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Laelius, who as a distinguished Roman general and statesman, could not be allowed to go too deeply into philosophical questions. Besides this imitation of Theophrastus, one or two direct imitations occur of a discourse of Socrates on friendship recorded by Xenophon in his Memorabilia (2,4-10). Further, there is a slight reference in the prooemium to the Theaetetus of Plato?. Beyond this no distinct adaptation of Greek originals can be traced. It is extremely doubtful, or perhaps more than doubtful, whether Cicero used in this treatise the Nicomachean Ethics, though he knew of its existence, and had perhaps, at some time, read it. Several resemblances between that work and portions of the Laelius can be accounted for by the fact that many of Aristotle's ethical utterances had passed into commonplaces. It is exceedingly likely that Cicero knew Plato's Lysis, but I am unable to point out any distinct imitation of it4. No doubt Cicero read and used here and there other Greek treatises on Friendship, which we do not now possess. In § 45 Cicero adapts some lines of Euripides which Plutarch says were commented on by Chrysippus in his work περί φιλίας, but the verses were so notorious that there is no reason to suspect imitation.
b. The title. The main title is put beyond doubt by Cicero's own words in the De officiis 2, 31 sed de amicitia alio libro dictum est qui inscribitur Laelius. There are reasons, however, for supposing that the author intended it also to bear the secondary title De amicitia; see the passage in Laelius 5 ut tum ad senem senex de senectute, sic hoc libro ad amicum amicissimus scripsi de amicitia. So the book described in De divinatione 2, 3 as liber quem ad Atticum de senectute misimus
1 See my n. on § 62.
2 See my n. on § 3, p. 28, 1. 1. It is commonly but erroneously said that Cicero knew nothing of the Theaetetus (e. g. by Orelli, Onomasticon Tullianum, s.v. Tul. lius). The same is said of the Philebus, to which I find a plain allusion in De finibus I, 5.
4 It would be worth while for some young University scholar to work out thoroughly the question whether the resemblances between the Laelius, Lysis and Nicomachean Ethics prove direct imitation.
3 See De finibus 5, 12.
5 I do not allow that the last three words are spurious, though Halm and others assert them to
is called in De officiis 1, 151 and in Ad Atticum 14, 21, 3 Cato maior. So the Mss give to the Brutus (thus called by Cicero in De divinatione 2, 3) the second title De claris oratoribus. Such double titles were not uncommon. They are frequently found in ancient citations of Plato's works and in MSS; e.g. Φίληβος, περί ταγαθού. Varro also wrote a great number of books (called libri logistorici) which took their first titles from the names of persons, their second titles from their subjectmatter? We may fairly conclude then that the proper complete title of our dialogue is Laelius de amicitia.
Time of writing. This has been implicitly given above in the general account of Cicero's philosophical works. It is clear from De divinatione 2, 3 that when that work appeared, the Laelius had not yet been written, while the Cato maior had already been published. In the De officiis (which had not been mentioned in the passage of De divinatione above referred to) there is a reference to the Laelius. The Cato maior was written in the spring of 44 B.C. soon after Caesar's death, and the De officiis was completed in November of the same year? As Cicero was travelling during July and August, while September and October were occupied by the De officiis, and probably April and May by the De divinatione, we shall not greatly err if we suppose the Laelius to have been composed in June of the year 44 B.C. It was a gloomy time for Cicero for many reasons, but particularly because the high hopes concerning politics which he entertained on Caesar's death were already shattered. The circumstances of the time are to a great extent reflected in the tone of the dialogue.
d. The form of the dialogue. In general, Cicero followed in his philosophical works the plan of Aristotle's dialogues, now lost, rather than that of the dialogues of Plato. In the former there was more of exposition and less of discussion than in the latter; one person stated his views on some question, and the company in attendance only made occasional remarks, without attempting to debate the question. In nearly all Plato's dia.
1 See Ritschl, die Schriftstellerei 501 sq. des M. Terentius Varro, in the 2 Ad Att. 15, 13 b, 2 and 16, 11, Rheinisches Museum for 1848, p.
logues one person, Socrates, is overwhelmingly prominent, but he constantly endeavours to drag the other personages into the discussion. Cicero, in most of his philosophical works (the Tusculan Disputations forms an exception more apparent than real) avoids the quick interchange of question and answer which is characteristic of Plato. Aristotle's dialogues were more popular too than those of Plato, and therefore suited Cicero's purpose better; moreover, the style of Aristotle had been imitated by many writers, Theophrastus and others, down to Cicero's time, while the Platonic style had hardly met with any imita
The interlocutors in the dialogue. The chief speaker is GAIUS LAELIUS, the friend of the younger Africanus (not to be confounded with his father C. Laelius, the friend of the elder Africanus). This distinguished statesman, soldier, and man of letters was born about 186 B.C., was plebeian tribune in 151 (see below, p. 15, n. 5); performed heroic exploits as an officer of Scipio in the Third Punic War; was praetor in 145%, and commanded an army against Viriathus with success; in 141 failed as a candidate for the consulship, though supported by Scipio", but in 140 succeeded. He also held the office of augur“. During the greater part of his life he was a strong supporter of the aristocratic party, and towards the end of it stoutly opposed the schemes of Ti. Gracchus and those of his partisans after his death.
Laelius was not only one of the greatest patrons of literature Rome ever saw, but was himself a man of high culture, and great ability as a speaker and writer. He was widely read in philosophy, particularly the Stoic. His Latin style was so good that the plays of his friend Terence, admired for the purity of their Latinity, were by many ascribed in whole or in part to him. Some of his speeches were extant in Cicero's time, and were, on the whole, admired by him?.
1 On the whole subject of Aris. 3 Lael. 77, 96, etc. totle's dialogues see Bernays' well
2, 83. known monograph, die Dialoge des
5 Lael. 36–39. Aristoteles.
6 Ad Atticum 7, 3, 10. 9 See n. on Lael. 96.
7 Cicero speaks of one speech
4 Lael. 7;
Cicero everywhere speaks in the most eulogistic terms of Laelius' character. All authorities were unanimous as to his unswerving rectitude?. His self-control and moderation were remarkable? Like Socrates, he never shewed in his face throughout life the effect produced on his mind by changes of fortune?. His gentleness and affability were great*. His cheerfulness and humourousness were famous”.
During his life and after his death Laelius bore the title sapiens or the wisel,' a title which implies more of practical than intellectual wisdom, though it would not have been given to any one who was destitute of culture and literary excellence. Altogether Laelius is Cicero's typical example of the best results of cultivation acting on a character which exhibited in their fullest extent the ideal Roman virtues. He is introduced as an interlocutor into two other dialogues, the Cato maior (De senectute) and the De re publica (along with Scipio, Fannius, and Scaevola).
The friendship of Laelius and Scipio was one of the most famous in antiquity. Laelius, says Cicero, reverenced Scipio as a god; Scipio looked up to Laelius (his senior) as a parent?. The views of friendship which Laelius gives in the dialogue are said by him to be mainly those of Scipio.
The other interlocutors are the two sons-in-law of Laelius, Q Mucius Scaevola8 and Gaius Fannius. Scaevola belonged to a family of lawyers', and was himself exceedingly distinguished for his knowledge of the law. He was born about 157 and
Ti. Gracchus c. 8, has the unlikely story that the title sapiens was given to Laelius, because having proposed an agrarian law while tribune in 151 he had the good sense to withdraw it in order to prevent civil discord.
De re publica 1, 18.
augur not pontifex; see n. on $1.
4 Mur. 66; cf. Horace's mitis sapientia Laeli. 5 Off. 1, 108; De Or. 2, 22.
9 De Or. I, 39 iura civilia in nostra (Scaevolarum) familia diu versata sunt.
6 In addition to the passages in the Laelius, cf. Off. 2, 40 Laelius is qui sapiens usurpatur, also Brut. 213; Tusc. 4, 5. Plutarch, life of
lived till 88 B.C. In 121 he was praetor, after which he was governor of Asia. On his return a malicious prosecution was set on foot against him on a charge of malversation (repetundarum), but on this he was acquitted. Soon afterwards he was elected consul for the year 117. He seems to have had but little of political ambition, though owing to his high character and his freedom from partisanship he exercised in the senate and in private a great political influence. His house was daily thronged by the leading men of Rome?
The wit as well as the learning of Scaevola was renowned?, and he was noted for sweetness and affability of demeanour3. Cicero, who was in early life placed under his guardianship, along with Atticus, always speaks of him with great affection and admiration. Scaevola
appears also as one of the interlocutors in the De oratore and in the De re publica (along with Scipio and Laelius).
Gaius Fannius served with distinction under Scipio in the Third Punic War. He and Tiberius Gracchus were the first to mount the walls of Carthage when it was stormed. He served again in Spain, but seems not to have been successful in political life. He was a man of considerable cultivation and literary activity, and wrote a history, the style of which is very faintly praised by Cicero though its accuracy was highly estimated by Sallust. His character seems to have been somewhat severet. He appears with Scipio and Laelius and Scaevola as one of the interlocutors in the De re publica.
f. The Scipionic circle. The age of the younger Africanus was remarkable for the rapid spread of Hellenism among the educated Romans. Scipio formed the centre of a great and influential circle composed partly of Roman admirers of Greek art and literature, partly of Greek and Latin men of letters. Hellenism had been powerful for many generations in Latin literature and in social life, but in the Hellenism of the Scipionic circle not only were old tendencies quickened, but a new and
1 De Or. 1, 200; Phil.
4 Brut. 101, where Cicero speaks of a coolness between Fannius and Laelius.