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M. Tullii Ciceronis Paradoxa Stoicorum

Prooemium

1Animadverti, Brute, saepe Catonem avunculum tuum cum in senatu sententiam diceret locos graves ex philosophia tractare abhorrentes ab hoc usu forensi et publico, sed dicendo consequi tamen ut illa etiam 2populo probabilia viderentur. Quod eo maius est illi quam aut tibi aut nobis, quia nos ea philosophia plus utimur quae peperit dicendi copiam et in qua dicuntur ea quae non multum discrepant ab opinione populari, Cato autem, perfectus mea sententia Stoicus, et ea sentit quae non sane probantur in vulgus et in ea est haeresi quae nullum sequitur florem orationis neque dilatat argumentum sed minutis interrogatiunculis quasi punctis quod proposuit 3efficit. Sed nihil est tam incredibile quod non

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Paradoxa Stoicorum

Marcus Tullius Cicero Paradoxa Stoicorum

Preface

1I have often noticed, Brutus,a that your uncle Cato when making a speech in the Senate deals with weighty argumentsb drawn from philosophy which do not conform with our usual practice in the law-courts and the assembly, but that nevertheless his oratory succeeds in making such things acceptable even to the 2general public. And this is a greater achievement for him than it would be either for you or for me, because we make more use of the system of philosophy which is the parent of oratorical fluency and which contains doctrines not greatly differing from ordinary modes of thought, whereas Cato, in my view a perfect specimen of a Stoic, holds opinions that by no means meet with the acceptance of the multitude, and moreover belongs to a school of thought that does not aim at oratorical ornament at all or employ a copious mode of exposition, but proves its case by 3means of tiny little interrogatory pin-pricks.c But nothing is so difficult to believe that oratory cannot

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-paradoxa_stoicorum.1942