M. Tulli Ciceronis Tusculanarum Disputationum
I. Cum defensionum laboribus senatoriisque muneribus aut omnino aut magna ex parte essem aliquando liberatus, rettuli me, Brute, te hortante maxime ad ea studia, quae retenta animo, remissa temporibus, longo intervallo intermissa revocavi, et, cum omnium artium, quae ad rectam vivendi viam pertinerent, ratio et disciplina studio sapientiae, quae philosophia dicitur, contineretur, hoc mihi Latinis litteris illustrandum putavi, non quia philosophia Graecis et litteris et doctoribus percipi non posset, sed meum semper iudicium fuit omnia nostros aut invenisse per se sapientius quam Graecos aut accepta ab illis fecisse meliora, quae quidem digna statuissent in 2quibus elaborarent. Nam mores et instituta vitae resque domesticas ac famillares nos profecto et melius tuemur et lautius, rem vero publicam nostri
M. Tullius Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations
I. On at last securing a complete or at any rate a considerable release from the toils of advocacy1a and from my senatorial duties, I have once more—chiefly, Brutus, on your encouragement—returned to those studies, which, though stored in memory, had been put aside through circumstances, and are now revived after a long interval of neglect. My view was that, inasmuch as the system and method of instruction in all the arts which have a bearing upon the right conduct of life is bound up with the study of wisdom which goes by the name of philosophy, it was incumbent on me to throw light upon that study by a work in the Latin tongue; not that philosophy could not be learnt from Greek writers and teachers, but it has always been my conviction that our countrymen have shown more wisdom everywhere than the Greeks, either in making discoveries for themselves, or else in improving upon what they had received from Greece—in such subjects at least as they had judged worthy of the devotion of their efforts.2 For morality, rules of life, family and household economy are surely maintained by us in a better and more dignified way; and beyond question
- 1He prefers to speak of defence rather than accusation. Indeed he could regard his attacks on Verres and Catiline as made in defence of the republic.
- 2Cicero wished to encourage his countrymen. As he says in his Brutus: multum tribueram Latinis, vel ut hortarer alios, vel quod amarem meos. The Romans were at their worst in the exact sciences and abstract studies. What they needed they borrowed from the Greeks, and the same applies to medicine and geography, but not to engineering, law or war.