We see a Roman mind working through Greek philosophy, the fall of the Republic, the rise of the demagogy, and all the other topics we would expect to see a well-established man like Cicero work through during his time. Unfortunately for us, the readers, Cicero somehow managed to make this all sound rather droll. Part of my expectations were rested too high on the fact that I've seen his name in association with many Renaissance and Enlightenment era thinkers, who lay upon him heaps of praise.
Why did these classicists hold Cicero in such regard? There are so many other Latin thinkers who write of far more profound truths than he did. Maybe they were attracted to his diction, which wasn't all bad. There were a few segments I found charming, especially in the earlier selections of the book.
Cicero is very quotable in his writings on civil duties and friendship, but that doesn't mean he was particularly innovative. In spite of his circular arguments, we do encounter a few clever epithets in his writings. What we have, are a few creative slogans, surrounded by a sea of tired rhetoric. Cicero's method for philosophical discourse was what made his work fall short of achieving a significant truth. His decision to depict the leading political and cultural figures of his day in superficial, ersatz interaction felt insincere.
This mimicry of Plato felt uninspired. Maybe from an Ancient's perspective this wasn't so. I feel that with his education, which would have been truly exceptional for the time, Cicero could have done better. Instead, Cicero's dialogues circle and hover around the point, but never quite tackle it. This was probably the most frustrating part of reading On the Good Life. In his dialogues, we are perpetually aware of the point he is making, but we are never shaken by a profound truth.
By the time I finished this book, I had a hard time deciding if there was any positive insight I gained from it. In the end, the selections serve well as a first-hand account of Roman life and politics from the standpoint of someone who was a powerful and influential man within their society.
Aside from that and a few quotable sections in On Friendship and On Duties , it was hard for me to get much out of this book.
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Hopefully, we will always see Cicero in print and studied until the end of time. As for me, I'd say I've had enough Cicero to last me for awhile. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This volume brings together his tentative and undogmatic reflections on the good life, in which he discusses duty, friendship, the training of a statesman, and the importance of moral integrity in the search for happiness. On Friendship -- 4. Paperback , Penguin classic , pages. Published September 30th by Penguin first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about On the Good Life , please sign up. I'm sure there is an interesting discussion to be had by learned scholars.
I do not qualify, but I am curious. I'm looking for something more insightful than "They were wrong. Richard Munro This is a very good question. Especially when one considers the historic popularity of Cicero prior to the 19th century. The reason has to be the …more This is a very good question. The reason has to be the influence of the German school of philosophy and the German historical school. The Ciceronian style was the style of the church, of the universities, of the Jesuits.
So there was a reaction against his style and influence. And of course, most philosophers consider Cicero unoriginal and merely an interpreter of other, greater philosophers. So the 19th century so an eclipse of Cicero's reputation, especially, as Michael Grant writes, "as regards to his philosophical writings. But I would argue that Cicero combines the best aspects of Stoicism and other Greek philosophies in an eclectic way. As Grant writes "Cicero believe in individual human beings. He believed in their rights and their responsibilities and their freedom to make decisions without detailed interference from heaven and destiny.
See 1 question about On the Good Life…. Lists with This Book. Jun 02, Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of the main issues that I think atheists have to contend with is the question "if there is no god, why be moral? This provides a lot of answers that are though old very sound to such an argument. He gives a lot of ideas why morality leads to happiness. Why people would choose virtue over vice and so forth, leaving religion out of the question.
On Living and Dying Well
He offers stories of many in the town and those of popular favor luckily I had just read Plat One of the main issues that I think atheists have to contend with is the question "if there is no god, why be moral? He offers stories of many in the town and those of popular favor luckily I had just read Platos Gorgias before this one as I was able to get that reference. Whether or not you know these people he makes each case fairly well so that you can see the points that he is trying to convey. I think the major flaw with this work is his circular arguments, that don't seem to have any real outcomes despite his seeming to be able to procure an outcome from them.
This is both illogical and frustrating.
On Living and Dying Well by Marcus Tullius Cicero | ogozoqosolym.tk: Books
Like I said the best part of this work is not his philosophical rants it is the stories that embody his messages that I think endure. View all 5 comments. Jun 12, Stephen Heiner rated it it was amazing Shelves: Of course, Cicero never wrote a book called, "On the Good Life. The texts we consider in this little volume include: Discussions at Tusculum On Duties Laelius: On Friendship On the Orator The Dream of Scipio Each of these works has their highlights and while many of us remember Cicero as the major part of our third year Latin studies rightfully so, his Latin is wonderful , he's also a great transmitter of Greek thought, not simply in repeating Of course, Cicero never wrote a book called, "On the Good Life.
On Friendship On the Orator The Dream of Scipio Each of these works has their highlights and while many of us remember Cicero as the major part of our third year Latin studies rightfully so, his Latin is wonderful , he's also a great transmitter of Greek thought, not simply in repeating the best of what they said, but by also interpreting the sublimity of Greek thought through the lens of the ordered, propertied Roman world.
Some quotes worth pondering: He has done so by making himself an exemplar of moderation, courage, and wisdom. Such a man, as his possessions wax and wane and his children are born and die, will obediently submit to the ancient maxim which directs him to avoid extremes either of joy or grief: Socrates was perfectly right when he declared that there is a direct short-cut to winning a reputation: The second way is the easier of the two, especially if you happen to be rich.
But the first way is the finer and nobler, and more appropriate for a man of character and distinction. Both methods show the same generous desire to do a favor. But the former is merely a draft on one's financial capital, whereas the latter means drawing on one's own personal energies. Besides, drafts on capital tend to mean that the source of the generosity will in due course dry up. Generosity of this kind, in other words, is self-destructive: But if someone is kind and generous with actions involving his own personal abilities and efforts, the more individuals he assists the more helpers he can mobilize for further acts of assistance hereafter.
Besides, he will have got into a habit of kindness, which will make him more prepared and better trained for performing similar services on a wider scale in the future. But then he replied: Besides, when it is material property that people are acquiring, they have no idea who is really going to benefit from these goods in the end; they cannot guess on whose behalf, ultimately, they have gone to all this bother.
For possessions of this kind get passed on - they go to the next man whose turn it is to rise to the top. Friendship, on the other hand, remains a firm and durable asset.
Indeed, even if a man does manage to keep his hands on fortune's transitory gifts, his life will still remain unhappy if it is empty and devoid of friends. Cicero , after more than two-thousand years, remains a delight to read. This edition, selected and translated by Thomas Habinek, consists mainly of two long excerpts, from the Tusculan Disputations and On Duties. What On Living and Dying Well accomplishes is to remind us once again that the writings of the ancients are as relevant to us today in a way that contemporary philosophers are not.
Nothing is more basic to the human experience than the great Tusculan Disputations. It answers the question Cicero , after more than two-thousand years, remains a delight to read. It answers the question: Hoe are we to take the certainty that we will sicken and die? At the end of Book One, he writes: For we weren't conceived and born rashly and without reason, but surely there was some power that made plans for the human race.
It didn't give birth to us and sustain us just so that when we had endured to the end all kinds of struggles we would fall into the endless evil of death. Let us suppose instead that a port or refuge has been prepared for us. If only we could approach it with sails unfurled! But if we are tossed by contrary winds, still it only means that we're delayed a little. Can something that everyone must undergo be a cause of misery to one?
Now that is the rhetorical question of all time, and with hat Cicero bows out. Our ancestors read Cicero and took him to heart. I think we should do so also.
Sep 17, Calenciaga rated it really liked it. Cicero pretty lit, Y'all. Dec 16, Daniel rated it liked it. On Friendship was incredible. On Duties was above average. Dream of Scipio was interesting. The Orator was unreadable. Oct 17, J. I also longed to read Cicero's works since I have known that he was brilliant as a second-to-none orator and writer in the Roman world. We readers can learn a lot from his works written some 2, years ago as well as from his cool character and scholarly ways of looking at things or at any contemporary event then with unique wisdom and appropriat I also longed to read Cicero's works since I have known that he was brilliant as a second-to-none orator and writer in the Roman world.
We readers can learn a lot from his works written some 2, years ago as well as from his cool character and scholarly ways of looking at things or at any contemporary event then with unique wisdom and appropriate action. Some of his quotes I like: For since the best part of a man is his mind, that, surely, must be where the best, the supreme good you are looking for, is located.
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You will recall that the most learned opinion identifies this as the creator and mother of every other noble art. Sep 30, Erica rated it it was ok Shelves: I expected grand truths. What else from a writer whose works have survived so long, who's influenced so many philosophers and authors over centuries?
I kept plowing through all the circular rubbish "All good things are enjoyable. What is enjoyable deserves credit and pride; that is to say, it is glorious: What is praiseworthy has to be morally good: I finally had to give it up though - halfway through "Discussions at Tusculum". I do admire his humanistic outlook in the politically oppressive environment he was living in and maybe some things have been lost in translation, but is Western philosophy setting aside the Greeks for a moment seriously based on these nonsensical foundations?
Aug 10, Richard Munro rated it it was amazing. I have probably read this book a dozen times. I have it in two editions. The introduction by Michael Grant about 50 pages is worth the price of this book. This is essentially an anthology of Cicero's philosophic and political essays. Michael Grant was a wonderful author and transl I have probably read this book a dozen times. Michael Grant was a wonderful author and translator and his introductions and his original translations are masterful and clear. He was one of the greatest classicists of his time. I have read dozens of his books.
Jan 28, Danielle rated it it was amazing. In a world where religiosity is often confused with 'goodness', it is always refreshing to read an ancient treatise on true 'goodness', and to realize that is aligns nicely with your own philosophy. Cicero states in a manner very difficult to refute that to attain those ideals that makes up the very best of humans automatically leads to happiness- courage, wisdom, and moral integrity.
Enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. His thoughts on dying and not fearing death were particularity good. Oct 07, Shelley rated it it was amazing Shelves: For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1, titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines.
Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. He was taken to Rome for his education with the idea of a public career and by the year 70 he had… More about Marcus Tullius Cicero. Philosophy Nonfiction Classics Literary Collections. Also by Marcus Tullius Cicero.
On the Good Life
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