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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cicero (?) Was Right

Nabbed from the sidebar of Diary of a Right Wing Pussycat (Kid's site):

The Cicero entry at Wikipedia

Cicero was exiled for opposing Julius Caesar's tyranny.

Authentic money quotes HERE. Worth considering.

Note (addendum): A commenter has rightly pointed out that there is no evidence that Cicero actually said or penned the words in the above graphic. See comments section of this blog post.


  1. Those words were never uttered by Cicero. They've been around only since 1965.

    1. Good for you! Technically correct.

      However, according to Snopes:Although [Taylor Caldwell's] A Pillar of Iron often drew directly from the recorded speeches and letters of Cicero for its dialogue, it was nonetheless a work of fiction, and the now famous statement from Cicero about "balancing the budget" was an invention of Caldwell's and not a reproduction of Cicero's own words. In fact, the novel doesn't even present these words as something spoken by Cicero, but rather as a summation of Cicero's political philosophy which prefaces an imagined conversation between Cicero and Gaius Antonius Hybrida....

    2. However, apparently Cicero did say this:

      Frugality includes all the other virtues.

      These money quotes contain lessons that we in the 21st Century should certainly consider. Worth reading!

    3. And JEFFERSON said THESE two things:

      "If we can prevent government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."

      "I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest danger to be feared."

      Do you think he "stole" his ideas from Cicero? ;-)

      There are certain fundamental principles that undergird and lie at the heart of all sound political and economic philosophy. I am quite sure that many observant, intelligent individuals were aware of these principles and arrived at similar conclusions as the great sages we reocognize today even before we developed written language.

    4. Remember: "There's nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes said so in the Bible, ergo it must be true, right?

  2. Cicero, much like myself (HA!), was very much a product of the "old" Republic.

    "Imperial" Rome emerged when the likes of Cicero were eventually "thrown off". How did THAT happen? Perhaps even Cicero himself was largely responsible...

    The Senate then deliberated upon the conspirators' punishment. As it was the dominant advisory body to the various legislative assemblies rather than a judicial body, there were limits to its power; however, martial law was in effect, and it was feared that simple house arrest or exile – the standard options – would not remove the threat to the state. At first Decimus Silanus spoke for the "extreme penalty"; many were then swayed by Julius Caesar, who decried the precedent it would set and argued in favor of life imprisonment in various Italian towns. Cato the Younger then rose in defence of the death penalty and all the Senate finally agreed on the matter. Cicero had the conspirators taken to the Tullianum, the notorious Roman prison, where they were strangled. Cicero himself accompanied the former consul Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, one of the conspirators, to the Tullianum. Cicero received the honorific "Pater Patriae" for his efforts to suppress the conspiracy, but lived thereafter in fear of trial or exile for having put Roman citizens to death without trial.

    For his "excesses" gave birth to even greater ones. The genie went loose.

  3. If there is one Roman whose words are worthy of our time, they are the thoughts written down in a series of letters by Marcus Aurelius. The collection of his writings today is called Meditations, appearing in 12 books. His Fourteen Virtues are also worthy of our consideration, among them “Frugalitas: economy and simplicity of style, without being miserly.”

    As for Cicero, yes he was exiled from Rome ... permanently.

  4. Steve Harkonnen might gleefully agree.

  5. Does it really matter what person originally said the words? Does the person detract from the wisdom?

    We are left with the fact that as individuals, we determine with our opinions what is wise, and what is foolish.

    1. I think that too, Bob. Outside of a measure of idle curiosity I frankly don't give a damn who wrote Shakespeare, etc. The only important aspect of it is that the glorious stuff DID get written, and HAS survived and been appreciated now for several centuries. If it turned out that the works of J.S. Bach, whom I revere, were REALLY written by his WIFE, it would be "interesting," but it wouldn't MATTER. Again, the only important thing is that we HAVE those glorious organ, choral, harpsichord and orchestral works to study, enjoy, benefit from and marvel at.

      No true artist does what he does primarily for "recognition," he does it for the sake of DOING it, because he BELIEVES in it.

    2. We are left with a cheap appeal to authority fallacy.

    3. I think Ducky is onto something. Appeals to authority are cheap. Make you point, back it up (empirical data are good), and then reference others who are of the same opinion.

  6. Does it really matter what person originally said the words?

    Only if you believe in an "argument from authority". :)

    1. Ya mean "It's gotta be true, because so-and-so said it true, so YOU'D better accept it, because who the hell are YOU, after all?"

      Sorry. I don't buy that -- not that I think it should be necessary for each generation to invent The Wheel all over again, mind you. However, "canned" opinion taken at face value by ignorant people has no real value at all in the development of their lives.

      Knowledge is DEAD without full comprehension of what it means n=and how it applies.

      I'm not one of Einstein's biggest fans, but he said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

      Think of it this way: What earthly good is a library full of dusty volumes, if no one ever READS them, and worse, if they DO read them, fail to COMPREHEND them?

      That's why my favorite homespun proverb is "DON'T CONFUSE ME with the FACTS. What I want is the TRUTH." ;-)

      Anothergreat one is: You don't need to eat a pound of poo-poo to know it don't taste good."

    2. What your position on Bathe's "Death of the author"?

      After all, science has become more of a "collaborative" endeavor of late.

  7. Well, hell, I guess I'll have to go find some Aristotle stuff now.

    1. I am not into philosophy, so I find myself having to make decisions on such philosophical writings.

      Let me know when you get some more good stuff.


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