Cicero, Orator

LCL 342: 394-395

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grandeur and loftiness, as I said abovea about Pericles. When he turns from a consideration of the heavens to human affairs, all his words and thoughts will assuredly be loftier and more magnificent.

Nor, while he is acquainted with the divine order 120 of nature, would I have him ignorant of human affairs. He should understand the civil law, which is needed daily in practice in the courts of law. What is more disgraceful than to attempt to plead in legal and civil disputes when ignorant of the statutes and the civil law? He should also be acquainted with the history of the events of past ages, particularly, of course, of our state, but also of imperial nations and famous kings; here our task has been lightened by the labour of our friend Atticus, who has comprised in one bookb the record of seven hundred years, keeping the chronology definite and omitting no important event. To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history? Moreover, the mention of antiquity and the citation of examples give the speech authority and credibility as well as affording the highest pleasure to the audience.

Thus equipped, then, he will come to the pleading 121 of causes: and first he must be acquainted with the different kinds of causes. For he will clearly recognize that there can be no dispute in which the controversy does not arise either about fact or about words: in the case of fact the dispute is about the truth of the charge, its justification or its definitionc; in the case of words whether they are ambiguous, or contradictory. For if there is ever a case in which

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-orator.1939