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the Peripatetics claimed for them. This place, in-
deed, was virtually assigned to them by the later
Stoics in admitting the class of objects which they
designated as " preferable " or " desirable " (praeci-
pua, producta, sumenda), though not worthy to be
called " goods," which their disciples were at liberty
to seek as secondary objects, without swerving from
their allegiance to virtue as the sole good. Indeed
the terms " supreme " and " sole " as applied to the

Introduction. xxi

Good, will cover the entire ethical difference be-
tween the two schools as to this point. As to the
ethical doctrine of Aristotle, that virtue is the mean
between two extremes, Cicero here and always re-
pudiates it. Indeed, he always shows himself a
Stoic in his ethical sympathies, though tenderly
disposed toward even the admitted errors of the
New Academy.

I cannot forbear quoting here a few sentences
from the Preface of Erasmus to a new edition of
the Tusculan Disputations.

" A fresh perusal of the Tusculans has been of vast ben-
efit to me, not barely in giving freshness to my style, which
I count as of no little service, but much more in helping me
to govern and bridle my passions. How often, while read-
ing, have I thought with indignant scorn of the fools who
say that if you take away from Cicero his pompous array
of words, there remains nothing remarkable ! What proofs
there are in his works that he possessed all that the most
learned of the Greeks had written on right and happy liv-
ing! What choice, what abundance of the soundest and
the most holy maxims ! What knowledge of history, earlier
and more recent! What loftiness of thought on man's true
happiness! . . . When we see Pagans making so good a
use of a leisure so sad as Cicero's, and instead of seeking
the distraction of frivolous pleasures, finding consolation
in the precepts of philosophy, how is it that we are not
ashamed of our vain babbling and our luxurious living?
I know not what others think ; but for myself I confess
that I cannot read Cicero on the art of living well without
believing that there was in his soul a divine inspiration,
whence these writings came."

xxii Introduction.

The Brutus to whom the Tusculan Disputations
are inscribed was Marcus Junius Brutus, best known
as Julius Caesar's friend and assassin. Though he
had served not without credit in various military
and civil offices, he had been commonly regarded
as deficient in worldly wisdom, an opinion which
his subsequent career only too well justifies. But
he was a man of great learning, and had written
several philosophical works, among which were
treatises "On Duties," " On Virtue," "On Patience."
He belonged to the Peripatetic school

The form of dialogue was, as is well known, a
favorite method with the philosophers, from Plato
downward, perhaps before him. The A. and M. of
the Tusculan Disputations have been variously un-
derstood to denote respectively, Auditor, Adolescens,
Atticus, and Aulus; and Magister, and Marcus. I
am inclined to believe that they stand for Auditor
and Marcus.

I have used Moser's text ; in a very few instan-
ces, however, adopting a reading from the edition of
Otto Heine. My aim, as in previous translations
from Cicero, has been not to give what is com-
monly called a " literal " version, but to put Cicero's
thought unaltered into the best English forms at
my command.

In the Preface to my translation of the De Officiis
I expressed my belief that many of the "connective
and illative words that bind sentence to sentence"

Introduction. xxiii

used by Latin prose writers, which seem superflu-
ous to the English reader, were "employed as catch-
words for the eye, and that they served the purpose
now effected by punctuation and by the capital
letters at the beginning of sentences." On this
subject I take pleasure in submitting to my read-
ers the following letter from my friend Charles R
Lanman, Ph.D., Professor of Sanskrit in Harvard
University :

" Your opinion respecting the use of connectives and
illatives as catch-words for the eye is confirmed in an in-
teresting way by the usages of the writings of the second
period of Vedic literature, the Brahmanas. Their style is
so peculiar, that it would, in cases unnumbered, be ex-
tremely hard to tell where one sentence ends and another
begins, were it not for the frequent particle atha, which
marks the beginning of a new clause, and the postpositive
vai, which marks the preceding word as the first of its
clause. It would often be quite wrong to translate them
by a definite word. For written language, they do the
work of our modern marks of punctuation ; and in spoken
language, they must be rendered by inflection or by stress
of voice. I may add that in the absence of capital letters,
proper names are constantly distinguished from appella-
tives of identical form by the added word nama, ' by name '
or 'named.' "



1. AT a period when I was entirely or in great
part released from my labors as an advocate and
my duties as a senator, chiefly by your advice, Bru-
tus, I betook myself again to those pursuits which,
never out of mind, though suspended by the de-
mands upon my time, I renewed after a long inter-
val ; and since the theory and practice of the arts
that belong to the right mode of living are com-
prised in the study of that wisdom which is termed
philosophy, I deemed it fitting for me to discuss
subjects of this class in Latin. Not that philosophy
might not be learned from Greek books and teach-
ers ; but it has always been my opinion that those
of our own country either surpassed the Greeks in
wisdom as to original thought, or made essential
improvement in whatever, derived from the Greeks,
they regarded as worthy of elaboration. Thus we
certainly order the habits and rules of life, and
everything appertaining to the home and the family,


2 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

with more propriety and dignity than they ; and it
is equally certain that our ancestors were their
superiors in the laws and institutions with which
they maintained the well-being of the State. What
shall I say of military affairs ? in which the men
of our country have owed their eminent success,
largely indeed to prowess, still more largely to
discipline. Indeed, as to what they have attained
by nature, not by books, they are far beyond the
Greeks or any other nation; for what weight of
character, what firmness, magnanimity, probity,
good faith, what surpassing virtue of any type, has
been found in any other people to such a degree as
to make them the equals of our ancestors ?

Greece surpassed us in learning and in every
description of literature, in which it was easy to
excel when there were no competitors ; for while
with the Greeks the poets held the earliest place
among men of culture if, as is believed, Homer and
Hesiod lived before Rome was built, and Archilo-
chus during the reign of Romulus, our poetry bore
a later date. It was about five hundred and ten
years after the foundation of Rome that Livius 1
wrote his first play, in the consulship of Caius
Claudius, the son of Caecus, and Marcus Tuditanus,
a year before the birth of Ennius, who was older
than Plautus and Naevius.

2. It was, then, at a late period that poets were

1 Livius Andronicus, whose plays, Cicero says, are not worth
a second reading.

On the Contempt of Death. 3

known to our people or received l among them. It
is, indeed, recorded in Cato's " Origines " 2 that the
guests at entertainments used to sing the praises
of eminent men with the accompaniment of the
flute; but that poets were not held in honor appears
from one of Cato's speeches, in which he makes it
a reproach to Marcus Nobilior 3 that he took poets
with him into one of the provinces, he having, as
we know, when consul, taken Ennius to Aetolia.
Meanwhile, the less the honor paid to poetry, the
fewer there were who cultivated it; though such
few of our people as showed great genius in this
art did not fail to deserve equal reputation with
the Greeks. But if Fabius, 4 a man worthy of the
highest distinction, had received due praise as a
painter, can we suppose that there would not have
been many among us to emulate the fame of Poly-
cletus and Farrhasius ? Honor nourishes the arts,
and all are inflamed by the love of glory to the

1 None of the early Roman poets were natives of Rome. Thus
Livius came from Tarentum ; Naevius and Lucilius, from Cam-
pania ; Ennius, from Calabria ; Plautus, from Umbria ; Terence,
from Carthage.

2 A work of Cato, purporting to give the history of Rome from
its "origin" till the author's own time, together with the "ori-
gins " of the old towns and cities of Italy.

8 Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, who, as a lover of Greek literature
and art, drew upon himself Cato's hostility. Cato used to make
sport with his name, calling him Mobilior.

* Caius Fabius Pictor, who painted the temple of Salus, on the
Quirinal Hill, about 300 B. c. He was the earliest Roman of
distinguished rank who professed to be an artist.

4 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

pursuits by which it may be won, while those pur-
suits that are held in disesteem languish in neg-
lect. The Greeks regarded singing and playing on
stringed instruments as the highest accomplish-
ment. Thus Epaminondas, whom I consider as
the greatest of the Greeks, is said to have been
eminent as a singer and a lute-player, while, some
years earlier, Themistocles was thought to be poorly
educated because he declined to perform on the
lyre at an entertainment. Therefore musicians
flourished in Greece, and all learned music, nor
was one who was ignorant of it thought to be
properly educated. Geometry also was in the high-
est esteem among them, and none were more illus-
trious than the mathematicians; while in this art
we go no farther than is needful for the purpose of
measuring and calculating. 1

3. But, on the other hand, we early showed favor
to orators, who at first had little culture, but were
possessed of a fitness for public speaking, to which
they afterward added a suitable education ; for the
tradition is that Galba, Africanus, and Laelius were
learned men, that Cato, who was their senior, was
a man of studious habits, and so in later time were
Lepidus, Carbo, the Gracchi. Thence till now we

1 With some exceptions. Cicero (De Officiis, i. 6) speaks of
Caius Sulpicius as versed in astronomy, and of Sextns Pompeiws
as equally an adept in geometry. As Caius Sulpicius is known
to have calculated an eclipse, he must have been conversant with
mathematical no less than with descriptive astronomy.

On the Contempt of Death. 5

have had a series of orators so deservedly eminent
that Greece has little or no advantage of us. Mean-
while philosophy has been neglected down to the
present day, nor has it had a single Latin author
who has thrown light upon it. My purpose is so
to illustrate it and place it before the public mind
that if in my busy life I have been of any service
to my fellow-citizens, I may, if possible, serve them
in my leisure. It is incumbent on me to be the
more elaborate, because it is said that there are
already in this department many Latin books care-
lessly written, by men who are indeed very good,
but not sufficiently learned. 1 One may think cor-
rectly, yet be unable to give elegant expression to
what he thinks; and in that case for a man to com-
mit his thoughts to writing when he can neither
arrange them, nor illustrate them, nor attract read-
ers by anything that can give them delight, is the
part of a man who outrageously abuses both leisure
and letters. Such writers read their own books
with their intimate friends, nor does any one else
touch them except those who crave for themselves
like liberty of writing. If then by my industry I
have won any reputation as an orator, with all the

1 We have the names hardly anything more of several
writers of the Epicurean school who were before Cicero. One of
these was Amannius, whom Cicero elsewhere criticises as deficient
in arrangement and in style. Catius also is mentioned by Cicero
as a writer not otherwise than agreeable, but of little substantial
merit. Cicero always speaks contemptuously of the Epicurean
philosophy and its expounders.

6 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

more strenuous industry I shall open the fountains
of philosophy, from which my success has flowed.

4. But as Aristotle, a man of consummate genius,
learning, and versatility of resource, moved by the
fame of Isocrates, the rhetorician, began himself
to teach young men to speak, and thus to unite
wisdom with eloquence, so it seems good to me,
without laying aside my old pursuit of oratory, to
busy myself in this greater and more fruitful de-
partment of philosophy ; for I have always thought
it the perfection of philosophy to be able to discuss
the most momentous questions copiously and ele-
gantly. To this exercise I have devoted myself so
zealously that I would now even dare to hold dis-
putations after the manner of the Greeks. Thus
lately, after you had left Tusculum, several friends
being with me, I tried what I could accomplish in
this way ; for as I used to declaim forensic pleas, and
did so longer than any one else, so this is now the
declamation of my old age. I asked for the nam-
ing of a subject on which any person present
wanted to hear me speak, and I discussed it either
sitting or walking. I have here put the dispu-
tations schools 1 the Greeks call them of five
days into as many books. When he who started
the discussion had said what he wanted to say, I
answered him. This is, as you know, the ancient
and Socratic method of discoursing against another
person's opinion ; for Socrates thought this the best

On the Contempt of Death. 7

way of determining what has the nearest semblance
to truth. In order to put our disputations into a
more convenient form, I will write them out in
dialogue, not in narrative. So then we will begin.

5. A. Death seems to me an evil.

M. To those who are dead, or to those who are
going to die ?

A. To both.

M. It is then a cause of misery, since it is an

A. Certainly.

M. Then both those to whom death has already
happened and those to whom it is going to happen
are miserable.

A. So I think.

M. Therefore there is no one who is not miserable.

A. Absolutely no one.

M. In truth, if you mean to be consistent with
yourself, all who ever have been born or will be
born are not only miserable, but also perpetually
miserable. For if you were to call those miserable
who were going to die, you could except no one
of those who were living, since they all must die ;
yet there might be an end of misery in death. But
since the dead also are miserable, we are born to
eternal misery; for those must be miserable who
died a hundred thousand years ago, indeed, this
must be true of all who were ever born.

A. Such is my opinion.

M. Tell me, I pray you, are you terrified by such

8 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

things as the three-headed Cerberus in the infernal
regions ? The murmur of the current of Cocytus ?
The ferry across the Acheron ? Tantalus

" Half-dead with thirst, up to his chin in water " ? 1

Or the story

"Of panting Sisyphus, rolling the rock,
Which still rebounds, and never nears the summit " ? z

Or, perchance, of those inexorable judges, Minos
and Rhadamanthus ? before whom neither Lucius
Crassus nor Marcus Antonius will defend you, nor
yet, while the judges are Greeks, can you command
Demosthenes as your advocate, but must plead
your own cause before a vast multitude. You per-
haps fear these things, and therefore regard death
as an eternal evil.

6. A. Do you think that I am such a fool as to
believe these things ?

M. Do you not believe them ?

A. By no means.

M. I am sorry to hear you say so.

A. "Why ? pray.

M. Because I could be eloquent in talking against
those stories.

A. Who would not be eloquent on such a theme ?
What difficulty is there in showing the falsity of
the horrors invented by poets and painters ?

M. Yet the books of philosophers are full of ar-
guments against these very things.

1 A verse from some lost poem. 2 From Lucilius.

On the Contempt of Death. 9

A. This is utterly needless; for who is so feeble-
minded as to be moved by them ?

M. If then there are no miserable beings in the
underworld, 1 there are no beings at all in the under-

A. That is precisely what I think.

M. Where then are those whom you call misera-
ble ? Or what place do they inhabit ? For if they
exist, they cannot be nowhere.

A. But I think that they are nowhere.

M. Then do you think that they do not exist ?

A. Precisely so; and yet I regard them as miser-
able for the very reason that they do not exist.

M. Now I would rather have you afraid of Cer-
berus, than that you should utter yourself about
these matters so foolishly.

A. What do you mean ?

M. You deny and affirm the existence of the
same person. Where is your discernment? For
when you say that a dead person is miserable, you
say that he exists who does not exist.

A. I am not so stupid as to say this.

M. What do you say then ?

A. That Marcus Crassus, for instance, who lost
that immense fortune by death, is miserable ; that
Cneius Pompeius, who was deprived of such great
glory, is miserable ; in fine, that all are miserable
who lack the light of this world.

M. You come round again to the same point;

1 Latin, apud inferos.

10 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

for if they are miserable, they must of necessity
exist ; but you just now denied the existence
of those who are dead. If then they are not,
they cannot be anything, therefore they are not

A. I perhaps fail to express what I mean ; for I
think it the extreme of misery not to be, after hav-
ing been.

M. What ? More miserable than never to have
been at all ? So those who are not yet born are
already miserable, because they do not exist ; and
we, if we are going to be miserable after death, were
miserable before we were born. But I do not re-
member having been miserable before I was born.
If you have a better memory, I should be glad to
know what you recollect about yourself.

7. A. You are in jest in representing me as call-
ing those who are not born, and not those who are
dead, miserable.

M. You at least say that those who are dead are

A. Yes, I say that they are miserable because
they are not, yet have been.

M. Do you not see that you are uttering contra-
dictory things ? For what can be so contradictory
as to say that he who is not is miserable, or is any-
thing else whatever ? When as you leave the city
by the Capena gate you see the tombs of Calatinus,
the Scipios, the Servilii, the Metelli, do you think
those men miserable ?

On the Contempt of Death. 11

A. Since you take umbrage at a mere word of
mine, I hereafter will not say that they are miser-
able, but will only call them miserable for the very
reason that they are not.

M. You do not say then, "Marcus Crassus is
miserable," but only " Miserable Marcus Crassus."

A. That is what I mean.

M. As if it were not necessary that whatever you
thus speak of either is or is not. Are you not con-
versant with the rudiments of logic ? This is among
its first principles : Every proposition for thus
I would, as now advised, express what is meant by
a%i(ojj,a ; l I will afterward give another definition
if I find a better every proposition asserts that
its predicate is either true or false as to its subject.
When therefore you say, " Miserable Marcus Cras-
sus," you either say, " Marcus Crassus is miserable,"
so that it can be determined whether the assertion
is true or false, or you say nothing at all.

A. I grant that those who are dead are not mis- ,
erable, since you have compelled me to confess that
those who do not exist at all cannot be miserable.
Yet are not we who live miserable, seeing that we
must die ? For what pleasure can there be in life,
while by day and by night we cannot but think
that we may die at any moment ?

1 Axiom. The term, however, is not used in its mathematical
sense of a self-evident truth. It is employed to denote a logical
proposition. The logical principle here referred to is the law of
Excluded Middle, " Everything must either be or not be." >

12 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

8. M. Do you not then understand of how much
evil you have relieved the condition of man ?

A. How?

M. Because if death made the dead miserable,
we should then have among the conditions of life a
certain infinite and eternal evil. But now I see a
goal, which reached, there is nothing more to be
feared. But you seem to me to follow the opinion
of Epicharmus, a man of discernment, and, for a
Sicilian, 1 not without good sense.

A. What does he say ? for I do not know.

M. I will give you what he says, in Latin, if I
can ; but you are aware that I am not wont to put
Greek into Latin any more than Latin into Greek.

A. And you are in the right there ; but I want
to hear this opinion of Epicharmus.

M. " I dread to die, but dread not being dead." a

A. I recognize the Greek 8 in this. But since
you have compelled me to grant that those who are

1 Epicharmus was born in Cos, but was taken in his infancy to
Sicily, and lived for the rest of his days, first iu Megara, and then
in Syracuse. He was both a comic poet and a Pythagorean phi-
losopher ; and in the fragments of his comedies that are extant
there is a strange mixture of buffoonery and philosophy. Though
he wrote much expressly on philosophical subjects, the verse
quoted here is evidently from one of his comedies.

2 The Greek verse of Epicharmus is lost, though among his
fragments there are sentiments not unlike that expressed in
Cicero's translation. Cicero's verse is,

" Emori nolo; sed me esse mortuum nihil aestumo."
I * The Greek weakness, effeminacy, timidity, as opposed to the
defiant hardihood and bravery in which the Romans took pride.

On the Contempt of Death. 13

dead are not miserable, convince me, if you can,
that it is not misery to be under the necessity of

M. This will give me no trouble; but I shall
attempt yet greater things.

A. How can this give you no trouble ? And
what are the greater things of which you speak ?

M. To answer your first question, Since after
death there is no evil, death surely is not an evil.
Immediately succeeding it is the time after death,
in which you grant that there is no evil. There-
fore the necessity of dying is not an evil ; for dying
is but reaching the condition which, as you and I
agree, is not an evil. \ iV* VU A^> v)L ^ ^ r* - j[.

A. I beg you to explain this more clearly; for
these somewhat subtile arguments compel me to
admit their force before I feel fully convinced.
Then too, what are the greater things which you
promise to attempt ?

M. To teach you, if I can, that death is not only
no evil, but a good.

A. This I by no means claim from you, yet I
shall be glad to hear your reasoning; for though
you may not fully accomplish your purpose, you
will at least prove that death is not an evil. But
I will not interrupt you. I would rather hear a
continuous discourse.

M. What do you mean ? If I ask you a ques-
tion, will you not answer ?

A. To refuse to answer would, indeed, be inso-

14 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.

lent ; but I would rather that you would not ask
me anything, unless it be necessary.

9. M. I will do as you say, and will explain
these things to the utmost of my ability, yet not
with the assurance befitting the Pythian Apollo,
that all that I say is certain and beyond dispute,
but as an ordinary man l endeavoring to conjecture
what is probable ; for I will go no further than to
state probabilities, while those will speak with
certainty, who both maintain that these things can
be ascertained with precision, and profess them-
selves to be possessed of infallible wisdom.

A. Take the course that seems to you best. I
am ready to listen.

M. We ought, then, first to see what death,
which seems to be thoroughly well known, really
is. There are those who think that death is a sep-
aration of the soul from the body, and others who
maintain that there is no separation, but that soul
and body perish together, the soul being extin-
guished in the body. Of those who think that the
soul leaves the body, some say that it is immedi-
ately dispersed so as to have no longer a separate
existence ; others, that it continues long in being ; 2

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