ACADEMICA OF CICERO.
THE TEXT REVISED AND EXPLAINED
JAMES S. REID,
M.L. CAMB. M.A. (LOND.) ASSISTANT TUTOR AND LATE FELLOW, CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE; ASSISTANT EXAMINER IN CLASSICS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.
LONDON: MACMILLAN AND CO. 1874
[All Rights reserved.]
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TO THOSE OF HIS PUPILS WHO HAVE READ WITH HIM THE ACADEMICA, THIS EDITION IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY THE EDITOR.
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Since the work of Davies appeared in 1725, no English scholar has edited the Academica. In Germany the last edition with explanatory notes is that of Goerenz, published in 1810. To the poverty and untrustworthiness of Goerenz's learning Madvig's pages bear strong evidence; while the work of Davies, though in every way far superior to that of Goerenz, is very deficient when judged by the criticism of the present time.
This edition has grown out of a course of Intercollegiate lectures given by me at Christ's College several years ago. I trust that the work in its present shape will be of use to undergraduate students of the Universities, and also to pupils and teachers alike in all schools where the philosophical works of Cicero are studied, but especially in those where an attempt is made to impart such instruction in the Ancient Philosophy as will prepare the way for the completer knowledge now required in the final Classical Examinations for Honours both at Oxford and Cambridge. My notes have been written throughout with a practical reference to the needs of junior students. During the last three or four years I have read the Academica with a large number of intelligent pupils, and there is scarcely a note of mine which has not been suggested by some difficulty or want of theirs. My plan has been, first, to embody in an Introduction such information concerning Cicero's philosophical views and the literary history of the Academica as could not be readily got from existing books; next, to provide a good text; then to aid the student in obtaining a higher knowledge of Ciceronian Latinity, and lastly, to put it in his power to learn thoroughly the philosophy with which Cicero deals.
My text may be said to be founded on that of Halm which appeared in the edition of Cicero's philosophical works published in 1861 under the editorship of Baiter and Halm as a continuation of Orelli's second edition of Cicero's works, which was interrupted by the death of that editor. I have never however allowed one of Halm's readings to pass without carefully weighing the evidence he presents; and I have also studied all original criticisms upon the text to which I could obtain access. The result is a text which lies considerably nearer the MSS. than that of Halm. My obligations other than those to Halm are sufficiently acknowledged in my notes; the chief are to Madvig's little book entitled Emendationes ad Ciceronis libros Philosophicos, published in 1825 at Copenhagen, but never, I believe, reprinted, and to Baiter's text in the edition of Cicero's works by himself and Kayser. In a very few passages I have introduced emendations of my own, and that only where the conjecttires of other Editors seemed to me to depart too widely from the MSS. If any apology be needed for discussing, even sparingly, in the notes, questions of textual criticism, I may say that I have done so from a conviction that the very excellence of the texts now in use is depriving a Classical training of a great deal of its old educational value. The judgment was better cultivated when the student had to fight his way through bad texts to the author's meaning and to a mastery of the Latin tongue. The acceptance of results without a knowledge of the processes by which they are obtained is worthless for the purposes of education, which is thus made to rest on memory alone. I have therefore done my best to place before the reader the arguments for and against different readings in the most important places where the text is doubtful.
My experience as a teacher and examiner has proved to me that the students for whom this edition is intended have a far smaller acquaintance than they ought to have with the peculiarities and niceties of language which the best Latin writers display. I have striven to guide them to the best teaching of Madvig, on whose foundation every succeeding editor of Cicero must build. His edition of the De Finibus contains more valuable material for illustrating, not merely the language, but also the subject-matter of the Academica, than all the professed editions of the latter work in existence. Yet, even after Madvig's labours, a great deal remains to be done in pointing out what is, and what is not, Ciceronian Latin. I have therefore added very many references from my own reading, and from other sources. Wherever a quotation would not have been given but for its appearance in some other work, I have pointed out the authority from whom it was taken. I need hardly say that I do not expect or intend readers to look out all the references given. It was necessary to provide material by means of which the student might illustrate for himself a Latin usage, if it were new to him, and might solve any linguistic difficulty that occurred. Want of space has compelled me often to substitute a mere reference for an actual quotation.
As there is no important doctrine of Ancient Philosophy which is not touched upon somewhere in the Academica, it is evidently impossible for an editor to give information which would be complete for a reader who is studying that subject for the first time. I have therefore tried to enable readers to find easily for themselves the information they require, and have only dwelt in my own language upon such philosophical difficulties as were in some special way bound up with the Academica. The two books chiefly referred to in my notes are the English translation of Zeller's Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (whenever Zeller is quoted without any further description this book is meant), and the Historia Philosophiae of Ritter and Preller. The pages, not the sections, of the fourth edition of this work are quoted. These books, with Madvig's De Finibus, all teachers ought to place in the hands of pupils who are studying a philosophical work of Cicero. Students at the Universities ought to have constantly at hand Diogenes Laertius, Stobaeus, and Sextus Empiricus, all of which have been published in cheap and convenient forms.
Although this edition is primarily intended for junior students, it is hoped that it may not be without interest for maturer scholars, as bringing together much scattered information illustrative of the Academica, which was before difficult of access. The present work will, I hope, prepare the way for an exhaustive edition either from my own or some more competent hand. It must be regarded as an experiment, for no English scholar of recent times has treated any portion of Cicero's philosophical works with quite the purpose which I have kept in view and have explained above. Should this attempt meet with favour, I propose to edit after the same plan some others of the less known and less edited portions of Cicero's writings.
In dealing with a subject so unusually difficult and so rarely edited I cannot hope to have escaped errors, but after submitting my views to repeated revision during four years, it seems better to publish them than to withhold from students help they so greatly need. Moreover, it is a great gain, even at the cost of some errors, to throw off that intellectual disease of over-fastidiousness which is so prevalent in this University, and causes more than anything else the unproductiveness of English scholarship as compared with that of Germany,
I have only to add that I shall be thankful for notices of errors and omissions from any who are interested in the subject.
JAMES S. REID.
CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, December, 1873.
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THIS WORK.
Cic. = Cicero; Ac., Acad. = Academica; Ac., Acad. Post. = Academica Posteriora; D.F. = De Finibus; T.D. = Tusculan Disputations; N.D. = De Natura Deorum; De Div. = De Divinatione; Parad. = Paradoxa; Luc. = Lucullus; Hortens. = Hortensius; De Off. = De Officiis; Tim. = Timaeus; Cat. Mai. = Cato Maior; Lael. = Laelius; De Leg. = De Legibus; De Rep. = De Republica; Somn. Scip. = Somnium Scipionis; De Or. = De Oratore; Orat. = Orator; De Inv. = De Inventione; Brut. = Brutus; Ad Att. = Ad Atticum; Ad Fam. = Ad Familiares; Ad Qu. Frat. = Ad Quintum Fratrem; In Verr., Verr. = In Verrem; Div. in. Qu. Caec. = Divinatio in Quintum Caecilium; In Cat. = In Catilinam.
Plat. = Plato: Rep. = Republic; Tim. = Timaeus; Apol. = Apologia Socratis; Gorg. = Gorgias; Theaet. = Theaetetus.
Arist. = Aristotle; Nic. Eth. = Nicomachean Ethics; Mag. Mor. = Magna Moralia; De Gen. An. = De Generatione Animalium; De Gen. et Corr. = De Generatione et Corruptione; Anal. Post. = Analytica Posteriora; Met. = Metaphysica; Phys. = Physica.
Plut. = Plutarch; De Plac. Phil. = De Placitis Philosophorum; Sto. Rep. = De Stoicis Repugnantiis.
Sext. = Sextus; Sext. Emp. = Sextus Empiricus; Adv. Math. or A.M. = Adversus Mathematicos; Pyrrh. Hypotyp. or Pyrrh. Hyp. or P.H. = Pyrrhoneon Hypotyposeon Syntagmata.
Diog. or Diog. Laert. = Diogenes Laertius.
Stob. = Stobaeus; Phys. = Physica; Eth. = Ethica.
Galen; De Decr. Hipp. et Plat. = De Decretis Hippocratis et Platonis.
Euseb. = Eusebius; Pr. Ev. = Praeparatio Evangelii.
Aug. or August. = Augustine; Contra Ac. or C. Ac. = Contra Academicos; De Civ. Dei = De Civitate Dei.
Quintil. = Quintilian; Inst. Or. = Institutiones Oratoriae.
Seneca; Ep. = Epistles; Consol. ad Helv. = Consolatio ad Helvidium.
Epic. = Epicurus; Democr. = Democritus.
Madv. = Madvig; M.D.F. = Madvig's edition of the De Finibus; Opusc. = Opuscula; Em. = Emendationes ad Ciceronis libros Philosophicos; Em. Liv. = Emendationes Livianae; Gram. = Grammar.
Bentl. = Bentley; Bait. = Baiter; Dav. = Davies; Ern. = Ernesti; Forc. = Forcellini; Goer. = Goerenz; Herm. = Hermann; Lamb. = Lambinus; Man. or Manut. = Manutius; Turn. = Turnebus; Wes. or Wesenb. = Wesenberg.
Corss. = Corssen; Ausspr. = Aussprache, Vokalismus und Betonung.
Curt. = Curtius; Grundz. = Grundzuege der Griechischen Etymologie.
Corp. Inscr. = Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
Dict. Biogr. = Dictionary of Classical Biography.
Cf. = compare; conj. = 'conjecture' or 'conjectures'; conjug. = conjugation; constr. = construction; ed. = edition; edd. = editors; em. = emendation; ex. = example; exx. = examples; exc. = except; esp. = especially; fragm. = fragment or fragments; Gr. and Gk. = Greek; Introd. = Introduction; Lat. = Latin; n. = note; nn. = notes; om. = omit, omits, or omission; prep. = preposition; qu. = quotes or quoted by; subj. = subjunctive.
R. and P. = Ritter and Preller's Historia Philosophiae ex fontium locis contexta.
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THE ACADEMICA OF CICERO.
I. Cicero as a Student of Philosophy and Man of Letters: 90—45 B.C.
It would seem that Cicero's love for literature was inherited from his father, who, being of infirm health, lived constantly at Arpinum, and spent the greater part of his time in study. From him was probably derived that strong love for the old Latin dramatic and epic poetry which his son throughout his writings displays. He too, we may conjecture, led the young Cicero to feel the importance of a study of philosophy to serve as a corrective for the somewhat narrow rhetorical discipline of the time.
Cicero's first systematic lessons in philosophy were given him by the Epicurean Phaedrus, then at Rome because of the unsettled state of Athens, whose lectures he attended at a very early age, even before he had assumed the toga virilis. The pupil seems to have been converted at once to the tenets of the master. Phaedrus remained to the end of his life a friend of Cicero, who speaks warmly in praise of his teacher's amiable disposition and refined style. He is the only Epicurean, with, perhaps, the exception of Lucretius, whom the orator ever allows to possess any literary power. Cicero soon abandoned Epicureanism, but his schoolfellow, T. Pomponius Atticus, received more lasting impressions from the teaching of Phaedrus. It was probably at this period of their lives that Atticus and his friend became acquainted with Patro, who succeeded Zeno of Sidon as head of the Epicurean school.
At this time (i.e. before 88 B.C.) Cicero also heard the lectures of Diodotus the Stoic, with whom he studied chiefly, though not exclusively, the art of dialectic. This art, which Cicero deems so important to the orator that he calls it "abbreviated eloquence," was then the monopoly of the Stoic school. For some time Cicero spent all his days with Diodotus in the severest study, but he seems never to have been much attracted by the general Stoic teaching. Still, the friendship between the two lasted till the death of Diodotus, who, according to a fashion set by the Roman Stoic circle of the time of Scipio and Laelius, became an inmate of Cicero's house, where he died in B.C. 59, leaving his pupil heir to a not inconsiderable property. He seems to have been one of the most accomplished men of his time, and Cicero's feelings towards him were those of gratitude, esteem, and admiration.
In the year 88 B.C. the celebrated Philo of Larissa, then head of the Academic school, came to Rome, one of a number of eminent Greeks who fled from Athens on the approach of its siege during the Mithridatic war. Philo, like Diodotus, was a man of versatile genius: unlike the Stoic philosopher, he was a perfect master both of the theory and the practice of oratory. Cicero had scarcely heard him before all inclination for Epicureanism was swept from his mind, and he surrendered himself wholly, as he tells us, to the brilliant Academic. Smitten with a marvellous enthusiasm he abandoned all other studies for philosophy. His zeal was quickened by the conviction that the old judicial system of Rome was overthrown for ever, and that the great career once open to an orator was now barred.
We thus see that before Cicero was twenty years of age, he had been brought into intimate connection with at least three of the most eminent philosophers of the age, who represented the three most vigorous and important Greek schools. It is fair to conclude that he must have become thoroughly acquainted with their spirit, and with the main tenets of each. His own statements, after every deduction necessitated by his egotism has been made, leave no doubt about his diligence as a student. In his later works he often dwells on his youthful devotion to philosophy. It would be unwise to lay too much stress on the intimate connection which subsisted between the rhetorical and the ethical teaching of the Greeks; but there can be little doubt that from the great rhetorician Molo, then Rhodian ambassador at Rome, Cicero gained valuable information concerning the ethical part of Greek philosophy.
During the years 88—81 B.C., Cicero employed himself incessantly with the study of philosophy, law, rhetoric, and belles lettres. Many ambitious works in the last two departments mentioned were written by him at this period. On Sulla's return to the city after his conquest of the Marian party in Italy, judicial affairs once more took their regular course, and Cicero appeared as a pleader in the courts, the one philosophic orator of Rome, as he not unjustly boasts. For two years he was busily engaged, and then suddenly left Rome for a tour in Eastern Hellas. It is usually supposed that he came into collision with Sulla through the freedman Chrysogonus, who was implicated in the case of Roscius. The silence of Cicero is enough to condemn this theory, which rests on no better evidence than that of Plutarch. Cicero himself, even when mentioning his speech in defence of Roscius, never assigns any other cause for his departure than his health, which was being undermined by his passionate style of oratory.
The whole two years 79—77 B.C. were spent in the society of Greek philosophers and rhetoricians. The first six months passed at Athens, and were almost entirely devoted to philosophy, since, with the exception of Demetrius Syrus, there were no eminent rhetorical teachers at that time resident in the city. By the advice of Philo himself, Cicero attended the lectures of that clear thinker and writer, as Diogenes calls him, Zeno of Sidon, now the head of the Epicurean school. In Cicero's later works there are several references to his teaching. He was biting and sarcastic in speech, and spiteful in spirit, hence in striking contrast to Patro and Phaedrus. It is curious to find that Zeno is numbered by Cicero among those pupils and admirers of Carneades whom he had known. Phaedrus was now at Athens, and along with Atticus who loved him beyond all other philosophers, Cicero spent much time in listening to his instruction, which was eagerly discussed by the two pupils. Patro was probably in Athens at the same time, but this is nowhere explicitly stated. Cicero must at this time have attained an almost complete familiarity with the Epicurean doctrines.
There seem to have been no eminent representatives of the Stoic school then at Athens. Nor is any mention made of a Peripatetic teacher whose lectures Cicero might have attended, though M. Pupius Piso, a professed Peripatetic, was one of his companions in this sojourn at Athens. Only three notable Peripatetics were at this time living. Of these Staseas of Naples, who lived some time in Piso's house, was not then at Athens; it is probable, however, from a mention of him in the De Oratore, that Cicero knew himm through Piso. Diodorus, the pupil of Critolaus, is frequently named by Cicero, but never as an acquaintance. Cratippus was at this time unknown to him.
The philosopher from whose lessons Cicero certainly learned most at this period was Antiochus of Ascalon, now the representative of a Stoicised Academic school. Of this teacher, however, I shall have to treat later, when I shall attempt to estimate the influence he exercised over our author. It is sufficient here to say that on the main point which was in controversy between Philo and Antiochus, Cicero still continued to think with his earlier teacher. His later works, however, make it evident that he set a high value on the abilities and the learning of Antiochus, especially in dialectic, which was taught after Stoic principles. Cicero speaks of him as eminent among the philosophers of the time, both for talent and acquirement ; as a man of acute intellect; as possessed of a pointed style; in fine, as the most cultivated and keenest of the philosophers of the age. A considerable friendship sprang up between Antiochus and Cicero, which was strengthened by the fact that many friends of the latter, such as Piso, Varro, Lucullus and Brutus, more or less adhered to the views of Antiochus. It is improbable that Cicero at this time became acquainted with Aristus the brother of Antiochus, since in the Academica he is mentioned in such a way as to show that he was unknown to Cicero in B.C. 62.
The main purpose of Cicero while at Athens had been to learn philosophy; in Asia and at Rhodes he devoted himself chiefly to rhetoric, under the guidance of the most noted Greek teachers, chief of whom, was his old friend Molo, the coryphaeus of the Rhodian school. Cicero, however, formed while at Rhodes one friendship which largely influenced his views of philosophy, that with Posidonius the pupil of Panaetius, the most famous Stoic of the age. To him Cicero makes reference in his works oftener than to any other instructor. He speaks of him as the greatest of the Stoics; as a most notable philosopher, to visit whom Pompey, in the midst of his eastern campaigns, put himself to much trouble; as a minute inquirer. He is scarcely ever mentioned without some expression of affection, and Cicero tells us that he read his works more than those of any other author. Posidonius was at a later time resident at Rome, and stayed in Cicero's house. Hecato the Rhodian, another pupil of Panaetius, may have been at Rhodes at this time. Mnesarchus and Dardanus, also hearers of Panaetius, belonged to an earlier time, and although Cicero was well acquainted with the works of the former, he does not seem to have known either personally.
From the year 77 to the year 68 B.C., when the series of letters begins, Cicero was doubtless too busily engaged with legal and political affairs to spend much time in systematic study. That his oratory owed much to philosophy from the first he repeatedly insists; and we know from his letters that it was his later practice to refresh his style by much study of the Greek writers, and especially the philosophers. During the period then, about which we have little or no information, we may believe that he kept up his old knowledge by converse with his many Roman friends who had a bent towards philosophy, as well as with the Greeks who from time to time came to Rome and frequented the houses of the Optimates; to this he added such reading as his leisure would allow. The letters contained in the first book of those addressed to Atticus, which range over the years 68—62 B.C., afford many proofs of the abiding strength of his passion for literary employment. In the earlier part of this time we find him entreating Atticus to let him have a library which was then for sale; expressing at the same time in the strongest language his loathing for public affairs, and his love for books, to which he looks as the support of his old age. In the midst of his busiest political occupations, when he was working his hardest for the consulship, his heart was given to the adornment of his Tusculan villa in a way suited to his literary and philosophic tastes. This may be taken as a specimen of his spirit throughout his life. He was before all things a man of letters; compared with literature, politics and oratory held quite a secondary place in his affections. Public business employed his intellect, but never his heart.
The year 62 released him from the consulship and enabled him to indulge his literary tastes. To this year belong the publication of his speeches, which were crowded, he says, with the maxims of philosophy; the history of his consulship, in Latin and Greek, the Greek version which he sent to Posidonius being modelled on Isocrates and Aristotle; and the poem on his consulship, of which some fragments remain. A year or two later we find him reading with enthusiasm the works of Dicaearchus, and keeping up his acquaintance with living Greek philosophers. His long lack of leisure seems to have caused an almost unquenchable thirst for reading at this time. His friend Paetus had inherited a valuable library, which he presented to Cicero. It was in Greece at the time, and Cicero thus writes to Atticus: "If you love me and feel sure of my love for you, use all the endeavours of your friends, clients, acquaintances, freedmen, and even slaves to prevent a single leaf from being lost.... Every day I find greater satisfaction in study, so far as my forensic labours permit." At this period of his life Cicero spent much time in study at his estates near Tusculum, Antium, Formiae, and elsewhere. I dwell with greater emphasis on these facts, because of the idea now spread abroad that Cicero was a mere dabbler in literature, and that his works were extempore paraphrases of Greek books half understood. In truth, his appetite for every kind of literature was insatiable, and his attainments in each department considerable. He was certainly the most learned Roman of his age, with the single exception of Varro. One of his letters to Atticus will give a fair picture of his life at this time. He especially studied the political writings of the Greeks, such as Theophrastus and Dicaearchus. He also wrote historical memoirs after the fashion, of Theopompus.
The years from 59—57 B.C. were years in which Cicero's private cares overwhelmed all thought of other occupation. Soon after his return from exile, in the year 56, he describes himself as "devouring literature" with a marvellous man named Dionysius, and laughingly pronouncing that nothing is sweeter than universal knowledge. He spent great part of the year 55 at Cumae or Naples "feeding upon" the library of Faustus Sulla, the son of the Dictator. Literature formed then, he tells us, his solace and support, and he would rather sit in a garden seat which Atticus had, beneath a bust of Aristotle, than in the ivory chair of office. Towards the end of the year, he was busily engaged on the De Oratore, a work which clearly proves his continued familiarity with Greek philosophy. In the following year (54) he writes that politics must cease for him, and that he therefore returns unreservedly to the life most in accordance with nature, that of the student. During this year he was again for the most part at those of his country villas where his best collections of books were. At this time was written the De Republica, a work to which I may appeal for evidence that his old philosophical studies had by no means been allowed to drop. Aristotle is especially mentioned as one of the authors read at this time. In the year 52 B.C. came the De Legibus, written amid many distracting occupations; a work professedly modelled on Plato and the older philosophers of the Socratic schools.
In the year 51 Cicero, then on his way to Cilicia, revisited Athens, much to his own pleasure and that of the Athenians. He stayed in the house of Aristus, the brother of Antiochus and teacher of Brutus. His acquaintance with this philosopher was lasting, if we may judge from the affectionate mention in the Brutus. Cicero also speaks in kindly terms of Xeno, an Epicurean friend of Atticus, who was then with Patro at Athens. It was at this time that Cicero interfered to prevent Memmius, the pupil of the great Roman Epicurean Lucretius, from destroying the house in which Epicurus had lived. Cicero seems to have been somewhat disappointed with the state of philosophy at Athens, Aristus being the only man of merit then resident there. On the journey from Athens to his province, he made the acquaintance of Cratippus, who afterwards taught at Athens as head of the Peripatetic school. At this time he was resident at Mitylene, where Cicero seems to have passed some time in his society. He was by far the greatest, Cicero said, of all the Peripatetics he had himself heard, and indeed equal in merit to the most eminent of that school.
The care of that disordered province Cilicia enough to employ Cicero's thoughts till the end of 50. Yet he yearned for Athens and philosophy. He wished to leave some memorial of himself at the beautiful city, and anxiously asked Atticus whether it would look foolish to build a [Greek: propylon] at the Academia, as Appius, his predecessor, had done at Eleusis. It seems the Athenians of the time were in the habit of adapting their ancient statues to suit the noble Romans of the day, and of placing on them fulsome inscriptions. Of this practice Cicero speaks with loathing. In one letter of this date he carefully discusses the errors Atticus had pointed out in the books De Republica. His wishes with regard to Athens still kept their hold upon his mind, and on his way home from Cilicia he spoke of conferring on the city some signal favour. Cicero was anxious to show Rhodes, with its school of eloquence, to the two boys Marcus and Quintus, who accompanied him, and they probably touched there for a few days. From thence they went to Athens, where Cicero again stayed with Aristus, and renewed his friendship with other philosophers, among them Xeno the friend of Atticus.
On Cicero's return to Italy public affairs were in a very critical condition, and left little room for thoughts about literature. The letters which belong to this time are very pathetic. Cicero several times contrasts the statesmen of the time with the Scipio he had himself drawn in the De Republica; when he thinks of Caesar, Plato's description of the tyrant is present to his mind; when, he deliberates about the course he is himself to take, he naturally recals the example of Socrates, who refused to leave Athens amid the misrule of the thirty tyrants. It is curious to find Cicero, in the very midst of civil war, poring over the book of Demetrius the Magnesian concerning concord; or employing his days in arguing with himself a string of abstract philosophical propositions about tyranny. Nothing could more clearly show that he was really a man of books; by nothing but accident a politician. In these evil days, however, nothing was long to his taste; books, letters, study, all in their turn became unpleasant.
As soon as Cicero had become fully reconciled to Caesar in the year 46 he returned with desperate energy to his old literary pursuits. In a letter written to Varro in that year, he says "I assure you I had no sooner returned to Rome than I renewed my intimacy with my old friends, my books." These gave him real comfort, and his studies seemed to bear richer fruit than in his days of prosperity. The tenor of all his letters at this time is the same: see especially the remaining letters to Varro and also to Sulpicius. The Partitiones Oratoriae, the Paradoxa, the Orator, and the Laudatio Catonis, to which Caesar replied by his Anticato, were all finished within the year. Before the end of the year the Hortensius and the De Finibus had probably both been planned and commenced. Early in the following year the Academica, the history of which I shall trace elsewhere, was written.
I have now finished the first portion of my task; I have shown Cicero as the man of letters and the student of philosophy during that portion of his life which preceded the writing of the Academica. Even the evidence I have produced, which does not include such indirect indications of philosophical study as might be obtained from the actual philosophical works of Cicero, is sufficient to justify his boast that at no time had he been divorced from philosophy. He was entitled to repel the charge made by some people on the publication of his first book of the later period—the Hortensius—that he was a mere tiro in philosophy, by the assertion that on the contrary nothing had more occupied his thoughts throughout the whole of a wonderfully energetic life. Did the scope of this edition allow it, I should have little difficulty in showing from a minute survey of his works, and a comparison of them with ancient authorities, that his knowledge of Greek philosophy was nearly as accurate as it was extensive. So far as the Academica is concerned, I have had in my notes an opportunity of defending Cicero's substantial accuracy; of the success of the defence I must leave the reader to judge. During the progress of this work I shall have to expose the groundlessness of many feelings and judgments now current which have contributed to produce a low estimate of Cicero's philosophical attainments, but there is one piece of unfairness which I shall have no better opportunity of mentioning than the present. It is this. Cicero, the philosopher, is made to suffer for the shortcomings of Cicero the politician. Scholars who have learned to despise his political weakness, vanity, and irresolution, make haste to depreciate his achievements in philosophy, without troubling themselves to inquire too closely into their intrinsic value. I am sorry to be obliged to instance the illustrious Mommsen, who speaks of the De Legibus as "an oasis in the desert of this dreary and voluminous writer." From political partizanship, and prejudices based on facts irrelevant to the matter in hand, I beg all students to free themselves in reading the Academica.
II. The Philosophical Opinions of Cicero.
In order to define with clearness the position of Cicero as a student of philosophy, it would be indispensable to enter into a detailed historical examination of the later Greek schools—the Stoic, Peripatetic, Epicurean and new Academic. These it would be necessary to know, not merely as they came from the hands of their founders, but as they existed in Cicero's age; Stoicism not as Zeno understood it, but as Posidonius and the other pupils of Panaetius propounded it; not merely the Epicureanism of Epicurus, but that of Zeno, Phaedrus, Patro, and Xeno; the doctrines taught in the Lyceum by Cratippus; the new Academicism of Philo as well as that of Arcesilas and Carneades; the medley of Academicism, Peripateticism, and Stoicism put forward by Antiochus in the name of the Old Academy. A systematic attempt to distinguish between the earlier and later forms of doctrine held by these schools is still a great desideratum. Cicero's statements concerning any particular school are generally tested by comparing them with the assertions made by ancient authorities about the earlier representatives of the school. Should any discrepancy appear, it is at once concluded that Cicero is in gross error, whereas, in all probability, he is uttering opinions which would have been recognised as genuine by those who were at the head of the school in his day. The criticism of Madvig even is not free from this error, as will be seen from my notes on several passages of the Academica. As my space forbids me to attempt the thorough inquiry I have indicated as desirable, I can but describe in rough outline the relation in which Cicero stands to the chief schools.
The two main tasks of the later Greek philosophy were, as Cicero often insists, the establishment of a criterion such as would suffice to distinguish the true from the false, and the determination of an ethical standard. We have in the Academica Cicero's view of the first problem: that the attainment of any infallible criterion was impossible. To go more into detail here would be to anticipate the text of the Lucullus as well as my notes. Without further refinements, I may say that Cicero in this respect was in substantial agreement with the New Academic school, and in opposition to all other schools. As he himself says, the doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible was the one Academic tenet against which all the other schools were combined. In that which was most distinctively New Academic, Cicero followed the New Academy.
It is easy to see what there was in such a tenet to attract Cicero. Nothing was more repulsive to his mind than dogmatism. As an orator, he was accustomed to hear arguments put forward with equal persuasiveness on both sides of a case. It seemed to him arrogant to make any proposition with a conviction of its absolute, indestructible and irrefragable truth. One requisite of a philosophy with him was that it should avoid this arrogance. Philosophers of the highest respectability had held the most opposite opinions on the same subjects. To withhold absolute assent from all doctrines, while giving a qualified assent to those which seemed most probable, was the only prudent course. Cicero's temperament also, apart from his experience as an orator, inclined him to charity and toleration, and repelled him from the fury of dogmatism. He repeatedly insists that the diversities of opinion which the most famous intellects display, ought to lead men to teach one another with all gentleness and meekness. In positiveness of assertion there seemed to be something reckless and disgraceful, unworthy of a self-controlled character. Here we have a touch of feeling thoroughly Roman. Cicero further urges arguments similar to some put forward by a long series of English thinkers from Milton to Mill, to show that the free conflict of opinion is necessary to the progress of philosophy, which was by that very freedom brought rapidly to maturity in Greece. Wherever authority has loudly raised its voice, says Cicero, there philosophy has pined. Pythagoras is quoted as a warning example, and the baneful effects of authority are often depicted. The true philosophic spirit requires us to find out what can be said for every view. It is a positive duty to discuss all aspects of every question, after the example of the Old Academy and Aristotle. Those who demand a dogmatic statement of belief are mere busybodies. The Academics glory in their freedom of judgment. They are not compelled to defend an opinion whether they will or no, merely because one of their predecessors has laid it down. So far does Cicero carry this freedom, that in the fifth book of the Tusculan Disputations, he maintains a view entirely at variance with the whole of the fourth book of the De Finibus, and when the discrepancy is pointed out, refuses to be bound by his former statements, on the score that he is an Academic and a freeman. "Modo hoc, modo illud probabilius videtur." The Academic sips the best of every school. He roams in the wide field of philosophy, while the Stoic dares not stir a foot's breadth away from Chrysippus. The Academic is only anxious that people should combat his opinions; for he makes it his sole aim, with Socrates, to rid himself and others of the mists of error. This spirit is even found in Lucullus the Antiochean. While professing, however, this philosophic bohemianism, Cicero indignantly repels the charge that the Academy, though claiming to seek for the truth, has no truth to follow. The probable is for it the true.
Another consideration which attracted Cicero to these tenets was their evident adaptability to the purposes of oratory, and the fact that eloquence was, as he puts it, the child of the Academy. Orators, politicians, and stylists had ever found their best nourishment in the teaching of the Academic and Peripatetic masters. The Stoics and Epicureans cared nothing for power of expression. Again, the Academic tenets were those with which the common sense of the world could have most sympathy. The Academy also was the school which had the most respectable pedigree. Compared with its system, all other philosophies were plebeian. The philosopher who best preserved the Socratic tradition was most estimable, ceteris paribus, and that man was Carneades.
In looking at the second great problem, that of the ethical standard, we must never forget that it was considered by nearly all the later philosophers as of overwhelming importance compared with the first. Philosophy was emphatically defined as the art of conduct (ars vivendi). All speculative and non-ethical doctrines were merely estimable as supplying a basis on which this practical art could be reared. This is equally true of the Pyrrhonian scepticism and of the dogmatism of Zeno and Epicurus. Their logical and physical doctrines were mere outworks or ramparts within which the ordinary life of the school was carried on. These were useful chiefly in case of attack by the enemy; in time of peace ethics held the supremacy. In this fact we shall find a key to unlock many difficulties in Cicero's philosophical writings. I may instance one passage in the beginning of the Academica Posteriora, which has given much trouble to editors. Cicero is there charged by Varro with having deserted the Old Academy for the New, and admits the charge. How is this to be reconciled with his own oft-repeated statements that he never recanted the doctrines Philo had taught him? Simply thus. Arcesilas, Carneades, and Philo had been too busy with their polemic against Zeno and his followers, maintained on logical grounds, to deal much with ethics. On the other hand, in the works which Cicero had written and published before the Academica, wherever he had touched philosophy, it had been on its ethical side. The works themselves, moreover, were direct imitations of early Academic and Peripatetic writers, who, in the rough popular view which regarded ethics mainly or solely, really composed a single school, denoted by the phrase "Vetus Academia." General readers, therefore, who considered ethical resemblance as of far greater moment than dialectical difference, would naturally look upon Cicero as a supporter of their "Vetus Academia," so long as he kept clear of dialectic; when he brought dialectic to the front, and pronounced boldly for Carneades, they would naturally regard him as a deserter from the Old Academy to the New. This view is confirmed by the fact that for many years before Cicero wrote, the Academic dialectic had found no eminent expositor. So much was this the case, that when Cicero wrote the Academica he was charged with constituting himself the champion of an exploded and discredited school.
Cicero's ethics, then, stand quite apart from his dialectic. In the sphere of morals he felt the danger of the principle of doubt. Even in the De Legibus when the dialogue turns on a moral question, he begs the New Academy, which has introduced confusion into these subjects, to be silent. Again, Antiochus, who in the dialectical dialogue is rejected, is in the De Legibus spoken of with considerable favour. All ethical systems which seemed to afford stability to moral principles had an attraction for Cicero. He was fascinated by the Stoics almost beyond the power of resistance. In respect of their ethical and religious ideas he calls them "great and famous philosophers," and he frequently speaks with something like shame of the treatment they had received at the hands of Arcesilas and Carneades. Once he gives expression to a fear lest they should be the only true philosophers after all. There was a kind of magnificence about the Stoic utterances on morality, more suited to a superhuman than a human world, which allured Cicero more than the barrenness of the Stoic dialectic repelled him. On moral questions, therefore, we often find him going farther in the direction of Stoicism than even his teacher Antiochus. One great question which divided the philosophers of the time was, whether happiness was capable of degrees. The Stoics maintained that it was not, and in a remarkable passage Cicero agrees with them, explicitly rejecting the position of Antiochus, that a life enriched by virtue, but unattended by other advantages, might be happy, but could not be the happiest possible. He begs the Academic and Peripatetic schools to cease from giving an uncertain sound (balbutire) and to allow that the happiness of the wise man would remain unimpaired even if he were thrust into the bull of Phalaris. In another place he admits the purely Stoic doctrine that virtue is one and indivisible. These opinions, however, he will not allow to be distinctively Stoic, but appeals to Socrates as his authority for them. Zeno, who is merely an ignoble craftsman of words, stole them from the Old Academy. This is Cicero's general feeling with regard to Zeno, and there can be no doubt that he caught it from Antiochus who, in stealing the doctrines of Zeno, ever stoutly maintained that Zeno had stolen them before. Cicero, however, regarded chiefly the ethics of Zeno with this feeling, while Antiochus so regarded chiefly the dialectic. It is just in this that the difference between Antiochus and Cicero lies. To the former Zeno's dialectic was true and Socratic, while the latter treated it as un-Socratic, looking upon Socrates as the apostle of doubt. On the whole Cicero was more in accord with Stoic ethics than Antiochus. Not in all points, however: for while Antiochus accepted without reserve the Stoic paradoxes, Cicero hesitatingly followed them, although he conceded that they were Socratic. Again, Antiochus subscribed to the Stoic theory that all emotion was sinful; Cicero, who was very human in his joys and sorrows, refused it with horror. It must be admitted that on some points Cicero was inconsistent. In the De Finibus he argued that the difference between the Peripatetic and Stoic ethics was merely one of terms; in the Tusculan Disputations he held it to be real. The most Stoic in tone of all his works are the Tusculan Disputations and the De Officiis.
With regard to physics, I may remark at the outset that a comparatively small importance was in Cicero's time attached to this branch of philosophy. Its chief importance lay in the fact that ancient theology was, as all natural theology must be, an appendage of physical science. The religious element in Cicero's nature inclined him very strongly to sympathize with the Stoic views about the grand universal operation of divine power. Piety, sanctity, and moral good, were impossible in any form, he thought, if the divine government of the universe were denied. It went to Cicero's heart that Carneades should have found it necessary to oppose the beautiful Stoic theology, and he defends the great sceptic by the plea that his one aim was to arouse men to the investigation of the truth. At the same time, while really following the Stoics in physics, Cicero often believed himself to be following Aristotle. This partly arose from the actual adoption by the late Peripatetics of many Stoic doctrines, which they gave out as Aristotelian. The discrepancy between the spurious and the genuine Aristotelian views passed undetected, owing to the strange oblivion into which the most important works of Aristotle had fallen. Still, Cicero contrives to correct many of the extravagances of the Stoic physics by a study of Aristotle and Plato. For a thorough understanding of his notions about physics, the Timaeus of Plato, which he knew well and translated, is especially important. It must not be forgotten, also, that the Stoic physics were in the main Aristotelian, and that Cicero was well aware of the fact.
Very few words are necessary in order to characterize Cicero's estimate of the Peripatetic and Epicurean schools. The former was not very powerfully represented during his lifetime. The philosophical descendants of the author of the Organon were notorious for their ignorance of logic, and in ethics had approximated considerably to the Stoic teaching. While not much influenced by the school, Cicero generally treats it tenderly for the sake of its great past, deeming it a worthy branch of the true Socratic family. With the Epicureans the case was different. In physics they stood absolutely alone, their system was grossly unintellectual, and they discarded mathematics. Their ethical doctrines excited in Cicero nothing but loathing, dialectic they did not use, and they crowned all their errors by a sin which the orator could never pardon, for they were completely indifferent to every adornment and beauty of language.
III. The aim of Cicero in writing his philosophical works.
It is usual to charge Cicero with a want of originality as a philosopher, and on that score to depreciate his works. The charge is true, but still absurd, for it rests on a misconception, not merely of Cicero's purpose in writing, but of the whole spirit of the later Greek speculation. The conclusion drawn from the charge is also quite unwarranted. If the later philosophy of the Greeks is of any value, Cicero's works are of equal value, for it is only from them that we get any full or clear view of it. Any one who attempts to reconcile the contradictions of Stobaeus, Diogenes Laertius, Sextus Empiricus, Plutarch and other authorities, will perhaps feel little inclination to cry out against the confusion of Ciceros ideas. Such outcry, now so common, is due largely to the want, which I have already noticed, of any clear exposition of the variations in doctrine which the late Greek schools exhibited during the last two centuries before the Christian era. But to return to the charge of want of originality. This is a virtue which Cicero never claims. There is scarcely one of his works (if we except the third book of the De Officiis), which he does not freely confess to be taken wholly from Greek sources. Indeed at the time when he wrote, originality would have been looked upon as a fault rather than an excellence. For two centuries, if we omit Carneades, no one had propounded anything substantially novel in philosophy: there had been simply one eclectic combination after another of pre-existing tenets. It would be hasty to conclude that the writers of these two centuries are therefore undeserving of our study, for the spirit, if not the substance of the doctrines had undergone a momentous change, which ultimately exercised no unimportant influence on society and on the Christian religion itself.
When Cicero began to write, the Latin language may be said to have been destitute of a philosophical literature. Philosophy was a sealed study to those who did not know Greek. It was his aim, by putting the best Greek speculation into the most elegant Latin form, to extend the education of his countrymen, and to enrich their literature. He wished at the same time to strike a blow at the ascendency of Epicureanism throughout Italy. The doctrines of Epicurus had alone appeared in Latin in a shape suited to catch the popular taste. There seems to have been a very large Epicurean literature in Latin, of which all but a few scanty traces is now lost. C. Amafinius, mentioned in the Academica, was the first to write, and his books seem to have had an enormous circulation. He had a large number of imitators, who obtained such a favourable reception, that, in Cicero's strong language, they took possession of the whole of Italy. Rabirius and Catius the Insubrian, possibly the epicure and friend of Horace, were two of the most noted of these writers. Cicero assigns various reasons for their extreme popularity: the easy nature of the Epicurean physics, the fact that there was no other philosophy for Latin readers, and the voluptuous blandishments of pleasure. This last cause, as indeed he in one passage seems to allow, must have been of little real importance. It is exceedingly remarkable that the whole of the Roman Epicurean literature dealt in an overwhelmingly greater degree with the physics than with the ethics of Epicurus. The explanation is to be found in the fact that the Italian races had as yet a strong practical basis for morality in the legal and social constitution of the family, and did not much feel the need of any speculative system; while the general decay among the educated classes of a belief in the supernatural, accompanied as it was by an increase of superstition among the masses, prepared the way for the acceptance of a purely mechanical explanation of the universe. But of this subject, interesting and important as it is in itself, and neglected though it has been, I can treat no farther.
These Roman Epicureans are continually reproached by Cicero for their uncouth style of writing. He indeed confesses that he had not read them, but his estimate of them was probably correct. A curious question arises, which I cannot here discuss, as to the reasons Cicero had for omitting all mention of Lucretius when speaking of these Roman Epicureans. The most probable elucidation is, that he found it impossible to include the great poet in his sweeping condemnation, and being unwilling to allow that anything good could come from the school of Epicurus, preferred to keep silence, which nothing compelled him to break, since Lucretius was an obscure man and only slowly won his way to favour with the public.
In addition to his desire to undermine Epicureanism in Italy, Cicero had a patriotic wish to remove from the literature of his country the reproach that it was completely destitute where Greek was richest. He often tries by the most far-fetched arguments to show that philosophy had left its mark on the early Italian peoples. To those who objected that philosophy was best left to the Greek language, he replies with indignation, accusing them of being untrue to their country. It would be a glorious thing, he thinks, if Romans were no longer absolutely compelled to resort to Greeks. He will not even concede that the Greek is a richer tongue than the Latin. As for the alleged incapacity of the Roman intellect to deal with philosophical enquiries, he will not hear of it. It is only, he says, because the energy of the nation has been diverted into other channels that so little progress has been made. The history of Roman oratory is referred to in support of this opinion. If only an impulse were given at Rome to the pursuit of philosophy, already on the wane in Greece, Cicero thought it would flourish and take the place of oratory, which he believed to be expiring amid the din of civil war.
There can be no doubt that Cicero was penetrated by the belief that he could thus do his country a real service. In his enforced political inaction, and amid the disorganisation of the law-courts, it was the one service he could render. He is within his right when he claims praise for not abandoning himself to idleness or worse, as did so many of the most prominent men of the time. For Cicero idleness was misery, and in those evil times he was spurred on to exertion by the deepest sorrow. Philosophy took the place of forensic oratory, public harangues, and politics. It is strange to find Cicero making such elaborate apologies as he does for devoting himself to philosophy, and a careless reader might set them down to egotism. But it must never be forgotten that at Rome such studies were merely the amusement of the wealthy; the total devotion of a life to them seemed well enough for Greeks, but for Romans unmanly, unpractical and unstatesmanlike. There were plenty of Romans who were ready to condemn such pursuits altogether, and to regard any fresh importation from Greece much in the spirit with which things French were received by English patriots immediately after the great war. Others, like the Neoptolemus of Ennius, thought a little learning in philosophy was good, but a great deal was a dangerous thing. Some few preferred that Cicero should write on other subjects. To these he replies by urging the pressing necessity there was for works on philosophy in Latin.
Still, amid much depreciation, sufficient interest and sympathy were roused by his first philosophical works to encourage Cicero to proceed. The elder generation, for whose approbation he most cared, praised the books, and many were incited both to read and to write philosophy. Cicero now extended his design, which seems to have been at first indefinite, so as to bring within its scope every topic which Greek philosophers were accustomed to treat. Individual questions in philosophy could not be thoroughly understood till the whole subject had been mastered. This design then, which is not explicitly stated in the two earliest works which we possess, the Academica and the De Finibus, required the composition of a sort of philosophical encyclopaedia. Cicero never claimed to be more than an interpreter of Greek philosophy to the Romans. He never pretended to present new views of philosophy, or even original criticisms on its history. The only thing he proclaims to be his own is his style. Looked at in this, the true light, his work cannot be judged a failure. Those who contrive to pronounce this judgment must either insist upon trying the work by a standard to which it does not appeal, or fail to understand the Greek philosophy it copies, or perhaps make Cicero suffer for the supposed worthlessness of the philosophy of his age.
In accordance with Greek precedent, Cicero claims to have his oratorical and political writings, all or nearly all published before the Hortensius, included in his philosophical encyclopaedia. The only two works strictly philosophical, even in the ancient view, which preceded the Academica, were the De Consolatione, founded on Crantor's book, [Greek: peri penthous], and the Hortensius, which was introductory to philosophy, or, as it was then called, protreptic.
For a list of the philosophical works of Cicero, and the dates of their composition, the student must be referred to the Dict. of Biography, Art. Cicero.
IV. History of the Academica.
On the death of Tullia, which happened at Tusculum in February, 45 B.C., Cicero took refuge in the solitude of his villa at Astura, which was pleasantly situated on the Latin coast between Antium and Circeii. Here he sought to soften his deep grief by incessant toil. First the book De Consolatione was written. He found the mechanic exercise of composition the best solace for his pain, and wrote for whole days together. At other times he would plunge at early morning into the dense woods near his villa, and remain there absorbed in study till nightfall. Often exertion failed to bring relief; yet he repelled the entreaties of Atticus that he would return to the forum and the senate. A grief, which books and solitude could scarcely enable him to endure, would crush him, he felt, in the busy city.
It was amid such surroundings that the Academica was written. The first trace of an intention to write the treatise is found in a letter of Cicero to Atticus, which seems to belong to the first few weeks of his bereavement. It was his wont to depend on Atticus very much for historical and biographical details, and in the letter in question he asks for just the kind of information which would be needed in writing the Academica. The words with which he introduces his request imply that he had determined on some new work to which our Academica would correspond. He asks what reason brought to Rome the embassy which Carneades accompanied; who was at that time the leader of the Epicurean school; who were then the most noted [Greek: politikoi] at Athens. The meaning of the last question is made clear by a passage in the De Oratore, where Cicero speaks of the combined Academic and Peripatetic schools under that name. It may be with reference to the progress of the Academica that in a later letter he expresses himself satisfied with the advance he has made in his literary undertakings. During the whole of the remainder of his sojourn at Astura he continued to be actively employed; but although he speaks of various other literary projects, we find no express mention in his letters to Atticus of the Academica. He declares that however much his detractors at Rome may reproach him with inaction, they could not read the numerous difficult works on which he has been engaged within the same space of time that he has taken to write them.
In the beginning of June Cicero spent a few days at his villa near Antium, where he wrote a treatise addressed to Caesar, which he afterwards suppressed. From the same place he wrote to Atticus of his intention to proceed to Tusculum or Rome by way of Lanuvium about the middle of June. He had in the time immediately following Tullia's death entertained an aversion for Tusculum, where she died. This he felt now compelled to conquer, otherwise he must either abandon Tusculum altogether, or, if he returned at all, a delay of even ten years would make the effort no less painful. Before setting out for Antium Cicero wrote to Atticus that he had finished while at Astura duo magna [Greek: syntagmata], words which have given rise to much controversy. Many scholars, including Madvig, have understood that the first edition of the Academica, along with the De Finibus, is intended. Against this view the reasons adduced by Krische are convincing. It is clear from the letters to Atticus that the De Finibus was being worked out book by book long after the first edition of the Academica had been placed in the hands of Atticus. The De Finibus was indeed begun at Astura, but it was still in an unfinished state when Cicero began to revise the Academica. The final arrangement of the characters in the De Finibus is announced later still; and even at a later date Cicero complains that Balbus had managed to obtain surreptitiously a copy of the fifth book before it was properly corrected, the irrepressible Caerellia having copied the whole five books while in that state. A passage in the De Divinatione affords almost direct evidence that the Academica was published before the De Finibus. On all these grounds I hold that these two works cannot be those which Cicero describes as having been finished simultaneously at Astura.
Another view of the [Greek: syntagmata] in question is that they are simply the two books, entitled Catulus and Lucullus, of the Priora Academica. In my opinion the word [Greek: syntagma], the use of which to denote a portion of a work Madvig suspects, thus obtains its natural meaning. Cicero uses the word [Greek: syntaxis] of the whole work, while [Greek: syntagma], and [Greek: syngramma], designate definite portions or divisions of a work. I should be quite content, then, to refer the words of Cicero to the Catulus and Lucullus. Krische, however, without giving reasons, decides that this view is unsatisfactory, and prefers to hold that the Hortensius (or de Philosophia) and the Priora Academica are the compositions in question. If this conjecture is correct, we have in the disputed passage the only reference to the Hortensius which is to be found in the letters of Cicero. We are quite certain that the book was written at Astura, and published before the Academica. This would be clear from the mention in the Academica Posteriora alone, but the words of Cicero in the De Finibus place it beyond all doubt, showing as they do that the Hortensius had been published a sufficiently long time before the De Finibus, to have become known to a tolerably large circle of readers. Further, in the Tusculan Disputations and the De Divinatione the Hortensius and the Academica are mentioned together in such a way as to show that the former was finished and given to the world before the latter. Nothing therefore stands in the way of Krische's conjecture, except the doubt I have expressed as to the use of the word [Greek: syntagma], which equally affects the old view maintained by Madvig.
Whatever be the truth on this point, it cannot be disputed that the Hortensius and the Academica must have been more closely connected, in style and tone, than any two works of Cicero, excepting perhaps the Academica and the De Finibus. The interlocutors in the Hortensius were exactly the same as in the Academica Priora, for the introduction of Balbus into some editions of the fragments of the Hortensius is an error. The discussion in the Academica Priora is carried on at Hortensius' villa near Bauli; in the Hortensius at the villa of Lucullus near Cumae. It is rather surprising that under these circumstances there should be but one direct reference to the Hortensius in the Lucullus.
While at his Tusculan villa, soon after the middle of June, B.C. 45, Cicero sent Atticus the Torquatus, as he calls the first book of the De Finibus. He had already sent the first edition of the Academica to Rome. We have a mention that new prooemia had been added to the Catulus and Lucullus, in which the public characters from whom the books took their names were extolled. In all probability the extant prooemium of the Lucullus is the one which was then affixed. Atticus, who visited Cicero at Tusculum, had doubtless pointed out the incongruity between the known attainments of Catulus and Lucullus, and the parts they were made to take in difficult philosophical discussions. It is not uncharacteristic of Cicero that his first plan for healing the incongruity should be a deliberate attempt to impose upon his readers a set of statements concerning the ability and culture of these two noble Romans which he knew, and in his own letters to Atticus admitted, to be false. I may note, as of some interest in connection with the Academica, the fact that among the unpleasant visits received by Cicero at Tusculum was one from Varro.
On the 23rd July, Cicero left Home for Arpinum, in order, as he says, to arrange some business matters, and to avoid the embarrassing attentions of Brutus. Before leaving Astura, however, it had been his intention to go on to Arpinum. He seems to have been still unsatisfied with his choice of interlocutors for the Academica, for the first thing he did on his arrival was to transfer the parts of Catulus and Lucullus to Cato and Brutus. This plan was speedily cast aside on the receipt of a letter from Atticus, strongly urging that the whole work should be dedicated to Varro, or if not the Academica, the De Finibus. Cicero had never been very intimate with Varro: their acquaintance seems to have been chiefly maintained through Atticus, who was at all times anxious to draw them more closely together. Nine years before he had pressed Cicero to find room in his works for some mention of Varro. The nature of the works on which our author was then engaged had made it difficult to comply with the request. Varro had promised on his side, full two years before the Academica was written, to dedicate to Cicero his great work De Lingua Latino. In answer to the later entreaty of Atticus, Cicero declared himself very much dissatisfied with Varro's failure to fulfil his promise. From this it is evident that Cicero knew nothing of the scope or magnitude of that work. His complaint that Varro had been writing for two years without making any progress, shows that there could have been little of anything like friendship between the two. Apart from these causes for grumbling, Cicero thought the suggestion of Atticus a "godsend." Since the De Finibus was already "betrothed" to Brutus, he promised to transfer to Varro the Academica, allowing that Catulus and Lucullus, though of noble birth, had no claim to learning. So little of it did they possess that they could never even have dreamed of the doctrines they had been made in the first edition of the Academica to maintain. For them another place was to be found, and the remark was made that the Academica would just suit Varro, who was a follower of Antiochus, and the fittest person to expound the opinions of that philosopher. It happened that continual rain fell during the first few days of Cicero's stay at Arpinum, so he employed his whole time in editing once more his Academica, which he now divided into four books instead of two, making the interlocutors himself, Varro and Atticus. The position occupied by Atticus in the dialogue was quite an inferior one, but he was so pleased with it that Cicero determined to confer upon him often in the future such minor parts. A suggestion of Atticus that Cotta should also be introduced was found impracticable.
Although the work of re-editing was vigorously pushed on, Cicero had constant doubts about the expediency of dedicating the work to Varro. He frequently throws the whole responsibility for the decision upon Atticus, but for whose importunities he would probably again have changed his plans. Nearly every letter written to Atticus during the progress of the work contains entreaties that he would consider the matter over and over again before he finally decided. As no reasons had been given for these solicitations, Atticus naturally grew impatient, and Cicero was obliged to assure him that there were reasons, which he could not disclose in a letter. The true reasons, however, did appear in some later letters. In one Cicero said: "I am in favour of Varro, and the more so because he wishes it, but you know he is
[Greek: deinos aner, tacha ken kai anaition aitiooito.]
So there often flits before me a vision of his face, as he grumbles, it may be, that my part in the treatise is more liberally sustained than his; a charge which you will perceive to be untrue." Cicero, then, feared Varro's temper, and perhaps his knowledge and real critical fastidiousness. Before these explanations Atticus had concluded that Cicero was afraid of the effect the work might produce on the public. This notion Cicero assured him to be wrong; the only cause for his vacillation was his doubt as to how Varro would receive the dedication. Atticus would seem to have repeatedly communicated with Varro, and to have assured Cicero that there was no cause for fear; but the latter refused to take a general assurance, and anxiously asked for a detailed account of the reasons from which it proceeded. In order to stimulate his friend, Atticus affirmed that Varro was jealous of some to whom Cicero had shown more favour. We find Cicero eagerly asking for more information, on this point: was it Brutus of whom Varro was jealous? It seems strange that Cicero should not have entered into correspondence with Varro himself. Etiquette seems to have required that the recipient of a dedication should be assumed ignorant of the intentions of the donor till they were on the point of being actually carried out. Thus although Cicero saw Brutus frequently while at Tusculum, he apparently did not speak to him about the De Finibus, but employed Atticus to ascertain his feeling about the dedication.
Cicero's own judgment about the completed second edition of the Academica is often given in the letters. He tells us that it extended, on the whole, to greater length than the first, though much had been omitted; he adds, "Unless human self love deceives me, the books have been so finished that the Greeks themselves have nothing in the same department of literature to approach them.... This edition will be more brilliant, more terse, and altogether better than the last." Again: "The Antiochean portion has all the point of Antiochus combined with any polish my style may possess." Also: "I have finished the book with I know not what success, but with a care which nothing could surpass." The binding and adornment of the presentation copy for Varro received great attention, and the letter accompanying it was carefully elaborated. Yet after everything had been done and the book had been sent to Atticus at Rome, Cicero was still uneasy as to the reception it would meet with from Varro. He wrote thus to Atticus: "I tell you again and again that the presentation will be at your own risk. So if you begin to hesitate, let us desert to Brutus, who is also a follower of Antiochus. 0 Academy, on the wing as thou wert ever wont, flitting now hither, now thither!" Atticus on his part "shuddered" at the idea of taking the responsibility. After the work had passed into his hands, Cicero begged him to take all precautions to prevent it from getting into circulation until they could meet one another in Rome. This warning was necessary, because Balbus and Caerellia had just managed to get access to the De Finibus. In a letter, dated apparently a day or two later, Cicero declared his intention to meet Atticus at Rome and send the work to Varro, should it be judged advisable to do so, after a consultation. The meeting ultimately did not take place, but Cicero left the four books in Atticus' power, promising to approve any course that might be taken. Atticus wrote to say that as soon as Varro came to Rome the books would be sent to him. "By this time, then," says Cicero, when he gets the letter, "you have taken the fatal step; oh dear! if you only knew at what peril to yourself! Perhaps my letter stopped you, although you had not read it when you wrote. I long to hear how the matter stands." Again, a little later: "You have been bold enough, then, to give Varro the books? I await his judgment upon them, but when will he read them?" Varro probably received the books in the first fortnight of August, 45 B.C., when Cicero was hard at work on the Tusculan Disputations. A copy of the first edition had already got into Varro's hands, as we learn from a letter, in which Cicero begs Atticus to ask Varro to make some alterations in his copy of the Academica, at a time when the fate of the second edition was still undecided. From this fact we may conclude that Cicero had given up all hope of suppressing the first edition. If he consoles Atticus for the uselessness of his copies of the first edition, it does not contradict my supposition, for Cicero of course assumes that Atticus, whatever may be the feeling of other people, wishes to have the "Splendidiora, breviora, meliora." Still, on every occasion which offered, the author sought to point out as his authorised edition the one in four books. He did so in a passage written immediately after the Academica Posteriora was completed, and often subsequently, when he most markedly mentioned the number of the books as four. That he wished the work to bear the title Academica is clear. The expressions Academica quaestio, [Greek: Akademike syntaxis], and Academia, are merely descriptive; so also is the frequent appellation Academici libri. The title Academicae Quaestiones, found in many editions, is merely an imitation of the Tusculanae Quaestiones, which was supported by the false notion, found as early as Pliny, that Cicero had a villa called Academia, at which the book was written. He had indeed a Gymnasium at his Tusculan villa, which he called his Academia, but we are certain from the letters to Atticus that the work was written entirely at Astura, Antium, and Arpinum.
Quintilian seems to have known the first edition very well, but the second edition is the one which is most frequently quoted. The four books are expressly referred to by Nonius, Diomedes, and Lactantius, under the title Academica. Augustine speaks of them only as Academici libri, and his references show that he knew the second edition only. Lactantius also uses this name occasionally, though he generally speaks of the Academica. Plutarch shows only a knowledge of the first edition.
I have thought it advisable to set forth in plain terms the history of the genesis of the book, as gathered from Cicero's letters to Atticus. That it was not unnecessary to do so may be seen from the astounding theories which old scholars of great repute put forward concerning the two editions. A fair summary of them may be seen in the preface of Goerenz. I now proceed to examine into the constitution and arrangement of the two editions.
a. The lost dialogue "Catulus."
The whole of the characters in this dialogue and the Lucullus are among those genuine Optimates and adherents of the senatorial party whom Cicero so loves to honour. The Catulus from whom the lost dialogue was named was son of the illustrious colleague of Marius. With the political career of father and son we shall have little to do. I merely inquire what was their position with respect to the philosophy of the time, and the nature of their connection with Cicero.
Catulus the younger need not detain us long. It is clear from the Lucullus that he did little more than put forward opinions he had received from his father. Cicero would, doubtless, have preferred to introduce the elder man as speaking for himself, but in that case, as in the De Oratore, the author would have been compelled to exclude himself from the conversation. The son, therefore, is merely the mouthpiece of the father, just as Lucullus, in the dialogue which bears his name, does nothing but render literally a speech of Antiochus, which he professes to have heard. For the arrangement in the case of both a reason is to be found in their [Greek: atripsia] with respect to philosophy. This [Greek: atripsia] did not amount to [Greek: apaideusia], or else Cicero could not have made Catulus the younger the advocate of philosophy in the Hortensius. Though Cicero sometimes classes the father and son together as men of literary culture and perfect masters of Latin style, it is very evident on a comparison of all the passages where the two are mentioned, that no very high value was placed on the learning of the son. But however slight were the claims of Catulus the younger to be considered a philosopher, he was closely linked to Cicero by other ties. During all the most brilliant period of Cicero's life, Catulus was one of the foremost Optimates of Rome, and his character, life, and influence are often depicted in even extravagant language by the orator. He is one of the pillars of the state, Cicero cries, and deserves to be classed with the ancient worthies of Rome. When he opposes the Manilian law, and asks the people on whom they would rely if Pompey, with such gigantic power concentrated in his hands, were to die, the people answer with one voice "On you." He alone was bold enough to rebuke the follies, on the one hand, of the mob, on the other, of the senate. In him no storm of danger, no favouring breeze of fortune, could ever inspire either fear or hope, or cause to swerve from his own course. His influence, though he be dead, will ever live among his countrymen. He was not only glorious in his life, but fortunate in his death.
Apart from Cicero's general agreement with Catulus in politics, there were special causes for his enthusiasm. Catulus was one of the viri consulares who had given their unreserved approval to the measures taken for the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy, and was the first to confer on Cicero the greatest glory of his life, the title "Father of his country." So closely did Cicero suppose himself to be allied to Catulus, that a friend tried to console him for the death of Tullia, by bidding him remember "Catulus and the olden times." The statement of Catulus, often referred to by Cicero, that Rome had never been so unfortunate as to have two bad consuls in the same year, except when Cinna held the office, may have been intended to point a contrast between the zeal of Cicero and the lukewarmness of his colleague Antonius. Archias, who wrote in honour of Cicero's consulship, lived in the house of the two Catuli.
We have seen that when Cicero found it too late to withdraw the first edition of the Academica from circulation, he affixed a prooemium to each book, Catulus being lauded in the first, Lucullus in the second. From the passages above quoted, and from our knowledge of Cicero's habit in such matters, we can have no difficulty in conjecturing at least a portion of the contents of the lost prooemium to the Catulus. The achievements of the elder Catulus were probably extolled, as well as those of his son. The philosophical knowledge of the elder man was made to cast its lustre on the younger. Cicero's glorious consulship was once more lauded, and great stress was laid upon the patronage it received from so famous a man as the younger Catulus, whose praises were sung in the fervid language which Cicero lavishes on the same theme elsewhere. Some allusion most likely was made to the connection of Archias with the Catuli, and to the poem he had written in Cicero's honour. Then the occasion of the dialogue, its supposed date, and the place where it was held, were indicated. The place was the Cuman villa of Catulus. The feigned date must fall between the year 60 B.C. in which Catulus died, and 63, the year of Cicero's consulship, which is alluded to in the Lucullus. It is well known that in the arrangement of his dialogues Cicero took every precaution against anachronisms.
The prooemium ended, the dialogue commenced. Allusion was undoubtedly made to the Hortensius, in which the same speakers had been engaged; and after more compliments had been bandied about, most of which would fall to Cicero's share, a proposal was made to discuss the great difference between the dogmatic and sceptic schools. Catulus offered to give his father's views, at the same time commending his father's knowledge of philosophy. Before we proceed to construct in outline the speech of Catulus from indications offered by the Lucullus, it is necessary to speak of the character and philosophical opinions of Catulus the elder.
In the many passages where Cicero speaks of him, he seldom omits to mention his sapientia, which implies a certain knowledge of philosophy. He was, says Cicero, the kindest, the most upright, the wisest, the holiest of men. He was a man of universal merit, of surpassing worth, a second Laelius. It is easy to gather from the De Oratore, in which he appears as an interlocutor, a more detailed view of his accomplishments. Throughout the second and third books he is treated as the lettered man, par excellence, of the company. Appeal is made to him when any question is started which touches on Greek literature and philosophy. We are especially told that even with Greeks his acquaintance with Greek, and his style of speaking it, won admiration. He defends the Greeks from the attacks of Crassus. He contemptuously contrasts the Latin historians with the Greek. He depreciates the later Greek rhetorical teaching, while he bestows high commendation on the early sophists. The systematic rhetoric of Aristotle and Theophrastus is most to his mind. An account is given by him of the history of Greek speculation in Italy. The undefiled purity of his Latin style made him seem to many the only speaker of the language. He had written a history of his own deeds, in the style of Xenophon, which Cicero had imitated, and was well known as a wit and writer of epigrams.
Although so much is said of his general culture, it is only from the Academica that we learn definitely his philosophical opinions. In the De Oratore, when he speaks of the visit of Carneades to Rome, he does not declare himself a follower of that philosopher, nor does Crassus, in his long speech about Greek philosophy, connect Catulus with any particular teacher. The only Greek especially mentioned as a friend of his, is the poet Antipater of Sidon. Still it might have been concluded that he was an adherent either of the Academic or Peripatetic Schools. Cicero repeatedly asserts that from no other schools can the orator spring, and the whole tone of the De Oratore shows that Catulus could have had no leaning towards the Stoics or Epicureans. The probability is that he had never placed himself under the instruction of Greek teachers for any length of time, but had rather gained his information from books and especially from the writings of Clitomachus. If he had ever been in actual communication with any of the prominent Academics, Cicero would not have failed to tell us, as he does in the case of Antonius, and Crassus. It is scarcely possible that any direct intercourse between Philo and Catulus can have taken place, although one passage in the Lucullus seems to imply it. Still Philo had a brilliant reputation during the later years of Catulus, and no one at all conversant with Greek literature or society could fail to be well acquainted with his opinions. No follower of Carneades and Clitomachus, such as Catulus undoubtedly was, could view with indifference the latest development of Academic doctrine. The famous books of Philo were probably not known to Catulus.
I now proceed to draw out from the references in the Lucullus the chief features of the speech of Catulus the younger. It was probably introduced by a mention of Philo's books. Some considerable portion of the speech must have been directed against the innovations made by Philo upon the genuine Carneadean doctrine. These the elder Catulus had repudiated with great warmth, even charging Philo with wilful misrepresentation of the older Academics. The most important part of the speech, however, must have consisted of a defence of Carneades and Arcesilas against the dogmatic schools. Catulus evidently concerned himself more with the system of the later than with that of the earlier sceptic. It is also exceedingly probable that he touched only very lightly on the negative Academic arguments, while he developed fully that positive teaching about the [Greek: pithanon] which was so distinctive of Carneades. All the counter arguments of Lucullus which concern the destructive side of Academic teaching appear to be distinctly aimed at Cicero, who must have represented it in the discourse of the day before. On the other hand, those parts of Lucullus' speech which deal with the constructive part of Academicism seem to be intended for Catulus, to whom the maintenance of the genuine Carneadean distinction between [Greek: adela] and [Greek: akatalepta] would be a peculiarly congenial task. Thus the commendation bestowed by Lucullus on the way in which the probabile had been handled appertains to Catulus. The exposition of the sceptical criticism would naturally be reserved for the most brilliant and incisive orator of the party—Cicero himself. These conjectures have the advantage of establishing an intimate connection between the prooemium, the speech of Catulus, and the succeeding one of Hortensius. In the prooemium the innovations of Philo were mentioned; Catulus then showed that the only object aimed at by them, a satisfactory basis for [Greek: episteme], was already attained by the Carneadean theory of the [Greek: pithanon]; whereupon Hortensius showed, after the principles of Antiochus, that such a basis was provided by the older philosophy, which both Carneades and Philo had wrongly abandoned. Thus Philo becomes the central point or pivot of the discussion. With this arrangement none of the indications in the Lucullus clash. Even the demand made by Hortensius upon Catulus need only imply such a bare statement on the part of the latter of the negative Arcesilaean doctrines as would clear the ground for the Carneadean [Greek: pithanon]. One important opinion maintained by Catulus after Carneades, that the wise man would opine ([Greek: ton sophon doxasein]), seems another indication of the generally constructive character of his exposition. Everything points to the conclusion that this part of the dialogue was mainly drawn by Cicero from the writings of Clitomachus.