M. Tullii Ciceronis
De Finibus Bonorum Et Malorum
I. Non eram nescius, Brute, cum quae summis ingeniis exquisitaque doctrina philosophi Graeco sermone tractavissent ea Latinis litteris mandaremus, fore ut hic noster labor in varias reprehensiones incurreret. Nam quibusdam, et iis quidem non admodum indoctis, totum hoc displicet philosophari. Quidam autem non tam id reprehendunt si remissius agatur, sed tantum studium tamque multam operam ponendam in eo non arbitrantur. Erunt etiam, et hi quidem eruditi Graecis litteris, contemnentes Latinas, qui se dicant in Graecis legendis operam malle consumere. Postremo aliquos futuros suspicor qui me ad alias litteras vocent, genus hoc scribendi, etsi sit 2 elegans, personae tamen et dignitatis esse negent. Contra quos omnes dicendum breviter existimo. Quamquam philosophiae quidem vituperatoribus satis responsum est eo libro quo a nobis philosophia defensa et collaudata est cum esset accusata et vituperata ab Hortensio. Qui liber cum et tibi probatus videretur et iis quos ego posse iudicare arbitrarer, plura suscepi, veritus ne movere hominum studia viderer, retinere non posse. Qui autem, si
I. My dear Brutus,—The following essay, I amPreface: choice of subject defended; well aware, attempting as it does to present in a Latin dress subjects that philosophers of consummate ability and profound learning have already handled in Greek, is sure to encounter criticism from different quarters. Certain persons, and those not without some pretension to letters, disapprove of the study of philosophy altogether. Others do not so greatly object to it provided it be followed in dilettante fashion; but they do not think it ought to engage so large an amount of one’s interest and attention. A third class, learned in Greek literature and contemptuous of Latin, will say that they prefer to spend their time in reading Greek. Lastly, I suspect there will be some who will wish to divert me to other fields of authorship, asserting that this kind of composition, though a graceful recreation, is beneath the dignity 2 of my character and position. To all of these objections I suppose I ought to make some brief reply. ThePhilosophy deserving of study, indiscriminate censure of philosophy has indeed been sufficiently answered already in the booka which I wrote in praise of that study, in order to defend it against a bitter attack that had been made upon it by Hortensius. The favourable reception which that volume appeared to obtain from yourself and from others whom I considered competent to sit in judgment encouraged me to embark upon further undertakings; for I did not wish to be thought incapable of sustaining the interest that I had aroused.