Treatise on the Laws – Cicero
As a companion work to the Republic, Cicero wrote the ‘Treatise on the Laws’, De Legibus, which was almost certainly not published in Cicero’s lifetime, and possibly had not received the last touches when he died. There are three books extant, with gaps in them; but a fifth book is quoted. While the Republic describes the ideal state, the Laws discusses its statutes, so that the later work sometimes repeats the thought of the former. Thus the first book of the Laws lays as a foundation for the whole treatment of laws the thesis that all law is derived from God, through our inborn sense of justice; and this is also the subject of the third book of the Republic. The second and third books of the Laws are concerned with religion and with magistracies; two topics that in some form or other were touched upon in the latter half of the ‘De Republica.’
Treatise on the Laws.
Available at amazon.com and other venues.
Biography of Cicero (from Wikipedia):
Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman politician and lawyer, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.
His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher.
Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. It was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by executing five conspirators without due process. During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar’s death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. He was proscripted as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed in the Roman Forum.
Petrarch’s rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, “the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity.” The peak of Cicero’s authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume, Montesquieu and Edmund Burke was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
Publisher’s Note: This book is printed and distributed by Createspace a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC and is typically not available anywhere else than in stores owned and operated by Amazon or Createspace.