Panaetius of Rhodes
On Appropriate Action
(Peri Tou Kathêkontos) Fragments
This material derives from Cicero's De Officiis Book I
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contact Dr. Jan Garrett
Latest modification: February 26, 2007
Source: Marcus Tullius Cicero. De Officiis. Translated by Walter Miller. Loeb Edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913. Before using any portion of this text in any theme, essay, research paper, thesis, or dissertation, please read the disclaimer.
Transcription conventions: Page numbers in angle brackets refer to the edition cited as the source. The Latin text, which appears on even-numbered pages, is not included here. A slash followed by a small letter or a number indicates a footnote at the bottom of the page. Only notes of historical, philosophical, or literary interest to a general reader have been included. I have allowed Greek passages to stand as the scanner read them, in unintelligible strings of characters.
December 18th, 1999: Index linked and missing final lines of pp. 59-61 restored.
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Note by Dr. Jan Garrett
The source note above was by Professor Ben Schneider, who prepared a version of De Officiis for his website (www.stoics.com). I have used his web files as a basis for this effort. The transcription information and disclaimer are modified versions of his remarks. I am solely responsible for errors that may have been introduced by my alterations.
I have removed Prof. Schneider's indexing, which is still available in his online version of De Officiis at www.stoics.com.
Although Cicero is helpful in helping us discover where he was relying on Panaetius and where he was adding his own matter, extracting Panaetian material from De Officiis is still a hazardous business. It is likely that most of the Roman historical and Latin literary references are Cicero's additions. This is most certain, of course, with historical references after Panaetius' time.
The use of the first person, I suspect, is a sign of Cicero's additions, often small ones. I have left a few of them unremarked.
Insofar as I was able (given the limited amount of time I can invest in this effort) I have tried to follow Andrew Dyck's Commentary on Cicero's De Officiis (University of Michigan Press, 1996).
Dyck, 18, tells us that Panaetius' peri tou kathekontos consisted of three books. Cicero compressed these three books into two. One of the ways he did this was omission of some of Panaetius' examples. (He then expanded his remaining Panaetian material by adding, among other things, examples from Roman history and recent events.)
Panaetius' work was probably written ca. 139/138 B.C. "or very shortly thereafter" (Dyck, 21). Cicero's De Officiis was written in 44 B.C.
BOOK I. ii.- iii
I have preserved the following Ciceronian passages (smaller type) to help the reader appreciate how Cicero understood his subject matter and his use of Panaetius.--J.G.
7 Since, therefore, the whole discussion is to be on the subject of duty, I should like at the outset to define what duty is, as, to my surprise, Panaetius has failed to do. For every systematic development of any subject ought to begin with a definition, so that everyone may understand what the discussion is about.
III. Every treatise on duty has two parts: one, dealing with the doctrine of the supreme good; the other with the practical rules by which daily life in all its bearings may be regulated. The following questions are illustrative of the first part: whether all duties are absolute; whether one duty is more important than another; and so on. But as regards special duties for which positive rules are laid down, though they are affected by the doctrine of the supreme good, still the fact is not so obvious, because they seem rather to look to the regulation of every-
BOOK I. iii.
day life; and it is these special duties that I propose to treat at length in the following books.
8 And yet there is still another classification of duties: we distinguish between "mean"/a duty, so-called, and "absolute" duty. Absolute duty we may, I presume, call "right," for the Greeks call it katorthoma, while the ordinary duty they call kathekon. And the meaning of those terms they fix thus: whatever is right they define as "absolute" duty, but "mean" duty, they say, is duty for the performanceof which an adequate reason may be rendered.
9 The consideration necessary to determine conduct is, ` therefore, as
Panaetius thinks, a threefold one: first, people question whether the contemplated act is morally right or morally wrong; and in such deliberation their minds are often led to widely divergent conclusions. And then they examine and consider the question whether the action contemplated is or is not conducive to comfort and happiness in life, to the command of means and wealth, to influence, and to power, by which they may be able to help themselves and their friends; this whole matter turns upon a question of expediency. The third type of question arises when that which seems to be expedient seems to conflict with that which is morally right; for when expediency seems to be pulling one way, while moral right seems to be calling back in the opposite direction, the result is that the mind is distracted in its inquiry and brings to it the irresolution that is born of deliberation.
10 Although omission is a most serious defect in classification, two points have been overlooked in------
a [Walter Miller's note/--JG] Cicero's technical terms are difficult because he has to invent them to translate Greek that is perfectly simple: "rectum+" is 'right,' i.e. perfect, absolute. Its opposite is "medium," 'mean,' i.e. falling short of the 'absolute' and occupying a middle ground; common, ordinary.
"honestum+" is 'morally right'; as a noun, 'moral goodness' (= honestas); its opposite is "turpe," 'morally wrong.'
"honestas+" is 'moral rectitude' - 'moral goodness'; 'morality'; it's opposite "turpitudo+," 'moral wrong,'
"honestus+", on the other hand, is always 'honourable'; and "honores" are always 'offices of honour.'
BOOK I. iii.-iv.
the foregoing: for we usually consider not only whether an action is morally right or morally wrong, but also, when a choice of two morally right courses is offered, which one is morally better; and likewise, when a choice of two expedients is offered, which one is more expedient. Thus the question which Panaetius thought threefold ought, we find, to be divided into five parts. First, therefore, we must discuss the moral - and that, under two sub-heads; secondly, in the same manner, the expedient; and finally, the cases where they must be weighed against each other.
11 IV. First of all, Nature has endowed every species of living creature with the instinct of self- preservation, of avoiding what seems likely to cause injury to life or limb, and of procuring and providing everything needful for life -- food, shelter, and the like. A common property of all creatures is also the reproductive instinct (the purpose of which is the propagation of the species) and also a certain amount of concern for their offspring. But the most marked difference between man and beast is this: the beast, just as far as it is moved by the senses and with very little perception of past or future, adapts itself to that alone which is present at the moment; while man - because he is endowed with reason, by which he comprehends the chain of consequences, perceives the causes of things, understands the relation of cause to effect and of effect to cause, draws analogies, and connects and associates the present and the future -easily surveys the course of his whole life and makes the necessary preparations for its conduct.
BOOK I. iv.
12 Nature likewise by the power of reason associates man with man in the common bonds of speech and life; she implants in him above all, I may say, a (mistakenly ommitted passage restored 2/26/07--J.G.) strangely tender love for his offspring. She also prompts men to meet in companies, to form public assemblies and to take part in them themselves; and she further dictates, as a consequence of this, the effort on man's part to provide a store of things that minister to his comforts and wants - and not for himself alone, but for his wife and children and the others whom he holds dear and for whom he ought to provide; and this responsibility also stimulates his courage and makes it stronger for the active duties of life.
13 Above all, the search after truth and its eager pursuit are peculiar to man. And so, when we have leisure from the demands of business cares, we are eager to see, to hear, to learn something new, and we esteem a desire to know the secrets or wonders of creation as indispensable to a happy life. Thus we come to understand that what is true, simple, and genuine appeals most strongly to a man's nature. To this passion for discovering truth there is added a hungering, as it were, for independence, so that a mind well-moulded by Nature is unwilling to be subject to anybody save one who gives rules of conduct or is a teacher of truth or who, for the general good, rules according to justice and law. From this attitude come greatness_of_soul and a sense of superiority to worldly conditions.
14 And it is no mean manifestation of Nature and Reason that man is the only animal that has a feeling for order, for propriety, for moderation in word and deed. And so no other animal has a sense of beauty, loveliness, harmony in the visible world; and Nature and Reason, extending the analogy of this from the world of sense to the world of spirit, find that
BOOK I. iv.- v.
beauty, consistency, order are far more to be maintained in thought and deed, and the same Nature and Reason are careful to do nothing in an improper or unmanly fashion, and in every thought and deed to do or think nothing capriciously. It is from these elements that is forged and fashioned that moral goodness which is the subject of this inquiry - something that, even though it be not generally ennobled, is still worthy of all honour;/a and by its own nature, we correctly maintain, it merits praise even though it be praised by none.
15 V. You see here, . . . the very form and as it were the face of Moral Goodness; "and if," as Plato says, "it could be seen with the physical eye, it would awaken a marvellous love of wisdom." But all that is morally right rises from some one of four sources: it is concerned either (1) with the full perception and intelligent development of the true; or (2) with the conservation of organized society, with rendering to every man his due, and with the faithful discharge of obligations assumed; or (3) with the greatness and strength of a noble and invincible spirit; or (4) with the orderliness and moderation of everything that is said and done, wherein consist temperance and self-control. (15) Although these four are connected and interwoven, still it is in each one considered singly that certain definite kinds of moral duties have their origin: in that category, for instance, which was designated first in our division and in which we place wisdom and prudence, belong the search after truth and its discovery; and this is the peculiar 16 province of that virtue. For the more clearly anyone observes the most essential truth in any given
a. Cicero plays on the double meaning of honestum: 1) "moral goodness," and 2) "honourable" "distinguished," etc.
BOOK I. v.-vi.
case and the more quickly and accurately he can see and explain the reasons for it, the more understanding and wise he is generally esteemed, and justly so. So, then, it is truth that is, as it were, the stuff with which this virtue has to deal and on which it employs itself.
17 Before the three remaining virtues, on the other hand, is set the task of providing and maintaining those things on which the practical business of life depends so that the relations of man to man in human society may be conserved, and that largeness and nobility of soul may be revealed not only in increasing one's resources and acquiring advantages for one's self and one's family but far more in rising superior to these very things. But orderly behaviour and consistency of demeanor and self-control and the like have their sphere in that department of things in which a certain amount of physical exertion, and not mental activity merely, is required. For if we bring a certain amount of propriety and order into the transactions of daily life, we shall be conserving moral rectitude and moral dignity.
18 VI. Now, of the four divisions which we have made of the essential idea of moral goodness, the first, consisting in the knowledge of truth, touches human nature most closely. For we are all attracted and drawn to a zeal for learning and knowing; and we think it glorious to excel therein, while we count it base and immoral to fall into error, to wander from the truth, to be ignorant, to be led astray. In this pursuit, which is both natural and morally right, two errors are to be avoided: first, we must not treat the unknown as known and too readily accept it; and he who wishes to avoid this error (as
BOOK I. vi.- vii.
all should do) will devote both time and attention
19 to the weighing of evidence. The other error is that some people devote too much industry and too deep study to matters that are obscure and difficult and useless as well. If these errors are successfully avoided, all the labour and pains expended upon problems that are morally right and worth the solving will be fully rewarded.
[Cicero's Roman examples fall here]
With this we close the discussion of the first source of duty.
20 VII. Of the three remaining divisions, the most extensive in its application is the principle by which society and what we may call its "common bonds" are maintained. Of this again there are two divisions - justice, in which is the crowning glory of the virtues and on the basis of which men are called "good men"; and, close akin to justice,
BOOK I. vii.
charity, which may also be called kindness or generosity. The first office of justice is to keep one man from doing harm to another, unless provoked by wrong; and the next is to lead men to use common possessions for the common interests, private property for their own.
21 There is, however, no such thing as private ownership established by nature, but property becomes private either through long occupancy (as in the case of those who long ago settled in unoccupied territory) or through conquest (is in the case of those who took it in war) or by due process of law, bargain, or purchase, or by allotment.
[Cicero's Roman examples]
Therefore, inasmuch as in each case some of those things which by nature had been common property became the property of individuals, each one should retain possession of that which has fallen to his lot; and if anyone appropriates to himself anything beyond that, he will be violating the laws of human society.
22 But since, as Plato has admirably expressed it, we are not born for ourselves alone, but our country claims a share of our being, and our friends a share; and since, as the Stoics hold, everything that the earth produces is created for man's use; and as men, too, are born for the sake of men, that they may be able mutually to help one another; in this direction we ought to follow Nature as our guide, to contribute to the general good by an interchange of acts of kindness, by giving and receiving, and thus by
BOOK I. vii.- viii.
our skill, our industry, and our talents to cement human society more closely together, man to man.
23 The foundation of justice, moreover, is good_faith; - that is, truth and fidelity to promises and agreements. And therefore we may follow the Stoics, who diligently investigate the etymology of words; and we may accept their statement that "good faith" is so called because what is promised is "made good," although some may find this derivation/a rather farfetched. There are, on the other hand, two kinds of injustice - the one, on the part of those who inflict wrong, the other on the part of those who, when they can, do not shield from wrong those upon whom it is being inflicted. For he who, under the influence of anger or some other passion, wrongfully assaults another seems, as it were, to be laying violent hands upon a comrade; but he who does not prevent or oppose wrong, if he can, is just as guilty of wrong as if he deserted his parents or his friends or his country.
24 Then, too, those very wrongs which people try to inflict on purpose to injure are often the result of fear: that is, he who premeditates injuring another is afraid that, if he does not do so, he may himself be made to suffer some hurt. But, for the most part, people are led to wrong-doing in order to secure some personal end; in this vice, avarice is generally the controlling motive.
25 VIII. Again, men seek riches partly to supply the needs of life, partly to secure the enjoyment of pleasure. With those who cherish higher ambitions, the desire for wealth is entertained with a view to power and influence and the means of bestowing favours; ----- a Of course, "good faith" and "made good" have just as little etymological connection as fiat and fidem.
[Cicero's Roman example deleted]
Fine establishments and the comforts of life in elegance and abundance also afford pleasure, and the desire to secure it gives rise to the insatiable thirst for wealth. Still, I do not mean to find fault with the accumulation of property, provided it hurts nobody, but unjust acquisition of it is always to be avoided.
26 The great majority of people, however, when they fall a prey to ambition for either military or civil authority, are carried away by it so completely that they quite lose sight of the claims of justice.
Quote from Roman poet Ennius deleted
For whenever a situation is of such a nature that not more than one can hold preeminence in it, competition for it usually becomes so keen that it is an extremely difficult matter to maintain a "fellowship inviolate."
[reference to Gaius (Julius) Caesar removed
But the trouble about this matter is that it is in the greatest souls and in the most brilliant geniuses that we usually find ambitions for civil and military authority, for power, and for glory, springing; and therefore we must be the more heedful not to go wrong in that direction.
27 But in any case of injustice it makes a vast deal
BOOK I. vii.-ix.
of difference whether the wrong is done as a result of some impulse of passion, which is usually brief and transient, or whether it is committed wilfully and with premeditation; for offences that come through some sudden impulse are less culpable than those committed designedly and with malice aforethought. But enough has been said on the subject of inflicting injury.
28 IX. The motives for failure to prevent injury and so for slighting duty are likely to be various: people either are reluctant to incur enmity or trouble or expense; or through indifference, indolence, or incompetence, or through some preoccupation or self- interest they are so absorbed that they suffer those to be neglected whom it is their duty to protect. And so there is reason to fear that what Plato declares of the philosophers may be inadequate, when he says that they are just because they are busied with the pursuit of truth and because they despise and count as naught that which most men eagerly seek and for which they are prone to do battle against each other to the death. For they secure one sort of justice, to be sure, in that they do no positive wrong to anyone, but they fall into the opposite injustice; for hampered by their pursuit of learning they leave to their fate those whom they ought to defend. And so, Plato thinks, they will not even assume their civic duties except under compulsion. But in fact it were better that they should assume them of their own accord; for an action intrinsically right is just only on condition that it is voluntary.
29 There are some also who, either from zeal in attending to their own business or through some
BOOK I. ix.-x.
sort of aversion to their fellow- men, claim that they are occupied solely with their own affairs, without seeming to themselves to be doing anyone any injury. But while they steer clear of the one kind of injustice, they fall into the other: they are traitors to social life, for they contribute to it none of their interest, none of their effort, none of their means. Now since we have set forth the two kinds of injustice and assigned the motives that lead to each, and since we have previously established the principles by which justice is constituted, we shall be in a position easily to decide what our duty on each occasion is, unless we are extremely self-centred; for
30 indeed it is not an easy matter to be really concerned with other people's affairs;
(Latin reference, probably Cicero's) and yet in Terence's play, we know, Chremes "thinks that nothing that concerns man is foreign to him."
Nevertheless, when things turn out for our own good or ill, we realize it more fully and feel it more deeply than when the same things happen to others and we see them only, as it were, in the far distance; and for this reason we judge their case differently from our own. It is, therefore, an excellent rule that they give who bid us not to do a thing, when there is a doubt whether it be right or wrong; for righteousness shines with a brilliance of its own, but doubt is a sign that we are thinking of a possible wrong.
31 X. But occasions often arise, when those duties which seem most becoming to the just man and to the "good man," as we call him, undergo a change and take on a contrary aspect. It may, for example, not be a duty to restore a trust or to fulfil a promise, and it may become right and proper sometimes to evade and not to observe what truth and honour
BOOK I. x.
would usually demand. For we may well be guided by those fundamental principles of justice which I laid down at the outset: first, that no harm be done to anyone; second, that the common interests be conserved. When these are modified under changed circumstances, moral duty also undergoes a change
32 and it does not always remain the same. For a given promise or agreement may turn out in such a way that its performance will prove detrimental either to the one to whom the promise has been made or to the one who has made it. If, for example, Neptune, in the drama, had not carried out his promise to Theseus, Theseus would not have lost his son Hippolytus; for, as the story runs, of the three wishes/a that Neptune had promised to grant him the third was this: in a fit of anger he prayed for the death of Hippolytus, and the granting of this prayer plunged him into unspeakable grief. Promises are, therefore, not to be kept, if the keeping of them is to prove harmful to those to whom you have made them; and, if the fulfilment of a promise should do more harm to you than good to him to whom you have made it, it is no violation of moral duty to give the greater good precedence over the lesser good. For example, if you have made an appointment with anyone to appear as his advocate in court, and if in the meantime your son should fall dangerously ill, it would be no breach of your moral duty to fail in what you agreed to do; nay, rather, he to whom your promise was given would have a false conception of duty if he should complain that he had been deserted in time of need. Further than this, who fails to see that those promises are not binding which are extorted by intimidation or which we make when
BOOK I. x.-xi.
misled by false pretences? Such obligations are annulled in most cases by the praetor's edict in equity,/a in some cases by the laws.
33 Injustice often arises also through chicanery, that is, through an over-subtle and even fraudulent construction of the law. This it is that gave rise to the now familiar saw, "More law, less justice." Through such interpretation also a great deal of wrong is committed in transactions between state and state; thus, when a truce had been made with the enemy for thirty days, a famous general/a went to ravaging their fields by night, because, he said, the truce stipulated "days," not nights.
[Cicero's Roman example removed]
[S]uch sharp practice is under all circumstances to be avoided.
XI. Again, there are certain duties that we owe even to those who have wronged us. For there is a limit to retribution and to punishment; or rather, I am inclined to think, it is sufficient that the aggressor should be brought to repent of his wrong- doing, in
BOOK I. xi.
order that he may not repeat the offence and that others may be deterred from doing wrong.
34 Then, too, in the case of a state in its external relations, the rights of war must be strictly observed. For since there are two ways of settling a dispute: first, by discussion; second; by physical force; and since the former is characteristic of man, the latter of the brute, we must resort to force only in case
35 we may not avail ourselves of discussion. The only excuse, therefore, for going to war is that we may live in peace unharmed; and when the victory is won, we should spare those who have not been blood-thirsty and barbarous in their warfare.
Cicero's Roman examples have been removed.
Not only must we show consideration for those whom we have conquered by force of arms but we must also ensure protection to those who lay down their arms and throw themselves upon the mercy of our generals, even though the battering-ram has hammered at their walls.
A Roman reference has been removed.
BOOK I. xi.-xii.
. . . 36 I have removed the discussion of the Roman Fetial Code for war and related matters from Roman history.
BOOK I. xii.
38 But when a war is fought out for supremacy and when glory is the object of war, it must still not fail to start from the same motives which I said a moment ago were the only righteous grounds for going to war. But those wars which have glory for their end must be carried on with less bitterness. For we contend, for example, with a fellow-citizen in one way, if he is a personal enemy, in another, if he is a rival: with the rival it is a struggle for office and position, with the enemy for life and honour.
More Roman material has been removed.
41 With this I will close my discussion of the duties connected with war. But let us remember that we must have regard for justice even towards the humblest. Now the humblest station and the poorest fortune are those of slaves; and they give us no bad rule who bid us treat our slaves as we should our employees: they must be required to work; they must be given their dues. While wrong may be done, then, in either of two ways, that is, by force or by fraud, both are bestial: fraud seems to belong to the cunning fox, force to the lion; both are wholly unworthy of man, but fraud is the more contemptible. But of all forms of
BOOK I. xiii.-xiv. injustice, none is more flagrant than that of the hypocrite who, at the very moment when he is most false, makes it his business to appear virtuous. This must conclude our discussion of justice.
42 XIV. Next in order, as outlined above, let us speak of kindness and generosity. Nothing appeals more to the best in human nature than this, but it calls for the exercise of caution in many particulars: we must, in the first place, see to it that our act of kindness shall not prove an injury either to the object of our beneficence or to others; in the second place, that it shall not be beyond our means; and finally, that it shall be proportioned to the worthiness of the recipient; for this is the corner-stone of justice; and by the standard of justice all acts of kindness must be measured. For those who confer a harmful favour upon someone whom they seemingly wish to help are to be accounted not generous benefactors but dangerous sycophants; and likewise those who injure one man, in order to be generous to another, are guilty of the same injustice as if they diverted to their own accounts the property of their neighbours.
43 Now, there are many - and especially those who are ambitious for eminence and glory - who rob one to enrich another; and they expect to be thought generous towards their friends, if they put them in the way of getting rich, no matter by what means. Such conduct, however, is so remote from moral duty that nothing can be more completely opposed to duty. We must, therefore, take care to indulge only in such liberality as will help our friends and hurt no one. . . .
References to Sulla and Caesar here are surely Cicero's additions.
BOOK I. xiv.-xv.
; for nothing is generous if it is not at the same time, just.
44 The second point for the exercise of caution was that our beneficence should not exceed our means; for those who wish to be more open-handed than their circumstances permit are guilty of two faults: first they do wrong to their next of kin; for they transfer to strangers property which would more justly be placed at their service or bequeathed to them. And second, such generosity too often engenders a passion for plundering and misappropriating property, in order to supply the means for making large gifts. We may also observe that a great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heart-felt kindness; for such people are not really generous but are rather influenced by a sort of ambition to make a show of being open-handed. Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness.
45 The third rule laid down was that in acts of kindness we should weigh with discrimination the worthiness of the object of our benevolence; we should take into consideration his moral character, his attitude toward us, the intimacy of his relation to us, and our common social ties, as well as the services he has hitherto rendered in our interest. It is to be desired that all these considerations should be combined in the same person; if they are not, then the more numerous and the more important considerations must have the greater weight.
46 XV. Now, the men we live with are not perfect
BOOK I. xv.
and ideally wise, but men who do very well, if there be found in them but the semblance of virtue. I therefore think that this is to be taken for granted that no one should be entirely neglected who shows any trace of virtue; but the more a man is endowed with these finer virtues - temperance, self-control, and that very justice about which so much has already been said-the more he deserves to be favoured. I do not mention fortitude, for a courageous spirit in a man who has not attained perfection and ideal wisdom is generally too impetuous; it is those other virtues that seem more particularly to mark the good man. So much in regard to the character of the object of our beneficence.
47 But as to the affection which anyone may have for us, it is the first demand of duty that we do most for him who loves us most; but we should measure affection, not like youngsters, by the ardour of its passion, but rather by its strength and constancy. But if there shall be obligations already incurred, so that kindness is not to begin with us, but to be requited, still greater diligence, it seems, is called for; for no duty is more imperative that that of proving one's gratitude.
48 But if, as Hesiod bids, one is to repay with interest, if possible, what one has borrowed in time of need, what, pray, ought we to do when challenged by an unsought kindness? Shall we not imitate the fruitful fields, which return more than they receive? For if we do not hesitate to confer favours upon those who we hope will be of help to us, how ought we to deal with those who have already helped us? For generosity is of two kinds: doing
BOOK I. xv.-xvi.
a kindness and requiting one. Whether we do the kindness or not is optional; but to fail to requite one is not allowable to a good man, provided he can make the requital without violating the rights of others.
49 Furthermore, we must make some discrimination between favours received; for, as a matter of course the greater the favour, the greater is the obligation. But in deciding this we must above all give due weight to the spirit, the devotion, the affection that prompted the favour. For many people often do favours impulsively for everybody without discrimination, prompted by a morbid sort of benevolence or by a sudden impulse of the heart, shifting the wind. Such acts of generosity are not to be so highly esteemed as those which are performed with judgment deliberation, and mature consideration. But in bestowing a kindness, as well as in making a requital, the first rule of duty requires us - other things being equal - to lend assistance preferably to people in proportion to their individual need. Most people adopt the contrary course: they put themselves most eagerly at the service of the one from whom they hope to receive the greatest favours even though he has no need of their help.
50 XVI. The interests of society, however, and its common bonds will be best conserved, if kindness be shown to each individual in proportion to the closeness of his relationship. But it seems we must trace back to their ultimate sources the principles of fellowship and society that Nature has established among men. The first principle is that which is found in the connection subsisting between all the members of the human race;
BOOK I. xiv.
and that bond of connection is reason and speech, which by the processes of teaching and learning, of communicating, discussing, and reasoning associate men together and unite them in a sort of natural fraternity. In no other particular are we farther removed from the nature of beasts; for we admit that they may have courage (horses and lions, for example); but we do not admit that they have justice, equity, and goodness; for they are not endowed with reason or speech.
51 This, then, is the most comprehensive bond that unites together men as men and all to all; and under it the common right to all things that Nature has produced for the common use of man is to be maintained, with the understanding that, while everything assigned as private property by the statutes and by civil law shall be so held as prescribed by those same laws, everything else shall be regarded in the light indicated by the Greek proverb: "Amongst friends all things in common." (note: Plato, Phaedr. 279C; Aristotle, Eth. VIII, 11)
Quote from Ennius and discussion thereof, probably original with Cicero, is removed.
52 BOOK I. xvi.-xvii.
53 XVII. Then, too, there are a great many degrees of closeness or remoteness in human society. To proceed beyond the universal bond of our common humanity, there is the closer one of belonging to the same people, tribe, and tongue, by which men are very closely bound together; it is a still closer relation to be citizens of the same city-state; for fellow-citizens have much in common -forum, temples colonnades, streets, statutes, laws, courts, rights of suffrage, to say nothing of social and friendly circles and diverse business relations with many. But a still closer social union exists between kindred. Starting with that infinite bond of union of the human race in general, the conception is now confined family
54 to a small and narrow circle.
Andrew Dyck, Comm. on Cicero's De Officiis (1996, 179), says that 54-58 did not lie at this point in Panaetius' text but may still be from Panaetius.
For since the reproductive instinct is by Nature's gift the common possession of all living creatures, the first bond of union is that between husband and wife; the next, that between parents and children; then we find one home, with everything in common. And this is the foundation of civil government, the nursery, as it were, of the state. Then follow the bonds between brothers and sisters, and next those of first and then of second cousins; and when they can no longer be sheltered under one roof, they go out into other
BOOK I. xvii.
homes, as into colonies. Then follow between these in turn, marriages and connections by marriage, and from these again a new stock of relations; and from this propagation and after-growth states have their beginnings. The bonds of common blood hold men
55 fast through good-will and affection; for it means much to share in common the same family traditions the same forms of domestic worship, and the same ancestral tombs. But of all the bonds of fellowship, there is none more noble, none more powerful than when good men of congenial character are joined in intimate friendship; for really, if we discover in another that moral goodness on which I dwell so much, it attracts us and makes us friends to the one in whose character
56 it seems to dwell. And while every virtue attracts us and makes us love those who seem to possess it, still justice and generosity do so most of all. Nothing, moreover, is more conducive to love and intimacy than compatibility of character in good men; for when two people have the same ideals and the same tastes, it is a natural consequence that each loves the other as himself; and the result is, as Pythagoras requires of ideal friendship, that several are united in one. Another strong bond of fellowship is effected by mutual interchange of kind services; and as long as these kindnesses are mutual and acceptable, those between whom they are interchanged are united by the ties of an enduring intimacy.
57 But when with a rational spirit you have surveyed the whole field, there is no social relation among them all more close, none more close, none more dear than that which links each one of us with our country. Parents
BOOK I. xxvii.-xviii.
are dear; dear are children, relatives, friends; one native land embraces all our loves; and who that is true would hesitate to give his life for her, if by his death he could render her a service? So much the more execrable are those monsters who have torn their fatherland to pieces with every form of outrage and who are/a and have been/b engaged in compassing her utter destruction.
58 Now, if a contrast and comparison were to be made to find out where most of our moral obligation is due, country would come first, and parents; for their services have laid us under the heaviest obligation; next come children and the whole family, who look to us alone for support and can have no other protection; finally, our kinsmen, with whom we live on good terms and with whom, for the most part, our lot is one. All needful material assistance is, therefore, due first of all to those whom I have named; but intimate relationship of life and living, counsel, conversation, encouragement, comfort, and sometimes even reproof flourish best in friendships. And that friendship is sweetest which is cemented by congeniality of character.
59 XVIII But in the performance of all these duties we shall have to consider what is most needful in each individual case and what each individual person can or cannot procure without our help. In this way we shall find that the claims of social relation,hip, in its various degrees, are not identical with the the dictates of circumstances; for there are obligations that are due to one individual rather than to another: for example, one would sooner assist a neighbour in gathering his harvest than either
BOOK I. xviii.
a brother or a friend; but should it be a caes in court, one would defend a kinsman and a friend rather than a neighbour. Such questions as these must, therefore, be taken into consideration in every act of moral duty [and we must acquire the habit and keep it up], in order to become good calculators of duty, able by adding and subtracting to strike a balance correctly and find out just how much is due to each individual.
60 But as neither physicians nor generals nor orators can achieve any signal success without experience and practice, no matter how well they may understand the theory of their profession, so the rules for the discharge of duty are formulated, it is true, as I am doing now, but a matter of such importance requires experience also and practice. This must close our discussion of the ways in which moral goodness, on which duty depends, is developed from those principles which hold good in human society.
61 We must realize, however, that while we bave set down four cardinal virtues from which as sources moral rectitude and moral duty emanate, that achievement is most glorious in the eyes of the world which is won with a spirit great, exalted, and superior to the vicissitudes of earthly life. And so, when we wish to hurl a taunt, the very first to rise to our lips is, if possible, something like this:
"For ye, young men, show a womanish soul, yon maiden a man's;"
and this:"Thou son of Salmacis, win spoils that cost nor sweat nor blood."<Off-63>
BOOK I. xviii.- xix.
When, on the other hand, we wish to pay a compliment, we somehow or other praise in more eloquent strain the brave and noble work of some great soul. Hence there is an open field for orators on the subjects of Marathon, Salamis, Plataea, Thermopylae, and Leuctra,
[Roman references deleted]
are celebrated for greatness of spirit. Their passion for military glory, moreover, is shown in the fact that we see their statues usually in soldier's garb.
62 XIX. But if the exaltation of spirit seen in times of danger and toil is devoid of justice and fights for selfish ends instead of for the common good, it is a vice; for not only has it no element of virtue, but its nature is barbarous and revolting to all our finer feelings. The Stoics, therefore, correctly define courage as "that virtue which champions the cause of right." Accordingly, no one has attained to true glory who has gained a reputation for courage by treachery and cunning; for nothing that lacks justice can be morally right.
63 This, then, is a fine saying of Plato's: "Not only must all knowledge that is divorced from justice be called cunning rather than wisdom," he says, "but even the courage that is prompt to face danger, if it is inspired not by public spirit, but by its own selfish purposes, should have the name of effrontery rather than of courage." And so we demand that men who are courageous and high-souled shall at the same time be good and straightforward, lovers of truth, and foes to deception; for these qualities are the centre and soul of justice.
BOOK I. xix.
64 But the mischief is that from this exaltation and greatness of spirit spring all too readily self-will and excessive lust for power. For just as Plato tells us that the whole national character of the Spartans was on fire with passion for victory, so, in the same way, the more notable a man is for his greatness of spirit, the more ambitious he is to be the foremost citizen, or, I should say rather, to be sole ruler. But when one begins to aspire to pre-eminence, it is difficult to preserve that spirit of fairness which is absolutely essential to justice. The result is that such men do not allow themselves to be constrained either by argument or by any public and lawful authority; but they only too often prove to be bribers and agitators in public life, seeking to obtain supreme power and to be superiors through force rather than equals through justice. But the greater the difficulty, the greater the glory; for no occasion arises that can excuse a man for being guilty of injustice.
65 So then, not those who do injury but those who prevent it are to be considered brave and courageous. Moreover, true and philosophic greatness of spirit regards the moral goodness to which Nature most aspires as consisting in deeds, not in fame, and prefers to be first in reality rather than in name. And we must approve this view; for he who depends upon the caprice of the ignorant rabble cannot be numbered among the great. Then, too, the higher a man's ambition, the more easily he is tempted to acts of injustice by his desire for fame. We are now, to be sure, on very slippery ground; for scarcely can the man be found who has passed through trials and encountered dangers and does not then wish for glory as a reward for his achievements.
BOOK I. xx.
66 XX. The soul that is altogether courageous and great is marked above all by two characteristics: one of these is indifference to outward circumstances; for such a person cherishes the conviction that nothing but moral goodness and propriety deserves to be either admired or wished for or striven after, and that he ought not to be subject to any man or any passion or any accident of fortune. The second characteristic is that, when the soul is disciplined in the way above mentioned, one should do deeds not only great and in the highest degree useful, but extremely arduous and laborious and fraught with danger both to life and to many things that make life worth living.
67 All the glory and greatness and, I may add, all the usefulness of these two characteristics of courage are centred in the latter; the rational cause that makes men great, in the former. For it is the former that contains the element that makes souls pre- eminent and indifferent to worldly fortune. And this qualitity is distinguished by two criteria: (1) if one account moral rectitude as the only good; and (2) if one be free from all passion. For we must agree that it takes a brave and heroic soul to hold as slight what most people think grand and glorious, and to disregard it from fixed and settled principles. And it requires strength of character and great singlenesss of purpose to bear what seems painful, as it comes to pass in many and various forms in human life, and to bear it so unflinchingly as not to be shaken in the least from one's natural state of the dignity of a
68 philosopher. Moreover, it would be inconsistent for the man who is not overcome by fear to be overcome by desire, or for the man who has shown himself invincible to toil to be conquered by pleasure. We
BOOK I. xx.-xxi.
must, therefore, not only avoid the latter, but also beware of ambition for wealth; for there is nothing so characteristic of narrowness and littleness of soul as the love of riches; and there is nothing more honourable and noble than to be indifferent to money, if one does not possess it, and to devote it to beneficence and liberality, if one does possess it. As I said before, we must also beware of ambition for glory; for it robs us of liberty, and in defence of liberty a high-souled man should stake everything. And one ought not to seek military authority; nay, rather it ought sometimes to be declined,/a sometimes to be resigned./b
69 Again, we must keep ourselves free from every disturbing emotion, not only from desire and fear, but also from excessive pain and pleasure, and from anger so that we may enjoy that calm of soul and freedom from care which bring both moral stability and dignity of character. But there have been many and still are many who, while pursuing that calm of soul of which I speak, have withdrawn from civic duty and taken refuge in retirement. Among such have been found the most famous and by far the foremost philosophers/c and certain other/d earnest, thoughtful men who could not endure the conduct of either the people or their leaders; some of them, too, lived in the country and found their pleasure in the manage
70 ment of their private estates. Such men have had the same aims as kings - to suffer no want, to be subject to no authority, to enjoy their liberty, that is, in its essence, to live just as they please.
XXI. So, while this desire is common to men of political ambitions and men of retirement, of whom I have just spoken, the one class think they can
BOOK I. xxi.
attain their end if they secure large means; the other, if they are content with the little they have. And, in this matter, neither way of thinking is altogether to be condemned; but the life of retirement is easier and safer and at the same time less burdensome or troublesome to others, while the career of those who apply themselves to statecraft and to conducting great enterprises is more profitable to mankind and contributes more to their own greatness and renown.
71 So perbaps those men of extraordinary genius who have devoted themselves to learning must be excused for not taking part in public affairs; likewise, those who from ill-health or for some still more valid reason have retired from the service of the state and left to others the opportunity and the glory of its administration. But if those who have no such excuse profess a scorn for civil and military offices, which most people admire, I think that this should be set down not to their credit but to their discredit; for in so far as they care little, as they say, for glory and count it as naught, it is difficult not to sympathize with their attitude; in reality however, they seem to dread the toil and trouble and also, perhaps, the discredit and humiliation of political failure and defeat. For there are people who in opposite circumstances do not act consistently: they have the utmost contempt for pleasure but in pain they are too sensitive; they are indifferent to glory, but they are crushed by disgrace and even in their inconsistency they show no great consistency.
72 But those whom Nature has endowed with the capacity for administering public affairs should put
BOOK I. xxi.- xxii.
aside all hesitation, enter the race for public office and take a hand in directing the government; for in no other way can a government be administered or greatness of spirit be made manifest. Statesmen too, no less than philosophers - perhaps even more so -should carry with them that greatness of spirit and indifference to outward circumstances to which I so often refer, together with calm of soul and freedom from care, if they are to be free from worries
73 and lead a dignified and self-consistent life. This is easier for the philosophers; as their life is less exposed to the assaults of fortune, their wants are fewer; and, if any misfortune overtakes them, their fall is not so disastrous. Not without reason, therefore, are stronger emotions aroused in those who engage in public life than in those who live in retirement, and greater is their ambition for success; the more, therefore, do they need to enjoy greatness of spirit and freedom from annoying cares. If anyone is entering public life, let him beware of thinking only of the honour that it brings; but let him be sure also that he has the ability to succeed. At the same time, let him take care not to lose heart too readily through discouragement nor yet to be over-confident through ambition. In a word, before undertaking any enterprise, careful preparation must be made.
74 XXII. Most people think that the achievements of war are more important than those of peace; but this opinion needs to be corrected. For many men have sought occasions for war from the mere ambition for fame. This is notably the case with men of great spirit and natural ability, and it is the more likely to happen, if they are adapted to a soldier's
BOOK I. xxii.
life and fond of warfare. But if we will face the facts, we shall find that there have been many instances of achievement in peace more important and no less renowned than in war.
75 However highly Themistocles, for example, may be extolled - and deservedly - and however much more illustrious his name may be than Solon's, and however much Salamis may be cited as witness of his most glorious victory - a victory glorified above Solon's statesmanship in instituting the Areopagus -yet Solon's achievement is not to be accounted less illustrious than his. For Themistocles's victory served the state once and only once; while Solon's work will be of service for ever. For through his legislation the laws of the Athenians and the institutions of their fathers are maintained. And while Themistocles could not readily point to any instance in which he himself had rendered assistance to the Areopagus, the Areopagus might with justice assert that Themistocles had received assistance from it; for the war was directed by the counsels of that senate which Solon had created.
76 The same may be said of Pausanias and Lysander. Although it is thought that it was by their achievements that Sparta gained her supremacy, yet these are not even remotely to be compared with the legislation and discipline of Lycurgus. Nay, rather, it was due to these that Pausanias and Lysander had armies so brave and so well disciplined.
Cicero's Roman references here have been removed.
BOOK I. xxii.
There are, therefore, instances of civic courage
BOOK I. xxii.- xxiii.
that are not inferior to the courage of the soldier. Nay, the former calls for even greater energy and greater devotion than the latter.
79 XXIII. That moral goodness which we look for in a lofty, high-minded spirit is secured, of course, by moral, not by physical, strength. And yet the body must be trained and so discliplined that it can obey the dictates of judgment and reason in attending to business and in enduring toil. But that moral goodness which is our theme depends wholly upon the thought and attention given to it by the mind. And, in this way, the men who in a civil capacity direct the affairs of the nation render no less important service than they who conduct its wars: by their statesmanship oftentimes wars are either averted or terminated; sometimes also they are declared.
Roman reference removed.
And so diplomacy in the friendly settlement of controversies is more desirable than courage in settling them on the battlefield; but we must be careful not to take that course merely for the sake of avoiding war rather than for the sake of public expediency. War, however, should be undertaken in such a way as to make it evident that it has no other object than to secure peace. But it takes a brave and resolute spirit not to be disconcerted in times of difficulty or ruffled and thrown off one's feet, as the saying is, but to keep one's presence of mind and one's self-possession and not to swerve from the path of reason.
81 Now all this requires great personal courage; but it calls also for great intellectual ability by reflection
BOOK I, xxiii.-xxiv.
to anticipate the future, to discover some time in advance what may happen whether for good or for ill, and what must be done in any possible event, and never to be reduced to having to say, "I had not thought of that." These are the activities that mark a spirit strong, high, and self-reliant in its prudence and wisdom. But to mix rashly in the fray and to fight hand to hand with the enemy is but a barbarous and brutish kind of business. Yet when the stress of circumstances demands it, we must gird on the sword and prefer death to slavery and disgrace.
82 XXIV. As to destroying and plundering cities, let me say that great care should be taken that nothing be done in reckless cruelty or wantonness. And it is great man's duty in troublous times to single out the guilty for punishment, to spare the many, and in every turn of fortune to hold to a true and honourable course.
[Ciceronic addition? For whereas there are many, as I have said before, who place the achievements of war above those of peace, so one may find many to whom adventurous, hot-headed counsels seem more brilliant and more impressive than calm and well-considered measures. ]
83 We must, of course, never be guilty of seeming cowardly and craven in our avoidance of danger; but we must also beware of exposing ourselves to danger needlessly. Nothing can be more foolhardy than that. Accordingly, in encountering danger we should do as doctors do in their practice: in light cases of illness they give mild treatment; in cases of dangerous sickness they are compelled to apply hazardous and even desperate remedies. It is, therefore, only a madman who, in a calm, would pray
BOOK I. xxiv.
for a storm; a wise man's way is, when the storm does come, to withstand it with all the means at his command, and especially, when the advantages to be expected in case of a successful issue are greater than the hazards of the struggle. The dangers attending great affairs of state fall sometimes upon those who undertake them, sometimes upon the state. In carrying out such enterprises, some run the risk of losing their lives, others their reputation and the good-will of their fellow-citizens. It is our duty, then, to be more ready to endanger our own than the public welfare and to hazard honour and glory more readily than other advantages./a
84 Many, on the other hand, have been found who were ready to pour out not only their money but their lives for their country and yet would not consent to make even the slightest sacrifice of personal glory - even though the interests of their country demanded it. For example, when Callicratidas, as Spartan admiral in the Peloponnesian War, had won many signal successes, he spoiled everything at the end by refusing to listen to the proposal of those who thought he ought to withdraw his fleet from the Arginusae and not to risk an engagement with the Athenians. His answer to them was that "the Spartans could build another fleet, if they lost that one, but he could not retreat without dishonour to himself." And yet what he did dealt only a slight blow to Sparta; there was another which proved disastrous, when Cleombrotus in fear of criticism recklessly went into battle against Epaminondas. In consequence of that, the Spartan power fell.
BOOK I. xxiv.-xxv.
Roman example - probably Cicero's - removed.
This sort of offence must be avoided no less in political life. For there are men who for fear of giving offence do not dare to express their honest opinion, no matter how excellent.
85 XXV. Those who propose to take charge of the affairs of government should not fail to remember two of Plato's rules: first, to keep the good of the people so clearly in view that regardless of their own interests they will make their every action conform to that; second, to care for the welfare of the whole body politic and not in serving the interests of some one party to betray the rest. For the administration of the government, like the office of a trustee must be conducted for the benefit of those entrusted to one's care, not of those to whom it is entrusted. Now, those who care for the interests of a part of the citizens and neglect another part, introduce into the civil service a dangerous element - dissension and party strife. The result is that some are found to be loyal supporters of the democratic, others of the aristocratic party, and few of the nation as a whole.
86 As a result of this party spirit bitter strife arose at Athens,/b and in our own country not only dissensions/c but also disastrous civil wars/d broke out.
BOOK I. xxv. All this the citizen who is patriotic, brave, and worthy of a leading place in the state will shun with abhorrence; he will dedicate himself unreservedly to his country, without aiming at influence or power for himself; and he will devote himself to the state in its entirety in such a way as to further the interests of all. Besides, he will not expose anyone to hatred or disrepute by groundless charges. but he will surely cleave to justice and honour so closely that he will submit to any loss, however heavy, rather than be untrue to them, and will face death itself rather than renounce them.
87 A most wretched custom, assuredly, is our electioneering and scrambling for office. Concerning this also we find a fine thought in Plato: "Those who compete against one another," he says, "to see which of two candidates shall administer the government, are like sailors quarrelling as to which one of them shall do the steering." And he likewise lays down the rule that we should regard only those as adversaries who take up arms against the state, not those who strive to have the government administered according to their convictions.
Roman example removed
88 Neither must we listen to those who think that one should indulge in violent anger against one's political enemies and imagine that such is the attitude of a great-spirited, brave man. For nothing is more commendable, nothing more becoming in a pre-eminently great man than courtesy and forbearance. Indeed, in a free people, where all enjoy equal rights before the law, we
BOOK I. XXV.-XXVI.
must school ourselves to affability and what is called "mental poise";/a for if we are irritated when people intrude upon us at unseasonable hours or make unreasonable requests, we shall develop a sour, churlish temper, prejudicial to ourselves and offensive to others. And yet gentleness of spirit and forbearance are to be commended only with the understanding that strictness may be exercised for the good of the state; for without that, the government cannot be well administered. On the other hand, if punishment or correction must be administered, it need not be insulting; it ought to have regard to the welfare of the state, not to the personal satisfaction of the man who administers the punishment or reproof.
89 We should take care also that the punishment shall not be out of proportion to the offence, and that some shall not be chastised for the same fault for which others are not even called to account. In administering punishment it is above all necessary to allow no trace of anger. For if any one proceeds in a passion to inflict punishment, he will never observe that happy mean which lies between excess and defect. This doctrine of the mean is approved by the Peripatetics and wisely approved, if only they did not speak in praise of anger and tell us that it is a gift bestowed on us by Nature for a good purpose. But, in reality, anger is in every circumstance to be eradicated; and it is to be desired that they who administer the government should be like the laws, which are led to inflict punishment not by wrath but by justice.
90 XXVI. Again, when fortune smiles and the stream of life flows according to our wishes, let us diligently
BOOK I. xxvii.
avoid all arrogance, haughtiness, and pride. For it is as much a sign of weakness to give way to one's feelings in success as it is in adversity. But it is a fine thing to keep an unruffled temper, an unchanging mien, and the same cast of countenance in every condition of life; this, history tells us, was characteristic of Socrates
[Roman example removed].
Philip, king of Macedon, I observe, however surpassed by his son in achievements and fame, was superior to him in affability and refinement. Philip, accordingly, was always great; Alexander, often infamously bad. There seems to be sound advice, therefore, in this word of warning: "The higher we are placed, the more humbly should we walk." Panaetius tells us that Africanus, his pupil and friend, used to say: "As, when horses have become mettlesome and unmanageable on account of their frequent participation in battles, their owners put them in the hands of trainers to make them more tractable; so men, who through prosperity have become restive and over self-confident, ought to be put into the training-ring, so to speak, of reason and learning, that they may be brought to comprehend the frailty of human affairs and the fickleness of fortune."
91 The greater our prosperity, moreover, the more should we seek the counsel of friends, and the greater the heed that should be given to their advice. Under such circumstances also we must beware of lending an ear to sycophants or allowing them to impose upon us with their flattery. For it is easy in this way to deceive ourselves, since we thus come to think ourselves duly entitled to praise; and to this frame of mind a thousand de-
BOOK I. xxvi.-xxvii.
lusions may be traced, when men are puffed up with conceit and expose themselves to ignominy and ridicule by committing the most egregious blunders. So much for this subject.
92 To revert to the original question/a - we must decide that the most important activities, those most indicative of a great spirit, are performed by the men who direct the affairs of nations; for such public activities have the widest scope and touch the lives of the most people.
Dyck 1996, 30, suspects that this next sentence is Cicero's addition
But even in the life of retirement there are and there have been many high-souled men who have been engaged in important inquiries or embarked on most important enterprises and yet kept themselves within the limits of their own affairs; or, taking a middle course between philosophers on the one hand and statesmen on the other, they were content with managing their own property - not increasing it by any and every means nor debarring their kindred from the enjoyment of it, but rather, if ever there were need, sharing it with their friends and with the state.
Only let it, in the first place, be honestly acquired, by the use of no dishonest or fraudulent means; let it, in the second place, increase by wisdom, industry, and thrift; and, finally, let it be made available for the use of as many as possible (if only they are worthy) and be at the service of generosity and beneficence rather than of sensuality and excess. By observing these rules, one may live in magnificence, dignity, and independence, and yet in honour, truth and charity toward all.
93 XXVII. We have next to discuss the one remaining division of moral rectitude. That is the one
BOOK I. xxvii.
in which we find considerateness and self-control, which give, as it were, a sort of polish to life; it embraces also temperance, complete subjection of all the passions, and moderation in all things. Under this head is further included what, in Latin, may be called decorum/a (Propriety); for in Greek it is called prepon ./a
Obviously, in this sentence, Cicero is reflecting on translation matters.
Such is its essential nature,
94 that it is inseparable from moral goodness; for what is proper is morally right, and what is morally right is proper. The nature of the difference between morality and propriety can be more easily felt than expressed. For whatever propriety may be, it is manifested only when there is pre-existing moral rectitude. And so, not only in this division of moral rectitude which we have now to discuss but also in the three preceding divisions, it is clearly brought out what propriety is. For to employ reason and speech rationally, to do with careful consideration whatever one does, and in everything to discern the truth and to uphold it - that is proper. To be mistaken, on the other hand, to miss the truth, to fall into error, to be led astray - that is as improper as to be deranged and lose one's mind. And all things just are proper; all things unjust, like all things immoral, are improper. The relation of propriety to fortitude is similar. What is done in a manly and courageous spirit seems becoming to a man and proper; what is done in a contrary fashion is at once immoral and improper.
95 This propriety, therefore, of which I am speaking belongs to each division of moral rectitude; and its relation to the cardinal virtues is so close, that it is perfectly self-evident and does not require any abstruse process of reasoning to see it. For F
BOOK I. xxvii.-xxviii.
there is a certain element of propriety perceptible in every act of moral rectitude; and this can be separated from virtue theoretically better than it can be practically. As comeliness and beauty of person are inseparable from the notion of health, so this propriety of which we are speaking, while in fact completely blended with virtue, is mentally and theoretically distinguishable from it.
96 The classification of propriety, moreover, is twofold: (1) we assume a general sort of propriety, which is found in moral goodness as a whole; then (2) there is another propriety, subordinate to this, which belongs to the several divisions of moral goodness. The former is usually defined somewhat as follows: "Propriety is that which harmonizes with man's superiority in those respects in which his nature differs from that of the rest of the animal creation." And they so define the special type of propriety which is subordinate to the general notion, that they represent it to be that propriety which harmonizes with Nature, in the sense that it manifestly embraces temperance and self-control, together with a certain deportment such as becomes a gentleman.
97 XXVIII. That this is the common acceptation of propriety we may infer from that propriety which poets aim to secure. Concerning that, I have occasion to say more in another connection. Now, we say that the poets observe propriety, when every word or action is in accord with each individual character. For example, if Aeacus or Minos said. "Let them hate, if only they fear," or: "The father is himself his children's tomb,"
BOOK I. xxviii.
that would seem improper, because we are told that they were just men. But when Atreus speaks those lines, they call forth applause; for the sentiment is in keeping with the character. But it will rest with the poets to decide, according to the individual characters, what is proper for each; but to us Nature herself has assigned a character of surpassing excellence, far superior to that of all other living creatures, and in accordance with that we shall have to decide what propriety requires.
98 The poets will observe, therefore, amid a great variety of characters, what is suitable and proper for all - even for the bad. But to us Nature has assigned the roles of steadfastness (constantia), temperance, self-control, and considerateness of others; Nature also teaches us not to be careless in our behaviour towards our fellow-men. Hence we may clearly see how wide is the application not only of that propriety which is essential to moral rectitude in general, but also of the special propriety which is displayed in each particular subdivision of virtue. For, as physical beauty with harmonious symmetry of the limbs engages the attention and delights the eye, for the very reason that all the parts combine in harmony and grace, so this propriety, which shines out in our conduct, engages the approbation of our fellow-men by the order, consistency, and self-control it imposes upon every word and deed.
99 We should, therefore, in our dealings with people show what I may almost call reverence toward all men - not only toward the men who are the best, but toward others as well. For indifference to public opinion implies not merely self-sufficiency, but even total lack of principle. There is, too, a difference be-
BOOK I. xxviii.-xxix.
tween justice and considerateness in one's relations to one's fellow-men. It is the function of justice not to do wrong to one's fellow-men; of considerateness, not to wound their feelings; and in this the essence of propriety is best seen. With the foregoing exposition, I think it is clear what the nature is of what we term propriety.
100 Further, as to the duty which has its source in propriety, the first road on which it conducts us leads to harmony with Nature and the faithful observance of her laws. If we follow Nature as our guide, we shall never go astray, but we shall be pursuing that which is in its nature clear-sighted and penetrating (Wisdom), that which is adapted to promote and strengthen society (Justice), and that which is strong and courageous (Fortitude). But the very essence of propriety is found in the division of virtue which is now under discussion (Temperance). For it is only when they agree with Nature's laws that we should give our approval to the movements not only of the body, but still more of the spirit.
101 Now we find that the essential activity of the spirit is twofold: one force is appetite (that is, horme, in Greek), which impels a man this way and that; the other is reason, which teaches and explains what should be done and what should be left undone. The result is that reason commands, appetite obeys.
XXIX. Again, every action ought to be free from undue haste or carelessness; neither ought we to do anything for which we cannot assign a reasonable motive; for in these words we have practically a definition of duty.
102 The appetites, moreover, must be made to obey
BOOK I. xxix.
the reins of reason and neither allowed to run ahead of it nor from listlessness or indolence to lag behind; but people should enjoy calm of soul and be free from every sort of passion. As a result strength of character and self-control will shine forth in all their lustre. For when appetites overstep their bounds and, galloping away, so to speak, whether in desire or aversion, are not well held in hand by reason, they clearly overleap all bound and measure; for they throw obedience off and leave it behind and refuse to obey the reins of reason, to which they are subject by Nature's laws. And not only minds but bodies as well are disordered by such appetites. We need only to look at the faces of men in a rage or under the influence of some passion or fear or beside themselves with extravagant joy: in every instance their features, voices, motions, attitudes undergo a change.
103 From all this - to return to our sketch of duty - we see that all the appetites must be controlled and calmed and that we must take infinite pains not to do anything from mere impulse or at random, without due consideration and care.
Dyck 1996, 333, thinks that this passage, ending at "shine forth" in section 104, is either out of order or a Ciceronian addition to Panaetius' source.
For Nature has not brought us into the world to act as if we were created for play or jest, but rather for earnestness and for some more serious and important pursuits. We may, of course, indulge in sport and jest, but in the same way as we enjoy sleep or other relaxations, and only when we have satisfied the claims of our earnest, serious tasks. Further than that, the manner of jesting itself ought not to be extravagant or immoderate, but refined and witty. For as we do not grant our children unlimited licence to play, but only such freedom as is not incompatible with
BOOK I. xxix.-xxx.
good conduct, so even in our jesting let the light
104 of a pure character shine forth. There are, generally speaking, two sorts of jest: the one, coarse, rude, vicious, indecent; the other, refined, polite, clever, witty. With this latter sort not only our own Plautus and the Old Comedy of Athens, but also the books of Socratic philosophy abound; and we have many witty sayings of many men
Roman example removed
So the distinction between the elegant and the vulgar jest is an easy matter: the one kind, if well timed (for instance, in hours of mental relaxation), is becoming to the most dignified person; the other is unfit for any gentleman, if the subject is indecent and the words obscene. Then, too, certain bounds must be observed in our amusements and we must be careful not to carry things too far and, swept away by our passions, lapse into some shameful excess. Our Campus, however, and the amusements of the chase are examples of wholesome recreation.
105 XXX. But it is essential to every inquiry about duty that we keep before our eyes how far superior man is by nature to cattle and other beasts: they have no thought except for sensual pleasure and this they are impelled by every instinct to seek; but man's mind is nurtured by study and meditation; he is always either investigating or doing, and he is captivated by the pleasure of seeing and hearing. Nay, even if a man is more than ordinarily inclined to sensual pleasures, provided, of course, that he be not quite on a level with the beasts of the field (for some people are men only in name,, not in fact) - if, I say, he is a little too susceptible
BOOK I. xxx.
to the attractions of pleasure, he hides the fact, however much he may be caught in its toils, and for very shame conceals his appetite.
106 From this we see that sensual pleasure is quite unworthy of the dignity of man and that we ought to despise it and cast it from us; but if someone should be found who sets some value upon sensual gratification, he must keep strictly within the limits of moderate indulgence. One's physical comforts and wants, therefore, should be ordered according to the demands of health and strength, not according to the calls of pleasure. And if we will only bear in mind the superiority and dignity of our nature, we shall realize how wrong it is to abandon ourselves to excess and to live in luxury and voluptuousness, and how right it is to live in thrift, self-denial, simplicity, and sobriety.
107 We must realize also that we are invested by Nature with two characters, as it were: one of these is universal, arising from the fact of our being all alike endowed with reason and with that superiority which lifts us above the brute. From this all morality and propriety are derived, and upon it depends the rational method of ascertaining our duty. The other character is the one that is assigned to individuals in particular. In the matter of physical endowment there are great differences: some, we see, excel in speed for the race, others in strength for wrestling; so in point of personal appearance, some have stateliness, others comeliness.
108 Diversities of character are greater still.
Roman examples removed
BOOK I. xxx.
Roman examples removed
Among the Greeks, history tells us, Socrates was fascinating and witty, a genial conversationalist; he was what the Greeks call eiron in every conversation, pretending to need information and professing admiration for the wisdom of his companion. Pythagoras and Pericles, on the other hand, reached the heights of influence and power without any seasoning of mirthfulness.
Examples from Roman history removed
[Some political and military leaders] were shrewd and ready at concealing their plans, covering up their tracks, disguising their movements, laying stratagems, forestalling the enemy's designs. In these qualities the Greeks rank Themistocles and Jason of Pherae above all others. Especially crafty and shrewd was the device of Solon, who, to make his own life safer and at the same time to do a considerably larger service for his country, feigned insanity.
109 Then there are others, quite different from these, straightforward and open, who think that nothing should be done by underhand means or treachery. They are lovers of truth, haters of fraud. There are others still who will stoop to anything, truckle to anybody, if only they may gain their
Roman examples removed.
The most crafty and most persevering man of this type was Lysander of Sparta, we are told; of the opposite type was Callicratidas, who succeeded Lysander as admiral of the fleet. So we find that another, no matter how
BOOK I. xxx.-xxxi.
eminent he may be, will condescend in social intercourse to make himself appear but a very ordinary person.
Roman examples removed
Countless other dissimilarities exist in natures and characters, and they are not in the least to be criticized.
110 XXXI. Everybody, however, must resolutely hold fast to his own peculiar gifts, in so far as they are peculiar only and not vicious, in order that propriety, which is the object of our inquiry, may the more easily be secured. For we must so act as not to oppose the universal laws of human nature, but, while safeguarding those, to follow the bent of our own particular nature; and even if other careers should be better and nobler, we may still regulate our own pursuits by the standard of our own nature. For it is of no avail to fight against one's nature or to aim at what is impossible of attainment. From this fact the nature of that propriety defined above comes into still clearer light, inasmuch as nothing is proper that "goes against the grain," as the saying is-that is, if it is in direct opposition to one's natural genius.
111 If there is any such thing as propriety at all, it can be nothing more than uniform consistency
BOOK I. xxxi.
in the course of our life as a whole and all its individual actions. And this uniform consistency one could not maintain by copying the personal traits of others and eliminating one's own. For as we ought to employ our mother-tongue, lest, like certain people who are continually dragging in Greek words, we draw well-deserved ridicule upon ourselves, so we ought not to introduce anything foreign into our
112 actions or our life in general. Indeed, such diversity of character carries with it so great significance that suicide may be for one man a duty, for another [under the same circumstances] a crime.
113 How much Ulysses endured on those long wanderings, when he submitted to the service even of women (if Circe and Calypso may be called women) and strove in every word to be courteous and complaisant to all! And, arrived at home, he brooked even the insults of his men-servants and maidservants, in order to attain in the end the object of his desire. But Ajax, with the temper he is represented as having, would have chosen to meet death a thousand times rather
BOOK I. xxxi.-xxxii.
that it is each man's duty to weigh well what are his own peculiar traits of character, to regulate these properly, and not to wish to try how another man's would suit him. For the more peculiarly his own a man's character is, the better it fits him.
114 Everyone, therefore, should make a proper estimate of his own natural ability and show himself a critical judge of his own merits and defects; in this respect we should not let actors display more practical wisdom than we have. They select, not the best plays, but the ones best suited to their talents. Those who rely most upon the quality of their voice take the Epigoni and the Medus; those who place more stress upon the action choose the Melanippa and the Clytaemnestra; Rupilius, whom I remember, always played in the Antiope, Aesopus rarely in the Ajax. Shall a player have regard to this in choosing his role upon the stage, and a wise man fail to do so in selecting his part in life? We shall, therefore, work to the best advantage in that role to which we are best adapted. But if at some time stress of circumstances shall thrust us aside into some uncongenial part, we must devote to it all possible thought, practice, and pains, that we may be able to perform it, if not with propriety, at least with as little impropriety as possible; and we need not strive so hard to attain to points of excellence that have not been vouchsafed to us as to correct the faults we have.
115 XXXII. To the two above- mentioned characters is added a third, which some chance or some circumstance imposes, and a fourth also, which we assume by our own deliberate choice. Regal powers and military commands, nobility of birth and political office, wealth and influence, and their opposites
BOOK I. xxxii.
depend upon chance and are, therefore, controlled by circumstances. But what role we ourselves may choose to sustain is decided by our own free choice. And so some turn to philosophy, others to the civil law, and still others to oratory, while in case of the virtues themselves one man prefers to excel in one, another in another.
116 They, whose fathers or forefathers have achieved distinction in some particular field, often strive to attain eminence in the same department of service:
Roman examples deleted
And to that distinction which they have severally inherited from their fathers some have added lustre of their own; for example, that same Africanus, who crowned his inherited military glory with his own eloquence (probably Cicero's example). Timotheus, Conon's son, did the same: he proved himself not inferior to his father in military renown and added to that distinction the glory of culture and intellectual power. It happens sometimes, too, that a man declines to follow in the footsteps of his fathers and pursues a vocation of his own. And in such callings those very frequently achieve signal success who, though sprung from humble parentage, have set their aims high.
117 All these questions, therefore, we ought to bear thoughtfully in mind, when we inquire into the nature of propriety; but above all we must decide who and what manner of men we wish to be and what calling in life we would follow; and this is the most difficult problem in the world. For it is in the years of early youth, when our judgement is most immature, that each of us decides that his calling in life shall be that to which he has taken a special liking. And thus he becomes engaged in some
BOOK I. xxxii.-xxxiii.
particular calling and career in life, before he is fit to decide intelligently what is best for him.
118 For we cannot all have the experience of Hercules, as we find it in the words of Prodicus in Xenophon; "When Hercules was just coming into youth's estate (the time which Nature has appointed unto every man for choosing the path of life on which he would enter), he went out into a desert place. And as he saw two paths, the path of Pleasure and the path of Virtue, he sat down and debated long and earnestly which one it were better for him to take." This might, perhaps, happen to a Hercules, "scion of the seed of Jove"; but it cannot well happen to us; for we copy each the model he fancies, and we are constrained to adopt their pursuits and vocations. But usually, we are so imbued with the teachings of our parents, that we fall irresistibly into their manners and customs. Others drift with the current of popular opinion and make especial choice of those callings which the majority find most attractive. Some, however, as the result either of some happy fortune or of natural ability, enter upon the right path of life, without parental guidance.
119 XXXIII. There is one class of people that is very rarely met with: it is composed of those who are endowed with marked natural ability, or exceptional advantages of education and culture, or both, and who also have time to consider carefully what career in life they prefer to follow; and in this deliberation the decision must turn wholly upon each individual's natural bent. For we try to find out from each one's native disposition, as was said above, just what is proper for him; and this we require not only in case of each individual act but
BOOK I. xxxiii.
which still greater care must be given, In order that we may be true to ourselves throughout all our lives and not falter in the discharge of any duty.
120 But since the most powerful influence in the choice of a career is exerted by Nature, and the next most powerful by Fortune, we must, of course, take account of them both in deciding upon our calling in life; but, of the two, Nature claims the more attention. For Nature is so much more stable and steadfast, that for Fortune to come into conflict with Nature seems like a combat between a mortal and a goddess. If, therefore, he has conformed his whole plan of life to the kind of nature that is his (that is, his better nature), let him go on with it consistently - for that is the essence of Propriety unless, perchance, he should discover that he has made a mistake in choosing his life work. If this should happen (and it can easily happen), he must change his vocation and mode of life. If circumstances favour such change, it will be effected with greater ease and convenience. If not, it must be made gradually, step by step, just as, when friendships become no longer pleasing or desirable, it is more proper (so wise men think) to undo the bond
121 little by little than to sever it at a stroke.
The following sections may not be strictly Panaetian.
And when we have once changed our calling in life, we must take all possible care to make it clear that we have done so with good reason. But whereas I said a moment ago that we have to follow in the steps of our fathers, let me make the following exceptions: first, we need not imitate their faults; second, we need not imitate certain other things, if our nature does not permit such imitation;
I omit a Roman example likely to be Cicero's.
BOOK I. xxxxii.-xxxiv.
If, then, a man is unable to conduct cases at the bar or to hold the people spell-bound with his eloquence or to conduct wars, still it will be his duty to practise these other virtues, which are within his reach - justice, good faith, generosity, temperance, self-control - that his deficiencies in other respects may be less conspicuous. The noblest heritage, however, that is handed down from fathers to children, and one more precious than any inherited wealth, is a reputation for virtue and worthy deeds; and to dishonour this must be branded as a sin and a shame.
122 XXXIV. Since, too, the duties that properly belong to different times of life are not the same, but some belong to the young, others to those more advanced in years, a word must be said on this distinction also. It is, then, the duty of a young man to show deference to his elders and to attach himself to the best and most approved of them, so as to receive the benefit of their counsel and influence. For the inexperience of youth requires the practical wisdom of age to strengthen and direct it. And this time of life is above all to be protected against sensuality and trained to toil and endurance of both mind and body, so as to be strong for active duty in military and civil service. And even when they wish to relax their minds and give themselves up to enjoyment they should beware of excesses and bear in mind the rules of modesty. And this will be easier, if the young are not unwilling to have their elders join them even in their pleasures.
123 The old, on the other hand, should, it seems, have their physical labours reduced; their mental activi-
BOOK I. xxxiv.
ties should be actually increased. They should endeavour, too, by means of their counsel and practical wisdom to be of as much service as possible to their friends and to the young, and above all to the state. But there is nothing against which old age has to be more on its guard than against surrendering to feebleness and idleness, while luxury, a vice in any time of life, is in old age especially scandalous. But if excess in sensual indulgence is added to luxurious living, it is a twofold evil; for old age not only disgraces itself; it also serves to make the excesses of the young more shameless.
124 At this point it is not at all irrelevant to discuss the duties of magistrates, of private individuals, [of native citizens,] and of foreigners. It is, then, peculiarly the place of a magistrate to bear in mind that he represents the state and that it is his duty to uphold its honour and its dignity, to enforce the law, to dispense to all their constitutional rights, and to remember that all this has been committed to him as a sacred trust. The private individual ought first, in private relations, to live on fair and equal terms with his fellow-citizens, with a spirit neither servile and grovelling nor yet domineering; and second, in matters pertaining to the state, to labour for her peace and honour; for such a man we are accustomed to esteem and call a good citizen.
125 As for the foreigner or the resident alien, it is his duty to attend strictly to his own concerns, not to pry into other people's business, and under no condition to meddle in the politics of a country not his own.
In this way I think we shall have a fairly, clear view of our duties when the question arises what is proper and what is appropriate to each character,
BOOK I. xxxiv.-xxxv.
circumstance, and age. But there is nothing so essentially proper as to maintain consistency in th performance of every act and in the conception of every plan.
Dyck 1996, says that Sectio 126 gives the dispositio (arrangement, outline?) for the rest of the Panaetian parts of De Officiis Book I.
126 XXXV. But the propriety to which I refer shows itself also in every deed, in every word, even in every movement and attitude of the body. And in outward, visible propriety there are three elements - beauty, tact, and taste; these conceptions are difficult to express in words, but it will be enough for my purpose if they are understood. In these three elements is included also our concern for the good opinion of those with whom and amongst whom we live. For these reasons I should like to say a few words about this kind of propriety also. First of all, Nature seems to have had a wonderful plan in the construction of our bodies. Our face and our figure generally, in so far as it has a comely appearance, she has placed in sight; but the parts of the body that are given us only to serve the needs of Nature and that would present an unsightly and unpleasant appearance she has covered up and
127 concealed from view. Man's modesty has followed this careful contrivance of Nature's; all right-minded people keep out of sight what Nature has hidden and take pains to respond to Nature's demands as privately as possible; and in the case of those parts of the body which only serve Nature's needs, neither the parts nor the functions are called by their real names. To perform these functions - if only it be done in private - is nothing immoral; but to speak of them is indecent. And so neither public performance of those acts nor vulgar mention of them is free from indecency.
BOOK I. xxxv.-xxxvi.
128 But we should give no heed to the Cynics (or to some Stoics who are practically Cynics) who censure and ridicule us for holding that the mere mention of some actions that are not immoral is shameful, while other things that are immoral we call by their real names. Robbery, fraud, and adultery, for example, are immoral in deed, but it is not indecent to name them. To beget children in wedlock is in deed morally right; to speak of it is indecent. And they assail modesty with a great many other arguments to the same purport. But as for us, let us follow Nature and shun everything that is offensive to our eyes or our ears. So, in standing or walking, in sitting or reclining, in our expression, our eyes, or the movements of our hands, let us preserve what we have called "propriety."
129 In these matters we must avoid especially the two extremes - our conduct and speech should not be effeminate and over-nice, on the one hand, nor coarse and boorish, on the other. And we surely must not admit that, while this rule applies to actors and orators, it is not binding upon us. As for stage-people, their custom, because of its traditional discipline, carries modesty to such a point that an actor would never step out upon the stage without a breech-cloth on, for fear he might make an improper exhibition, if by some accident certain parts of his person should happen to become exposed. And in our own custom grown sons do not bathe with their fathers, nor sons-in-law with their fathers-in-law. We must, therefore, keep to the path of this sort of modesty, especially when Nature is our teacher and guide.
130 XXXVI. Again, there are two orders of beauty: in the one, loveliness predominates; in the other,
BOOK I. xxxvi.
dignity; of these, we ought to regard loveliness as the attribute of woman, and dignity as the attribute of man. Therefore, let all finery not suitable to a man's dignity be kept off his person, and let him guard against the like fault in gesture and action. The manners taught in the palaestra,/a for example, are often rather objectionable, and the gestures of actors on the stage are not always free from affectation; but simple, unaffected manners are commendable in both instances. Now dignity of mien is also to be enhanced by a good complexion; the complexion is the result of physical exercise. We must besides present an appearance of neatness - not too punctilious or exquisite, but just enough to avoid boorish and ill-bred slovenliness. We must follow the same principle in regard to dress. In this, as in most things, the best rule is the golden mean.
131 We must be careful, too, not to fall into a habit of listless sauntering in our gait, so as to look like carriers in festal processions, or of hurrying too fast, when time presses. If we do this, it puts us out of breath, our looks are changed, our features distorted; and all this is clear evidence of a lack of poise. But it is much more important that we succeed in keeping our mental operations in harmony with Nature's laws. And we shall not fall in this if we guard against violent excitement or depression, and if we keep our minds intent on the observance of propriety.
132 Our mental operations, moreover, are of two
a. The Greek palaestra, a public school of wrestling and athletics, adopted by the Romans became a place of exercise where the youth were trained in gestures and attitudes, a nursery of foppish manners.
BOOK I. xxxvi.-xxxvii.
kinds: some have to do with thought, others with impulse. Thought is occupied chiefly with the discovery of truth; impulse prompts to action. We must be careful, therefore, to employ our thoughts on themes as elevating as possible and to keep our impulses under the control of reason.
XXXVII. The power of speech in the attainment of propriety is great, and its function is twofold: the first is oratory; the second, conversation. Oratory is the kind of discourse to be employed in pleadings in court and speeches in popular assemblies and in the senate; conversation should find its natural place in social gatherings, in informal discussions, and in intercourse with friends; it should also seek admission at dinners. There are rules for oratory laid down by rhetoricians; there are none for conversation; and yet I do not know why there should not be. But where there are students to learn, teachers are found; there are, however, none who make conversation a subject of study, whereas pupils throng about the rhetoricians everywhere. And yet the same rules that we have for words and sentences in rhetoric will apply also to conversation.
133 Now since we have the voice as the organ of speech, we should aim to secure two properties for it: that it be clear, and that it be musical. We must, of course, look to Nature for both gifts. But distinctness may be improved by practice; the musical qualities, by imitating those who speak with smooth and articulate enunciation.
Roman examples, likely to be Cicero's, have been removed.--JG
BOOK I. xxxvii.
If, therefore, we are aiming to secure propriety in every circumstance of life, we must master all these points.
134 Conversation, then, in which the Socratics are the best models, should have these qualities. It should be easy and not in the least dogmatic; it should have the spice of wit. And the one who engages in conversation should not debar others from participating in it, as if he were entering upon a private monopoly; but, as in other things, so in a general conversation he should think it not unfair for each to have his turn. He should observe, first and foremost, what the subject of conversation is. If it is grave, he should treat it with seriousness; if humorous, with wit. And above all, he should be on the watch that his conversation shall not betray some defect in his character. This is most likely to occur, when people in jest or in earnest take delight in making malicious and slanderous statements about the absent, on purpose to injure their reputations.
135 The subjects of conversation are usually affairs of the home or politics or the practice of the professions
BOOK I. xxxvii.-xxxviii.
and learning. Accordingly, if the talk begins to drift off to other channels, pains should be taken to bring it back again to the matter in hand - but with due consideration to the company present; for we are not all interested in the same things at all times or in the same degree. We must observe, too, how far the conversation is agreeable and, as it had a reason for its beginning, so there should be a point at which to close it tactfully.
136 XXXVIII. But as we have a most excellent rule for every phase of life, to avoid exhibitions of passion, that is, mental excitement that is excessive and uncontrolled by reason; so our conversation ought to be free from such emotions: let there be no exhibition of anger or inordinate desire, of indolence or indifference, or anything of the kind. We must also take the greatest care to show courtesy and consideration toward those with whom we converse. It may sometimes happen that there is need of administering reproof. On such occasions we should, perhaps, use a more emphatic tone of voice and more forcible and severe terms and even assume an appearance of being angry. But we shall have recourse to this sort of reproof, as we do to cautery and amputation, rarely and reluctantly - never at all, unless it is unavoidable and no other remedy can be discovered. We may seem angry, but anger should be far from us; for anger nothing right or judi-
137 cious can be done. In most cases, we may apply a mild reproof, so combined, however, with earnestness, that, while severity is shown, offensive language is avoided. Nay more; we must show clearly that even that very harsh
BOOK I. xxxviii.-xxxix.
The right course, moreover, even in our differences with our bitterest enemies, is to maintain our dignity and to repress our anger, even though we are treated outrageously. For what is done under some degree of excitement cannot be done with perfect self- respect or the approval of those who witness it. It is bad taste also to talk about oneself - especially if what one says is not true
Reference to the Latin play Miles Glorioso, likely to be Cicero's addition, has been removed.
Dyck 1996, 20 and 33, holds that 138-140 are Cicero's additions. I have deleted them.
BOOK I. xxxix.
BOOK I. xxxix.-xl.
141 In entering upon any course of action, then, we must hold fast to three principles: first, that impulse shall obey reason; for there is no better way than this to secure the observance of duties; second, that we estimate carefully the importance of the object that we wish to accomplish, so that neither more nor less care and attention may be expended upon it than the case requires; the third principle is that we be careful to observe moderation in all that is essential to the outward appearance and dignity of a gentleman. Moreover, the best rule for securing this is strictly to observe that propriety which we have discussed above, and not to overstep it. Yet of these three principles, the one of prime importance is to keep impulse subservient to reason.
142 XL. Next, then, we must discuss orderliness of conduct and seasonableness of occasions. These two qualities are embraced in that science which the Greeks call eutaxia - not that eutaxia which we translate with moderation [modestia], derived from moderate; but this is the eutaxia by which we understand orderly conduct. And so, if we may call it also moderation, it is defined by the Stoics as follows: "Moderation is the science of disposing aright everything that is done or said." So the essence of orderliness and of right- placing, it seems, will be the same; for orderliness they define also as "the arrangement of things in their suitable and appropriate places." By "place of action," moreover, they mean seasonableness of circumstance; and the seasonable circumstance for an action is called in Greek eukairia in Latin occasio
(occasion). So it comes about that in this sense moderation, which we
BOOK I. xl.
explain as I have indicated, is the science of doing the right thing at the right time.
143 A similar definition can be given for prudence, of which I have spoken in an early chapter. But in this part we are considering temperance and self-control and related virtues. Accordingly, the properties which, as we found, are peculiar to prudence were discussed in their proper place, while those are to be discussed now which are peculiar to these virtues of which we have for some time been speaking and which relate to considerateness and to approbation of our fellow- men.
144 Such orderliness of conduct is, therefore, to be observed, that everything in the conduct of our life shall balance and harmonize, as in a finished speech. For it is unbecoming and highly censurable, when upon a serious theme, to introduce such jests as are proper at a dinner, or any sort of loose talk. When Pericles was associated with the poet Sophocles as his colleague in command and they had met to confer about official business that concerned them both, a handsome boy chanced to pass and Sophocles said: "Look, Pericles; what a pretty boy!" How pertinent was Pericles's reply: "Hush, Sophocles, a general should keep not only his hands but his eyes under control." And yet, if Sophocles had made this same remark at a trial of athletes, he would have incurred no just reprimand. So great is the significance of both place and circumstance. For example, if anyone, while on a journey or on a walk, should rehearse to himself a case which he is preparing to conduct in court, or if he should under similar circumstances apply his closest thought to some other subject, he would not be open to censure:
BOOK I. xl.-xli.
but if he should do that same thing at a dinner, he would be thought ill-bred, because he ignored the proprieties of the occasion.
145 But flagrant breaches of good breeding like singing in the streets or any other gross misconduct, are easily apparent and do not call especially for admonition and instruction. But we must even more carefully avoid those seemingly trivial faults which pass unnoticed by the many. However slightly out of tune a harp or flute may be, the fault is still detected by a connoisseur; so we must be on the watch lest haply something in our life be out of tune - nay, rather, far greater is the need for painstaking, inasmuch as harmony of actions is far better and far more important than harmony of sounds.
146 XLI. As, therefore, a musical ear detects even the slightest falsity of tone in a harp, so we, if we wish to be keen and careful observers of moral faults, shall often draw important conclusions from trifles. We observe others and from a glance of the eyes, from a contracting or relaxing of the brows, from an air of sadness, from an outburst of joy, from a laugh, from speech from silence, from a raising or lowering of the voice, and the like, we shall easily judge which of our actions is proper, and which is out of accord with duty and Nature. And, in the same manner, it is not a bad plan to judge of the nature of our every action by studying others, that so we may ourselves avoid anything that is unbecoming in them. For it happens somehow or other that we detect another's failings more readily than we do our own; and so in the school-room those pupils learn most easily to do better whose faults the masters mimic for the sake of correcting them.
BOOK I. xli.
147 Nor is it out of place in making a choice between duties involving a doubt, to consult men of learning or practical wisdom and to ascertain what their views are on any particular question of duty. For the majority usually drift as the current of their own natural inclinations carries them; and in deriving counsel from one of these, we have to see not only what our adviser says, but also what he thinks, and what his reasons are for thinking as he does. For, as painters and sculptors and even poets, too, wish to have their works reviewed by the public, in order that, if any point is generally criticized, it may be improved; and as they try to discover both by themselves and with the help of others what is wrong in their work; so through consulting the judgment of others we find that there are many things to be done and left undone, to be altered and improved.
148 But no rules need to be given about what is done in accordance with the established customs and conventions of a community; for these are in themselves rules; and no one ought to make the mistake of supposing that, because Socrates or
Aristippus did or said something contrary to the manners and established customs of their city, he has a right to do the same; it was only by reason of their great and superhuman virtues that those famous men acquired this special privilege. But the Cynics' whole system of philosophy must be rejected, for it is inimical to moral sensibility, and without moral sensibility nothing can be upright, nothing morally good.
149 It is, furthermore, our duty to honour and reverence those whose lives are conspicuous for conduct in keeping with their high moral standards, and who, as true patriots, have rendered or are now rendering
BOOK I. xli.- xlii.
efficient service to their country, just as much as if they were invested with some civil or military authority; it is our duty also to show proper respect to old age, to yield precedence to magistrates, to make a distinction between a fellow-citizen and a foreigner, and, in the case of the foreigner himself, to discriminate according to whether he has come in an official or a private capacity. In a word, not to go into details, it is our duty to respect, defend, and maintain the common bonds of union and fellowship subsisting between all the members of the human race.
150 XLII. Now in regard to trades and other means of livelihood, which ones are to be considered becoming to a gentleman and which ones are vulgar, we have been taught, in general, as follows. First, those means of livelihood are rejected as undesirable which incur people's ill-will, as those of tax-gatherers and usurers. Unbecoming to a gentleman, too, and vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery. Vulgar we must consider those also who buy from wholesale merchants to retail immediately; for they would get no profits without a great deal of downright lying; and verily, there is no action that is meaner than misrepresentation. And all mechanics are engaged in vulgar trades; for no workshop can have anything liberal about it. Least respectable of all are those trades which cater for sensual pleasures:Fishmongers, butchers, cooks, and poulterers,<Off-153>
BOOK I. xlii.-xliii.
as Terence says. Add to these, if you please, the perfumers, dancers, and the whole corps de ballet./a
In sections 152-161 Cicero is no longer relying on Panaetius. I give a few lines from 152, at the beginning, and 161, at the end of this passage to indicate what I have left out.
152 XLIII. Now, I think I have explained fully enough how moral duties are derived from the four divisions of moral rectitude. But between those very actions which are morally right, a conflict and comparison may frequently arise, as to which of two actions is morally better - a point overlooked by Panaetius. For, since all moral rectitude springs from four sources (one of which is prudence; the second, social instinct; the third, courage; the fourth, temperance, it is often necessary, in deciding a question of duty that these virtues be weighed against one another. . . .
161 From this brief discussion, then, it can be understood that people are often in doubt not only whether an action is morally right or wrong, but also, when a choice is offered between two moral actions, which one is morally better. This point, as I remarked above, has been overlooked by Panaetius. But let us now pass on to what remains.
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