go elsewhere to some other
people." Is not this the case with the people everywhere? Do they not
hate every virtue that distinguishes itself? What! was not Aristides (I
had rather instance in the Greeks than ourselves) banished his country
for being eminently just? What troubles, then, are they free from who
have no connection whatever with the people? What is more agreeable
than a learned retirement? I speak of that learning which makes us
acquainted with the boundless extent of nature and the universe, and
which even while we remain in this world discovers to us both heaven,
earth, and sea.

XXXVII. If, then, honor and riches have no value, what is there else to
be afraid of? Banishment, I suppose; which is looked on as the greatest
evil. Now, if the evil of banishment proceeds not from ourselves, but
from the froward disposition of the people, I have just now declared
how contemptible it is. But if to leave one's country be miserable, the
provinces are full of miserable men, very few of the settlers in which
ever return to their country again. But exiles are deprived of their
property! What, then! has there not been enough said on bearing
poverty? But with regard to banishment, if we examine the nature of
things, not the ignominy of the name, how little does it differ from
constant travelling! in which some of the most famous philosophers have
spent their whole life, as Xenocrates, Crantor, Arcesilas, Lacydes,
Aristotle, Theophrastus, Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Antipater,
Carneades, Panætius, Clitomachus, Philo, Antiochus, Posidonius, and
innumerable others, who from their first setting-out never returned
home again. Now, what ignominy can a wise man be affected with (for it
is of such a one that I am speaking) who can be guilty of nothing which
deserves it? for there is no occasion to comfort one who is banished
for his deserts. Lastly, they can easily reconcile themselves to every
accident who measure all their objects and pursuits in life by the
standard of pleasure; so that in whatever place that is supplied, there
they may live happily. Thus what Teucer said may be applied to every

    "Wherever I am happy is my country."

Socrates, indeed, when he was asked where he belonged to, replied, "The
world;" for he looked upon himself as a citizen and inhabitant of the
whole world. How was it with T. Altibutius? Did he not follow his
philosophical studies with the greatest satisfaction at Athens,
although he was banished? which, however, would not have happened to
him if he had obeyed the laws of Epicurus and lived peaceably in the
republic. In what was Epicurus happier, living in his own country, than
Metrodorus, who lived at Athens? Or did Plato's happiness exceed that
of Xenocrates, or Polemo, or Arcesilas? Or is that city to be valued
much that banishes all her good and wise men? Demaratus, the father of
our King Tarquin, not being able to bear the tyrant Cypselus, fled from
Corinth to Tarquinii, settled there, and had children. Was it, then, an
unwise act in him to prefer the liberty of banishment to slavery at

XXXVIII. Besides the emotions of the mind, all griefs and anxieties are
assuaged by forgetting them, and turning our thoughts to pleasure.
Therefore, it was not without reason that Epicurus presumed to say that
a wise man abounds with good things, because he may always have his
pleasures; from whence it follows, as he thinks, that that point is
gained which is the subject of our present inquiry, that a wise man is
always happy. What! though he should be deprived of the senses of
seeing and hearing? Yes; for he holds those things very cheap. For, in
the first place, what are the pleasures of which we are deprived by
that dreadful thing, blindness? For though they allow other pleasures
to be confined to the senses, yet the things which are perceived by the
sight do not depend wholly on the pleasure the eyes receive; as is the
case when we taste, smell, touch, or hear; for, in respect of all these
senses, the organs themselves are the seat of pleasure; but it is not
so with the eyes. For it is the mind which is entertained by what we
see; but the mind may be entertained in many ways, even though we could
not see at all. I am speaking of a learned and a wise man, with whom to
think is to live. But thinking in the case of a wise man does not
altogether require the use of his eyes in his investigations; for if
night does not strip him of his happiness, why should blindness, which
resembles night, have that effect? For the reply of Antipater the
Cyrenaic to some women who bewailed his being blind, though it is a
little too obscene, is not without its significance. "What do you
mean?" saith he; "do you think the night can furnish no pleasure?" And
we find by his magistracies and his actions that old Appius,[70] too,
who was blind for many years, was not prevented from doing whatever was
required of him with respect either to the republic or his own affairs.
It is said that C. Drusus's house was crowded with clients. When they
whose business it was could not see how to conduct themselves, they
applied to a blind guide.

XXXIX. When I was a boy, Cn. Aufidius, a blind man, who had served the
office of prætor, not only gave his opinion in the Senate, and was
ready to assist his friends, but wrote a Greek history, and had a
considerable acquaintance with literature. Diodorus the Stoic was
blind, and lived many years at my house. He, indeed, which is scarcely
credible, besides applying himself more than usual to philosophy, and
playing on the flute, agreeably to the custom of the Pythagoreans, and
having books read to him night and day, in all which he did not want
eyes, contrived to teach geometry, which, one would think, could hardly
be done without the assistance of eyes, telling his scholars how and
where to draw every line. They relate of Asclepiades, a native of
Eretria, and no obscure philosopher, when some one asked him what
inconvenience he suffered from his blindness, that his reply was, "He
was at the expense of another servant." So that, as the most extreme
poverty may be borne if you please, as is daily the case with some in
Greece, so blindness may easily be borne, provided you have the support
of good health in other respects. Democritus was so blind he could not
distinguish white from black; but he knew the difference between good
and evil, just and unjust, honorable and base, the useful and useless,
great and small. Thus one may live happily without distinguishing
colors; but without acquainting yourself with things, you cannot; and
this man was of opinion that the intense application of the mind was
taken off by the objects that presented themselves to the eye; and
while others often could not see what was before their feet, he
travelled through all infinity. It is reported also that Homer[71] was
blind, but we observe his painting as well as his poetry. What country,
what coast, what part of Greece, what military attacks, what
dispositions of battle, what array, what ship, what motions of men and
animals, can be mentioned which he has not described in such a manner
as to enable us to see what he could not see himself? What, then! can
we imagine that Homer, or any other learned man, has ever been in want
of pleasure and entertainment for his mind? Were it not so, would
Anaxagoras, or this very Democritus, have left their estates and
patrimonies, and given themselves up to the pursuit of acquiring this
divine pleasure? It is thus that the poets who have represented
Tiresias the Augur as a wise man and blind never exhibit him as
bewailing his blindness. And Homer, too, after he had described
Polyphemus as a monster and a wild man, represents him talking with his
ram, and speaking of his good fortune, inasmuch as he could go wherever
he pleased and touch what he would. And so far he was right, for that
Cyclops was a being of not much more understanding than his ram.

XL. Now, as to the evil of being deaf. M. Crassus was a little thick of
hearing; but it was more uneasiness to him that he heard himself ill
spoken of, though, in my opinion, he did not deserve it. Our Epicureans
cannot understand Greek, nor the Greeks Latin: now, they are deaf
reciprocally as to each other's language, and we are all truly deaf
with regard to those innumerable languages which we do not understand.
They do not hear the voice of the harper; but, then, they do not hear
the grating of a saw when it is setting, or the grunting of a hog when
his throat is being cut, nor the roaring of the sea when they are
desirous of rest. And if they should chance to be fond of singing, they
ought, in the first place, to consider that many wise men lived happily
before music was discovered; besides, they may have more pleasure in
reading verses than in hearing them sung. Then, as I before referred
the blind to the pleasures of hearing, so I may the deaf to the
pleasures of sight: moreover, whoever can converse with himself doth
not need the conversation of another. But suppose all these misfortunes
to meet in one person: suppose him blind and deaf--let him be afflicted
with the sharpest pains of body, which, in the first place, generally
of themselves make an end of him; still, should they continue so long,
and the pain be so exquisite, that we should be unable to assign any
reason for our being so afflicted--still, why, good Gods! should we be
under any difficulty? For there is a retreat at hand: death is that
retreat--a shelter where we shall forever be insensible. Theodorus said
to Lysimachus, who threatened him with death, "It is a great matter,
indeed, for you to have acquired the power of a Spanish fly!" When
Perses entreated Paulus not to lead him in triumph, "That is a matter
which you have in your own power," said Paulus. I said many things
about death in our first day's disputation, when death was the subject;
and not a little the next day, when I treated of pain; which things if
you recollect, there can be no danger of your looking upon death as
undesirable, or, at least, it will not be dreadful.

That custom which is common among the Grecians at their banquets
should, in my opinion, be observed in life: Drink, say they, or leave
the company; and rightly enough; for a guest should either enjoy the
pleasure of drinking with others, or else not stay till he meets with
affronts from those that are in liquor. Thus, those injuries of fortune
which you cannot bear you should flee from.

XLI. This is the very same which is said by Epicurus and Hieronymus.
Now, if those philosophers, whose opinion it is that virtue has no
power of itself, and who say that the conduct which we denominate
honorable and laudable is really nothing, and is only an empty
circumstance set off with an unmeaning sound, can nevertheless maintain
that a wise man is always happy, what, think you, may be done by the
Socratic and Platonic philosophers? Some of these allow such
superiority to the goods of the mind as quite to eclipse what concerns
the body and all external circumstances. But others do not admit these
to be goods; they make everything depend on the mind: whose disputes
Carneades used, as a sort of honorary arbitrator, to determine. For, as
what seemed goods to the Peripatetics were allowed to be advantages by
the Stoics, and as the Peripatetics allowed no more to riches, good
health; and other things of that sort than the Stoics, when these
things were considered according to their reality, and not by mere
names, his opinion was that there was no ground for disagreeing.
Therefore, let the philosophers of other schools see how they can
establish this point also. It is very agreeable to me that they make
some professions worthy of being uttered by the mouth of a philosopher
with regard to a wise man's having always the means of living happily.

XLII. But as we are to depart in the morning, let us remember these
five days' discussions; though, indeed, I think I shall commit them to
writing: for how can I better employ the leisure which I have, of
whatever kind it is, and whatever it be owing to? And I will send these
five books also to my friend Brutus, by whom I was not only incited to
write on philosophy, but, I may say, provoked. And by so doing it is
not easy to say what service I may be of to others. At all events, in
my own various and acute afflictions, which surround me on all sides, I
cannot find any better comfort for myself.


       *       *       *       *       *


I. There are many things in philosophy, my dear Brutus, which are not
as yet fully explained to us, and particularly (as you very well know)
that most obscure and difficult question concerning the Nature of the
Gods, so extremely necessary both towards a knowledge of the human mind
and the practice of true religion: concerning which the opinions of men
are so various, and so different from each other, as to lead strongly
to the inference that ignorance[72] is the cause, or origin, of
philosophy, and that the Academic philosophers have been prudent in
refusing their assent to things uncertain: for what is more unbecoming
to a wise man than to judge rashly? or what rashness is so unworthy of
the gravity and stability of a philosopher as either to maintain false
opinions, or, without the least hesitation, to support and defend what
he has not thoroughly examined and does not clearly comprehend?

In the question now before us, the greater part of mankind have united
to acknowledge that which is most probable, and which we are all by
nature led to suppose, namely, that there are Gods. Protagoras[73]
doubted whether there were any. Diagoras the Melian and Theodorus of
Cyrene entirely believed there were no such beings. But they who have
affirmed that there are Gods, have expressed such a variety of
sentiments on the subject, and the disagreement between them is so
great, that it would be tiresome to enumerate their opinions; for they
give us many statements respecting the forms of the Gods, and their
places of abode, and the employment of their lives. And these are
matters on which the philosophers differ with the most exceeding
earnestness. But the most considerable part of the dispute is, whether
they are wholly inactive, totally unemployed, and free from all care
and administration of affairs; or, on the contrary, whether all things
were made and constituted by them from the beginning; and whether they
will continue to be actuated and governed by them to eternity. This is
one of the greatest points in debate; and unless this is decided,
mankind must necessarily remain in the greatest of errors, and ignorant
of what is most important to be known.

II. For there are some philosophers, both ancient and modern, who have
conceived that the Gods take not the least cognizance of human affairs.
But if their doctrine be true, of what avail is piety, sanctity, or
religion? for these are feelings and marks of devotion which are
offered to the Gods by men with uprightness and holiness, on the ground
that men are the objects of the attention of the Gods, and that many
benefits are conferred by the immortal Gods on the human race. But if
the Gods have neither the power nor the inclination to help us; if they
take no care of us, and pay no regard to our actions; and if there is
no single advantage which can possibly accrue to the life of man; then
what reason can we have to pay any adoration, or any honors, or to
prefer any prayers to them? Piety, like the other virtues, cannot have
any connection with vain show or dissimulation; and without piety,
neither sanctity nor religion can be supported; the total subversion of
which must be attended with great confusion and disturbance in life.

I do not even know, if we cast off piety towards the Gods, but that
faith, and all the associations of human life, and that most excellent
of all virtues, justice, may perish with it.

There are other philosophers, and those, too, very great and
illustrious men, who conceive the whole world to be directed and
governed by the will and wisdom of the Gods; nor do they stop here, but
conceive likewise that the Deities consult and provide for the
preservation of mankind. For they think that the fruits, and the
produce of the earth, and the seasons, and the variety of weather, and
the change of climates, by which all the productions of the earth are
brought to maturity, are designed by the immortal Gods for the use of
man. They instance many other things, which shall be related in these
books; and which would almost induce us to believe that the immortal
Gods had made them all expressly and solely for the benefit and
advantage of men. Against these opinions Carneades has advanced so much
that what he has said should excite a desire in men who are not
naturally slothful to search after truth; for there is no subject on
which the learned as well as the unlearned differ so strenuously as in
this; and since their opinions are so various, and so repugnant one to
another, it is possible that none of them may be, and absolutely
impossible that more than one should be, right.

III. Now, in a cause like this, I may be able to pacify well-meaning
opposers, and to confute invidious censurers, so as to induce the
latter to repent of their unreasonable contradiction, and the former to
be glad to learn; for they who admonish one in a friendly spirit should
be instructed, they who attack one like enemies should be repelled. But
I observe that the several books which I have lately published[74] have
occasioned much noise and various discourse about them; some people
wondering what the reason has been why I have applied myself so
suddenly to the study of philosophy, and others desirous of knowing
what my opinion is on such subjects. I likewise perceive that many
people wonder at my following that philosophy[75] chiefly which seems
to take away the light, and to bury and envelop things in a kind of
artificial night, and that I should so unexpectedly have taken up the
defence of a school that has been long neglected and forsaken. But it
is a mistake to suppose that this application to philosophical studies
has been sudden on my part. I have applied myself to them from my
youth, at no small expense of time and trouble; and I have been in the
habit of philosophizing a great deal when I least seemed to think about
it; for the truth of which I appeal to my orations, which are filled
with quotations from philosophers, and to my intimacy with those very
learned men who frequented my house and conversed daily with me,
particularly Diodorus, Philo, Antiochus, and Posidonius,[76] under whom
I was bred; and if all the precepts of philosophy are to have reference
to the conduct of life, I am inclined to think that I have advanced,
both in public and private affairs, only such principles as may be
supported by reason and authority.

IV. But if any one should ask what has induced me, in the decline of
life, to write on these subjects, nothing is more easily answered; for
when I found myself entirely disengaged from business, and the
commonwealth reduced to the necessity of being governed by the
direction and care of one man,[77] I thought it becoming, for the sake
of the public, to instruct my countrymen in philosophy, and that it
would be of importance, and much to the honor and commendation of our
city, to have such great and excellent subjects introduced in the Latin
tongue. I the less repent of my undertaking, since I plainly see that I
have excited in many a desire, not only of learning, but of writing;
for we have had several Romans well grounded in the learning of the
Greeks who were unable to communicate to their countrymen what they had
learned, because they looked upon it as impossible to express that in
Latin which they had received from the Greeks. In this point I think I
have succeeded so well that what I have done is not, even in
copiousness of expression, inferior to that language.

Another inducement to it was a melancholy disposition of mind, and the
great and heavy oppression of fortune that was upon me; from which, if
I could have found any surer remedy, I would not have sought relief in
this pursuit. But I could procure ease by no means better than by not
only applying myself to books, but by devoting myself to the
examination of the whole body of philosophy. And every part and branch
of this is readily discovered when every question is propounded in
writing; for there is such an admirable continuation and series of
things that each seems connected with the other, and all appear linked
together and united.

V. Now, those men who desire to know my own private opinion on every
particular subject have more curiosity than is necessary. For the force
of reason in disputation is to be sought after rather than authority,
since the authority of the teacher is often a disadvantage to those who
are willing to learn; as they refuse to use their own judgment, and
rely implicitly on him whom they make choice of for a preceptor. Nor
could I ever approve this custom of the Pythagoreans, who, when they
affirmed anything in disputation, and were asked why it was so, used to
give this answer: "He himself has said it;" and this "he himself," it
seems, was Pythagoras. Such was the force of prejudice and opinion that
his authority was to prevail even without argument or reason.

They who wonder at my being a follower of this sect in particular may
find a satisfactory answer in my four books of Academical Questions.
But I deny that I have undertaken the protection of what is neglected
and forsaken; for the opinions of men do not die with them, though they
may perhaps want the author's explanation. This manner of
philosophizing, of disputing all things and assuming nothing certainly,
was begun by Socrates, revived by Arcesilaus, confirmed by Carneades,
and has descended, with all its power, even to the present age; but I
am informed that it is now almost exploded even in Greece. However, I
do not impute that to any fault in the institution of the Academy, but
to the negligence of mankind. If it is difficult to know all the
doctrines of any one sect, how much more is it to know those of every
sect! which, however, must necessarily be known to those who resolve,
for the sake of discovering truth, to dispute for or against all
philosophers without partiality.

I do not profess myself to be master of this difficult and noble
faculty; but I do assert that I have endeavored to make myself so; and
it is impossible that they who choose this manner of philosophizing
should not meet at least with something worthy their pursuit. I have
spoken more fully on this head in another place. But as some are too
slow of apprehension, and some too careless, men stand in perpetual
need of caution. For we are not people who believe that there is
nothing whatever which is true; but we say that some falsehoods are so
blended with all truths, and have so great a resemblance to them, that
there is no certain rule for judging of or assenting to propositions;
from which this maxim also follows, that many things are probable,
which, though they are not evident to the senses, have still so
persuasive and beautiful an aspect that a wise man chooses to direct
his conduct by them.

VI. Now, to free myself from the reproach of partiality, I propose to
lay before you the opinions of various philosophers concerning the
nature of the Gods, by which means all men may judge which of them are
consistent with truth; and if all agree together, or if any one shall
be found to have discovered what may be absolutely called truth, I will
then give up the Academy as vain and arrogant. So I may cry out, in the
words of Statius, in the Synephebi,

     Ye Gods, I call upon, require, pray, beseech, entreat, and
     implore the attention of my countrymen all, both young and

yet not on so trifling an occasion as when the person in the play
complains that,

     In this city we have discovered a most flagrant iniquity:
     here is a professed courtesan, who refuses money from her

but that they may attend, know, and consider what sentiments they ought
to preserve concerning religion, piety, sanctity, ceremonies, faith,
oaths, temples, shrines, and solemn sacrifices; what they ought to
think of the auspices over which I preside;[78] for all these have
relation to the present question. The manifest disagreement among the
most learned on this subject creates doubts in those who imagine they
have some certain knowledge of the subject.

Which fact I have often taken notice of elsewhere, and I did so more
especially at the discussion that was held at my friend C. Cotta's
concerning the immortal Gods, and which was carried on with the
greatest care, accuracy, and precision; for coming to him at the time
of the Latin holidays,[79] according to his own invitation and message
from him, I found him sitting in his study,[80] and in a discourse with
C. Velleius, the senator, who was then reputed by the Epicureans the
ablest of our countrymen. Q. Lucilius Balbus was likewise there, a
great proficient in the doctrine of the Stoics, and esteemed equal to
the most eminent of the Greeks in that part of knowledge. As soon as
Cotta saw me, You are come, says he, very seasonably; for I am having a
dispute with Velleius on an important subject, which, considering the
nature of your studies, is not improper for you to join in.

VII. Indeed, says I, I think I am come very seasonably, as you say; for
here are three chiefs of three principal sects met together. If M.
Piso[81] was present, no sect of philosophy that is in any esteem would
want an advocate. If Antiochus's book, replies Cotta, which he lately
sent to Balbus, says true, you have no occasion to wish for your friend
Piso; for Antiochus is of the opinion that the Stoics do not differ
from the Peripatetics in fact, though they do in words; and I should be
glad to know what you think of that book, Balbus. I? says he. I wonder
that Antiochus, a man of the clearest apprehension, should not see what
a vast difference there is between the Stoics, who distinguish the
honest and the profitable, not only in name, but absolutely in kind,
and the Peripatetics, who blend the honest with the profitable in such
a manner that they differ only in degrees and proportion, and not in
kind. This is not a little difference in words, but a great one in
things; but of this hereafter. Now, if you think fit, let us return to
what we began with.

With all my heart, says Cotta. But that this visitor (looking at me),
who is just come in, may not be ignorant of what we are upon, I will
inform him that we were discoursing on the nature of the Gods;
concerning which, as it is a subject that always appeared very obscure
to me, I prevailed on Velleius to give us the sentiments of Epicurus.
Therefore, continues he, if it is not troublesome, Velleius, repeat
what you have already stated to us. I will, says he, though this
new-comer will be no advocate for me, but for you; for you have both,
adds he, with a smile, learned from the same Philo to be certain of
nothing.[82] What we have learned from him, replied I, Cotta will
discover; but I would not have you think I am come as an assistant to
him, but as an auditor, with an impartial and unbiassed mind, and not
bound by any obligation to defend any particular principle, whether I
like or dislike it.

VIII. After this, Velleius, with the confidence peculiar to his sect,
dreading nothing so much as to seem to doubt of anything, began as if
he had just then descended from the council of the Gods, and Epicurus's
intervals of worlds. Do not attend, says he, to these idle and
imaginary tales; nor to the operator and builder of the World, the God
of Plato's Timæus; nor to the old prophetic dame, the [Greek: Pronoia]
of the Stoics, which the Latins call Providence; nor to that round,
that burning, revolving deity, the World, endowed with sense and
understanding; the prodigies and wonders, not of inquisitive
philosophers, but of dreamers!

For with what eyes of the mind was your Plato able to see that
workhouse of such stupendous toil, in which he makes the world to be
modelled and built by God? What materials, what tools, what bars, what
machines, what servants, were employed in so vast a work? How could the
air, fire, water, and earth pay obedience and submit to the will of the
architect? From whence arose those five forms,[83] of which the rest
were composed, so aptly contributing to frame the mind and produce the
senses? It is tedious to go through all, as they are of such a sort
that they look more like things to be desired than to be discovered.

But, what is more remarkable, he gives us a world which has been not
only created, but, if I may so say, in a manner formed with hands, and
yet he says it is eternal. Do you conceive him to have the least skill
in natural philosophy who is capable of thinking anything to be
everlasting that had a beginning? For what can possibly ever have been
put together which cannot be dissolved again? Or what is there that had
a beginning which will not have an end? If your Providence, Lucilius,
is the same as Plato's God, I ask you, as before, who were the
assistants, what were the engines, what was the plan and preparation of
the whole work? If it is not the same, then why did she make the world
mortal, and not everlasting, like Plato's God?

IX. But I would demand of you both, why these world-builders started up
so suddenly, and lay dormant for so many ages? For we are not to
conclude that, if there was no world, there were therefore no ages. I
do not now speak of such ages as are finished by a certain number of
days and nights in annual courses; for I acknowledge that those could
not be without the revolution of the world; but there was a certain
eternity from infinite time, not measured by any circumscription of
seasons; but how that was in space we cannot understand, because we
cannot possibly have even the slightest idea of time before time was. I
desire, therefore, to know, Balbus, why this Providence of yours was
idle for such an immense space of time? Did she avoid labor? But that
could have no effect on the Deity; nor could there be any labor, since
all nature, air, fire, earth, and water would obey the divine essence.
What was it that incited the Deity to act the part of an ædile, to
illuminate and decorate the world? If it was in order that God might be
the better accommodated in his habitation, then he must have been
dwelling an infinite length of time before in darkness as in a dungeon.
But do we imagine that he was afterward delighted with that variety
with which we see the heaven and earth adorned? What entertainment
could that be to the Deity? If it was any, he would not have been
without it so long.

Or were these things made, as you almost assert, by God for the sake of
men? Was it for the wise? If so, then this great design was adopted for
the sake of a very small number. Or for the sake of fools? First of
all, there was no reason why God should consult the advantage of the
wicked; and, further, what could be his object in doing so, since all
fools are, without doubt, the most miserable of men, chiefly because
they are fools? For what can we pronounce more deplorable than folly?
Besides, there are many inconveniences in life which the wise can learn
to think lightly of by dwelling rather on the advantages which they
receive; but which fools are unable to avoid when they are coming, or
to bear when they are come.

X. They who affirm the world to be an animated and intelligent being
have by no means discovered the nature of the mind, nor are able to
conceive in what form that essence can exist; but of that I shall speak
more hereafter. At present I must express my surprise at the weakness
of those who endeavor to make it out to be not only animated and
immortal, but likewise happy, and round, because Plato says that is the
most beautiful form; whereas I think a cylinder, a square, a cone, or a
pyramid more beautiful. But what life do they attribute to that round
Deity? Truly it is a being whirled about with a celerity to which
nothing can be even conceived by the imagination as equal; nor can I
imagine how a settled mind and happy life can consist in such motion,
the least degree of which would be troublesome to us. Why, therefore,
should it not be considered troublesome also to the Deity? For the
earth itself, as it is part of the world, is part also of the Deity. We
see vast tracts of land barren and uninhabitable; some, because they
are scorched by the too near approach of the sun; others, because they
are bound up with frost and snow, through the great distance which the
sun is from them. Therefore, if the world is a Deity, as these are
parts of the world, some of the Deity's limbs must be said to be
scorched, and some frozen.

These are your doctrines, Lucilius; but what those of others are I will
endeavor to ascertain by tracing them back from the earliest of ancient
philosophers. Thales the Milesian, who first inquired after such
subjects, asserted water to be the origin of things, and that God was
that mind which formed all things from water. If the Gods can exist
without corporeal sense, and if there can be a mind without a body, why
did he annex a mind to water?

It was Anaximander's opinion that the Gods were born; that after a
great length of time they died; and that they are innumerable worlds.
But what conception can we possibly have of a Deity who is not eternal?

Anaximenes, after him, taught that the air is God, and that he was
generated, and that he is immense, infinite, and always in motion; as
if air, which has no form, could possibly be God; for the Deity must
necessarily be not only of some form or other, but of the most
beautiful form. Besides, is not everything that had a beginning subject
to mortality?

XI. Anaxagoras, who received his learning from Anaximenes, was the
first who affirmed the system and disposition of all things to be
contrived and perfected by the power and reason of an infinite mind; in
which infinity he did not perceive that there could be no conjunction
of sense and motion, nor any sense in the least degree, where nature
herself could feel no impulse. If he would have this mind to be a sort
of animal, then there must be some more internal principle from whence
that animal should receive its appellation. But what can be more
internal than the mind? Let it, therefore, be clothed with an external
body. But this is not agreeable to his doctrine; but we are utterly
unable to conceive how a pure simple mind can exist without any
substance annexed to it.

Alcmæon of Crotona, in attributing a divinity to the sun, the moon, and
the rest of the stars, and also to the mind, did not perceive that he
was ascribing immortality to mortal beings.

Pythagoras, who supposed the Deity to be one soul, mixing with and
pervading all nature, from which our souls are taken, did not consider
that the Deity himself must, in consequence of this doctrine, be maimed
and torn with the rending every human soul from it; nor that, when the
human mind is afflicted (as is the case in many instances), that part
of the Deity must likewise be afflicted, which cannot be. If the human
mind were a Deity, how could it be ignorant of any thing? Besides, how
could that Deity, if it is nothing but soul, be mixed with, or infused
into, the world?

Then Xenophanes, who said that everything in the world which had any
existence, with the addition of intellect, was God, is as liable to
exception as the rest, especially in relation to the infinity of it, in
which there can be nothing sentient, nothing composite.

Parmenides formed a conceit to himself of something circular like a
crown. (He names it Stephane.) It is an orb of constant light and heat
around the heavens; this he calls God; in which there is no room to
imagine any divine form or sense. And he uttered many other absurdities
on the same subject; for he ascribed a divinity to war, to discord, to
lust, and other passions of the same kind, which are destroyed by
disease, or sleep, or oblivion, or age. The same honor he gives to the
stars; but I shall forbear making any objections to his system here,
having already done it in another place.

XII. Empedocles, who erred in many things, is most grossly mistaken in
his notion of the Gods. He lays down four natures[84] as divine, from
which he thinks that all things were made. Yet it is evident that they
have a beginning, that they decay, and that they are void of all sense.

Protagoras did not seem to have any idea of the real nature of the
Gods; for he acknowledged that he was altogether ignorant whether there
are or are not any, or what they are.

What shall I say of Democritus, who classes our images of objects, and
their orbs, in the number of the Gods; as he does that principle
through which those images appear and have their influence? He deifies
likewise our knowledge and understanding. Is he not involved in a very
great error? And because nothing continues always in the same state, he
denies that anything is everlasting, does he not thereby entirely
destroy the Deity, and make it impossible to form any opinion of him?

Diogenes of Apollonia looks upon the air to be a Deity. But what sense
can the air have? or what divine form can be attributed to it?

It would be tedious to show the uncertainty of Plato's opinion; for, in
his Timæus, he denies the propriety of asserting that there is one
great father or creator of the world; and, in his book of Laws, he
thinks we ought not to make too strict an inquiry into the nature of
the Deity. And as for his statement when he asserts that God is a being
without any body--what the Greeks call [Greek: asômatos]--it is
certainly quite unintelligible how that theory can possibly be true;
for such a God must then necessarily be destitute of sense, prudence,
and pleasure; all which things are comprehended in our notion of the
Gods. He likewise asserts in his Timæus, and in his Laws, that the
world, the heavens, the stars, the mind, and those Gods which are
delivered down to us from our ancestors, constitute the Deity. These
opinions, taken separately, are apparently false; and, together, are
directly inconsistent with each other.

Xenophon has committed almost the same mistakes, but in fewer words. In
those sayings which he has related of Socrates, he introduces him
disputing the lawfulness of inquiring into the form of the Deity, and
makes him assert the sun and the mind to be Deities: he represents him
likewise as affirming the being of one God only, and at another time of
many; which are errors of almost the same kind which I before took
notice of in Plato.

XIII. Antisthenes, in his book called the Natural Philosopher, says
that there are many national and one natural Deity; but by this saying
he destroys the power and nature of the Gods. Speusippus is not much
less in the wrong; who, following his uncle Plato, says that a certain
incorporeal power governs everything; by which he endeavors to root out
of our minds the knowledge of the Gods.

Aristotle, in his third book of Philosophy, confounds many things
together, as the rest have done; but he does not differ from his master
Plato. At one time he attributes all divinity to the mind, at another
he asserts that the world is God. Soon afterward he makes some other
essence preside over the world, and gives it those faculties by which,
with certain revolutions, he may govern and preserve the motion of it.
Then he asserts the heat of the firmament to be God; not perceiving the
firmament to be part of the world, which in another place he had
described as God. How can that divine sense of the firmament be
preserved in so rapid a motion? And where do the multitude of Gods
dwell, if heaven itself is a Deity? But when this philosopher says that
God is without a body, he makes him an irrational and insensible being.
Besides, how can the world move itself, if it wants a body? Or how, if
it is in perpetual self-motion, can it be easy and happy?

Xenocrates, his fellow-pupil, does not appear much wiser on this head,
for in his books concerning the nature of the Gods no divine form is
described; but he says the number of them is eight. Five are moving
planets;[85] the sixth is contained in all the fixed stars; which,
dispersed, are so many several members, but, considered together, are
one single Deity; the seventh is the sun; and the eighth the moon. But
in what sense they can possibly be happy is not easy to be understood.

From the same school of Plato, Heraclides of Pontus stuffed his books
with puerile tales. Sometimes he thinks the world a Deity, at other
times the mind. He attributes divinity likewise to the wandering stars.
He deprives the Deity of sense, and makes his form mutable; and, in the
same book again, he makes earth and heaven Deities.

The unsteadiness of Theophrastus is equally intolerable. At one time he
attributes a divine prerogative to the mind; at another, to the
firmament; at another, to the stars and celestial constellations.

Nor is his disciple Strato, who is called the naturalist, any more
worthy to be regarded; for he thinks that the divine power is diffused
through nature, which is the cause of birth, increase, and diminution,
but that it has no sense nor form.

XIV. Zeno (to come to your sect, Balbus) thinks the law of nature to be
the divinity, and that it has the power to force us to what is right,
and to restrain us from what is wrong. How this law can be an animated
being I cannot conceive; but that God is so we would certainly
maintain. The same person says, in another place, that the sky is God;
but can we possibly conceive that God is a being insensible, deaf to
our prayers, our wishes, and our vows, and wholly unconnected with us?
In other books he thinks there is a certain rational essence pervading
all nature, indued with divine efficacy. He attributes the same power
to the stars, to the years, to the months, and to the seasons. In his
interpretation of Hesiod's Theogony,[86] he entirely destroys the
established notions of the Gods; for he excludes Jupiter, Juno, and
Vesta, and those esteemed divine, from the number of them; but his
doctrine is that these are names which by some kind of allusion are
given to mute and inanimate beings. The sentiments of his disciple
Aristo are not less erroneous. He thought it impossible to conceive the
form of the Deity, and asserts that the Gods are destitute of sense;
and he is entirely dubious whether the Deity is an animated being or

Cleanthes, who next comes under my notice, a disciple of Zeno at the
same time with Aristo, in one place says that the world is God; in
another, he attributes divinity to the mind and spirit of universal
nature; then he asserts that the most remote, the highest, the
all-surrounding, the all-enclosing and embracing heat, which is called
the sky, is most certainly the Deity. In the books he wrote against
pleasure, in which he seems to be raving, he imagines the Gods to have
a certain form and shape; then he ascribes all divinity to the stars;
and, lastly, he thinks nothing more divine than reason. So that this
God, whom we know mentally and in the speculations of our minds, from
which traces we receive our impression, has at last actually no visible
form at all.

XV. Persæus, another disciple of Zeno, says that they who have made
discoveries advantageous to the life of man should be esteemed as Gods;
and the very things, he says, which are healthful and beneficial have
derived their names from those of the Gods; so that he thinks it not
sufficient to call them the discoveries of Gods, but he urges that they
themselves should be deemed divine. What can be more absurd than to
ascribe divine honors to sordid and deformed things; or to place among
the Gods men who are dead and mixed with the dust, to whose memory all
the respect that could be paid would be but mourning for their loss?

Chrysippus, who is looked upon as the most subtle interpreter of the
dreams of the Stoics, has mustered up a numerous band of unknown Gods;
and so unknown that we are not able to form any idea about them, though
our mind seems capable of framing any image to itself in its thoughts.
For he says that the divine power is placed in reason, and in the
spirit and mind of universal nature; that the world, with a universal
effusion of its spirit, is God; that the superior part of that spirit,
which is the mind and reason, is the great principle of nature,
containing and preserving the chain of all things; that the divinity is
the power of fate, and the necessity of future events. He deifies fire
also, and what I before called the ethereal spirit, and those elements
which naturally proceed from it--water, earth, and air. He attributes
divinity to the sun, moon, stars, and universal space, the grand
container of all things, and to those men likewise who have obtained
immortality. He maintains the sky to be what men call Jupiter; the air,
which pervades the sea, to be Neptune; and the earth, Ceres. In like
manner he goes through the names of the other Deities. He says that
Jupiter is that immutable and eternal law which guides and directs us
in our manners; and this he calls fatal necessity, the everlasting
verity of future events. But none of these are of such a nature as to
seem to carry any indication of divine virtue in them. These are the
doctrines contained in his first book of the Nature of the Gods. In the
second, he endeavors to accommodate the fables of Orpheus, Musæus,
Hesiod, and Homer to what he has advanced in the first, in order that
the most ancient poets, who never dreamed of these things, may seem to
have been Stoics. Diogenes the Babylonian was a follower of the
doctrine of Chrysippus; and in that book which he wrote, entitled "A
Treatise concerning Minerva," he separates the account of Jupiter's
bringing-forth, and the birth of that virgin, from the fabulous, and
reduces it to a natural construction.

XVI. Thus far have I been rather exposing the dreams of dotards than
giving the opinions of philosophers. Not much more absurd than these
are the fables of the poets, who owe all their power of doing harm to
the sweetness of their language; who have represented the Gods as
enraged with anger and inflamed with lust; who have brought before our
eyes their wars, battles, combats, wounds; their hatreds, dissensions,
discords, births, deaths, complaints, and lamentations; their
indulgences in all kinds of intemperance; their adulteries; their
chains; their amours with mortals, and mortals begotten by immortals.
To these idle and ridiculous flights of the poets we may add the
prodigious stories invented by the Magi, and by the Egyptians also,
which were of the same nature, together with the extravagant notions of
the multitude at all times, who, from total ignorance of the truth, are
always fluctuating in uncertainty.

Now, whoever reflects on the rashness and absurdity of these tenets
must inevitably entertain the highest respect and veneration for
Epicurus, and perhaps even rank him in the number of those beings who
are the subject of this dispute; for he alone first founded the idea of
the existence of the Gods on the impression which nature herself hath
made on the minds of all men. For what nation, what people are there,
who have not, without any learning, a natural idea, or prenotion, of a
Deity? Epicurus calls this [Greek: prolêpsis]; that is, an antecedent
conception of the fact in the mind, without which nothing can be
understood, inquired after, or discoursed on; the force and advantage
of which reasoning we receive from that celestial volume of Epicurus
concerning the Rule and Judgment of Things.

XVII. Here, then, you see the foundation of this question clearly laid;
for since it is the constant and universal opinion of mankind,
independent of education, custom, or law, that there are Gods, it must
necessarily follow that this knowledge is implanted in our minds, or,
rather, innate in us. That opinion respecting which there is a general
agreement in universal nature must infallibly be true; therefore it
must be allowed that there are Gods; for in this we have the
concurrence, not only of almost all philosophers, but likewise of the
ignorant and illiterate. It must be also confessed that the point is
established that we have naturally this idea, as I said before, or
prenotion, of the existence of the Gods. As new things require new
names, so that prenotion was called [Greek: prolêpsis] by Epicurus; an
appellation never used before. On the same principle of reasoning, we
think that the Gods are happy and immortal; for that nature which hath
assured us that there are Gods has likewise imprinted in our minds the
knowledge of their immortality and felicity; and if so, what Epicurus
hath declared in these words is true: "That which is eternally happy
cannot be burdened with any labor itself, nor can it impose any labor
on another; nor can it be influenced by resentment or favor: because
things which are liable to such feelings must be weak and frail." We
have said enough to prove that we should worship the Gods with piety,
and without superstition, if that were the only question.

For the superior and excellent nature of the Gods requires a pious
adoration from men, because it is possessed of immortality and the most
exalted felicity; for whatever excels has a right to veneration, and
all fear of the power and anger of the Gods should be banished; for we
must understand that anger and affection are inconsistent with the
nature of a happy and immortal being. These apprehensions being
removed, no dread of the superior powers remains. To confirm this
opinion, our curiosity leads us to inquire into the form and life and
action of the intellect and spirit of the Deity.

XVIII. With regard to his form, we are directed partly by nature and
partly by reason. All men are told by nature that none but a human form
can be ascribed to the Gods; for under what other image did it ever
appear to any one either sleeping or waking? and, without having
recourse to our first notions,[87] reason itself declares the same; for
as it is easy to conceive that the most excellent nature, either
because of its happiness or immortality, should be the most beautiful,
what composition of limbs, what conformation of lineaments, what form,
what aspect, can be more beautiful than the human? Your sect, Lucilius
(not like my friend Cotta, who sometimes says one thing and sometimes
another), when they represent the divine art and workmanship in the
human body, are used to describe how very completely each member is
formed, not only for convenience, but also for beauty. Therefore, if
the human form excels that of all other animal beings, as God himself
is an animated being, he must surely be of that form which is the most
beautiful. Besides, the Gods are granted to be perfectly happy; and
nobody can be happy without virtue, nor can virtue exist where reason
is not; and reason can reside in none but the human form; the Gods,
therefore, must be acknowledged to be of human form; yet that form is
not body, but something like body; nor does it contain any blood, but
something like blood. Though these distinctions were more acutely
devised and more artfully expressed by Epicurus than any common
capacity can comprehend; yet, depending on your understanding, I shall
be more brief on the subject than otherwise I should be. Epicurus, who
not only discovered and understood the occult and almost hidden secrets
of nature, but explained them with ease, teaches that the power and
nature of the Gods is not to be discerned by the senses, but by the
mind; nor are they to be considered as bodies of any solidity, or
reducible to number, like those things which, because of their
firmness, he calls [Greek: Steremnia];[88] but as images, perceived by
similitude and transition. As infinite kinds of those images result
from innumerable individuals, and centre in the Gods, our minds and
understanding are directed towards and fixed with the greatest delight
on them, in order to comprehend what that happy and eternal essence is.

XIX. Surely the mighty power of the Infinite Being is most worthy our
great and earnest contemplation; the nature of which we must
necessarily understand to be such that everything in it is made to
correspond completely to some other answering part. This is called by
Epicurus [Greek: isonomia]; that is to say, an equal distribution or
even disposition of things. From hence he draws this inference, that,
as there is such a vast multitude of mortals, there cannot be a less
number of immortals; and if those which perish are innumerable, those
which are preserved ought also to be countless. Your sect, Balbus,
frequently ask us how the Gods live, and how they pass their time?
Their life is the most happy, and the most abounding with all kinds of
blessings, which can be conceived. They do nothing. They are
embarrassed with no business; nor do they perform any work. They
rejoice in the possession of their own wisdom and virtue. They are
satisfied that they shall ever enjoy the fulness of eternal pleasures.

XX. Such a Deity may properly be called happy; but yours is a most
laborious God. For let us suppose the world a Deity--what can be a more
uneasy state than, without the least cessation, to be whirled about the
axle-tree of heaven with a surprising celerity? But nothing can be
happy that is not at ease. Or let us suppose a Deity residing in the
world, who directs and governs it, who preserves the courses of the
stars, the changes of the seasons, and the vicissitudes and orders of
things, surveying the earth and the sea, and accommodating them to the
advantage and necessities of man. Truly this Deity is embarrassed with
a very troublesome and laborious office. We make a happy life to
consist in a tranquillity of mind, a perfect freedom from care, and an
exemption from all employment. The philosopher from whom we received
all our knowledge has taught us that the world was made by nature; that
there was no occasion for a workhouse to frame it in; and that, though
you deny the possibility of such a work without divine skill, it is so
easy to her, that she has made, does make, and will make innumerable
worlds. But, because you do not conceive that nature is able to produce
such effects without some rational aid, you are forced, like the tragic
poets, when you cannot wind up your argument in any other way, to have
recourse to a Deity, whose assistance you would not seek, if you could
view that vast and unbounded magnitude of regions in all parts; where
the mind, extending and spreading itself, travels so far and wide that
it can find no end, no extremity to stop at. In this immensity of
breadth, length, and height, a most boundless company of innumerable
atoms are fluttering about, which, notwithstanding the interposition of
a void space, meet and cohere, and continue clinging to one another;
and by this union these modifications and forms of things arise, which,
in your opinions, could not possibly be made without the help of
bellows and anvils. Thus you have imposed on us an eternal master, whom
we must dread day and night. For who can be free from fear of a Deity
who foresees, regards, and takes notice of everything; one who thinks
all things his own; a curious, ever-busy God?

Hence first arose your [Greek: Heimarmenê], as you call it, your fatal
necessity; so that, whatever happens, you affirm that it flows from an
eternal chain and continuance of causes. Of what value is this
philosophy, which, like old women and illiterate men, attributes
everything to fate? Then follows your [Greek: mantikê], in Latin called
_divinatio_, divination; which, if we would listen to you, would plunge
us into such superstition that we should fall down and worship your
inspectors into sacrifices, your augurs, your soothsayers, your
prophets, and your fortune-tellers.

Epicurus having freed us from these terrors and restored us to liberty,
we have no dread of those beings whom we have reason to think entirely
free from all trouble themselves, and who do not impose any on others.
We pay our adoration, indeed, with piety and reverence to that essence
which is above all excellence and perfection. But I fear my zeal for
this doctrine has made me too prolix. However, I could not easily leave
so eminent and important a subject unfinished, though I must confess I
should rather endeavor to hear than speak so long.

XXI. Cotta, with his usual courtesy, then began. Velleius, says he,
were it not for something which you have advanced, I should have
remained silent; for I have often observed, as I did just now upon
hearing you, that I cannot so easily conceive why a proposition is true
as why it is false. Should you ask me what I take the nature of the
Gods to be, I should perhaps make no answer. But if you should ask
whether I think it to be of that nature which you have described, I
should answer that I was as far as possible from agreeing with you.
However, before I enter on the subject of your discourse and what you
have advanced upon it, I will give you my opinion of yourself. Your
intimate friend, L. Crassus, has been often heard by me to say that you
were beyond all question superior to all our learned Romans; and that
few Epicureans in Greece were to be compared to you. But as I knew what
a wonderful esteem he had for you, I imagined that might make him the
more lavish in commendation of you. Now, however, though I do not
choose to praise any one when present, yet I must confess that I think
you have delivered your thoughts clearly on an obscure and very
intricate subject; that you are not only copious in your sentiments,
but more elegant in your language than your sect generally are. When I
was at Athens, I went often to hear Zeno, by the advice of Philo, who
used to call him the chief of the Epicureans; partly, probably, in
order to judge more easily how completely those principles could be
refuted after I had heard them stated by the most learned of the
Epicureans. And, indeed, he did not speak in any ordinary manner; but,
like you, with clearness, gravity, and elegance; yet what frequently
gave me great uneasiness when I heard him, as it did while I attended
to you, was to see so excellent a genius falling into such frivolous
(excuse my freedom), not to say foolish, doctrines. However, I shall
not at present offer anything better; for, as I said before, we can in
most subjects, especially in physics, sooner discover what is not true
than what is.

XXII. If you should ask me what God is, or what his character and
nature are, I should follow the example of Simonides, who, when Hiero
the tyrant proposed the same question to him, desired a day to consider
of it. When he required his answer the next day, Simonides begged two
days more; and as he kept constantly desiring double the number which
he had required before instead of giving his answer, Hiero, with
surprise, asked him his meaning in doing so: "Because," says he, "the
longer I meditate on it, the more obscure it appears to me." Simonides,
who was not only a delightful poet, but reputed a wise and learned man
in other branches of knowledge, found, I suppose, so many acute and
refined arguments occurring to him, that he was doubtful which was the
truest, and therefore despaired of discovering any truth.

But does your Epicurus (for I had rather contend with him than with
you) say anything that is worthy the name of philosophy, or even of

In the question concerning the nature of the Gods, his first inquiry
is, whether there are Gods or not. It would be dangerous, I believe, to
take the negative side before a public auditory; but it is very safe in
a discourse of this kind, and in this company. I, who am a priest, and
who think that religions and ceremonies ought sacredly to be
maintained, am certainly desirous to have the existence of the Gods,
which is the principal point in debate, not only fixed in opinion, but
proved to a demonstration; for many notions flow into and disturb the
mind which sometimes seem to convince us that there are none. But see
how candidly I will behave to you: as I shall not touch upon those
tenets you hold in common with other philosophers, consequently I shall
not dispute the existence of the Gods, for that doctrine is agreeable
to almost all men, and to myself in particular; but I am still at
liberty to find fault with the reasons you give for it, which I think
are very insufficient.

XXIII. You have said that the general assent of men of all nations and
all degrees is an argument strong enough to induce us to acknowledge
the being of the Gods. This is not only a weak, but a false, argument;
for, first of all, how do you know the opinions of all nations? I
really believe there are many people so savage that they have no
thoughts of a Deity. What think you of Diagoras, who was called the
atheist; and of Theodorus after him? Did not they plainly deny the very
essence of a Deity? Protagoras of Abdera, whom you just now mentioned,
the greatest sophist of his age, was banished by order of the Athenians
from their city and territories, and his books were publicly burned,
because these words were in the beginning of his treatise concerning
the Gods: "I am unable to arrive at any knowledge whether there are, or
are not, any Gods." This treatment of him, I imagine, restrained many
from professing their disbelief of a Deity, since the doubt of it only
could not escape punishment. What shall we say of the sacrilegious, the
impious, and the perjured? If Tubulus Lucius, Lupus, or Carbo the son
of Neptune, as Lucilius says, had believed that there were Gods, would
either of them have carried his perjuries and impieties to such excess?
Your reasoning, therefore, to confirm your assertion is not so
conclusive as you think it is. But as this is the manner in which other
philosophers have argued on the same subject, I will take no further
notice of it at present; I rather choose to proceed to what is properly
your own.

I allow that there are Gods. Instruct me, then, concerning their
origin; inform me where they are, what sort of body, what mind, they
have, and what is their course of life; for these I am desirous of
knowing. You attribute the most absolute power and efficacy to atoms.
Out of them you pretend that everything is made. But there are no
atoms, for there is nothing without body; every place is occupied by
body, therefore there can be no such thing as a vacuum or an atom.

XXIV. I advance these principles of the naturalists without knowing
whether they are true or false; yet they are more like truth than those
statements of yours; for they are the absurdities in which Democritus,
or before him Leucippus, used to indulge, saying that there are certain
light corpuscles--some smooth, some rough, some round, some square,
some crooked and bent as bows--which by a fortuitous concourse made
heaven and earth, without the influence of any natural power. This
opinion, C. Velleius, you have brought down to these our times; and you
would sooner be deprived of the greatest advantages of life than of
that authority; for before you were acquainted with those tenets, you
thought that you ought to profess yourself an Epicurean; so that it was
necessary that you should either embrace these absurdities or lose the
philosophical character which you had taken upon you; and what could
bribe you to renounce the Epicurean opinion? Nothing, you say, can
prevail on you to forsake the truth and the sure means of a happy life.
But is that the truth? for I shall not contest your happy life, which
you think the Deity himself does not enjoy unless he languishes in
idleness. But where is truth? Is it in your innumerable worlds, some of
which are rising, some falling, at every moment of time? Or is it in
your atomical corpuscles, which form such excellent works without the
direction of any natural power or reason? But I was forgetting my
liberality, which I had promised to exert in your case, and exceeding
the bounds which I at first proposed to myself. Granting, then,
everything to be made of atoms, what advantage is that to your
argument? For we are searching after the nature of the Gods; and
allowing them to be made of atoms, they cannot be eternal, because
whatever is made of atoms must have had a beginning: if so, there were
no Gods till there was this beginning; and if the Gods have had a
beginning, they must necessarily have an end, as you have before
contended when you were discussing Plato's world. Where, then, is your
beatitude and immortality, in which two words you say that God is
expressed, the endeavor to prove which reduces you to the greatest
perplexities? For you said that God had no body, but something like
body; and no blood, but something like blood.

XXV. It is a frequent practice among you, when you assert anything that
has no resemblance to truth, and wish to avoid reprehension, to advance
something else which is absolutely and utterly impossible, in order
that it may seem to your adversaries better to grant that point which
has been a matter of doubt than to keep on pertinaciously contradicting
you on every point: like Epicurus, who, when he found that if his atoms
were allowed to descend by their own weight, our actions could not be
in our own power, because their motions would be certain and necessary,
invented an expedient, which escaped Democritus, to avoid necessity. He
says that when the atoms descend by their own weight and gravity, they
move a little obliquely. Surely, to make such an assertion as this is
what one ought more to be ashamed of than the acknowledging ourselves
unable to defend the proposition. His practice is the same against the
logicians, who say that in all propositions in which yes or no is
required, one of them must be true; he was afraid that if this were
granted, then, in such a proposition as "Epicurus will be alive or dead
to-morrow," either one or the other must necessarily be admitted;
therefore he absolutely denied the necessity of yes or no. Can anything
show stupidity in a greater degree? Zeno,[89] being pressed by
Arcesilas, who pronounced all things to be false which are perceived by
the senses, said that some things were false, but not all. Epicurus was
afraid that if any one thing seen should be false, nothing could be
true; and therefore he asserted all the senses to be infallible
directors of truth. Nothing can be more rash than this; for by
endeavoring to repel a light stroke, he receives a heavy blow. On the
subject of the nature of the Gods, he falls into the same errors. While
he would avoid the concretion of individual bodies, lest death and
dissolution should be the consequence, he denies that the Gods have
body, but says they have something like body; and says they have no
blood, but something like blood.

XXVI. It seems an unaccountable thing how one soothsayer can refrain
from laughing when he sees another. It is yet a greater wonder that you
can refrain from laughing among yourselves. It is no body, but
something like body! I could understand this if it were applied to
statues made of wax or clay; but in regard to the Deity, I am not able
to discover what is meant by a quasi-body or quasi-blood. Nor indeed
are you, Velleius, though you will not confess so much. For those
precepts are delivered to you as dictates which Epicurus carelessly
blundered out; for he boasted, as we see in his writings, that he had
no instructor, which I could easily believe without his public
declaration of it, for the same reason that I could believe the master
of a very bad edifice if he were to boast that he had no architect but
himself: for there is nothing of the Academy, nothing of the Lyceum, in
his doctrine; nothing but puerilities. He might have been a pupil of
Xenocrates. O ye immortal Gods, what a teacher was he! And there are
those who believe that he actually was his pupil; but he says
otherwise, and I shall give more credit to his word than to another's.
He confesses that he was a pupil of a certain disciple of Plato, one
Pamphilus, at Samos; for he lived there when he was young, with his
father and his brothers. His father, Neocles, was a farmer in those
parts; but as the farm, I suppose, was not sufficient to maintain him,
he turned school-master; yet Epicurus treats this Platonic philosopher
with wonderful contempt, so fearful was he that it should be thought he
had ever had any instruction. But it is well known he had been a pupil
of Nausiphanes, the follower of Democritus; and since he could not deny
it, he loaded him with insults in abundance. If he never heard a
lecture on these Democritean principles, what lectures did he ever
hear? What is there in Epicurus's physics that is not taken from
Democritus? For though he altered some things, as what I mentioned
before of the oblique motions of the atoms, yet most of his doctrines
are the same; his atoms--his vacuum--his images--infinity of
space--innumerable worlds, their rise and decay--and almost every part
of natural learning that he treats of.

Now, do you understand what is meant by quasi-body and quasi-blood? For
I not only acknowledge that you are a better judge of it than I am, but
I can bear it without envy. If any sentiments, indeed, are communicated
without obscurity, what is there that Velleius can understand and Cotta
not? I know what body is, and what blood is; but I cannot possibly find
out the meaning of quasi-body and quasi-blood. Not that you
intentionally conceal your principles from me, as Pythagoras did his
from those who were not his disciples; or that you are intentionally
obscure, like Heraclitus. But the truth is (which I may venture to say
in this company), you do not understand them yourself.

XXVII. This, I perceive, is what you contend for, that the Gods have a
certain figure that has nothing concrete, nothing solid, nothing of
express substance, nothing prominent in it; but that it is pure,
smooth, and transparent. Let us suppose the same with the Venus of Cos,
which is not a body, but the representation of a body; nor is the red,
which is drawn there and mixed with the white, real blood, but a
certain resemblance of blood; so in Epicurus's Deity there is no real
substance, but the resemblance of substance.

Let me take for granted that which is perfectly unintelligible; then
tell me what are the lineaments and figures of these sketched-out
Deities. Here you have plenty of arguments by which you would show the
Gods to be in human form. The first is, that our minds are so
anticipated and prepossessed, that whenever we think of a Deity the
human shape occurs to us. The next is, that as the divine nature excels
all things, so it ought to be of the most beautiful form, and there is
no form more beautiful than the human; and the third is, that reason
cannot reside in any other shape.

First, let us consider each argument separately. You seem to me to
assume a principle, despotically I may say, that has no manner of
probability in it. Who was ever so blind, in contemplating these
subjects, as not to see that the Gods were represented in human form,
either by the particular advice of wise men, who thought by those means
the more easily to turn the minds of the ignorant from a depravity of
manners to the worship of the Gods; or through superstition, which was
the cause of their believing that when they were paying adoration to
these images they were approaching the Gods themselves. These conceits
were not a little improved by the poets, painters, and artificers; for
it would not have been very easy to represent the Gods planning and
executing any work in another form, and perhaps this opinion arose from
the idea which mankind have of their own beauty. But do not you, who
are so great an adept in physics, see what a soothing flatterer, what a
sort of procuress, nature is to herself? Do you think there is any
creature on the land or in the sea that is not highly delighted with
its own form? If it were not so, why would not a bull become enamored
of a mare, or a horse of a cow? Do you believe an eagle, a lion, or a
dolphin prefers any shape to its own? If nature, therefore, has
instructed us in the same manner, that nothing is more beautiful than
man, what wonder is it that we, for that reason, should imagine the
Gods are of the human form? Do you suppose if beasts were endowed with
reason that every one would not give the prize of beauty to his own

XXVIII. Yet, by Hercules (I speak as I think)! though I am fond enough
of myself, I dare not say that I excel in beauty that bull which
carried Europa. For the question here is not concerning our genius and
elocution, but our species and figure. If we could make and assume to
ourselves any form, would you be unwilling to resemble the sea-triton
as he is painted supported swimming on sea-monsters whose bodies are
partly human? Here I touch on a difficult point; for so great is the
force of nature that there is no man who would not choose to be like a
man, nor, indeed, any ant that would not be like an ant. But like what
man? For how few can pretend to beauty! When I was at Athens, the whole
flock of youths afforded scarcely one. You laugh, I see; but what I
tell you is the truth. Nay, to us who, after the examples of ancient
philosophers, delight in boys, defects are often pleasing. Alcæus was
charmed with a wart on a boy's knuckle; but a wart is a blemish on the
body; yet it seemed a beauty to him. Q. Catulus, my friend and
colleague's father, was enamored with your fellow-citizen Roscius, on
whom he wrote these verses:

    As once I stood to hail the rising day,
      Roscius appearing on the left I spied:
    Forgive me, Gods, if I presume to say
      The mortal's beauty with th' immortal vied.

Roscius more beautiful than a God! yet he was then, as he now is,
squint-eyed. But what signifies that, if his defects were beauties to

XXIX. I return to the Gods. Can we suppose any of them to be
squint-eyed, or even to have a cast in the eye? Have they any warts?
Are any of them hook-nosed, flap-eared, beetle-browed, or jolt-headed,
as some of us are? Or are they free from imperfections? Let us grant
you that. Are they all alike in the face? For if they are many, then
one must necessarily be more beautiful than another, and then there
must be some Deity not absolutely most beautiful. Or if their faces are
all alike, there would be an Academy[90] in heaven; for if one God does
not differ from another, there is no possibility of knowing or
distinguishing them.

What if your assertion, Velleius, proves absolutely false, that no form
occurs to us, in our contemplations on the Deity, but the human? Will
you, notwithstanding that, persist in the defence of such an absurdity?
Supposing that form occurs to us, as you say it does, and we know
Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Neptune, Vulcan, Apollo, and the other Deities,
by the countenance which painters and statuaries have given them, and
not only by their countenances, but by their decorations, their age,
and attire; yet the Egyptians, the Syrians, and almost all barbarous
nations,[91] are without such distinctions. You may see a greater
regard paid by them to certain beasts than by us to the most sacred
temples and images of the Gods; for many shrines have been rifled, and
images of the Deities have been carried from their most sacred places
by us; but we never heard that an Egyptian offered any violence to a
crocodile, an ibis, or a cat. What do you think, then? Do not the
Egyptians esteem their sacred bull, their Apis, as a Deity? Yes, by
Hercules! as certainly as you do our protectress Juno, whom you never
behold, even in your dreams, without a goat-skin, a spear, a shield,
and broad sandals. But the Grecian Juno of Argos and the Roman Juno are
not represented in this manner; so that the Grecians, the Lanuvinians,
and we, ascribe different forms to Juno; and our Capitoline Jupiter is
not the same with the Jupiter Ammon of the Africans.

XXX. Therefore, ought not a natural philosopher--that is, an inquirer
into the secrets of nature--to be ashamed of seeking a testimony to
truth from minds prepossessed by custom? According to the rule you have
laid down, it may be said that Jupiter is always bearded, Apollo always
beardless; that Minerva has gray and Neptune azure eyes; and, indeed,
we must then honor that Vulcan at Athens, made by Alcamenes, whose
lameness through his thin robes appears to be no deformity. Shall we,
therefore, receive a lame Deity because we have such an account of him?

Consider, likewise, that the Gods go by what names we give them. Now,
in the first place, they have as many names as men have languages; for
Vulcan is not called Vulcan in Italy, Africa, or Spain, as you are
called Velleius in all countries. Besides, the Gods are innumerable,
though the list of their names is of no great length even in the
records of our priests. Have they no names? You must necessarily
confess, indeed, they have none; for what occasion is there for
different names if their persons are alike?

How much more laudable would it be, Velleius, to acknowledge that you
do not know what you do not know than to follow a man whom you must
despise! Do you think the Deity is like either me or you? You do not
really think he is like either of us. What is to be done, then? Shall I
call the sun, the moon, or the sky a Deity? If so, they are
consequently happy. But what pleasures can they enjoy? And they are
wise too. But how can wisdom reside in such shapes? These are your own
principles. Therefore, if they are not of human form, as I have proved,
and if you cannot persuade yourself that they are of any other, why are
you cautious of denying absolutely the being of any Gods? You dare not
deny it--which is very prudent in you, though here you are not afraid
of the people, but of the Gods themselves. I have known Epicureans who
reverence[92] even the least images of the Gods, though I perceive it
to be the opinion of some that Epicurus, through fear of offending
against the Athenian laws, has allowed a Deity in words and destroyed
him in fact; so in those his select and short sentences, which are
called by you [Greek: kyriai doxai],[93] this, I think, is the first:
"That being which is happy and immortal is not burdened with any labor,
and does not impose any on any one else."

XXXI. In his statement of this sentence, some think that he avoided
speaking clearly on purpose, though it was manifestly without design.
But they judge ill of a man who had not the least art. It is doubtful
whether he means that there is any being happy and immortal, or that if
there is any being happy, he must likewise be immortal. They do not
consider that he speaks here, indeed, ambiguously; but in many other
places both he and Metrodorus explain themselves as clearly as you have
done. But he believed there are Gods; nor have I ever seen any one who
was more exceedingly afraid of what he declared ought to be no objects
of fear, namely, death and the Gods, with the apprehensions of which
the common rank of people are very little affected; but he says that
the minds of all mortals are terrified by them. Many thousands of men
commit robberies in the face of death; others rifle all the temples
they can get into: such as these, no doubt, must be greatly terrified,
the one by the fears of death, and the others by the fear of the Gods.

But since you dare not (for I am now addressing my discourse to
Epicurus himself) absolutely deny the existence of the Gods, what
hinders you from ascribing a divine nature to the sun, the world, or
some eternal mind? I never, says he, saw wisdom and a rational soul in
any but a human form. What! did you ever observe anything like the sun,
the moon, or the five moving planets? The sun, terminating his course
in two extreme parts of one circle,[94] finishes his annual
revolutions. The moon, receiving her light from the sun, completes the
same course in the space of a month.[95] The five planets in the same
circle, some nearer, others more remote from the earth, begin the same
courses together, and finish them in different spaces of time. Did you
ever observe anything like this, Epicurus? So that, according to you,
there can be neither sun, moon, nor stars, because nothing can exist
but what we have touched or seen.[96] What! have you ever seen the
Deity himself? Why else do you believe there is any? If this doctrine
prevails, we must reject all that history relates or reason discovers;
and the people who inhabit inland countries must not believe there is
such a thing as the sea. This is so narrow a way of thinking that if
you had been born in Seriphus, and never had been from out of that
island, where you had frequently been in the habit of seeing little
hares and foxes, you would not, therefore, believe that there are such
beasts as lions and panthers; and if any one should describe an
elephant to you, you would think that he designed to laugh at you.

XXXII. You indeed, Velleius, have concluded your argument, not after
the manner of your own sect, but of the logicians, to which your people
are utter strangers. You have taken it for granted that the Gods are
happy. I allow it. You say that without virtue no one can be happy. I
willingly concur with you in this also. You likewise say that virtue
cannot reside where reason is not. That I must necessarily allow. You
add, moreover, that reason cannot exist but in a human form. Who, do
you think, will admit that? If it were true, what occasion was there to
come so gradually to it? And to what purpose? You might have answered
it on your own authority. I perceive your gradations from happiness to
virtue, and from virtue to reason; but how do you come from reason to
human form? There, indeed, you do not descend by degrees, but

Nor can I conceive why Epicurus should rather say the Gods are like men
than that men are like the Gods. You ask what is the difference; for,
say you, if this is like that, that is like this. I grant it; but this
I assert, that the Gods could not take their form from men; for the
Gods always existed, and never had a beginning, if they are to exist
eternally; but men had a beginning: therefore that form, of which the
immortal Gods are, must have had existence before mankind;
consequently, the Gods should not be said to be of human form, but our
form should be called divine. However, let this be as you will. I now
inquire how this extraordinary good fortune came about; for you deny
that reason had any share in the formation of things. But still, what
was this extraordinary fortune? Whence proceeded that happy concourse
of atoms which gave so sudden a rise to men in the form of Gods? Are we
to suppose the divine seed fell from heaven upon earth, and that men
sprung up in the likeness of their celestial sires? I wish you would
assert it; for I should not be unwilling to acknowledge my relation to
the Gods. But you say nothing like it; no, our resemblance to the Gods,
it seems, was by chance. Must I now seek for arguments to refute this
doctrine seriously? I wish I could as easily discover what is true as I
can overthrow what is false.

XXXIII. You have enumerated with so ready a memory, and so copiously,
the opinions of philosophers, from Thales the Milesian, concerning the
nature of the Gods, that I am surprised to see so much learning in a
Roman. But do you think they were all madmen who thought that a Deity
could by some possibility exist without hands and feet? Does not even
this consideration have weight with you when you consider what is the
use and advantage of limbs in men, and lead you to admit that the Gods
have no need of them? What necessity can there be of feet, without
walking; or of hands, if there is nothing to be grasped? The same may
be asked of the other parts of the body, in which nothing is vain,
nothing useless, nothing superfluous; therefore we may infer that no
art can imitate the skill of nature. Shall the Deity, then, have a
tongue, and not speak--teeth, palate, and jaws, though he will have no
use for them? Shall the members which nature has given to the body for
the sake of generation be useless to the Deity? Nor would the internal
parts be less superfluous than the external. What comeliness is there
in the heart, the lungs, the liver, and the rest of them, abstracted
from their use? I mention these because you place them in the Deity on
account of the beauty of the human form.

Depending on these dreams, not only Epicurus, Metrodorus, and Hermachus
declaimed against Pythagoras, Plato, and Empedocles, but that little
harlot Leontium presumed to write against Theophrastus: indeed, she had
a neat Attic style; but yet, to think of her arguing against
Theophrastus! So much did the garden of Epicurus[97] abound with these
liberties, and, indeed, you are always complaining against them. Zeno
wrangled. Why need I mention Albutius? Nothing could be more elegant or
humane than Phædrus; yet a sharp expression would disgust the old man.
Epicurus treated Aristotle with great contumely. He foully slandered
Phædo, the disciple of Socrates. He pelted Timocrates, the brother of
his companion Metrodorus, with whole volumes, because he disagreed with
him in some trifling point of philosophy. He was ungrateful even to
Democritus, whose follower he was; and his master Nausiphanes, from
whom he learned nothing, had no better treatment from him.

XXXIV. Zeno gave abusive language not only to those who were then
living, as Apollodorus, Syllus, and the rest, but he called Socrates,
who was the father of philosophy, the Attic buffoon, using the Latin
word _Scurra_. He never called Chrysippus by any name but Chesippus.
And you yourself a little before, when you were numbering up a senate,
as we may call them, of philosophers, scrupled not to say that the most
eminent men talked like foolish, visionary dotards. Certainly,
therefore, if they have all erred in regard to the nature of the Gods,
it is to be feared there are no such beings. What you deliver on that
head are all whimsical notions, and not worthy the consideration even
of old women. For you do not seem to be in the least aware what a task
you draw on yourselves, if you should prevail on us to grant that the
same form is common to Gods and men. The Deity would then require the
same trouble in dressing, and the same care of the body, that mankind
does. He must walk, run, lie down, lean, sit, hold, speak, and
discourse. You need not be told the consequence of making the Gods male
and female.

Therefore I cannot sufficiently wonder how this chief of yours came to
entertain these strange opinions. But you constantly insist on the
certainty of this tenet, that the Deity is both happy and immortal.
Supposing he is so, would his happiness be less perfect if he had not
two feet? Or cannot that blessedness or beatitude--call it which you
will (they are both harsh terms, but we must mollify them by use)--can
it not, I say, exist in that sun, or in this world, or in some eternal
mind that has not human shape or limbs? All you say against it is, that
you never saw any happiness in the sun or the world. What, then? Did
you ever see any world but this? No, you will say. Why, therefore, do
you presume to assert that there are not only six hundred thousand
worlds, but that they are innumerable? Reason tells you so. Will not
reason tell you likewise that as, in our inquiries into the most
excellent nature, we find none but the divine nature can be happy and
eternal, so the same divine nature surpasses us in excellence of mind;
and as in mind, so in body? Why, therefore, as we are inferior in all
other respects, should we be equal in form? For human virtue approaches
nearer to the divinity than human form.

XXXV. To return to the subject I was upon. What can be more childish
than to assert that there are no such creatures as are generated in the
Red Sea or in India? The most curious inquirer cannot arrive at the
knowledge of all those creatures which inhabit the earth, sea, fens,
and rivers; and shall we deny the existence of them because we never
saw them? That similitude which you are so very fond of is nothing to
the purpose. Is not a dog like a wolf? And, as Ennius says,

    The monkey, filthiest beast, how like to man!

Yet they differ in nature. No beast has more sagacity than an elephant;
yet where can you find any of a larger size? I am speaking here of
beasts. But among men, do we not see a disparity of manners in persons
very much alike, and a similitude of manners in persons unlike? If this
sort of argument were once to prevail, Velleius, observe what it would
lead to. You have laid it down as certain that reason cannot possibly
reside in any but the human form. Another may affirm that it can exist
in none but a terrestrial being; in none but a being that is born, that
grows up, and receives instruction, and that consists of a soul, and an
infirm and perishable body; in short, in none but a mortal man. But if
you decline those opinions, why should a single form disturb you? You
perceive that man is possessed of reason and understanding, with all
the infirmities which I have mentioned interwoven with his being;
abstracted from which, you nevertheless know God, you say, if the
lineaments do but remain. This is not talking considerately, but at a
venture; for surely you did not think what an encumbrance anything
superfluous or useless is, not only in a man, but a tree. How
troublesome it is to have a finger too much! And why so? Because
neither use nor ornament requires more than five; but your Deity has
not only a finger more than he wants, but a head, a neck, shoulders,
sides, a paunch, back, hams, hands, feet, thighs, and legs. Are these
parts necessary to immortality? Are they conducive to the existence of
the Deity? Is the face itself of use? One would rather say so of the
brain, the heart, the lights, and the liver; for these are the seats of
life. The features of the face contribute nothing to the preservation
of it.

XXXVI. You censured those who, beholding those excellent and stupendous
works, the world, and its respective parts--the heaven, the earth, the
seas--and the splendor with which they are adorned; who, contemplating
the sun, moon, and stars; and who, observing the maturity and changes
of the seasons, and vicissitudes of times, inferred from thence that
there must be some excellent and eminent essence that originally made,
and still moves, directs, and governs them. Suppose they should mistake
in their conjecture, yet I see what they aim at. But what is that great
and noble work which appears to you to be the effect of a divine mind,
and from which you conclude that there are Gods? "I have," say you, "a
certain information of a Deity imprinted in my mind." Of a bearded
Jupiter, I suppose, and a helmeted Minerva.

But do you really imagine them to be such? How much better are the
notions of the ignorant vulgar, who not only believe the Deities have
members like ours, but that they make use of them; and therefore they
assign them a bow and arrows, a spear, a shield, a trident, and
lightning; and though they do not behold the actions of the Gods, yet
they cannot entertain a thought of a Deity doing nothing. The Egyptians
(so much ridiculed) held no beasts to be sacred, except on account of
some advantage which they had received from them. The ibis, a very
large bird, with strong legs and a horny long beak, destroys a great
number of serpents. These birds keep Egypt from pestilential diseases
by killing and devouring the flying serpents brought from the deserts
of Lybia by the south-west wind, which prevents the mischief that may
attend their biting while alive, or any infection when dead. I could
speak of the advantage of the ichneumon, the crocodile, and the cat;
but I am unwilling to be tedious; yet I will conclude with observing
that the barbarians paid divine honors to beasts because of the
benefits they received from them; whereas your Gods not only confer no
benefit, but are idle, and do no single act of any description

XXXVII. "They have nothing to do," your teacher says. Epicurus truly,
like indolent boys, thinks nothing preferable to idleness; yet those
very boys, when they have a holiday, entertain themselves in some
sportive exercise. But we are to suppose the Deity in such an inactive
state that if he should move we may justly fear he would be no longer
happy. This doctrine divests the Gods of motion and operation; besides,
it encourages men to be lazy, as they are by this taught to believe
that the least labor is incompatible even with divine felicity.

But let it be as you would have it, that the Deity is in the form and
image of a man. Where is his abode? Where is his habitation? Where is
the place where he is to be found? What is his course of life? And what
is it that constitutes the happiness which you assert that he enjoys?
For it seems necessary that a being who is to be happy must use and
enjoy what belongs to him. And with regard to place, even those natures
which are inanimate have each their proper stations assigned to them:
so that the earth is the lowest; then water is next above the earth;
the air is above the water; and fire has the highest situation of all
allotted to it. Some creatures inhabit the earth, some the water, and
some, of an amphibious nature, live in both. There are some, also,
which are thought to be born in fire, and which often appear fluttering
in burning furnaces.

In the first place, therefore, I ask you, Where is the habitation of
your Deity? Secondly, What motive is it that stirs him from his place,
supposing he ever moves? And, lastly, since it is peculiar to animated
beings to have an inclination to something that is agreeable to their
several natures, what is it that the Deity affects, and to what purpose
does he exert the motion of his mind and reason? In short, how is he
happy? how eternal? Whichever of these points you touch upon, I am
afraid you will come lamely off. For there is never a proper end to
reasoning which proceeds on a false foundation; for you asserted
likewise that the form of the Deity is perceptible by the mind, but not
by sense; that it is neither solid, nor invariable in number; that it
is to be discerned by similitude and transition, and that a constant
supply of images is perpetually flowing on from innumerable atoms, on
which our minds are intent; so that we from that conclude that divine
nature to be happy and everlasting.

XXXVIII. What, in the name of those Deities concerning whom we are now
disputing, is the meaning of all this? For if they exist only in
thought, and have no solidity nor substance, what difference can there
be between thinking of a Hippocentaur and thinking of a Deity? Other
philosophers call every such conformation of the mind a vain motion;
but you term it "the approach and entrance of images into the mind."
Thus, when I imagine that I behold T. Gracchus haranguing the people in
the Capitol, and collecting their suffrages concerning M. Octavius, I
call that a vain motion of the mind: but you affirm that the images of
Gracchus and Octavius are present, which are only conveyed to my mind
when they have arrived at the Capitol. The case is the same, you say,
in regard to the Deity, with the frequent representation of which the
mind is so affected that from thence it may be clearly understood that
the Gods[98] are happy and eternal.

Let it be granted that there are images by which the mind is affected,
yet it is only a certain form that occurs; and why must that form be
pronounced happy? why eternal? But what are those images you talk of,
or whence do they proceed? This loose manner of arguing is taken from
Democritus; but he is reproved by many people for it; nor can you
derive any conclusions from it: the whole system is weak and imperfect.
For what can be more improbable than that the images of Homer,
Archilochus, Romulus, Numa, Pythagoras, and Plato should come into my
mind, and yet not in the form in which they existed? How, therefore,
can they be those persons? And whose images are they? Aristotle tells
us that there never was such a person as Orpheus the poet;[99] and it
is said that the verse called Orphic verse was the invention of
Cercops, a Pythagorean; yet Orpheus, that is to say, the image of him,
as you will have it, often runs in my head. What is the reason that I
entertain one idea of the figure of the same person, and you another?
Why do we image to ourselves such things as never had any existence,
and which never can have, such as Scyllas and Chimæras? Why do we frame
ideas of men, countries, and cities which we never saw? How is it that
the very first moment that I choose I can form representations of them
in my mind? How is it that they come to me, even in my sleep, without
being called or sought after?

XXXIX. The whole affair, Velleius, is ridiculous. You do not impose
images on our eyes only, but on our minds. Such is the privilege which
you have assumed of talking nonsense with impunity. But there is, you
say, a transition of images flowing on in great crowds in such a way
that out of many some one at least must be perceived! I should be
ashamed of my incapacity to understand this if you, who assert it,
could comprehend it yourselves; for how do you prove that these images
are continued in uninterrupted motion? Or, if uninterrupted, still how
do you prove them to be eternal? There is a constant supply, you say,
of innumerable atoms. But must they, for that reason, be all eternal?
To elude this, you have recourse to equilibration (for so, with your
leave, I will call your [Greek: Isonomia]),[100] and say that as there
is a sort of nature mortal, so there must also be a sort which is
immortal. By the same rule, as there are men mortal, there are men
immortal; and as some arise from the earth, some must arise from the
water also; and as there are causes which destroy, there must likewise
be causes which preserve. Be it as you say; but let those causes
preserve which have existence themselves. I cannot conceive these your
Gods to have any. But how does all this face of things arise from
atomic corpuscles? Were there any such atoms (as there are not), they
might perhaps impel one another, and be jumbled together in their
motion; but they could never be able to impart form, or figure, or
color, or animation, so that you by no means demonstrate the
immortality of your Deity.

XL. Let us now inquire into his happiness. It is certain that without
virtue there can be no happiness; but virtue consists in action: now
your Deity does nothing; therefore he is void of virtue, and
consequently cannot be happy. What sort of life does he lead? He has a
constant supply, you say, of good things, without any intermixture of
bad. What are those good things? Sensual pleasures, no doubt; for you
know no delight of the mind but what arises from the body, and returns
to it. I do not suppose, Velleius, that you are like some of the
Epicureans, who are ashamed of those expressions of Epicurus,[101] in
which he openly avows that he has no idea of any good separate from
wanton and obscene pleasures, which, without a blush, he names
distinctly. What food, therefore, what drink, what variety of music or
flowers, what kind of pleasures of touch, what odors, will you offer to
the Gods to fill them with pleasures? The poets indeed provide them
with banquets of nectar and ambrosia, and a Hebe or a Ganymede to serve
up the cup. But what is it, Epicurus, that you do for them? For I do
not see from whence your Deity should have those things, nor how he
could use them. Therefore the nature of man is better constituted for a
happy life than the nature of the Gods, because men enjoy various kinds
of pleasures; but you look on all those pleasures as superficial which
delight the senses only by a titillation, as Epicurus calls it. Where
is to be the end of this trifling? Even Philo, who followed the
Academy, could not bear to hear the soft and luscious delights of the
Epicureans despised; for with his admirable memory he perfectly
remembered and used to repeat many sentences of Epicurus in the very
words in which they were written. He likewise used to quote many, which
were more gross, from Metrodorus, the sage colleague of Epicurus, who
blamed his brother Timocrates because he would not allow that
everything which had any reference to a happy life was to be measured
by the belly; nor has he said this once only, but often. You grant what
I say, I perceive; for you know it to be true. I can produce the books,
if you should deny it; but I am not now reproving you for referring all
things to the standard of pleasure: that is another question. What I am
now showing is, that your Gods are destitute of pleasure; and
therefore, according to your own manner of reasoning, they are not

XLI. But they are free from pain. Is that sufficient for beings who are
supposed to enjoy all good things and the most supreme felicity? The
Deity, they say, is constantly meditating on his own happiness, for he
has no other idea which can possibly occupy his mind. Consider a
little; reflect what a figure the Deity would make if he were to be
idly thinking of nothing through all eternity but "It is very well with
me, and I am happy;" nor do I see why this happy Deity should not fear
being destroyed, since, without any intermission, he is driven and
agitated by an everlasting incursion of atoms, and since images are
constantly floating off from him. Your Deity, therefore, is neither
happy nor eternal.

Epicurus, it seems, has written books concerning sanctity and piety
towards the Gods. But how does he speak on these subjects? You would
say that you were listening to Coruncanius or Scævola, the
high-priests, and not to a man who tore up all religion by the roots,
and who overthrew the temples and altars of the immortal Gods; not,
indeed, with hands, like Xerxes, but with arguments; for what reason is
there for your saying that men ought to worship the Gods, when the Gods
not only do not regard men, but are entirely careless of everything,
and absolutely do nothing at all?

But they are, you say, of so glorious and excellent a nature that a
wise man is induced by their excellence to adore them. Can there be any
glory or excellence in that nature which only contemplates its own
happiness, and neither will do, nor does, nor ever did anything?
Besides, what piety is due to a being from whom you receive nothing? Or
how can you, or any one else, be indebted to him who bestows no
benefits? For piety is only justice towards the Gods; but what right
have they to it, when there is no communication whatever between the
Gods and men? And sanctity is the knowledge of how we ought to worship
them; but I do not understand why they are to be worshipped, if we are
neither to receive nor expect any good from them.

XLII. And why should we worship them from an admiration only of that
nature in which we can behold nothing excellent? and as for that
freedom from superstition, which you are in the habit of boasting of so
much, it is easy to be free from that feeling when you have renounced
all belief in the power of the Gods; unless, indeed, you imagine that
Diagoras or Theodorus, who absolutely denied the being of the Gods,
could possibly be superstitious. I do not suppose that even Protagoras
could, who doubted whether there were Gods or not. The opinions of
these philosophers are not only destructive of superstition, which
arises from a vain fear of the Gods, but of religion also, which
consists in a pious adoration of them.

What think you of those who have asserted that the whole doctrine
concerning the immortal Gods was the invention of politicians, whose
view was to govern that part of the community by religion which reason
could not influence? Are not their opinions subversive of all religion?
Or what religion did Prodicus the Chian leave to men, who held that
everything beneficial to human life should be numbered among the Gods?
Were not they likewise void of religion who taught that the Deities, at
present the object of our prayers and adoration, were valiant,
illustrious, and mighty men who arose to divinity after death?
Euhemerus, whom our Ennius translated, and followed more than other
authors, has particularly advanced this doctrine, and treated of the
deaths and burials of the Gods; can he, then, be said to have confirmed
religion, or, rather, to have totally subverted it? I shall say nothing
of that sacred and august Eleusina, into whose mysteries the most
distant nations were initiated, nor of the solemnities in Samothrace,
or in Lemnos, secretly resorted to by night, and surrounded by thick
and shady groves; which, if they were properly explained, and reduced
to reasonable principles, would rather explain the nature of things
than discover the knowledge of the Gods.

XLIII. Even that great man Democritus, from whose fountains Epicurus
watered his little garden, seems to me to be very inferior to his usual
acuteness when speaking about the nature of the Gods. For at one time
he thinks that there are images endowed with divinity, inherent in the
universality of things; at another, that the principles and minds
contained in the universe are Gods; then he attributes divinity to
animated images, employing themselves in doing us good or harm; and,
lastly, he speaks of certain images of such vast extent that they
encompass the whole outside of the universe; all which opinions are
more worthy of the country[102] of Democritus than of Democritus
himself; for who can frame in his mind any ideas of such images? who
can admire them? who can think they merit a religious adoration?

But Epicurus, when he divests the Gods of the power of doing good,
extirpates all religion from the minds of men; for though he says the
divine nature is the best and the most excellent of all natures, he
will not allow it to be susceptible of any benevolence, by which he
destroys the chief and peculiar attribute of the most perfect being.
For what is better and more excellent than goodness and beneficence? To
refuse your Gods that quality is to say that no man is any object of
their favor, and no Gods either; that they neither love nor esteem any
one; in short, that they not only give themselves no trouble about us,
but even look on each other with the greatest indifference.

XLIV. How much more reasonable is the doctrine of the Stoics, whom you
censure? It is one of their maxims that the wise are friends to the
wise, though unknown to each other; for as nothing is more amiable than
virtue, he who possesses it is worthy our love, to whatever country he
belongs. But what evils do your principles bring, when you make good
actions and benevolence the marks of imbecility! For, not to mention
the power and nature of the Gods, you hold that even men, if they had
no need of mutual assistance, would be neither courteous nor
beneficent. Is there no natural charity in the dispositions of good
men? The very name of love, from which friendship is derived, is dear
to men;[103] and if friendship is to centre in our own advantage only,
without regard to him whom we esteem a friend, it cannot be called
friendship, but a sort of traffic for our own profit. Pastures, lands,
and herds of cattle are valued in the same manner on account of the
profit we gather from them; but charity and friendship expect no
return. How much more reason have we to think that the Gods, who want
nothing, should love each other, and employ themselves about us! If it
were not so, why should we pray to or adore them? Why do the priests
preside over the altars, and the augurs over the auspices? What have we
to ask of the Gods, and why do we prefer our vows to them?

But Epicurus, you say, has written a book concerning sanctity. A
trifling performance by a man whose wit is not so remarkable in it, as
the unrestrained license of writing which he has permitted himself; for
what sanctity can there be if the Gods take no care of human affairs?
Or how can that nature be called animated which neither regards nor
performs anything? Therefore our friend Posidonius has well observed,
in his fifth book of the Nature of the Gods, that Epicurus believed
there were no Gods, and that what he had said about the immortal Gods
was only said from a desire to avoid unpopularity. He could not be so
weak as to imagine that the Deity has only the outward features of a
simple mortal, without any real solidity; that he has all the members
of a man, without the least power to use them--a certain unsubstantial
pellucid being, neither favorable nor beneficial to any one, neither
regarding nor doing anything. There can be no such being in nature; and
as Epicurus said this plainly, he allows the Gods in words, and
destroys them in fact; and if the Deity is truly such a being that he
shows no favor, no benevolence to mankind, away with him! For why
should I entreat him to be propitious? He can be propitious to none,
since, as you say, all his favor and benevolence are the effects of

       *       *       *       *       *


I. When Cotta had thus concluded, Velleius replied: I certainly was
inconsiderate to engage in argument with an Academician who is likewise
a rhetorician. I should not have feared an Academician without
eloquence, nor a rhetorician without that philosophy, however eloquent
he might be; for I am never puzzled by an empty flow of words, nor by
the most subtle reasonings delivered without any grace of oratory. But
you, Cotta, have excelled in both. You only wanted the assembly and the
judges. However, enough of this at present. Now, let us hear what
Lucilius has to say, if it is agreeable to him.

I had much rather, says Balbus, hear Cotta resume his discourse, and
demonstrate the true Gods with the same eloquence which he made use of
to explode the false; for, on such a subject, the loose, unsettled
doctrine of the Academy does not become a philosopher, a priest, a
Cotta, whose opinions should be, like those we hold, firm and certain.
Epicurus has been more than sufficiently refuted; but I would willingly
hear your own sentiments, Cotta.

Do you forget, replies Cotta, what I at first said--that it is easier
for me, especially on this point, to explain what opinions those are
which I do not hold, rather than what those are which I do? Nay, even
if I did feel some certainty on any particular point, yet, after having
been so diffuse myself already, I would prefer now hearing you speak in
your turn. I submit, says Balbus, and will be as brief as I possibly
can; for as you have confuted the errors of Epicurus, my part in the
dispute will be the shorter. Our sect divide the whole question
concerning the immortal Gods into four parts. First, they prove that
there are Gods; secondly, of what character and nature they are;
thirdly, that the universe is governed by them; and, lastly, that they
exercise a superintendence over human affairs. But in this present
discussion let us confine ourselves to the first two articles, and
defer the third and fourth till another opportunity, as they require
more time to discuss. By no means, says Cotta, for we have time enough
on our hands; besides that, we are now discussing a subject which
should be preferred even to serious business.

II. The first point, then, says Lucilius, I think needs no discourse to
prove it; for what can be so plain and evident, when we behold the
heavens and contemplate the celestial bodies, as the existence of some
supreme, divine intelligence, by which all these things are governed?
Were it otherwise, Ennius would not, with a universal approbation, have

    Look up to the refulgent heaven above,
    Which all men call, unanimously, Jove.

This is Jupiter, the governor of the world, who rules all things with
his nod, and is, as the same Ennius adds,

    ----of Gods and men the sire,[104]

an omnipresent and omnipotent God. And if any one doubts this, I really
do not understand why the same man may not also doubt whether there is
a sun or not. For what can possibly be more evident than this? And if
it were not a truth universally impressed on the minds of men, the
belief in it would never have been so firm; nor would it have been, as
it is, increased by length of years, nor would it have gathered
strength and stability through every age. And, in truth, we see that
other opinions, being false and groundless, have already fallen into
oblivion by lapse of time. Who now believes in Hippocentaurs and
Chimæras? Or what old woman is now to be found so weak and ignorant as
to stand in fear of those infernal monsters which once so terrified
mankind? For time destroys the fictions of error and opinion, while it
confirms the determinations of nature and of truth. And therefore it is
that, both among us and among other nations, sacred institutions and
the divine worship of the Gods have been strengthened and improved from
time to time. And this is not to be imputed to chance or folly, but to
the frequent appearance of the Gods themselves. In the war with the
Latins, when A. Posthumius, the dictator, attacked Octavius Mamilius,
the Tusculan, at Regillus, Castor and Pollux were seen fighting in our
army on horseback; and since that the same offspring of Tyndarus gave
notice of the defeat of Perses; for as P. Vatienus, the grandfather of
the present young man of that name, was coming in the night to Rome
from his government of Reate, two young men on white horses appeared to
him, and told him that King[105] Perses was that day taken prisoner.
This news he carried to the senate, who immediately threw him into
prison for speaking inconsiderately on a state affair; but when it was
confirmed by letters from Paullus, he was recompensed by the senate
with land and immunities.[106] Nor do we forget when the Locrians
defeated the people of Crotone, in a great battle on the banks of the
river Sagra, that it was known the same day at the Olympic Games. The
voices of the Fauns have been often heard, and Deities have appeared in
forms so visible that they have compelled every one who is not
senseless, or hardened in impiety, to confess the presence of the Gods.

III. What do predictions and foreknowledge of future events indicate,
but that such future events are shown, pointed out, portended, and
foretold to men? From whence they are called omens, signs, portents,
prodigies. But though we should esteem fabulous what is said of
Mopsus,[107] Tiresias,[108] Amphiaraus,[109] Calchas,[110] and
Helenus[111] (who would not have been delivered down to us as augurs
even in fable if their art had been despised), may we not be
sufficiently apprised of the power of the Gods by domestic examples?
Will not the temerity of P. Claudius, in the first Punic war, affect
us? who, when the poultry were let out of the coop and would not feed,
ordered them to be thrown into the water, and, joking even upon the
Gods, said, with a sneer, "Let them drink, since they will not eat;"
which piece of ridicule, being followed by a victory over his fleet,
cost him many tears, and brought great calamity on the Roman people.
Did not his colleague Junius, in the same war, lose his fleet in a
tempest by disregarding the auspices? Claudius, therefore, was
condemned by the people, and Junius killed himself. Coelius says that
P. Flaminius, from his neglect of religion, fell at Thrasimenus; a loss
which the public severely felt. By these instances of calamity we may
be assured that Rome owes her grandeur and success to the conduct of
those who were tenacious of their religious duties; and if we compare
ourselves to our neighbors, we shall find that we are infinitely
distinguished above foreign nations by our zeal for religious
ceremonies, though in other things we may be only equal to them, and in
other respects even inferior to them.

Ought we to contemn Attius Navius's staff, with which he divided the
regions of the vine to find his sow?[112] I should despise it, if I
were not aware that King Hostilius had carried on most important wars
in deference to his auguries; but by the negligence of our nobility the
discipline of the augury is now omitted, the truth of the auspices
despised, and only a mere form observed; so that the most important
affairs of the commonwealth, even the wars, on which the public safety
depends, are conducted without any auspices; the Peremnia[113] are
discussed; no part of the Acumina[114] performed; no select men are
called to witness to the military testaments;[115] our generals now
begin their wars as soon as they have arranged the Auspicia. The force
of religion was so great among our ancestors that some of their
commanders have, with their faces veiled, and with the solemn, formal
expressions of religion, sacrificed themselves to the immortal Gods to
save their country.[116] I could mention many of the Sibylline
prophecies, and many answers of the haruspices, to confirm those
things, which ought not to be doubted.

IV. For example: our augurs and the Etrurian haruspices saw the truth
of their art established when P. Scipio and C. Figulus were consuls;
for as Tiberius Gracchus, who was a second time consul, wished to
proceed to a fresh election, the first Rogator,[117] as he was
collecting the suffrages, fell down dead on the spot. Gracchus
nevertheless went on with the assembly, but perceiving that this
accident had a religious influence on the people, he brought the affair
before the senate. The senate thought fit to refer it to those who
usually took cognizance of such things. The haruspices were called, and
declared that the man who had acted as Rogator of the assembly had no
right to do so; to which, as I have heard my father say, he replied
with great warmth, Have I no right, who am consul, and augur, and
favored by the Auspicia? And shall you, who are Tuscans and Barbarians,
pretend that you have authority over the Roman Auspicia, and a right to
give judgment in matters respecting the formality of our assemblies?
Therefore, he then commanded them to withdraw; but not long afterward
he wrote from his province[118] to the college of augurs, acknowledging
that in reading the books[119] he remembered that he had illegally
chosen a place for his tent in the gardens of Scipio, and had afterward
entered the Pomoerium, in order to hold a senate, but that in repassing
the same Pomoerium he had forgotten to take the auspices; and that,
therefore, the consuls had been created informally. The augurs laid the
case before the senate. The senate decreed that they should resign
their charge, and so they accordingly abdicated. What greater example
need we seek for? The wisest, perhaps the most excellent of men, chose
to confess his fault, which he might have concealed, rather than leave
the public the least atom of religious guilt; and the consuls chose to
quit the highest office in the State, rather than fill it for a moment
in defiance of religion. How great is the reputation of the augurs!

And is not the art of the soothsayers divine? And must not every one
who sees what innumerable instances of the same kind there are confess
the existence of the Gods? For they who have interpreters must
certainly exist themselves; now, there are interpreters of the Gods;
therefore we must allow there are Gods. But it may be said, perhaps,
that all predictions are not accomplished. We may as well conclude
there is no art of physic, because all sick persons do not recover. The
Gods show us signs of future events; if we are occasionally deceived in
the results, it is not to be imputed to the nature of the Gods, but to
the conjectures of men. All nations agree that there are Gods; the
opinion is innate, and, as it were, engraved in the minds of all men.
The only point in dispute among us is, what they are.

V. Their existence no one denies. Cleanthes, one of our sect, imputes
the way in which the idea of the Gods is implanted in the minds of men
to four causes. The first is that which I just now mentioned--the
foreknowledge of future things. The second is the great advantages
which we enjoy from the temperature of the air, the fertility of the
earth, and the abundance of various benefits of other kinds. The third
cause is deduced from the terror with which the mind is affected by
thunder, tempests, storms, snow, hail, devastation, pestilence,
earthquakes often attended with hideous noises, showers of stones, and
rain like drops of blood; by rocks and sudden openings of the earth; by
monstrous births of men and beasts; by meteors in the air, and blazing
stars, by the Greeks called _cometæ_, by us _crinitæ_, the appearance
of which, in the late Octavian war,[120] were foreboders of great
calamities; by two suns, which, as I have heard my father say, happened
in the consulate of Tuditanus and Aquillius, and in which year also
another sun (P. Africanus) was extinguished. These things terrified
mankind, and raised in them a firm belief of the existence of some
celestial and divine power.

His fourth cause, and that the strongest, is drawn from the regularity
of the motion and revolution of the heavens, the distinctness, variety,
beauty, and order of the sun, moon, and all the stars, the appearance
only of which is sufficient to convince us they are not the effects of
chance; as when we enter into a house, or school, or court, and observe
the exact order, discipline, and method of it, we cannot suppose that
it is so regulated without a cause, but must conclude that there is
some one who commands, and to whom obedience is paid. It is quite
impossible for us to avoid thinking that the wonderful motions,
revolutions, and order of those many and great bodies, no part of which
is impaired by the countless and infinite succession of ages, must be
governed and directed by some supreme intelligent being.

VI. Chrysippus, indeed, had a very penetrating genius; yet such is the
doctrine which he delivers, that he seems rather to have been
instructed by nature than to owe it to any discovery of his own. "If,"
says he, "there is anything in the universe which no human reason,
ability, or power can make, the being who produced it must certainly be
preferable to man. Now, celestial bodies, and all those things which
proceed in any eternal order, cannot be made by man; the being who made
them is therefore preferable to man. What, then, is that being but a
God? If there be no such thing as a Deity, what is there better than
man, since he only is possessed of reason, the most excellent of all
things? But it is a foolish piece of vanity in man to think there is
nothing preferable to him. There is, therefore, something preferable;
consequently, there is certainly a God."

When you behold a large and beautiful house, surely no one can persuade
you it was built for mice and weasels, though you do not see the
master; and would it not, therefore, be most manifest folly to imagine
that a world so magnificently adorned, with such an immense variety of
celestial bodies of such exquisite beauty, and that the vast sizes and
magnitude of the sea and land were intended as the abode of man, and
not as the mansion of the immortal Gods? Do we not also plainly see
this, that all the most elevated regions are the best, and that the
earth is the lowest region, and is surrounded with the grossest air? so
that as we perceive that in some cities and countries the capacities of
men are naturally duller, from the thickness of the climate, so mankind
in general are affected by the heaviness of the air which surrounds the
earth, the grossest region of the world.

Yet even from this inferior intelligence of man we may discover the
existence of some intelligent agent that is divine, and wiser than
ourselves; for, as Socrates says in Xenophon, from whence had man his
portion of understanding? And, indeed, if any one were to push his
inquiries about the moisture and heat which is diffused through the
human body, and the earthy kind of solidity existing in our entrails,
and that soul by which we breathe, and to ask whence we derived them,
it would be plain that we have received one thing from the earth,
another from liquid, another from fire, and another from that air which
we inhale every time that we breathe.

VII. But where did we find that which excels all these things--I mean
reason, or (if you please, in other terms) the mind, understanding,
thought, prudence; and from whence did we receive it? Shall the world
be possessed of every other perfection, and be destitute of this one,
which is the most important and valuable of all? But certainly there is
nothing better, or more excellent, or more beautiful than the world;
and not only there is nothing better, but we cannot even conceive
anything superior to it; and if reason and wisdom are the greatest of
all perfections, they must necessarily be a part of what we all allow
to be the most excellent.

Who is not compelled to admit the truth of what I assert by that
agreeable, uniform, and continued agreement of things in the universe?
Could the earth at one season be adorned with flowers, at another be
covered with snow? Or, if such a number of things regulated their own
changes, could the approach and retreat of the sun in the summer and
winter solstices be so regularly known and calculated? Could the flux
and reflux of the sea and the height of the tides be affected by the
increase or wane of the moon? Could the different courses of the stars
be preserved by the uniform movement of the whole heaven? Could these
things subsist, I say, in such a harmony of all the parts of the
universe without the continued influence of a divine spirit?

If these points are handled in a free and copious manner, as I purpose
to do, they will be less liable to the cavils of the Academics; but the
narrow, confined way in which Zeno reasoned upon them laid them more
open to objection; for as running streams are seldom or never tainted,
while standing waters easily grow corrupt, so a fluency of expression
washes away the censures of the caviller, while the narrow limits of a
discourse which is too concise is almost defenceless; for the arguments
which I am enlarging upon are thus briefly laid down by Zeno:

VIII. "That which reasons is superior to that which does not; nothing
is superior to the world; the world, therefore, reasons." By the same
rule the world may be proved to be wise, happy, and eternal; for the
possession of all these qualities is superior to the want of them; and
nothing is superior to the world; the inevitable consequence of which
argument is, that the world, therefore, is a Deity. He goes on: "No
part of anything void of sense is capable of perception; some parts of
the world have perception; the world, therefore, has sense." He
proceeds, and pursues the argument closely. "Nothing," says he, "that
is destitute itself of life and reason can generate a being possessed
of life and reason; but the world does generate beings possessed of
life and reason; the world, therefore, is not itself destitute of life
and reason."

He concludes his argument in his usual manner with a simile: "If
well-tuned pipes should spring out of the olive, would you have the
slightest doubt that there was in the olive-tree itself some kind of
skill and knowledge? Or if the plane-tree could produce harmonious
lutes, surely you would infer, on the same principle, that music was
contained in the plane-tree. Why, then, should we not believe the world
is a living and wise being, since it produces living and wise beings
out of itself?"

IX. But as I have been insensibly led into a length of discourse beyond
my first design (for I said that, as the existence of the Gods was
evident to all, there was no need of any long oration to prove it), I
will demonstrate it by reasons deduced from the nature of things. For
it is a fact that all beings which take nourishment and increase
contain in themselves a power of natural heat, without which they could
neither be nourished nor increase. For everything which is of a warm
and fiery character is agitated and stirred up by its own motion. But
that which is nourished and grows is influenced by a certain regular
and equable motion. And as long as this motion remains in us, so long
does sense and life remain; but the moment that it abates and is
extinguished, we ourselves decay and perish.

By arguments like these, Cleanthes shows how great is the power of heat
in all bodies. He observes that there is no food so gross as not to be
digested in a night and a day; and that even in the excrementitious
parts, which nature rejects, there remains a heat. The veins and
arteries seem, by their continual quivering, to resemble the agitation
of fire; and it has often been observed when the heart of an animal is
just plucked from the body that it palpitates with such visible motion
as to resemble the rapidity of fire. Everything, therefore, that has
life, whether it be animal or vegetable, owes that life to the heat
inherent in it; it is this nature of heat which contains in itself the
vital power which extends throughout the whole world. This will appear
more clearly on a more close explanation of this fiery quality, which
pervades all things.

Every division, then, of the world (and I shall touch upon the most
considerable) is sustained by heat; and first it may be observed in
earthly substances that fire is produced from stones by striking or
rubbing one against another; that "the warm earth smokes"[121] when
just turned up, and that water is drawn warm from well-springs; and
this is most especially the case in the winter season, because there is
a great quantity of heat contained in the caverns of the earth; and
this becomes more dense in the winter, and on that account confines
more closely the innate heat which is discoverable in the earth.

X. It would require a long dissertation, and many reasons would require
to be adduced, to show that all the seeds which the earth conceives,
and all those which it contains having been generated from itself, and
fixed in roots and trunks, derive all their origin and increase from
the temperature and regulation of heat. And that even every liquor has
a mixture of heat in it is plainly demonstrated by the effusion of
water; for it would not congeal by cold, nor become solid, as ice or
snow, and return again to its natural state, if it were not that, when
heat is applied to it, it again becomes liquefied and dissolved, and so
diffuses itself. Therefore, by northern and other cold winds it is
frozen and hardened, and in turn it dissolves and melts again by heat.
The seas likewise, we find, when agitated by winds, grow warm, so that
from this fact we may understand that there is heat included in that
vast body of water; for we cannot imagine it to be external and
adventitious heat, but such as is stirred up by agitation from the deep
recesses of the seas; and the same thing takes place with respect to
our bodies, which grow warm with motion and exercise.

And the very air itself, which indeed is the coldest element, is by no
means void of heat; for there is a great quantity, arising from the
exhalations of water, which appears to be a sort of steam occasioned by
its internal heat, like that of boiling liquors. The fourth part of the
universe is entirely fire, and is the source of the salutary and vital
heat which is found in the rest. From hence we may conclude that, as
all parts of the world are sustained by heat, the world itself also has
such a great length of time subsisted from the same cause; and so much
the more, because we ought to understand that that hot and fiery
principle is so diffused over universal nature that there is contained
in it a power and cause of generation and procreation, from which all
animate beings, and all those creatures of the vegetable world, the
roots of which are contained in the earth, must inevitably derive their
origin and their increase.

XI. It is nature, consequently, that continues and preserves the world,
and that, too, a nature which is not destitute of sense and reason; for
in every essence that is not simple, but composed of several parts,
there must be some predominant quality--as, for instance, the mind in
man, and in beasts something resembling it, from which arise all the
appetites and desires for anything. As for trees, and all the vegetable
produce of the earth, it is thought to be in their roots. I call that
the predominant quality,[122] which the Greeks call [Greek:
hêgemonikon]; which must and ought to be the most excellent quality,
wherever it is found. That, therefore, in which the prevailing quality
of all nature resides must be the most excellent of all things, and
most worthy of the power and pre-eminence over all things.

Now, we see that there is nothing in being that is not a part of the
universe; and as there are sense and reason in the parts of it, there
must therefore be these qualities, and these, too, in a more energetic
and powerful degree, in that part in which the predominant quality of
the world is found. The world, therefore, must necessarily be possessed
of wisdom; and that element, which embraces all things, must excel in
perfection of reason. The world, therefore, is a God, and the whole
power of the world is contained in that divine element.

The heat also of the world is more pure, clear, and lively, and,
consequently, better adapted to move the senses than the heat allotted
to us; and it vivifies and preserves all things within the compass of
our knowledge.

It is absurd, therefore, to say that the world, which is endued with a
perfect, free, pure, spirituous, and active heat, is not sensitive,
since by this heat men and beasts are preserved, and move, and think;
more especially since this heat of the world is itself the sole
principle of agitation, and has no external impulse, but is moved
spontaneously; for what can be more powerful than the world, which
moves and raises that heat by which it subsists?

XII. For let us listen to Plato, who is regarded as a God among
philosophers. He says that there are two sorts of motion, one innate
and the other external; and that that which is moved spontaneously is
more divine than that which is moved by another power. This self-motion
he places in the mind alone, and concludes that the first principle of
motion is derived from the mind. Therefore, since all motion arises
from the heat of the world, and that heat is not moved by the effect of
any external impulse, but of its own accord, it must necessarily be a
mind; from whence it follows that the world is animated.

On such reasoning is founded this opinion, that the world is possessed
of understanding, because it certainly has more perfections in itself
than any other nature; for as there is no part of our bodies so
considerable as the whole of us, so it is clear that there is no
particular portion of the universe equal in magnitude to the whole of
it; from whence it follows that wisdom must be an attribute of the
world; otherwise man, who is a part of it, and possessed of reason,
would be superior to the entire world.

And thus, if we proceed from the first rude, unfinished natures to the
most superior and perfect ones, we shall inevitably come at last to the
nature of the Gods. For, in the first place, we observe that those
vegetables which are produced out of the earth are supported by nature,
and she gives them no further supply than is sufficient to preserve
them by nourishing them and making them grow. To beasts she has given
sense and motion, and a faculty which directs them to what is
wholesome, and prompts them to shun what is noxious to them. On man she
has conferred a greater portion of her favor; inasmuch as she has added
reason, by which he is enabled to command his passions, to moderate
some, and to subdue others.

XIII. In the fourth and highest degree are those beings which are
naturally wise and good, who from the first moment of their existence
are possessed of right and consistent reason, which we must consider
superior to man and deserving to be attributed to a God; that is to
say, to the world, in which it is inevitable that that perfect and
complete reason should be inherent. Nor is it possible that it should
be said with justice that there is any arrangement of things in which
there cannot be something entire and perfect. For as in a vine or in
beasts we see that nature, if not prevented by some superior violence,
proceeds by her own appropriate path to her destined end; and as in
painting, architecture, and the other arts there is a point of
perfection which is attainable, and occasionally attained, so it is
even much more necessary that in universal nature there must be some
complete and perfect result arrived at. Many external accidents may
happen to all other natures which may impede their progress to
perfection, but nothing can hinder universal nature, because she is
herself the ruler and governor of all other natures. That, therefore,
must be the fourth and most elevated degree to which no other power can

But this degree is that on which the nature of all things is placed;
and since she is possessed of this, and she presides over all things,
and is subject to no possible impediment, the world must necessarily be
an intelligent and even a wise being. But how marvellously great is the
ignorance of those men who dispute the perfection of that nature which
encircles all things; or who, allowing it to be infinitely perfect, yet
deny it to be, in the first place, animated, then reasonable, and,
lastly, prudent and wise! For how without these qualities could it be
infinitely perfect? If it were like vegetables, or even like beasts,
there would be no more reason for thinking it extremely good than
extremely bad; and if it were possessed of reason, and had not wisdom
from the beginning, the world would be in a worse condition than man;
for man may grow wise, but the world, if it were destitute of wisdom
through an infinite space of time past, could never acquire it. Thus it
would be worse than man. But as that is absurd to imagine, the world
must be esteemed wise from all eternity, and consequently a Deity:
since there is nothing existing that is not defective, except the
universe, which is well provided, and fully complete and perfect in all
its numbers and parts.

XIV. For Chrysippus says, very acutely, that as the case is made for
the buckler, and the scabbard for the sword, so all things, except the
universe, were made for the sake of something else. As, for instance,
all those crops and fruits which the earth produces were made for the
sake of animals, and animals for man; as, the horse for carrying, the
ox for the plough, the dog for hunting and for a guard. But man himself
was born to contemplate and imitate the world, being in no wise
perfect, but, if I may so express myself, a particle of perfection; but
the world, as it comprehends all, and as nothing exists that is not
contained in it, is entirely perfect. In what, therefore, can it be
defective, since it is perfect? It cannot want understanding and
reason, for they are the most desirable of all qualities. The same
Chrysippus observes also, by the use of similitudes, that everything in
its kind, when arrived at maturity and perfection, is superior to that
which is not--as, a horse to a colt, a dog to a puppy, and a man to a
boy--so whatever is best in the whole universe must exist in some
complete and perfect being. But nothing is more perfect than the world,
and nothing better than virtue. Virtue, therefore, is an attribute of
the world. But human nature is not perfect, and nevertheless virtue is
produced in it: with how much greater reason, then, do we conceive it
to be inherent in the world! Therefore the world has virtue, and it is
also wise, and consequently a Deity.

XV. The divinity of the world being now clearly perceived, we must
acknowledge the same divinity to be likewise in the stars, which are
formed from the lightest and purest part of the ether, without a
mixture of any other matter; and, being altogether hot and transparent,
we may justly say they have life, sense, and understanding. And
Cleanthes thinks that it may be established by the evidence of two of
our senses--feeling and seeing--that they are entirely fiery bodies;
for the heat and brightness of the sun far exceed any other fire,
inasmuch as it enlightens the whole universe, covering such a vast
extent of space, and its power is such that we perceive that it not
only warms, but often even burns: neither of which it could do if it
were not of a fiery quality. Since, then, says he, the sun is a fiery
body, and is nourished by the vapors of the ocean (for no fire can
continue without some sustenance), it must be either like that fire
which we use to warm us and dress our food, or like that which is
contained in the bodies of animals.

And this fire, which the convenience of life requires, is the devourer
and consumer of everything, and throws into confusion and destroys
whatever it reaches. On the contrary, the corporeal heat is full of
life, and salutary; and vivifies, preserves, cherishes, increases, and
sustains all things, and is productive of sense; therefore, says he,
there can be no doubt which of these fires the sun is like, since it
causes all things in their respective kinds to flourish and arrive to
maturity; and as the fire of the sun is like that which is contained in
the bodies of animated beings, the sun itself must likewise be
animated, and so must the other stars also, which arise out of the
celestial ardor that we call the sky, or firmament.

As, then, some animals are generated in the earth, some in the water,
and some in the air, Aristotle[123] thinks it ridiculous to imagine
that no animal is formed in that part of the universe which is the most
capable to produce them. But the stars are situated in the ethereal
space; and as this is an element the most subtle, whose motion is
continual, and whose force does not decay, it follows, of necessity,
that every animated being which is produced in it must be endowed with
the quickest sense and the swiftest motion. The stars, therefore, being
there generated, it is a natural inference to suppose them endued with
such a degree of sense and understanding as places them in the rank of

XVI. For it may be observed that they who inhabit countries of a pure,
clear air have a quicker apprehension and a readier genius than those
who live in a thick, foggy climate. It is thought likewise that the
nature of a man's diet has an effect on the mind; therefore it is
probable that the stars are possessed of an excellent understanding,
inasmuch as they are situated in the ethereal part of the universe, and
are nourished by the vapors of the earth and sea, which are purified by
their long passage to the heavens. But the invariable order and regular
motion of the stars plainly manifest their sense and understanding; for
all motion which seems to be conducted with reason and harmony supposes
an intelligent principle, that does not act blindly, or inconsistently,
or at random. And this regularity and consistent course of the stars
from all eternity indicates not any natural order, for it is pregnant
with sound reason, not fortune (for fortune, being a friend to change,
despises consistency). It follows, therefore, that they move
spontaneously by their own sense and divinity.

Aristotle also deserves high commendation for his observation that
everything that moves is either put in motion by natural impulse, or by
some external force, or of its own accord; and that the sun, and moon,
and all the stars move; but that those things which are moved by
natural impulse are either borne downward by their weight, or upward by
their lightness; neither of which things could be the case with the
stars, because they move in a regular circle and orbit. Nor can it be
said that there is some superior force which causes the stars to be
moved in a manner contrary to nature. For what superior force can there
be? It follows, therefore, that their motion must be voluntary. And
whoever is convinced of this must discover not only great ignorance,
but great impiety likewise, if he denies the existence of the Gods; nor
is the difference great whether a man denies their existence, or
deprives them of all design and action; for whatever is wholly inactive
seems to me not to exist at all. Their existence, therefore, appears so
plain that I can scarcely think that man in his senses who denies it.

XVII. It now remains that we consider what is the character of the
Gods. Nothing is more difficult than to divert our thoughts and
judgment from the information of our corporeal sight, and the view of
objects which our eyes are accustomed to; and it is this difficulty
which has had such an influence on the unlearned, and on
philosophers[124] also who resembled the unlearned multitude, that they
have been unable to form any idea of the immortal Gods except under the
clothing of the human figure; the weakness of which opinion Cotta has
so well confuted that I need not add my thoughts upon it. But as the
previous idea which we have of the Deity comprehends two things--first
of all, that he is an animated being; secondly, that there is nothing
in all nature superior to him--I do not see what can be more consistent
with this idea and preconception than to attribute a mind and divinity
to the world,[125] the most excellent of all beings.

Epicurus may be as merry with this notion as he pleases; a man not the
best qualified for a joker, as not having the wit and sense of his
country.[126] Let him say that a voluble round Deity is to him
incomprehensible; yet he shall never dissuade me from a principle which
he himself approves, for he is of opinion there are Gods when he allows
that there must be a nature excellently perfect. But it is certain that
the world is most excellently perfect: nor is it to be doubted that
whatever has life, sense, reason, and understanding must excel that
which is destitute of these things. It follows, then, that the world
has life, sense, reason, and understanding, and is consequently a
Deity. But this shall soon be made more manifest by the operation of
these very things which the world causes.

XVIII. In the mean while, Velleius, let me entreat you not to be always
saying that we are utterly destitute of every sort of learning. The
cone, you say, the cylinder, and the pyramid, are more beautiful to you
than the sphere. This is to have different eyes from other men. But
suppose they are more beautiful to the sight only, which does not
appear to me, for I can see nothing more beautiful than that figure
which contains all others, and which has nothing rough in it, nothing
offensive, nothing cut into angles, nothing broken, nothing swelling,
and nothing hollow; yet as there are two forms most esteemed,[127] the
globe in solids (for so the Greek word [Greek: sphaira], I think,
should be construed), and the circle, or orb, in planes (in Greek,
[Greek: kyklos]); and as they only have an exact similitude of parts in
which every extreme is equally distant from the centre, what can we
imagine in nature to be more just and proper? But if you have never
raked into this learned dust[128] to find out these things, surely, at
all events, you natural philosophers must know that equality of motion
and invariable order could not be preserved in any other figure.
Nothing, therefore, can be more illiterate than to assert, as you are
in the habit of doing, that it is doubtful whether the world is round
or not, because it may possibly be of another shape, and that there are
innumerable worlds of different forms; which Epicurus, if he ever had
learned that two and two are equal to four, would not have said. But
while he judges of what is best by his palate, he does not look up to
the "palace of heaven," as Ennius calls it.

XIX. For as there are two sorts of stars,[129] one kind of which
measure their journey from east to west by immutable stages, never in
the least varying from their usual course, while the other completes a
double revolution with an equally constant regularity; from each of
these facts we demonstrate the volubility of the world (which could not
possibly take place in any but a globular form) and the circular orbits
of the stars. And first of all the sun, which has the chief rank among
all the stars, is moved in such a manner that it fills the whole earth
with its light, and illuminates alternately one part of the earth,
while it leaves the other in darkness. The shadow of the earth
interposing causes night; and the intervals of night are equal to those
of day. And it is the regular approaches and retreats of the sun from
which arise the regulated degrees of cold and heat. His annual circuit
is in three hundred and sixty-five days, and nearly six hours
more.[130] At one time he bends his course to the north, at another to
the south, and thus produces summer and winter, with the other two
seasons, one of which succeeds the decline of winter, and the other
that of summer. And so to these four changes of the seasons we
attribute the origin and cause of all the productions both of sea and

The moon completes the same course every month which the sun does in a
year. The nearer she approaches to the sun, the dimmer light does she
yield, and when most remote from it she shines with the fullest
brilliancy; nor are her figure and form only changed in her wane, but
her situation likewise, which is sometimes in the north and sometimes
in the south. By this course she has a sort of summer and winter
solstices; and by her influence she contributes to the nourishment and
increase of animated beings, and to the ripeness and maturity of all

XX. But most worthy our admiration is the motion of those five stars
which are falsely called wandering stars; for they cannot be said to
wander which keep from all eternity their approaches and retreats, and
have all the rest of their motions, in one regular constant and
established order. What is yet more wonderful in these stars which we
are speaking of is that sometimes they appear, and sometimes they
disappear; sometimes they advance towards the sun, and sometimes they
retreat; sometimes they precede him, and sometimes follow him;
sometimes they move faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes they do not
stir in the least, but for a while stand still. From these unequal
motions of the planets, mathematicians have called that the "great
year"[131] in which the sun, moon, and five wandering stars, having
finished their revolutions, are found in their original situation. In
how long a time this is effected is much disputed, but it must be a
certain and definite period. For the planet Saturn (called by the
Greeks [Greek: Phainon]), which is farthest from the earth, finishes
his course in about thirty years; and in his course there is something
very singular, for sometimes he moves before the sun, sometimes he
keeps behind it; at one time lying hidden in the night, at another
again appearing in the morning; and ever performing the same motions in
the same space of time without any alteration, so as to be for infinite
ages regular in these courses. Beneath this planet, and nearer the
earth, is Jupiter, called [Greek: Phaethôn], which passes the same
orbit of the twelve signs[132] in twelve years, and goes through
exactly the same variety in its course that the star of Saturn does.
Next to Jupiter is the planet Mars (in Greek, [Greek: Pyroeis]), which
finishes its revolution through the same orbit as the two previously
mentioned,[133] in twenty-four months, wanting six days, as I imagine.
Below this is Mercury (called by the Greeks [Greek: Stilbôn]), which
performs the same course in little less than a year, and is never
farther distant from the sun than the space of one sign, whether it
precedes or follows it. The lowest of the five planets, and nearest the
earth, is that of Venus (called in Greek [Greek: Phôsphoros]). Before
the rising of the sun, it is called the morning-star, and after the
setting, the evening-star. It has the same revolution through the
zodiac, both as to latitude and longitude, with the other planets, in a
year, and never is more than two[134] signs from the sun, whether it
precedes or follows it.

XXI. I cannot, therefore, conceive that this constant course of the
planets, this just agreement in such various motions through all
eternity, can be preserved without a mind, reason, and consideration;
and since we may perceive these qualities in the stars, we cannot but
place them in the rank of Gods. Those which are called the fixed stars
have the same indications of reason and prudence. Their motion is
daily, regular, and constant. They do not move with the sky, nor have
they an adhesion to the firmament, as they who are ignorant of natural
philosophy affirm. For the sky, which is thin, transparent, and
suffused with an equal heat, does not seem by its nature to have power
to whirl about the stars, or to be proper to contain them. The fixed
stars, therefore, have their own sphere, separate and free from any
conjunction with the sky. Their perpetual courses, with that admirable
and incredible regularity of theirs, so plainly declare a divine power
and mind to be in them, that he who cannot perceive that they are also
endowed with divine power must be incapable of all perception whatever.

In the heavens, therefore, there is nothing fortuitous, unadvised,
inconstant, or variable: all there is order, truth, reason, and
constancy; and all the things which are destitute of these qualities
are counterfeit, deceitful, and erroneous, and have their residence
about the earth[135] beneath the moon, the lowest of all the planets.
He, therefore, who believes that this admirable order and almost
incredible regularity of the heavenly bodies, by which the preservation
and entire safety of all things is secured, is destitute of
intelligence, must be considered to be himself wholly destitute of all
intellect whatever.

I think, then, I shall not deceive myself in maintaining this dispute
upon the principle of Zeno, who went the farthest in his search after

XXII. Zeno, then, defines nature to be "an artificial fire, proceeding
in a regular way to generation;" for he thinks that to create and beget
are especial properties of art, and that whatever may be wrought by the
hands of our artificers is much more skilfully performed by nature,
that is, by this artificial fire, which is the master of all other

According to this manner of reasoning, every particular nature is
artificial, as it operates agreeably to a certain method peculiar to
itself; but that universal nature which embraces all things is said by
Zeno to be not only artificial, but absolutely the artificer, ever
thinking and providing all things useful and proper; and as every
particular nature owes its rise and increase to its own proper seed, so
universal nature has all her motions voluntary, has affections and
desires (by the Greeks called [Greek: hormas]) productive of actions
agreeable to them, like us, who have sense and understanding to direct
us. Such, then, is the intelligence of the universe; for which reason
it may be properly termed prudence or providence (in Greek, [Greek:
pronoia]), since her chiefest care and employment is to provide all
things fit for its duration, that it may want nothing, and, above all,
that it may be adorned with all perfection of beauty and ornament.

XXIII. Thus far have I spoken concerning the universe, and also of the
stars; from whence it is apparent that there is almost an infinite
number of Gods, always in action, but without labor or fatigue; for
they are not composed of veins, nerves, and bones; their food and drink
are not such as cause humors too gross or too subtle; nor are their
bodies such as to be subject to the fear of falls or blows, or in
danger of diseases from a weariness of limbs. Epicurus, to secure his
Gods from such accidents, has made them only outlines of Deities, void
of action; but our Gods being of the most beautiful form, and situated
in the purest region of the heavens, dispose and rule their course in
such a manner that they seem to contribute to the support and
preservation of all things.

Besides these, there are many other natures which have with reason been
deified by the wisest Grecians, and by our ancestors, in consideration
of the benefits derived from them; for they were persuaded that
whatever was of great utility to human kind must proceed from divine
goodness, and the name of the Deity was applied to that which the Deity
produced, as when we call corn Ceres, and wine Bacchus; whence that
saying of Terence,[136]

    Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus starves.

And any quality, also, in which there was any singular virtue was
nominated a Deity, such as Faith and Wisdom, which are placed among the
divinities in the Capitol; the last by Æmilius Scaurus, but Faith was
consecrated before by Atilius Calatinus. You see the temple of Virtue
and that of Honor repaired by M. Marcellus, erected formerly, in the
Ligurian war, by Q. Maximus. Need I mention those dedicated to Help,
Safety, Concord, Liberty, and Victory, which have been called Deities,
because their efficacy has been so great that it could not have
proceeded from any but from some divine power? In like manner are the
names of Cupid, Voluptas, and of Lubentine Venus consecrated, though
they were things vicious and not natural, whatever Velleius may think
to the contrary, for they frequently stimulate nature in too violent a
manner. Everything, then, from which any great utility proceeded was
deified; and, indeed, the names I have just now mentioned are
declaratory of the particular virtue of each Deity.

XXIV. It has been a general custom likewise, that men who have done
important service to the public should be exalted to heaven by fame and
universal consent. Thus Hercules, Castor and Pollux, Æsculapius, and
Liber became Gods (I mean Liber[137] the son of Semele, and not
him[138] whom our ancestors consecrated in such state and solemnity
with Ceres and Libera; the difference in which may be seen in our
Mysteries.[139] But because the offsprings of our bodies are called
"Liberi" (children), therefore the offsprings of Ceres are called Liber
and Libera (Libera[140] is the feminine, and Liber the masculine); thus
likewise Romulus, or Quirinus--for they are thought to be the
same--became a God.

They are justly esteemed as Deities, since their souls subsist and
enjoy eternity, from whence they are perfect and immortal beings.

There is another reason, too, and that founded on natural philosophy,
which has greatly contributed to the number of Deities; namely, the
custom of representing in human form a crowd of Gods who have supplied
the poets with fables, and filled mankind with all sorts of
superstition. Zeno has treated of this subject, but it has been
discussed more at length by Cleanthes and Chrysippus. All Greece was of
opinion that Coelum was castrated by his son Saturn,[141] and that
Saturn was chained by his son Jupiter. In these impious fables, a
physical and not inelegant meaning is contained; for they would denote
that the celestial, most exalted, and ethereal nature--that is, the
fiery nature, which produces all things by itself--is destitute of that
part of the body which is necessary for the act of generation by
conjunction with another.

XXV. By Saturn they mean that which comprehends the course and
revolution of times and seasons; the Greek name for which Deity implies
as much, for he is called [Greek: Kronos,] which is the same with
[Greek: Chronos], that is, a "space of time." But he is called Saturn,
because he is filled (_saturatur_) with years; and he is usually
feigned to have devoured his children, because time, ever insatiable,
consumes the rolling years; but to restrain him from immoderate haste,
Jupiter has confined him to the course of the stars, which are as
chains to him. Jupiter (that is, _juvans pater_) signifies a "helping
father," whom, by changing the cases, we call Jove,[142] _a juvando_.
The poets call him "father of Gods and men;"[143] and our ancestors
"the most good, the most great;" and as there is something more
glorious in itself, and more agreeable to others, to be good (that is,
beneficent) than to be great, the title of "most good" precedes that of
"most great." This, then, is he whom Ennius means in the following
passage, before quoted--

    Look up to the refulgent heaven above,
    Which all men call, unanimously, Jove:

which is more plainly expressed than in this other passage[144] of the
same poet--

    On whose account I'll curse that flood of light,
    Whate'er it is above that shines so bright.

Our augurs also mean the same, when, for the "thundering and lightning
heaven," they say the "thundering and lightning Jove." Euripides, among
many excellent things, has this:

    The vast, expanded, boundless sky behold,
    See it with soft embrace the earth enfold;
    This own the chief of Deities above,
    And this acknowledge by the name of Jove.

XXVI. The air, according to the Stoics, which is between the sea and
the heaven, is consecrated by the name of Juno, and is called the
sister and wife of Jove, because it resembles the sky, and is in close
conjunction with it. They have made it feminine, because there is
nothing softer. But I believe it is called Juno, _a juvando_ (from

To make three separate kingdoms, by fable, there remained yet the water
and the earth. The dominion of the sea is given, therefore, to Neptune,
a brother, as he is called, of Jove; whose name, Neptunus--as
_Portunus, a portu_, from a port--is derived _a nando_ (from swimming),
the first letters being a little changed. The sovereignty and power
over the earth is the portion of a God, to whom we, as well as the
Greeks, have given a name that denotes riches (in Latin, _Dis_; in
Greek, [Greek: Ploutôn]), because all things arise from the earth and
return to it. He forced away Proserpine (in Greek called [Greek:
Persephonê]), by which the poets mean the "seed of corn," from whence
comes their fiction of Ceres, the mother of Proserpine, seeking for her
daughter, who was hidden from her. She is called Ceres, which is the
same as Geres--_a gerendis frugibus_[145]--"from bearing fruit," the
first letter of the word being altered after the manner of the Greeks,
for by them she is called [Greek: Dêmêtêr], the same as [Greek:
Gêmêtêr].[146] Again, he (_qui magna vorteret_) "who brings about
mighty changes" is called Mavors; and Minerva is so called because
(_minueret_, or _minaretur_) she diminishes or menaces.

XXVII. And as the beginnings and endings of all things are of the
greatest importance, therefore they would have their sacrifices to
begin with Janus.[147] His name is derived _ab eundo_, from passing;
from whence thorough passages are called _jani_, and the outward doors
of common houses are called _januæ_. The name of Vesta is, from the
Greeks, the same with their [Greek: Hestia]. Her province is over
altars and hearths; and in the name of this Goddess, who is the keeper
of all things within, prayers and sacrifices are concluded. The _Dii
Penates_, "household Gods," have some affinity with this power, and are
so called either from _penus_, "all kind of human provisions," or
because _penitus insident_ (they reside within), from which, by the
poets, they are called _penetrales_ also. Apollo, a Greek name, is
called _Sol_, the sun; and Diana, _Luna_, the moon. The sun (_sol_) is
so named either because he is _solus_ (alone), so eminent above all the
stars; or because he obscures all the stars, and appears alone as soon
as he rises. _Luna_, the moon, is so called _a lucendo_ (from shining);
she bears the name also of Lucina: and as in Greece the women in labor
invoke Diana Lucifera, so here they invoke Juno Lucina. She is likewise
called Diana _omnivaga_, not _a venando_ (from hunting), but because
she is reckoned one of the seven stars that seem to wander.[148] She is
called Diana because she makes a kind of day of the night;[149] and
presides over births, because the delivery is effected sometimes in
seven, or at most in nine, courses of the moon; which, because they
make _mensa spatia_ (measured spaces), are called _menses_ (months).
This occasioned a pleasant observation of Timæus (as he has many).
Having said in his history that "the same night in which Alexander was
born, the temple of Diana at Ephesus was burned down," he adds, "It is
not in the least to be wondered at, because Diana, being willing to
assist at the labor of Olympias,[150] was absent from home." But to
this Goddess, because _ad res omnes veniret_--"she has an influence
upon all things"--we have given the appellation of Venus,[151] from
whom the word _venustas_ (beauty) is rather derived than Venus from

XXVIII. Do you not see, therefore, how, from the productions of nature
and the useful inventions of men, have arisen fictitious and imaginary
Deities, which have been the foundation of false opinions, pernicious
errors, and wretched superstitions? For we know how the different forms
of the Gods--their ages, apparel, ornaments; their pedigrees,
marriages, relations, and everything belonging to them--are adapted to
human weakness and represented with our passions; with lust, sorrow,
and anger, according to fabulous history: they have had wars and
combats, not only, as Homer relates, when they have interested
themselves in two different armies, but when they have fought battles
in their own defence against the Titans and giants. These stories, of
the greatest weakness and levity, are related and believed with the
most implicit folly.

But, rejecting these fables with contempt, a Deity is diffused in every
part of nature; in earth under the name of Ceres, in the sea under the
name of Neptune, in other parts under other names. Yet whatever they
are, and whatever characters and dispositions they have, and whatever
name custom has given them, we are bound to worship and adore them. The
best, the chastest, the most sacred and pious worship of the Gods is to
reverence them always with a pure, perfect, and unpolluted mind and
voice; for our ancestors, as well as the philosophers, have separated
superstition from religion. They who prayed whole days and sacrificed,
that their children might survive them (_ut superstites essent_), were
called superstitious, which word became afterward more general; but
they who diligently perused, and, as we may say, read or practised over
again, all the duties relating to the worship of the Gods, were called
_religiosi_--religious, from _relegendo_--"reading over again, or
practising;" as _elegantes_, elegant, _ex eligendo_, "from choosing,
making a good choice;" _diligentes_, diligent, _ex diligendo_, "from
attending on what we love;" _intelligentes_, intelligent, from
understanding--for the signification is derived in the same manner.
Thus are the words superstitious and religious understood; the one
being a term of reproach, the other of commendation. I think I have now
sufficiently demonstrated that there are Gods, and what they are.

XXIX. I am now to show that the world is governed by the providence of
the Gods. This is an important point, which you Academics endeavor to
confound; and, indeed, the whole contest is with you, Cotta; for your
sect, Velleius, know very little of what is said on different subjects
by other schools. You read and have a taste only for your own books,
and condemn all others without examination. For instance, when you
mentioned yesterday[152] that prophetic old dame [Greek: Pronoia],
Providence, invented by the Stoics, you were led into that error by
imagining that Providence was made by them to be a particular Deity
that governs the whole universe, whereas it is only spoken in a short
manner; as when it is said "The commonwealth of Athens is governed by
the council," it is meant "of the Areopagus;"[153] so when we say "The
world is governed by providence," we mean "by the providence of the
Gods." To express ourselves, therefore, more fully and clearly, we say,
"The world is governed by the providence of the Gods." Be not,
therefore, lavish of your railleries, of which your sect has little to
spare: if I may advise you, do not attempt it. It does not become you,
it is not your talent, nor is it in your power. This is not applied to
you in particular who have the education and politeness of a Roman, but
to all your sect in general, and especially to your leader[154]--a man
unpolished, illiterate, insulting, without wit, without reputation,
without elegance.

XXX. I assert, then, that the universe, with all its parts, was
originally constituted, and has, without any cessation, been ever
governed by the providence of the Gods. This argument we Stoics
commonly divide into three parts; the first of which is, that the
existence of the Gods being once known, it must follow that the world
is governed by their wisdom; the second, that as everything is under
the direction of an intelligent nature, which has produced that
beautiful order in the world, it is evident that it is formed from
animating principles; the third is deduced from those glorious works
which we behold in the heavens and the earth.

First, then, we must either deny the existence of the Gods (as
Democritus and Epicurus by their doctrine of images in some sort do),
or, if we acknowledge that there are Gods, we must believe they are
employed, and that, too, in something excellent. Now, nothing is so
excellent as the administration of the universe. The universe,
therefore, is governed by the wisdom of the Gods. Otherwise, we must
imagine that there is some cause superior to the Deity, whether it be a
nature inanimate, or a necessity agitated by a mighty force, that
produces those beautiful works which we behold. The nature of the Gods
would then be neither supreme nor excellent, if you subject it to that
necessity or to that nature, by which you would make the heaven, the
earth, and the seas to be governed. But there is nothing superior to
the Deity; the world, therefore, must be governed by him: consequently,
the Deity is under no obedience or subjection to nature, but does
himself rule over all nature. In effect, if we allow the Gods have
understanding, we allow also their providence, which regards the most
important things; for, can they be ignorant of those important things,
and how they are to be conducted and preserved, or do they want power
to sustain and direct them? Ignorance is inconsistent with the nature
of the Gods, and imbecility is repugnant to their majesty. From whence
it follows, as we assert, that the world is governed by the providence
of the Gods.

XXXI. But supposing, which is incontestable, that there are Gods, they
must be animated, and not only animated, but endowed with
reason--united, as we may say, in a civil agreement and society, and
governing together one universe, as a republic or city. Thus the same
reason, the same verity, the same law, which ordains good and prohibits
evil, exists in the Gods as it does in men. From them, consequently, we
have prudence and understanding, for which reason our ancestors erected
temples to the Mind, Faith, Virtue, and Concord. Shall we not then
allow the Gods to have these perfections, since we worship the sacred
and august images of them? But if understanding, faith, virtue, and
concord reside in human kind, how could they come on earth, unless from
heaven? And if we are possessed of wisdom, reason, and prudence, the
Gods must have the same qualities in a greater degree; and not only
have them, but employ them in the best and greatest works. The universe
is the best and greatest work; therefore it must be governed by the
wisdom and providence of the Gods.

Lastly, as we have sufficiently shown that those glorious and luminous
bodies which we behold are Deities--I mean the sun, the moon, the fixed
and wandering stars, the firmament, and the world itself, and those
other things also which have any singular virtue, and are of any great
utility to human kind--it follows that all things are governed by
providence and a divine mind. But enough has been said on the first

XXXII. It is now incumbent on me to prove that all things are subjected
to nature, and most beautifully directed by her. But, first of all, it
is proper to explain precisely what that nature is, in order to come to
the more easy understanding of what I would demonstrate. Some think
that nature is a certain irrational power exciting in bodies the
necessary motions. Others, that it is an intelligent power, acting by
order and method, designing some end in every cause, and always aiming
at that end, whose works express such skill as no art, no hand, can
imitate; for, they say, such is the virtue of its seed, that, however
small it is, if it falls into a place proper for its reception, and
meets with matter conducive to its nourishment and increase, it forms
and produces everything in its respective kind; either vegetables,
which receive their nourishment from their roots; or animals, endowed
with motion, sense, appetite, and abilities to beget their likeness.

Some apply the word nature to everything; as Epicurus does, who
acknowledges no cause, but atoms, a vacuum, and their accidents. But
when we[155] say that nature forms and governs the world, we do not
apply it to a clod of earth, or piece of stone, or anything of that
sort, whose parts have not the necessary cohesion,[156] but to a tree,
in which there is not the appearance of chance, but of order and a
resemblance of art.

XXXIII. But if the art of nature gives life and increase to vegetables,
without doubt it supports the earth itself; for, being impregnated with
seeds, she produces every kind of vegetable, and embracing their roots,
she nourishes and increases them; while, in her turn, she receives her
nourishment from the other elements, and by her exhalations gives
proper sustenance to the air, the sky, and all the superior bodies. If
nature gives vigor and support to the earth, by the same reason she has
an influence over the rest of the world; for as the earth gives
nourishment to vegetables, so the air is the preservation of animals.
The air sees with us, hears with us, and utters sounds with us; without
it, there would be no seeing, hearing, or sounding. It even moves with
us; for wherever we go, whatever motion we make, it seems to retire and
give place to us.

That which inclines to the centre, that which rises from it to the
surface, and that which rolls about the centre, constitute the
universal world, and make one entire nature; and as there are four
sorts of bodies, the continuance of nature is caused by their
reciprocal changes; for the water arises from the earth, the air from
the water, and the fire from the air; and, reversing this order, the
air arises from fire, the water from the air, and from the water the
earth, the lowest of the four elements, of which all beings are formed.
Thus by their continual motions backward and forward, upward and
downward, the conjunction of the several parts of the universe is
preserved; a union which, in the beauty we now behold it, must be
eternal, or at least of a very long duration, and almost for an
infinite space of time; and, whichever it is, the universe must of
consequence be governed by nature. For what art of navigating fleets,
or of marshalling an army, and--to instance the produce of nature--what
vine, what tree, what animated form and conformation of their members,
give us so great an indication of skill as appears in the universe?
Therefore we must either deny that there is the least trace of an
intelligent nature, or acknowledge that the world is governed by it.
But since the universe contains all particular beings, as well as their
seeds, can we say that it is not itself governed by nature? That would
be the same as saying that the teeth and the beard of man are the work
of nature, but that the man himself is not. Thus the effect would be
understood to be greater than the cause.

XXXIV. Now, the universe sows, as I may say, plants, produces, raises,
nourishes, and preserves what nature administers, as members and parts
of itself. If nature, therefore, governs them, she must also govern the
universe. And, lastly, in nature's administration there is nothing
faulty. She produced the best possible effect out of those elements
which existed. Let any one show how it could have been better. But that
can never be; and whoever attempts to mend it will either make it
worse, or aim at impossibilities.

But if all the parts of the universe are so constituted that nothing
could be better for use or beauty, let us consider whether this is the
effect of chance, or whether, in such a state they could possibly
cohere, but by the direction of wisdom and divine providence. Nature,
therefore, cannot be void of reason, if art can bring nothing to
perfection without it, and if the works of nature exceed those of art.
How is it consistent with common-sense that when you view an image or a
picture, you imagine it is wrought by art; when you behold afar off a
ship under sail, you judge it is steered by reason and art; when you
see a dial or water-clock,[157] you believe the hours are shown by art,
and not by chance; and yet that you should imagine that the universe,
which contains all arts and the artificers, can be void of reason and

But if that sphere which was lately made by our friend Posidonius, the
regular revolutions of which show the course of the sun, moon, and five
wandering stars, as it is every day and night performed, were carried
into Scythia or Britain, who, in those barbarous countries, would doubt
that that sphere had been made so perfect by the exertion of reason?

XXXV. Yet these people[158] doubt whether the universe, from whence all
things arise and are made, is not the effect of chance, or some
necessity, rather than the work of reason and a divine mind. According
to them, Archimedes shows more knowledge in representing the motions of
the celestial globe than nature does in causing them, though the copy
is so infinitely beneath the original. The shepherd in Attius,[159] who
had never seen a ship, when he perceived from a mountain afar off the
divine vessel of the Argonauts, surprised and frighted at this new
object, expressed himself in this manner:

    What horrid bulk is that before my eyes,
    Which o'er the deep with noise and vigor flies?
    It turns the whirlpools up, its force so strong,
    And drives the billows as it rolls along.
    The ocean's violence it fiercely braves;
    Runs furious on, and throws about the waves.
    Swiftly impetuous in its course, and loud,
    Like the dire bursting of a show'ry cloud;
    Or, like a rock, forced by the winds and rain,
    Now whirl'd aloft, then plunged into the main.
    But hold! perhaps the Earth and Neptune jar,
    And fiercely wage an elemental war;
    Or Triton with his trident has o'erthrown
    His den, and loosen'd from the roots the stone;
    The rocky fragment, from the bottom torn,
    Is lifted up, and on the surface borne.

At first he is in suspense at the sight of this unknown object; but on
seeing the young mariners, and hearing their singing, he says,

    Like sportive dolphins, with their snouts they roar;[160]

and afterward goes on,

    Loud in my ears methinks their voices ring,
    As if I heard the God Sylvanus sing.

As at first view the shepherd thinks he sees something inanimate and
insensible, but afterward, judging by more trustworthy indications, he
begins to figure to himself what it is; so philosophers, if they are
surprised at first at the sight of the universe, ought, when they have
considered the regular, uniform, and immutable motions of it, to
conceive that there is some Being that is not only an inhabitant of
this celestial and divine mansion, but a ruler and a governor, as
architect of this mighty fabric.

XXXVI. Now, in my opinion, they[161] do not seem to have even the least
suspicion that the heavens and earth afford anything marvellous. For,
in the first place, the earth is situated in the middle part of the
universe, and is surrounded on all sides by the air, which we breathe,
and which is called "aer,"[162] which, indeed, is a Greek word; but by
constant use it is well understood by our countrymen, for, indeed, it
is employed as a Latin word. The air is encompassed by the boundless
ether (sky), which consists of the fires above. This word we borrow
also, for we use _æther_ in Latin as well as _aer;_ though Pacuvius
thus expresses it,

                       --This, of which I speak,
    In Latin's _coelum_, _æther_ call'd in Greek.

As though he were not a Greek into whose mouth he puts this sentence;
but he is speaking in Latin, though we listen as if he were speaking
Greek; for, as he says elsewhere,

    His speech discovers him a Grecian born.

But to return to more important matters. In the sky innumerable fiery
stars exist, of which the sun is the chief, enlightening all with his
refulgent splendor, and being by many degrees larger than the whole
earth; and this multitude of vast fires are so far from hurting the
earth, and things terrestrial, that they are of benefit to them;
whereas, if they were moved from their stations, we should inevitably
be burned through the want of a proper moderation and temperature of

XXXVII. Is it possible for any man to behold these things, and yet
imagine that certain solid and individual bodies move by their natural
force and gravitation, and that a world so beautifully adorned was made
by their fortuitous concourse? He who believes this may as well believe
that if a great quantity of the one-and-twenty letters, composed either
of gold or any other matter, were thrown upon the ground, they would
fall into such order as legibly to form the Annals of Ennius. I doubt
whether fortune could make a single verse of them. How, therefore, can
these people assert that the world was made by the fortuitous concourse
of atoms, which have no color, no quality--which the Greeks call
[Greek: poiotês], no sense? or that there are innumerable worlds, some
rising and some perishing, in every moment of time? But if a concourse
of atoms can make a world, why not a porch, a temple, a house, a city,
which are works of less labor and difficulty?

Certainly those men talk so idly and inconsiderately concerning this
lower world that they appear to me never to have contemplated the
wonderful magnificence of the heavens; which is the next topic for our

Well, then, did Aristotle[163] observe: "If there were men whose
habitations had been always underground, in great and commodious
houses, adorned with statues and pictures, furnished with everything
which they who are reputed happy abound with; and if, without stirring
from thence, they should be informed of a certain divine power and
majesty, and, after some time, the earth should open, and they should
quit their dark abode to come to us, where they should immediately
behold the earth, the seas, the heavens; should consider the vast
extent of the clouds and force of the winds; should see the sun, and
observe his grandeur and beauty, and also his generative power,
inasmuch as day is occasioned by the diffusion of his light through the
sky; and when night has obscured the earth, they should contemplate the
heavens bespangled and adorned with stars, the surprising variety of
the moon in her increase and wane, the rising and setting of all the
stars, and the inviolable regularity of their courses; when," says he,
"they should see these things, they would undoubtedly conclude that
there are Gods, and that these are their mighty works."

XXXVIII. Thus far Aristotle. Let us imagine, also, as great darkness as
was formerly occasioned by the irruption of the fires of Mount Ætna,
which are said to have obscured the adjacent countries for two days to
such a degree that no man could recognize his fellow; but on the third,
when the sun appeared, they seemed to be risen from the dead. Now, if
we should be suddenly brought from a state of eternal darkness to see
the light, how beautiful would the heavens seem! But our minds have
become used to it from the daily practice and habituation of our eyes,
nor do we take the trouble to search into the principles of what is
always in view; as if the novelty, rather than the importance, of
things ought to excite us to investigate their causes.

Is he worthy to be called a man who attributes to chance, not to an
intelligent cause, the constant motion of the heavens, the regular
courses of the stars, the agreeable proportion and connection of all
things, conducted with so much reason that our intellect itself is
unable to estimate it rightly? When we see machines move artificially,
as a sphere, a clock, or the like, do we doubt whether they are the
productions of reason? And when we behold the heavens moving with a
prodigious celerity, and causing an annual succession of the different
seasons of the year, which vivify and preserve all things, can we doubt
that this world is directed, I will not say only by reason, but by
reason most excellent and divine? For without troubling ourselves with
too refined a subtlety of discussion, we may use our eyes to
contemplate the beauty of those things which we assert have been
arranged by divine providence.

XXXIX. First, let us examine the earth, whose situation is in the
middle of the universe,[164] solid, round, and conglobular by its
natural tendency; clothed with flowers, herbs, trees, and fruits; the
whole in multitudes incredible, and with a variety suitable to every
taste: let us consider the ever-cool and running springs, the clear
waters of the rivers, the verdure of their banks, the hollow depths of
caves, the cragginess of rocks, the heights of impending mountains, and
the boundless extent of plains, the hidden veins of gold and silver,
and the infinite quarries of marble.

What and how various are the kinds of animals, tame or wild? The
flights and notes of birds? How do the beasts live in the fields and in
the forests? What shall I say of men, who, being appointed, as we may
say, to cultivate the earth, do not suffer its fertility to be choked
with weeds, nor the ferocity of beasts to make it desolate; who, by the
houses and cities which they build, adorn the fields, the isles, and
the shores? If we could view these objects with the naked eye, as we
can by the contemplation of the mind, nobody, at such a sight, would
doubt there was a divine intelligence.

But how beautiful is the sea! How pleasant to see the extent of it!
What a multitude and variety of islands! How delightful are the coasts!
What numbers and what diversity of inhabitants does it contain; some
within the bosom of it, some floating on the surface, and others by
their shells cleaving to the rocks! While the sea itself, approaching
to the land, sports so closely to its shores that those two elements
appear to be but one.

Next above the sea is the air, diversified by day and night: when
rarefied, it possesses the higher region; when condensed, it turns into
clouds, and with the waters which it gathers enriches the earth by the
rain. Its agitation produces the winds. It causes heat and cold
according to the different seasons. It sustains birds in their flight;
and, being inhaled, nourishes and preserves all animated beings.

XL. Add to these, which alone remaineth to be mentioned, the firmament
of heaven, a region the farthest from our abodes, which surrounds and
contains all things. It is likewise called ether, or sky, the extreme
bounds and limits of the universe, in which the stars perform their
appointed courses in a most wonderful manner; among which, the sun,
whose magnitude far surpasses the earth, makes his revolution round it,
and by his rising and setting causes day and night; sometimes coming
near towards the earth, and sometimes going from it, he every year
makes two contrary reversions[165] from the extreme point of its
course. In his retreat the earth seems locked up in sadness; in his
return it appears exhilarated with the heavens. The moon, which, as
mathematicians demonstrate, is bigger than half the earth, makes her
revolutions through the same spaces[166] as the sun; but at one time
approaching, and at another receding from, the sun, she diffuses the
light which she has borrowed from him over the whole earth, and has
herself also many various changes in her appearance. When she is found
under the sun, and opposite to it, the brightness of her rays is lost;
but when the earth directly interposes between the moon and sun, the
moon is totally eclipsed. The other wandering stars have their courses
round the earth in the same spaces,[167] and rise and set in the same
manner; their motions are sometimes quick, sometimes slow, and often
they stand still. There is nothing more wonderful, nothing more
beautiful. There is a vast number of fixed stars, distinguished by the
names of certain figures, to which we find they have some resemblance.

XLI. I will here, says Balbus, looking at me, make use of the verses
which, when you were young, you translated from Aratus,[168] and which,
because they are in Latin, gave me so much delight that I have many of
them still in my memory. As then, we daily see, without any change or

                                     --the rest[169]
    Swiftly pursue the course to which they're bound;
    And with the heavens the days and nights go round;

the contemplation of which, to a mind desirous of observing the
constancy of nature, is inexhaustible.

    The extreme top of either point is call'd
    The pole.[170]

About this the two [Greek: Arktoi] are turned, which never set;

    Of these, the Greeks one Cynosura call,
    The other Helice.[171]

The brightest stars,[172] indeed, of Helice are discernible all night,

    Which are by us Septentriones call'd.

Cynosura moves about the same pole, with a like number of stars, and
ranged in the same order:

    This[173] the Phoenicians choose to make their guide
    When on the ocean in the night they ride.
    Adorned with stars of more refulgent light,
    The other[174] shines, and first appears at night.
    Though this is small, sailors its use have found;
    More inward is its course, and short its round.

XLII. The aspect of those stars is the more admirable, because,

    The Dragon grim between them bends his way,
    As through the winding banks the currents stray,
    And up and down in sinuous bending rolls.[175]

His whole form is excellent; but the shape of his head and the ardor of
his eyes are most remarkable.

    Various the stars which deck his glittering head;
    His temples are with double glory spread;
    From his fierce eyes two fervid lights afar
    Flash, and his chin shines with one radiant star;
    Bow'd is his head; and his round neck he bends,
    And to the tail of Helice[176] extends.

The rest of the Dragon's body we see[177] at every hour in the night.

    Here[178] suddenly the head a little hides
    Itself, where all its parts, which are in sight,
    And those unseen in the same place unite.

Near to this head

    Is placed the figure of a man that moves
    Weary and sad,

which the Greeks

    Engonasis do call, because he's borne[179]
    About with bended knee. Near him is placed
    The crown with a refulgent lustre graced.

This indeed is at his back; but Anguitenens (the Snake-holder) is near
his head:[180]

    The Greeks him Ophiuchus call, renown'd
    The name. He strongly grasps the serpent round
    With both his hands; himself the serpent folds
    Beneath his breast, and round his middle holds;
    Yet gravely he, bright shining in the skies,
    Moves on, and treads on Nepa's[181] breast and eyes.

The Septentriones[182] are followed by--

    Arctophylax,[183] that's said to be the same
    Which we Boötes call, who has the name,
    Because he drives the Greater Bear along
    Yoked to a wain.

Besides, in Boötes,

    A star of glittering rays about his waist,
    Arcturus called, a name renown'd, is placed.[184]

Beneath which is

    The Virgin of illustrious form, whose hand
    Holds a bright spike.

XLIII. And truly these signs are so regularly disposed that a divine
wisdom evidently appears in them:

    Beneath the Bear's[185] head have the Twins their seat,
    Under his chest the Crab, beneath his feet
    The mighty Lion darts a trembling flame.[186]

The Charioteer

    On the left side of Gemini we see,[187]
    And at his head behold fierce Helice;
    On his left shoulder the bright Goat appears.

But to proceed--

    This is indeed a great and glorious star,
    On th' other side the Kids, inferior far,
    Yield but a slender light to mortal eyes.

Under his feet

    The horned bull,[188] with sturdy limbs, is placed:

his head is spangled with a number of stars;

    These by the Greeks are called the Hyades,

from raining; for [Greek: hyein] is to rain: therefore they are
injudiciously called _Suculæ_ by our people, as if they had their name
from [Greek: hys], a sow, and not from [Greek: hyô].

Behind the Lesser Bear, Cepheus[189] follows with extended hands,

    For close behind the Lesser Bear he comes.

Before him goes

    Cassiopea[190] with a faintish light;
    But near her moves (fair and illustrious sight!)
    Andromeda,[191] who, with an eager pace,
    Seems to avoid her parent's mournful face.[192]
    With glittering mane the Horse[193] now seems to tread,
    So near he comes, on her refulgent head;
    With a fair star, that close to him appears,
    A double form[194] and but one light he wears;
    By which he seems ambitious in the sky
    An everlasting knot of stars to tie.
    Near him the Ram, with wreathed horns, is placed;

by whom

    The Fishes[195] are; of which one seems to haste
    Somewhat before the other, to the blast
    Of the north wind exposed.

XLIV. Perseus is described as placed at the feet of Andromeda:

    And him the sharp blasts of the north wind beat.
    Near his left knee, but dim their light, their seat
    The small Pleiades[196] maintain. We find,
    Not far from them, the Lyre[197] but slightly join'd.
    Next is the winged Bird,[198] that seems to fly
    Beneath the spacious covering of the sky.

Near the head of the Horse[199] lies the right hand of Aquarius, then
all Aquarius himself.[200]

    Then Capricorn, with half the form of beast,
    Breathes chill and piercing colds from his strong breast,
    And in a spacious circle takes his round;
    When him, while in the winter solstice bound,
    The sun has visited with constant light,
    He turns his course, and shorter makes the night.[201]

Not far from hence is seen

    The Scorpion[202] rising lofty from below;
    By him the Archer,[203] with his bended bow;
    Near him the Bird, with gaudy feathers spread;
    And the fierce Eagle[204] hovers o'er his head.

Next comes the Dolphin;[205]

    Then bright Orion,[206] who obliquely moves;

he is followed by

    The fervent Dog,[207] bright with refulgent stars:

next the Hare follows[208]

    Unwearied in his course. At the Dog's tail
    Argo[209] moves on, and moving seems to sail;
    O'er her the Ram and Fishes have their place;[210]
    The illustrious vessel touches, in her pace,
    The river's banks;[211]

which you may see winding and extending itself to a great length.

    The Fetters[212] at the Fishes' tails are hung.
    By Nepa's[213] head behold the Altar stand,[214]
    Which by the breath of southern winds is fann'd;

near which the Centaur[215]

    Hastens his mingled parts to join beneath
    The Serpent,[216] there extending his right hand,
    To where you see the monstrous Scorpion stand,
    Which he at the bright Altar fiercely slays.
    Here on her lower parts see Hydra[217] raise

whose bulk is very far extended.

    Amid the winding of her body's placed
    The shining Goblet;[218] and the glossy Crow[219]
    Plunges his beak into her parts below.
    Antecanis beneath the Twins is seen,
    Call'd Procyon by the Greeks.[220]

Can any one in his senses imagine that this disposition of the stars,
and this heaven so beautifully adorned, could ever have been formed by
a fortuitous concourse of atoms? Or what other nature, being destitute
of intellect and reason, could possibly have produced these effects,
which not only required reason to bring them about, but the very
character of which could not be understood and appreciated without the
most strenuous exertions of well-directed reason?

XLV. But our admiration is not limited to the objects here described.
What is most wonderful is that the world is so durable, and so
perfectly made for lasting that it is not to be impaired by time; for
all its parts tend equally to the centre, and are bound together by a
sort of chain, which surrounds the elements. This chain is nature,
which being diffused through the universe, and performing all things
with judgment and reason, attracts the extremities to the centre.

If, then, the world is round, and if on that account all its parts,
being of equal dimensions and relative proportions, mutually support
and are supported by one another, it must follow that as all the parts
incline to the centre (for that is the lowest place of a globe) there
is nothing whatever which can put a stop to that propensity in the case
of such great weights. For the same reason, though the sea is higher
than the earth, yet because it has the like tendency, it is collected
everywhere, equally concentres, and never overflows, and is never

The air, which is contiguous, ascends by its lightness, but diffuses
itself through the whole; therefore it is by nature joined and united
to the sea, and at the same time borne by the same power towards the
heaven, by the thinness and heat of which it is so tempered as to be
made proper to supply life and wholesome air for the support of
animated beings. This is encompassed by the highest region of the
heavens, which is called the sky, which is joined to the extremity of
the air, but retains its own heat pure and unmixed.

XLVI. The stars have their revolutions in the sky, and are continued by
the tendency of all parts towards the centre. Their duration is
perpetuated by their form and figure, for they are round; which form,
as I think has been before observed, is the least liable to injury; and
as they are composed of fire, they are fed by the vapors which are
exhaled by the sun from the earth, the sea, and other waters; but when
these vapors have nourished and refreshed the stars, and the whole sky,
they are sent back to be exhaled again; so that very little is lost or
consumed by the fire of the stars and the flame of the sky. Hence we
Stoics conclude--which Panætius[221] is said to have doubted of--that
the whole world at last would be consumed by a general conflagration,
when, all moisture being exhausted, neither the earth could have any
nourishment, nor the air return again, since water, of which it is
formed, would then be all consumed; so that only fire would subsist;
and from this fire, which is an animating power and a Deity, a new
world would arise and be re-established in the same beauty.

I should be sorry to appear to you to dwell too long upon this subject
of the stars, and more especially upon that of the planets, whose
motions, though different, make a very just agreement. Saturn, the
highest, chills; Mars, placed in the middle, burns; while Jupiter,
interposing, moderates their excess, both of light and heat. The two
planets beneath Mars[222] obey the sun. The sun himself fills the whole
universe with his own genial light; and the moon, illuminated by him,
influences conception, birth, and maturity. And who is there who is not
moved by this union of things, and by this concurrence of nature
agreeing together, as it were, for the safety of the world? And yet I
feel sure that none of these reflections have ever been made by these

XLVII. Let us proceed from celestial to terrestrial things. What is
there in them which does not prove the principle of an intelligent
nature? First, as to vegetables; they have roots to sustain their
stems, and to draw from the earth a nourishing moisture to support the
vital principle which those roots contain. They are clothed with a rind
or bark, to secure them more thoroughly from heat and cold. The vines
we see take hold on props with their tendrils, as if with hands, and
raise themselves as if they were animated; it is even said that they
shun cabbages and coleworts, as noxious and pestilential to them, and,
if planted by them, will not touch any part.

But what a vast variety is there of animals! and how wonderfully is
every kind adapted to preserve itself! Some are covered with hides,
some clothed with fleeces, and some guarded with bristles; some are
sheltered with feathers, some with scales; some are armed with horns,
and some are furnished with wings to escape from danger. Nature hath
also liberally and plentifully provided for all animals their proper
food. I could expatiate on the judicious and curious formation and
disposition of their bodies for the reception and digestion of it, for
all their interior parts are so framed and disposed that there is
nothing superfluous, nothing that is not necessary for the preservation
of life. Besides, nature has also given these beasts appetite and
sense; in order that by the one they may be excited to procure
sufficient sustenance, and by the other they may distinguish what is
noxious from what is salutary. Some animals seek their food walking,
some creeping, some flying, and some swimming; some take it with their
mouth and teeth; some seize it with their claws, and some with their
beaks; some suck, some graze, some bolt it whole, and some chew it.
Some are so low that they can with ease take such food as is to be
found on the ground; but the taller, as geese, swans, cranes, and
camels, are assisted by a length of neck. To the elephant is given a
hand,[223] without which, from his unwieldiness of body, he would
scarce have any means of attaining food.

XLVIII. But to those beasts which live by preying on others, nature has
given either strength or swiftness. On some animals she has even
bestowed artifice and cunning; as on spiders, some of which weave a
sort of net to entrap and destroy whatever falls into it, others sit on
the watch unobserved to fall on their prey and devour it. The naker--by
the Greeks called _Pinna_--has a kind of confederacy with the prawn for
procuring food. It has two large shells open, into which when the
little fishes swim, the naker, having notice given by the bite of the
prawn, closes them immediately. Thus, these little animals, though of
different kinds, seek their food in common; in which it is matter of
wonder whether they associate by any agreement, or are naturally joined
together from their beginning.

There is some cause to admire also the provision of nature in the case
of those aquatic animals which are generated on land, such as
crocodiles, river-tortoises, and a certain kind of serpents, which seek
the water as soon as they are able to drag themselves along. We
frequently put duck-eggs under hens, by which, as by their true
mothers, the ducklings are at first hatched and nourished; but when
they see the water, they forsake them and run to it, as to their
natural abode: so strong is the impression of nature in animals for
their own preservation.

XLIX. I have read that there is a bird called Platalea (the shoveller),
that lives by watching those fowls which dive into the sea for their
prey, and when they return with it, he squeezes their heads with his
beak till they drop it, and then seizes on it himself. It is said
likewise that he is in the habit of filling his stomach with
shell-fish, and when they are digested by the heat which exists in the
stomach, they cast them up, and then pick out what is proper
nourishment. The sea-frogs, they say, are wont to cover themselves with
sand, and moving near the water, the fishes strike at them, as at a
bait, and are themselves taken and devoured by the frogs. Between the
kite and the crow there is a kind of natural war, and wherever the one
finds the eggs of the other, he breaks them.

But who is there who can avoid being struck with wonder at that which
has been noticed by Aristotle, who has enriched us with so many
valuable remarks? When the cranes[224] pass the sea in search of warmer
climes, they fly in the form of a triangle. By the first angle they
repel the resisting air; on each side, their wings serve as oars to
facilitate their flight; and the basis of their triangle is assisted by
the wind in their stern. Those which are behind rest their necks and
heads on those which precede; and as the leader has not the same
relief, because he has none to lean upon, he at length flies behind
that he may also rest, while one of those which have been eased
succeeds him, and through the whole flight each regularly takes his

I could produce many instances of this kind; but these may suffice. Let
us now proceed to things more familiar to us. The care of beasts for
their own preservation, their circumspection while feeding, and their
manner of taking rest in their lairs, are generally known, but still
they are greatly to be admired.

L. Dogs cure themselves by a vomit, the Egyptian ibis by a purge; from
whence physicians have lately--I mean but few ages since--greatly
improved their art. It is reported that panthers, which in barbarous
countries are taken with poisoned flesh, have a certain remedy[225]
that preserves them from dying; and that in Crete, the wild goats, when
they are wounded with poisoned arrows, seek for an herb called dittany,
which, when they have tasted, the arrows (they say) drop from their
bodies. It is said also that deer, before they fawn, purge themselves
with a little herb called hartswort.[226] Beasts, when they receive any
hurt, or fear it, have recourse to their natural arms: the bull to his
horns, the boar to his tusks, and the lion to his teeth. Some take to
flight, others hide themselves; the cuttle-fish vomits[227] blood; the
cramp-fish benumbs; and there are many animals that, by their
intolerable stink, oblige their pursuers to retire.

LI. But that the beauty of the world might be eternal, great care has
been taken by the providence of the Gods to perpetuate the different
kinds of animals, and vegetables, and trees, and all those things which
sink deep into the earth, and are contained in it by their roots and
trunks; in order to which every individual has within itself such
fertile seed that many are generated from one; and in vegetables this
seed is enclosed in the heart of their fruit, but in such abundance
that men may plentifully feed on it, and the earth be always replanted.

With regard to animals, do we not see how aptly they are formed for the
propagation of their species? Nature for this end created some males
and some females. Their parts are perfectly framed for generation, and
they have a wonderful propensity to copulation. When the seed has
fallen on the matrix, it draws almost all the nourishment to itself, by
which the foetus is formed; but as soon as it is discharged from
thence, if it is an animal that is nourished by milk, almost all the
food of the mother turns into milk, and the animal, without any
direction but by the pure instinct of nature, immediately hunts for the
teat, and is there fed with plenty. What makes it evidently appear that
there is nothing in this fortuitous, but the work of a wise and
foreseeing nature, is, that those females which bring forth many young,
as sows and bitches, have many teats, and those which bear a small
number have but few. What tenderness do beasts show in preserving and
raising up their young till they are able to defend themselves! They
say, indeed, that fish, when they have spawned, leave their eggs; but
the water easily supports them, and produces the young fry in

LII. It is said, likewise, that tortoises and crocodiles, when they
have laid their eggs on the land, only cover them with earth, and then
leave them, so that their young are hatched and brought up without
assistance; but fowls and other birds seek for quiet places to lay in,
where they build their nests in the softest manner, for the surest
preservation of their eggs; which, when they have hatched, they defend
from the cold by the warmth of their wings, or screen them from the
sultry heat of the sun. When their young begin to be able to use their
wings, they attend and instruct them; and then their cares are at an

Human art and industry are indeed necessary towards the preservation
and improvement of certain animals and vegetables; for there are
several of both kinds which would perish without that assistance. There
are likewise innumerable facilities (being different in different
places) supplied to man to aid him in his civilization, and in
procuring abundantly what he requires. The Nile waters Egypt, and after
having overflowed and covered it the whole summer, it retires, and
leaves the fields softened and manured for the reception of seed. The
Euphrates fertilizes Mesopotamia, into which, as we may say, it carries
yearly new fields.[228] The Indus, which is the largest of all
rivers,[229] not only improves and cultivates the ground, but sows it
also; for it is said to carry with it a great quantity of grain. I
could mention many other countries remarkable for something singular,
and many fields, which are, in their own natures, exceedingly fertile.

LIII. But how bountiful is nature that has provided for us such an
abundance of various and delicious food; and this varying with the
different seasons, so that we may be constantly pleased with change,
and satisfied with abundance! How seasonable and useful to man, to
beasts, and even to vegetables, are the Etesian winds[230] she has
bestowed, which moderate intemperate heat, and render navigation more
sure and speedy! Many things must be omitted on a subject so
copious--and still a great deal must be said--for it is impossible to
relate the great utility of rivers, the flux and reflux of the sea, the
mountains clothed with grass and trees, the salt-pits remote from the
sea-coasts, the earth replete with salutary medicines, or, in short,
the innumerable designs of nature necessary for sustenance and the
enjoyment of life. We must not forget the vicissitudes of day and
night, ordained for the health of animated beings, giving them a time
to labor and a time to rest. Thus, if we every way examine the
universe, it is apparent, from the greatest reason, that the whole is
admirably governed by a divine providence for the safety and
preservation of all beings.

If it should be asked for whose sake this mighty fabric was raised,
shall we say for trees and other vegetables, which, though destitute of
sense, are supported by nature? That would be absurd. Is it for beasts?
Nothing can be less probable than that the Gods should have taken such
pains for beings void of speech and understanding. For whom, then, will
any one presume to say that the world was made? Undoubtedly for
reasonable beings; these are the Gods and men, who are certainly the
most perfect of all beings, as nothing is equal to reason. It is
therefore credible that the universe, and all things in it, were made
for the Gods and for men.

But we may yet more easily comprehend that the Gods have taken great
care of the interests and welfare of men, if we examine thoroughly into
the structure of the body, and the form and perfection of human nature.
There are three things absolutely necessary for the support of life--to
eat, to drink, and to breathe. For these operations the mouth is most
aptly framed, which, by the assistance of the nostrils, draws in the
more air.

LIV. The teeth are there placed to divide and grind the food.[231] The
fore-teeth, being sharp and opposite to each other, cut it asunder, and
the hind-teeth (called the grinders) chew it, in which office the
tongue seems to assist. At the root of the tongue is the gullet, which
receives whatever is swallowed: it touches the tonsils on each side,
and terminates at the interior extremity of the palate. When, by the
motions of the tongue, the food is forced into this passage, it
descends, and those parts of the gullet which are below it are dilated,
and those above are contracted. There is another passage, called by
physicians the rough artery,[232] which reaches to the lungs, for the
entrance and return of the air we breathe; and as its orifice is joined
to the roots of the tongue a little above the part to which the gullet
is annexed, it is furnished with a sort of coverlid,[233] lest, by the
accidental falling of any food into it, the respiration should be

As the stomach, which is beneath the gullet, receives the meat and
drink, so the lungs and the heart draw in the air from without. The
stomach is wonderfully composed, consisting almost wholly of nerves; it
abounds with membranes and fibres, and detains what it receives,
whether solid or liquid, till it is altered and digested. It sometimes
contracts, sometimes dilates. It blends and mixes the food together, so
that it is easily concocted and digested by its force of heat, and by
the animal spirits is distributed into the other parts of the body.

LV. As to the lungs, they are of a soft and spongy substance, which
renders them the most commodious for respiration; they alternately
dilate and contract to receive and return the air, that what is the
chief animal sustenance may be always fresh. The juice,[234] by which
we are nourished, being separated from the rest of the food, passes the
stomach and intestines to the liver, through open and direct passages,
which lead from the mesentery to the gates of the liver (for so they
call those vessels at the entrance of it). There are other passages
from thence, through which the food has its course when it has passed
the liver. When the bile, and those humors which proceed from the
kidneys, are separated from the food, the remaining part turns to
blood, and flows to those vessels at the entrance of the liver to which
all the passages adjoin. The chyle, being conveyed from this place
through them into the vessel called the hollow vein, is mixed together,
and, being already digested and distilled, passes into the heart; and
from the heart it is communicated through a great number of veins to
every part of the body.

It is not difficult to describe how the gross remains are detruded by
the motion of the intestines, which contract and dilate; but that must
be declined, as too indelicate for discourse. Let us rather explain
that other wonder of nature, the air, which is drawn into the lungs,
receives heat both by that already in and by the coagitation of the
lungs; one part is turned back by respiration, and the other is
received into a place called the ventricle of the heart.[235] There is
another ventricle like it annexed to the heart, into which the blood
flows from the liver through the hollow vein. Thus by one ventricle the
blood is diffused to the extremities through the veins, and by the
other the breath is communicated through the arteries; and there are
such numbers of both dispersed through the whole body that they
manifest a divine art.

Why need I speak of the bones, those supports of the body, whose joints
are so wonderfully contrived for stability, and to render the limbs
complete with regard to motion and to every action of the body? Or need
I mention the nerves, by which the limbs are governed--their many
interweavings, and their proceeding from the heart,[236] from whence,
like the veins and arteries, they have their origin, and are
distributed through the whole corporeal frame?

LVI. To this skill of nature, and this care of providence, so diligent
and so ingenious, many reflections may be added, which show what
valuable things the Deity has bestowed on man. He has made us of a
stature tall and upright, in order that we might behold the heavens,
and so arrive at the knowledge of the Gods; for men are not simply to
dwell here as inhabitants of the earth, but to be, as it were,
spectators of the heavens and the stars, which is a privilege not
granted to any other kind of animated beings. The senses, which are the
interpreters and messengers of things, are placed in the head, as in a
tower, and wonderfully situated for their proper uses; for the eyes,
being in the highest part, have the office of sentinels, in discovering
to us objects; and the ears are conveniently placed in a high part of
the person, being appointed to receive sound, which naturally ascends.
The nostrils have the like situation, because all scent likewise
ascends; and they have, with great reason, a near vicinity to the
mouth, because they assist us in judging of meat and drink. The taste,
which is to distinguish the quality of what we take; is in that part of
the mouth where nature has laid open a passage for what we eat and
drink. But the touch is equally diffused through the whole body, that
we may not receive any blows, or the too rigid attacks of cold and
heat, without feeling them. And as in building the architect averts
from the eyes and nose of the master those things which must
necessarily be offensive, so has nature removed far from our senses
what is of the same kind in the human body.

LVII. What artificer but nature, whose direction is incomparable, could
have exhibited so much ingenuity in the formation of the senses? In the
first place, she has covered and invested the eyes with the finest
membranes, which she hath made transparent, that we may see through
them, and firm in their texture, to preserve the eyes. She has made
them slippery and movable, that they might avoid what would offend
them, and easily direct the sight wherever they will. The actual organ
of sight, which is called the pupil, is so small that it can easily
shun whatever might be hurtful to it. The eyelids, which are their
coverings, are soft and smooth, that they may not injure the eyes; and
are made to shut at the apprehension of any accident, or to open at
pleasure; and these movements nature has ordained to be made in an
instant: they are fortified with a sort of palisade of hairs, to keep
off what may be noxious to them when open, and to be a fence to their
repose when sleep closes them, and allows them to rest as if they were
wrapped up in a case. Besides, they are commodiously hidden and
defended by eminences on every side; for on the upper part the eyebrows
turn aside the perspiration which falls from the head and forehead; the
cheeks beneath rise a little, so as to protect them on the lower side;
and the nose is placed between them as a wall of separation.

The hearing is always open, for that is a sense of which we are in need
even while we are sleeping; and the moment that any sound is admitted
by it we are awakened even from sleep. It has a winding passage, lest
anything should slip into it, as it might if it were straight and
simple. Nature also hath taken the same precaution in making there a
viscous humor, that if any little creatures should endeavor to creep
in, they might stick in it as in bird-lime. The ears (by which we mean
the outward part) are made prominent, to cover and preserve the
hearing, lest the sound should be dissipated and escape before the
sense is affected. Their entrances are hard and horny, and their form
winding, because bodies of this kind better return and increase the
sound. This appears in the harp, lute, or horn;[237] and from all
tortuous and enclosed places sounds are returned stronger.

The nostrils, in like manner, are ever open, because we have a
continual use for them; and their entrances also are rather narrow,
lest anything noxious should enter them; and they have always a
humidity necessary for the repelling dust and many other extraneous
bodies. The taste, having the mouth for an enclosure, is admirably
situated, both in regard to the use we make of it and to its security.

LVIII. Besides, every human sense is much more exquisite than those of
brutes; for our eyes, in those arts which come under their judgment,
distinguish with great nicety; as in painting, sculpture, engraving,
and in the gesture and motion of bodies. They understand the beauty,
proportion, and, as I may so term it, the becomingness of colors and
figures; they distinguish things of greater importance, even virtues
and vices; they know whether a man is angry or calm, cheerful or sad,
courageous or cowardly, bold or timorous.

The judgment of the ears is not less admirably and scientifically
contrived with regard to vocal and instrumental music. They distinguish
the variety of sounds, the measure, the stops, the different sorts of
voices, the treble and the base, the soft and the harsh, the sharp and
the flat, of which human ears only are capable to judge. There is
likewise great judgment in the smell, the taste, and the touch; to
indulge and gratify which senses more arts have been invented than I
could wish: it is apparent to what excess we have arrived in the
composition of our perfumes, the preparation of our food, and the
enjoyment of corporeal pleasures.

LIX. Again, he who does not perceive the soul and mind of man, his
reason, prudence, and discernment, to be the work of a divine
providence, seems himself to be destitute of those faculties. While I
am on this subject, Cotta, I wish I had your eloquence: how would you
illustrate so fine a subject! You would show the great extent of the
understanding; how we collect our ideas, and join those which follow to
those which precede; establish principles, draw consequences, define
things separately, and comprehend them with accuracy; from whence you
demonstrate how great is the power of intelligence and knowledge, which
is such that even God himself has no qualities more admirable. How
valuable (though you Academics despise and even deny that we have it)
is our knowledge of exterior objects, from the perception of the senses
joined to the application of the mind; by which we see in what relation
one thing stands to another, and by the aid of which we have invented
those arts which are necessary for the support and pleasure of life.
How charming is eloquence! How divine that mistress of the universe, as
you call it! It teaches us what we were ignorant of, and makes us
capable of teaching what we have learned. By this we exhort others; by
this we persuade them; by this we comfort the afflicted; by this we
deliver the affrighted from their fear; by this we moderate excessive
joy; by this we assuage the passions of lust and anger. This it is
which bound men by the chains of right and law, formed the bonds of
civil society, and made us quit a wild and savage life.

And it will appear incredible, unless you carefully observe the facts,
how complete the work of nature is in giving us the use of speech; for,
first of all, there is an artery from the lungs to the bottom of the
mouth, through which the voice, having its original principle in the
mind, is transmitted. Then the tongue is placed in the mouth, bounded
by the teeth. It softens and modulates the voice, which would otherwise
be confusedly uttered; and, by pushing it to the teeth and other parts
of the mouth, makes the sound distinct and articulate. We Stoics,
therefore, compare the tongue to the bow of an instrument, the teeth to
the strings, and the nostrils to the sounding-board.

LX. But how commodious are the hands which nature has given to man, and
how beautifully do they minister to many arts! For, such is the
flexibility of the joints, that our fingers are closed and opened
without any difficulty. With their help, the hand is formed for
painting, carving, and engraving; for playing on stringed instruments,
and on the pipe. These are matters of pleasure. There are also works of
necessity, such as tilling the ground, building houses, making cloth
and habits, and working in brass and iron. It is the business of the
mind to invent, the senses to perceive, and the hands to execute; so
that if we have buildings, if we are clothed, if we live in safety, if
we have cities, walls, habitations, and temples, it is to the hands we
owe them.

By our labor, that is, by our hands, variety and plenty of food are
provided; for, without culture, many fruits, which serve either for
present or future consumption, would not be produced; besides, we feed
on flesh, fish, and fowl, catching some, and bringing up others. We
subdue four-footed beasts for our carriage, whose speed and strength
supply our slowness and inability. On some we put burdens, on others
yokes. We convert the sagacity of the elephant and the quick scent of
the dog to our own advantage. Out of the caverns of the earth we dig
iron, a thing entirely necessary for the cultivation of the ground. We
discover the hidden veins of copper, silver, and gold, advantageous for
our use and beautiful as ornaments. We cut down trees, and use every
kind of wild and cultivated timber, not only to make fire to warm us
and dress our meat, but also for building, that we may have houses to
defend us from the heat and cold. With timber likewise we build ships,
which bring us from all parts every commodity of life. We are the only
animals who, from our knowledge of navigation, can manage what nature
has made the most violent--the sea and the winds. Thus we obtain from
the ocean great numbers of profitable things. We are the absolute
masters of what the earth produces. We enjoy the mountains and the
plains. The rivers and the lakes are ours. We sow the seed, and plant
the trees. We fertilize the earth by overflowing it. We stop, direct,
and turn the rivers: in short, by our hands we endeavor, by our various
operations in this world, to make, as it were, another nature.

LXI. But what shall I say of human reason? Has it not even entered the
heavens? Man alone of all animals has observed the courses of the
stars, their risings and settings. By man the day, the month, the year,
is determined. He foresees the eclipses of the sun and moon, and
foretells them to futurity, marking their greatness, duration, and
precise time. From the contemplation of these things the mind extracts
the knowledge of the Gods--a knowledge which produces piety, with which
is connected justice, and all the other virtues; from which arises a
life of felicity, inferior to that of the Gods in no single particular,
except in immortality, which is not absolutely necessary to happy
living. In explaining these things, I think that I have sufficiently
demonstrated the superiority of man to other animated beings; from
whence we should infer that neither the form and position of his limbs
nor that strength of mind and understanding could possibly be the
effect of chance.

LXII. I am now to prove, by way of conclusion, that every thing in this
world of use to us was made designedly for us.

First of all, the universe was made for the Gods and men, and all
things therein were prepared and provided for our service. For the
world is the common habitation or city of the Gods and men; for they
are the only reasonable beings: they alone live by justice and law. As,
therefore, it must be presumed the cities of Athens and Lacedæmon were
built for the Athenians and Lacedæmonians, and as everything there is
said to belong to those people, so everything in the universe may with
propriety be said to belong to the Gods and men, and to them alone.

In the next place, though the revolutions of the sun, moon, and all the
stars are necessary for the cohesion of the universe, yet may they be
considered also as objects designed for the view and contemplation of
man. There is no sight less apt to satiate the eye, none more
beautiful, or more worthy to employ our reason and penetration. By
measuring their courses we find the different seasons, their durations
and vicissitudes, which, if they are known to men alone, we must
believe were made only for their sake.

Does the earth bring forth fruit and grain in such excessive abundance
and variety for men or for brutes? The plentiful and exhilarating fruit
of the vine and the olive-tree are entirely useless to beasts. They
know not the time for sowing, tilling, or for reaping in season and
gathering in the fruits of the earth, or for laying up and preserving
their stores. Man alone has the care and advantage of these things.

LXIII. Thus, as the lute and the pipe were made for those, and those
only, who are capable of playing on them, so it must be allowed that
the produce of the earth was designed for those only who make use of
them; and though some beasts may rob us of a small part, it does not
follow that the earth produced it also for them. Men do not store up
corn for mice and ants, but for their wives, their children, and their
families. Beasts, therefore, as I said before, possess it by stealth,
but their masters openly and freely. It is for us, therefore, that
nature hath provided this abundance. Can there be any doubt that this
plenty and variety of fruit, which delight not only the taste, but the
smell and sight, was by nature intended for men only? Beasts are so far
from being partakers of this design, that we see that even they
themselves were made for man; for of what utility would sheep be,
unless for their wool, which, when dressed and woven, serves us for
clothing? For they are not capable of anything, not even of procuring
their own food, without the care and assistance of man. The fidelity of
the dog, his affectionate fawning on his master, his aversion to
strangers, his sagacity in finding game, and his vivacity in pursuit of
it, what do these qualities denote but that he was created for our use?
Why need I mention oxen? We perceive that their backs were not formed
for carrying burdens, but their necks were naturally made for the yoke,
and their strong broad shoulders to draw the plough. In the Golden Age,
which poets speak of, they were so greatly beneficial to the husbandman
in tilling the fallow ground that no violence was ever offered them,
and it was even thought a crime to eat them:

    The Iron Age began the fatal trade
    Of blood, and hammer'd the destructive blade;
    Then men began to make the ox to bleed,
    And on the tamed and docile beast to feed[238].

LXIV. It would take a long time to relate the advantages which we
receive from mules and asses, which undoubtedly were designed for our
use. What is the swine good for but to eat? whose life, Chrysippus
says, was given it but as salt[239] to keep it from putrefying; and as
it is proper food for man, nature hath made no animal more fruitful.
What a multitude of birds and fishes are taken by the art and
contrivance of man only, and which are so delicious to our taste that
one would be tempted sometimes to believe that this Providence which
watches over us was an Epicurean! Though we think there are some
birds--the alites and oscines[240], as our augurs call them--which were
made merely to foretell events.

The large savage beasts we take by hunting, partly for food, partly to
exercise ourselves in imitation of martial discipline, and to use those
we can tame and instruct, as elephants, or to extract remedies for our
diseases and wounds, as we do from certain roots and herbs, the virtues
of which are known by long use and experience. Represent to yourself
the whole earth and seas as if before your eyes. You will see the vast
and fertile plains, the thick, shady mountains, the immense pasturage
for cattle, and ships sailing over the deep with incredible celerity;
nor are our discoveries only on the face of the earth, but in its
secret recesses there are many useful things, which being made for man,
by man alone are discovered.

LXV. Another, and in my opinion the strongest, proof that the
providence of the Gods takes care of us is divination, which both of
you, perhaps, will attack; you, Cotta, because Carneades took pleasure
in inveighing against the Stoics; and you, Velleius, because there is
nothing Epicurus ridicules so much as the prediction of events. Yet the
truth of divination appears in many places, on many occasions, often in
private, but particularly in public concerns. We receive many
intimations from the foresight and presages of augurs and auspices;
from oracles, prophecies, dreams, and prodigies; and it often happens
that by these means events have proved happy to men, and imminent
dangers have been avoided. This knowledge, therefore--call it either a
kind of transport, or an art, or a natural faculty--is certainly found
only in men, and is a gift from the immortal Gods. If these proofs,
when taken separately, should make no impression upon your mind, yet,
when collected together, they must certainly affect you.

Besides, the Gods not only provide for mankind universally, but for
particular men. You may bring this universality to gradually a smaller
number, and again you may reduce that smaller number to individuals.

LXVI. For if the reasons which I have given prove to all of us that the
Gods take care of all men, in every country, in every part of the world
separate from our continent, they take care of those who dwell on the
same land with us, from east to west; and if they regard those who
inhabit this kind of great island, which we call the globe of the
earth, they have the like regard for those who possess the parts of
this island--Europe, Asia, and Africa; and therefore they favor the
parts of these parts, as Rome, Athens, Sparta, and Rhodes; and
particular men of these cities, separate from the whole; as Curius,
Fabricius, Coruncanius, in the war with Pyrrhus; in the first Punic
war, Calatinus, Duillius, Metellus, Lutatius; in the second, Maximus,
Marcellus, Africanus; after these, Paullus, Gracchus, Cato; and in our
fathers' times, Scipio, Lælius. Rome also and Greece have produced many
illustrious men, who we cannot believe were so without the assistance
of the Deity; which is the reason that the poets, Homer in particular,
joined their chief heroes--Ulysses, Agamemnon, Diomedes, Achilles--to
certain Deities, as companions in their adventures and dangers.
Besides, the frequent appearances of the Gods, as I have before
mentioned, demonstrate their regard for cities and particular men. This
is also apparent indeed from the foreknowledge of events, which we
receive either sleeping or waking. We are likewise forewarned of many
things by the entrails of victims, by presages, and many other means,
which have been long observed with such exactness as to produce an art
of divination.

There never, therefore, was a great man without divine inspiration. If
a storm should damage the corn or vineyard of a person, or any accident
should deprive him of some conveniences of life, we should not judge
from thence that the Deity hates or neglects him. The Gods take care of
great things, and disregard the small. But to truly great men all
things ever happen prosperously; as has been sufficiently asserted and
proved by us Stoics, as well as by Socrates, the prince of
philosophers, in his discourses on the infinite advantages arising from

LXVII. This is almost the whole that hath occurred to my mind on the
nature of the Gods, and what I thought proper to advance. Do you,
Cotta, if I may advise, defend the same cause. Remember that in Rome
you keep the first rank; remember that you are Pontifex; and as your
school is at liberty to argue on which side you please[241], do you
rather take mine, and reason on it with that eloquence which you
acquired by your rhetorical exercises, and which the Academy improved;
for it is a pernicious and impious custom to argue against the Gods,
whether it be done seriously, or only in pretence and out of sport.

       *       *       *       *       *


I. When Balbus had ended this discourse, then Cotta, with a smile,
rejoined, You direct me too late which side to defend; for during the
course of your argument I was revolving in my mind what objections to
make to what you were saying, not so much for the sake of opposition,
as of obliging you to explain what I did not perfectly comprehend; and
as every one may use his own judgment, it is scarcely possible for me
to think in every instance exactly what you wish.

You have no idea, O Cotta, said Velleius, how impatient I am to hear
what you have to say. For since our friend Balbus was highly delighted
with your discourse against Epicurus, I ought in my turn to be
solicitous to hear what you can say against the Stoics; and I therefore
will give you my best attention, for I believe you are, as usual, well
prepared for the engagement.

I wish, by Hercules! I were, replies Cotta; for it is more difficult to
dispute with Lucilius than it was with you. Why so? says Velleius.
Because, replies Cotta, your Epicurus, in my opinion, does not contend
strongly for the Gods: he only, for the sake of avoiding any
unpopularity or punishment, is afraid to deny their existence; for when
he asserts that the Gods are wholly inactive and regardless of
everything, and that they have limbs like ours, but make no use of
them, he seems to jest with us, and to think it sufficient if he allows
that there are beings of any kind happy and eternal. But with regard to
Balbus, I suppose you observed how many things were said by him, which,
however false they may be, yet have a perfect coherence and connection;
therefore, my design, as I said, in opposing him, is not so much to
confute his principles as to induce him to explain what I do not
clearly understand: for which reason, Balbus, I will give you the
choice, either to answer me every particular as I go on, or permit me
to proceed without interruption. If you want any explanation, replies
Balbus, I would rather you would propose your doubts singly; but if
your intention is rather to confute me than to seek instruction for
yourself, it shall be as you please; I will either answer you
immediately on every point, or stay till you have finished your

II. Very well, says Cotta; then let us proceed as our conversation
shall direct. But before I enter on the subject, I have a word to say
concerning myself; for I am greatly influenced by your authority, and
your exhortation at the conclusion of your discourse, when you desired
me to remember that I was Cotta and Pontifex; by which I presume you
intimated that I should defend the sacred rites and religion and
ceremonies which we received from our ancestors. Most undoubtedly I
always have, and always shall defend them, nor shall the arguments
either of the learned or unlearned ever remove the opinions which I
have imbibed from them concerning the worship of the immortal Gods. In
matters of religion I submit to the rules of the high-priests, T.
Coruncanius, P. Scipio, and P. Scævola; not to the sentiments of Zeno,
Cleanthes, or Chrysippus; and I pay a greater regard to what C. Lælius,
one of our augurs and wise men, has written concerning religion, in
that noble oration of his, than to the most eminent of the Stoics: and
as the whole religion of the Romans at first consisted in sacrifices
and divination by birds, to which have since been added predictions, if
the interpreters[242] of the Sibylline oracle or the aruspices have
foretold any event from portents and prodigies, I have ever thought
that there was no point of all these holy things which deserved to be
despised. I have been even persuaded that Romulus, by instituting
divination, and Numa, by establishing sacrifices, laid the foundation
of Rome, which undoubtedly would never have risen to such a height of
grandeur if the Gods had not been made propitious by this worship.
These, Balbus, are my sentiments both as a priest and as Cotta. But you
must bring me to your opinion by the force of your reason: for I have a
right to demand from you, as a philosopher, a reason for the religion
which you would have me embrace. But I must believe the religion of our
ancestors without any proof.

III. What proof, says Balbus, do you require of me? You have proposed,
says Cotta, four articles. First of all, you undertook to prove that
there "are Gods;" secondly, "of what kind and character they are;"
thirdly, that "the universe is governed by them;" lastly, that "they
provide for the welfare of mankind in particular." Thus, if I remember
rightly, you divided your discourse. Exactly so, replies Balbus; but
let us see what you require.

Let us examine, says Cotta, every proposition. The first one--that
there are Gods--is never contested but by the most impious of men; nay,
though it can never be rooted out of my mind, yet I believe it on the
authority of our ancestors, and not on the proofs which you have
brought. Why do you expect a proof from me, says Balbus, if you
thoroughly believe it? Because, says Cotta, I come to this discussion
as if I had never thought of the Gods, or heard anything concerning
them. Take me as a disciple wholly ignorant and unbiassed, and prove to
me all the points which I ask.

Begin, then, replies Balbus. I would first know, says Cotta, why you
have been so long in proving the existence of the Gods, which you said
was a point so very evident to all, that there was no need of any
proof? In that, answers Balbus, I have followed your example, whom I
have often observed, when pleading in the Forum, to load the judge with
all the arguments which the nature of your cause would permit. This
also is the practice of philosophers, and I have a right to follow it.
Besides, you may as well ask me why I look upon you with two eyes,
since I can see you with one.

IV. You shall judge, then, yourself, says Cotta, if this is a very just
comparison; for, when I plead, I do not dwell upon any point agreed to
be self-evident, because long reasoning only serves to confound the
clearest matters; besides, though I might take this method in pleading,
yet I should not make use of it in such a discourse as this, which
requires the nicest distinction. And with regard to your making use of
one eye only when you look on me, there is no reason for it, since
together they have the same view; and since nature, to which you
attribute wisdom, has been pleased to give us two passages by which we
receive light. But the truth is, that it was because you did not think
that the existence of the Gods was so evident as you could wish that
you therefore brought so many proofs. It was sufficient for me to
believe it on the tradition of our ancestors; and since you disregard
authorities, and appeal to reason, permit my reason to defend them
against yours. The proofs on which you found the existence of the Gods
tend only to render a proposition doubtful that, in my opinion, is not
so; I have not only retained in my memory the whole of these proofs,
but even the order in which you proposed them. The first was, that when
we lift up our eyes towards the heavens, we immediately conceive that
there is some divinity that governs those celestial bodies; on which
you quoted this passage--

    Look up to the refulgent heaven above,
    Which all men call, unanimously, Jove;

intimating that we should invoke that as Jupiter, rather than our
Capitoline Jove[243], or that it is evident to the whole world that
those bodies are Gods which Velleius and many others do not place even
in the rank of animated beings.

Another strong proof, in your opinion, was that the belief of the
existence of the Gods was universal, and that mankind was daily more
and more convinced of it. What! should an affair of such importance be
left to the decision of fools, who, by your sect especially, are called

V. But the Gods have appeared to us, as to Posthumius at the Lake
Regillus, and to Vatienus in the Salarian Way: something you mentioned,
too, I know not what, of a battle of the Locrians at Sagra. Do you
believe that the Tyndaridæ, as you called them; that is, men sprung
from men, and who were buried in Lacedæmon, as we learn from Homer, who
lived in the next age--do you believe, I say, that they appeared to
Vatienus on the road mounted on white horses, without any servant to
attend them, to tell the victory of the Romans to a country fellow
rather than to M. Cato, who was at that time the chief person of the
senate? Do you take that print of a horse's hoof which is now to be
seen on a stone at Regillus to be made by Castor's horse? Should you
not believe, what is probable, that the souls of eminent men, such as
the Tyndaridæ, are divine and immortal, rather than that those bodies
which had been reduced to ashes should mount on horses, and fight in an
army? If you say that was possible, you ought to show how it is so, and
not amuse us with fabulous old women's stories.

Do you take these for fabulous stories? says Balbus. Is not the temple,
built by Posthumius in honor of Castor and Pollux, to be seen in the
Forum? Is not the decree of the senate concerning Vatienus still
subsisting? As to the affair of Sagra, it is a common proverb among the
Greeks; when they would affirm anything strongly, they say "It is as
certain as what passed at Sagra." Ought not such authorities to move
you? You oppose me, replies Cotta, with stories, but I ask reasons of
you[244]. * * *

VI. We are now to speak of predictions. No one can avoid what is to
come, and, indeed, it is commonly useless to know it; for it is a
miserable case to be afflicted to no purpose, and not to have even the
last, the common comfort, hope, which, according to your principles,
none can have; for you say that fate governs all things, and call that
fate which has been true from all eternity. What advantage, then, is
the knowledge of futurity to us, or how does it assist us to guard
against impending evils, since it will come inevitably?

But whence comes that divination? To whom is owing that knowledge from
the entrails of beasts? Who first made observations from the voice of
the crow? Who invented the Lots?[245] Not that I give no credit to
these things, or that I despise Attius Navius's staff, which you
mentioned; but I ought to be informed how these things are understood
by philosophers, especially as the diviners are often wrong in their
conjectures. But physicians, you say, are likewise often mistaken. What
comparison can there be between divination, of the origin of which we
are ignorant, and physic, which proceeds on principles intelligible to
every one? You believe that the Decii,[246] in devoting themselves to
death, appeased the Gods. How great, then, was the iniquity of the Gods
that they could not be appeased but at the price of such noble blood!
That was the stratagem of generals such as the Greeks call [Greek:
stratêgêma], and it was a stratagem worthy such illustrious leaders,
who consulted the public good even at the expense of their lives: they
conceived rightly, what indeed happened, that if the general rode
furiously upon the enemy, the whole army would follow his example. As
to the voice of the Fauns, I never heard it. If you assure me that you
have, I shall believe you, though I really know not what a Faun is.

VII. I do not, then, O Balbus, from anything that you have said,
perceive as yet that it is proved that there are Gods. I believe it,
indeed, but not from any arguments of the Stoics. Cleanthes, you have
said, attributes the idea that men have of the Gods to four causes. In
the first place (as I have already sufficiently mentioned), to a
foreknowledge of future events; secondly, to tempests, and other shocks
of nature; thirdly, to the utility and plenty of things we enjoy;
fourthly, to the invariable order of the stars and the heavens. The
arguments drawn from foreknowledge I have already answered. With regard
to tempests in the air, the sea, and the earth, I own that many people
are affrighted by them, and imagine that the immortal Gods are the
authors of them.

But the question is, not whether there are people who believe that
there are Gods, but whether there are Gods or not. As to the two other
causes of Cleanthes, one of which is derived from the great abundance
of desirable things which we enjoy, the other from the invariable order
of the seasons and the heavens, I shall treat on them when I answer
your discourse concerning the providence of the Gods--a point, Balbus,
upon which you have spoken at great length. I shall likewise defer till
then examining the argument which you attribute to Chrysippus, that "if
there is in nature anything which surpasses the power of man to
produce, there must consequently be some being better than man." I
shall also postpone, till we come to that part of my argument, your
comparison of the world to a fine house, your observations on the
proportion and harmony of the universe, and those smart, short reasons
of Zeno which you quote; and I shall examine at the same time your
reasons drawn from natural philosophy, concerning that fiery force and
that vital heat which you regard as the principle of all things; and I
will investigate, in its proper place, all that you advanced the other
day on the existence of the Gods, and on the sense and understanding
which you attributed to the sun, the moon, and all the stars; and I
shall ask you this question over and over again, By what proofs are you
convinced yourself there are Gods?

VIII. I thought, says Balbus, that I had brought ample proofs to
establish this point. But such is your manner of opposing, that, when
you seem on the point of interrogating me, and when I am preparing to
answer, you suddenly divert the discourse, and give me no opportunity
to reply to you; and thus those most important points concerning
divination and fate are neglected which we Stoics have thoroughly
examined, but which your school has only slightly touched upon. But
they are not thought essential to the question in hand; therefore, if
you think proper, do not confuse them together, that we in this
discussion may come to a clear explanation of the subject of our
present inquiry.

Very well, says Cotta. Since, then, you have divided the whole question
into four parts, and I have said all that I had to say on the first, I
will take the second into consideration; in which, when you attempted
to show what the character of the Gods was, you seemed to me rather to
prove that there are none; for you said that it was the greatest
difficulty to draw our minds from the prepossessions of the eyes; but
that as nothing is more excellent than the Deity, you did not doubt
that the world was God, because there is nothing better in nature than
the world, and so we may reasonably think it animated, or, rather,
perceive it in our minds as clearly as if it were obvious to our eyes.

Now, in what sense do you say there is nothing better than the world?
If you mean that there is nothing more beautiful, I agree with you;
that there is nothing more adapted to our wants, I likewise agree with
you: but if you mean that nothing is wiser than the world, I am by no
means of your opinion. Not that I find it difficult to conceive
anything in my mind independent of my eyes; on the contrary, the more I
separate my mind from my eyes, the less I am able to comprehend your

IX. Nothing is better than the world, you say. Nor is there, indeed,
anything on earth better than the city of Rome; do you think,
therefore, that our city has a mind; that it thinks and reasons; or
that this most beautiful city, being void of sense, is not preferable
to an ant, because an ant has sense, understanding, reason, and memory?
You should consider, Balbus, what ought to be allowed you, and not
advance things because they please you.

For that old, concise, and, as it seemed to you, acute syllogism of
Zeno has been all which you have so much enlarged upon in handling this
topic: "That which reasons is superior to that which does not; nothing
is superior to the world; therefore the world reasons." If you would
prove also that the world can very well read a book, follow the example
of Zeno, and say, "That which can read is better than that which
cannot; nothing is better than the world; the world therefore can
read." After the same manner you may prove the world to be an orator, a
mathematician, a musician--that it possesses all sciences, and, in
short, is a philosopher. You have often said that God made all things,
and that no cause can produce an effect unlike itself. From hence it
will follow, not only that the world is animated, and is wise, but also
plays upon the fiddle and the flute, because it produces men who play
on those instruments. Zeno, therefore, the chief of your sect, advances
no argument sufficient to induce us to think that the world reasons,
or, indeed, that it is animated at all, and consequently none to think
it a Deity; though it may be said that there is nothing superior to it,
as there is nothing more beautiful, nothing more useful to us, nothing
more adorned, and nothing more regular in its motions. But if the
world, considered as one great whole, is not God, you should not surely
deify, as you have done, that infinite multitude of stars which only
form a part of it, and which so delight you with the regularity of
their eternal courses; not but that there is something truly wonderful
and incredible in their regularity; but this regularity of motion,
Balbus, may as well be ascribed to a natural as to a divine cause.

X. What can be more regular than the flux and reflux of the Euripus at
Chalcis, the Sicilian sea, and the violence of the ocean in those

                        where the rapid tide
    Does Europe from the Libyan coast divide?

The same appears on the Spanish and British coasts. Must we conclude
that some Deity appoints and directs these ebbings and flowings to
certain fixed times? Consider, I pray, if everything which is regular
in its motion is deemed divine, whether it will not follow that tertian
and quartan agues must likewise be so, as their returns have the
greatest regularity. These effects are to be explained by reason; but,
because you are unable to assign any, you have recourse to a Deity as
your last refuge.

The arguments of Chrysippus appeared to you of great weight; a man
undoubtedly of great quickness and subtlety (I call those quick who
have a sprightly turn of thought, and those subtle whose minds are
seasoned by use as their hands are by labor): "If," says he, "there is
anything which is beyond the power of man to produce, the being who
produces it is better than man. Man is unable to make what is in the
world; the being, therefore, that could do it is superior to man. What
being is there but a God superior to man? Therefore there is a God."

These arguments are founded on the same erroneous principles as Zeno's,
for he does not define what is meant by being better or more excellent,
or distinguish between an intelligent cause and a natural cause.
Chrysippus adds, "If there are no Gods, there is nothing better than
man; but we cannot, without the highest arrogance, have this idea of
ourselves." Let us grant that it is arrogance in man to think himself
better than the world; but to comprehend that he has understanding and
reason, and that in Orion and Canicula there is neither, is no
arrogance, but an indication of good sense. "Since we suppose,"
continues he, "when we see a beautiful house, that it was built for the
master, and not for mice, we should likewise judge that the world is
the mansion of the Gods." Yes, if I believed that the Gods built the
world; but not if, as I believe, and intend to prove, it is the work of

XI. Socrates, in Xenophon, asks, "Whence had man his understanding, if
there was none in the world?" And I ask, Whence had we speech, harmony,
singing; unless we think it is the sun conversing with the moon when
she approaches near it, or that the world forms an harmonious concert,
as Pythagoras imagines? This, Balbus, is the effect of nature; not of
that nature which proceeds artificially, as Zeno says, and the
character of which I shall presently examine into, but a nature which,
by its own proper motions and mutations, modifies everything.

For I readily agree to what you said about the harmony and general
agreement of nature, which you pronounced to be firmly bound and united
together, as it were, by ties of blood; but I do not approve of what
you added, that "it could not possibly be so, unless it were so united
by one divine spirit." On the contrary, the whole subsists by the power
of nature, independently of the Gods, and there is a kind of sympathy
(as the Greeks call it) which joins together all the parts of the
universe; and the greater that is in its own power, the less is it
necessary to have recourse to a divine intelligence.

XII. But how will you get rid of the objections which Carneades made?
"If," says he, "there is no body immortal, there is none eternal; but
there is no body immortal, nor even indivisible, or that cannot be
separated and disunited; and as every animal is in its nature passive,
so there is not one which is not subject to the impressions of
extraneous bodies; none, that is to say, which can avoid the necessity
of enduring and suffering: and if every animal is mortal, there is none
immortal; so, likewise, if every animal may be cut up and divided,
there is none indivisible, none eternal, but all are liable to be
affected by, and compelled to submit to, external power. Every animal,
therefore, is necessarily mortal, dissoluble, and divisible."

For as there is no wax, no silver, no brass which cannot be converted
into something else, whatever is composed of wax, or silver, or brass
may cease to be what it is. By the same reason, if all the elements are
mutable, every body is mutable.

Now, according to your doctrine, all the elements are mutable; all
bodies, therefore, are mutable. But if there were any body immortal,
then all bodies would not be mutable. Every body, then, is mortal; for
every body is either water, air, fire, or earth, or composed of the
four elements together, or of some of them. Now, there is not one of
all these elements that does not perish; for earthly bodies are
fragile: water is so soft that the least shock will separate its parts,
and fire and air yield to the least impulse, and are subject to
dissolution; besides, any of these elements perish when converted into
another nature, as when water is formed from earth, the air from water,
and the sky from air, and when they change in the same manner back
again. Therefore, if there is nothing but what is perishable in the
composition of all animals, there is no animal eternal.

XIII. But, not to insist on these arguments, there is no animal to be
found that had not a beginning, and will not have an end; for every
animal being sensitive, they are consequently all sensible of cold and
heat, sweet and bitter; nor can they have pleasing sensations without
being subject to the contrary. As, therefore, they receive pleasure,
they likewise receive pain; and whatever being is subject to pain must
necessarily be subject to death. It must be allowed, therefore, that
every animal is mortal.

Besides, a being that is not sensible of pleasure or pain cannot have
the essence of an animal; if, then, on the one hand, every animal must
be sensible of pleasure and pain, and if, on the other, every being
that has these sensations cannot be immortal, we may conclude that as
there is no animal insensible, there is none immortal. Besides, there
is no animal without inclination and aversion--an inclination to that
which is agreeable to nature, and an aversion to the contrary: there
are in the case of every animal some things which they covet, and
others they reject. What they reject are repugnant to their nature, and
consequently would destroy them. Every animal, therefore, is inevitably
subject to be destroyed. There are innumerable arguments to prove that
whatever is sensitive is perishable; for cold, heat, pleasure, pain,
and all that affects the sense, when they become excessive, cause
destruction. Since, then, there is no animal that is not sensitive,
there is none immortal.

XIV. The substance of an animal is either simple or compound; simple,
if it is composed only of earth, of fire, of air, or of water (and of
such a sort of being we can form no idea); compound, if it is formed of
different elements, which have each their proper situation, and have a
natural tendency to it--this element tending towards the highest parts,
that towards the lowest, and another towards the middle. This
conjunction may for some time subsist, but not forever; for every
element must return to its first situation. No animal, therefore, is

But your school, Balbus, allows fire only to be the sole active
principle; an opinion which I believe you derive from Heraclitus, whom
some men understand in one sense, some in another: but since he seems
unwilling to be understood, we will pass him by. You Stoics, then, say
that fire is the universal principle of all things; that all living
bodies cease to live on the extinction of that heat; and that
throughout all nature whatever is sensible of that heat lives and
flourishes. Now, I cannot conceive that bodies should perish for want
of heat, rather than for want of moisture or air, especially as they
even die through excess of heat; so that the life of animals does not
depend more on fire than on the other elements.

However, air and water have this quality in common with fire and heat.
But let us see to what this tends. If I am not mistaken, you believe
that in all nature there is nothing but fire, which is self-animated.
Why fire rather than air, of which the life of animals consists, and
which is called from thence _anima_,[248] the soul? But how is it that
you take it for granted that life is nothing but fire? It seems more
probable that it is a compound of fire and air. But if fire is
self-animated, unmixed with any other element, it must be sensitive,
because it renders our bodies sensitive; and the same objection which I
just now made will arise, that whatever is sensitive must necessarily
be susceptible of pleasure and pain, and whatever is sensible of pain
is likewise subject to the approach of death; therefore you cannot
prove fire to be eternal.

You Stoics hold that all fire has need of nourishment, without which it
cannot possibly subsist; that the sun, moon, and all the stars are fed
either with fresh or salt waters; and the reason that Cleanthes gives
why the sun is retrograde, and does not go beyond the tropics in the
summer or winter, is that he may not be too far from his sustenance.
This I shall fully examine hereafter; but at present we may conclude
that whatever may cease to be cannot of its own nature be eternal; that
if fire wants sustenance, it will cease to be, and that, therefore,
fire is not of its own nature eternal.

XV. After all, what kind of a Deity must that be who is not graced with
one single virtue, if we should succeed in forming this idea of such a
one? Must we not attribute prudence to a Deity? a virtue which consists
in the knowledge of things good, bad, and indifferent. Yet what need
has a being for the discernment of good and ill who neither has nor can
have any ill? Of what use is reason to him? of what use is
understanding? We men, indeed, find them useful to aid us in finding
out things which are obscure by those which are clear to us; but
nothing can be obscure to a Deity. As to justice, which gives to every
one his own, it is not the concern of the Gods; since that virtue,
according to your doctrine, received its birth from men and from civil
society. Temperance consists in abstinence from corporeal pleasures,
and if such abstinence hath a place in heaven, so also must the
pleasures abstained from. Lastly, if fortitude is ascribed to the
Deity, how does it appear? In afflictions, in labor, in danger? None of
these things can affect a God. How, then, can we conceive this to be a
Deity that makes no use of reason, and is not endowed with any virtue?

However, when I consider what is advanced by the Stoics, my contempt
for the ignorant multitude vanishes. For these are their divinities.
The Syrians worshipped a fish. The Egyptians consecrated beasts of
almost every kind. The Greeks deified many men; as Alabandus[249] at
Alabandæ, Tenes at Tenedos; and all Greece pay divine honors to
Leucothea (who was before called Ino), to her son Palæmon, to Hercules,
to Æsculapius, and to the Tyndaridæ; our own people to Romulus, and to
many others, who, as citizens newly admitted into the ancient body,
they imagine have been received into heaven.

These are the Gods of the illiterate.

XVI. What are the notions of you philosophers? In what respect are they
superior to these ideas? I shall pass them over; for they are certainly
very admirable. Let the world, then, be a Deity, for that, I conceive,
is what you mean by

              The refulgent heaven above,
    Which all men call, unanimously, Jove.

But why are we to add many more Gods? What a multitude of them there
is! At least, it seems so to me; for every constellation, according to
you, is a Deity: to some you give the name of beasts, as the goat, the
scorpion, the bull, the lion; to others the names of inanimate things,
as the ship, the altar, the crown.

But supposing these were to be allowed, how can the rest be granted, or
even so much as understood? When we call corn Ceres, and wine Bacchus,
we make use of the common manner of speaking; but do you think any one
so mad as to believe that his food is a Deity? With regard to those
who, you say, from having been men became Gods, I should be very
willing to learn of you, either how it was possible formerly, or, if it
had ever been, why is it not so now? I do not conceive, as things are
at present, how Hercules,

    Burn'd with fiery torches on Mount Oeta,

as Accius says, should rise, with the flames,

    To the eternal mansions of his father.

Besides, Homer also says that Ulysses[250] met him in the shades below,
among the other dead.

But yet I should be glad to know which Hercules we should chiefly
worship; for they who have searched into those histories, which are but
little known, tell us of several. The most ancient is he who fought
with Apollo about the Tripos of Delphi, and is son of Jupiter and
Lisyto; and of the most ancient Jupiters too, for we find many Jupiters
also in the Grecian chronicles. The second is the Egyptian Hercules,
and is believed to be the son of Nilus, and to be the author of the
Phrygian characters. The third, to whom they offered sacrifices, is one
of the Idæi Dactyli.[251] The fourth is the son of Jupiter and Asteria,
the sister of Latona, chiefly honored by the Tyrians, who pretend that
Carthago[252] is his daughter. The fifth, called Belus, is worshipped
in India. The sixth is the son of Alcmena by Jupiter; but by the third
Jupiter, for there are many Jupiters, as you shall soon see.

XVII. Since this examination has led me so far, I will convince you
that in matters of religion I have learned more from the pontifical
rites, the customs of our ancestors, and the vessels of Numa,[253]
which Lælius mentions in his little Golden Oration, than from all the
learning of the Stoics; for tell me, if I were a disciple of your
school, what answer could I make to these questions? If there are Gods,
are nymphs also Goddesses? If they are Goddesses, are Pans and Satyrs
in the same rank? But they are not; consequently, nymphs are not
Goddesses. Yet they have temples publicly dedicated to them. What do
you conclude from thence? Others who have temples are not therefore
Gods. But let us go on. You call Jupiter and Neptune Gods; their
brother Pluto, then, is one; and if so, those rivers also are Deities
which they say flow in the infernal regions--Acheron, Cocytus,
Pyriphlegethon; Charon also, and Cerberus, are Gods; but that cannot be
allowed; nor can Pluto be placed among the Deities. What, then, will
you say of his brothers?

Thus reasons Carneades; not with any design to destroy the existence of
the Gods (for what would less become a philosopher?), but to convince
us that on that matter the Stoics have said nothing plausible. If,
then, Jupiter and Neptune are Gods, adds he, can that divinity be
denied to their father Saturn, who is principally worshipped throughout
the West? If Saturn is a God, then must his father, Coelus, be one too,
and so must the parents of Coelus, which are the Sky and Day, as also
their brothers and sisters, which by ancient genealogists are thus
named: Love, Deceit, Fear, Labor, Envy, Fate, Old Age, Death, Darkness,
Misery, Lamentation, Favor, Fraud, Obstinacy, the Destinies, the
Hesperides, and Dreams; all which are the offspring of Erebus and
Night. These monstrous Deities, therefore, must be received, or else
those from whom they sprung must be disallowed.

XVIII. If you say that Apollo, Vulcan, Mercury, and the rest of that
sort are Gods, can you doubt the divinity of Hercules and Æsculapius,
Bacchus, Castor and Pollux? These are worshipped as much as those, and
even more in some places. Therefore they must be numbered among the
Gods, though on the mother's side they are only of mortal race.
Aristæus, who is said to have been the son of Apollo, and to have found
out the art of making oil from the olive; Theseus, the son of Neptune;
and the rest whose fathers were Deities, shall they not be placed in
the number of the Gods? But what think you of those whose mothers were
Goddesses? They surely have a better title to divinity; for, in the
civil law, as he is a freeman who is born of a freewoman, so, in the
law of nature, he whose mother is a Goddess must be a God. The isle
Astypalæa religiously honor Achilles; and if he is a Deity, Orpheus and
Rhesus are so, who were born of one of the Muses; unless, perhaps,
there may be a privilege belonging to sea marriages which land
marriages have not. Orpheus and Rhesus are nowhere worshipped; and if
they are therefore not Gods, because they are nowhere worshipped as
such, how can the others be Deities? You, Balbus, seemed to agree with
me that the honors which they received were not from their being
regarded as immortals, but as men richly endued with virtue.

But if you think Latona a Goddess, how can you avoid admitting Hecate
to be one also, who was the daughter of Asteria, Latona's sister?
Certainly she is one, if we may judge by the altars erected to her in
Greece. And if Hecate is a Goddess, how can you refuse that rank to the
Eumenides? for they also have a temple at Athens, and, if I understand
right, the Romans have consecrated a grove to them. The Furies, too,
whom we look upon as the inspectors into and scourges of impiety, I
suppose, must have their divinity too. As you hold that there is some
divinity presides over every human affair, there is one who presides
over the travail of matrons, whose name, _Natio_, is derived _a
nascentibus_, from nativities, and to whom we used to sacrifice in our
processions in the fields of Ardæa; but if she is a Deity, we must
likewise acknowledge all those you mentioned, Honor, Faith, Intellect,
Concord; by the same rule also, Hope, Juno, Moneta,[254] and every idle
phantom, every child of our imagination, are Deities. But as this
consequence is quite inadmissible, do not you either defend the cause
from which it flows.

XIX. What say you to this? If these are Deities, which we worship and
regard as such, why are not Serapis and Isis[255] placed in the same
rank? And if they are admitted, what reason have we to reject the Gods
of the barbarians? Thus we should deify oxen, horses, the ibis, hawks,
asps, crocodiles, fishes, dogs, wolves, cats, and many other beasts. If
we go back to the source of this superstition, we must equally condemn
all the Deities from which they proceed. Shall Ino, whom the Greeks
call Leucothea, and we Matuta, be reputed a Goddess, because she was
the daughter of Cadmus, and shall that title be refused to Circe and
Pasiphae,[256] who had the sun for their father, and Perseis, daughter
of the Ocean, for their mother? It is true, Circe has divine honors
paid her by our colony of Circæum; therefore you call her a Goddess;
but what will you say of Medea, the granddaughter of the Sun and the
Ocean, and daughter of Æetes and Idyia? What will you say of her
brother Absyrtus, whom Pacuvius calls Ægialeus, though the other name
is more frequent in the writings of the ancients? If you did not deify
one as well as the other, what will become of Ino? for all these
Deities have the same origin.

Shall Amphiaraus and Tryphonius be called Gods? Our publicans, when
some lands in Boeotia were exempted from the tax, as belonging to the
immortal Gods, denied that any were immortal who had been men. But if
you deify these, Erechtheus surely is a God, whose temple and priest we
have seen at Athens. And can you, then, refuse to acknowledge also
Codrus, and many others who shed their blood for the preservation of
their country? And if it is not allowable to consider all these men as
Gods, then, certainly, probabilities are not in favor of our
acknowledging the _Divinity_ of those previously mentioned beings from
whom these have proceeded.

It is easy to observe, likewise, that if in many countries people have
paid divine honors to the memory of those who have signalized their
courage, it was done in order to animate others to practise virtue, and
to expose themselves the more willingly to dangers in their country's
cause. From this motive the Athenians have deified Erechtheus and his
daughters, and have erected also a temple, called Leocorion, to the
daughters of Leus.[257] Alabandus is more honored in the city which he
founded than any of the more illustrious Deities; from thence
Stratonicus had a pleasant turn--as he had many--when he was troubled
with an impertinent fellow who insisted that Alabandus was a God, but
that Hercules was not; "Very well," says he, "then let the anger of
Alabandus fall upon me, and that of Hercules upon you."

XX. Do you not consider, Balbus, to what lengths your arguments for the
divinity of the heaven and the stars will carry you? You deify the sun
and the moon, which the Greeks take to be Apollo and Diana. If the moon
is a Deity, the morning-star, the other planets, and all the fixed
stars are also Deities; and why shall not the rainbow be placed in that
number? for it is so wonderfully beautiful that it is justly said to be
the daughter of Thaumas.[258] But if you deify the rainbow, what regard
will you pay to the clouds? for the colors which appear in the bow are
only formed of the clouds, one of which is said to have brought forth
the Centaurs; and if you deify the clouds, you cannot pay less regard
to the seasons, which the Roman people have really consecrated.
Tempests, showers, storms, and whirlwinds must then be Deities. It is
certain, at least, that our captains used to sacrifice a victim to the
waves before they embarked on any voyage.

As you deify the earth under the name of Ceres,[259] because, as you
said, she bears fruits (_a gerendo_), and the ocean under that of
Neptune, rivers and fountains have the same right. Thus we see that
Maso, the conqueror of Corsica, dedicated a temple to a fountain, and
the names of the Tiber, Spino, Almo, Nodinus, and other neighboring
rivers are in the prayers[260] of the augurs. Therefore, either the
number of such Deities will be infinite, or we must admit none of them,
and wholly disapprove of such an endless series of superstition.

XXI. None of all these assertions, then, are to be admitted. I must
proceed now, Balbus, to answer those who say that, with regard to those
deified mortals, so religiously and devoutly reverenced, the public
opinion should have the force of reality. To begin, then: they who are
called theologists say that there are three Jupiters; the first and
second of whom were born in Arcadia; one of whom was the son of Æther,
and father of Proserpine and Bacchus; the other the son of Coelus, and
father of Minerva, who is called the Goddess and inventress of war; the
third one born of Saturn in the isle of Crete,[261] where his sepulchre
is shown. The sons of Jupiter ([Greek: Dioskouroi]) also, among the
Greeks, have many names; first, the three who at Athens have the title
of Anactes,[262] Tritopatreus, Eubuleus, and Dionysus, sons of the most
ancient king Jupiter and Proserpine; the next are Castor and Pollux,
sons of the third Jupiter and Leda; and, lastly, three others, by some
called Alco,[263] Melampus, and Tmolus, sons of Atreus, the son of

As to the Muses, there were at first four--Thelxiope, Aoede, Arche, and
Melete--daughters of the second Jupiter; afterward there were nine,
daughters of the third Jupiter and Mnemosyne; there were also nine
others, having the same appellations, born of Pierus and Antiopa, by
the poets usually called Pierides and Pieriæ. Though _Sol_ (the sun) is
so called, you say, because he is _solus_ (single); yet how many suns
do theologists mention? There is one, the son of Jupiter and grandson
of Æther; another, the son of Hyperion; a third, who, the Egyptians
say, was of the city Heliopolis, sprung from Vulcan, the son of Nilus;
a fourth is said to have been born at Rhodes of Acantho, in the times
of the heroes, and was the grandfather of Jalysus, Camirus, and Lindus;
a fifth, of whom, it is pretended, Aretes and Circe were born at

XXII. There are likewise several Vulcans. The first (who had of Minerva
that Apollo whom the ancient historians call the tutelary God of
Athens) was the son of Coelus; the second, whom the Egyptians call
Opas,[264] and whom they looked upon as the protector of Egypt, is the
son of Nilus; the third, who is said to have been the master of the
forges at Lemnos, was the son of the third Jupiter and of Juno; the
fourth, who possessed the islands near Sicily called Vulcaniæ,[265] was
the son of Menalius. One Mercury had Coelus for his father and Dies for
his mother; another, who is said to dwell in a cavern, and is the same
as Trophonius, is the son of Valens and Phoronis. A third, of whom, and
of Penelope, Pan was the offspring, is the son of the third Jupiter and
Maia. A fourth, whom the Egyptians think it a crime to name, is the son
of Nilus. A fifth, whom we call, in their language, Thoth, as with them
the first month of the year is called, is he whom the people of
Pheneum[266] worship, and who is said to have killed Argus, to have
fled for it into Egypt, and to have given laws and learning to the
Egyptians. The first of the Æsculapii, the God of Arcadia, who is said
to have invented the probe and to have been the first person who taught
men to use bandages for wounds, is the son of Apollo. The second, who
was killed with thunder, and is said to be buried in Cynosura,[267] is
the brother of the second Mercury. The third, who is said to have found
out the art of purging the stomach, and of drawing teeth, is the son of
Arsippus and Arsinoe; and in Arcadia there is shown his tomb, and the
wood which is consecrated to him, near the river Lusium.

XXIII. I have already spoken of the most ancient of the Apollos, who is
the son of Vulcan, and tutelar God of Athens. There is another, son of
Corybas, and native of Crete, for which island he is said to have
contended with Jupiter himself. A third, who came from the regions of
the Hyperborei[268] to Delphi, is the son of the third Jupiter and of
Latona. A fourth was of Arcadia, whom the Arcadians called Nomio,[269]
because they regarded him as their legislator. There are likewise many
Dianas. The first, who is thought to be the mother of the winged Cupid,
is the daughter of Jupiter and Proserpine. The second, who is more
known, is daughter of the third Jupiter and of Latona. The third, whom
the Greeks often call by her father's name, is the daughter of
Upis[270] and Glauce. There are many also of the Dionysi. The first was
the son of Jupiter and Proserpine. The second, who is said to have
killed Nysa, was the son of Nilus. The third, who reigned in Asia, and
for whom the Sabazia[271] were instituted, was the son of Caprius. The
fourth, for whom they celebrate the Orphic festivals, sprung from
Jupiter and Luna. The fifth, who is supposed to have instituted the
Trieterides, was the son of Nysus and Thyone.

The first Venus, who has a temple at Elis, was the daughter of Coelus
and Dies. The second arose out of the froth of the sea, and became, by
Mercury, the mother of the second Cupid. The third, the daughter of
Jupiter and Diana, was married to Vulcan, but is said to have had
Anteros by Mars. The fourth was a Syrian, born of Tyro, who is called
Astarte, and is said to have been married to Adonis. I have already
mentioned one Minerva, mother of Apollo. Another, who is worshipped at
Sais, a city in Egypt, sprung from Nilus. The third, whom I have also
mentioned, was daughter of Jupiter. The fourth, sprung from Jupiter and
Coryphe, the daughter of the Ocean; the Arcadians call her Coria, and
make her the inventress of chariots. A fifth, whom they paint with
wings at her heels, was daughter of Pallas, and is said to have killed
her father for endeavoring to violate her chastity. The first Cupid is
said to be the son of Mercury and the first Diana; the second, of
Mercury and the second Venus; the third, who is the same as Anteros, of
Mars and the third Venus.

All these opinions arise from old stories that were spread in Greece;
the belief in which, Balbus, you well know, ought to be stopped, lest
religion should suffer. But you Stoics, so far from refuting them, even
give them authority by the mysterious sense which you pretend to find
in them. Can you, then, think, after this plain refutation, that there
is need to employ more subtle reasonings? But to return from this

XXIV. We see that the mind, faith, hope, virtue, honor, victory,
health, concord, and things of such kind, are purely natural, and have
nothing of divinity in them; for either they are inherent in us, as the
mind, faith, hope, virtue, and concord are; or else they are to be
desired, as honor, health, and victory. I know indeed that they are
useful to us, and see that statues have been religiously erected for
them; but as to their divinity, I shall begin to believe it when you
have proved it for certain. Of this kind I may particularly mention
Fortune, which is allowed to be ever inseparable from inconstancy and
temerity, which are certainly qualities unworthy of a divine being.

But what delight do you take in the explication of fables, and in the
etymology of names?--that Coelus was castrated by his son, and that
Saturn was bound in chains by his son! By your defence of these and
such like fictions you would make the authors of them appear not only
not to be madmen, but to have been even very wise. But the pains which
you take with your etymologies deserve our pity. That Saturn is so
called because _se saturat annis_, he is full of years; Mavors, Mars,
because _magna vortit_, he brings about mighty changes; Minerva,
because _minuit_, she diminishes, or because _minatur_, she threatens;
Venus, because _venit ad omnia_, she comes to all; Ceres, _a gerendo_,
from bearing. How dangerous is this method! for there are many names
would puzzle you. From what would you derive Vejupiter and Vulcan?
Though, indeed, if you can derive Neptune _a nando_, from swimming, in
which you seem to me to flounder about yourself more than Neptune, you
may easily find the origin of all names, since it is founded only upon
the conformity of some one letter. Zeno first, and after him Cleanthes
and Chrysippus, are put to the unnecessary trouble of explaining mere
fables, and giving reasons for the several appellations of every Deity;
which is really owning that those whom we call Gods are not the
representations of deities, but natural things, and that to judge
otherwise is an error.

XXV. Yet this error has so much prevailed that even pernicious things
have not only the title of divinity ascribed to them, but have also
sacrifices offered to them; for Fever has a temple on the Palatine
hill, and Orbona another near that of the Lares, and we see on the
Esquiline hill an altar consecrated to Ill-fortune. Let all such errors
be banished from philosophy, if we would advance, in our dispute
concerning the immortal Gods, nothing unworthy of immortal beings. I
know myself what I ought to believe; which is far different from what
you have said. You take Neptune for an intelligence pervading the sea.
You have the same opinion of Ceres with regard to the earth. I cannot,
I own, find out, or in the least conjecture, what that intelligence of
the sea or the earth is. To learn, therefore, the existence of the
Gods, and of what description and character they are, I must apply
elsewhere, not to the Stoics.

Let us proceed to the two other parts of our dispute: first, "whether
there is a divine providence which governs the world;" and lastly,
"whether that providence particularly regards mankind;" for these are
the remaining propositions of your discourse; and I think that, if you
approve of it, we should examine these more accurately. With all my
heart, says Velleius, for I readily agree to what you have hitherto
said, and expect still greater things from you.

I am unwilling to interrupt you, says Balbus to Cotta, but we shall
take another opportunity, and I shall effectually convince you.
But[272] * * *

    Shall I adore, and bend the suppliant knee,
    Who scorn their power and doubt their deity?

Does not Niobe here seem to reason, and by that reasoning to bring all
her misfortunes upon herself? But what a subtle expression is the

    On strength of will alone depends success;

a maxim capable of leading us into all that is bad.

    Though I'm confined, his malice yet is vain,
    His tortured heart shall answer pain for pain;
    His ruin soothe my soul with soft content,
    Lighten my chains, and welcome banishment!

This, now, is reason; that reason which you say the divine goodness has
denied to the brute creation, kindly to bestow it on men alone. How
great, how immense the favor! Observe the same Medea flying from her
father and her country:

    The guilty wretch from her pursuer flies.
    By her own hands the young Absyrtus slain,
    His mangled limbs she scatters o'er the plain,
    That the fond sire might sink beneath his woe,
    And she to parricide her safety owe.

Reflection, as well as wickedness, must have been necessary to the
preparation of such a fact; and did he too, who prepared that fatal
repast for his brother, do it without reflection?

    Revenge as great as Atreus' injury
    Shall sink his soul and crown his misery.

XXVII. Did not Thyestes himself, not content with having defiled his
brother's bed (of which Atreus with great justice thus complains,

    When faithless comforts, in the lewd embrace,
    With vile adultery stain a royal race,
    The blood thus mix'd in fouler currents flows,
    Taints the rich soil, and breeds unnumber'd woes)--

did he not, I say, by that adultery, aim at the possession of the
crown? Atreus thus continues:

    A lamb, fair gift of heaven, with golden fleece,
    Promised in vain to fix my crown in peace;
    But base Thyestes, eager for the prey,
    Crept to my bed, and stole the gem away.

Do you not perceive that Thyestes must have had a share of reason
proportionable to the greatness of his crimes--such crimes as are not
only represented to us on the stage, but such as we see committed, nay,
often exceeded, in the common course of life? The private houses of
individual citizens, the public courts, the senate, the camp, our
allies, our provinces, all agree that reason is the author of all the
ill, as well as of all the good, which is done; that it makes few act
well, and that but seldom, but many act ill, and that frequently; and
that, in short, the Gods would have shown greater benevolence in
denying us any reason at all than in sending us that which is
accompanied with so much mischief; for as wine is seldom wholesome, but
often hurtful in diseases, we think it more prudent to deny it to the
patient than to run the risk of so uncertain a remedy; so I do not know
whether it would not be better for mankind to be deprived of wit,
thought, and penetration, or what we call reason, since it is a thing
pernicious to many and very useful to few, than to have it bestowed
upon them with so much liberality and in such abundance. But if the
divine will has really consulted the good of man in this gift of
reason, the good of those men only was consulted on whom a
well-regulated one is bestowed: how few those are, if any, is very
apparent. We cannot admit, therefore, that the Gods consulted the good
of a few only; the conclusion must be that they consulted the good of

XXVIII. You answer that the ill use which a great part of mankind make
of reason no more takes away the goodness of the Gods, who bestow it as
a present of the greatest benefit to them, than the ill use which
children make of their patrimony diminishes the obligation which they
have to their parents for it. We grant you this; but where is the
similitude? It was far from Deianira's design to injure Hercules when
she made him a present of the shirt dipped in the blood of the
Centaurs. Nor was it a regard to the welfare of Jason of Pheræ that
influenced the man who with his sword opened his imposthume, which the
physicians had in vain attempted to cure. For it has often happened
that people have served a man whom they intended to injure, and have
injured one whom they designed to serve; so that the effect of the gift
is by no means always a proof of the intention of the giver; neither
does the benefit which may accrue from it prove that it came from the
hands of a benefactor. For, in short, what debauchery, what avarice,
what crime among men is there which does not owe its birth to thought
and reflection, that is, to reason? For all opinion is reason: right
reason, if men's thoughts are conformable to truth; wrong reason, if
they are not. The Gods only give us the mere faculty of reason, if we
have any; the use or abuse of it depends entirely upon ourselves; so
that the comparison is not just between the present of reason given us
by the Gods, and a patrimony left to a son by his father; for, after
all, if the injury of mankind had been the end proposed by the Gods,
what could they have given them more pernicious than reason? for what
seed could there be of injustice, intemperance, and cowardice, if
reason were not laid as the foundation of these vices?

XXIX. I mentioned just now Medea and Atreus, persons celebrated in
heroic poems, who had used this reason only for the contrivance and
practice of the most flagitious crimes; but even the trifling
characters which appear in comedies supply us with the like instances
of this reasoning faculty; for example, does not he, in the Eunuch,
reason with some subtlety?--

    What, then, must I resolve upon?
    She turn'd me out-of-doors; she sends for me back again;
    Shall I go? no, not if she were to beg it of me.

Another, in the Twins, making no scruple of opposing a received maxim,
after the manner of the Academics, asserts that when a man is in love
and in want, it is pleasant

    To have a father covetous, crabbed, and passionate,
    Who has no love or affection for his children.

This unaccountable opinion he strengthens thus:

    You may defraud him of his profits, or forge letters in his name,
    Or fright him by your servant into compliance;
    And what you take from such an old hunks,
    How much more pleasantly do you spend it!

On the contrary, he says that an easy, generous father is an
inconvenience to a son in love; for, says he,

    I can't tell how to abuse so good, so prudent a parent,
    Who always foreruns my desires, and meets me purse in hand,
    To support me in my pleasures: this easy goodness and generosity
    Quite defeat all my frauds, tricks, and stratagems.[273]

What are these frauds, tricks, and stratagems but the effects of
reason? O excellent gift of the Gods! Without this Phormio could not
have said,

    Find me out the old man: I have something hatching for him in my head.

XXX. But let us pass from the stage to the bar. The prætor[274] takes
his seat. To judge whom? The man who set fire to our archives. How
secretly was that villany conducted! Q. Sosius, an illustrious Roman
knight, of the Picene field,[275] confessed the fact. Who else is to be
tried? He who forged the public registers--Alenus, an artful fellow,
who counterfeited the handwriting of the six officers.[276] Let us call
to mind other trials: that on the subject of the gold of Tolosa, or the
conspiracy of Jugurtha. Let us trace back the informations laid against
Tubulus for bribery in his judicial office; and, since that, the
proceedings of the tribune Peduceus concerning the incest of the
vestals. Let us reflect upon the trials which daily happen for
assassinations, poisonings, embezzlement of public money, frauds in
wills, against which we have a new law; then that action against the
advisers or assisters of any theft; the many laws concerning frauds in
guardianship, breaches of trust in partnerships and commissions in
trade, and other violations of faith in buying, selling, borrowing, or
lending; the public decree on a private affair by the Lætorian
Law;[277] and, lastly, that scourge of all dishonesty, the law against
fraud, proposed by our friend Aquillius; that sort of fraud, he says,
by which one thing is pretended and another done. Can we, then, think
that this plentiful fountain of evil sprung from the immortal Gods? If
they have given reason to man, they have likewise given him subtlety,
for subtlety is only a deceitful manner of applying reason to do
mischief. To them likewise we must owe deceit, and every other crime,
which, without the help of reason, would neither have been thought of
nor committed. As the old woman wished

    That to the fir which on Mount Pelion grew
    The axe had ne'er been laid,[278]

so we should wish that the Gods had never bestowed this ability on man,
the abuse of which is so general that the small number of those who
make a good use of it are often oppressed by those who make a bad use
of it; so that it seems to be given rather to help vice than to promote
virtue among us.

XXXI. This, you insist on it, is the fault of man, and not of the Gods.
But should we not laugh at a physician or pilot, though they are weak
mortals, if they were to lay the blame of their ill success on the
violence of the disease or the fury of the tempest? Had there not been
danger, we should say, who would have applied to you? This reasoning
has still greater force against the Deity. The fault, you say, is in
man, if he commits crimes. But why was not man endued with a reason
incapable of producing any crimes? How could the Gods err? When we
leave our effects to our children, it is in hopes that they may be well
bestowed; in which we may be deceived, but how can the Deity be
deceived? As Phoebus when he trusted his chariot to his son Phaëthon,
or as Neptune when he indulged his son Theseus in granting him three
wishes, the consequence of which was the destruction of Hippolitus?
These are poetical fictions; but truth, and not fables, ought to
proceed from philosophers. Yet if those poetical Deities had foreseen
that their indulgence would have proved fatal to their sons, they must
have been thought blamable for it.

Aristo of Chios used often to say that the philosophers do hurt to such
of their disciples as take their good doctrine in a wrong sense; thus
the lectures of Aristippus might produce debauchees, and those of Zeno
pedants. If this be true, it were better that philosophers should be
silent than that their disciples should be corrupted by a
misapprehension of their master's meaning; so if reason, which was
bestowed on mankind by the Gods with a good design, tends only to make
men more subtle and fraudulent, it had been better for them never to
have received it. There could be no excuse for a physician who
prescribes wine to a patient, knowing that he will drink it and
immediately expire. Your Providence is no less blamable in giving
reason to man, who, it foresaw, would make a bad use of it. Will you
say that it did not foresee it? Nothing could please me more than such
an acknowledgment. But you dare not. I know what a sublime idea you
entertain of her.

XXXII. But to conclude. If folly, by the unanimous consent of
philosophers, is allowed to be the greatest of all evils, and if no one
ever attained to true wisdom, we, whom they say the immortal Gods take
care of, are consequently in a state of the utmost misery. For that
nobody is well, or that nobody can be well, is in effect the same
thing; and, in my opinion, that no man is truly wise, or that no man
can be truly wise, is likewise the same thing. But I will insist no
further on so self-evident a point. Telamon in one verse decides the
question. If, says he, there is a Divine Providence,

    Good men would be happy, bad men miserable.

But it is not so. If the Gods had regarded mankind, they should have
made them all virtuous; but if they did not regard the welfare of all
mankind, at least they ought to have provided for the happiness of the
virtuous. Why, therefore, was the Carthaginian in Spain suffered to
destroy those best and bravest men, the two Scipios? Why did
Maximus[279] lose his son, the consul? Why did Hannibal kill Marcellus?
Why did Cannæ deprive us of Paulus? Why was the body of Regulus
delivered up to the cruelty of the Carthaginians? Why was not Africanus
protected from violence in his own house? To these, and many more
ancient instances, let us add some of later date. Why is Rutilius, my
uncle, a man of the greatest virtue and learning, now in banishment?
Why was my own friend and companion Drusus assassinated in his own
house? Why was Scævola, the high-priest, that pattern of moderation and
prudence, massacred before the statue of Vesta? Why, before that, were
so many illustrious citizens put to death by Cinna? Why had Marius, the
most perfidious of men, the power to cause the death of Catulus, a man
of the greatest dignity? But there would be no end of enumerating
examples of good men made miserable and wicked men prosperous. Why did
that Marius live to an old age, and die so happily at his own house in
his seventh consulship? Why was that inhuman wretch Cinna permitted to
enjoy so long a reign?

XXXIII. He, indeed, met with deserved punishment at last. But would it
not have been better that these inhumanities had been prevented than
that the author of them should be punished afterward? Varius, a most
impious wretch, was tortured and put to death. If this was his
punishment for the murdering Drusus by the sword, and Metellus by
poison, would it not have been better to have preserved their lives
than to have their deaths avenged on Varius? Dionysius was thirty-eight
years a tyrant over the most opulent and flourishing city; and, before
him, how many years did Pisistratus tyrannize in the very flower of
Greece! Phalaris and Apollodorus met with the fate they deserved, but
not till after they had tortured and put to death multitudes. Many
robbers have been executed; but the number of those who have suffered
for their crimes is short of those whom they have robbed and murdered.
Anaxarchus,[280] a scholar of Democritus, was cut to pieces by command
of the tyrant of Cyprus; and Zeno of Elea[281] ended his life in
tortures. What shall I say of Socrates,[282] whose death, as often as I
read of it in Plato, draws fresh tears from my eyes? If, therefore, the
Gods really see everything that happens to men, you must acknowledge
they make no distinction between the good and the bad.

XXXIV. Diogenes the Cynic used to say of Harpalus, one of the most
fortunate villains of his time, that the constant prosperity of such a
man was a kind of witness against the Gods. Dionysius, of whom we have
before spoken, after he had pillaged the temple of Proserpine at
Locris, set sail for Syracuse, and, having a fair wind during his
voyage, said, with a smile, "See, my friends, what favorable winds the
immortal Gods bestow upon church-robbers." Encouraged by this
prosperous event, he proceeded in his impiety. When he landed at
Peloponnesus, he went into the temple of Jupiter Olympius, and disrobed
his statue of a golden mantle of great weight, an ornament which the
tyrant Gelo[283] had given out of the spoils of the Carthaginians, and
at the same time, in a jesting manner, he said "that a golden mantle
was too heavy in summer and too cold in winter;" and then, throwing a
woollen cloak over the statue, added, "This will serve for all
seasons." At another time, he ordered the golden beard of Æsculapius of
Epidaurus to be taken away, saying that "it was absurd for the son to
have a beard, when his father had none." He likewise robbed the temples
of the silver tables, which, according to the ancient custom of Greece,
bore this inscription, "To the good Gods," saying "he was willing to
make use of their goodness;" and, without the least scruple, took away
the little golden emblems of victory, the cups and coronets, which were
in the stretched-out hands of the statues, saying "he did not take, but
receive them; for it would be folly not to accept good things from the
Gods, to whom we are constantly praying for favors, when they stretch
out their hands towards us." And, last of all, all the things which he
had thus pillaged from the temples were, by his order, brought to the
market-place and sold by the common crier; and, after he had received
the money for them, he commanded every purchaser to restore what he had
bought, within a limited time, to the temples from whence they came.
Thus to his impiety towards the Gods he added injustice to man.

XXXV. Yet neither did Olympian Jove strike him with his thunder, nor
did Æsculapius cause him to die by tedious diseases and a lingering
death. He died in his bed, had funeral honors[284] paid to him, and
left his power, which he had wickedly obtained, as a just and lawful
inheritance to his son.

It is not without concern that I maintain a doctrine which seems to
authorize evil, and which might probably give a sanction to it, if
conscience, without any divine assistance, did not point out, in the
clearest manner, the difference between virtue and vice. Without
conscience man is contemptible. For as no family or state can be
supposed to be formed with any reason or discipline if there are no
rewards for good actions nor punishment for crimes, so we cannot
believe that a Divine Providence regulates the world if there is no
distinction between the honest and the wicked.

But the Gods, you say, neglect trifling things: the little fields or
vineyards of particular men are not worthy their attention; and if
blasts or hail destroy their product, Jupiter does not regard it, nor
do kings extend their care to the lower offices of government. This
argument might have some weight if, in bringing Rutilius as an
instance, I had only complained of the loss of his farm at Formiæ; but
I spoke of a personal misfortune, his banishment.[285]

XXXVI. All men agree that external benefits, such as vineyards, corn,
olives, plenty of fruit and grain, and, in short, every convenience and
property of life, are derived from the Gods; and, indeed, with reason,
since by our virtue we claim applause, and in virtue we justly glory,
which we could have no right to do if it was the gift of the Gods, and
not a personal merit. When we are honored with new dignities, or
blessed with increase of riches; when we are favored by fortune beyond
our expectation, or luckily delivered from any approaching evil, we
return thanks for it to the Gods, and assume no praise to ourselves.
But who ever thanked the Gods that he was a good man? We thank them,
indeed, for riches, health, and honor. For these we invoke the all-good
and all-powerful Jupiter; but not for wisdom, temperance, and justice.
No one ever offered a tenth of his estate to Hercules to be made wise.
It is reported, indeed, of Pythagoras that he sacrificed an ox to the
Muses upon having made some new discovery in geometry;[286] but, for my
part, I cannot believe it, because he refused to sacrifice even to
Apollo at Delos, lest he should defile the altar with blood. But to
return. It is universally agreed that good fortune we must ask of the
Gods, but wisdom must arise from ourselves; and though temples have
been consecrated to the Mind, to Virtue, and to Faith, yet that does
not contradict their being inherent in us. In regard to hope, safety,
assistance, and victory, we must rely upon the Gods for them; from
whence it follows, as Diogenes said, that the prosperity of the wicked
destroys the idea of a Divine Providence.

XXXVII. But good men have sometimes success. They have so; but we
cannot, with any show of reason, attribute that success to the Gods.
Diagoras, who is called the atheist, being at Samothrace, one of his
friends showed him several pictures[287] of people who had endured very
dangerous storms; "See," says he, "you who deny a providence, how many
have been saved by their prayers to the Gods." "Ay," says Diagoras, "I
see those who were saved, but where are those painted who were
shipwrecked?" At another time, he himself was in a storm, when the
sailors, being greatly alarmed, told him they justly deserved that
misfortune for admitting him into their ship; when he, pointing to
others under the like distress, asked them "if they believed Diagoras
was also aboard those ships?" In short, with regard to good or bad
fortune, it matters not what you are, or how you have lived. The Gods,
like kings, regard not everything. What similitude is there between
them? If kings neglect anything, want of knowledge may be pleaded in
their defence; but ignorance cannot be brought as an excuse for the

XXXVIII. Your manner of justifying them is somewhat extraordinary, when
you say that if a wicked man dies without suffering for his crimes, the
Gods inflict a punishment on his children, his children's children, and
all his posterity. O wonderful equity of the Gods! What city would
endure the maker of a law which should condemn a son or a grandson for
a crime committed by the father or the grandfather?

    Shall Tantalus' unhappy offspring know
    No end, no close, of this long scene of woe?
    When will the dire reward of guilt be o'er,
    And Myrtilus demand revenge no more?[288]

Whether the poets have corrupted the Stoics, or the Stoics given
authority to the poets, I cannot easily determine. Both alike are to be
condemned. If those persons whose names have been branded in the
satires of Hipponax or Archilochus[289] were driven to despair, it did
not proceed from the Gods, but had its origin in their own minds. When
we see Ægistus and Paris lost in the heat of an impure passion, why are
we to attribute it to a Deity, when the crime, as it were, speaks for
itself? I believe that those who recover from illness are more indebted
to the care of Hippocrates than to the power of Æsculapius; that Sparta
received her laws from Lycurgus[290] rather than from Apollo; that
those eyes of the maritime coast, Corinth and Carthage, were plucked
out, the one by Critolaus, the other by Hasdrubal, without the
assistance of any divine anger, since you yourselves confess that a
Deity cannot possibly be angry on any provocation.

XXXIX. But could not the Deity have assisted and preserved those
eminent cities? Undoubtedly he could; for, according to your doctrine,
his power is infinite, and without the least labor; and as nothing but
the will is necessary to the motion of our bodies, so the divine will
of the Gods, with the like ease, can create, move, and change all
things. This you hold, not from a mere phantom of superstition, but on
natural and settled principles of reason; for matter, you say, of which
all things are composed and consist, is susceptible of all forms and
changes, and there is nothing which cannot be, or cease to be, in an
instant; and that Divine Providence has the command and disposal of
this universal matter, and consequently can, in any part of the
universe, do whatever she pleases: from whence I conclude that this
Providence either knows not the extent of her power, or neglects human
affairs, or cannot judge what is best for us. Providence, you say, does
not extend her care to particular men; there is no wonder in that,
since she does not extend it to cities, or even to nations, or people.
If, therefore, she neglects whole nations, is it not very probable that
she neglects all mankind? But how can you assert that the Gods do not
enter into all the little circumstances of life, and yet hold that they
distribute dreams among men? Since you believe in dreams, it is your
part to solve this difficulty. Besides, you say we ought to call upon
the Gods. Those who call upon the Gods are individuals. Divine
Providence, therefore, regards individuals, which consequently proves
that they are more at leisure than you imagine. Let us suppose the
Divine Providence to be greatly busied; that it causes the revolutions
of the heavens, supports the earth, and rules the seas; why does it
suffer so many Gods to be unemployed? Why is not the superintendence of
human affairs given to some of those idle Deities which you say are

This is the purport of what I had to say concerning "the Nature of the
Gods;" not with a design to destroy their existence, but merely to show
what an obscure point it is, and with what difficulties an explanation
of it is attended.

XL. Balbus, observing that Cotta had finished his discourse--You have
been very severe, says he, against a Divine Providence, a doctrine
established by the Stoics with piety and wisdom; but, as it grows too
late, I shall defer my answer to another day. Our argument is of the
greatest importance; it concerns our altars,[291] our hearths, our
temples, nay, even the walls of our city, which you priests hold
sacred; you, who by religion defend Rome better than she is defended by
her ramparts. This is a cause which, while I have life, I think I
cannot abandon without impiety.

There is nothing, replied Cotta, which I desire more than to be
confuted. I have not pretended to decide this point, but to give you my
private sentiments upon it; and am very sensible of your great
superiority in argument. No doubt of it, says Velleius; we have much to
fear from one who believes that our dreams are sent from Jupiter,
which, though they are of little weight, are yet of more importance
than the discourse of the Stoics concerning the nature of the Gods. The
conversation ended here, and we parted. Velleius judged that the
arguments of Cotta were truest; but those of Balbus seemed to me to
have the greater probability.[292]


       *       *       *       *       *


This work was one of Cicero's earlier treatises, though one of those
which was most admired by his contemporaries, and one of which he
himself was most proud. It was composed 54 B.C. It was originally in
two books: then it was altered and enlarged into nine, and finally
reduced to six. With the exception of the dream of Scipio, in the last
book, the whole treatise was lost till the year 1822, when the
librarian of the Vatican discovered a portion of them among the
palimpsests in that library. What he discovered is translated here; but
it is in a most imperfect and mutilated state.

The form selected was that of a dialogue, in imitation of those of
Plato; and the several conferences were supposed to have taken place
during the Latin holidays, 129 B.C., in the consulship of Caius
Sempronius, Tuditanus, and Marcus Aquilius. The speakers are Scipio
Africanus the younger, in whose garden the scene is laid; Caius Lælius;
Lucius Furius Philus; Marcus Manilius; Spurius Mummius, the brother of
the taker of Corinth, a Stoic; Quintus Ælius Tubero, a nephew of
Africanus; Publius Rutilius Rufus; Quintus Mucius Scævola, the tutor of
Cicero; and Caius Fannius, who was absent, however, on the second day
of the conference.

In the first book, the first thirty-three pages are wanting, and there
are chasms amounting to thirty-eight pages more. In this book Scipio
asserts the superiority of an active over a speculative career; and
after analyzing and comparing the monarchical, aristocratic, and
democratic forms of government, gives a preference to the first;
although his idea of a perfect constitution would be one compounded of
three kinds in due proportion.

There are a few chasms in the earlier part of the second book, and the
latter part of it is wholly lost. In it Scipio was led on to give an
account of the rise and progress of the Roman Constitution, from which
he passed on to the examination of the great moral obligations which
are the foundations of all political union.

Of the remaining books we have only a few disjointed fragments, with
the exception, as has been before mentioned, of the dream of Scipio in
the sixth.

       *       *       *       *       *



   Cicero introduces his subject by showing that men were not born
     for the mere abstract study of philosophy, but that the study
     of philosophic truth should always be made as practical as
     possible, and applicable to the great interests of
     philanthropy and patriotism. Cicero endeavors to show the
     benefit of mingling the contemplative or philosophic with the
     political and active life, according to that maxim of
     Plato--"Happy is the nation whose philosophers are kings, and
     whose kings are philosophers."

   This kind of introduction was the more necessary because many
     of the ancient philosophers, too warmly attached to
     transcendental metaphysics and sequestered speculations, had
     affirmed that true philosophers ought not to interest
     themselves in the management of public affairs. Thus, as M.
     Villemain observes, it was a maxim of the Epicureans,
     "Sapiens ne accedat ad rempublicam" (Let no wise man meddle
     in politics). The Pythagoreans had enforced the same
     principle with more gravity. Aristotle examines the question
     on both sides, and concludes in favor of active life. Among
     Aristotle's disciples, a writer, singularly elegant and pure,
     had maintained the pre-eminence of the contemplative life
     over the political or active one, in a work which Cicero
     cites with admiration, and to which he seems to have applied
     for relief whenever he felt harassed and discouraged in
     public business. But here this great man was interested by
     the subject he discusses, and by the whole course of his
     experience and conduct, to refute the dogmas of that
     pusillanimous sophistry and selfish indulgence by bringing
     forward the most glorious examples and achievements of
     patriotism. In this strain he had doubtless commenced his
     exordium, and in this strain we find him continuing it at the
     point in which the palimpsest becomes legible. He then
     proceeds to introduce his illustrious interlocutors, and
     leads them at first to discourse on the astronomical laws
     that regulate the revolutions of our planet. From this, by a
     very graceful and beautiful transition, he passes on to the
     consideration of the best forms of political constitutions
     that had prevailed in different nations, and those modes of
     government which had produced the greatest benefits in the
     commonwealths of antiquity.

   This first book is, in fact, a splendid epitome of the
     political science of the age of Cicero, and probably the most
     eloquent plea in favor of mixed monarchy to be found in all

       *       *       *       *       *


I. [Without the virtue of patriotism], neither Caius Duilius, nor Aulus
Atilius,[293] nor Lucius Metellus, could have delivered Rome by their
courage from the terror of Carthage; nor could the two Scipios, when
the fire of the second Punic War was kindled, have quenched it in their
blood; nor, when it revived in greater force, could either Quintus
Maximus[294] have enervated it, or Marcus Marcellus have crushed it;
nor, when it was repulsed from the gates of our own city, would Scipio
have confined it within the walls of our enemies.

But Cato, at first a new and unknown man, whom all we who aspire to the
same honors consider as a pattern to lead us on to industry and virtue,
was undoubtedly at liberty to enjoy his repose at Tusculum, a most
salubrious and convenient retreat. But he, mad as some people think
him, though no necessity compelled him, preferred being tossed about
amidst the tempestuous waves of politics, even till extreme old age, to
living with all imaginable luxury in that tranquillity and relaxation.
I omit innumerable men who have separately devoted themselves to the
protection of our Commonwealth; and those whose lives are within the
memory of the present generation I will not mention, lest any one
should complain that I had invidiously forgotten himself or some one of
his family. This only I insist on--that so great is the necessity of
this virtue which nature has implanted in man, and so great is the
desire to defend the common safety of our country, that its energy has
continually overcome all the blandishments of pleasure and repose.

II. Nor is it sufficient to possess this virtue as if it were some kind
of art, unless we put it in practice. An art, indeed, though not
exercised, may still be retained in knowledge; but virtue consists
wholly in its proper use and action. Now, the noblest use of virtue is
the government of the Commonwealth, and the carrying-out in real
action, not in words only, of all those identical theories which those
philosophers discuss at every corner. For nothing is spoken by
philosophers, so far as they speak correctly and honorably, which has
not been discovered and confirmed by those persons who have been the
founders of the laws of states. For whence comes piety, or from whom
has religion been derived? Whence comes law, either that of nations, or
that which is called the civil law? Whence comes justice, faith,
equity? Whence modesty, continence, the horror of baseness, the desire
of praise and renown? Whence fortitude in labors and perils? Doubtless,
from those who have instilled some of these moral principles into men
by education, and confirmed others by custom, and sanctioned others by

Moreover, it is reported of Xenocrates, one of the sublimest
philosophers, that when some one asked him what his disciples learned,
he replied, "To do that of their own accord which they might be
compelled to do by law." That citizen, therefore, who obliges all men
to those virtuous actions, by the authority of laws and penalties, to
which the philosophers can scarcely persuade a few by the force of
their eloquence, is certainly to be preferred to the sagest of the
doctors who spend their lives in such discussions. For which of their
exquisite orations is so admirable as to be entitled to be preferred to
a well-constituted government, public justice, and good customs?
Certainly, just as I think that magnificent and imperious cities (as
Ennius says) are superior to castles and villages, so I imagine that
those who regulate such cities by their counsel and authority are far
preferable, with respect to real wisdom, to men who are unacquainted
with any kind of political knowledge. And since we are strongly
prompted to augment the prosperity of the human race, and since we do
endeavor by our counsels and exertions to render the life of man safer
and wealthier, and since we are incited to this blessing by the spur of
nature herself, let us hold on that course which has always been
pursued by all the best men, and not listen for a moment to the signals
of those who sound a retreat so loudly that they sometimes call back
even those who have made considerable progress.

III. These reasons, so certain and so evident, are opposed by those
who, on the other side, argue that the labors which must necessarily be
sustained in maintaining the Commonwealth form but a slight impediment
to the vigilant and industrious, and are only a contemptible obstacle
in such important affairs, and even in common studies, offices, and
employments. They add the peril of life, that base fear of death, which
has ever been opposed by brave men, to whom it appears far more
miserable to die by the decay of nature and old age than to be allowed
an opportunity of gallantly sacrificing that life for their country
which must otherwise be yielded up to nature.

On this point, however, our antagonists esteem themselves copious and
eloquent when they collect all the calamities of heroic men, and the
injuries inflicted on them by their ungrateful countrymen. For on this
subject they bring forward those notable examples among the Greeks; and
tell us that Miltiades, the vanquisher and conqueror of the Persians,
before even those wounds were healed which he had received in that most
glorious victory, wasted away in the chains of his fellow-citizens that
life which had been preserved from the weapons of the enemy. They cite
Themistocles, expelled and proscribed by the country which he had
rescued, and forced to flee, not to the Grecian ports which he had
preserved, but to the bosom of the barbarous power which he had
defeated. There is, indeed, no deficiency of examples to illustrate the
levity and cruelty of the Athenians to their noblest citizens--examples
which, originating and multiplying among them, are said at different
times to have abounded in our own most august empire. For we are told:
of the exile of Camillus, the disgrace of Ahala, the unpopularity of
Nasica, the expulsion of Lænas,[295] the condemnation of Opimius, the
flight of Metellus, the cruel destruction of Caius Marius, the massacre
of our chieftains, and the many atrocious crimes which followed. My own
history is by no means free from such calamities; and I imagine that
when they recollect that by my counsel and perils they were preserved
in life and liberty, they are led by that consideration to bewail my
misfortunes more deeply and affectionately. But I cannot tell why those
who sail over the seas for the sake of knowledge and experience [should
wonder at seeing still greater hazards braved in the service of the

IV. [Since], on my quitting the consulship, I swore in the assembly of
the Roman people, who re-echoed my words, that I had saved the
Commonwealth, I console myself with this remembrance for all my cares,
troubles, and injuries. Although my misfortune had more of honor than
misfortune, and more of glory than disaster; and I derive greater
pleasure from the regrets of good men than sorrow from the exultation
of the worthless. But even if it had happened otherwise, how could I
have complained, as nothing befell me which was either unforeseen, or
more painful than I expected, as a return for my illustrious actions?
For I was one who, though it was in my power to reap more profit from
leisure than most men, on account of the diversified sweetness of my
studies, in which I had lived from boyhood--or, if any public calamity
had happened, to have borne no more than an equal share with the rest
of my countrymen in the misfortune--I nevertheless did not hesitate to
oppose myself to the most formidable tempests and torrents of sedition,
for the sake of saving my countrymen, and at my own proper danger to
secure the common safety of all the rest. For our country did not beget
and educate us with the expectation of receiving no support, as I may
call it, from us; nor for the purpose of consulting nothing but our
convenience, to supply us with a secure refuge for idleness and a
tranquil spot for rest; but rather with a view of turning to her own
advantage the nobler portion of our genius, heart, and counsel; giving
us back for our private service only what she can spare from the public

V. Those apologies, therefore, in which men take refuge as an excuse
for their devoting themselves with more plausibility to mere inactivity
do certainly not deserve to be listened to; when, for instance, they
tell us that those who meddle with public affairs are generally
good-for-nothing men, with whom it is discreditable to be compared, and
miserable and dangerous to contend, especially when the multitude is in
an excited state. On which account it is not the part of a wise man to
take the reins, since he cannot restrain the insane and unregulated
movements of the common people. Nor is it becoming to a man of liberal
birth, say they, thus to contend with such vile and unrefined
antagonists, or to subject one's self to the lashings of contumely, or
to put one's self in the way of injuries which ought not to be borne by
a wise man. As if to a virtuous, brave, and magnanimous man there could
be a juster reason for seeking the government than this--to avoid being
subjected to worthless men, and to prevent the Commonwealth from being
torn to pieces by them; when, even if they were then desirous to save
her, they would not have the power.

VI. But this restriction who can approve, which would interdict the
wise man from taking any share in the government beyond such as the
occasion and necessity may compel him to? As if any greater necessity
could possibly happen to any man than happened to me. In which, how
could I have acted if I had not been consul at the time? and how could
I have been a consul unless I had maintained that course of life from
my childhood which raised me from the order of knights, in which I was
born, to the very highest station? You cannot produce _extempore_, and
just when you please, the power of assisting a commonwealth, although
it may be severely pressed by dangers, unless you have attained the
position which enables you legally to do so. And what most surprises me
in the discourses of learned men, is to hear those persons who confess
themselves incapable of steering the vessel of the State in smooth seas
(which, indeed, they never learned, and never cared to know) profess
themselves ready to assume the helm amidst the fiercest tempests. For
those men are accustomed to say openly, and indeed to boast greatly,
that they have never learned, and have never taken the least pains to
explain, the principles of either establishing or maintaining a
commonwealth; and they look on this practical science as one which
belongs not to men of learning and wisdom, but to those who have made
it their especial study. How, then, can it be reasonable for such men
to promise their assistance to the State, when they shall be compelled
to it by necessity, while they are ignorant how to govern the republic
when no necessity presses upon it, which is a much more easy task?
Indeed, though it were true that the wise man loves not to thrust
himself of his own accord into the administration of public affairs,
but that if circumstances oblige him to it, then he does not refuse the
office, yet I think that this science of civil legislation should in no
wise be neglected by the philosopher, because all resources ought to be
ready to his hand, which he knows not how soon he may be called on to

VII. I have spoken thus at large for this reason, because in this work
I have proposed to myself and undertaken a discussion on the government
of a state; and in order to render it useful, I was bound, in the first
place, to do away with this pusillanimous hesitation to mingle in
public affairs. If there be any, therefore, who are too much influenced
by the authority of the philosophers, let them consider the subject for
a moment, and be guided by the opinions of those men whose authority
and credit are greatest among learned men; whom I look upon, though
some of them have not personally governed any state, as men who have
nevertheless discharged a kind of office in the republic, inasmuch as
they have made many investigations into, and left many writings
concerning, state affairs. As to those whom the Greeks entitle the
Seven Wise Men, I find that they almost all lived in the middle of
public business. Nor, indeed, is there anything in which human virtue
can more closely resemble the divine powers than in establishing new
states, or in preserving those already established.

VIII. And concerning these affairs, since it has been our good fortune
to achieve something worthy of memorial in the government of our
country, and also to have acquired some facility of explaining the
powers and resources of politics, we can treat of this subject with the
weight of personal experience and the habit of instruction and
illustration. Whereas before us many have been skilful in theory,
though no exploits of theirs are recorded; and many others have been
men of consideration in action, but unfamiliar with the arts of
exposition. Nor, indeed, is it at all our intention to establish a new
and self-invented system of government; but our purpose is rather to
recall to memory a discussion of the most illustrious men of their age
in our Commonwealth, which you and I, in our youth, when at Smyrna,
heard mentioned by Publius Rutilius Rufus, who reported to us a
conference of many days in which, in my opinion, there was nothing
omitted that could throw light on political affairs.

IX. For when, in the year of the consulship of Tuditanus and Aquilius,
Scipio Africanus, the son of Paulus Æmilius, formed the project of
spending the Latin holidays at his country-seat, where his most
intimate friends had promised him frequent visits during this season of
relaxation, on the first morning of the festival, his nephew, Quintus
Tubero, made his appearance; and when Scipio had greeted him heartily
and embraced him--How is it, my dear Tubero, said he, that I see you so
early? For these holidays must afford you a capital opportunity of
pursuing your favorite studies. Ah! replied Tubero, I can study my
books at any time, for they are always disengaged; but it is a great
privilege, my Scipio, to find you at leisure, especially in this
restless period of public affairs. You certainly have found me so, said
Scipio, but, to speak truth, I am rather relaxing from business than
from study. Nay, said Tubero, you must try to relax from your studies
too, for here are several of us, as we have appointed, all ready, if it
suits your convenience, to aid you in getting through this leisure time
of yours. I am very willing to consent, answered Scipio, and we may be
able to compare notes respecting the several topics that interest us.

X. Be it so, said Tubero; and since you invite me to discussion, and
present the opportunity, let us first examine, before any one else
arrives, what can be the nature of the parhelion, or double sun, which
was mentioned in the senate. Those that affirm they witnessed this
prodigy are neither few nor unworthy of credit, so that there is more
reason for investigation than incredulity.[296]

Ah! said Scipio, I wish we had our friend Panætius with us, who is fond
of investigating all things of this kind, but especially all celestial
phenomena. As for my opinion, Tubero, for I always tell you just what I
think, I hardly agree in these subjects with that friend of mine,
since, respecting things of which we can scarcely form a conjecture as
to their character, he is as positive as if he had seen them with his
own eyes and felt them with his own hands. And I cannot but the more
admire the wisdom of Socrates, who discarded all anxiety respecting
things of this kind, and affirmed that these inquiries concerning the
secrets of nature were either above the efforts of human reason, or
were absolutely of no consequence at all to human life.

But, then, my Africanus, replied Tubero, of what credit is the
tradition which states that Socrates rejected all these physical
investigations, and confined his whole attention to men and manners?
For, with respect to him what better authority can we cite than Plato?
in many passages of whose works Socrates speaks in such a manner that
even when he is discussing morals, and virtues, and even public affairs
and politics, he endeavors to interweave, after the fashion of
Pythagoras, the doctrines of arithmetic, geometry, and harmonic
proportions with them.

That is true, replied Scipio; but you are aware, I believe, that Plato,
after the death of Socrates, was induced to visit Egypt by his love of
science, and that after that he proceeded to Italy and Sicily, from his
desire of understanding the Pythagorean dogmas; that he conversed much
with Archytas of Tarentum and Timæus of Locris; that he collected the
works of Philolaus; and that, finding in these places the renown of
Pythagoras flourishing, he addicted himself exceedingly to the
disciples of Pythagoras, and their studies; therefore, as he loved
Socrates with his whole heart, and wished to attribute all great
discoveries to him, he interwove the Socratic elegance and subtlety of
eloquence with somewhat of the obscurity of Pythagoras, and with that
notorious gravity of his diversified arts.

XI. When Scipio had spoken thus, he suddenly saw Lucius Furius
approaching, and saluting him, and embracing him most affectionately,
he gave him a seat on his own couch. And as soon as Publius Rutilius,
the worthy reporter of the conference to us, had arrived, when we had
saluted him, he placed him by the side of Tubero. Then said Furius,
What is it that you are about? Has our entrance at all interrupted any
conversation of yours? By no means, said Scipio, for you yourself too
are in the habit of investigating carefully the subject which Tubero
was a little before proposing to examine; and our friend Rutilius, even
under the walls of Numantia, was in the habit at times of conversing
with me on questions of the same kind. What, then, was the subject of
your discussion? said Philus. We were talking, said Scipio, of the
double suns that recently appeared, and I wish, Philus, to hear what
you think of them.

XII. Just as he was speaking, a boy announced that Lælius was coming to
call on him, and that he had already left his house. Then Scipio,
putting on his sandals and robes, immediately went forth from his
chamber, and when he had walked a little time in the portico, he met
Lælius, and welcomed him and those that accompanied him, namely,
Spurius Mummius, to whom he was greatly attached, and C. Fannius and
Quintus Scævola, sons-in-law of Lælius, two very intelligent young men,
and now of the quæstorian age.[297]

When he had saluted them all, he returned through the portico, placing
Lælius in the middle; for there was in their friendship a sort of law
of reciprocal courtesy, so that in the camp Lælius paid Scipio almost
divine honors, on account of his eminent renown in war and in private
life; in his turn Scipio reverenced Lælius, even as a father, because
he was older than himself.

Then after they had exchanged a few words, as they walked up and down,
Scipio, to whom their visit was extremely welcome and agreeable, wished
to assemble them in a sunny corner of the gardens, because it was still
winter; and when they had agreed to this, there came in another friend,
a learned man, much beloved and esteemed by all of them, M. Manilius,
who, after having been most warmly welcomed by Scipio and the rest,
seated himself next to Lælius.

XIII. Then Philus, commencing the conversation, said: It does not
appear to me that the presence of our new guests need alter the subject
of our discussion, but only that it should induce us to treat it more
philosophically, and in a manner more worthy of our increased audience.
What do you allude to? said Lælius; or what was the discussion we broke
in upon? Scipio was asking me, replied Philus, what I thought of the
parhelion, or mock sun, whose recent apparition was so strongly

_Lælius._ Do you say then, my Philus, that we have sufficiently
examined those questions which concern our own houses and the
Commonwealth, that we begin to investigate the celestial mysteries?

And Philus replied: Do you think, then, that it does not concern our
houses to know what happens in that vast home which is not included in
walls of human fabrication, but which embraces the entire universe--a
home which the Gods share with us, as the common country of all
intelligent beings? Especially when, if we are ignorant of these
things, there are also many great practical truths which result from
them, and which bear directly on the welfare of our race, of which we
must be also ignorant. And here I can speak for myself, as well as for
you, Lælius, and all men who are ambitious of wisdom, that the
knowledge and consideration of the facts of nature are by themselves
very delightful.

_Lælius._ I have no objection to the discussion, especially as it is
holiday-time with us. But cannot we have the pleasure of hearing you
resume it, or are we come too late?

_Philus_. We have not yet commenced the discussion, and since the
question remains entire and unbroken, I shall have the greatest
pleasure, my Lælius, in handing over the argument to you.

_Lælius._ No, I had much rather hear you, unless, indeed, Manilius
thinks himself able to compromise the suit between the two suns, that
they may possess heaven as joint sovereigns without intruding on each
other's empire.

Then Manilius said: Are you going, Lælius, to ridicule a science in
which, in the first place, I myself excel; and, secondly, without which
no one can distinguish what is his own, and what is another's? But to
return to the point. Let us now at present listen to Philus, who seems
to me to have started a greater question than any of those that have
engaged the attention of either Publius Mucius or myself.

XIV. Then Philus said: I am not about to bring you anything new, or
anything which has been thought over or discovered by me myself. But I
recollect that Caius Sulpicius Gallus, who was a man of profound
learning, as you are aware, when this same thing was reported to have
taken place in his time, while he was staying in the house of Marcus
Marcellus, who had been his colleague in the consulship, asked to see a
celestial globe which Marcellus's grandfather had saved after the
capture of Syracuse from that magnificent and opulent city, without
bringing to his own home any other memorial out of so great a booty;
which I had often heard mentioned on account of the great fame of
Archimedes; but its appearance, however, did not seem to me
particularly striking. For that other is more elegant in form, and more
generally known, which was made by the same Archimedes, and deposited
by the same Marcellus in the Temple of Virtue at Rome. But as soon as
Gallus had begun to explain, in a most scientific manner, the principle
of this machine, I felt that the Sicilian geometrician must have
possessed a genius superior to anything we usually conceive to belong
to our nature. For Gallus assured us that that other solid and compact
globe was a very ancient invention, and that the first model had been
originally made by Thales of Miletus. That afterward Eudoxus of Cnidus,
a disciple of Plato, had traced on its surface the stars that appear in
the sky, and that many years subsequently, borrowing from Eudoxus this
beautiful design and representation, Aratus had illustrated it in his
verses, not by any science of astronomy, but by the ornament of poetic
description. He added that the figure of the globe, which displayed the
motions of the sun and moon, and the five planets, or wandering stars,
could not be represented by the primitive solid globe; and that in this
the invention of Archimedes was admirable, because he had calculated
how a single revolution should maintain unequal and diversified
progressions in dissimilar motions. In fact, when Gallus moved this
globe, we observed that the moon succeeded the sun by as many turns of
the wheel in the machine as days in the heavens. From whence it
resulted that the progress of the sun was marked as in the heavens, and
that the moon touched the point where she is obscured by the earth's
shadow at the instant the sun appears opposite.[298] * * *

XV. * * *[299] I had myself a great affection for this Gallus, and I
know that he was very much beloved and esteemed by my father Paulus. I
recollect that when I was very young, when my father, as consul,
commanded in Macedonia, and we were in the camp, our army was seized
with a pious terror, because suddenly, in a clear night, the bright and
full moon became eclipsed. And Gallus, who was then our lieutenant, the
year before that in which he was elected consul, hesitated not, next
morning, to state in the camp that it was no prodigy, and that the
phenomenon which had then appeared would always appear at certain
periods, when the sun was so placed that he could not affect the moon
with his light.

But do you mean, said Tubero, that he dared to speak thus to men almost
entirely uneducated and ignorant?

_Scipio._ He did, and with great * * * for his opinion was no result of
insolent ostentation, nor was his language unbecoming the dignity of so
wise a man: indeed, he performed a very noble action in thus freeing
his countrymen from the terrors of an idle superstition.

XVI. And they relate that in a similar way, in the great war in which
the Athenians and Lacedæmonians contended with such violent resentment,
the famous Pericles, the first man of his country in credit, eloquence,
and political genius, observing the Athenians overwhelmed with an
excessive alarm during an eclipse of the sun which caused a sudden
darkness, told them, what he had learned in the school of Anaxagoras,
that these phenomena necessarily happened at precise and regular
periods when the body of the moon was interposed between the sun and
the earth, and that if they happened not before every new moon, still
they could not possibly happen except at the exact time of the new
moon. And when he had proved this truth by his reasonings, he freed the
people from their alarms; for at that period the doctrine was new and
unfamiliar that the sun was accustomed to be eclipsed by the
interposition of the moon, which fact they say that Thales of Miletus
was the first to discover. Afterward my friend Ennius appears to have
been acquainted with the same theory, who, writing about 350[300] years
after the foundation of Rome, says, "In the nones of June the sun was
covered by the moon and night." The calculations in the astronomical
art have attained such perfection that from that day, thus described to
us by Ennius and recorded in the pontifical registers, the anterior
eclipses of the sun have been computed as far back as the nones of July
in the reign of Romulus, when that eclipse took place, in the obscurity
of which it was affirmed that Virtue bore Romulus to heaven, in spite
of the perishable nature which carried him off by the common fate of

XVII. Then said Tubero: Do not you think, Scipio, that this
astronomical science, which every day proves so useful, just now
appeared in a different light to you,[301] * * * which the rest may
see. Moreover, who can think anything in human affairs of brilliant
importance who has penetrated this starry empire of the gods? Or who
can think anything connected with mankind long who has learned to
estimate the nature of eternity? or glorious who is aware of the
insignificance of the size of the earth, even in its whole extent, and
especially in the portion which men inhabit? And when we consider that
almost imperceptible point which we ourselves occupy unknown to the
majority of nations, can we still hope that our name and reputation can
be widely circulated? And then our estates and edifices, our cattle,
and the enormous treasures of our gold and silver, can they be esteemed
or denominated as desirable goods by him who observes their perishable
profit, and their contemptible use, and their uncertain domination,
often falling into the possession of the very worst men? How happy,
then, ought we to esteem that man who alone has it in his power, not by
the law of the Romans, but by the privilege of philosophers, to enjoy
all things as his own; not by any civil bond, but by the common right
of nature, which denies that anything can really be possessed by any
one but him who understands its true nature and use; who reckons our
dictatorships and consulships rather in the rank of necessary offices
than desirable employments, and thinks they must be endured rather as
acquittances of our debt to our country than sought for the sake of
emolument or glory--the man, in short, who can apply to himself the
sentence which Cato tells us my ancestor Africanus loved to repeat,
"that he was never so busy as when he did nothing, and never less
solitary than when alone."

For who can believe that Dionysius, when after every possible effort he
ravished from his fellow-citizens their liberty, had performed a nobler
work than Archimedes, when, without appearing to be doing anything, he
manufactured the globe which we have just been describing? Who does not
see that those men are in reality more solitary who, in the midst of a
crowd, find no one with whom they can converse congenially than those
who, without witnesses, hold communion with themselves, and enter into
the secret counsels of the sagest philosophers, while they delight
themselves in their writings and discoveries? And who would think any
one richer than the man who is in want of nothing which nature
requires; or more powerful than he who has attained all that she has
need of; or happier than he who is free from all mental perturbation;
or more secure in future than he who carries all his property in
himself, which is thus secured from shipwreck? And what power, what
magistracy, what royalty, can be preferred to a wisdom which, looking
down on all terrestrial objects as low and transitory things,
incessantly directs its attention to eternal and immutable verities,
and which is persuaded that though others are called men, none are
really so but those who are refined by the appropriate acts of

In this sense an expression of Plato or some other philosopher appears
to me exceedingly elegant, who, when a tempest had driven his ship on
an unknown country and a desolate shore, during the alarms with which
their ignorance of the region inspired his companions, observed, they
say, geometrical figures traced in the sand, on which he immediately
told them to be of good cheer, for he had observed the indications of
Man. A conjecture he deduced, not from the cultivation of the soil
which he beheld, but from the symbols of science. For this reason,
Tubero, learning and learned men, and these your favorite studies, have
always particularly pleased me.

XVIII. Then Lælius replied: I cannot venture, Scipio, to answer your
arguments, or to [maintain the discussion either against] you, Philus,
or Manilius.[302] * * *

We had a friend in Tubero's father's family, who in these respects may
serve him as a model.

     Sextus so wise, and ever on his guard.

Wise and cautious indeed he was, as Ennius justly describes him--not
because he searched for what he could never find, but because he knew
how to answer those who prayed for deliverance from cares and
difficulties. It is he who, reasoning against the astronomical studies
of Gallus, used frequently to repeat these words of Achilles in the

    They note the astrologic signs of heaven,
    Whene'er the goats or scorpions of great Jove,
    Or other monstrous names of brutal forms,
    Rise in the zodiac; but not one regards
    The sensible facts of earth, on which we tread,
    While gazing on the starry prodigies.

He used, however, to say (and I have often listened to him with
pleasure) that for his part he thought that Zethus, in the piece of
Pacuvius, was too inimical to learning. He much preferred the
Neoptolemus of Ennius, who professes himself desirous of philosophizing
only in moderation; for that he did not think it right to be wholly
devoted to it. But though the studies of the Greeks have so many charms
for you, there are others, perhaps, nobler and more extensive, which we
may be better able to apply to the service of real life, and even to
political affairs. As to these abstract sciences, their utility, if
they possess any, lies principally in exciting and stimulating the
abilities of youth, so that they more easily acquire more important

XIX. Then Tubero said: I do not mean to disagree with you, Lælius; but,
pray, what do you call more important studies?

_Lælius._ I will tell you frankly, though perhaps you will think
lightly of my opinion, since you appeared so eager in interrogating
Scipio respecting the celestial phenomena; but I happen to think that
those things which are every day before our eyes are more particularly
deserving of our attention. Why should the child of Paulus Æmilius, the
nephew of Æmilius, the descendant of such a noble family and so
glorious a republic, inquire how there can be two suns in heaven, and
not ask how there can be two senates in one Commonwealth, and, as it
were, two distinct peoples? For, as you see, the death of Tiberius
Gracchus, and the whole system of his tribuneship, has divided one
people into two parties. But the slanderers and the enemies of Scipio,
encouraged by P. Crassus and Appius Claudius, maintained, after the
death of these two chiefs, a division of nearly half the senate, under
the influence of Metellus and Mucius. Nor would they permit the
man[304] who alone could have been of service to help us out of our
difficulties during the movement of the Latins and their allies towards
rebellion, violating all our treaties in the presence of factious
triumvirs, and creating every day some fresh intrigue, to the
disturbance of the worthier and wealthier citizens. This is the reason,
young men, if you will listen to me, why you should regard this new sun
with less alarm; for, whether it does exist, or whether it does not
exist, it is, as you see, quite harmless to us. As to the manner of its
existence, we can know little or nothing; and even if we obtained the
most perfect understanding of it, this knowledge would make us but
little wiser or happier. But that there should exist a united people
and a united senate is a thing which actually may be brought about, and
it will be a great evil if it is not; and that it does not exist at
present we are aware; and we see that if it can be effected, our lives
will be both better and happier.

XX. Then Mucius said: What, then, do you consider, my Lælius, should be
our best arguments in endeavoring to bring about the object of your

_Lælius._ Those sciences and arts which teach us how we may be most
useful to the State; for I consider that the most glorious office of
wisdom, and the noblest proof and business of virtue. In order,
therefore, that we may consecrate these holidays as much as possible to
conversations which may be profitable to the Commonwealth, let us beg
Scipio to explain to us what in his estimation appears to be the best
form of government. Then let us pass on to other points, the knowledge
of which may lead us, as I hope, to sound political views, and unfold
the causes of the dangers which now threaten us.

XXI. When Philus, Manilius, and Mummius had all expressed their great
approbation of this idea[305] * * * I have ventured [to open our
discussion] in this way, not only because it is but just that on State
politics the chief man in the State should be the principal speaker,
but also because I recollect that you, Scipio, were formerly very much
in the habit of conversing with Panætius and Polybius, two Greeks,
exceedingly learned in political questions, and that you are master of
many arguments by which you prove that by far the best condition of
government is that which our ancestors have handed down to us. And as
you, therefore, are familiar with this subject, if you will explain to
us your views respecting the general principles of a state (I speak for
my friends as well as myself), we shall feel exceedingly obliged to

XXII. Then Scipio said: I must acknowledge that there is no subject of
meditation to which my mind naturally turns with more ardor and
intensity than this very one which Lælius has proposed to us. And,
indeed, as I see that in every profession, every artist who would
distinguish himself, thinks of, and aims at, and labors for no other
object but that of attaining perfection in his art, should not I, whose
main business, according to the example of my father and my ancestors,
is the advancement and right administration of government, be
confessing myself more indolent than any common mechanic if I were to
bestow on this noblest of sciences less attention and labor than they
devote to their insignificant trades? However, I am neither entirely
satisfied with the decisions which the greatest and wisest men of
Greece have left us; nor, on the other hand, do I venture to prefer my
own opinions to theirs. Therefore, I must request you not to consider
me either entirely ignorant of the Grecian literature, nor yet
disposed, especially in political questions, to yield it the
pre-eminence over our own; but rather to regard me as a true-born
Roman, not illiberally instructed by the care of my father, and
inflamed with the desire of knowledge, even from my boyhood, but still
even more familiar with domestic precepts and practices than the
literature of books.

XXIII. On this Philus said: I have no doubt, my Scipio, that no one is
superior to you in natural genius, and that you are very far superior
to every one in the practical experience of national government and of
important business. We are also acquainted with the course which your
studies have at all times taken; and if, as you say, you have given so
much attention to this science and art of politics, we cannot be too
much obliged to Lælius for introducing the subject: for I trust that
what we shall hear from you will be far more useful and available than
all the writings put together which the Greeks have written for us.

Then Scipio replied: You are raising a very high expectation of my
discourse, such as is a most oppressive burden to a man who is required
to discuss grave subjects.

And Philus said: Although that may be a difficulty, my Scipio, still
you will be sure to conquer it, as you always do; nor is there any
danger of eloquence failing you, when you begin to speak on the affairs
of a commonwealth.

XXIV. Then Scipio proceeded: I will do what you wish, as far as I can;
and I shall enter into the discussion under favor of that rule which, I
think, should be adopted by all persons in disputations of this kind,
if they wish to avoid being misunderstood; namely, that when men have
agreed respecting the proper name of the matter under discussion, it
should be stated what that name exactly means, and what it legitimately
includes. And when that point is settled, then it is fit to enter on
the discussion; for it will never be possible to arrive at an
understanding of what the character of the subject of the discussion
is, unless one first understands exactly what it is. Since, then, our
investigations relate to a commonwealth, we must first examine what
this name properly signifies.

And when Lælius had intimated his approbation of this course, Scipio

I shall not adopt, said he, in so clear and simple a manner that system
of discussion which goes back to first principles; as learned men often
do in this sort of discussion, so as to go back to the first meeting of
male and female, and then to the first birth and formation of the first
family, and define over and over again what there is in words, and in
how many manners each thing is stated. For, as I am speaking to men of
prudence, who have acted with the greatest glory in the Commonwealth,
both in peace and war, I will take care not to allow the subject of the
discussion itself to be clearer than my explanation of it. Nor have I
undertaken this task with the design of examining all its minuter
points, like a school-master; nor will I promise you in the following
discourse not to omit any single particular.

Then Lælius said: For my part, I am impatient for exactly that kind of
disquisition which you promise us.

XXV. Well, then, said Africanus, a commonwealth is a constitution of
the entire people. But the people is not every association of men,
however congregated, but the association of the entire number, bound
together by the compact of justice, and the communication of utility.
The first cause of this association is not so much the weakness of man
as a certain spirit of congregation which naturally belongs to him. For
the human race is not a race of isolated individuals, wandering and
solitary; but it is so constituted that even in the affluence of all
things [and without any need of reciprocal assistance, it spontaneously
seeks society].

XXVI. [It is necessary to presuppose] these original seeds, as it were,
since we cannot discover any primary establishment of the other
virtues, or even of a commonwealth itself. These unions, then, formed
by the principle which I have mentioned, established their headquarters
originally in certain central positions, for the convenience of the
whole population; and having fortified them by natural and artificial
means, they called this collection of houses a city or town,
distinguished by temples and public squares. Every people, therefore,
which consists of such an association of the entire multitude as I have
described, every city which consists of an assemblage of the people,
and every commonwealth which embraces every member of these
associations, must be regulated by a certain authority, in order to be

This intelligent authority should always refer itself to that grand
first principle which established the Commonwealth. It must be
deposited in the hands of one supreme person, or intrusted to the
administration of certain delegated rulers, or undertaken by the whole
multitude. When the direction of all depends on one person, we call
this individual a king, and this form of political constitution a
kingdom. When it is in the power of privileged delegates, the State is
said to be ruled by an aristocracy; and when the people are all in all,
they call it a democracy, or popular constitution. And if the tie of
social affection, which originally united men in political associations
for the sake of public interest, maintains its force, each of these
forms of government is, I will not say perfect, nor, in my opinion,
essentially good, but tolerable, and such that one may accidentally be
better than another: either a just and wise king, or a selection of the
most eminent citizens, or even the populace itself (though this is the
least commendable form), may, if there be no interference of crime and
cupidity, form a constitution sufficiently secure.

XXVII. But in a monarchy the other members of the State are often too
much deprived of public counsel and jurisdiction; and under the rule of
an aristocracy the multitude can hardly possess its due share of
liberty, since it is allowed no share in the public deliberation, and
no power. And when all things are carried by a democracy, although it
be just and moderate, yet its very equality is a culpable levelling,
inasmuch as it allows no gradations of rank. Therefore, even if Cyrus,
the King of the Persians, was a most righteous and wise monarch, I
should still think that the interest of the people (for this is, as I
have said before, the same as the Commonwealth) could not be very
effectually promoted when all things depended on the beck and nod of
one individual. And though at present the people of Marseilles, our
clients, are governed with the greatest justice by elected magistrates
of the highest rank, still there is always in this condition of the
people a certain appearance of servitude; and when the Athenians, at a
certain period, having demolished their Areopagus, conducted all public
affairs by the acts and decrees of the democracy alone, their State, as
it no longer contained a distinct gradation of ranks, was no longer
able to retain its original fair appearance.

XXVIII. I have reasoned thus on the three forms of government, not
looking on them in their disorganized and confused conditions, but in
their proper and regular administration. These three particular forms,
however, contained in themselves, from the first, the faults and
defects I have mentioned; but they have also other dangerous vices, for
there is not one of these three forms of government which has not a
precipitous and slippery passage down to some proximate abuse. For,
after thinking of that endurable, or, as you will have it, most amiable
king, Cyrus--to name him in preference to any one else--then, to
produce a change in our minds, we behold the barbarous Phalaris, that
model of tyranny, to which the monarchical authority is easily abused
by a facile and natural inclination. And, in like manner, along-side of
the wise aristocracy of Marseilles, we might exhibit the oligarchical
faction of the thirty tyrants which once existed at Athens. And, not to
seek for other instances, among the same Athenians, we can show you
that when unlimited power was cast into the hands of the people, it
inflamed the fury of the multitude, and aggravated that universal
license which ruined their State.[306] * * *

XXIX. The worst condition of things sometimes results from a confusion
of those factious tyrannies into which kings, aristocrats, and
democrats are apt to degenerate. For thus, from these diverse elements,
there occasionally arises (as I have said before) a new kind of
government. And wonderful indeed are the revolutions and periodical
returns in natural constitutions of such alternations and vicissitudes,
which it is the part of the wise politician to investigate with the
closest attention. But to calculate their approach, and to join to this
foresight the skill which moderates the course of events, and retains
in a steady hand the reins of that authority which safely conducts the
people through all the dangers to which they expose themselves, is the
work of a most illustrious citizen, and of almost divine genius.

There is a fourth kind of government, therefore, which, in my opinion,
is preferable to all these: it is that mixed and moderate government
which is composed of the three particular forms which I have already

XXX. _Lælius._ I am not ignorant, Scipio, that such is your opinion,
for I have often heard you say so. But I do not the less desire, if it
is not giving you too much trouble, to hear which you consider the best
of these three forms of commonwealths. For it may be of some use in
considering[307] * * *

XXXI. * * * And each commonwealth corresponds to the nature and will of
him who governs it. Therefore, in no other constitution than that in
which the people exercise sovereign power has liberty any sure abode,
than which there certainly is no more desirable blessing. And if it be
not equally established for every one, it is not even liberty at all.
And how can there be this character of equality, I do not say under a
monarchy, where slavery is least disguised or doubtful, but even in
those constitutions in which the people are free indeed in words, for
they give their suffrages, they elect officers, they are canvassed and
solicited for magistracies; but yet they only grant those things which
they are obliged to grant whether they will or not, and which are not
really in their free power, though others ask them for them? For they
are not themselves admitted to the government, to the exercise of
public authority, or to offices of select judges, which are permitted
to those only of ancient families and large fortunes. But in a free
people, as among the Rhodians and Athenians, there is no citizen
who[308] * * *

XXXII. * * * No sooner is one man, or several, elevated by wealth and
power, than they say that * * * arise from their pride and arrogance,
when the idle and the timid give way, and bow down to the insolence of
riches. But if the people knew how to maintain its rights, then they
say that nothing could be more glorious and prosperous than democracy;
inasmuch as they themselves would be the sovereign dispensers of laws,
judgments, war, peace, public treaties, and, finally, of the fortune
and life of each individual citizen; and this condition of things is
the only one which, in their opinion, can be really called a
commonwealth, that is to say, a constitution of the people. It is on
this principle that, according to them, a people often vindicates its
liberty from the domination of kings and nobles; while, on the other
hand, kings are not sought for among free peoples, nor are the power
and wealth of aristocracies. They deny, moreover, that it is fair to
reject this general constitution of freemen, on account of the vices of
the unbridled populace; but that if the people be united and inclined,
and directs all its efforts to the safety and freedom of the community,
nothing can be stronger or more unchangeable; and they assert that this
necessary union is easily obtained in a republic so constituted that
the good of all classes is the same; while the conflicting interests
that prevail in other constitutions inevitably produce dissensions;
therefore, say they, when the senate had the ascendency, the republic
had no stability; and when kings possess the power, this blessing is
still more rare, since, as Ennius expresses it,

    In kingdoms there's no faith, and little love.

Wherefore, since the law is the bond of civil society, and the justice
of the law equal, by what rule can the association of citizens be held
together, if the condition of the citizens be not equal? For if the
fortunes of men cannot be reduced to this equality--if genius cannot be
equally the property of all--rights, at least, should be equal among
those who are citizens of the same republic. For what is a republic but
an association of rights?[309] * * *

XXXIII. But as to the other political constitutions, these democratical
advocates do not think they are worthy of being distinguished by the
name which they claim. For why, say they, should we apply the name of
king, the title of Jupiter the Beneficent, and not rather the title of
tyrant, to a man ambitious of sole authority and power, lording it over
a degraded multitude? For a tyrant may be as merciful as a king may be
oppressive; so that the whole difference to the people is, whether they
serve an indulgent master or a cruel one, since serve some one they
must. But how could Sparta, at the period of the boasted superiority of
her political institution, obtain a constant enjoyment of just and
virtuous kings, when they necessarily received an hereditary monarch,
good, bad, or indifferent, because he happened to be of the blood
royal? As to aristocrats, Who will endure, say they, that men should
distinguish themselves by such a title, and that not by the voice of
the people, but by their own votes? For how is such a one judged to be
best either in learning, sciences, or arts?[310] * * *

XXXIV. * * * If it does so by hap-hazard, it will be as easily upset as
a vessel if the pilot were chosen by lot from among the passengers. But
if a people, being free, chooses those to whom it can trust
itself--and, if it desires its own preservation, it will always choose
the noblest--then certainly it is in the counsels of the aristocracy
that the safety of the State consists, especially as nature has not
only appointed that these superior men should excel the inferior sort
in high virtue and courage, but has inspired the people also with the
desire of obedience towards these, their natural lords. But they say
this aristocratical State is destroyed by the depraved opinions of men,
who, through ignorance of virtue (which, as it belongs to few, can be
discerned and appreciated by few), imagine that not only rich and
powerful men, but also those who are nobly born, are necessarily the
best. And so when, through this popular error, the riches, and not the
virtue, of a few men has taken possession of the State, these chiefs
obstinately retain the title of nobles, though they want the essence of
nobility. For riches, fame, and power, without wisdom and a just method
of regulating ourselves and commanding others, are full of discredit
and insolent arrogance; nor is there any kind of government more
deformed than that in which the wealthiest are regarded as the noblest.

But when virtue governs the Commonwealth, what can be more glorious?
When he who commands the rest is himself enslaved by no lust or
passion; when he himself exhibits all the virtues to which he incites
and educates the citizens; when he imposes no law on the people which
he does not himself observe, but presents his life as a living law to
his fellow-countrymen; if a single individual could thus suffice for
all, there would be no need of more; and if the community could find a
chief ruler thus worthy of all their suffrages, none would require
elected magistrates.

It was the difficulty of forming plans which transferred the government
from a king into the hands of many; and the error and temerity of the
people likewise transferred it from the hands of the many into those of
the few. Thus, between the weakness of the monarch and the rashness of
the multitude, the aristocrats have occupied the middle place, than
which nothing can be better arranged; and while they superintend the
public interest, the people necessarily enjoy the greatest possible
prosperity, being free from all care and anxiety, having intrusted
their security to others, who ought sedulously to defend it, and not
allow the people to suspect that their advantage is neglected by their

For as to that equality of rights which democracies so loudly boast of,
it can never be maintained; for the people themselves, so dissolute and
so unbridled, are always inclined to flatter a number of demagogues;
and there is in them a very great partiality for certain men and
dignities, so that their equality, so called, becomes most unfair and
iniquitous. For as equal honor is given to the most noble and the most
infamous, some of whom must exist in every State, then the equity which
they eulogize becomes most inequitable--an evil which never can happen
in those states which are governed by aristocracies. These reasonings,
my Lælius, and some others of the same kind, are usually brought
forward by those that so highly extol this form of political

XXXV. Then Lælius said: But you have not told us, Scipio, which of
these three forms of government you yourself most approve.

_Scipio._ You are right to shape your question, which of the three I
most approve, for there is not one of them which I approve at all by
itself, since, as I told you, I prefer that government which is mixed
and composed of all these forms, to any one of them taken separately.
But if I must confine myself to one of these particular forms simply
and exclusively, I must confess I prefer the royal one, and praise that
as the first and best. In this, which I here choose to call the
primitive form of government, I find the title of father attached to
that of king, to express that he watches over the citizens as over his
children, and endeavors rather to preserve them in freedom than reduce
them to slavery. So that it is more advantageous for those who are
insignificant in property and capacity to be supported by the care of
one excellent and eminently powerful man. The nobles here present
themselves, who profess that they can do all this in much better style;
for they say that there is much more wisdom in many than in one, and at
least as much faith and equity. And, last of all, come the people, who
cry with a loud voice that they will render obedience neither to the
one nor the few; that even to brute beasts nothing is so dear as
liberty; and that all men who serve either kings or nobles are deprived
of it. Thus, the kings attract us by affection, the nobles by talent,
the people by liberty; and in the comparison it is hard to choose the

_Lælius._ I think so too, but yet it is impossible to despatch the
other branches of the question, if you leave this primary point

XXXVI. _Scipio._ We must then, I suppose, imitate Aratus, who, when he
prepared himself to treat of great things, thought himself in duty
bound to begin with Jupiter.

_Lælius._ Wherefore Jupiter? and what is there in this discussion which
resembles that poem?

_Scipio._ Why, it serves to teach us that we cannot better commence our
investigations than by invoking him whom, with one voice, both learned
and unlearned extol as the universal king of all gods and men.

How so? said Lælius.

Do you, then, asked Scipio, believe in nothing which is not before your
eyes? whether these ideas have been established by the chiefs of states
for the benefit of society, that there might be believed to exist one
Universal Monarch in heaven, at whose nod (as Homer expresses it) all
Olympus trembles, and that he might be accounted both king and father
of all creatures; for there is great authority, and there are many
witnesses, if you choose to call all many, who attest that all nations
have unanimously recognized, by the decrees of their chiefs, that
nothing is better than a king, since they think that all the Gods are
governed by the divine power of one sovereign; or if we suspect that
this opinion rests on the error of the ignorant, and should be classed
among the fables, let us listen to those universal testimonies of
erudite men, who have, as it were, seen with their eyes those things to
the knowledge of which we can hardly attain by report.

What men do you mean? said Lælius.

Those, replied Scipio, who, by the investigation of nature, have
arrived at the opinion that the whole universe [is animated] by a
single Mind[311]. * * *

XXXVII. But if you please, my Lælius, I will bring forward evidences
which are neither too ancient nor in any respect barbarous.

Those, said Lælius, are what I want.

_Scipio._ You are aware that it is now not four centuries since this
city of ours has been without kings.

_Lælius._ You are correct; it is less than four centuries.

_Scipio._ Well, then, what are four centuries in the age of a state or
city? is it a long time?

_Lælius._ It hardly amounts to the age of maturity.

_Scipio._ You say truly; and yet not four centuries have elapsed since
there was a king in Rome.

_Lælius._ And he was a proud king.

_Scipio._ But who was his predecessor?

_Lælius._ He was an admirably just one; and, indeed, we must bestow the
same praise on all his predecessors as far back as Romulus, who reigned
about six centuries ago.

_Scipio._ Even he, then, is not very ancient.

_Lælius._ No; he reigned when Greece was already becoming old.

_Scipio._ Agreed. Was Romulus, then, think you, king of a barbarous

_Lælius._ Why, as to that, if we were to follow the example of the
Greeks, who say that all people are either Greeks or barbarians, I am
afraid that we must confess that he was a king of barbarians; but if
this name belongs rather to manners than to languages, then I believe
the Greeks were just as barbarous as the Romans.

Then Scipio said: But with respect to the present question, we do not
so much need to inquire into the nation as into the disposition. For if
intelligent men, at a period so little remote, desired the government
of kings, you will confess that I am producing authorities that are
neither antiquated, rude, nor insignificant.

XXXVIII. Then Lælius said: I see, Scipio, that you are very
sufficiently provided with authorities; but with me, as with every fair
judge, authorities are worth less than arguments.

Scipio replied: Then, Lælius, you shall yourself make use of an
argument derived from your own senses.

_Lælius._ What senses do you mean?

_Scipio._ The feelings which you experience when at any time you happen
to feel angry with any one.

_Lælius._ That happens rather oftener than I could wish.

_Scipio._ Well, then, when you are angry, do you permit your anger to
triumph over your judgment?

No, by Hercules! said Lælius; I imitate the famous Archytas of
Tarentum, who, when he came to his villa, and found all its
arrangements were contrary to his orders, said to his steward, "Ah! you
unlucky scoundrel, I would flog you to death, if it were not that I am
in a rage with you."

Capital, said Scipio. Archytas, then, regarded unreasonable anger as a
kind of sedition and rebellion of nature which he sought to appease by
reflection. And so, if we examine avarice, the ambition of power or of
glory, or the lusts of concupiscence and licentiousness, we shall find
a certain conscience in the mind of man, which, like a king, sways by
the force of counsel all the inferior faculties and propensities; and
this, in truth, is the noblest portion of our nature; for when
conscience reigns, it allows no resting-place to lust, violence, or

_Lælius._ You have spoken the truth.

_Scipio._ Well, then, does a mind thus governed and regulated meet your

_Lælius._ More than anything upon earth.

_Scipio._ Then you would not approve that the evil passions, which are
innumerable, should expel conscience, and that lusts and animal
propensities should assume an ascendency over us?

_Lælius._ For my part, I can conceive nothing more wretched than a mind
thus degraded, or a man animated by a soul so licentious.

_Scipio._ You desire, then, that all the faculties of the mind should
submit to a ruling power, and that conscience should reign over them

_Lælius._ Certainly, that is my wish.

_Scipio._ How, then, can you doubt what opinion to form on the subject
of the Commonwealth? in which, if the State is thrown into many hands,
it is very plain that there will be no presiding authority; for if
power be not united, it soon comes to nothing.

XXXIX. Then Lælius asked: But what difference is there, I should like
to know, between the one and the many, if justice exists equally in

And Scipio said: Since I see, my Lælius, that the authorities I have
adduced have no great influence on you, I must continue to employ you
yourself as my witness in proof of what I am saying.

In what way, said Lælius, are you going to make me again support your

_Scipio._ Why, thus: I recollect, when we were lately at Formiæ, that
you told your servants repeatedly to obey the orders of more than one
master only.

_Lælius._ To be sure, those of my steward.

_Scipio._ What do you at home? Do you commit your affairs to the hands
of many persons?

_Lælius._ No, I trust them to myself alone.

_Scipio._ Well, in your whole establishment, is there any other master
but yourself?

_Lælius._ Not one.

_Scipio._ Then I think you must grant me that, as respects the State,
the government of single individuals, provided they are just, is
superior to any other.

_Lælius._ You have conducted me to this conclusion, and I entertain
very nearly that opinion.

XL. And Scipio said: You would still further agree with me, my Lælius,
if, omitting the common comparisons, that one pilot is better fitted to
steer a ship, and a physician to treat an invalid, provided they be
competent men in their respective professions, than many could be, I
should come at once to more illustrious examples.

_Lælius._ What examples do you mean?

_Scipio._ Do not you observe that it was the cruelty and pride of one
single Tarquin only that made the title of king unpopular among the

_Lælius._ Yes, I acknowledge that.

_Scipio._ You are also aware of this fact, on which I think I shall
debate in the course of the coming discussion, that after the expulsion
of King Tarquin, the people was transported by a wonderful excess of
liberty. Then innocent men were driven into banishment; then the
estates of many individuals were pillaged, consulships were made
annual, public authorities were overawed by mobs, popular appeals took
place in all cases imaginable; then secessions of the lower orders
ensued, and, lastly, those proceedings which tended to place all powers
in the hands of the populace.

_Lælius._ I must confess this is all too true.

All these things now, said Scipio, happened during periods of peace and
tranquillity, for license is wont to prevail when there is little to
fear, as in a calm voyage or a trifling disease. But as we observe the
voyager and the invalid implore the aid of some one competent director,
as soon as the sea grows stormy and the disease alarming, so our nation
in peace and security commands, threatens, resists, appeals from, and
insults its magistrates, but in war obeys them as strictly as kings;
for public safety is, after all, rather more valuable than popular
license. And in the most serious wars, our countrymen have even chosen
the entire command to be deposited in the hands of some single chief,
without a colleague; the very name of which magistrate indicates the
absolute character of his power. For though he is evidently called
dictator because he is appointed (dicitur), yet do we still observe
him, my Lælius, in our sacred books entitled Magister Populi (the
master of the people).

This is certainly the case, said Lælius.

Our ancestors, therefore, said Scipio, acted wisely.[312] * * *

XLI. When the people is deprived of a just king, as Ennius says, after
the death of one of the best of monarchs,

    They hold his memory dear, and, in the warmth
    Of their discourse, they cry, O Romulus!
    O prince divine, sprung from the might of Mars
    To be thy country's guardian! O our sire!
    Be our protector still, O heaven-begot!

Not heroes, nor lords alone, did they call those whom they lawfully
obeyed; nor merely as kings did they proclaim them; but they pronounced
them their country's guardians, their fathers, and their Gods. Nor,
indeed, without cause, for they added,

    Thou, Prince, hast brought us to the gates of light.

And truly they believed that life and honor and glory had arisen to
them from the justice of their king. The same good-will would doubtless
have remained in their descendants, if the same virtues had been
preserved on the throne; but, as you see, by the injustice of one man
the whole of that kind of constitution fell into ruin.

I see it indeed, said Lælius, and I long to know the history of these
political revolutions both in our own Commonwealth and in every other.

XLII. And Scipio said: When I shall have explained my opinion
respecting the form of government which I prefer, I shall be able to
speak to you more accurately respecting the revolutions of states,
though I think that such will not take place so easily in the mixed
form of government which I recommend. With respect, however, to
absolute monarchy, it presents an inherent and invincible tendency to
revolution. No sooner does a king begin to be unjust than this entire
form of government is demolished, and he at once becomes a tyrant,
which is the worst of all governments, and one very closely related to
monarchy. If this State falls into the hands of the nobles, which is
the usual course of events, it becomes an aristocracy, or the second of
the three kinds of constitutions which I have described; for it is, as
it were, a royal--that is to say, a paternal--council of the chief men
of the State consulting for the public benefit. Or if the people by
itself has expelled or slain a tyrant, it is moderate in its conduct as
long as it has sense and wisdom, and while it rejoices in its exploit,
and applies itself to maintaining the constitution which it has
established. But if ever the people has raised its forces against a
just king and robbed him of his throne, or, as has frequently happened,
has tasted the blood of its legitimate nobles, and subjected the whole
Commonwealth to its own license, you can imagine no flood or
conflagration so terrible, or any whose violence is harder to appease
than this unbridled insolence of the populace.

XLIII. Then we see realized that which Plato so vividly describes, if I
can but express it in our language. It is by no means easy to do it
justice in translation: however, I will try.

When, says Plato, the insatiate jaws of the populace are fired with the
thirst of liberty, and when the people, urged on by evil ministers,
drains in its thirst the cup, not of tempered liberty, but unmitigated
license, then the magistrates and chiefs, if they are not utterly
subservient and remiss, and shameless promoters of the popular
licentiousness, are pursued, incriminated, accused, and cried down
under the title of despots and tyrants. I dare say you recollect the

Yes, said Lælius, it is familiar to me.

_Scipio._ Plato thus proceeds: Then those who feel in duty bound to
obey the chiefs of the State are persecuted by the insensate populace,
who call them voluntary slaves. But those who, though invested with
magistracies, wish to be considered on an equality with private
individuals, and those private individuals who labor to abolish all
distinctions between their own class and the magistrates, are extolled
with acclamations and overwhelmed with honors, so that it inevitably
happens in a commonwealth thus revolutionized that liberalism abounds
in all directions, due authority is found wanting even in private
families, and misrule seems to extend even to the animals that witness
it. Then the father fears the son, and the son neglects the father. All
modesty is banished; they become far too liberal for that. No
difference is made between the citizen and the alien; the master dreads
and cajoles his scholars, and the scholars despise their masters. The
young men assume the gravity of sages, and sages must stoop to the
follies of children, lest they should be hated and oppressed by them.
The very slaves even are under but little restraint; wives boast the
same rights as their husbands; dogs, horses, and asses are emancipated
in this outrageous excess of freedom, and run about so violently that
they frighten the passengers from the road. At length the termination
of all this infinite licentiousness is, that the minds of the citizens
become so fastidious and effeminate, that when they observe even the
slightest exertion of authority they grow angry and seditious, and thus
the laws begin to be neglected, so that the people are absolutely
without any master at all.

Then Lælius said: You have very accurately rendered the opinions which
he expressed.

XLIV. _Scipio._ Now, to return to the argument of my discourse. It
appears that this extreme license, which is the only liberty in the
eyes of the vulgar, is, according to Plato, such that from it as a sort
of root tyrants naturally arise and spring up. For as the excessive
power of an aristocracy occasions the destruction of the nobles, so
this excessive liberalism of democracies brings after it the slavery of
the people. Thus we find in the weather, the soil, and the animal
constitution the most favorable conditions are sometimes suddenly
converted by their excess into the contrary, and this fact is
especially observable in political governments; and this excessive
liberty soon brings the people collectively and individually to an
excessive servitude. For, as I said, this extreme liberty easily
introduces the reign of tyranny, the severest of all unjust slaveries.
In fact, from the midst of this unbridled and capricious populace, they
elect some one as a leader in opposition to their afflicted and
expelled nobles: some new chief, forsooth, audacious and impure, often
insolently persecuting those who have deserved well of the State, and
ready to gratify the populace at his neighbor's expense as well as his
own. Then, since the private condition is naturally exposed to fears
and alarms, the people invest him with many powers, and these are
continued in his hands. Such men, like Pisistratus of Athens, will soon
find an excuse for surrounding themselves with body-guards, and they
will conclude by becoming tyrants over the very persons who raised them
to dignity. If such despots perish by the vengeance of the better
citizens, as is generally the case, the constitution is re-established;
but if they fall by the hands of bold insurgents, then the same faction
succeeds them, which is only another species of tyranny. And the same
revolution arises from the fair system of aristocracy when any
corruption has betrayed the nobles from the path of rectitude. Thus the
power is like the ball which is flung from hand to hand: it passes from
kings to tyrants, from tyrants to the aristocracy, from them to
democracy, and from these back again to tyrants and to factions; and
thus the same kind of government is seldom long maintained.

XLV. Since these are the facts of experience, royalty is, in my
opinion, very far preferable to the three other kinds of political
constitutions. But it is itself inferior to that which is composed of
an equal mixture of the three best forms of government, united and
modified by one another. I wish to establish in a commonwealth a royal
and pre-eminent chief. Another portion of power should be deposited in
the hands of the aristocracy, and certain things should be reserved to
the judgment and wish of the multitude. This constitution, in the first
place, possesses that great equality without which men cannot long
maintain their freedom; secondly, it offers a great stability, while
the particular separate and isolated forms easily fall into their
contraries; so that a king is succeeded by a despot, an aristocracy by
a faction, a democracy by a mob and confusion; and all these forms are
frequently sacrificed to new revolutions. In this united and mixed
constitution, however, similar disasters cannot happen without the
greatest vices in public men. For there can be little to occasion
revolution in a state in which every person is firmly established in
his appropriate rank, and there are but few modes of corruption into
which we can fall.

XLVI. But I fear, Lælius, and you, my amiable and learned friends, that
if I were to dwell any longer on this argument, my words would seem
rather like the lessons of a master, and not like the free conversation
of one who is uniting with you in the consideration of truth. I shall
therefore pass on to those things which are familiar to all, and which
I have long studied. And in these matters I believe, I feel, and I
affirm that of all governments there is none which, either in its
entire constitution or the distribution of its parts, or in the
discipline of its manners, is comparable to that which our fathers
received from our earliest ancestors, and which they have handed down
to us. And since you wish to hear from me a development of this
constitution, with which you are all acquainted, I shall endeavor to
explain its true character and excellence. Thus keeping my eye fixed on
the model of our Roman Commonwealth, I shall endeavor to accommodate to
it all that I have to say on the best form of government. And by
treating the subject in this way, I think I shall be able to accomplish
most satisfactorily the task which Lælius has imposed on me.

XLVII. _Lælius._ It is a task most properly and peculiarly your own, my
Scipio; for who can speak so well as you either on the subject of the
institutions of our ancestors, since you yourself are descended from
most illustrious ancestors, or on that of the best form of a
constitution which, if we possess (though at this moment we do not,
still), when we do possess such a thing, who will be more flourishing
in it than you? or on that of providing counsels for the future, as
you, who, by dispelling two mighty perils from our city, have provided
for its safety forever?


XLVIII. As our country is the source of the greatest benefits, and is a
parent dearer than those who have given us life, we owe her still
warmer gratitude than belongs to our human relations. * * *

Nor would Carthage have continued to flourish during six centuries
without wisdom and good institutions. * * *

In truth, says Cicero, although the reasonings of those men may contain
most abundant fountains of science and virtue; still, if we compare
them with the achievements and complete actions of statesmen, they will
seem not to have been of so much service in the actual business of men
as of amusement for their leisure.

       *       *       *       *       *



   In this second book of his Commonwealth, Cicero gives us a
     spirited and eloquent review of the history and successive
     developments of the Roman constitution. He bestows the
     warmest praises on its early kings, points out the great
     advantages which had resulted from its primitive monarchical
     system, and explains how that system had been gradually
     broken up. In order to prove the importance of reviving it,
     he gives a glowing picture of the evils and disasters that
     had befallen the Roman State in consequence of that
     overcharge of democratic folly and violence which had
     gradually gained an alarming preponderance, and describes,
     with a kind of prophetic sagacity, the fruit of his political
     experience, the subsequent revolutions of the Roman State,
     which such a state of things would necessarily bring about.


I. [When, therefore, he observed all his friends kindled with the
de]sire of hearing him, Scipio thus opened the discussion. I will
commence, said Scipio, with a sentiment of old Cato, whom, as you know,
I singularly loved and exceedingly admired, and to whom, in compliance
with the judgment of both my parents, and also by my own desire, I was
entirely devoted during my youth; of whose discourse, indeed, I could
never have enough, so much experience did he possess as a statesman
respecting the republic which he had so long governed, both in peace
and war, with so much success. There was also an admirable propriety in
his style of conversation, in which wit was tempered with gravity; a
wonderful aptitude for acquiring, and at the same time communicating,
information; and his life was in perfect correspondence and unison with
his language. He used to say that the government of Rome was superior
to that of other states for this reason, because in nearly all of them
there had been single individuals, each of whom had regulated their
commonwealth according to their own laws and their own ordinances. So
Minos had done in Crete, and Lycurgus in Sparta; and in Athens, which
experienced so many revolutions, first Theseus, then Draco, then Solon,
then Clisthenes, afterward many others; and, lastly, when it was almost
lifeless and quite prostrate, that great and wise man, Demetrius
Phalereus, supported it. But our Roman constitution, on the contrary,
did not spring from the genius of one individual, but from that of
many; and it was established, not in the lifetime of one man, but in
the course of several ages and centuries. For, added he, there never
yet existed any genius so vast and comprehensive as to allow nothing at
any time to escape its attention; and all the geniuses in the world
united in a single mind could never, within the limits of a single
life, exert a foresight sufficiently extensive to embrace and harmonize
all, without the aid of experience and practice.

Thus, according to Cato's usual habit, I now ascend in my discourse to
the "origin of the people," for I like to adopt the expression of Cato.
I shall also more easily execute my proposed task if I thus exhibit to
you our political constitution in its infancy, progress, and maturity,
now so firm and fully established, than if, after the example of
Socrates in the books of Plato, I were to delineate a mere imaginary

II. When all had signified their approbation, Scipio resumed: What
commencement of a political constitution can we conceive more
brilliant, or more universally known, than the foundation of Rome by
the hand of Romulus? And he was the son of Mars: for we may grant this
much to the common report existing among men, especially as it is not
merely ancient, but one also which has been wisely maintained by our
ancestors, in order that those who have done great service to
communities may enjoy the reputation of having received from the Gods,
not only their genius, but their very birth.

It is related, then, that soon after the birth of Romulus and his
brother Remus, Amulius, King of Alba, fearing that they might one day
undermine his authority, ordered that they should be exposed on the
banks of the Tiber; and that in this situation the infant Romulus was
suckled by a wild beast; that he was afterward educated by the
shepherds, and brought up in the rough way of living and labors of the
countrymen; and that he acquired, when he grew up, such superiority
over the rest by the vigor of his body and the courage of his soul,
that all the people who at that time inhabited the plains in the midst
of which Rome now stands, tranquilly and willingly submitted to his
government. And when he had made himself the chief of those bands, to
come from fables to facts, he took Alba Longa, a powerful and strong
city at that time, and slew its king, Amulius.

III. Having acquired this glory, he conceived the design (as they tell
us) of founding a new city and establishing a new state. As respected
the site of his new city, a point which requires the greatest foresight
in him who would lay the foundation of a durable commonwealth, he chose
the most convenient possible position. For he did not advance too near
the sea, which he might easily have done with the forces under his
command, either by entering the territory of the Rutuli and Aborigines,
or by founding his citadel at the mouth of the Tiber, where many years
after Ancus Martius established a colony. But Romulus, with admirable
genius and foresight, observed and perceived that sites very near the
sea are not the most favorable positions for cities which would attain
a durable prosperity and dominion. And this, first, because maritime
cities are always exposed, not only to many attacks, but to perils they
cannot provide against. For the continued land gives notice, by many
indications, not only of any regular approaches, but also of any sudden
surprises of an enemy, and announces them beforehand by the mere sound.
There is no adversary who, on an inland territory, can arrive so
swiftly as to prevent our knowing not only his existence, but his
character too, and where he comes from. But a maritime and naval enemy
can fall upon a town on the sea-coast before any one suspects that he
is about to come; and when he does come, nothing exterior indicates who
he is, or whence he comes, or what he wishes; nor can it even be
determined and distinguished on all occasions whether he is a friend or
a foe.

IV. But maritime cities are likewise naturally exposed to corrupt
influences, and revolutions of manners. Their civilization is more or
less adulterated by new languages and customs, and they import not only
foreign merchandise, but foreign fashions, to such a degree that
nothing can continue unalloyed in the national institutions. Those who
inhabit these maritime towns do not remain in their native place, but
are urged afar from their homes by winged hope and speculation. And
even when they do not desert their country in person, still their minds
are always expatiating and voyaging round the world.

Nor, indeed, was there any cause which more deeply undermined Corinth
and Carthage, and at last overthrew them both, than this wandering and
dispersion of their citizens, whom the passion of commerce and
navigation had induced to abandon the cultivation of their lands and
their attention to military pursuits.

The proximity of the sea likewise administers to maritime cities a
multitude of pernicious incentives to luxury, which are either acquired
by victory or imported by commerce; and the very agreeableness of their
position nourishes many expensive and deceitful gratifications of the
passions. And what I have spoken of Corinth may be applied, for aught I
know, without incorrectness to the whole of Greece. For the
Peloponnesus itself is almost wholly on the sea-coast; nor, besides the
Phliasians, are there any whose lands do not touch the sea; and beyond
the Peloponnesus, the Ænianes, the Dorians, and the Dolopes are the
only inland people. Why should I speak of the Grecian islands, which,
girded by the waves, seem all afloat, as it were, together with the
institutions and manners of their cities? And these things, I have
before noticed, do not respect ancient Greece only; for which of all
those colonies which have been led from Greece into Asia, Thracia,
Italy, Sicily, and Africa, with the single exception of Magnesia, is
there that is not washed by the sea? Thus it seems as if a sort of
Grecian coast had been annexed to territories of the barbarians. For
among the barbarians themselves none were heretofore a maritime people,
if we except the Carthaginians and Etruscans; one for the sake of
commerce, the other of pillage. And this is one evident reason of the
calamities and revolutions of Greece, because she became infected with
the vices which belong to maritime cities, which I just now briefly
enumerated. But yet, notwithstanding these vices, they have one great
advantage, and one which is of universal application, namely, that
there is a great facility for new inhabitants flocking to them. And,
again, that the inhabitants are enabled to export and send abroad the
produce of their native lands to any nation they please, which offers
them a market for their goods.

V. By what divine wisdom, then, could Romulus embrace all the benefits
that could belong to maritime cities, and at the same time avoid the
dangers to which they are exposed, except, as he did, by building his
city on the bank of an inexhaustible river, whose equal current
discharges itself into the sea by a vast mouth, so that the city could
receive all it wanted from the sea, and discharge its superabundant
commodities by the same channel? And in the same river a communication
is found by which it not only receives from the sea all the productions
necessary to the conveniences and elegances of life, but those also
which are brought from the inland districts. So that Romulus seems to
me to have divined and anticipated that this city would one day become
the centre and abode of a powerful and opulent empire; for there is no
other part of Italy in which a city could be situated so as to be able
to maintain so wide a dominion with so much ease.

VI. As to the natural fortifications of Rome, who is so negligent and
unobservant as not to have them depicted and deeply stamped on his
memory? Such is the plan and direction of the walls, which, by the
prudence of Romulus and his royal successors, are bounded on all sides
by steep and rugged hills; and the only aperture between the Esquiline
and Quirinal mountains is enclosed by a formidable rampart, and
surrounded by an immense fosse. And as for our fortified citadel, it is
so secured by a precipitous barrier and enclosure of rocks, that, even
in that horrible attack and invasion of the Gauls, it remained
impregnable and inviolable. Moreover, the site which he selected had
also an abundance of fountains, and was healthy, though it was in the
midst of a pestilential region; for there are hills which at once
create a current of fresh air, and fling an agreeable shade over the

VII. These things he effected with wonderful rapidity, and thus
established the city, which, from his own name Romulus, he determined
to call Rome. And in order to strengthen his new city, he conceived a
design, singular enough, and even a little rude, yet worthy of a great
man, and of a genius which discerned far away in futurity the means of
strengthening his power and his people. The young Sabine females of
honorable birth who had come to Rome, attracted by the public games and
spectacles which Romulus then, for the first time, established as
annual games in the circus, were suddenly carried off at the feast of
Consus[313] by his orders, and were given in marriage to the men of the
noblest families in Rome. And when, on this account, the Sabines had
declared war against Rome, the issue of the battle being doubtful and
undecided, Romulus made an alliance with Tatius, King of the Sabines,
at the intercession of the matrons themselves who had been carried off.
By this compact he admitted the Sabines into the city, gave them a
participation in the religious ceremonies, and divided his power with
their king.

VIII. But after the death of Tatius, the entire government was again
vested in the hands of Romulus, although, besides making Tatius his own
partner, he had also elected some of the chiefs of the Sabines into the
royal council, who on account of their affectionate regard for the
people were called _patres_, or fathers. He also divided the people
into three tribes, called after the name of Tatius, and his own name,
and that of Locumo, who had fallen as his ally in the Sabine war; and
also into thirty curiæ, designated by the names of those Sabine
virgins, who, after being carried off at the festivals, generously
offered themselves as the mediators of peace and coalition.

But though these orders were established in the life of Tatius, yet,
after his death, Romulus reigned with still greater power by the
counsel and authority of the senate.

IX. In this respect he approved and adopted the principle which
Lycurgus but little before had applied to the government of Lacedæmon;
namely, that the monarchical authority and the royal power operate best
in the government of states when to this supreme authority is joined
the influence of the noblest of the citizens.

Therefore, thus supported, and, as it were, propped up by this council
or senate, Romulus conducted many wars with the neighboring nations in
a most successful manner; and while he refused to take any portion of
the booty to his own palace, he did not cease to enrich the citizens.
He also cherished the greatest respect for that institution of
hierarchical and ecclesiastical ordinances which we still retain to the
great benefit of the Commonwealth; for in the very commencement of his
government he founded the city with religious rites, and in the
institution of all public establishments he was equally careful in
attending to these sacred ceremonials, and associated with himself on
these occasions priests that were selected from each of the tribes. He
also enacted that the nobles should act as patrons and protectors to
the inferior citizens, their natural clients and dependants, in their
respective districts, a measure the utility of which I shall afterward
notice.--The judicial punishments were mostly fines of sheep and oxen;
for the property of the people at that time consisted in their fields
and cattle, and this circumstance has given rise to the expressions
which still designate real and personal wealth. Thus the people were
kept in order rather by mulctations than by bodily inflictions.

X. After Romulus had thus reigned thirty-seven years, and established
these two great supports of government, the hierarchy and the senate,
having disappeared in a sudden eclipse of the sun, he was thought
worthy of being added to the number of the Gods--an honor which no
mortal man ever was able to attain to but by a glorious pre-eminence of
virtue. And this circumstance was the more to be admired in the case of
Romulus because most of the great men that have been deified were so
exalted to celestial dignities by the people, in periods very little
enlightened, when fiction was easy and ignorance went hand-in-hand with
credulity. But with respect to Romulus we know that he lived less than
six centuries ago, at a time when science and literature were already
advanced, and had got rid of many of the ancient errors that had
prevailed among less civilized peoples. For if, as we consider proved
by the Grecian annals, Rome was founded in the seventh Olympiad, the
life of Romulus was contemporary with that period in which Greece
already abounded in poets and musicians--an age when fables, except
those concerning ancient matters, received little credit.

For, one hundred and eight years after the promulgation of the laws of
Lycurgus, the first Olympiad was established, which indeed, through a
mistake of names, some authors have supposed constituted, by Lycurgus
likewise. And Homer himself, according to the best computation, lived
about thirty years before the time of Lycurgus. We must conclude,
therefore, that Homer flourished very many years before the date of
Romulus. So that, as men had now become learned, and as the times
themselves were not destitute of knowledge, there was not much room
left for the success of mere fictions. Antiquity indeed has received
fables that have at times been sufficiently improbable: but this epoch,
which was already so cultivated, disdaining every fiction that was
impossible, rejected[314] * * * We may therefore, perhaps, attach some
credit to this story of Romulus's immortality, since human life was at
that time experienced, cultivated, and instructed. And doubtless there
was in him such energy of genius and virtue that it is not altogether
impossible to believe the report of Proculus Julius, the husbandman, of
that glorification having befallen Romulus which for many ages we have
denied to less illustrious men. At all events, Proculus is reported to
have stated in the council, at the instigation of the senators, who
wished to free themselves from all suspicion of having been accessaries
to the death of Romulus, that he had seen him on that hill which is now
called the Quirinal, and that he had commanded him to inform the people
that they should build him a temple on that same hill, and offer him
sacrifices under the name of Quirinus.

XI. You see, therefore, that the genius of this great man did not
merely establish the constitution of a new people, and then leave them,
as it were, crying in their cradle; but he still continued to
superintend their education till they had arrived at an adult and
wellnigh a mature age.

Then Lælius said: We now see, my Scipio, what you meant when you said
that you would adopt a new method of discussing the science of
government, different from any found in the writings of the Greeks. For
that prime master of philosophy, whom none ever surpassed in eloquence,
I mean Plato, chose an open plain on which to build an imaginary city
after his own taste--a city admirably conceived, as none can deny, but
remote enough from the real life and manners of men. Others, without
proposing to themselves any model or type of government whatever, have
argued on the constitutions and forms of states. You, on the contrary,
appear to be about to unite these two methods; for, as far as you have
gone, you seem to prefer attributing to others your discoveries, rather
than start new theories under your own name and authority, as Socrates
has done in the writings of Plato. Thus, in speaking of the site of
Rome, you refer to a systematic policy, to the acts of Romulus, which
were many of them the result of necessity or chance; and you do not
allow your discourse to run riot over many states, but you fix and
concentrate it on our own Commonwealth. Proceed, then, in the course
you have adopted; for I see that you intend to examine our other kings,
in your pursuit of a perfect republic, as it were.

XII. Therefore, said Scipio, when that senate of Romulus which was
composed of the nobles, whom the king himself respected so highly that
he designated them _patres_, or fathers, and their children patricians,
attempted after the death of Romulus to conduct the government without
a king, the people would not suffer it, but, amidst their regret for
Romulus, desisted not from demanding a fresh monarch. The nobles then
prudently resolved to establish an interregnum--a new political form,
unknown to other nations. It was not without its use, however, since,
during the interval which elapsed before the definitive nomination of
the new king, the State was not left without a ruler, nor subjected too
long to the same governor, nor exposed to the fear lest some one, in
consequence of the prolonged enjoyment of power, should become more
unwilling to lay it aside, or more powerful if he wished to secure it
permanently for himself. At which time this new nation discovered a
political provision which had escaped the Spartan Lycurgus, who
conceived that the monarch ought not to be elective--if indeed it is
true that this depended on Lycurgus--but that it was better for the
Lacedæmonians to acknowledge as their sovereign the next heir of the
race of Hercules, whoever he might be: but our Romans, rude as they
were, saw the importance of appointing a king, not for his family, but
for his virtue and experience.

XIII. And fame having recognized these eminent qualities in Numa
Pompilius, the Roman people, without partiality for their own citizens,
committed itself, by the counsel of the senators, to a king of foreign
origin, and summoned this Sabine from the city of Cures to Rome, that
he might reign over them. Numa, although the people had proclaimed him
king in their Comitia Curiata, did nevertheless himself pass a Lex
Curiata respecting his own authority; and observing that the
institutions of Romulus had too much excited the military propensities
of the people, he judged it expedient to recall them from this habit of
warfare by other employments.

XIV. And, in the first place, he divided severally among the citizens
the lands which Romulus had conquered, and taught them that even
without the aid of pillage and devastation they could, by the
cultivation of their own territories, procure themselves all kinds of
commodities. And he inspired them with the love of peace and
tranquillity, in which faith and justice are likeliest to flourish, and
extended the most powerful protection to the people in the cultivation
of their fields and the enjoyment of their produce. Pompilius likewise
having created hierarchical institutions of the highest class, added
two augurs to the old number. He intrusted the superintendence of the
sacred rites to five pontiffs, selected from the body of the nobles;
and by those laws which we still preserve on our monuments he
mitigated, by religious ceremonials, the minds that had been too long
inflamed by military enthusiasm and enterprise.

He also established the Flamines and the Salian priests and the Vestal
Virgins, and regulated all departments of our ecclesiastical policy
with the most pious care. In the ordinance of sacrifices, he wished
that the ceremonial should be very arduous and the expenditure very
light. He thus appointed many observances, whose knowledge is extremely
important, and whose expense far from burdensome. Thus in religious
worship he added devotion and removed costliness. He was also the first
to introduce markets, games, and the other usual methods of assembling
and uniting men. By these establishments, he inclined to benevolence
and amiability spirits whom the passion for war had rendered savage and
ferocious. Having thus reigned in the greatest peace and concord
thirty-nine years--for in dates we mainly follow our Polybius, than
whom no one ever gave more attention to the investigation of the
history of the times--he departed this life, having corroborated the
two grand principles of political stability, religion and clemency.

XV. When Scipio had concluded these remarks, Is it not, said Manilius,
a true tradition which is current, that our king Numa was a disciple of
Pythagoras himself, or that at least he was a Pythagorean in his
doctrines? For I have often heard this from my elders, and we know that
it is the popular opinion; but it does not seem to be clearly proved by
the testimony of our public annals.

Then Scipio replied: The supposition is false, my Manilius; it is not
merely a fiction, but a ridiculous and bungling one too; and we should
not tolerate those statements, even in fiction, relating to facts which
not only did not happen, but which never could have happened. For it
was not till the fourth year of the reign of Tarquinius Superbus that
Pythagoras is ascertained to have come to Sybaris, Crotona, and this
part of Italy. And the sixty-second Olympiad is the common date of the
elevation of Tarquin to the throne, and of the arrival of Pythagoras.
From which it appears, when we calculate the duration of the reigns of
the kings, that about one hundred and forty years must have elapsed
after the death of Numa before Pythagoras first arrived in Italy. And
this fact, in the minds of men who have carefully studied the annals of
time, has never been at all doubted.

O ye immortal Gods! said Manilius, how deep and how inveterate is this
error in the minds of men! However, it costs me no effort to concede
that our Roman sciences were not imported from beyond the seas, but
that they sprung from our own indigenous and domestic virtues.

XVI. You will become still more convinced of this fact, said Africanus,
when tracing the progress of our Commonwealth as it became gradually
developed to its best and maturest condition. And you will find yet
further occasion to admire the wisdom of our ancestors on this very
account, since you will perceive, that even those things which they
borrowed from foreigners received a much higher improvement among us
than they possessed in the countries from whence they were imported
among us; and you will learn that the Roman people was aggrandized, not
by chance or hazard, but rather by counsel and discipline, to which
fortune indeed was by no means unfavorable.

XVII. After the death of King Pompilius, the people, after a short
period of interregnum, chose Tullus Hostilius for their king, in the
Comitia Curiata; and Tullus, after Numa's example, consulted the people
in their curias to procure a sanction for his government. His
excellence chiefly appeared in his military glory and great
achievements in war. He likewise, out of his military spoils,
constructed and decorated the House of Comitia and the Senate-house. He
also settled the ceremonies of the proclamation of hostilities, and
consecrated their righteous institution by the religious sanction of
the Fetial priests, so that every war which was not duly announced and
declared might be adjudged illegal, unjust, and impious. And observe
how wisely our kings at that time perceived that certain rights ought
to be allowed to the people, of which we shall have a good deal to say
hereafter. Tullus did not even assume the ensigns of royalty without
the approbation of the people; and when he appointed twelve lictors,
with their axes to go before him[315] * * *

XVIII. * * * [_Manilius_.] This Commonwealth of Rome, which you are so
eloquently describing, did not creep towards perfection; it rather flew
at once to the maturity of its grandeur.

[_Scipio._] After Tullus, Ancus Martius, a descendant of Numa by his
daughter, was appointed king by the people. He also procured the
passing of a law[316] through the Comitia Curiata respecting his
government. This king having conquered the Latins, admitted them to the
rights of citizens of Rome. He added to the city the Aventine and
Cælian hills; he distributed the lands he had taken in war; he bestowed
on the public all the maritime forests he had acquired; and he built
the city Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, and colonized it. When he
had thus reigned twenty-three years, he died.

Then said Lælius: Doubtless this king deserves our praises, but the
Roman history is obscure. We possess, indeed, the name of this
monarch's mother, but we know nothing of his father.

It is so, said Scipio; but in those ages little more than the names of
the kings were recorded.

XIX. For the first time at this period, Rome appears to have become
more learned by the study of foreign literature; for it was no longer a
little rivulet, flowing from Greece towards the walls of our city, but
an overflowing river of Grecian sciences and arts. This is generally
attributed to Demaratus, a Corinthian, the first man of his country in
reputation, honor, and wealth; who, not being able to bear the
despotism of Cypselus, tyrant of Corinth, fled with large treasures,
and arrived at Tarquinii, the most flourishing city in Etruria. There,
understanding that the domination of Cypselus was thoroughly
established, he, like a free and bold-hearted man, renounced his
country, and was admitted into the number of the citizens of Tarquinii,
and fixed his residence in that city. And having married a woman of the
city, he instructed his two sons, according to the method of Greek
education, in all kinds of sciences and arts.[317] * * *

XX. * * * [One of these sons] was easily admitted to the rights of
citizenship at Rome; and on account of his accomplished manners and
learning, he became a favorite of our king Ancus to such a degree that
he was a partner in all his counsels, and was looked upon almost as his
associate in the government. He, besides, possessed wonderful
affability, and was very kind in assistance, support, protection, and
even gifts of money, to the citizens.

When, therefore, Ancus died, the people by their unanimous suffrages
chose for their king this Lucius Tarquinius (for he had thus
transformed the Greek name of his family, that he might seem in all
respects to imitate the customs of his adopted countrymen). And when
he, too, had procured the passing of a law respecting his authority, he
commenced his reign by doubling the original number of the senators.
The ancient senators he called patricians of the major families
(_patres majorum gentium_), and he asked their votes first; and those
new senators whom he himself had added, he entitled patricians of minor
families. After this, he established the order of knights, on the plan
which we maintain to this day. He would not, however, change the
denomination of the Tatian, Rhamnensian, and Lucerian orders, though he
wished to do so, because Attus Nævius, an augur of the highest
reputation, would not sanction it. And, indeed, I am aware that the
Corinthians were remarkably attentive to provide for the maintenance
and good condition of their cavalry by taxes levied on the inheritance
of widows and orphans. To the first equestrian orders Lucius also added
new ones, composing a body of three hundred knights. And this number he
doubled, after having conquered the Æquicoli, a large and ferocious
people, and dangerous enemies of the Roman State. Having likewise
repulsed from our walls an invasion of the Sabines, he routed them by
the aid of his cavalry, and subdued them. He also was the first person
who instituted the grand games which are now called the Roman Games. He
fulfilled his vow to build a temple to the all-good and all-powerful
Jupiter in the Capitol--a vow which he made during a battle in the
Sabine war--and died after a reign of thirty-eight years.

XXI. Then Lælius said: All that you have been relating corroborates the
saying of Cato, that the constitution of the Roman Commonwealth is not
the work of one man, or one age; for we can clearly see what a great
progress in excellent and useful institutions was continued under each
successive king. But we are now arrived at the reign of a monarch who
appears to me to have been of all our kings he who had the greatest
foresight in matters of political government.

So it appears to me, said Scipio; for after Tarquinius Priscus comes
Servius Sulpicius, who was the first who is reported to have reigned
without an order from the people. He is supposed to have been the son
of a female slave at Tarquinii, by one of the soldiers or clients of
King Priscus; and as he was educated among the servants of this prince,
and waiting on him at table, the king soon observed the fire of his
genius, which shone forth even from his childhood, so skilful was he in
all his words and actions. Therefore, Tarquin, whose own children were
then very young, so loved Servius that he was very commonly believed to
be his own son, and he instructed him with the greatest care in all the
sciences with which he was acquainted, according to the most exact
discipline of the Greeks.

But when Tarquin had perished by the plots of the sons of Ancus, and
Servius (as I have said) had begun to reign, not by the order, but yet
with the good-will and consent, of the citizens--because, as it was
falsely reported that Priscus was recovering from his wounds, Servius,
arrayed in the royal robes, delivered judgment, freed the debtors at
his own expense, and, exhibiting the greatest affability, announced
that he delivered judgment at the command of Priscus--he did not commit
himself to the senate; but, after Priscus was buried, he consulted the
people respecting his authority, and, being authorized by them to
assume the dominion, he procured a law to be passed through the Comitia
Curiata, confirming his government.

He then, in the first place, avenged the injuries of the Etruscans by
arms. After which[318] * * *

XXII. * * * he enrolled eighteen centuries of knights of the first
order. Afterward, having created a great number of knights from the
common mass of the people, he divided the rest of the people into five
classes, distinguishing between the seniors and the juniors. These he
so constituted as to place the suffrages, not in the hands of the
multitude, but in the power of the men of property. And he took care to
make it a rule of ours, as it ought to be in every government, that the
greatest number should not have the greatest weight. You are well
acquainted with this institution, otherwise I would explain it to you;
but you are familiar with the whole system, and know how the centuries
of knights, with six suffrages, and the first class, comprising eighty
centuries, besides one other century which was allotted to the
artificers, on account of their utility to the State, produce
eighty-nine centuries. If to these there are added twelve
centuries--for that is the number of the centuries of the knights which
remain[319]--the entire force of the State is summed up; and the
arrangement is such that the remaining and far more numerous multitude,
which is distributed through the ninety-six last centuries, is not
deprived of a right of suffrage, which would be an arrogant measure;
nor, on the other hand, permitted to exert too great a preponderance in
the government, which would be dangerous.

In this arrangement, Servius was very cautious in his choice of terms
and denominations. He called the rich _assidui_, because they afforded
pecuniary succor[320] to the State. As to those whoso fortune did not
exceed 1500 pence, or those who had nothing but their labor, he called
them _proletarii_ classes, as if the State should expect from them a
hardy progeny[321] and population.

Even a single one of the ninety-six last centuries contained
numerically more citizens than the entire first class. Thus, no one was
excluded from his right of voting, yet the preponderance of votes was
secured to those who had the deepest stake in the welfare of the State.
Moreover, with reference to the accensi, velati, trumpeters,
hornblowers, proletarii[322] * * *

XXIII. * * * That that republic is arranged in the best manner which,
being composed in due proportions of those three elements, the
monarchical, the aristocratical, and the democratic, does not by
punishment irritate a fierce and savage mind. * * * [A similar
institution prevailed at Carthage], which was sixty-five years more
ancient than Rome, since it was founded thirty-nine years before the
first Olympiad; and that most ancient law-giver Lycurgus made nearly
the same arrangements. Thus the system of regular subordination, and
this mixture of the three principal forms of government, appear to me
common alike to us and them. But there is a peculiar advantage in our
Commonwealth, than which nothing can be more excellent, which I shall
endeavor to describe as accurately as possible, because it is of such a
character that nothing analogous can be discovered in ancient states;
for these political elements which I have noticed were so united in the
constitutions of Rome, of Sparta, and of Carthage, that they were not
counterbalanced by any modifying power. For in a state in which one man
is invested with a perpetual domination, especially of the monarchical
character, although there be a senate in it, as there was in Rome under
the kings, and in Sparta, by the laws of Lycurgus, or even where the
people exercise a sort of jurisdiction, as they used in the days of our
monarchy, the title of king must still be pre-eminent; nor can such a
state avoid being, and being called, a kingdom. And this kind of
government is especially subject to frequent revolutions, because the
fault of a single individual is sufficient to precipitate it into the
most pernicious disasters.

In itself, however, royalty is not only not a reprehensible form of
government, but I do not know whether it is not far preferable to all
other simple constitutions, if I approved of any simple constitution
whatever. But this preference applies to royalty so long only as it
maintains its appropriate character; and this character provides that
one individual's perpetual power, and justice, and universal wisdom
should regulate the safety, equality, and tranquillity of the whole
people. But many privileges must be wanting to communities that live
under a king; and, in the first place, liberty, which does not consist
in slavery to a just master, but in slavery to no master at all[323]
* * *

XXIV. * * * [Let us now pass on to the reign of the seventh and last
king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus.] And even this unjust and cruel
master had good fortune for his companion for some time in all his
enterprises. For he subdued all Latium; he captured Suessa Pometia, a
powerful and wealthy city, and, becoming possessed of an immense spoil
of gold and silver, he accomplished his father's vow by the building of
the Capitol. He established colonies, and, faithful to the institutions
of those from whom he sprung, he sent magnificent presents, as tokens
of gratitude for his victories, to Apollo at Delphi.

XXV. Here begins the revolution of our political system of government,
and I must beg your attention to its natural course and progression.
For the grand point of political science, the object of our discourses,
is to know the march and the deviations of governments, that when we
are acquainted with the particular courses and inclinations of
constitutions, we may be able to restrain them from their fatal
tendencies, or to oppose adequate obstacles to their decline and fall.

For this Tarquinius Superbus, of whom I am speaking, being first of all
stained with the blood of his admirable predecessor on the throne,
could not be a man of sound conscience and mind; and as he feared
himself the severest punishment for his enormous crime, he sought his
protection in making himself feared. Then, in the glory of his
victories and his treasures, he exulted in insolent pride, and could
neither regulate his own manners nor the passions of the members of his

When, therefore, his eldest son had offered violence to Lucretia,
daughter of Tricipitinus and wife of Collatinus, and this chaste and
noble lady had stabbed herself to death on account of the injury she
could not survive--then a man eminent for his genius and virtue, Lucius
Brutus, dashed from his fellow-citizens this unjust yoke of odious
servitude; and though he was but a private man, he sustained the
government of the entire Commonwealth, and was the first that taught
the people in this State that no one was a private man when the
preservation of our liberties was concerned. Beneath his authority and
command our city rose against tyranny, and, stirred by the recent grief
of the father and relatives of Lucretia, and with the recollections of
Tarquin's haughtiness, and the numberless crimes of himself and his
sons, they pronounced sentence of banishment against him and his
children, and the whole race of the Tarquins.

XXVI. Do you not observe, then, how the king sometimes degenerates into
the despot, and how, by the fault of one individual, a form of
government originally good is abused to the worst of purposes? Here is
a specimen of that despot over the people whom the Greeks denominate a
tyrant. For, according to them, a king is he who, like a father,
consults the interests of his people, and who preserves those whom he
is set over in the very best condition of life. This indeed is, as I
have said, an excellent form of government, yet still liable, and, as
it were, inclined, to a pernicious abuse. For as soon as a king assumes
an unjust and despotic power, he instantly becomes a tyrant, than which
nothing baser or fouler, than which no imaginable animal can be more
detestable to gods or men; for though in form a man, he surpasses the
most savage monsters in ferocious cruelty. For who can justly call him
a human being, who admits not between himself and his
fellow-countrymen, between himself and the whole human race, any
communication of justice, any association of kindness? But we shall
find some fitter occasion of speaking of the evils of tyranny when the
subject itself prompts us to declare against them who, even in a state
already liberated, have affected these despotic insolencies.

XXVII. Such is the first origin and rise of a tyrant. For this was the
name by which the Greeks choose to designate an unjust king; and by the
title king our Romans universally understand every man who exercises
over the people a perpetual and undivided domination. Thus Spurius
Cassius, and Marcus Manlius, and Spurius Mælius, are said to have
wished to seize upon the kingly power, and lately [Tiberius Gracchus
incurred the same accusation].[324] * * *

XXVIII. * * * [Lycurgus, in Sparta, formed, under the name of Elders,]
a small council consisting of twenty-eight members only; to these he
allotted the supreme legislative authority, while the king held the
supreme executive authority. Our Romans, emulating his example, and
translating his terms, entitled those whom he had called Elders,
Senators, which, as we have said, was done by Romulus in reference to
the elect patricians. In this constitution, however, the power, the
influence, and name of the king is still pre-eminent. You may
distribute, indeed, some show of power to the people, as Lycurgus and
Romulus did, but you inflame them, with the thirst of liberty by
allowing them even the slightest taste of its sweetness; and still
their hearts will be overcast with alarm lest their king, as often
happens, should become unjust. The prosperity of the people, therefore,
can be little better than fragile, when placed at the disposal of any
one individual, and subjected to his will and caprices.

XXIX. Thus the first example, prototype, and original of tyranny has
been discovered by us in the history of our own Roman State,
religiously founded by Romulus, without applying to the theoretical
Commonwealth which, according to Plato's recital, Socrates was
accustomed to describe in his peripatetic dialogues. We have observed
Tarquin, not by the usurpation of any new power, but by the unjust
abuse of the power which he already possessed, overturn the whole
system of our monarchical constitution.

Let us oppose to this example of the tyrant another, a virtuous
king--wise, experienced, and well informed respecting the true interest
and dignity of the citizens--a guardian, as it were, and superintendent
of the Commonwealth; for that is a proper name for every ruler and
governor of a state. And take you care to recognize such a man when you
meet him, for he is the man who, by counsel and exertion, can best
protect the nation. And as the name of this man has not yet been often
mentioned in our discourse, and as the character of such a man must be
often alluded to in our future conversations, [I shall take an early
opportunity of describing it.][325] * * *

XXX. * * * [Plato has chosen to suppose a territory and establishments
of citizens, whose fortunes] were precisely equal. And he has given us
a description of a city, rather to be desired than expected; and he has
made out not such a one as can really exist, but one in which the
principles of political affairs may be discerned. But for me, if I can
in any way accomplish it, while I adopt the same general principles as
Plato, I am seeking to reduce them to experience and practice, not in
the shadow and picture of a state, but in a real and actual
Commonwealth, of unrivalled amplitude and power; in order to be able to
point out, with the most graphic precision, the causes of every
political good and social evil.

For after Rome had flourished more than two hundred and forty years
under her kings and interreges, and after Tarquin was sent into
banishment, the Roman people conceived as much detestation of the name
of king as they had once experienced regret at the death, or rather
disappearance, of Romulus. Therefore, as in the first instance they
could hardly bear the idea of losing a king, so in the latter, after
the expulsion of Tarquin, they could not endure to hear the name of a
king.[326] * * *

XXXI. * * * Therefore, when that admirable constitution of Romulus had
lasted steadily about two hundred and forty years. * * * The whole of
that law was abolished. In this humor, our ancestors banished
Collatinus, in spite of his innocence, because of the suspicion that
attached to his family, and all the rest of the Tarquins, on account of
the unpopularity of their name. In the same humor, Valerius Publicola
was the first to lower the fasces before the people, when he spoke in
the assembly of the people. He also had the materials of his house
conveyed to the foot of Mount Velia, having observed that the
commencement of his edifice on the summit of this hill, where King
Tullius had once dwelt, excited the suspicions of the people.

It was the same man, who in this respect pre-eminently deserved the
name of Publicola, who carried in favor of the people the first law
received in the Comitia Centuriata, that no magistrate should sentence
to death or scourging a Roman citizen who appealed from his authority
to the people. And the pontifical books attest that the right of appeal
had existed, even against the decision of the kings. Our augural books
affirm the same thing. And the Twelve Tables prove, by a multitude of
laws, that there was a right of appeal from every judgment and penalty.
Besides, the historical fact that the decemviri who compiled the laws
were created with the privilege of judging without appeal, sufficiently
proves that the other magistrates had not the same power. And a
consular law, passed by Lucius Valerius Politus and Marcus Horatius
Barbatus, men justly popular for promoting union and concord, enacted
that no magistrate should thenceforth be appointed with authority to
judge without appeal; and the Portian laws, the work of three citizens
of the name of Portius, as you are aware, added nothing new to this
edict but a penal sanction.

Therefore Publicola, having promulgated this law in favor of appeal to
the people, immediately ordered the axes to be removed from the fasces,
which the lictors carried before the consuls, and the next day
appointed Spurius Lucretius for his colleague. And as the new consul
was the oldest of the two, Publicola ordered his lictors to pass over
to him; and he was the first to establish the rule, that each of the
consuls should be preceded by the lictors in alternate months, that
there should be no greater appearance of imperial insignia among the
free people than they had witnessed in the days of their kings. Thus,
in my opinion, he proved himself no ordinary man, as, by so granting
the people a moderate degree of liberty, he more easily maintained the
authority of the nobles.

Nor is it without reason that I have related to you these ancient and
almost obsolete events; but I wished to adduce my instances of men and
circumstances from illustrious persons and times, as it is to such
events that the rest of my discourse will be directed.

XXXII. At that period, then, the senate preserved the Commonwealth in
such a condition that though the people were really free, yet few acts
were passed by the people, but almost all, on the contrary, by the
authority, customs, and traditions of the senate. And over all the
consuls exercised a power--in time, indeed, only annual, but in nature
and prerogative completely royal.

The consuls maintained, with the greatest energy, that rule which so
much conduces to the power of our nobles and great men, that the acts
of the commons of the people shall not be binding, unless the authority
of the patricians has approved them. About the same period, and
scarcely ten years after the first consuls, we find the appointment of
the dictator in the person of Titus Lartius. And this new kind of
power--namely, the dictatorship--appears exceedingly similar to the
monarchical royalty. All his power, however, was vested in the supreme
authority of the senate, to which the people deferred; and in these
times great exploits were performed in war by brave men invested with
the supreme command, whether dictators or consuls.

XXXIII. But as the nature of things necessarily brought it to pass that
the people, once freed from its kings, should arrogate to itself more
and more authority, we observe that after a short interval of only
sixteen years, in the consulship of Postumus Cominius and Spurius
Cassius, they attained their object; an event explicable, perhaps, on
no distinct principle, but, nevertheless, in a manner independent of
any distinct principle. For recollect what I said in commencing our
discourse, that if there exists not in the State a just distribution
and subordination of rights, offices, and prerogatives, so as to give
sufficient domination to the chiefs, sufficient authority to the
counsel of the senators, and sufficient liberty to the people, this
form of the government cannot be durable.

For when the excessive debts of the citizens had thrown the State into
disorder, the people first retired to Mount Sacer, and next occupied
Mount Aventine. And even the rigid discipline of Lycurgus could not
maintain those restraints in the case of the Greeks. For in Sparta
itself, under the reign of Theopompus, the five magistrates whom they
term Ephori, and in Crete ten whom they entitle Cosmi, were established
in opposition to the royal power, just as tribunes were added among us
to counterbalance the consular authority.

XXXIV. There might have been a method, indeed, by which our ancestors
could have been relieved from the pressure of debt, a method with which
Solon the Athenian, who lived at no very distant period before, was
acquainted, and which our senate did not neglect when, in the
indignation which the odious avarice of one individual excited, all the
bonds of the citizens were cancelled, and the right of arrest for a
while suspended. In the same way, when the plebeians were oppressed by
the weight of the expenses occasioned by public misfortunes, a cure and
remedy were sought for the sake of public security. The senate,
however, having forgotten their former decision, gave an advantage to
the democracy; for, by the creation of two tribunes to appease the
sedition of the people, the power and authority of the senate were
diminished; which, however, still remained dignified and august,
inasmuch as it was still composed of the wisest and bravest men, who
protected their country both with their arms and with their counsels;
whose authority was exceedingly strong and flourishing, because in
honor they were as much before their fellow-citizens as they were
inferior in luxuriousness, and, as a general rule, not superior to them
in wealth. And their public virtues were the more agreeable to the
people, because even in private matters they were ready to serve every
citizen, by their exertions, their counsels, and their liberality.

XXXV. Such was the situation of the Commonwealth when the quæstor
impeached Spurius Cassius of being so much emboldened by the excessive
favor of the people as to endeavor to make himself master of
monarchical power. And, as you have heard, his own father, having said
that he had found that his son was really guilty of this crime,
condemned him to death at the instance of the people. About fifty-four
years after the first consulate, Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Aternius
very much gratified the people by proposing, in the Comitia Centuriata,
the substitution of fines instead of corporal punishments. Twenty years
afterward, Lucius Papirius and Publius Pinarius, the censors, having by
a strict levy of fines confiscated to the State the entire flocks and
herds of many private individuals, a light tax on the cattle was
substituted for the law of fines in the consulship of Caius Julius and
Publius Papirius.

XXXVI. But, some years previous to this, at a period when the senate
possessed the supreme influence, and the people were submissive and
obedient, a new system was adopted. At that time both the consuls and
tribunes of the people abdicated their magistracies, and the decemviri
were appointed, who were invested with great authority, from which
there was no appeal whatever, so as to exercise the chief domination,
and to compile the laws. After having composed, with much wisdom and
equity, the Ten Tables of laws, they nominated as their successors in
the ensuing year other decemviri, whose good faith and justice do not
deserve equal praise. One member of this college, however, merits our
highest commendation. I allude to Caius Julius, who declared respecting
the nobleman Lucius Sestius, in whose chamber a dead body had been
exhumed under his own eyes, that though as decemvir he held the highest
power without appeal, he still required bail, because he was unwilling
to neglect that admirable law which permitted no court but the Comitia
Centuriata to pronounce final sentence on the life of a Roman citizen.

XXXVII. A third year followed under the authority of the same
decemvirs, and still they were not disposed to appoint their
successors. In a situation of the Commonwealth like this, which, as I
have often repeated, could not be durable, because it had not an equal
operation with respect to all the ranks of the citizens, the whole
public power was lodged in the hands of the chiefs and decemvirs of the
highest nobility, without the counterbalancing authority of the
tribunes of the people, without the sanction of any other magistracies,
and without appeal to the people in the case of a sentence of death or

Thus, out of the injustice of these men, there was suddenly produced a
great revolution, which changed the entire condition of the government,
or they added two tables of very tyrannical laws, and though
matrimonial alliances had always been permitted, even with foreigners,
they forbade, by the most abominable and inhuman edict, that any
marriages should take place between the nobles and the commons--an
order which was afterward abrogated by the decree of Canuleius.
Besides, they introduced into all their political measures corruption,
cruelty, and avarice. And indeed the story is well known, and
celebrated in many literary compositions, that a certain Decimus
Virginius was obliged, on account of the libidinous violence of one of
these decemvirs, to stab his virgin daughter in the midst of the forum.
Then, when he in his desperation had fled to the Roman army which was
encamped on Mount Algidum, the soldiers abandoned the war in which they
were engaged, and took possession of the Sacred Mount, as they had done
before on a similar occasion, and next invested Mount Aventine in their
arms.[327] Our ancestors knew how to prove most thoroughly, and to
retain most wisely. * * *

XXXVIII. And when Scipio had spoken in this manner, and all his friends
were awaiting in silence the rest of his discourse, then said Tubero:
Since these men who are older than I, my Scipio, make no fresh demands
on you, I shall take the liberty to tell you what I particularly wish
you would explain in your subsequent remarks.

Do so, said Scipio, and I shall be glad to hear.

Then Tubero said: You appear to me to have spoken a panegyric on our
Commonwealth of Rome exclusively, though Lælius requested your views
not only of the government of our own State, but of the policy of
states in general. I have not, therefore, yet sufficiently learned from
your discourse, with respect to that mixed form of government you most
approve, by what discipline, moral and legal, we may be best able to
establish and maintain it.

XXXIX. Africanus replied: I think that we shall soon find an occasion
better adapted to the discussion you have proposed, respecting the
constitution and conservatism of states. As to the best form of
government, I think on this point I have sufficiently answered the
question of Lælius. For in answering him, I, in the first place,
specifically noticed the three simple forms of government--monarchy,
aristocracy, and democracy; and the three vicious constitutions
contrary to them, into which they often degenerate; and I said that
none of these forms, taken separately, was absolutely good; but I
described as preferable to either of them that mixed government which
is composed of a proper amalgamation of these simple ingredients. If I
have since depicted our own Roman constitution as an example, it was
not in order to define the very best form of government, for that may
be understood without an example; but I wished, in the exhibition of a
mighty commonwealth actually in existence, to render distinct and
visible what reason and discourse would vainly attempt to display
without the assistance of experimental illustration. Yet, if you still
require me to describe the best form of government, independent of all
particular examples, we must consult that exactly proportioned and
graduated image of government which nature herself presents to her
investigators. Since you * * * this model of a city and people[328]
* * *

XL. * * * which I also am searching for, and which I am anxious to
arrive at.

_Lælius._ You mean the model that would be approved by the truly
accomplished politician?

_Scipio._ The same.

_Lælius._ You have plenty of fair patterns even now before you, if you
would but begin with yourself.

Then Scipio said: I wish I could find even one such, even in the entire
senate. For he is really a wise politician who, as we have often seen
in Africa, while seated on a huge and unsightly elephant, can guide and
rule the monster, and turn him whichever way he likes by a slight
admonition, without any actual exertion.

_Lælius._ I recollect, and when I was your lieutenant I often saw, one
of these drivers.

_Scipio._ Thus an Indian or Carthaginian regulates one of these huge
animals, and renders him docile and familiar with human manners. But
the genius which resides in the mind of man, by whatever name it may be
called, is required to rein and tame a monster far more multiform and
intractable, whenever it can accomplish it, which indeed is seldom. It
is necessary to hold in with a strong hand that ferocious[329] * * *

XLI. * * * [beast, denominated the mob, which thirsts after blood] to
such a degree that it can scarcely be sated with the most hideous
massacres of men. * * *

     But to a man who is greedy, and grasping, and lustful, and
     fond of wallowing in voluptuousness.

     The fourth kind of anxiety is that which is prone to mourning
     and melancholy, and which is constantly worrying itself.

          [_The next paragraph, "Esse autem angores," etc.,
          is wholly unintelligible without the context._]

     As an unskilful charioteer is dragged from his chariot,
     covered with dirt, bruised, and lacerated.

     The excitements of men's minds are like a chariot, with
     horses harnessed to it; in the proper management of which,
     the chief duty of the driver consists in knowing his road:
     and if he keeps the road, then, however rapidly he proceeds,
     he will encounter no obstacles; but if he quits the proper
     track, then, although he may be going gently and slowly, he
     will either be perplexed on rugged ground, or fall over some
     steep place, or at least he will be carried where he has no
     need to go.[330]

XLII. * * * can be said.

Then Lælius said: I now see the sort of politician you require, on whom
you would impose the office and task of government, which is what I
wished to understand.

He must be an almost unique specimen, said Africanus, for the task
which I set him comprises all others. He must never cease from
cultivating and studying himself, that he may excite others to imitate
him, and become, through the splendor of his talents and enterprises, a
living mirror to his countrymen. For as in flutes and harps, and in all
vocal performances, a certain unison and harmony must be preserved
amidst the distinctive tones, which cannot be broken or violated
without offending experienced ears; and as this concord and delicious
harmony is produced by the exact gradation and modulation of dissimilar
notes; even so, by means of the just apportionment of the highest,
middle, and lower classes, the State is maintained in concord and peace
by the harmonic subordination of its discordant elements: and thus,
that which is by musicians called harmony in song answers and
corresponds to what we call concord in the State--concord, the
strongest and loveliest bond of security in every commonwealth, being
always accompanied by justice and equity.

     XLIII. And after this, when Scipio had discussed with
     considerable breadth of principle and felicity of
     illustration the great advantage that justice is to a state,
     and the great injury which would arise if it were wanting,
     Pilus, one of those who were present at the discussion, took
     up the matter and demanded that this question should be
     argued more carefully, and that something more should be said
     about justice, on account of a sentiment that was now
     obtaining among people in general, that political affairs
     could not be wholly carried on without some disregard of

XLIV. * * * to be full of justice.

Then Scipio replied: I certainly think so. And I declare to you that I
consider that all I have spoken respecting the government of the State
is worth nothing, and that it will be useless to proceed further,
unless I can prove that it is a false assertion that political business
cannot be conducted without injustice and corruption; and, on the other
hand, establish as a most indisputable fact that without the strictest
justice no government whatever can last long.

But, with your permission, we have had discussion enough for the day.
The rest--and much remains for our consideration--we will defer till
to-morrow. When they had all agreed to this, the debate of the day was

       *       *       *       *       *



   Cicero here enters on the grand question of Political Justice,
     and endeavors to evince throughout the absolute verity of
     that inestimable proverb, "Honesty is the best policy," in
     all public as well as in all private affairs. St. Augustine,
     in his City of God, has given the following analysis of this
     magnificent disquisition:

   "In the third book of Cicero's Commonwealth" (says he) "the
     question of Political Justice is most earnestly discussed.
     Philus is appointed to support, as well as he can, the
     sophistical arguments of those who think that political
     government cannot be carried on without the aid of injustice
     and chicanery. He denies holding any such opinion himself;
     yet, in order to exhibit the truth more vividly through the
     force of contrast, he pleads with the utmost ingenuity the
     cause of injustice against justice; and endeavors to show, by
     plausible examples and specious dialectics, that injustice is
     as useful to a statesman as justice would be injurious. Then
     Lælius, at the general request, takes up the plea for
     justice, and maintains with all his eloquence that nothing
     could be so ruinous to states as injustice and dishonesty,
     and that without a supreme justice, no political government
     could expect a long duration. This point being sufficiently
     proved, Scipio returns to the principal discussion. He
     reproduces and enforces the short definition that he had
     given of a commonwealth--that it consisted in the welfare of
     the entire people, by which word 'people' he does not mean
     the mob, but the community, bound together by the sense of
     common rights and mutual benefits. He notices how important
     such just definitions are in all debates whatever, and draws
     this conclusion from the preceding arguments--that the
     Commonwealth is the common welfare whenever it is swayed with
     justice and wisdom, whether it be subordinated to a king, an
     aristocracy, or a democracy. But if the king be unjust, and
     so becomes a tyrant; and the aristocracy unjust, which makes
     them a faction; or the democrats unjust, and so degenerate
     into revolutionists and destructives--then not only the
     Commonwealth is corrupted, but in fact annihilated. For it
     can be no longer the common welfare when a tyrant or a
     faction abuse it; and the people itself is no longer the
     people when it becomes unjust, since it is no longer a
     community associated by a sense of right and utility,
     according to the definition."--_Aug. Civ. Dei._ 3-21.

   This book is of the utmost importance to statesmen, as it
     serves to neutralize the sophistries of Machiavelli, which
     are still repeated in many cabinets.


I. * * *[331] Cicero, in the third book of his treatise On a
Commonwealth, says that nature has treated man less like a mother than
a step-dame, for she has cast him into mortal life with a body naked,
fragile, and infirm, and with a mind agitated by troubles, depressed by
fears, broken by labors, and exposed to passions. In this mind,
however, there lies hidden, and, as it were, buried, a certain divine
spark of genius and intellect.

Though man is born a frail and powerless being, nevertheless he is safe
from all animals destitute of voice; and at the same time those other
animals of greater strength, although they bravely endure the violence
of weather, cannot be safe from man. And the result is, that reason
does more for man than nature does for brutes; since, in the latter,
neither the greatness of their strength nor the firmness of their
bodies can save them from being oppressed by us, and made subject to
our power. * * *

Plato returned thanks to nature that he had been born a man.

II. * * * aiding our slowness by carriages, and when it had taught men
to utter the elementary and confused sounds of unpolished expression,
articulated and distinguished them into their proper classes, and, as
their appropriate signs, attached certain words to certain things, and
thus associated, by the most delightful bond of speech, the once
divided races of men.

And by a similar intelligence, the inflections of the voice, which
appeared infinite, are, by the discovery of a few alphabetic
characters, all designated and expressed; by which we maintain converse
with our absent friends, by which also indications of our wishes and
monuments of past events are preserved. Then came the use of numbers--a
thing necessary to human life, and at the same time immutable and
eternal; a science which first urged us to raise our views to heaven,
and not gaze without an object on the motions of the stars, and the
distribution of days and nights.

III. * * *[332] [Then appeared the sages of philosophy], whose minds
took a higher flight, and who were able to conceive and to execute
designs worthy of the gifts of the Gods. Wherefore let those men who
have left us sublime essays on the principles of living be regarded as
great men--which indeed they are--as learned men, as masters of truth
and virtue; provided that these principles of civil government, this
system of governing people, whether it be a thing discovered by men who
have lived amidst a variety of political events, or one discussed
amidst their opportunities of literary tranquillity, is remembered to
be, as indeed it is, a thing by no means to be despised, being one
which causes in first-rate minds, as we not unfrequently see, an
incredible and almost divine virtue. And when to these high faculties
of soul, received from nature and expanded by social institutions, a
politician adds learning and extensive information concerning things in
general, like those illustrious personages who conduct the dialogue in
the present treatise, none will refuse to confess the superiority of
such persons to all others; for, in fact, what can be more admirable
than the study and practice of the grand affairs of state, united to a
literary taste and a familiarity with the liberal arts? or what can we
imagine more perfect than a Scipio, a Lælius, or a Philus, who, not to
omit anything which belonged to the most perfect excellence of the
greatest men, joined to the examples of our ancestors and the
traditions of our countrymen the foreign philosophy of Socrates?

Wherefore he who had both the desire and the power to acquaint himself
thoroughly both with the customs and the learning of his ancestors
appears to me to have attained to the very highest glory and honor. But
if we cannot combine both, and are compelled to select one of these two
paths to wisdom--though to some people the tranquil life spent in the
research of literature and arts may appear to be the most happy and
delectable--yet, doubtless, the science of politics is more laudable
and illustrious, for in this political field of exertion our greatest
men have reaped their honors, like the invincible Curius,

    Whom neither gold nor iron could subdue.

IV. * * *[333] that wisdom existed still. There existed this general
difference between these two classes, that among the one the
development of the principles of nature is the subject of their study
and eloquence, and among the other national laws and institutions form
the principal topics of investigation.

In honor of our country, we may assert that she has produced within
herself a great number, I will not say of sages (since philosophy is so
jealous of this name), but of men worthy of the highest celebrity,
because by them the precepts and discoveries of the sages have been
carried out into actual practice. And, moreover, though there have
existed, and still do exist, many great and glorious empires, yet since
the noblest masterpiece of genius in the world is the establishment of
a state and commonwealth which shall be a lasting one, even if we
reckon but a single legislator for each empire, the number of these
excellent men will appear very numerous. To be convinced of this, we
have only to turn our eyes on any nation of Italy, Latium, the Sabines,
the Volscians, the Samnites, or the Etrurians, and then direct our
attention to that mighty nation of the Greeks, and then to the
Assyrians, Persians, and Carthaginians, and[334] * * *

V. * * * [Scipio and his friends having again assembled, Scipio spoke
as follows: In our last conversation, I promised to prove that honesty
is the best policy in all states and commonwealths whatsoever. But if I
am to plead in favor of strict honesty and justice in all public
affairs, no less than in private, I must request Philus, or some one
else, to take up the advocacy of the other side; the truth will then
become more manifest, from the collision of opposite arguments, as we
see every day exemplified at the Bar.]

And Philus replied: In good truth, you have allotted me a very
creditable cause when you wish me to undertake the defence of vice.

Perhaps, said Lælius, you are afraid, lest, in reproducing the ordinary
objections made to justice in politics, you should seem to express your
own sentiments; though you are universally respected as an almost
unique example of the ancient probity and good faith; nor is it unknown
how familiar you are with the lawyer-like habit of disputing on both
sides of a question, because you think that this is the best way of
getting at the truth.

And Philus said: Very well; I obey you, and wilfully, with my eyes
open, I will undertake this dirty business; because, since those who
seek for gold do not flinch at the sight of the mud, so we who are
searching for justice, which is far more precious than gold, are bound
to shrink from no annoyance. And I wish, as I am about to make use of
the antagonist arguments of a foreigner, I might also employ a foreign
language. The pleas, therefore, now to be urged by Lucius Furius Philus
are those [once employed by] the Greek Carneades, a man who was
accustomed to express whatever [served his turn].[335] * * *[336]Let it
be understood, therefore, that I by no means express my own sentiments,
but those of Carneades, in order that you may refute this philosopher,
who was wont to turn the best causes into joke, through the mere
wantonness of wit.

     VI. He was a philosopher of the Academic School; and if any
     one is ignorant of his great power, and eloquence, and
     acuteness in arguing, he may learn it from the mention made
     of him by Cicero or by Lucilius, when Neptune, discoursing on
     a very difficult subject, declares that it cannot be
     explained, not even if hell were to restore Carneades himself
     for the purpose. This philosopher, having been sent by the
     Athenians to Rome as an ambassador, discussed the subject of
     justice very amply in the hearing of Galba and Cato the
     Censor, who were the greatest orators of the day. And the
     next day he overturned all his arguments by others of a
     contrary tendency, and disparaged justice, which the day
     before he had extolled; speaking not indeed with the gravity
     of a philosopher whose wisdom ought to be steady, and whose
     opinions unchangeable, but in a kind of rhetorical exercise
     of arguing on each side--a practice which he was accustomed
     to adopt, in order to be able to refute others who were
     asserting anything. The arguments by which he disparaged
     justice are mentioned by Lucius Furius in Cicero; I suppose,
     since he was discussing the Commonwealth, in order to
     introduce a defence and panegyric of that quality without
     which he did not think a commonwealth could be administered.
     But Carneades, in order to refute Aristotle and Plato, the
     advocates of justice, collected in his first argument
     everything that was in the habit of being advanced on behalf
     of justice, in order afterward to be able to overturn it, as
     he did.

     VII. Many philosophers indeed, and especially Plato and
     Aristotle, have spoken a great deal of justice, inculcating
     that virtue, and extolling it with the highest praise, as
     giving to every one what belongs to him, as preserving equity
     in all things, and urging that while the other virtues are,
     as it were, silent and shut up, justice is the only one which
     is not absorbed in considerations of self-interest, and which
     is not secret, but finds its whole field for exercise
     out-of-doors, and is desirous of doing good and serving as
     many people as possible; as if, forsooth, justice ought to
     exist in judges only, and in men invested with a certain
     authority, and not in every one! But there is no one, not
     even a man of the lowest class, or a beggar, who is destitute
     of opportunities of displaying justice. But because these
     philosophers knew not what its essence was, or whence it
     proceeded, or what its employment was, they attributed that
     first of all virtues, which is the common good of all men, to
     a few only, and asserted that it aimed at no advantage of its
     own, but was anxious only for that of others. So it was well
     that Carneades, a man of the greatest genius and acuteness,
     refuted their assertions, and overthrew that justice which
     had no firm foundation; not because he thought justice itself
     deserving of blame, but in order to show that those its
     defenders had brought forward no trustworthy or strong
     arguments in its behalf.

     Justice looks out-of-doors, and is prominent and conspicuous
     in its whole essence.

     Which virtue, beyond all others, wholly devotes and dedicates
     itself to the advantage of others.

VIII. * * * Both to discover and maintain. While the other, Aristotle,
has filled four large volumes with a discussion on abstract justice.
For I did not expect anything grand or magnificent from Chrysippus,
who, after his usual fashion, examines everything rather by the
signification of words than the reality of things. But it was surely
worthy of those heroes of philosophy to ennoble by their genius a
virtue so eminently beneficent and liberal, which everywhere exalts the
social interests above the selfish, and teaches us to love others
rather than ourselves. It was worthy of their genius, we say, to
elevate this virtue to a divine throne, not far from that of Wisdom.
And certainly they neither wanted the will to accomplish this (for what
else could be the cause of their writing on the subject, or what could
have been their design?) nor the genius, in which they excelled all
men. But the weakness of their cause was too great for either their
intention or their eloquence to make it popular. In fact, this justice
on which we reason is a civil right, but no natural one; for if it were
natural and universal, then justice and injustice would be recognized
similarly by all men, just as the heat and cold, sweetness and

IX. Now, if any one, carried in that chariot of winged serpents of
which the poet Pacuvius makes mention, could take his flight over all
nations and cities, and accurately observe their proceedings, he would
see that the sense of justice and right varies in different regions. In
the first place, he would behold among the unchangeable people of
Egypt, which preserves in its archives the memory of so many ages and
events, a bull adored as a Deity, under the name of Apis, and a
multitude of other monsters, and all kinds of animals admitted by the
same nation into the number of the Gods.

In the next place, he would see in Greece, as among ourselves,
magnificent temples consecrated by images in human form, which the
Persians regarded as impious; and it is affirmed that the sole motive
of Xerxes for commanding the conflagration of the Athenian temples was
the belief that it was a superstitious sacrilege to keep confined
within narrow walls the Gods, whose proper home was the entire
universe. But afterward Philip, in his hostile projects against the
Persians, and Alexander, who carried them into execution, alleged this
plea for war, that they were desirous to avenge the temples of Greece,
which the Greeks had thought proper never to rebuild, that this
monument of the impiety of the Persians might always remain before the
eyes of their posterity.

How many--such as the inhabitants of Taurica along the Euxine Sea; as
the King of Egypt, Busiris; as the Gauls and the Carthaginians--have
thought it exceedingly pious and agreeable to the Gods to sacrifice
men! And, besides, the customs of life are so various that the Cretans
and Ætolians regard robbery as honorable. And the Lacedæmonians say
that their territory extends to all places which they can touch with a
lance. The Athenians had a custom of swearing, by a public
proclamation, that all the lands which produced olives and corn were
their own. The Gauls consider it a base employment to raise corn by
agricultural labor, and go with arms in their hands, and mow down the
harvests of neighboring peoples. But we ourselves, the most equitable
of all nations, who, in order to raise the value of our vines and
olives, do not permit the races beyond the Alps to cultivate either
vineyards or oliveyards, are said in this matter to act with prudence,
but not with justice. You see, then, that wisdom and policy are not
always the same as equity. And Lycurgus, that famous inventor of a most
admirable jurisprudence and most wholesome laws, gave the lands of the
rich to be cultivated by the common people, who were reduced to

X. If I were to describe the diverse kinds of laws, institutions,
manners, and customs, not only as they vary in the numerous nations,
but as they vary likewise in single cities--in this one of ours, for
example--I could prove that they have had a thousand revolutions. For
instance, that eminent expositor of our laws who sits in the present
company--I mean Manilius--if you were to consult him relative to the
legacies and inheritances of women, he would tell you that the present
law is quite different from that he was accustomed to plead in his
youth, before the Voconian enactment came into force--an edict which
was passed in favor of the interests of the men, but which is evidently
full of injustice with regard to women. For why should a woman be
disabled from inheriting property? Why can a vestal virgin become an
heir, while her mother cannot? And why, admitting that it is necessary
to set some limit to the wealth of women, should Crassus's daughter, if
she be his only child, inherit thousands without offending the law,
while my daughter can only receive a small share in a bequest.[337]
* * *

XI. * * * [If this justice were natural, innate, and universal, all men
would admit the same] law and right, and the same men would not enact
different laws at different times. If a just man and a virtuous man is
bound to obey the laws, I ask, what laws do you mean? Do you intend all
the laws indifferently? But neither does virtue permit this inconstancy
in moral obligation, nor is such a variation compatible with natural
conscience. The laws are, therefore, based not on our sense of justice,
but on our fear of punishment. There is, therefore, no natural justice;
and hence it follows that men cannot be just by nature.

Are men, then, to say that variations indeed do exist in the laws, but
that men who are virtuous through natural conscience follow that which
is really justice, and not a mere semblance and disguise, and that it
is the distinguishing characteristic of the truly just and virtuous man
to render every one his due rights? Are we, then, to attribute the
first of these characteristics to animals? For not only men of moderate
abilities, but even first-rate sages and philosophers, as Pythagoras
and Empedocles, declare that all kinds of living creatures have a right
to the same justice. They declare that inexpiable penalties impend over
those who have done violence to any animal whatsoever. It is,
therefore, a crime to injure an animal, and the perpetrator of such
crime[338] * * *

     XII. For when he[339] inquired of a pirate by what right he
     dared to infest the sea with his little brigantine: "By the
     same right," he replied, "which is your warrant for
     conquering the world." * * *

Wisdom and prudence instruct us by all means to increase our power,
riches, and estates. For by what means could this same Alexander, that
illustrious general, who extended his empire over all Asia, without
violating the property of other men, have acquired such universal
dominion, enjoyed so many pleasures, such great power, and reigned
without bound or limit?

But justice commands us to have mercy upon all men, to consult the
interests of the whole human race, to give to every one his due, and
injure no sacred, public, or foreign rights, and to forbear touching
what does not belong to us. What is the result, then? If you obey the
dictates of wisdom, then wealth, power, riches, honors, provinces, and
kingdoms, from all classes, peoples, and nations, are to be aimed at.

However, as we are discussing public matters, those examples are more
illustrious which refer to what is done publicly. And since the
question between justice and policy applies equally to private and
public affairs, I think it well to speak of the wisdom of the people. I
will not, however, mention other nations, but come at once to our own
Roman people, whom Africanus, in his discourse yesterday, traced from
the cradle, and whose empire now embraces the whole world. Justice
is[340] * * *

     XIII. How far utility is at variance with justice we may
     learn from the Roman people itself, which, declaring war by
     means of the fecials, and committing injustice with all legal
     formality, always coveting and laying violent hands on the
     property of others, acquired the possession of the whole

     What is the advantage of one's own country but the
     disadvantage of another state or nation, by extending one's
     dominions by territories evidently wrested from others,
     increasing one's power, improving one's revenues, etc.?
     Therefore, whoever has obtained these advantages for his
     country--that is to say, whoever has overthrown cities,
     subdued nations, and by these means filled the treasury with
     money, taken lands, and enriched his fellow-citizens--such a
     man is extolled to the skies; is believed to be endowed with
     consummate and perfect virtue; and this mistake is fallen
     into not only by the populace and the ignorant, but by
     philosophers, who even give rules for injustice.

XIV. * * * For all those who have the right of life and death over the
people are in fact tyrants; but they prefer being called by the title
of king, which belongs to the all-good Jupiter. But when certain men,
by favor of wealth, birth, or any other means, get possession of the
entire government, it is a faction; but they choose to denominate
themselves an aristocracy. If the people gets the upper hand, and rules
everything after its capricious will, they call it liberty, but it is
in fact license. And when every man is a guard upon his neighbor, and
every class is a guard upon every other class, then because no one
trusts in his own strength, a kind of compact is formed between the
great and the little, from whence arises that mixed kind of government
which Scipio has been commending. Thus justice, according to these
facts, is not the daughter of nature or conscience, but of human
imbecility. For when it becomes necessary to choose between these three
predicaments, either to do wrong without retribution, or to do wrong
with retribution, or to do no wrong at all, it is best to do wrong with
impunity; next, neither to do wrong nor to suffer for it; but nothing
is more wretched than to struggle incessantly between the wrong we
inflict and that we receive. Therefore, he who attains to that first
end[341] * * *

     XV. This was the sum of the argument of Carneades: that men
     had established laws among themselves from considerations of
     advantage, varying them according to their different customs,
     and altering them often so as to adapt them to the times; but
     that there was no such thing as natural law; that all men and
     all other animals are led to their own advantage by the
     guidance of nature; that there is no such thing as justice,
     or, if there be, that it is extreme folly, since a man would
     injure himself while consulting the interests of others. And
     he added these arguments, that all nations who were
     flourishing and dominant, and even the Romans themselves, who
     were the masters of the whole world, if they wished to be
     just--that is to say, if they restored all that belonged to
     others--would have to return to their cottages, and to lie
     down in want and misery.

Except, perhaps, of the Arcadians and Athenians, who, I presume,
dreading that this great act of retribution might one day arrive,
pretend that they were sprung from the earth, like so many field-mice.

XVI. In reply to these statements, the following arguments are often
adduced by those who are not unskilful in discussions, and who, in this
question, have all the greater weight of authority, because, when we
inquire, Who is a good man?--understanding by that term a frank and
single-minded man--we have little need of captious casuists, quibblers,
and slanderers. For those men assert that the wise man does not seek
virtue because of the personal gratification which the practice of
justice and beneficence procures him, but rather because the life of
the good man is free from fear, care, solicitude, and peril; while, on
the other hand, the wicked always feel in their souls a certain
suspicion, and always behold before their eyes images of judgment and
punishment. Do not you think, therefore, that there is any benefit, or
that there is any advantage which can be procured by injustice,
precious enough to counterbalance the constant pressure of remorse, and
the haunting consciousness that retribution awaits the sinner, and
hangs over his devoted head.[342] * * *

XVII. [Our philosophers, therefore, put a case. Suppose, say they, two
men, one of whom is an excellent and admirable person, of high honor
and remarkable integrity; the latter is distinguished by nothing but
his vice and audacity. And suppose that their city has so mistaken
their characters as to imagine the good man to be a scandalous,
impious, and audacious criminal, and to esteem the wicked man, on the
contrary, as a pattern of probity and fidelity. On account of this
error of their fellow-citizens, the good man is arrested and tormented,
his hands are cut off, his eyes are plucked out, he is condemned,
bound, burned, exterminated, reduced to want, and to the last appears
to all men to be most deservedly the most miserable of men. On the
other hand, the flagitious wretch is exalted, worshipped, loved by all,
and honors, offices, riches, and emoluments are all conferred on him,
and he shall be reckoned by his fellow-citizens the best and worthiest
of mortals, and in the highest degree deserving of all manner of
prosperity. Yet, for all this, who is so mad as to doubt which of these
two men he would rather be?

XVIII. What happens among individuals happens also among nations. There
is no state so absurd and ridiculous as not to prefer unjust dominion
to just subordination. I need not go far for examples. During my own
consulship, when you were my fellow-counsellors, we consulted
respecting the treaty of Numantia. No one was ignorant that Quintus
Pompey had signed a treaty, and that Mancinus had done the same. The
latter, being a virtuous man, supported the proposition which I laid
before the people, after the decree of the senate. The former, on the
other side, opposed it vehemently. If modesty, probity, or faith had
been regarded, Mancinus would have carried his point; but in reason,
counsel, and prudence, Pompey surpassed him. Whether[343] * * *

XIX. If a man should have a faithless slave, or an unwholesome house,
with whose defect he alone was acquainted, and he advertised them for
sale, would he state the fact that his servant was infected with
knavery, and his house with malaria, or would he conceal these
objections from the buyer? If he stated those facts, he would be
honest, no doubt, because he would deceive nobody; but still he would
be thought a fool, because he would either get very little for his
property, or else fail to sell it at all. By concealing these defects,
on the other hand, he will be called a shrewd man--as one who has taken
care of his own interest; but he will be a rogue, notwithstanding,
because he will be deceiving his neighbors. Again, let us suppose that
one man meets another, who sells gold and silver, conceiving them to be
copper or lead; shall he hold his peace that he may make a capital
bargain, or correct the mistake, and purchase at a fair rate? He would
evidently be a fool in the world's opinion if he preferred the latter.

XX. It is justice, beyond all question, neither to commit murder nor
robbery. What, then, would your just man do, if, in a case of
shipwreck, he saw a weaker man than himself get possession of a plank?
Would he not thrust him off, get hold of the timber himself, and escape
by his exertions, especially as no human witness could be present in
the mid-sea? If he acted like a wise man of the world, he would
certainly do so, for to act in any other way would cost him his life.
If, on the other hand, he prefers death to inflicting unjustifiable
injury on his neighbor, he will be an eminently honorable and just man,
but not the less a fool, because he saved another's life at the expense
of his own. Again, if in case of a defeat and rout, when the enemy were
pressing in the rear, this just man should find a wounded comrade
mounted on a horse, shall he respect his right at the risk of being
killed himself, or shall he fling him from the horse in order to
preserve his own life from the pursuers? If he does so, he is a wise
man, but at the same time a wicked one; if he does not, he is admirably
just, but at the same time stupid.

XXI. _Scipio._ I might reply at great length to these sophistical
objections of Philus, if it were not, my Lælius, that all our friends
are no less anxious than myself to hear you take a leading part in the
present debate, especially as you promised yesterday that you would
plead at large on my side of the argument. If you cannot spare time for
this, at any rate do not desert us; we all ask it of you.

_Lælius._ This Carneades ought not to be even listened to by our young
men. I think all the while that I am hearing him that he must be a very
impure person; if he be not, as I would fain believe, his discourse is
not less pernicious.

XXII.[344] True law is right reason conformable to nature, universal,
unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose
prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the
good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with
indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is
not liable either to derogation or abrogation. Neither the senate nor
the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal
law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our
own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome, and another at Athens; one
thing to-day, and another to-morrow; but in all times and nations this
universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the
sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author,
its promulgator, its enforcer. And he who does not obey it flies from
himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. And by so doing
he will endure the severest penalties even if he avoid the other evils
which are usually accounted punishments.

     XXIII. I am aware that in the third book of Cicero's treatise
     on the Commonwealth (unless I am mistaken) it is argued that
     no war is ever undertaken by a well-regulated commonwealth
     unless it be one either for the sake of keeping faith, or for
     safety; and what he means by a war for safety, and what
     safety he wishes us to understand, he points out in another
     passage, where he says, "But private men often escape from
     these penalties, which even the most stupid persons
     feel--want, exile, imprisonment, and stripes--by embracing
     the opportunity of a speedy death; but to states death itself
     is a penalty, though it appears to deliver individuals from
     punishment. For a state ought to be established so as to be
     eternal: therefore, there is no natural decease for a state,
     as there is for a man, in whose case death is not only
     inevitable, but often even desirable; but when a state is put
     an end to, it is destroyed, extinguished. It is in some
     degree, to compare small things with great, as if this whole
     world were to perish and fall to pieces."

     In his treatise on the Commonwealth, Cicero says those wars
     are unjust which are undertaken without reason. Again, after
     a few sentences, he adds, No war is considered just unless it
     be formally announced and declared, and unless it be to
     obtain restitution of what has been taken away.

     But our nation, by defending its allies, has now become the
     master of all the whole world.

     XXIV. Also, in that same treatise on the Commonwealth, he
     argues most strenuously and vigorously in the cause of
     justice against injustice. And since, when a little time
     before the part of injustice was upheld against justice, and
     the doctrine was urged that a republic could not prosper and
     flourish except by injustice, this was put forward as the
     strongest argument, that it was unjust for men to serve other
     men as their masters; but that unless a dominant state, such
     as a great republic, acted on this injustice, it could not
     govern its provinces; answer was made on behalf of justice,
     that it was just that it should be so, because slavery is
     advantageous to such men, and their interests are consulted
     by a right course of conduct--that is, by the license of
     doing injury being taken from the wicked--and they will fare
     better when subjugated, because when not subjugated they
     fared worse: and to confirm this reasoning, a noble instance,
     taken, as it were, from nature, was added, and it was said,
     Why, then, does God govern man, and why does the mind govern
     the body, and reason govern lust, and the other vicious parts
     of the mind?

     XXV. Hear what Tully says more plainly still in the third
     book of his treatise on the Commonwealth, when discussing the
     reasons for government. Do we not, says he, see that nature
     herself has given the power of dominion to everything that is
     best, to the extreme advantage of what is subjected to it?
     Why, then, does God govern man, and why does the mind govern
     the body, and reason govern lust and passion and the other
     vicious parts of the same mind? Listen thus far; for
     presently he adds, But still there are dissimilarities to be
     recognized in governing and in obeying. For as the mind is
     said to govern the body, and also to govern lust, still it
     governs the body as a king governs his subjects, or a parent
     his children; but it governs lust as a master governs his
     slaves, because it restrains and breaks it. The authority of
     kings, of generals, of magistrates, of fathers, and of
     nations, rules their subjects and allies as the mind rules
     bodies; but masters control their slaves, as the best part of
     the mind--that is to say, wisdom--controls the vicious and
     weak parts of itself, such as lust, passion, and the other

     For there is a kind of unjust slavery when those belong to
     some one else who might be their own masters; but when those
     are slaves who cannot govern themselves, there is no injury

     XXVI. If, says Carneades, you were to know that an asp was
     lying hidden anywhere, and that some one who did not know it
     was going to sit upon it, whose death would be a gain to you,
     you would act wickedly if you did not warn him not to sit
     down. Still, you would not be liable to punishment; for who
     could prove that you had known? But we are bringing forward
     too many instances; for it is plain that unless equity, good
     faith, and justice proceed from nature, and if all these
     things are referred to interest, a good man cannot be found.
     And on these topics a great deal is said by Lælius in our
     treatise on the Republic.

     If, as we are reminded by you, we have spoken well in that
     treatise, when we said that nothing is good excepting what is
     honorable, and nothing bad excepting what is disgraceful.
     * * *

     XXVII. I am glad that you approve of the doctrine that the
     affection borne to our children is implanted by nature;
     indeed, if it be not, there can be no conection between man
     and man which has its origin in nature. And if there be not,
     then there is an end of all society in life. May it turn out
     well, says Carneades, speaking shamelessly, but still more
     sensibly than my friend Lucius or Patro: for, as they refer
     everything to themselves, do they think that anything is ever
     done for the sake of another? And when they say that a man
     ought to be good, in order to avoid misfortune, not because
     it is right by nature, they do not perceive that they are
     speaking of a cunning man, not of a good one. But these
     arguments are argued, I think, in those books by praising
     which you have given me spirits.

     In which I agree that an anxious and hazardous justice is not
     that of a wise man.

     XXVIII. And again, in Cicero, that same advocate of justice,
     Lælius, says, Virtue is clearly eager for honor, nor has she
     any other reward; which, however, she accepts easily, and
     exacts without bitterness. And in another place the same
     Lælius says:

When a man is inspired by virtue such as this, what bribes can you
offer him, what treasures, what thrones, what empires? He considers
these but mortal goods, and esteems his own divine. And if the
ingratitude of the people, and the envy of his competitors, or the
violence of powerful enemies, despoil his virtue of its earthly
recompense, he still enjoys a thousand consolations in the approbation
of conscience, and sustains himself by contemplating the beauty of
moral rectitude.

XXIX. * * * This virtue, in order to be true, must be universal.
Tiberius Gracchus continued faithful to his fellow-citizens, but he
violated the rights and treaties guaranteed to our allies and the Latin
peoples. But if this habit of arbitrary violence begins to extend
itself further, and perverts our authority, leading it from right to
violence, so that those who had voluntarily obeyed us are only
restrained by fear, then, although we, during our days, may escape the
peril, yet am I solicitous respecting the safety of our posterity and
the immortality of the Commonwealth itself, which, doubtless, might
become perpetual and invincible if our people would maintain their
ancient institutions and manners.

XXX. When Lælius had ceased to speak, all those that were present
expressed the extreme pleasure they found in his discourse. But Scipio,
more affected than the rest, and ravished with the delight of sympathy,
exclaimed: You have pleaded, my Lælius, many causes with an eloquence
superior to that of Servius Galba, our colleague, whom you used during
his life to prefer to all others, even to the Attic orators [and never
did I hear you speak with more energy than to-day, while pleading the
cause of justice][345] * * *

     * * * That two things were wanting to enable him to speak in
     public and in the forum, confidence and voice.

XXXI. * * * This justice, continued Scipio, is the very foundation of
lawful government in political constitutions. Can we call the State of
Agrigentum a commonwealth, where all men are oppressed by the cruelty
of a single tyrant--where there is no universal bond of right, nor
social consent and fellowship, which should belong to every people,
properly so named? It is the same in Syracuse--that illustrious city
which Timæus calls the greatest of the Grecian towns. It was indeed a
most beautiful city; and its admirable citadel, its canals distributed
through all its districts, its broad streets, its porticoes, its
temples, and its walls, gave Syracuse the appearance of a most
flourishing state. But while Dionysius its tyrant reigned there,
nothing of all its wealth belonged to the people, and the people were
nothing better than the slaves of one master. Thus, wherever I behold a
tyrant, I know that the social constitution must be not merely vicious
and corrupt, as I stated yesterday, but in strict truth no social
constitution at all.

XXXII. _Lælius._ You have spoken admirably, my Scipio, and I see the
point of your observations.

_Scipio._ You grant, then, that a state which is entirely in the power
of a faction cannot justly be entitled a political community?

_Lælius._ That is evident.

_Scipio._ You judge most correctly. For what was the State of Athens
when, during the great Peloponnesian war, she fell under the unjust
domination of the thirty tyrants? The antique glory of that city, the
imposing aspect of its edifices, its theatre, its gymnasium, its
porticoes, its temples, its citadel, the admirable sculptures of
Phidias, and the magnificent harbor of Piræus--did they constitute it a

_Lælius._ Certainly not, because these did not constitute the real
welfare of the community.

_Scipio._ And at Rome, when the decemvirs ruled without appeal from
their decisions, in the third year of their power, had not liberty lost
all its securities and all its blessings?

_Lælius._ Yes; the welfare of the community was no longer consulted,
and the people soon roused themselves, and recovered their appropriate

XXXIII. _Scipio._ I now come to the third, or democratical, form of
government, in which a considerable difficulty presents itself, because
all things are there said to lie at the disposition of the people, and
are carried into execution just as they please. Here the populace
inflict punishments at their pleasure, and act, and seize, and keep
possession, and distribute property, without let or hinderance. Can you
deny, my Lælius, that this is a fair definition of a democracy, where
the people are all in all, and where the people constitute the State?

_Lælius._ There is no political constitution to which I more absolutely
deny the name of a _commonwealth_ than that in which all things lie in
the power of the multitude. If a commonwealth, which implies the
welfare of the entire community, could not exist in Agrigentum,
Syracuse, or Athens when tyrants reigned over them--if it could not
exist in Rome when under the oligarchy of the decemvirs--neither do I
see how this sacred name of commonwealth can be applied to a democracy
and the sway of the mob; because, in the first place, my Scipio, I
build on your own admirable definition, that there can be no community,
properly so called, unless it be regulated by a combination of rights.
And, by this definition, it appears that a multitude of men may be just
as tyrannical as a single despot; and it is so much the worse, since no
monster can be more barbarous than the mob, which assumes the name and
appearance of the people. Nor is it at all reasonable, since the laws
place the property of madmen in the hands of their sane relations, that
we should do the [very reverse in politics, and throw the property of
the sane into the hands of the mad multitude][346] * * *

XXXIV. * * * [It is far more rational] to assert that a wise and
virtuous aristocratical government deserves the title of a
commonwealth, as it approaches to the nature of a kingdom.

And much more so in my opinion, said Mummius. For the unity of power
often exposes a king to become a despot; but when an aristocracy,
consisting of many virtuous men, exercise power, that is the most
fortunate circumstance possible for any state. However this be, I much
prefer royalty to democracy; for that is the third kind of government
which you have remaining, and a most vicious one it is.

XXXV. Scipio replied: I am well acquainted, my Mummius, with your
decided antipathy to the democratical system. And, although, we may
speak of it with rather more indulgence than you are accustomed to
accord it, I must certainly agree with you, that of all the three
particular forms of government, none is less commendable than

I do not agree with you, however, when you would imply that aristocracy
is preferable to royalty. If you suppose that wisdom governs the State,
is it not as well that this wisdom should reside in one monarch as in
many nobles?

But we are led away by a certain incorrectness of terms in a discussion
like the present. When we pronounce the word "aristocracy," which, in
Greek, signifies the government of the best men, what can be conceived
more excellent? For what can be thought better than the best? But when,
on the other hand, the title "king" is mentioned, we begin to imagine a
tyrant; as if a king must be necessarily unjust. But we are not
speaking of an unjust king when we are examining the true nature of
royal authority. To this name of king, therefore, do but attach the
idea of a Romulus, a Numa, a Tullus, and perhaps you will be less
severe to the monarchical form of constitution.

_Mummius_. Have you, then, no commendation at all for any kind of
democratical government?

_Scipio._ Why, I think some democratical forms less objectionable than
others; and, by way of illustration, I will ask you what you thought of
the government in the isle of Rhodes, where we were lately together;
did it appear to you a legitimate and rational constitution?

_Mummius_. It did, and not much liable to abuse.

_Scipio._ You say truly. But, if you recollect, it was a very
extraordinary experiment. All the inhabitants were alternately senators
and citizens. Some months they spent in their senatorial functions, and
some months they spent in their civil employments. In both they
exercised judicial powers; and in the theatre and the court, the same
men judged all causes, capital and not capital. And they had as much
influence, and were of as much importance as * * *


     XXXVI. There is therefore some unquiet feeling in
     individuals, which either exults in pleasure or is crushed by

          [_The next is an incomplete sentence, and, as such,

     The Phoenicians were the first who by their commerce, and by
     the merchandise which they carried, brought avarice and
     magnificence and insatiable degrees of everything into

     Sardanapalus, the luxurious king of Assyria, of whom Tully,
     in the third book of his treatise on the Republic, says, "The
     notorious Sardanapalus, far more deformed by his vices than
     even by his name."

     What is the meaning, then, of this absurd acceptation, unless
     some one wishes to make the whole of Athos a monument? For
     what is Athos or the vast Olympus? * * *

     XXXVII. I will endeavor in the proper place to show it,
     according to the definitions of Cicero himself, in which,
     putting forth Scipio as the speaker, he has briefly explained
     what a commonwealth and what a republic is; adducing also
     many assertions of his own, and of those whom he has
     represented as taking part in that discussion, to the effect
     that the State of Rome was not such a commonwealth, because
     there has never been genuine justice in it. However,
     according to definitions which are more reasonable, it was a
     commonwealth in some degree, and it was better regulated by
     the more ancient than by the later Romans.

     It is now fitting that I should explain, as briefly and as
     clearly as I can, what, in the second book of this work, I
     promised to prove, according to the definitions which Cicero,
     in his books on the Commonwealth, puts into the mouth of
     Scipio, arguing that the Roman State was never a
     commonwealth; for he briefly defines a commonwealth as a
     state of the people; the people as an assembly of the
     multitude, united by a common feeling of right, and a
     community of interests. What he calls a common feeling of
     right he explains by discussion, showing in this way that a
     commonwealth cannot proceed without justice. Where,
     therefore, there is no genuine justice, there can be no
     right, for that which is done according to right is done
     justly; and what is done unjustly cannot be done according to
     right, for the unjust regulations of men are not to be called
     or thought rights; since they themselves call that right
     (_jus_) which flows from the source of justice: and they say
     that that assertion which is often made by some persons of
     erroneous sentiments, namely, that that is right which is
     advantageous to the most powerful, is false. Wherefore, where
     there is no true justice there can be no company of men
     united by a common feeling of right; therefore there can be
     no people (_populus_), according to that definition of Scipio
     or Cicero: and if there be no people, there can be no state
     of the people, but only of a mob such as it may be, which is
     not worthy of the name of a people. And thus, if a
     commonwealth is a state of a people, and if that is not a
     people which is not united by a common feeling of right, and
     if there is no right where there is no justice, then the
     undoubted inference is, that where there is no justice there
     is no commonwealth. Moreover, justice is that virtue which
     gives every one his own.

No war can be undertaken by a just and wise state unless for faith or
self-defence. This self-defence of the State is enough to insure its
perpetuity, and this perpetuity is what all patriots desire. Those
afflictions which even the hardiest spirits smart under--poverty,
exile, prison, and torment--private individuals seek to escape from by
an instantaneous death. But for states, the greatest calamity of all is
that of death, which to individuals appears a refuge. A state should be
so constituted as to live forever. For a commonwealth there is no
natural dissolution as there is for a man, to whom death not only
becomes necessary, but often desirable. And when a state once decays
and falls, it is so utterly revolutionized, that, if we may compare
great things with small, it resembles the final wreck of the universe.

All wars undertaken without a proper motive are unjust. And no war can
be reputed just unless it be duly announced and proclaimed, and if it
be not preceded by a rational demand for restitution.

Our Roman Commonwealth, by defending its allies, has got possession of
the world.

       *       *       *       *       *



   In this fourth book Cicero treats of morals and education, and
     the use and abuse of stage entertainments. We retain nothing
     of this important book save a few scattered fragments, the
     beauty of which fills us with the greater regret for the
     passages we have lost.



     I. * * * Since mention has been made of the body and of the
     mind, I will endeavor to explain the theory of each as well
     as the weakness of my understanding is able to comprehend
     it--a duty which I think it the more becoming in me to
     undertake, because Marcus Tullius, a man of singular genius,
     after having attempted to perform it in the fourth book of
     his treatise on the Commonwealth, compressed a subject of
     wide extent within narrow limits, only touching lightly on
     all the principal points. And that there might be no excuse
     alleged for his not having followed out this topic, he
     himself has assured us that he was not wanting either in
     inclination or in anxiety to do so; for, in the first book of
     his treatise on Laws, when he was touching briefly on the
     same subject, he speaks thus: "This topic Scipio, in my
     opinion, has sufficiently discussed in those books which you
     have read."

     And the mind itself, which sees the future, remembers the

     Well did Marcus Tullius say, In truth, if there is no one who
     would not prefer death to being changed into the form of some
     beast, although he were still to retain the mind of a man,
     how much more wretched is it to have the mind of a beast in
     the form of a man! To me this fate appears as much worse than
     the other as the mind is superior to the body.

     Tullius says somewhere that he does not think the good of a
     ram and of Publius Africanus identical.

     And also by its being interposed, it causes shade and night,
     which is adapted both to the numbering of days and to rest
     from labor.

     And as in the autumn he has opened the earth to receive
     seeds, in winter relaxed it that it may digest them, and by
     the ripening powers of summer softened some and burned up

     When the shepherds use * * * for cattle.

     Cicero, in the fourth book of his Commonwealth, uses the word
     "armentum," and "armentarius," derived from it.

II. The great law of just and regular subordination is the basis of
political prosperity. There is much advantage in the harmonious
succession of ranks and orders and classes, in which the suffrages of
the knights and the senators have their due weight. Too many have
foolishly desired to destroy this institution, in the vain hope of
receiving some new largess, by a public decree, out of a distribution
of the property of the nobility.

III. Consider, now, how wisely the other provisions have been adopted,
in order to secure to the citizens the benefits of an honest and happy
life; for that is, indeed, the grand object of all political
association, and that which every government should endeavor to procure
for the people, partly by its institutions, and partly by its laws.

Consider, in the first place, the national education of the people--a
matter on which the Greeks have expended much labor in vain, and which
is the only point on which Polybius, who settled among us, accuses the
negligence of our institutions. For our countrymen have thought that
education ought not to be fixed, nor regulated by laws, nor be given
publicly and uniformly to all classes of society. For[347] * * *

     According to Tully, who says that men going to serve in the
     army have guardians assigned to them, by whom they are
     governed the first year.

IV. [In our ancient laws, young men were prohibited from appearing]
naked in the public baths, so far back were the principles of modesty
traced by our ancestors. Among the Greeks, on the contrary, what an
absurd system of training youth is exhibited in their gymnasia! What a
frivolous preparation for the labors and hazards of war! what indecent
spectacles, what impure and licentious amours are permitted! I do not
speak only of the Eleans and Thebans, among whom, in all love affairs,
passion is allowed to run into shameless excesses; but the Spartans,
while they permit every kind of license to their young men, save that
of violation, fence off, by a very slight wall, the very exception on
which they insist, besides other crimes which I will not mention.

Then Lælius said: I see, my Scipio, that on the subject of the Greek
institutions, which you censure, you prefer attacking the customs of
the most renowned peoples to contending with your favorite Plato, whose
name you have avoided citing, especially as * * *

     V. So that Cicero, in his treatise on the Commonwealth, says
     that it was a reproach to young men if they had no lovers.

     Not only as at Sparta, where boys learn to steal and plunder.

     And our master Plato, even more than Lycurgus, who would have
     everything to be common, so that no one should be able to
     call anything his own property.

     I would send him to the same place whither he sends Homer,
     crowned with chaplets and anointed with perfumes, banishing
     him from the city which he is describing.

     VI. The judgment of the censor inflicts scarcely anything
     more than a blush on the man whom he condemns. Therefore as
     all that adjudication turns solely on the name (_nomen_), the
     punishment is called ignominy.

     Nor should a prefect be set over women, an officer who is
     created among the Greeks; but there should be a censor to
     teach husbands to manage their wives.

     So the discipline of modesty has great power. All women
     abstain from wine.

     And also if any woman was of bad character, her relations
     used not to kiss her.

     So petulance is derived from asking (_petendo_); wantonness
     (_procacitas_) from _procando_, that is, from demanding.

     VII. For I do not approve of the same nation being the ruler
     and the farmer of lands. But both in private families and in
     the affairs of the Commonwealth I look upon economy as a

     Faith (_fides_) appears to me to derive its name from that
     being done (_fit_) which is said.

     In a citizen of rank and noble birth, caressing manners,
     display, and ambition are marks of levity.

     Examine for a while the books on the Republic, and learn that
     good men know no bound or limit in consulting the interests
     of their country. See in that treatise with what praises
     frugality, and continency, and fidelity to the marriage tie,
     and chaste, honorable, and virtuous manners are extolled.

     VIII. I marvel at the elegant choice, not only of the facts,
     but of the language. If they dispute (_jurgant_). It is a
     contest between well-wishers, not a quarrel between enemies,
     that is called a dispute (_jurgium_),

     Therefore the law considers that neighbors dispute
     (_jurgare_) rather than quarrel (_litigare_) with one

     The bounds of man's care and of man's life are the same; so
     by the pontifical law the sanctity of burial * * *

     They put them to death, though innocent, because they had
     left those men unburied whom they could not rescue from the
     sea because of the violence of the storm.

     Nor in this discussion have I advocated the cause of the
     populace, but of the good.

     For one cannot easily resist a powerful people if one gives
     them either no rights at all or very little.

     In which case I wish I could augur first with truth and
     fidelity * * *

     IX. Cicero saying this in vain, when speaking of poets, "And
     when the shouts and approval of the people, as of some great
     and wise teacher, has reached them, what darkness do they
     bring on! what alarms do they cause! what desires do they

     Cicero says that if his life were extended to twice its
     length, he should not have time to read the lyric poets.

     X. As Scipio says in Cicero, "As they thought the whole
     histrionic art, and everything connected with the theatre,
     discreditable, they thought fit that all men of that
     description should not only be deprived of the honors
     belonging to the rest of the citizens, but should also be
     deprived of their franchise by the sentence of the censors."

     And what the ancient Romans thought on this subject Cicero
     informs us, in those books which he wrote on the
     Commonwealth, where Scipio argues and says * * *

Comedies could never (if it had not been authorized by the common
customs of life) have made theatres approve of their scandalous
exhibitions. And the more ancient Greeks provided a certain correction
for the vicious taste of the people, by making a law that it should be
expressly defined by a censorship what subjects comedy should treat,
and how she should treat them.

Whom has it not attacked? or, rather, whom has it not wounded? and whom
has it spared? In this, no doubt, it sometimes took the right side, and
lashed the popular demagogues and seditious agitators, such as Cleon,
Cleophon, and Hyperbolus. We may tolerate that; though indeed the
censure of the magistrate would, in these cases, have been more
efficacious than the satire of the poet. But when Pericles, who
governed the Athenian Commonwealth for so many years with the highest
authority, both in peace and war, was outraged by verses, and these
were acted on the stage, it was hardly more decent than if, among us,
Plautus and Nævius had attacked Publius and Cnæus, or Cæcilius had
ventured to revile Marcus Cato.

Our laws of the Twelve Tables, on the contrary--so careful to attach
capital punishment to a very few crimes only--have included in this
class of capital offences the offence of composing or publicly reciting
verses of libel, slander, and defamation, in order to cast dishonor and
infamy on a fellow-citizen. And they have decided wisely; for our life
and character should, if suspected, be submitted to the sentence of
judicial tribunals and the legal investigations of our magistrates, and
not to the whims and fancies of poets. Nor should we be exposed to any
charge of disgrace which we cannot meet by legal process, and openly
refute at the bar.

In our laws, I admire the justice of their expressions, as well as
their decisions. Thus the word _pleading_ signifies rather an amicable
suit between friends than a quarrel between enemies.

It is not easy to resist a powerful people, if you allow them no
rights, or next to none.

     The old Romans would not allow any living man to be either
     praised or blamed on the stage.

     XI. Cicero says that comedy is an imitation of life; a mirror
     of customs, an image of truth.

     Since, as is mentioned in that book on the Commonwealth, not
     only did Æschines the Athenian, a man of the greatest
     eloquence, who, when a young man, had been an actor of
     tragedies, concern himself in public affairs, but the
     Athenians often sent Aristodemus, who was also a tragic
     actor, to Philip as an ambassador, to treat of the most
     important affairs of peace and war.

       *       *       *       *       *



   In this fifth book Cicero explains and enforces the duties of
     magistrates, and the importance of practical experience to
     all who undertake their important functions. Only a few
     fragments have survived the wreck of ages and descended to



I. Ennius has told us--

    Of men and customs mighty Rome consists;

which verse, both for its precision and its verity, appears to me as if
it had issued from an oracle; for neither the men, unless the State had
adopted a certain system of manners--nor the manners, unless they had
been illustrated by the men--could ever have established or maintained
for so many ages so vast a republic, or one of such righteous and
extensive sway.

Thus, long before our own times, the force of hereditary manners of
itself moulded most eminent men; and admirable citizens, in return,
gave new weight to the ancient customs and institutions of our
ancestors. But our age, on the contrary, having received the
Commonwealth as a finished picture of another century, but one already
beginning to fade through the lapse of years, has not only neglected to
renew the colors of the original painting, but has not even cared to
preserve its general form and prominent lineaments.

For what now remains of those antique manners, of which the poet said
that our Commonwealth consisted? They have now become so obsolete and
forgotten that they are not only not cultivated, but they are not even
known. And as to the men, what shall I say? For the manners themselves
have only perished through a scarcity of men; of which great misfortune
we are not only called to give an account, but even, as men accused of
capital offences, to a certain degree to plead our own cause in
connection with it. For it is owing to our vices, rather than to any
accident, that we have retained the name of republic when we have long
since lost the reality.

II. * * * There is no employment so essentially royal as the exposition
of equity, which comprises the true interpretation of all laws. This
justice subjects used generally to expect from their kings. For this
reason, lands, fields, woods, and pastures were reserved as the
property of kings, and cultivated for them, without any labor on their
part, in order that no anxiety on account of their personal interests
might distract their attention from the welfare of the State. Nor was
any private man allowed to be the judge or arbitrator in any suit; but
all disputes were terminated by the royal sentence.

And of all our Roman monarchs, Numa appears to me to have best
preserved this ancient custom of the kings of Greece. For the others,
though they also discharged this duty, were for the main part employed
in conducting military enterprises, and in attending to those rights
which belonged to war. But the long peace of Numa's reign was the
mother of law and religion in this city. And he was himself the author
of those admirable laws which, as you are aware, are still extant. And
this character is precisely what belongs to the man of whom we are
speaking. * * *

III. [_Scipio._ Ought not a farmer] to be acquainted with the nature of
plants and seeds?

_Manilius._ Certainly, provided he attends to his practical business

_Scipio._ Do you think that knowledge only fit for a steward?

_Manilius._ Certainly not, inasmuch as the cultivation of land often
fails for want of agricultural labor.

_Scipio._ Therefore, as the steward knows the nature of a field, and
the scribe knows penmanship, and as both of them seek, in their
respective sciences, not mere amusement only, but practical utility, so
this statesman of ours should have studied the science of jurisprudence
and legislation; he should have investigated their original sources;
but he should not embarrass himself in debating and arguing, reading
and scribbling. He should rather employ himself in the actual
administration of government, and become a sort of steward of it, being
perfectly conversant with the principles of universal law and equity,
without which no man can be just: not unfamiliar with the civil laws of
states; but he will use them for practical purposes, even as a pilot
uses astronomy, and a physician natural philosophy. For both these men
bring their theoretical science to bear on the practice of their arts;
and our statesman [should do the same with the science of politics, and
make it subservient to the actual interests of philanthropy and
patriotism]. * * *

IV. * * * In states in which good men desire glory and approbation, and
shun disgrace and ignominy. Nor are such men so much alarmed by the
threats and penalties of the law as by that sentiment of shame with
which nature has endowed man, which is nothing else than a certain fear
of deserved censure. The wise director of a government strengthens this
natural instinct by the force of public opinion, and perfects it by
education and manners. And thus the citizens are preserved from vice
and corruption rather by honor and shame than by fear of punishment.
But this argument will be better illustrated when we treat of the love
of glory and praise, which we shall discuss on another occasion.

V. As respects the private life and the manners of the citizens, they
are intimately connected with the laws that constitute just marriages
and legitimate offspring, under the protection of the guardian deities
around the domestic hearths. By these laws, all men should be
maintained in their rights of public and private property. It is only
under a good government like this that men can live happily--for
nothing can be more delightful than a well-constituted state.

On which account it appears to me a very strange thing what this * * *

     VI. I therefore consume all my time in considering what is
     the power of that man, whom, as you think, we have described
     carefully enough in our books. Do you, then, admit our idea
     of that governor of a commonwealth to whom we wish to refer
     everything? For thus, I imagine, does Scipio speak in the
     fifth book: "For as a fair voyage is the object of the master
     of a ship, the health of his patient the aim of a physician,
     and victory that of a general, so the happiness of his
     fellow-citizens is the proper study of the ruler of a
     commonwealth; that they may be stable in power, rich in
     resources, widely known in reputation, and honorable through
     their virtue. For a ruler ought to be one who can perfect
     this, which is the best and most important employment among

     And works in your literature rightly praise that ruler of a
     country who consults the welfare of his people more than
     their inclinations.

     VII. Tully, in those books which he wrote upon the
     Commonwealth, could not conceal his opinions, when he speaks
     of appointing a chief of the State, who, he says, must be
     maintained by glory; and afterward he relates that his
     ancestors did many admirable and noble actions from a desire
     of glory.

     Tully, in his treatise on the Commonwealth, wrote that the
     chief of a state must be maintained by glory, and that a
     commonwealth would last as long as honor was paid by every
     one to the chief.

          [_The next paragraph is unintelligible._]

     Which virtue is called fortitude, which consists of
     magnanimity, and a great contempt of death and pain.

     VIII. As Marcellus was fierce, and eager to fight, Maximus
     prudent and cautious.

     Who discovered his violence and unbridled ferocity.

     Which has often happened not only to individuals, but also to
     most powerful nations.

     In the whole world.

     Because he inflicted the annoyances of his old age on your

     IX. Cicero, in his treatise on the Commonwealth, says, "As
     Menelaus of Lacedæmon had a certain agreeable sweetness of
     eloquence." And in another place he says, "Let him cultivate
     brevity in speaking."

     By the evidence of which arts, as Tully says, it is a shame
     for the conscience of the judge to be misled. For he says,
     "And as nothing in a commonwealth ought to be so uncorrupt as
     a suffrage and a sentence, I do not see why the man who
     perverts them by money is worthy of punishment, while he who
     does so by eloquence is even praised. Indeed, I myself think
     that he who corrupts the judge by his speech does more harm
     than he who does so by money, because no one can corrupt a
     sensible man by money, though he may by speaking."

     And when Scipio had said this, Mummius praised him greatly,
     for he was extravagantly imbued with a hatred of orators.

       *       *       *       *       *


   In this last book of his Commonwealth, Cicero labors to show
     that truly pious philanthropical and patriotic statesmen will
     not only be rewarded on earth by the approval of conscience
     and the applause of all good citizens, but that they may
     expect hereafter immortal glory in new forms of being. To
     illustrate this, he introduces the "Dream of Scipio," in
     which he explains the resplendent doctrines of Plato
     respecting the immortality of the soul with inimitable
     dignity and elegance. This Somnium Scipionis, for which we
     are indebted to the citation of Macrobius, is the most
     beautiful thing of the kind ever written. It has been
     intensely admired by all European scholars, and will be still
     more so. There are two translations of it in our language;
     one attached to Oliver's edition of Cicero's Thoughts, the
     other by Mr. Danby, published in 1829. Of these we have
     freely availed ourselves, and as freely we express our



     I. Therefore you rely upon all the prudence of this rule,
     which has derived its very name (_prudentia_) from foreseeing
     (_a providendo_). Wherefore the citizen must so prepare
     himself as to be always armed against those things which
     trouble the constitution of a state. And that dissension of
     the citizens, when one party separates from and attacks
     another, is called sedition.

     And in truth in civil dissensions, as the good are of more
     importance than the many, I think that we should regard the
     weight of the citizens, and not their number.

     For the lusts, being severe mistresses of the thoughts,
     command and compel many an unbridled action. And as they
     cannot be satisfied or appeased by any means, they urge those
     whom they have inflamed with their allurements to every kind
     of atrocity.

     II. Which indeed was so much the greater in him because
     though the cause of the colleagues was identical, not only
     was their unpopularity not equal, but the influence of
     Gracchus was employed in mitigating the hatred borne to

     Who encountered the number of the chiefs and nobles with
     these words, and left behind him that mournful and dignified
     expression of his gravity and influence.

     That, as he writes, a thousand men might every day descend
     into the forum with cloaks dyed in purple.

          [_The next paragraph is unintelligible._]

     For our ancestors wished marriages to be firmly established.

     There is a speech extant of Lælius with which we are all
     acquainted, expressing how pleasing to the immortal gods are
     the * * * and * * * of the priests.

     III. Cicero, writing about the Commonwealth, in imitation of
     Plato, has related the story of the return of Er the
     Pamphylian to life; who, as he says, had come to life again
     after he had been placed on the funeral pile, and related
     many secrets about the shades below; not speaking, like
     Plato, in a fabulous imitation of truth, but using a certain
     reasonable invention of an ingenious dream, cleverly
     intimating that these things which were uttered about the
     immortality of the soul, and about heaven, are not the
     inventions of dreaming philosophers, nor the incredible
     fables which the Epicureans ridicule, but the conjectures of
     wise men. He insinuates that that Scipio who by the
     subjugation of Carthage obtained Africanus as a surname for
     his family, gave notice to Scipio the son of Paulus of the
     treachery which threatened him from his relations, and the
     course of fate, because by the necessity of numbers he was
     confined in the period of a perfect life, and he says that he
     in the fifty-sixth year of his age * * *

     IV. Some of our religion who love Plato, on account of his
     admirable kind of eloquence, and of some correct opinions
     which he held, say that he had some opinions similar to my
     own touching the resurrection of the dead, which subject
     Tully touches on in his treatise on the Commonwealth, and
     says that he was rather jesting than intending to say that
     was true. For he asserts that a man returned to life, and
     related some stories which harmonized with the discussions of
     the Platonists.

     V. In this point the imitation has especially preserved the
     likeness of the work, because, as Plato, in the conclusion of
     his volume, represents a certain person who had returned to
     life, which he appeared to have quitted, as indicating what
     is the condition of souls when stripped of the body, with the
     addition of a certain not unnecessary description of the
     spheres and stars, an appearance of circumstances indicating
     things of the same kind is related by the Scipio of Cicero,
     as having been brought before him in sleep.

     VI. Tully is found to have preserved this arrangement with no
     less judgment than genius. After, in every condition of the
     Commonwealth, whether of leisure or business, he has given
     the palm to justice, he has placed the sacred abodes of the
     immortal souls, and the secrets of the heavenly regions, on
     the very summit of his completed work, indicating whither
     they must come, or rather return, who have managed the
     republic with prudence, justice, fortitude, and moderation.
     But that Platonic relater of secrets was a man of the name of
     Er, a Pamphylian by nation, a soldier by profession, who,
     after he appeared to have died from wounds received in
     battle, and twelve days afterward was about to receive the
     honors of the funeral pile with the others who were slain at
     the same time, suddenly either recovering his life, or else
     never having lost it, as if he were giving a public
     testimony, related to all men all that he had done or seen in
     the days that he had thus passed between life and death.
     Although Cicero, as if himself conscious of the truth,
     grieves that this story has been ridiculed by the ignorant,
     still, avoiding giving an example of foolish reproach, he
     preferred speaking of the relater as of one awakened from a
     swoon rather than restored to life.

     VII. And before we look at the words of the dream we must
     explain what kind of persons they are by whom Cicero says
     that even the account of Plato was ridiculed, who are not
     apprehensive that the same thing may happen to them. Nor by
     this expression does he wish the ignorant mob to be
     understood, but a kind of men who are ignorant of the truth,
     though pretending to be philosophers with a display of
     learning, who, it was notorious, had read such things, and
     were eager to find faults. We will say, therefore, who they
     are whom he reports as having levelled light reproaches
     against so great a philosopher, and who of them has even left
     an accusation of him committed to writing, etc. The whole
     faction of the Epicureans, always wandering at an equal
     distance from truth, and thinking everything ridiculous which
     they do not understand, has ridiculed the sacred volume, and
     the most venerable mysteries of nature. But Colotes, who is
     somewhat celebrated and remarkable for his loquacity among
     the pupils of Epicurus, has even recorded in a book the
     bitter reproaches which he aims at him. But since the other
     arguments which he foolishly urges have no connection with
     the dream of which we are now talking, we will pass them over
     at present, and attend only to the calumny which will stick
     both to Cicero and Plato, unless it is silenced. He says that
     a fable ought not to have been invented by a philosopher,
     since no kind of falsehood is suitable to professors of
     truth. For why, says he, if you wish to give us a notion of
     heavenly things and to teach us the nature of souls, did you
     not do so by a simple and plain explanation? Why was a
     character invented, and circumstances, and strange events,
     and a scene of cunningly adduced falsehood arranged, to
     pollute the very door of the investigation of truth by a lie?
     Since these things, though they are said of the Platonic Er,
     do also attack the rest of our dreaming Africanus.

     VIII. This occasion incited Scipio to relate his dream, which
     he declares that he had buried in silence for a long time.
     For when Lælius was complaining that there were no statues of
     Nasica erected in any public place, as a reward for his
     having slain the tyrant, Scipio replied in these words: "But
     although the consciousness itself of great deeds is to wise
     men the most ample reward of virtue, yet that divine nature
     ought to have, not statues fixed in lead, nor triumphs with
     withering laurels, but some more stable and lasting kinds of
     rewards." "What are they?" said Lælius. "Then," said Scipio,
     "suffer me, since we have now been keeping holiday for three
     days, * * * etc." By which preface he came to the relation of
     his dream; pointing out that those were the more stable and
     lasting kinds of rewards which he himself had seen in heaven
     reserved for good governors of commonwealths.

IX. When I had arrived in Africa, where I was, as you are aware,
military tribune of the fourth legion under the consul Manilius, there
was nothing of which I was more earnestly desirous than to see King
Masinissa, who, for very just reasons, had been always the especial
friend of our family. When I was introduced to him, the old man
embraced me, shed tears, and then, looking up to heaven, exclaimed--I
thank thee, O supreme Sun, and ye also, ye other celestial beings, that
before I depart from this life I behold in my kingdom, and in this my
palace, Publius Cornelius Scipio, by whose mere name I seem to be
reanimated; so completely and indelibly is the recollection of that
best and most invincible of men, Africanus, imprinted in my mind.

After this, I inquired of him concerning the affairs of his kingdom.
He, on the other hand, questioned me about the condition of our
Commonwealth, and in this mutual interchange of conversation we passed
the whole of that day.

X. In the evening we were entertained in a manner worthy the
magnificence of a king, and carried on our discourse for a considerable
part of the night. And during all this time the old man spoke of
nothing but Africanus, all whose actions, and even remarkable sayings,
he remembered distinctly. At last, when we retired to bed, I fell into
a more profound sleep than usual, both because I was fatigued with my
journey, and because I had sat up the greatest part of the night.

Here I had the following dream, occasioned, as I verily believe, by our
preceding conversation; for it frequently happens that the thoughts and
discourses which have employed us in the daytime produce in our sleep
an effect somewhat similar to that which Ennius writes happened to him
about Homer, of whom, in his waking hours, he used frequently to think
and speak.

Africanus, I thought, appeared to me in that shape, with which I was
better acquainted from his picture than from any personal knowledge of
him. When I perceived it was he, I confess I trembled with
consternation; but he addressed me, saying, Take courage, my Scipio; be
not afraid, and carefully remember what I shall say to you.

XI. Do you see that city Carthage, which, though brought under the
Roman yoke by me, is now renewing former wars, and cannot live in
peace? (and he pointed to Carthage from a lofty spot, full of stars,
and brilliant, and glittering)--to attack which city you are this day
arrived in a station not much superior to that of a private soldier.
Before two years, however, are elapsed, you shall be consul, and
complete its overthrow; and you shall obtain, by your own merit, the
surname of Africanus, which as yet belongs to you no otherwise than as
derived from me. And when you have destroyed Carthage, and received the
honor of a triumph, and been made censor, and, in quality of
ambassador, visited Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Greece, you shall be
elected a second time consul in your absence, and, by utterly
destroying Numantia, put an end to a most dangerous war.

But when you have entered the Capitol in your triumphal car, you shall
find the Roman Commonwealth all in a ferment, through the intrigues of
my grandson Tiberius Gracchus.

XII. It is on this occasion, my dear Africanus, that you show your
country the greatness of your understanding, capacity, and prudence.
But I see that the destiny, however, of that time is, as it were,
uncertain; for when your age shall have accomplished seven times eight
revolutions of the sun, and your fatal hours shall be marked put by the
natural product of these two numbers, each of which is esteemed a
perfect one, but for different reasons, then shall the whole city have
recourse to you alone, and place its hopes in your auspicious name. On
you the senate, all good citizens, the allies, the people of Latium,
shall cast their eyes; on you the preservation of the State shall
entirely depend. In a word, _if you escape the impious machinations of
your relatives_, you will, in quality of dictator, establish order and
tranquillity in the Commonwealth.

When on this Lælius made an exclamation, and the rest of the company
groaned loudly, Scipio, with a gentle smile, said, I entreat you, do
not wake me out of my dream, but have patience, and hear the rest.

XIII. Now, in order to encourage you, my dear Africanus, continued the
shade of my ancestor, to defend the State with the greater
cheerfulness, be assured that, for all those who have in any way
conduced to the preservation, defence, and enlargement of their native
country, there is a certain place in heaven where they shall enjoy an
eternity of happiness. For nothing on earth is more agreeable to God,
the Supreme Governor of the universe, than the assemblies and societies
of men united together by laws, which are called states. It is from
heaven their rulers and preservers came, and thither they return.

XIV. Though at these words I was extremely troubled, not so much at the
fear of death as at the perfidy of my own relations, yet I recollected
myself enough to inquire whether he himself, my father Paulus, and
others whom we look upon as dead, were really living.

Yes, truly, replied he, they all enjoy life who have escaped from the
chains of the body as from a prison. But as to what you call life on
earth, that is no more than one form of death. But see; here comes your
father Paulus towards you! And as soon as I observed him, my eyes burst
out into a flood of tears; but he took me in his arms, embraced me, and
bade me not weep.

XV. When my first transports subsided, and I regained the liberty of
speech, I addressed my father thus: Thou best and most venerable of
parents, since this, as I am informed by Africanus, is the only
substantial life, why do I linger on earth, and not rather haste to
come hither where you are?

That, replied he, is impossible: unless that God, whose temple is all
that vast expanse you behold, shall free you from the fetters of the
body, you can have no admission into this place. Mankind have received
their being on this very condition, that they should labor for the
preservation of that globe which is situated, as you see, in the midst
of this temple, and is called earth.

Men are likewise endowed with a soul, which is a portion of the eternal
fires which you call stars and constellations; and which, being round,
spherical bodies, animated by divine intelligences, perform their
cycles and revolutions with amazing rapidity. It is your duty,
therefore, my Publius, and that of all who have any veneration for the
Gods, to preserve this wonderful union of soul and body; nor without
the express command of Him who gave you a soul should the least thought
be entertained of quitting human life, lest you seem to desert the post
assigned you by God himself.

But rather follow the examples of your grandfather here, and of me,
your father, in paying a strict regard to justice and piety; which is
due in a great degree to parents and relations, but most of all to our
country. Such a life as this is the true way to heaven, and to the
company of those, who, after having lived on earth and escaped from the
body, inhabit the place which you now behold.

XVI. This was the shining circle, or zone, whose remarkable brightness
distinguishes it among the constellations, and which, after the Greeks,
you call the Milky Way.

From thence, as I took a view of the universe, everything appeared
beautiful and admirable; for there those stars are to be seen that are
never visible from our globe, and everything appears of such magnitude
as we could not have imagined. The least of all the stars was that
removed farthest from heaven, and situated next to the earth; I mean
our moon, which shines with a borrowed light. Now, the globes of the
stars far surpass the magnitude of our earth, which at that distance
appeared so exceedingly small that I could not but be sensibly affected
on seeing our whole empire no larger than if we touched the earth, as
it were, at a single point.

XVII. And as I continued to observe the earth with great attention, How
long, I pray you, said Africanus, will your mind be fixed on that
object? why don't you rather take a view of the magnificent temples
among which you have arrived? The universe is composed of nine circles,
or rather spheres, one of which is the heavenly one, and is exterior to
all the rest, which it embraces; being itself the Supreme God, and
bounding and containing the whole. In it are fixed those stars which
revolve with never-varying courses. Below this are seven other spheres,
which revolve in a contrary direction to that of the heavens. One of
these is occupied by the globe which on earth they call Saturn. Next to
that is the star of Jupiter, so benign and salutary to mankind. The
third in order is that fiery and terrible planet called Mars. Below
this, again, almost in the middle region, is the sun--the leader,
governor, and prince of the other luminaries; the soul of the world,
which it regulates and illumines; being of such vast size that it
pervades and gives light to all places. Then follow Venus and Mercury,
which attend, as it were, on the sun. Lastly, the moon, which shines
only in the reflected beams of the sun, moves in the lowest sphere of
all. Below this, if we except that gift of the Gods, the soul, which
has been given by the liberality of the Gods to the human race,
everything is mortal, and tends to dissolution; but above the moon all
is eternal. For the earth, which is the ninth globe, and occupies the
centre, is immovable, and, being the lowest, all others gravitate
towards it.

XVIII. When I had recovered myself from the astonishment occasioned by
such a wonderful prospect, I thus addressed Africanus: Pray what is
this sound that strikes my ears in so loud and agreeable a manner? To
which he replied: It is that which is called the _music of the
spheres_, being produced by their motion and impulse; and being formed
by unequal intervals, but such as are divided according to the justest
proportion, it produces, by duly tempering acute with grave sounds,
various concerts of harmony. For it is impossible that motions so great
should be performed without any noise; and it is agreeable to nature
that the extremes on one side should produce sharp, and on the other
flat sounds. For which reason the sphere of the fixed stars, being the
highest, and being carried with a more rapid velocity, moves with a
shrill and acute sound; whereas that of the moon, being the lowest,
moves with a very flat one. As to the earth, which makes the ninth
sphere, it remains immovably fixed in the middle or lowest part of the
universe. But those eight revolving circles, in which both Mercury and
Venus are moved with the same celerity, give out sounds that are
divided by seven distinct intervals, which is generally the regulating
number of all things.

This celestial harmony has been imitated by learned musicians both on
stringed instruments and with the voice, whereby they have opened to
themselves a way to return to the celestial regions, as have likewise
many others who have employed their sublime genius while on earth in
cultivating the divine sciences.

By the amazing noise of this sound the ears of mankind have been in
some degree deafened; and indeed hearing is the dullest of all the
human senses. Thus, the people who dwell near the cataracts of the
Nile, which are called Catadupa[348], are, by the excessive roar which
that river makes in precipitating itself from those lofty mountains,
entirely deprived of the sense of hearing. And so inconceivably great
is this sound which is produced by the rapid motion of the whole
universe, that the human ear is no more capable of receiving it than
the eye is able to look steadfastly and directly on the sun, whose
beams easily dazzle the strongest sight.

While I was busied in admiring the scene of wonders, I could not help
casting my eyes every now and then on the earth.

XIX. On which Africanus said, I perceive that you are still employed in
contemplating the seat and residence of mankind. But if it appears to
you so small, as in fact it really is, despise its vanities, and fix
your attention forever on these heavenly objects. Is it possible that
you should attain any human applause or glory that is worth the
contending for? The earth, you see, is peopled but in a very few
places, and those, too, of small extent; and they appear like so many
little spots of green scattered through vast, uncultivated deserts. And
those who inhabit the earth are not only so remote from each other as
to be cut off from all mutual correspondence, but their situation being
in oblique or contrary parts of the globe, or perhaps in those
diametrically opposite to yours, all expectation of universal fame must
fall to the ground.

XX. You may likewise observe that the same globe of the earth is girt
and surrounded with certain zones, whereof those two that are most
remote from each other, and lie under the opposite poles of heaven, are
congealed with frost; but that one in the middle, which is far the
largest, is scorched with the intense heat of the sun. The other two
are habitable, one towards the south, the inhabitants of which are your
antipodes, with whom you have no connection; the other, towards the
north, is that which you inhabit, whereof a very small part, as you may
see, falls to your share. For the whole extent of what you see is, as
it were, but a little island, narrow at both ends and wide in the
middle, which is surrounded by the sea which on earth you call the
great Atlantic Ocean, and which, notwithstanding this magnificent name,
you see is very insignificant. And even in these cultivated and
well-known countries, has yours, or any of our names, ever passed the
heights of the Caucasus or the currents of the Ganges? In what other
parts to the north or the south, or where the sun rises and sets, will
your names ever be heard? And if we leave these out of the question,
how small a space is there left for your glory to spread itself abroad;
and how long will it remain in the memory of those whose minds are now
full of it?

XXI. Besides all this, if the progeny of any future generation should
wish to transmit to their posterity the praises of any one of us which
they have heard from their forefathers, yet the deluges and combustions
of the earth, which must necessarily happen at their destined periods,
will prevent our obtaining, not only an eternal, but even a durable
glory. And, after all, what does it signify whether those who shall
hereafter be born talk of you, when those who have lived before you,
whose number was perhaps not less, and whose merit certainly greater,
were not so much as acquainted with your name?

XXII. Especially since not one of those who shall hear of us is able to
retain in his memory the transactions of a single year. The bulk of
mankind, indeed, measure their year by the return of the sun, which is
only one star. But when all the stars shall have returned to the place
whence they set out, and after long periods shall again exhibit the
same aspect of the whole heavens, that is what ought properly to be
called the revolution of a year, though I scarcely dare attempt to
enumerate the vast multitude of ages contained in it. For as the sun in
old time was eclipsed, and seemed to be extinguished, at the time when
the soul of Romulus penetrated into these eternal mansions, so, when
all the constellations and stars shall revert to their primary
position, and the sun shall at the same point and time be again
eclipsed, then you may consider that the grand year is completed. Be
assured, however, that the twentieth part of it is not yet elapsed.

XXIII. Wherefore, if you have no hopes of returning to this place where
great and good men enjoy all that their souls can wish for, of what
value, pray, is all that human glory, which can hardly endure for a
small portion of one year?

If, then, you wish to elevate your views to the contemplation of this
eternal seat of splendor, you will not be satisfied with the praises of
your fellow-mortals, nor with any human rewards that your exploits can
obtain; but Virtue herself must point out to you the true and only
object worthy of your pursuit. Leave to others to speak of you as they
may, for speak they will. Their discourses will be confined to the
narrow limits of the countries you see, nor will their duration be very
extensive; for they will perish like those who utter them, and will be
no more remembered by their posterity.

XXIV. When he had ceased to speak in this manner, I said, O Africanus,
if indeed the door of heaven is open to those who have deserved well of
their country, although, indeed, from my childhood I have always
followed yours and my father's steps, and have not neglected to imitate
your glory, still, I will from henceforth strive to follow them more

Follow them, then, said he, and consider your body only, not yourself,
as mortal. For it is not your outward form which constitutes your
being, but your mind; not that substance which is palpable to the
senses, but your spiritual nature. _Know, then, that you are a
God_--for a God it must be, which flourishes, and feels, and
recollects, and foresees, and governs, regulates and moves the body
over which it is set, as the Supreme Ruler does the world which is
subject to him. For as that Eternal Being moves whatever is mortal in
this world, so the immortal mind of man moves the frail body with which
it is connected.

XXV. For whatever is always moving must be eternal; but that which
derives its motion from a power which is foreign to itself, when that
motion ceases must itself lose its animation.

That alone, then, which moves itself can never cease to be moved,
because it can never desert itself. Moreover, it must be the source,
and origin, and principle of motion in all the rest. There can be
nothing prior to a principle, for all things must originate from it;
and it cannot itself derive its existence from any other source, for if
it did it would no longer be a principle. And if it had no beginning,
it can have no end; for a beginning that is put an end to will neither
be renewed by any other cause, nor will it produce anything else of
itself. All things, therefore, must originate from one source. Thus it
follows that motion must have its source in something which is moved by
itself, and which can neither have a beginning nor an end. Otherwise
all the heavens and all nature must perish, for it is impossible that
they can of themselves acquire any power of producing motion in

XXVI. As, therefore, it is plain that what is moved by itself must be
eternal, who will deny that this is the general condition and nature of
minds? For as everything is inanimate which is moved by an impulse
exterior to itself, so what is animated is moved by an interior impulse
of its own; for this is the peculiar nature and power of mind. And if
that alone has the power of self-motion, it can neither have had a
beginning, nor can it have an end.

Do you, therefore, exercise this mind of yours in the best pursuits.
And the best pursuits are those which consist in promoting the good of
your country. Such employments will speed the flight of your mind to
this its proper abode; and its flight will be still more rapid, if,
even while it is enclosed in the body, it will look abroad, and
disengage itself as much as possible from its bodily dwelling, by the
contemplation of things which are external to itself.

This it should do to the utmost of its power. For the minds of those
who have given themselves up to the pleasures of the body, paying, as
it were, a servile obedience to their lustful impulses, have violated
the laws of God and man; and therefore, when they are separated from
their bodies, flutter continually round the earth on which they lived,
and are not allowed to return to this celestial region till they have
been purified by the revolution of many ages.

Thus saying, he vanished, and I awoke from my dream.


And although it is most desirable that fortune should remain forever in
the most brilliant possible condition, nevertheless, the equability of
life excites less interest than those changeable conditions wherein
prosperity suddenly revives out of the most desperate and ruinous



[1] Archilochus was a native of Paros, and flourished about 714-676
B.C. His poems were chiefly Iambics of bitter satire. Horace speaks of
him as the inventor of Iambics, and calls himself his pupil.

                  Parios ego primus Iambos
    Ostendi Latio, numeros animosque secutus
    Archilochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben.
                              Epist. I. xix. 25.

And in another place he says,

    Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo--A.P. 74.

[2] This was Livius Andronicus: he is supposed to have been a native of
Tarentum, and he was made prisoner by the Romans, during their wars in
Southern Italy; owing to which he became the slave of M. Livius
Salinator. He wrote both comedies and tragedies, of which Cicero
(Brutus 18) speaks very contemptuously, as "Livianæ fabulæ non satis
dignæ quæ iterum legantur"--not worth reading a second time. He also
wrote a Latin Odyssey, and some hymns, and died probably about 221 B.C.

[3] C. Fabius, surnamed Pictor, painted the temple of Salus, which the
dictator C. Junius Brutus Bubulus dedicated 302 B.C. The temple was
destroyed by fire in the reign of Claudius. The painting is highly
praised by Dionysius, xvi. 6.

[4] For an account of the ancient Greek philosophers, see the sketch at
the end of the Disputations.

[5] Isocrates was born at Athens 436 B.C. He was a pupil of Gorgias,
Prodicus, and Socrates. He opened a school of rhetoric, at Athens, with
great success. He died by his own hand at the age of ninety-eight.

[6] So Horace joins these two classes as inventors of all kinds of
improbable fictions:

                      Pictoribus atque poetis
    Quidlibet audendi semper fuit æqua potestas.--A. P. 9.

Which Roscommon translates:

    Painters and poets have been still allow'd
    Their pencil and their fancies unconfined.

[7] Epicharmus was a native of Cos, but lived at Megara, in Sicily, and
when Megara was destroyed, removed to Syracuse, and lived at the court
of Hiero, where he became the first writer of comedies, so that Horace
ascribes the invention of comedy to him, and so does Theocritus. He
lived to a great age.

[8] Pherecydes was a native of Scyros, one of the Cyclades; and is said
to have obtained his knowledge from the secret books of the
Phoenicians. He is said also to have been a pupil of Pittacus, the
rival of Thales, and the master of Pythagoras. His doctrine was that
there were three principles ([Greek: Zeus], or Æther; [Greek: Chthôn],
or Chaos; and [Greek: Chronos], or Time) and four elements (Fire,
Earth, Air, and Water), from which everything that exists was
formed.--_Vide_ Smith's Dict. Gr. and Rom. Biog.

[9] Archytas was a native of Tarentum, and is said to have saved the
life of Plato by his influence with the tyrant Dionysius. He was
especially great as a mathematician and geometrician, so that Horace
calls him

    Maris et terra numeroque carentis arenæ
                              Od. i. 28.1.

Plato is supposed to have learned some of his views from him, and
Aristotle to have borrowed from him every idea of the Categories.

[10] This was not Timæus the historian, but a native of Locri, who is
said also in the De Finibus (c. 29) to have been a teacher of Plato.
There is a treatise extant bearing his name, which is, however,
probably spurious, and only an abridgment of Plato's dialogue Timæus.

[11] Dicæarchus was a native of Messana, in Sicily, though he lived
chiefly in Greece. He was one of the later disciples of Aristotle. He
was a great geographer, politician, historian, and philosopher, and
died about 285 B.C.

[12] Aristoxenus was a native of Tarentum, and also a pupil of
Aristotle. We know nothing of his opinions except that he held the soul
to be a _harmony_ of the body; a doctrine which had been already
discussed by Plato in the Phædo, and combated by Aristotle. He was a
great musician, and the chief portions of his works which have come
down to us are fragments of some musical treatises.--Smith's Dict. Gr.
and Rom. Biog.; to which source I must acknowledge my obligation for
nearly the whole of these biographical notes.

[13] The Simonides here meant is the celebrated poet of Ceos, the
perfecter of elegiac poetry among the Greeks. He flourished about the
time of the Persian war. Besides his poetry, he is said to have been
the inventor of some method of aiding the memory. He died at the court
of Hiero, 467 B.C.

[14] Theodectes was a native of Phaselis, in Pamphylia, a distinguished
rhetorician and tragic poet, and flourished in the time of Philip of
Macedon. He was a pupil of Isocrates, and lived at Athens, and died
there at the age of forty-one.

[15] Cineas was a Thessalian, and (as is said in the text) came to Rome
as ambassador from Pyrrhus after the battle of Heraclea, 280 B.C., and
his memory is said to have been so great that on the day after his
arrival he was able to address all the senators and knights by name. He
probably died before Pyrrhus returned to Italy, 276 B.C.

[16] Charmadas, called also Charmides, was a fellow-pupil with Philo,
the Larissæan of Clitomachus, the Carthaginian. He is said by some
authors to have founded a fourth academy.

[17] Metrodorus was a minister of Mithridates the Great; and employed
by him as supreme judge in Pontus, and afterward as an ambassador.
Cicero speaks of him in other places (De Orat. ii. 88) as a man of
wonderful memory.

[18] Quintus Hortensius was eight years older than Cicero; and, till
Cicero's fame surpassed his, he was accounted the most eloquent of all
the Romans. He was Verres's counsel in the prosecution conducted
against him by Cicero. Seneca relates that his memory was so great that
he could come out of an auction and repeat the catalogue backward. He
died 50 B.C.

[19] This treatise is one which has not come down to us, but which had
been lately composed by Cicero in order to comfort himself for the loss
of his daughter.

[20] The epigram is,

    [Greek: Eipas Hêlie chaire, Kleombrotos Hômbrakiôtês
      hêlat' aph' hypsêlou teicheos eis Aidên,
    axion ouden idôn thanatou kakon, alla Platônos
      hen to peri psychês gramm' analexamenos.]

Which may be translated, perhaps,

    Farewell, O sun, Cleombrotus exclaim'd,
      Then plunged from off a height beneath the sea;
    Stung by pain, of no disgrace ashamed,
      But moved by Plato's high philosophy.

[21] This is alluded to by Juvenal:

    Provida Pompeio dederat Campania febres
    Optandas: sed multæ urbes et publica vota
    Vicerunt. Igitur Fortuna ipsius et Urbis,
    Servatum victo caput abstulit.--Sat. x. 283.

[22] Pompey's second wife was Julia, the daughter of Julius Cæsar, she
died the year before the death of Crassus, in Parthia. Virgil speaks of
Cæsar and Pompey as relations, using the same expression (socer) as

    Aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monoeci
    Descendens, gener adversis instructus Eois.--Æn. vi. 830.

[23] This idea is beautifully expanded by Byron:

    Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be
    A land of souls beyond that sable shore
    To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee
    And sophist, madly vain or dubious lore,
    How sweet it were in concert to adore
    With those who made our mortal labors light,
    To hear each voice we fear'd to hear no more.
    Behold each mighty shade reveal'd to sight,
    The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
                              _Childe Harold_, ii.

[24] The epitaph in the original is:

    [Greek: Ô xein' angeilon Lakedaimoniois hoti têde
      keimetha, tois keinôn peithomenoi nomimois.]

[25] This was expressed in the Greek verses,

    [Greek: Archês men mê phynai epichthonioisin ariston,
    phynta d' hopôs ôkista pylas Aidyo perêsai]

which by some authors are attributed to Homer.

[26] This is the first fragment of the Cresphontes.--Ed. Var. vii., p.

    [Greek: Edei gar hêmas syllogon poioumenous
    Ton phynta thrênein, eis hos' erchetai kaka.
    Ton d' au thanonta kai ponôn pepaumenon
    chairontas euphêmointas ekpemein domôn]

[27] The Greek verses are quoted by Plutarch:

        [Greek: Êpou nêpie, êlithioi phrenes andrôn
      Euthynoos keitai moiridiô thanatô
    Ouk ên gar zôein kalon autô oute goneusi.]

[28] This refers to the story that when Eumolpus, the son of Neptune,
whose assistance the Eleusinians had called in against the Athenians,
had been slain by the Athenians, an oracle demanded the sacrifice of
one of the daughters of Erechtheus, the King of Athens. And when one
was drawn by lot, the others voluntarily accompanied her to death.

[29] Menoeceus was son of Creon, and in the war of the Argives against
Thebes, Teresias declared that the Thebans should conquer if Menoeceus
would sacrifice himself for his country; and accordingly he killed
himself outside the gates of Thebes.

[30] The Greek is,

    [Greek: mêde moi aklaustos thanatos moloi, alla philoisi
      poiêsaimi thanôn algea kai stonachas.]

[31] Soph. Trach. 1047.

[32] The lines quoted by Cicero here appear to have come from the Latin
play of Prometheus by Accius; the ideas are borrowed, rather than
translated, from the Prometheus of Æschylus.

[33] From _exerceo_.

[34] Each soldier carried a stake, to help form a palisade in front of
the camp.

[35] Insania--from _in_, a particle of negative force in composition,
and _sanus_, healthy, sound.

[36] The man who first received this surname was L. Calpurnius Piso,
who was consul, 133 B.C., in the Servile War.

[37] The Greek is,

    [Greek: Alla moi oidanetai kradiê cholô hoppot' ekeinou
    Mnêsomai hos m' asyphêlon en Argeioisin erexen.]--Il. ix. 642.

I have given Pope's translation in the text.

[38] This is from the Theseus:

    [Greek: Egô de touto para sophou tinos mathôn
    eis phrontidas noun symphoras t' eballomên
    phygas t' emautô prostitheis patras emês.
    thanatous t' aôrous, kai kakôn allas hodous
    hôs, ei ti paschoim' ôn edoxazon pote
    Mê moi neorton prospeson mallon dakoi.]

[39] Ter. Phorm. II. i. 11.

[40] This refers to the speech of Agamemnon in Euripides, in the
Iphigenia in Aulis,

              [Greek: Zêlô se, geron,
    zêlô d' andrôn hos akindynon
    bion exeperas', agnôs, akleês.]--v. 15.

[41] This is a fragment from the Hypsipyle:

    [Greek: Ephy men oudeis hostis ou ponei brotôn
    thaptei te tekna chater' au ktatai nea,
    autos te thnêskei. kai tad' achthontai brotoi
    eis gên pherontes gên anankaiôs d' echei
    bion therizein hôste karpimon stachyn.]

    [Greek: Pollas ek kephalês prothelymnous helketo chaitas.]--Il. x. 15.

    [Greek: Êtoi ho kappedion to Alêion oios alato
    hon thymon katedôn, paton anthrôpôn aleeinôn.]--Il. vi. 201.

[44] This is a translation from Euripides:

    [Greek: Hôsth' himeros m' hypêlthe gê te k' ouranô
    lexai molousê deuro Mêdeias tychas.]--Med. 57.

    [Greek: Liên gar polloi kai epêtrimoi êmata panta
    piptousin, pote ken tis anapneuseie ponoio;
    alla chrê ton men katathaptemen, hos ke thanêsi,
    nêlea thymon echontas, ep' êmati dakrysantas.]--
                              Hom. Il. xix. 226.

[46] This is one of the fragments of Euripides which we are unable to
assign to any play in particular; it occurs Var. Ed. Tr. Inc. 167.

    [Greek: Ei men tod' êmar prôton ên kakoumenô
    kai mê makran dê dia ponôn enaustoloun
    eikos sphadazein ên an, hôs neozyga
    pôlon, chalinon artiôs dedegmenon
    nyn d' amblys eimi, kai katêrtykôs kakôn.]

[47] This is only a fragment, preserved by Stobæus:

    [Greek: Tous d' an megistous kai sophôtatous phreni
    toiousd' idois an, oios esti nyn hode,
    kalôs kakôs prassonti symparainesai
    hotan de daimôn andros eutychous to prin
    mastig' episê tou biou palintropon,
    ta polla phrouda kai kakôs eirêmena.]

    [Greek: Ôk. Oukoun Promêtheu touto gignôskeis hoti
      orgês nosousês eisin iatroi logoi.
    Pr. ean tis en kairô ge malthassê kear
      kai mê sphrigônta thymon ischnainê bia.]--
                              Æsch. Prom. v. 378.

[49] Cicero alludes here to Il. vii. 211, which is thus translated by

    His massy javelin quivering in his hand,
    He stood the bulwark of the Grecian band;
    Through every Argive heart new transport ran,
    All Troy stood trembling at the mighty man:
    E'en Hector paused, and with new doubt oppress'd,
    Felt his great heart suspended in his breast;
    'Twas vain to seek retreat, and vain to fear,
    Himself had challenged, and the foe drew near.

But Melmoth (Note on the Familiar Letters of Cicero, book ii. Let. 23)
rightly accuses Cicero of having misunderstood Homer, who "by no means
represents Hector as being thus totally dismayed at the approach of his
adversary; and, indeed, it would have been inconsistent with the
general character of that hero to have described him under such
circumstances of terror."

    [Greek: Ton de kai Argeioi meg' egêtheon eisoroôntes,
    Trôas de tromos ainos hypêlythe gyia hekaston,
    Hektori d' autô thymos eni stêthessi patassen.]

But there is a great difference, as Dr. Clarke remarks, between [Greek:
thymos eni stêthessi patassen] and [Greek: kardeê exô stêtheôn
ethrôsken], or [Greek: tromos ainos hypêlythe gyia].--_The Trojans_,
says Homer, _trembled_ at the sight of Ajax, and even Hector himself
felt some emotion in his breast.

[50] Cicero means Scipio Nasica, who, in the riots consequent on the
reelection of Tiberius Gracchus to the tribunate, 133 B.C., having
called in vain on the consul, Mucius Scævola, to save the republic,
attacked Gracchus himself, who was slain in the tumult.

[51] _Morosus_ is evidently derived from _mores_--"_Morosus_, _mos_,
stubbornness, self-will, etc."--Riddle and Arnold, Lat. Dict.

[52] In the original they run thus:

    [Greek: Ouk estin ouden deinon hôd' eipein epos,
    Oude pathos, oude xymphora theêlatos
    hês ouk an aroit' achthos anthrôpon physis.]

[53] This passage is from the Eunuch of Terence, act i., sc. 1, 14.

[54] These verses are from the Atreus of Accius.

[55] This was Marcus Atilius Regulus, the story of whose treatment by
the Carthaginians in the first Punic War is well known to everybody.

[56] This was Quintus Servilius Cæpio, who, 105 B.C., was destroyed,
with his army, by the Cimbri, it was believed as a judgment for the
covetousness which he had displayed in the plunder of Tolosa.

[57] This was Marcus Aquilius, who, in the year 88 B.C., was sent
against Mithridates as one of the consular legates; and, being
defeated, was delivered up to the king by the inhabitants of Mitylene.
Mithridates put him to death by pouring molten gold down his throat.

[58] This was the elder brother of the triumvir Marcus Crassus, 87 B.C.
He was put to death by Fimbria, who was in command of some of the
troops of Marius.

[59] Lucius Cæsar and Caius Cæsar were relations (it is uncertain in
what degree) of the great Cæsar, and were killed by Fimbria on the same
occasion as Octavius.

[60] M. Antonius was the grandfather of the triumvir; he was murdered
the same year, 87 B.C., by Annius, when Marius and Cinna took Rome.

[61] This story is alluded to by Horace:

    Districtus ensis cui super impiâ
    Cervice pendet non Siculæ dapes
      Dulcem elaborabunt saporem,
        Non avium citharæve cantus
    Somnum reducent.--iii. 1. 17.

[62] Hieronymus was a Rhodian, and a pupil of Aristotle, flourishing
about 300 B.C. He is frequently mentioned by Cicero.

[63] We know very little of Dinomachus. Some MSS. have Clitomachus.

[64] Callipho was in all probability a pupil of Epicurus, but we have
no certain information about him.

[65] Diodorus was a Syrian, and succeeded Critolaus as the head of the
Peripatetic School at Athens.

[66] Aristo was a native of Ceos, and a pupil of Lycon, who succeeded
Straton as the head of the Peripatetic School, 270 B.C. He afterward
himself succeeded Lycon.

[67] Pyrrho was a native of Elis, and the originator of the sceptical
theories of some of the ancient philosophers. He was a contemporary of

[68] Herillus was a disciple of Zeno of Cittium, and therefore a Stoic.
He did not, however, follow all the opinions of his master: he held
that knowledge was the chief good. Some of the treatises of Cleanthes
were written expressly to confute him.

[69] Anacharsis was (Herod., iv., 76) son of Gnurus and brother of
Saulius, King of Thrace. He came to Athens while Solon was occupied in
framing laws for his people; and by the simplicity of his way of
living, and his acute observations on the manners of the Greeks, he
excited such general admiration that he was reckoned by some writers
among the Seven Wise Men of Greece.

[70] This was Appius Claudius Cæcus, who was censor 310 B.C., and who,
according to Livy, was afflicted with blindness by the Gods for
persuading the Potitii to instruct the public servants in the way of
sacrificing to Hercules. He it was who made the Via Appia.

[71] The fact of Homer's blindness rests on a passage in the Hymn to
Apollo, quoted by Thucydides as a genuine work of Homer, and which is
thus spoken of by one of the most accomplished scholars that this
country or this age has ever produced: "They are indeed beautiful
verses; and if none worse had ever been attributed to Homer, the Prince
of Poets would have had little reason to complain.

"He has been describing the Delian festival in honor of Apollo and
Diana, and concludes this part of the poem with an address to the women
of that island, to whom it is to be supposed that he had become
familiarly known by his frequent recitations:

    [Greek: Chairete d' hymeis pasai, emeio de kai metopisthe
    mnêsasth', hoppote ken tis epichthoniôn anthrôpôn
    enthad' aneirêtai xeinos talapeirios elthôn
    ô kourai, tis d' hymmin anêr hêdistos aoidôn
    enthade pôleitai kai teô terpesthe malista;
    hymeis d' eu mala pasai hypokrinasthe aph' hêmôn,
    Typhlos anêr, oikei de Chiô eni paipaloessê,
    tou pasai metopisthen aristeuousin aoidai.]

    Virgins, farewell--and oh! remember me
    Hereafter, when some stranger from the sea,
    A hapless wanderer, may your isle explore,
    And ask you, 'Maids, of all the bards you boast,
    Who sings the sweetest, and delights you most?'
    Oh! answer all, 'A blind old man, and poor,
    Sweetest he sings, and dwells on Chios' rocky shore.'

                              _Coleridge's Introduction to the Study
                              of the Greek Classic Poets._

[72] Some read _scientiam_ and some _inscientiam;_ the latter of which
is preferred by some of the best editors and commentators.

[73] For a short account of these ancient Greek philosophers, see the
sketch prefixed to the Academics (_Classical Library_).

[74] Cicero wrote his philosophical works in the last three years of
his life. When he wrote this piece, he was in the sixty-third year of
his age, in the year of Rome 709.

[75] The Academic.

[76] Diodorus and Posidonius were Stoics; Philo and Antiochus were
Academics; but the latter afterward inclined to the doctrine of the

[77] Julius Cæsar.

[78] Cicero was one of the College of Augurs.

[79] The Latinæ Feriæ was originally a festival of the Latins, altered
by Tarquinius Superbus into a Roman one. It was held in the Alban
Mount, in honor of Jupiter Latiaris. This holiday lasted six days: it
was not held at any fixed time; but the consul was never allowed to
take the field till he had held them.--_Vide_ Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom.
Ant., p. 414.

[80] _Exhedra_, the word used by Cicero, means a study, or place where
disputes were held.

[81] M. Piso was a Peripatetic. The four great sects were the Stoics,
the Peripatetics, the Academics, and the Epicureans.

[82] It was a prevailing tenet of the Academics that there is no
certain knowledge.

[83] The five forms of Plato are these: [Greek: ousia, tauton, heteron,
stasis, kinêsis.]

[84] The four natures here to be understood are the four
elements--fire, water, air, and earth; which are mentioned as the four
principles of Empedocles by Diogenes Laertius.

[85] These five moving stars are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and
Venus. Their revolutions are considered in the next book.

[86] Or, Generation of the Gods.

[87] The [Greek: prolêpsis] of Epicurus, before mentioned, is what he
here means.

[88] [Greek: Steremnia] is the word which Epicurus used to distinguish
between those objects which are perceptible to sense, and those which
are imperceptible; as the essence of the Divine Being, and the various
operations of the divine power.

[89] Zeno here mentioned is not the same that Cotta spoke of before.
This was the founder of the Stoics. The other was an Epicurean
philosopher whom he had heard at Athens.

[90] That is, there would be the same uncertainty in heaven as is among
the Academics.

[91] Those nations which were neither Greek nor Roman.

[92] _Sigilla numerantes_ is the common reading; but P. Manucius
proposes _venerantes_, which I choose as the better of the two, and in
which sense I have translated it.

[93] Fundamental doctrines.

[94] That is, the zodiac.

[95] The moon, as well as the sun, is indeed in the zodiac, but she
does not measure the same course in a month. She moves in another line
of the zodiac nearer the earth.

[96] According to the doctrines of Epicurus, none of these bodies
themselves are clearly seen, but _simulacra ex corporibus effluentia_.

[97] Epicurus taught his disciples in a garden.

[98] By the word _Deus_, as often used by our author, we are to
understand all the Gods in that theology then treated of, and not a
single personal Deity.

[99] The best commentators on this passage agree that Cicero does not
mean that Aristotle affirmed that there was no such person as Orpheus,
but that there was no such poet, and that the verse called Orphic was
said to be the invention of another. The passage of Aristotle to which
Cicero here alludes has, as Dr. Davis observes, been long lost.

[100] A just proportion between the different sorts of beings.

[101] Some give _quos non pudeat earum Epicuri vocum;_ but the best
copies have not _non;_ nor would it be consistent with Cotta to say
_quos non pudeat_, for he throughout represents Velleius as a perfect
Epicurean in every article.

[102] His country was Abdera, the natives of which were remarkable for
their stupidity.

[103] This passage will not admit of a translation answerable to the
sense of the original. Cicero says the word _amicitia_ (friendship) is
derived from _amor_ (love or affection).

[104] This manner of speaking of Jupiter frequently occurs in Homer,

    ----[Greek: patêr andrôn te theôn te,]

and has been used by Virgil and other poets since Ennius.

[105] Perses, or Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, was taken by
Cnæus Octavius, the prætor, and brought as prisoner to Paullus Æmilius,
167 B.C.

[106] An exemption from serving in the wars, and from paying public

[107] Mopsus. There were two soothsayers of this name: the first was
one of the Lapithæ, son of Ampycus and Chloris, called also the son of
Apollo and Hienantis; the other a son of Apollo and Manto, who is said
to have founded Mallus, in Asia Minor, where his oracle existed as late
as the time of Strabo.

[108] Tiresias was the great Theban prophet at the time of the war of
the Seven against Thebes.

[109] Amphiaraus was King of Argos (he had been one of the Argonauts
also). He was killed after the war of the Seven against Thebes, which
he was compelled to join in by the treachery of his wife Eriphyle, by
the earth opening and swallowing him up as he was fleeing from

[110] Calchas was the prophet of the Grecian army at the siege of Troy.

[111] Helenus was a son of Priam and Hecuba. He is represented as a
prophet in the Philoctetes of Sophocles. And in the Æneid he is also
represented as king of part of Epirus, and as predicting to Æneas the
dangers and fortunes which awaited him.

[112] This short passage would be very obscure to the reader without an
explanation from another of Cicero's treatises. The expression here,
_ad investigandum suem regiones vineæ terminavit_, which is a metaphor
too bold, if it was not a sort of augural language, seems to me to have
been the effect of carelessness in our great author; for Navius did not
divide the regions, as he calls them, of the vine to find his sow, but
to find a grape.

[113] The Peremnia were a sort of auspices performed just before the
passing a river.

[114] The Acumina were a military auspices, and were partly performed
on the point of a spear, from which they were called Acumina.

[115] Those were called _testamenta in procinctu_, which were made by
soldiers just before an engagement, in the presence of men called as

[116] This especially refers to the Decii, one of whom devoted himself
for his country in the war with the Latins, 340 B.C., and his son
imitated the action in the war with the Samnites, 295 B.C. Cicero
(Tusc. i. 37) says that his son did the same thing in the war with
Pyrrhus at the battle of Asculum, though in other places (De Off. iii.
4) he speaks of only two Decii as having signalized themselves in this

[117] The Rogator, who collected the votes, and pronounced who was the
person chosen. There were two sorts of Rogators; one was the officer
here mentioned, and the other was the Rogator, or speaker of the whole

[118] Which was Sardinia, as appears from one of Cicero's epistles to
his brother Quintus.

[119] Their sacred books of ceremonies.

[120] The war between Octavius and Cinna, the consuls.

[121] This, in the original, is a fragment of an old Latin verse,

    _----Terram fumare calentem._

[122] The Latin word is _principatus_, which exactly corresponds with
the Greek word here used by Cicero; by which is to be understood the
superior, the most prevailing excellence in every kind and species of
things through the universe.

[123] The passage of Aristotle to which Cicero here refers is lost.

[124] He means the Epicureans.

[125] Here the Stoic speaks too plain to be misunderstood. His world,
his _mundus_, is the universe, and that universe is his great Deity,
_in quo sit totius naturæ principatus_, in which the superior
excellence of universal nature consists.

[126] Athens, the seat of learning and politeness, of which Balbus will
not allow Epicurus to be worthy.

[127] This is Pythagoras's doctrine, as appears in Diogenes Laertius.

[128] He here alludes to mathematical and geometrical instruments.

[129] Balbus here speaks of the fixed stars, and of the motions of the
orbs of the planets. He here alludes, says M. Bonhier, to the different
and diurnal motions of these stars; one sort from east to west, the
other from one tropic to the other: and this is the construction which
our learned and great geometrician and astronomer, Dr. Halley, made of
this passage.

[130] This mensuration of the year into three hundred and sixty-five
days and near six hours (by the odd hours and minutes of which, in
every fifth year, the _dies intercalaris_, or leap-year, is made) could
not but be known, Dr. Halley states, by Hipparchus, as appears from the
remains of that great astronomer of the ancients. We are inclined to
think that Julius Cæsar had divided the year, according to what we call
the Julian year, before Cicero wrote this book; for we see, in the
beginning of it, how pathetically he speaks of Cæsar's usurpation.

[131] The words of Censorinus, on this occasion, are to the same
effect. The opinions of philosophers concerning this great year are
very different; but the institution of it is ascribed to Democritus.

[132] The zodiac.

[133] Though Mars is said to hold his orbit in the zodiac with the
rest, and to finish his revolution through the same orbit (that is, the
zodiac) with the other two, yet Balbus means in a different line of the

[134] According to late observations, it never goes but a sign and a
half from the sun.

[135] These, Dr. Davis says, are "aërial fires;" concerning which he
refers to the second book of Pliny.

[136] In the Eunuch of Terence.

[137] Bacchus.

[138] The son of Ceres.

[139] The books of Ceremonies.

[140] This Libera is taken for Proserpine, who, with her brother Liber,
was consecrated by the Romans; all which are parts of nature in
prosopopoeias. Cicero, therefore, makes Balbus distinguish between the
person Liber, or Bacchus, and the Liber which is a part of nature in

[141] These allegorical fables are largely related by Hesiod in his

Horace says exactly the same thing:

    Hâc arte Pollux et vagus Hercules
    Enisus arces attigit igneas:
      Quos inter Augustus recumbens
        Purpureo bibit ore nectar.
    Hâc te merentem, Bacche pater, tuæ
    Vexere tigres indocili jugum
      Collo ferentes: hâc Quirinus
        Martis equis Acheronta fugit.--Hor. iii. 3. 9.

[142] Cicero means by _conversis casibus_, varying the cases from the
common rule of declension; that is, by departing from the true
grammatical rules of speech; for if we would keep to it, we should
decline the word _Jupiter_, _Jupiteris_ in the second case, etc.

[143] _Pater divûmque hominumque._

[144] The common reading is, _planiusque alio loco idem;_ which, as Dr.
Davis observes, is absurd; therefore, in his note, he prefers _planius
quam alia loco idem_, from two copies, in which sense I have translated

[145] From the verb _gero_, to bear.

[146] That is, "mother earth."

[147] Janus is said to be the first who erected temples in Italy, and
instituted religious rites, and from whom the first month in the Roman
calendar is derived.

[148] _Stellæ vagantes._

[149] _Noctu quasi diem efficeret._ Ben Jonson says the same thing:

    Thou that mak'st a day of night,
    Goddess excellently bright.--_Ode to the Moon._

[150] Olympias was the mother of Alexander.

[151] Venus is here said to be one of the names of Diana, because _ad
res omnes veniret;_ but she is not supposed to be the same as the
mother of Cupid.

[152] Here is a mistake, as Fulvius Ursinus observes; for the discourse
seems to be continued in one day, as appears from the beginning of this
book. This may be an inadvertency of Cicero.

[153] The senate of Athens was so called from the words [Greek: Areios
Pagos], the Village, some say the Hill, of Mars.

[154] Epicurus.

[155] The Stoics.

[156] By _nulla cohærendi natura_--if it is the right, as it is the
common reading--Cicero must mean the same as by _nulla crescendi
natura_, or _coalescendi_, either of which Lambinus proposes; for, as
the same learned critic well observes, is there not a cohesion of parts
in a clod, or in a piece of stone? Our learned Walker proposes _sola
cohærendi natura_, which mends the sense very much; and I wish he had
the authority of any copy for it.

[157] Nasica Scipio, the censor, is said to have been the first who
made a water-clock in Rome.

[158] The Epicureans.

[159] An old Latin poet, commended by Quintilian for the gravity of his
sense and his loftiness of style.

[160] The shepherd is here supposed to take the stem or beak of the
ship for the mouth, from which the roaring voices of the sailors came.
_Rostrum_ is here a lucky word to put in the mouth of one who never saw
a ship before, as it is used for the beak of a bird, the snout of a
beast or fish, and for the stem of a ship.

[161] The Epicureans.

[162] Greek, [Greek: aêr]; Latin, _aer_.

[163] The treatise of Aristotle, from whence this is taken, is lost.

[164] To the universe the Stoics certainly annexed the idea of a
limited space, otherwise they could not have talked of a middle; for
there can be no middle but of a limited space: infinite space can have
no middle, there being infinite extension from every part.

[165] These two contrary reversions are from the tropics of Cancer and
Capricorn. They are the extreme bounds of the sun's course. The reader
must observe that the astronomical parts of this book are introduced by
the Stoic as proofs of design and reason in the universe; and,
notwithstanding the errors in his planetary system, his intent is well
answered, because all he means is that the regular motions of the
heavenly bodies, and their dependencies, are demonstrations of a divine
mind. The inference proposed to be drawn from his astronomical
observations is as just as if his system was in every part
unexceptionably right: the same may be said of his anatomical

[166] In the zodiac.

[167] Ibid.

[168] These verses of Cicero are a translation from a Greek poem of
Aratus, called the Phænomena.

[169] The fixed stars.

[170] The arctic and antarctic poles.

[171] The two Arctoi are northern constellations. Cynosura is what we
call the Lesser Bear; Helice, the Greater Bear; in Latin, _Ursa Minor_
and _Ursa Major_.

[172] These stars in the Greater Bear are vulgarly called the "Seven
Stars," or the "Northern Wain;" by the Latins, "Septentriones."

[173] The Lesser Bear.

[174] The Greater Bear.

[175] Exactly agreeable to this and the following description of the
Dragon is the same northern constellation described in the map by
Flamsteed in his Atlas Coelestis; and all the figures here described by
Aratus nearly agree with the maps of the same constellations in the
Atlas Coelestis, though they are not all placed precisely alike.

[176] The tail of the Greater Bear.

[177] That is, in Macedon, where Aratus lived.

[178] The true interpretation of this passage is as follows: Here in
Macedon, says Aratus, the head of the Dragon does not entirely immerge
itself in the ocean, but only touches the superficies of it. By _ortus_
and _obitus_ I doubt not but Cicero meant, agreeable to Aratus, those
parts which arise to view, and those which are removed from sight.

[179] These are two northern constellations. Engonasis, in some
catalogues called Hercules, because he is figured kneeling [Greek: en
gonasin] (on his knees). [Greek: Engonasin kaleous'], as Aratus says,
they call Engonasis.

[180] The crown is placed under the feet of Hercules in the Atlas
Coelestis; but Ophiuchus ([Greek: Ophiouchos]), the Snake-holder, is
placed in the map by Flamsteed as described here by Aratus; and their
heads almost meet.

[181] The Scorpion. Ophiuchus, though a northern constellation, is not
far from that part of the zodiac where the Scorpion is, which is one of
the six southern signs.

[182] The Wain of seven stars.

[183] The Wain-driver. This northern constellation is, in our present
maps, figured with a club in his right hand behind the Greater Bear.

[184] In some modern maps Arcturus, a star of the first magnitude, is
placed in the belt that is round the waist of Boötes. Cicero says
_subter præcordia_, which is about the waist; and Aratus says [Greek:
hypo zônê], under the belt.

[185] _Sub caput Arcti_, under the head of the Greater Bear.

[186] The Crab is, by the ancients and moderns, placed in the zodiac,
as here, between the Twins and the Lion; and they are all three
northern signs.

[187] The Twins are placed in the zodiac with the side of one to the
northern hemisphere, and the side of the other to the southern
hemisphere. Auriga, the Charioteer, is placed in the northern
hemisphere near the zodiac, by the Twins; and at the head of the
Charioteer is Helice, the Greater Bear, placed; and the Goat is a
bright star of the first magnitude placed on the left shoulder of this
northern constellation, and called _Capra_, the Goat. _Hoedi_, the
Kids, are two more stars of the same constellation.

[188] A constellation; one of the northern signs in the zodiac, in
which the Hyades are placed.

[189] One of the feet of Cepheus, a northern constellation, is under
the tail of the Lesser Bear.

[190] Grotius, and after him Dr. Davis, and other learned men, read
_Cassiepea_, after the Greek [Greek: Kassiepeia], and reject the common
reading, _Cassiopea_.

[191] These northern constellations here mentioned have been always
placed together as one family with Cepheus and Perseus, as they are in
our modern maps.

[192] This alludes to the fable of Perseus and Andromeda.

[193] Pegasus, who is one of Perseus and Andromeda's family.

[194] That is, with wings.

[195] _Aries_, the Ram, is the first northern sign in the zodiac;
_Pisces_, the Fishes, the last southern sign; therefore they must be
near one another, as they are in a circle or belt. In Flamsteed's Atlas
Coelestis one of the Fishes is near the head of the Ram, and the other
near the Urn of Aquarius.

[196] These are called Virgiliæ by Cicero; by Aratus, the Pleiades,
[Greek: Plêiades]; and they are placed at the neck of the Bull; and one
of Perseus's feet touches the Bull in the Atlas Coelestis.

[197] This northern constellation is called Fides by Cicero; but it
must be the same with Lyra; because Lyra is placed in our maps as Fides
is here.

[198] This is called Ales Avis by Cicero; and I doubt not but the
northern constellation Cygnus is here to be understood, for the
description and place of the Swan in the Atlas Coelestis are the same
which Ales Avis has here.

[199] Pegasus.

[200] The Water-bearer, one of the six southern signs in the zodiac: he
is described in our maps pouring water out of an urn, and leaning with
one hand on the tail of Capricorn, another southern sign.

[201] When the sun is in Capricorn, the days are at the shortest; and
when in Cancer, at the longest.

[202] One of the six southern signs.

[203] Sagittarius, another southern sign.

[204] A northern constellation.

[205] A northern constellation.

[206] A southern constellation.

[207] This is Canis Major, a southern constellation. Orion and the Dog
are named together by Hesiod, who flourished many hundred years before
Cicero or Aratus.

[208] A southern constellation, placed as here in the Atlas Coelestis.

[209] A southern constellation, so called from the ship Argo, in which
Jason and the rest of the Argonauts sailed on their expedition to

[210] The Ram is the first of the northern signs in the zodiac; and the
last southern sign is the Fishes; which two signs, meeting in the
zodiac, cover the constellation called Argo.

[211] The river Eridanus, a southern constellation.

[212] A southern constellation.

[213] This is called the Scorpion in the original of Aratus.

[214] A southern constellation.

[215] A southern constellation.

[216] The Serpent is not mentioned in Cicero's translation; but it is
in the original of Aratus.

[217] A southern constellation.

[218] The Goblet, or Cup, a southern constellation.

[219] A southern constellation.

[220] Antecanis, a southern constellation, is the Little Dog, and
called _Antecanis_ in Latin, and [Greek: Prokyôn] in Greek, because he
rises before the other Dog.

[221] Pansætius, a Stoic philosopher.

[222] Mercury and Venus.

[223] The proboscis of the elephant is frequently called a hand,
because it is as useful to him as one. "They breathe, drink, and smell,
with what may not be improperly called a hand," says Pliny, bk. viii.
c. 10.--DAVIS.

[224] The passage of Aristotle's works to which Cicero here alludes is
entirely lost; but Plutarch gives a similar account.

[225] Balbus does not tell us the remedy which the panther makes use
of; but Pliny is not quite so delicate: he says, _excrementis hominis
sibi medetur_.

[226] Aristotle says they purge themselves with this herb after they
fawn. Pliny says both before and after.

[227] The cuttle-fish has a bag at its neck, the black blood of which
the Romans used for ink. It was called _atramentum_.

[228] The Euphrates is said to carry into Mesopotamia a large quantity
of citrons, with which it covers the fields.

[229] Q. Curtius, and some other authors, say the Ganges is the largest
river in India; but Ammianus Marcellinus concurs with Cicero in calling
the river Indus the largest of all rivers.

[230] These Etesian winds return periodically once a year, and blow at
certain seasons, and for a certain time.

[231] Some read _mollitur_, and some _molitur;_ the latter of which P.
Manucius justly prefers, from the verb _molo_, _molis;_ from whence,
says he, _molares dentes_, the grinders.

[232] The weasand, or windpipe.

[233] The epiglottis, which is a cartilaginous flap in the shape of a
tongue, and therefore called so.

[234] Cicero is here giving the opinion of the ancients concerning the
passage of the chyle till it is converted to blood.

[235] What Cicero here calls the ventricles of the heart are likewise
called auricles, of which there is the right and left.

[236] The Stoics and Peripatetics said that the nerves, veins, and
arteries come directly from the heart. According to the anatomy of the
moderns, they come from the brain.

[237] The author means all musical instruments, whether string or wind
instruments, which are hollow and tortuous.

[238] The Latin version of Cicero is a translation from the Greek of

[239] Chrysippus's meaning is, that the swine is so inactive and
slothful a beast that life seems to be of no use to it but to keep it
from putrefaction, as salt keeps dead flesh.

[240] _Ales_, in the general signification, is any large bird; and
_oscinis_ is any singing bird. But they here mean those birds which are
used in augury: _alites_ are the birds whose flight was observed by the
augurs, and _oscines_ the birds from whose voices they augured.

[241] As the Academics doubted everything, it was indifferent to them
which side of a question they took.

[242] The keepers and interpreters of the Sibylline oracles were the

[243] The popular name of Jupiter in Rome, being looked upon as
defender of the Capitol (in which he was placed), and stayer of the

[244] Some passages of the original are here wanting. Cotta continues
speaking against the doctrine of the Stoics.

[245] The word _sortes_ is often used for the answers of the oracles,
or, rather, for the rolls in which the answers were written.

[246] Three of this eminent family sacrificed themselves for their
country; the father in the Latin war, the son in the Tuscan war, and
the grandson in the war with Pyrrhus.

[247] The Straits of Gibraltar.

[248] The common reading is, _ex quo anima dicitur;_ but Dr. Davis and
M. Bouhier prefer _animal_, though they keep _anima_ in the text,
because our author says elsewhere, _animum ex anima dictum_, Tusc. I.
1. Cicero is not here to be accused of contradictions, for we are to
consider that he speaks in the characters of other persons; but there
appears to be nothing in these two passages irreconcilable, and
probably _anima_ is the right word here.

[249] He is said to have led a colony from Greece into Caria, in Asia,
and to have built a town, and called it after his own name, for which
his countrymen paid him divine honors after his death.

[250] Our great author is under a mistake here. Homer does not say he
met Hercules himself, but his [Greek: Eidôlon], his "visionary
likeness;" and adds that he himself

                   [Greek: met' athanatoisi theoisi
    terpetai en thaliês, kai echei kallisphyrou Hêbên,
    paida Dios megaloio kai Hêrês chrysopedilou.]

which Pope translates--

    A shadowy form, for high in heaven's abodes
    Himself resides, a God among the Gods;
    There, in the bright assemblies of the skies,
    He nectar quaffs, and Hebe crowns his joys.

[251] They are said to have been the first workers in iron. They were
called Idæi, because they inhabited about Mount Ida in Crete, and
Dactyli, from [Greek: daktyloi] (the fingers), their number being five.

[252] From whom, some say, the city of that name was called.

[253] Capedunculæ seem to have been bowls or cups, with handles on each
side, set apart for the use of the altar.--DAVIS.

[254] See Cicero de Divinatione, and Ovid. Fast.

[255] In the consulship of Piso and Gabinius sacrifices to Serapis and
Isis were prohibited in Rome; but the Roman people afterward placed
them again in the number of their gods. See Tertullian's Apol. and his
first book Ad Nationes, and Arnobius, lib. 2.--DAVIS.

[256] In some copies Circe, Pasiphae, and Æa are mentioned together;
but Æa is rejected by the most judicious editors.

[257] They were three, and are said to have averted a plague by
offering themselves a sacrifice.

[258] So called from the Greek word [Greek: thaumazô], to wonder.

[259] She was first called Geres, from _gero_, to bear.

[260] The word is _precatione_, which means the books or forms of
prayers used by the augurs.

[261] Cotta's intent here, as well as in other places, is to show how
unphilosophical their civil theology was, and with what confusions it
was embarrassed; which design of the Academic the reader should
carefully keep in view, or he will lose the chain of argument.

[262] Anactes, [Greek: Anaktes], was a general name for all kings, as
we find in the oldest Greek writers, and particularly in Homer.

[263] The c