Cicero, De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum

LCL 40: 300-301

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Cicero de Finibus

M. Tullii Ciceronis

De Finibus Bonorum Et Malorum

Liber Quartus


I. Quae cum dixisset, finem ille. Ego autem: “Ne tu, inquam, Cato, ista exposuisti, ut tam multa, memoriter, ut tam obscura, dilucide. Itaque aut omittamus contra omnino velle aliquid aut spatium sumamus ad cogitandum; tam enim diligenter, etiamsi minus vere (nam nondum id quidem audeo dicere), sed tamen1 accurate non modo fundatam verum etiam exstructam disciplinam non est facile perdiscere.” Tum ille: “Ain tandem?” inquit; “cum ego te hac nova lege videam eodem die accusatori respondere et tribus horis perorare, in hac me causa tempus dilaturum putas? quae tamen a te agetur non melior quam illae sunt quas interdum obtines. Quare istam quoque aggredere, tractatam praesertim et ab aliis et a te ipso saepe, ut tibi 2 deesse non possit oratio.” Tum ego: “Non mehercule,” inquam, “soleo temere contra Stoicos, non quo illis admodum assentiar, sed pudore impedior; ita multa dicunt, quae vix intellegam.” “Obscura,” inquit, “quaedam esse confiteor; nec tamen ab illis ita dicuntur de industria, sed inest in rebus ipsis

  • 1sed tamen: Lambinus conjectures sed tamen tam, Davis sed tam. Perhaps audeo dicere, sed tamen) non modo; and bracket accurate as interpolated.

Book IV.

De Finibus

Book IV


I. With these words he concluded. “A mostRefutation of the Stoic system by Cicero. Introduction faithful and lucid exposition, Cato,” said I, “considering the wide range of your subject and its obscurity. Clearly I must either give up all idea ot replying, or must take time to think it over; it is no easy task to get a thorough grasp of a system so elaborate, even if erroneous (for on that point I do not yet venture to speak), but at all events so highly finished both in its first principles and in their working out.” “You don’t say so!” replied Cato. “Do you suppose I am going to allow our suit to be adjourned, when I see you under this new lawa replying for the defence on the same day as your opponent concludes for the prosecution, and keeping your speech within a three hours’ limit? Though you will find your present case as shaky as any of those which you now and then succeed in pulling off. So tackle this one like the rest, particularly as the subject is familiar; others have handled it before, and so have you repeatedly, so that you can hardly be gravelled 2 for lack of matter.” “I protest,” I exclaimed, “I am not by way of challenging the Stoics lightly; not that I agree with them entirely, but modesty restrains me: there is so much in their teaching that I can hardly understand.” “I admit,” he said, “that some parts are obscure, yet the Stoics do not affect an obscure style on purpose; the obscurity is inherent in the doctrines themselves.” “How is it,

  • aPassed by Pompey, 52 b.c., to limit the concluding speeches in lawsuits to two hours for the prosecution and three for the defence, both to be delivered on the same day.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_finibus_bonorum_et_malorum.1914