Cicero notes

107-43 BC
Cicero dates

Law, military, politics
Rome known more for ____________ than philosophy and the arts

Founded in Athens by Zeno in 313 B.C., inspired by Socrates

Name given to the school of thought founded by Aristotle

Founded by Epicurus (ca.342-270 B.C.) in Athens as an alternative to the Academy (Plato), the Lyceum (Aristotle), and the Stoics (Zeno)

Founded by Pyrrho in Athens (361-270 B.C.); also inspired by Socrates (Philosophers in this school are also called “Academics.”)

Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, NeoPlatonists
4 groups of philosophers that shaped philosophy after Aristotle

practical, self-centered
Philosophy’s emphasis became __________, and its mood was __________.

Art of living
Philosophy became more practical by emphasizing the __________.

Individual spirituality; way of life
What philosophy in Rome became like

Believing Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, etc did not adequately describe the world, the skeptics practiced a continuous process of _______; pitted statements against counter statements in Socratic fashion; setting things in opposition

Best way to live is to suspend judgment, to achieve calm in one’s state of doubt

Seekers, inquirers

Most influential philosophical school in Roman thought

moral issues
Although Cicero self-identifies the most with the Skeptics (often adopting an inquisitive, skeptical position in his dialogues), on ________ (questions of virtue and human excellence) he was mostly a Stoic.

Cicero tends to equate the Stoics with the ________

moved to Athens because attracted by the example of Socrates

identified with stoicism; committed suicide (justified if rationality can no longer make things better); guardian of purgatory in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”

Epicureanism highest pleasure (absence of bodily pain and relaxation of the mind)

Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism
3 things that Cicero conflated/combined and didn’t see as opposing each other

philosophy to serve politics
Cicero wants _________

save the republic
Cicero’s political goal

Philosophy leads to best life.
Impossible to be a public politician and a philosopher

Philosopher is best life.
Politician is second best life.

Politician is most beneficial life for serving human community.
Philosophy should serve politics.

jurisprudence, rhetoric, philosophy
3 things Cicero studied

63 BC
year Cicero was elected consul

Julius Caesar, Pompey, Crassus
The three who took control of Roman politics and formed the first triumvirate in 60 BC

Consul Clodius
January 58 BC: _________ proposed a law to retroactively exile anyone who killed Roman citizens without a trial. Rioting ensued and attacks on Cicero, who fled Rome.

Julius Caesar
always characterized by Cicero as a despot who relies on fear; an enemy of the republic; an enemy of goodness; always a bad example.

March 15, 44 BC
The Ides of March: Caesar is killed by a group of senators. Cicero witnessed it but was not a conspirator.

Octavian, Antony, Lepidus
2nd Triumvirate

Marc Antony
Each had an enemy list for killing, and __________ put Cicero on his, as well as Cicero’s son, brother, and nephew.

duty; dutiful service

responsibilities engendered by one’s role in society and politics

appropriate actions


allies or partners sharing a common project or a common way of life

can refer to family members, to Rome, to the whole human race

Human community
First and highest duty is to ____________ – Stoic principle. One’s duty derives from one’s position in society; politicians, in this case.

Duty must be based on the _________

Connected to office and reputation
Always a public quality
Has to do with being well-regarded

be honorable, seek virtue
To ______ and ______ is natural to man

The honorable is always _________, even when nobody notices.

To use and enjoy
Expedient; advantageous; practical

honorable, beneficial
According to Cicero, the ______ and _____ sometimes conflict

Believed that virtue is the only good (different than the Peripatetics, who believed in external goods, even though virtue is the highest good)

most famous Epicurean

absence of bodily pain and relaxation of the mind

Control desires, know own nature, know how to satisfy desires according to needs
To achieve repose

leads to repose; “medicine of the soul”

Disordered soul-body agreement
NeoPlatonism view of evil

hindrance to the soul
Like Plato, Plotinus saw the body as a ________

Emanation from God
In NeoPlatonism, the material world is an _________

transcendent, spiritual, complete, uncreated
4 qualities of God/the One according to NeoPlatonism

wisdom, preserving fellowship/communal life — justice, liberality, greatness of spirit, seemliness/decorum
Cicero’s 4 virtues for being Honorable

Cicero’s queen of virtues

deceit, force

harming no one, serving common advantage

good faith; required for justice; confidence, trust, reliance between two political actors; reciprocal, mutual; involves privileges, responsibilities, fairness

Greatness of Spirit
similar to Aristotle’s magnanimity, but includes stoic things

Acts of kindness that harm nobody and do not exceed one’s capabilities, bestowed according to standing

Cicero had a ______ sense of virtue, in controls to Aristotle’s view of inner character

Repress personal reactions, submit to reason
Socrates and Stoic same ideas

fight on behalf of fairness

free from agitation

Greatness of spirit
disdain for external things (including money and petty human affairs), pursue only the honorable

very social virtue; know your limitations and carry self well within who your are; stay within these limits to avoid criticism; aware of social norms; appropriate shame

faithfulness among political actors

fides, glory
2 main ideals

public honor

something you should do no matter what the situation is

Glory follows virtue as if it were its shadow
Cicero quote

advice/representing people, hospitality, speech-making
3 Gifts of Service

make good friends, military career, choose mentors wisely, choose court cases wisely
Cultivate your reputation

serve larger community/human fellowship over self, seek wisdom, be virtuous/honorable, show gratitude, make good friends, know yourself
Cicero’s duties

Duty Ethics
Cicero; morality based on actions that adhere to absolutes; can’t separate beneficial to honorable (dishonorable NEVER beneficial)

Virtue Ethics
Aristotle; morality derives from inner character

Consequentialist Ethics
Machiavelli; morality derives from end results