Cicero, De Legibus

LCL 213: 474-475

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Marcus Tullius Cicero

quaedam a Theophrasto primum, deinde a Diogene1 Stoico quaesita subtilius.

14VI. A. Ain tandem? etiam a Stoicis ista tractata sunt?

M. Non sane nisi ab eo, quem modo nominavi, et postea a magno homine et in primis erudito, Panaetio. nam veteres verbo tenus acute illi quidem, sed non ad hunc usum popularem atque civilem de re publica disserebant. ab hac familia magis ista manarunt Platone principe; post Aristoteles inlustravit omnem hunc civilem in disputando locum Heraclidesque Ponticus profectus ab eodem Platone; Theophrastus vero institutus ab Aristotele habitavit, ut scitis, in eo genere rerum, ab eodemque Aristotele doctus Dicaearchus huic rationi studioque non defuit; post a Theophrasto Phalereus ille Demetrius, de quo feci supra mentionem, mirabiliter doctrinam ex umbraculis eruditorum otioque non modo in solem atque in pulverem, sed in ipsum discrimen aciemque produxit. nam et mediocriter doctos magnos in re publica viros, et doctissimos homines non nimis in re publica versatos, multos commemorare possumus; qui vero utraque re excelleret, ut et doctrinae


Laws III

first by Theophrastus, and then with greater accuracy by Diogenes the Stoic.1

VI. A. Do you really mean to say that even the Stoics have treated these problems?

M. None of them except the philosopher I have just mentioned, and, after his time, the eminent and very learned Panaetius.2 For though the older Stoics also discussed the State, and with keen insight, their discussions were purely theoretical and not intended, as mine is, to be useful to nations and citizens. The other school3 led by Plato provides most of our present material. After him Aristotle and Heraclides of Pontus,4 another of Plato’s pupils, illuminated this whole subject of the constitution of the State by their discussions. And, as you know, Aristotle’s pupil Theophrastus specialized in such topics. Dicaearchus,5 another of Aristotle’s disciples, did not neglect this field of thought and investigation. Later a follower of Theophrastus, Demetrius of Phalerum,6 whom I mentioned before, had remarkable success in bringing learning out of its shady bowers and scholarly seclusion, not merely into the sunlight and the dust, but even into the very battle-line and the centre of the conflict. For we can mention the names of many great practical statesmen who have been moderately learned, and also of many very learned men who have had some little experience in practical politics; but who can readily be found, except this man, that excelled in

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_legibus.1928