Cicero

Cicero: On the Nature of the Gods

On the Nature of the Gods (Latin: De Natura Deorum) is a dialogue by Cicero which examines theology from the point of view of various philosophical schools. In book 1, Gaius Velleius gives the Epicurean argument for the existence of God, while Quintus Lucilius puts the Stoic case in book 2. Gaius Cotta criticises both viewpoints in book 3 from the viewpoint of Cicero's own academic skepticism.

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Gutenberg: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations also, Treatises On The Nature Of The Gods, And On The Commonwealth, translated by C.D. Yonge. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The treatises of M.T. Cicero: On the nature of the gods; On divination; On fate; On the republic; On the laws; and On standing for the consulship. Literally translated chiefly by the editor, C.D. Yonge (1878). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive. De Natura Deorum, Libri Tres, Vol I, Vol II, Vol III, edited by J.B Mayor (Cambridge, 1888). Latin text, Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: De natura deorum, De divinatione, De fato, edited by Reinholdus Klotz (1879). Latin text, multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Natura Deorum. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L268 - Cicero -- De Natura Deorum. Academica. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Online Library of Liberty: De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), trans. Francis Brooks (London: Methuen, 1896). Multiple formats.

Perseus: De Natura Deorum. Latin text, HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: De Natura Deorum. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

Academia.edu: Cicero Handout -  Arguments For And Against God's Existence in On the Nature of the Gods, by Gregory Sadler.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Librivox: On the Nature of the Gods - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Cicero - De Natura Deorum.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Euthyphro - a classic examination of divine command theory.

Cicero: Tusculan Disputations - defends Stoic views on happiness.

Cicero: On the Ends of Good and Evil - discusses the ethical teachings of the major philosophical schools.

Cicero: Academica - dialogues on the theory of knowledge.

Cicero: On Divination.

Cicero: On Fate.

David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: On the Nature of the Gods is listed.


Cicero: Tusculan Disputations

Cicero_at_His_Villa_at_TusculumThe Tusculan Disputations (Latin: Tusculanae Disputationes or Tusculanae Quaestiones), written in 44BC, is a philosophical treatise in which Cicero defends Stoic views on happiness. The opening dedication to Brutus defends the aspiration for a Latin philosophical literature that could surpass the Greeks. The following five books portray a series of Socratic debates said to have taken place at Cicero's villa in Tusculum. Book 1 deals with the nature of death, book 2 with physical suffering, books 3 and 4 with mental suffering, while book 5 propounds the Stoic view that virtue is always sufficient for happiness.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Academic Questions, Treatise De Finibus, and Tusculan Disputations. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations : also treatises On the Nature of the Gods, and On the Commonwealth, translated by C.D. Yonge (1877). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Cicero's Tusculan Disputations, translated by A.P. Peabody (1886). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Tusculanae Disputationes. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: Tusculanae Disputationes (Teubner, 1918). Latin text, HTML and XML format.

University of Adelaide: The Tusculan Disputations, translated by Charles Duke Yonge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Tusculanae Disputationes. Latin text, multiple formats.

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Cicero: On the Ends of Good and Evil

On the Ends of Good and Evil or On Moral Ends (Latin: De finibus bonorum et malorum), composed by Cicero in 45 BC, presents the ethical teachings of the major philosophical schools of the time in the form of dialogues recounted by Cicero to his friend Brutus. Lucius Torquatus serves as spokesman for epicureanism in the first two books, while Cato represents stoicism in books three and four. Book five presents Cicero's own academic skepticism.

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Gutenberg: The Academic Questions, Treatise De Finibus, and Tusculan Disputations. Multiple formats.

LacusCurtius: de Finibus, translated by H. Harris Rackham. HTML format.

Latin Library: De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L040 - Cicero -- De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin with English translation by H. Rackham. Also at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: De finibus bonorum et malorum (Teubner, 1915). Latin text, HTML and XML format.

University of Adelaide: Treatise de Finibus, translated by Charles Duke Yonge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: De finibus bonorum et malorum. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Librivox: On the Ends of Good and Evil - public domain audiobook.

The Obstinate Classicist: On Moral Ends, summary by Bill Prueter.

Wikipedia: CiceroDe finibus bonorum et malorum.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Cicero: Academica - dialogue on stoic and academic views of the theory of knowledge.

Cicero: Tusculan Disputations.

Plato: Phaedrus - cited by Cicero in Book Two.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Cicero: Orator

Orator, not to be confused with On the Orator, is a treatise by Cicero, setting out the qualities required by the ideal orator, along with a plan for his education. Cicero singles out Demosthenes as the greatest of Greek models, because of his mastery of the plain, the grand and the middle styles.

Orator at Amazon: United States.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker, translated by E. Jones. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero Vol. IV, translated by C.D. Yonge (1851). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Orator. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: Orator. Latin text, HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: Orator. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Wikipedia: Cicero - Orator.

Continue reading "Cicero: Orator" »


Cicero: Brutus

The Brutus or De claris oratibus is a dialogue by Cicero, surviving in somewhat fragmentary condition, on the history of oratory in Greece and Rome.  The setting is a conversation between Cicero, his friend Atticus, and Marcus Junius Brutus, the later assassin of Caesar. Cicero comments on Greek oratory which he divides into Attic, Asianic and Rhodian schools, before considering Roman statesmen from the legendary Brutus the Liberator onwards.

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Attalus: Brutus, a History of Famous Orators, translated by E. Jones (1776). HTML format.

Gutenberg: Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker, translated by E. Jones. Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Brutus. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: Brutus. Latin text, HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Brutus. Latin text, multiple formats.

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Cicero: On the Laws

Richard_Wilson_-_Cicero_with_his_friend_Atticus_and_brother_Quintus _at_his_villa_at_Arpinum_-_Google_Art_ProjectOn the Laws (Latin: De Legibus) is a dialogue by Cicero written about 51 BC, which survives only in fragmentary form. In contrast to his other major political dialogue, the De Re Publica, Cicero gave On the Laws a contemporary setting, portraying a conversation between himself, his brother Quintus, and his friend Atticus, about the appropriate constitution for an ideal Roman state. The system which emerges reflects Cicero's pragmatic conservatism. It is defended in terms of an early and influential conception of natural law.

On the Laws at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: The treatises of M.T. Cicero: On the nature of the gods; On divination; On fate; On the republic; On the laws; and On standing for the consulship. Literally translated chiefly by the editor, C.D. Yonge (1878). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Legibus. Latin text, HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, vol. 2 (Treatise on the Laws), translated by Francis Barham (1841). Multiple formats.

Perseus: De Legibus. Latin text, HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: De Legibus. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Ancient Political Philosophy.

Librivox: On the Laws - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: CiceroDe Legibus

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Cicero: De Re Publica.

Plato: The Republic.

Plato: The Laws.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Cicero: De Re Publica

De Re Publica, variously translated as The Republic, On the Republic or On the Commonwealth, is Cicero's major work on political theory. It was written between 54 and 51 BCE, years when Cicero was politically marginalised by the First Triumvirate whose break-up would shortly lead to civil war.

The dialogue is set in an earlier turbulent period in the preceding century. It's central character is Scipio Aemilianus, the victorious general of the Third Punic War, and leader of the aristocratic opposition to the popular faction of the Gracchi.

The Middle Ages knew only a single major fragment of the De Re Publica, the passage known as Scipio's Dream. A palimpsest found in the Nineteenth Century contributed to the other surviving portions.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: The treatises of M.T. Cicero: On the nature of the gods; On divination; On fate; On the republic; On the laws; and On standing for the consulship. Literally translated chiefly by the editor, C.D. Yonge (1878). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Re Republica. Latin text, HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, vol. 1 (Treatise on the Commonwealth), translated by Francis Barham (1841). Multiple formats.

Perseus: De Republica (Teubner, 1889). Latin text, HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: De Re Publica. Latin text, multiple formats.

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Cicero: On the Orator

On the Orator (Latin: De Oratore) is a dialogue by Cicero on the qualities of the ideal public speaker. Addressed to his brother Quintus, it was written in 55 BCE during a period of absence from public life under the first triumvirate. It was set a generation earlier in 91 BCE, on the eve of the Social War. The dramatis personae are prominent statesmen of the time:  Lucius Licinius Crassus, Quintus Mucius Scaevola, Marcus Antonius Orator, Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Publius Sulpicius Rufus

On the Orator at Amazon: United States

Free online texts

Internet Archive: De Oratore Books I & II, translated by E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham . Public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: On Oratory and Orators, translated by J.S. Watson (1860). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Oratore. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: De Oratore, edited by A.S. Wilkins (1902). HTML and XML formats.

Pomona College: De Oratore Books I to III, translated by J.S. Watson, formatted by C. Chinn. HTML format.

Wikisource: On Oratory, translated by William Guthrie (1822). Multiple formats. Partial text.

Other Resources

Academia.edu: The Stoicism of the Ideal Orator: Cicero's Hellenistic Ideal, by Brandon Inabinet.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero, by Edward Clayton.

Silva Rhetoricae: Outline of De Oratore.

University of Cologne: Cicero De Oratore I and Greek Philosophical Tradition, by Eckart Schütrumpf.

Wikipedia: De Oratore

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Gorgias

Plato: Phaedrus - Scaevola advocates Plato's portrait of Socrates in this dialogue as a model.

Aristotle: Rhetoric.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Cicero: Academica

Richard_Wilson_-_Cicero's_Villa_and_the_Gulf_of_Pozzuoli_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Academica is Cicero's main philosophical work on the theory of knowledge. The first edition, the Academica Priora, consisted of two books, the dialogues Catulus and Lucullus, of which only the latter is extant. Lucullus defends the stoic position on the possibility of certain knowledge, which Cicero argues takes the view of the academic sceptics that it is necessary to accept what is merely probable.

Part of a revised version, the Academica Posteriora,  in which Varro replaced Lucullus as the main interlocutor, also survives.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Academica. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Academic Questions, Treatise De Finibus, and Tusculan Disputations. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: De natura deorum; Academica; with an English translation by H. Rackham (1933). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Academica of Cicero. Latin text, edited by James Smith Reid. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L268 - Cicero -- De Natura Deorum. Academica. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Wikisource: Academica Priora - Latin text. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero: Academic Skepticism, by Harald Thorsrud.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism - main source for the Pyrrhonist school which propounded a rival form of scepticism to that of the Academics.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.