Cicero's Tusculan disputations - PDF Translated by Andrew Preston Peabody

Cicero's Tusculan disputations

Cicero's Tusculan disputations



From Introduction:

In the sixty-second year of his age (b. c. 46),  Cicero was overwhelmed by a series of public and domestic calamities. Julius Caesar, virtually sovereign of the Roman world, would have purchased his adherence at almost any price; but Cicero was ' not a man to be bought. He remained loyal to the Republic, of whose restoration he despaired, but 'whose memory made the usurper's yoke intolerably galling and oppressive. 

Of course, there was no longer a place for a free man and a patriot in the sycophantic Senate, nor would his services as an advocate has been propitious to a client's interest, in courts of law created by, and slavishly subservient to, the ruling power. 

His chosen vocation, that of an orator, was thus suspended, with little hope of an opportunity for resuming it; while the Philippics, two years later, showed, in all that made him, the most eloquent man of his time, if not of all time, culmination, not decline. Meanwhile, his home, which would have been his not an unwelcome refuge from the toil and care of public life, was made desolate. He was led, evidently not without reasons that would have seemed more than sufficient to the most rigid moralist of that age, to repudiate his wife Terentia, after a union of thirty-two years.

 About the same time, his utterly worthless son-in-law Dolabella repudiated his beloved daughter Tullia, who was dearer to him than any other human being had ever been. 

Tullia, at her father's Tusculan villa, gave birth to a son, the offspring of that brief and ill-starred union, and died suddenly at a moment of apparent convalescence. Under these accumulated trials Cicero had recourse to philosophy for support and relief; and, an eclectic in feeling and habit even more than in principle, he sought in the writings of the various schools with which he was conversant such remedies as they proffered. With him, reading and writing seem to have been simultaneous processes. His philosophical works always have the air of being composed with his books not only close at hand but very fresh in his recollection. 

In the stress of sorrow he wrote the Consolatio, in which he compiled all the suggestions of comfort and hope that came to him from his favourite authors, in part as they fell under his eye, in part as, inwardly digested and assimilated, they took such shape as his own mind alone could have given them. Of this treatise, we know little except him, but so much through his frequent references to it and quotations from it as to make us deeply regret its irrecoverable loss.

 It was manifestly an intensely subjective treatise, — his own strong self-exhortation, bearing the deep impress of his grief-stricken soul and of the manly fortitude and courage with which he girded himself for his remaining life-work.

 In this treatise he laid full stress on the night-side of' human experience, on the fickleness of fortune and I the liability of the most prosperous life to a bereavement in all that has been its joy, pride and glory; \ but at the same time he half lifted the veil — soon I to be sent away by the Lord of life 

the book details :
  • Author: Cicero
  • Translator: Andrew Preston Peabody
  • Publication date: 1886
  • Company: Boston: Little, Brown and Company

  • Download 10.4 MB

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