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very reason perishes, sometimes even without being

1 Latin, vir. 2 Latin, homo.

126 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

wounded, while no such thing happens to one who
maintains his ground; so those who cannot bear
the appearance of pain throw themselves down and
thus lie broken and dispirited, while those who
have resisted very often come off superior in the
conflict. There are indeed certain resemblances
between soul and body. As weights are carried
more easily when the muscles are in full tension,
and are oppressive when the muscles are relaxed^
so by a very close analogy the soul by its own
strong effort excludes all the pressure of its bur-
dens, but by the remission of its energy it is so
weighed down that it cannot sustain itself. In-
deed, if we would know the truth, energy of soul
must be brought to bear in the faithful discharge
of every duty. It is, so to speak, the sole guardian
of duty. But in pain the utmost care is to be
taken that we do nothing meanly, nothing timidly,
nothing weakly, nothing slavishly or effeminately,
and especially let outcries like those of Philoctetes
be suppressed and shunned. It is sometimes per-
mitted to a man to groan, but seldom ; nor is bois-
terous lamentation allowable even for a woman.
It is indeed such weeping that the law of the
Twelve Tables J forbids at funerals. A brave and
wise man never groans, unless it may be in the
effort to gain added strength, as runners on the

1 Mulieres genas ne radunto, neve lessum funeris ergo habento,
i. e. " Women are forbidden to lacerate their cheeks and to howl
at funerals."

On Searing Pain. 127

race-course cry out as noisily as they can. Ath-
letes do the same when they are in training, and
pugilists when they aim a blow at an adversary
groan as they throw the caestus, not because they
are in pain or are of feeble spirit, but because by
this free use of the voice the whole body is brought
into vigorous tension, and the blow comes with the
greater force.

24. What ? Do those who want to utter them-
selves with special force consider it enough to put
into full tension the sides, the jaws, the tongue,
from which we see that the voice is thrown out and
poured forth ? With the entire body, with tooth
and nail, 1 so to speak, they aid the effort of the
voice. By Hercules, I saw Marcus Antonius, when
he was pleading earnestly for himself under the
Varian law, 2 touch the ground with his knee. For

1 Latin, omnibus ungulis ; literally, with all the hoofs, claws, or
talons, a proverbial saying in common use, which I have ren-
dered as nearly as possible by an English equivalent.

2 Marcus Antonius was the greatest orator of his time. He
died in Cicero's nineteenth year, so that there was no rivalry to
interfere with Cicero's evidently unfeigned admiration for him.
What is known as the Varian law enacted a judicial inquiry into
the complicity of such Roman citizens as might have counselled,
aided or abetted, in the Social War. I can find no historical
account of his prosecution under that law, which was passed but
four years before his death ; and yet I think that it was under
such a prosecution that the speech referred to by Cicero was de-
livered. Commentators generally suppose that reference is made
to what was probably his greatest speech. When he was on his
way to the government of his province in Asia, and was legally
exempted from prosecution till the close of his official term, he

128 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

as the military engines that hurl stones and those
that throw weapons discharge them with the greater
force, the more violently they are strained and
tightened, so is the voice, the pace, the blow, the
more vigorous when it proceeds from strong tension
of the body. Since this tension has so much power,
if groaning in pain will be of avail in strengthening
the soul, we will groan; but if the groaning be
mournful, imbecile, abject, tearful, I should hardly
call him a man who yields to it. If our groaning
really brought relief, it would still be a question
what a brave and high-spirited man would do ; but
since it does not in the least diminish pain, why
are we willing to degrade ourselves to no pur-
pose ? And what is more degrading to a man than
effeminate weeping ? Moreover, this precept which
I give concerning pain has a wider application.
With a like tension of soul, we should resist every-
thing, not pain alone. Anger is inflamed; lust is
roused, we must resort to the same citadel ; the
same weapons are to be wielded. But since I am
speaking about pain, I will omit other subjects.
In order then to bear pain placidly and calmly, it
is of great avail to think, so to speak, with the

heard at Brundusium that he was accused of a flagitious intrigue
with a Vestal virgin. He returned to Rome immediately, de-
manded a trial, defended himself, was triumphantly acquitted,
and then proceeded to his province. There might have been
some other Varian law, under which this trial took place ; but I
think that it occurred too early for Cicero to have been present
at it.

On Bearing Pain. 129

whole heart, how honorable such endurance is. We
are by nature, as I have already said (for it needs
to be often repeated), exceedingly earnest for and
desirous of honor, of which if we get, as it were, a
mere glimpse, there is nothing which we are not
ready to bear and to suffer in order to obtain pos-
session of it. It is from this pursuit and urgent
endeavor of the soul with genuine merit and honor
in view, that dangers are faced in battle. Brave
men, while in the ranks, do not feel wounds, or if
they feel them, they prefer death to the slightest
departure from their honorable position. The Decii
saw the swords of their enemies glittering when
they rushed upon their ranks. The nobleness and
glory of death relieved them from all fear of being
wounded. Do you think that Epaminondas groaned
when he felt his life flowing out with his blood ?
No ; for he left his country dictating terms to the
Lacedaemonians to whom he had found it subject.
These are the reliefs, the emollients for the severest

25. You will ask, How is it in peace ? How, at
home ? How, in bed ? You recall me to philoso-
phers, who do not often go to war. Of these, Dio-
nysius of Heraclea, a man of no great weight of
character, having learned of Zeno to be brave, was
taught the contrary lesson by pain ; for when he was
suffering from disease of the kidneys, he cried out
among his exclamations of distress that what he had
before believed about pain was false. When his


130 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

fellow-disciple Cleanthes asked him what reasoning
had drawn him away from his former opinion, he an-
swered, " That when I had devoted so much labor
to philosophy I could not bear pain, is a sufficient
proof that pain is an evil. I did consume many
years in philosophy ; I cannot bear pain : therefore
pain is an evil." Cleanthes then is said, striking
the ground with his foot, to have repeated the verse
from the Epigoni}

" Among the dead hear'st thou this, Amphiaraus ? "

meaning Zeno, from whom he was sorry that his dis-
ciple had fallen away. But it was otherwise with
my friend the philosopher Posidonius, whom I my-
self often saw, and I will relate a story which Pom-
pey was in the habit of telling. When Pompey was
on his way from Syria, he wanted to hear Posido-
nius ; 2 and learning that he was severely ill, suffer-
ing greatly from the gout, he still desired to visit
this most noble philosopher. When he had seen
him, and saluted him, and addressed him in respect-
ful terms, and expressed his grief at not being able
to hear him, he replied, " You indeed can hear me,
nor will I suffer that any pain of body should cause
so great a man to come to me in vain." And so, as
Pompey said, lying on his bed, he lectured irnpres-

1 Of Aeschylus.

2 Posidonius then and for many years lived and taught in
Rhodes. He removed to Rome shortly before his death. He
was a pupil of Panaetius, and virtually succeeded him as the
great light of the Stoic school.

On Bearing Pain. 131

sively and fluently on the proposition that nothing
is good except the Eight ; and when pain applied
to him, as it were, its lighted torches, he often
exclaimed, " Pain, thou art of no effect. Trouble-
some as thou art, I will never admit that thou art
an evil." In fine, all forms of affliction, when made
illustrious and noble by despising them, become

26. Do we not see among the men who hold in
great honor the games called " gymnastic " that no
pain is shunned by those who strive for the mas-
tery ? Among the men with whom hunting and
horsemanship are held in the highest esteem, those
who are versed in these arts avoid no pain. What
shall we say of our own ambitions ? What of our
desire for places of honor ? What flame is so hot,
that candidates for office were not formerly ready
to run through it to collect single votes ? 1 Thus
Africanus always had in his hands Xenophon, the
disciple of Socrates, in whom he was especially
delighted with the saying that the same labors are
not equally burdensome to the commander and the
soldier, because the very honor makes the com-
mander's labor lighter. But yet it is a fact that

1 Latin, pundis singulis. Before voting by ballot was legal-
ized, the voter declared his vote orally, and the rogator entered
it by a puncture in a wax tablet against the name of the candi-
date voted for. The candidates then employed personal solicita-
tion on the spot in obtaining votes. The ballot was introduced
on the same grounds on which it was urged, and so long in vain,
in the British Parliament.

132 Cicero s Tusculan Disputations.

the sentiment of honor has great power with the
uncultivated common people, even when they do
not clearly see what it implies. They are still
moved by fame and by the opinion of the multi-
tude, regarding that as honorable which has the
applause of the greatest number. I would not
indeed have you, if you are before the eyes of the
multitude, stand by their opinion, or regard as such
what they deem supremely excellent. You must
use your own judgment. If you satisfy yourself in
approving what is right, you will not only have
conquered yourself, as a little while ago I bade you
do, but you will have conquered all men and all
things. This then I lay down for your guidance,
that a certain breadth of mind, together with the
utmost loftiness of soul that can be attained, which
is especially manifest in scorn and contempt for
pain, is the one most excellent thing of all, and the
more excellent, if it is independent of the people,
and not seeking applause, finds delight in its very
self. Indeed, all things seem to me more praise-
worthy which are done without ostentation, and
not in order to be seen by the multitude, not
that their , observation is to be shunned (for every-
thing that is well done craves to be placed in the
light) ; but yet there is no greater theatre for virtue
than one's own consciousness.

27. Moreover, let us consider that this capacity
of bearing pain, which, as I have already often said,
is to be strengthened by the soul's earnest endeavor,

On Bearing Pain. 133

should show itself the same under all circumstan-
ces. For many who, from the desire of victory or
of fame, or even for the maintenance of their rights
and their liberty, have received and borne wounds
bravely, are unable to bear the pain ensuing from
disease, the effort of the soul being suspended ; for
the pain which they had easily endured they had
endured not by the aid of reason or wisdom, but
rather for ambition and glory. In like manner,
there are certain barbarous and savage men who
can fight with the sword most bravely, yet cannot
bear illness manfully. But the Greeks, with very
little courage, yet as wise as men are capable of
being, though they cannot look an enemy in the
face, bear illness patiently and cheerfully. On the
other hand, the Ciuibri and the Celtiberi, when ill,
are in deep distress; for there can be no perfect
consistency which has not determinate reason for
its foundation. But when you see that those who
are under the leading of desire or belief are not
broken down by pain in the pursuit and attainment
of their aim, you ought to conclude, either that
pain is not an evil, or, if you see fit to call what-
ever is annoying and uncongenial with nature an
evil, that it is an evil of so very little magnitude
that virtue may bury it out of sight. I beg you to
meditate on these things day and night ; for this
mode of reasoning will have a wider application,
and will occupy a somewhat larger space than con-
cerns pain alone. If we do everything for the sake

134 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

of shunning disgrace and obtaining merited honor,
we may despise not only the stings of pain, but
equally the thunderbolts of fortune, especially since
our yesterday's discussion prepares a refuge for us. 1
As were some god to say to a sailor pursued by
pirates, "Throw yourself from the ship; either a
dolphin is ready to receive you, as one rescued
Arion of Methymna, or else those horses of Nep-
tune sent for Pelops that are said to have drawn
chariots floating on the crest of the wave will take
you up and carry you where you want to go," he
would feel no fear ; so when annoying and hateful
pains press upon you, if they are such as are not to
be borne, you see where you are to take refuge.
This is in substance what, as it seemed to me,
needed to be said at the present time. But you
perhaps remain in your former opinion.

A. By no means, indeed. These two days, I
trust, have freed me from fear of the two things
which I most dreaded

M. To-morrow then to the clock; 2 for thus we

1 Suicide, as to which Cicero seems to vacillate between the
opinion and practice of the Stoics and his own better judgment.
That this latter was predominant as regards himself appears from
the fact that he lived on through latter years of disappointment,
adversity and peril, and not from cowardice, as he met death with
a calm courage worthy not only of his highest philosophy, but of
the faith which, had it dawned upon the world in his time, would
have found no man better prepared to welcome and embrace it.

2 Latin, clepsydram, the water-clock. Advocates in the courts
had allotted to them certain limited times, measured by the clep-

On Bearing Pain. 135

measure our exercises in rhetoric. 1 At the same
time I see that for philosophy you will not leave
me in debt to you.

A. So be it, the rhetoric indeed before noon ;
the philosophy at the same time as yesterday and

M. We will make this arrangement, and comply
with your best wishes. 3

sydra. Hence the custom of using the clock in declamations and
rhetorical exercises.

1 Latin, sic enim dicimus. Some editions read diximus. If
that reading were adopted, the rendering would be, "for so we

8 Latin, studiis.


1. WHAT reason can I give, Brutus, why, con-
sisting as we do of soul and body, the art of curing
and caring for the body has been sought out, and
its utility reverently ascribed to the invention of
the immortal gods, while the medical treatment of
the soul was not so much desired before its methods
were ascertained, nor has been so much cultivated
since it was known, nor is so much an object of
complacency and approval with the many, while
not a few regard it with suspicion and dislike ? Is
it that we judge by the soul of the burdens and
pains of the body, while we do not feel with the
body the sickness of the soul ? Thus it is that the
soul passes judgment on itself, when that which
thus judges is itself diseased. But if Nature had
so formed us that we could behold and thoroughly
inspect her very self, and under her supremely
good guidance could accomplish our course of life,
there were certainly no need that any one should
look farther for reason and instruction. Now, how-
ever, she has given us only very scanty fires, which
we speedily so quench by bad habits and depraved

On Grief. 137

opinions, that the light of Nature never appears.
Yet there are innate in our minds seeds of virtue,
which once suffered to grow, Nature herself would
lead us to a happy life. But now, as soon as we
are brought forth into the light and taken up from
the ground, 1 we become familiar with every form of
evil-doing and with the utmost perversity of opin-
ion, so that we almost seem to have sucked in error
with the nurse's milk. When from her charge we
are given back to our parents, we are delivered
over to masters, and then are so imbued with va-
rious errors, that truth succumbs to falsehood, and
Nature herself to confirmed opinion.

2. The poets also give their aid. Carrying the
greatest prestige of learning and wisdom, they are
heard, read, committed to memory, and imbedded
deeply in the mind. When to their influence is
added that of the people as collectively a teacher
of the highest authority, and of the entire multitude
in all quarters giving their approval to what is
wrong, we become thoroughly infected with de-
praved notions, and place ourselves in revolt against
Nature, so that those seem to have envied us this
our best teacher, who account nothing more benefi-

1 Latin, suscepti sumus. This refers to the old Roman cus-
tom, by which the father signified his purpose to keep the child
or to let it perish, by taking it up from the ground or floor or suf-
fering it to lie there. Tollere, in the sense of bringing up a
child, has this original significance ; and our phrase to bring up,
as applied to children, is derived from this idiom, and remotely
from its primeval meaning in Rome.

138 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

cial for man, nothing to be more earnestly sought,
nothing more excellent than civil offices, military
commands, 1 and that popularity, toward which every
man of superior ability feels himself urged, and
thus while seeking the true honor which nature
alone demands above all things else, becomes con-
cerned in the merest trifles, and pursues no lofty
form of virtue, but a shadowy image of fame. True
fame, however, is something substantial and clearly
outlined, not shadowy. It is the unanimous praise
of the good, the uncorrupted verdict of those capa-
ble of passing a fair judgment on excelling virtue.
It corresponds to virtue as its image, and because
it generally accompanies right-doing, it is not to be
spurned by good men. But that popular fame which
desires to imitate it, hasty and unreflecting, and for
the most part ready to praise faults and vices, by
deceitful appearances does discredit to the form and
beauty of what is truly honorable. By the blind-
ness thus induced, men who desired what was ex-
cellent, but knew not where it was to be found or
in what it consisted, have, some of them, overthrown
their States, while others have themselves perished.
Indeed, those who seek what is best are deceived
not so much by wrong purpose as by a mistaken
course of life. Now are there no curative meas-
ures to be applied to those who are borne on by


Latin, honoribus, imperils, the former term almost always,
and always when connected with the latter, denoting not "honor,"
but "office."

On Grief. 139

greed for money or by lust for sensual pleasure, and
whose minds are so disturbed that they are nearly
insane, which is the case with all who are unwise ?
Is it that sicknesses of the soul are less harmful
than those of the body ; or, while bodies can be
cured, that there is no medicine for souls ?

3. But there are more harmful disorders of the
soul than of the body, and more of them ; for those
of the body are troublesome because they belong to
the soul and disquiet it, and the grief-stricken soul,
says Ennius, is always in error, nor is capable of
bearing or enduring anything, and never ceases to
crave. Than these two diseases, grief and desire,
not to mention others, what worse disorders can
there be in the body ? But how can it be proved
that the soul cannot cure itself? Since the soul
has invented the medicine for the body, since the
very bodily frame and nature are of great avail for
the curing of bodily disease, and since all who suffer
themselves to be cured are gradually, not suddenly
convalescent, 1 should there be any doubt that souls
desiring to be cured and obeying the precepts of
the wise may be cured? Philosophy is certainly

1 Since the soul has invented means for the cure of the body,
much more may it devise means for its own cure. Since in medi-
cine for the body, nature and the constitution bear a great part,
there is no reason why nature and the soul's constitution should
be of less efficacy in the soul's diseases. Since cures of the body
are gradual, there is no analogy against the gradual cure of the
soul which certainly cannot be suddenly cured by appropri-
ate means.

140 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

the medicine of the soul. Its aid is to be sought
not from without, as in diseases of the body ; and
we must labor with all our resources and with all
our strength to cure ourselves. Of philosophy as a
whole, how laboriously it is to be sought and culti-
vated, I have spoken sufficiently, I think, in my
Hortensius. But in these books I am writing out
my discussions with friends in the Tusculan villa.
As in two books I have treated of death and of
pain, the discussion of the third day will constitute
this third volume. Going down into my Academy
in the afternoon, I asked of some one present a
subject for discussion, and the following conversa-
tion ensued.

4. A. I think that the wise man is liable to

M. Is he liable also to other disturbances of soul,
to fears, lusts, resentments ? For these, too, are of
the class which the Greeks call Trddrj. 1 I might term
them diseases, 2 rendering one word by another ; but
it would not be in accordance with our idiom. For
the Greeks call envy, strong excitement, exuberant

1 This word denotes any affection whatever that comes to the
mind or soul from a cause outside of itself. Thus it embraces
bodily suffering, which originates not in the mind, but is felt only
by the mind. It equally includes gladness, when it has its cause
outside of the soul. Our term " affection," in its broadest sense,
is the best definition of the Greek word.

2 Alorbus, which has as limited a meaning as our word " sick-
ness," is commonly used only of bodily disease, yet, like " sick-
ness," is metaphorically applied to diseases of the mind or souL

On Grief. 141

gladness by the term just cited which designates
sickness, inasmuch as they are movements of the
soul not under the control of reason ; but we, rightly
as I think, call these same movements of an excited
mind perturbations, though you perhaps think

A. I entirely agree with you.

M. You think then that the wise man is liable
to these affections.

A. So it seems to me, without doubt.

M. That boastful wisdom then is not to be held
in high esteem, if indeed it differs little from
insanity. 1

A. What ? Does every commotion of mind seem
to you insanity ?

M. Not indeed to me alone, but I understand,
marvellous as it often appears to me, that it was so
regarded by our ancestors many ages before Socra-
tes, from whom proceeds all this existing philoso-
phy of life and morals.

A. How is this?

M. Because the term " insanity " in itself implies
infirmity and disease of mind ; that is, the unsound-
ness and feebleness of mind to which this name is
usually given. Now philosophers term all disturb-
ances of mind "diseases," and maintain that no fool-
ish person is free from these diseases. But those
who are diseased are not sane ; 2 the minds of all
the unwise are diseased : therefore all the unwise are

1 Insania. 8 Sani.

142 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

insane. The same philosophers have maintained
that saneness of mind has for its basis a certain
tranquillity and self-consistency. The state of mind
that lacks these qualities they term " insanity," be-
cause in a disturbed mind, as in a disturbed body,
sanity cannot be.

5. With no less nicety of distinction philoso-
phers have called that affection of the soul in
which the light of the mind is wanting, " the loss
of mind," 1 and also being "out of one's mind." 2
Hence we must infer that those who gave these
names had the same opinion, which, derived from
Socrates, the Stoics have carefully retained, that
no unwise person is sane. For the mind affected by
any disease (and philosophers, as I have just said,

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