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This edition of the Laelius has been prepared on the same general plan as my editions of the speeches of Cicero for Archias and for Balbus published a
The special aim of the notes is the thorough examination of the Latinity of the dialogue, but the elucidation of the subject-matter has not been neglected. In arranging the text, I have tried to weigh for myself the evidence affecting every variation, however slight. In a few instances I have found it necessary to adopt emendations of my own. These will all be found duly noticed in an Appendix on the text, which also contains remarks on other textual difficulties which could not conveniently be mentioned in the notes. In the explanatory notes as well as in forming the text, while I have worked out my own views independently, and hope to have been able to contribute something to the explanation of the dialogue, I have also compared my own conclusions with those of the most prominent scholars who have edited or explained the treatise. In particular I have to own my great obligations to the very elaborate edition of Seyffert, on whose foundation every subsequent editor has largely built, and
editors in the future must continue to build. I have compared also my own notes throughout with those contained in the editions by Nauck and Lahmeyer. These editions have proved not nearly so useful as I expected from their very extensive circulation in Germany. My debts to them are acknowledged, each in its proper place, as are also my obligations to Nägelsbach and other writers on the Latin of Cicero. It may be well for me to state that I have no acquaintance with any English edition of the Laelius. I only heard of Mr Arthur Sidgwick's edition as forthcoming at a time when my own was far advanced.
I expect to have finished by Easter next my edition of the Cato maior (De Senectute). At that point my series of editions of Cicero's works must stop for a time, though I hope to add to it in future years.
JAMES S. REID.
GONVILLE AND CAIUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
In the present edition a certain number of corrections have been made in the body of the work, while some additional matter is appended in the form of addenda'.
J. S. R.
§ 1. Cicero as a writer on Philosophy. It is not necessary to give here any account of the life of Cicero and his labours as a politician and orator, since there are so many sources from which the student may obtain the information?. We are only now concerned with Cicero as a man of letters; nor have we to do with his whole literary career, but merely with that portion of it which was devoted to the production of his series of works on philosophy, of which the Laelius forms a part?
During his early life Cicero had studied with great enthusiasm and success all the learning of the Greeks, particularly in the two departments, then closely connected, or rather scarcely distinguished, of Rhetoric and Philosophy. He not only sought with great avidity the society of learned Greeks at Rome, but spent a considerable time in study at Rhodes and at Athens, which had become not merely the school of Greece' as Thucydides makes Pericles call her, but the school of the civilized world. During the whole of an exceptionally busy public life, Cicero devoted all his spare moments to reading and to the society of the learned. After his exile in 58 and 57 B.C. his part in politics, except for a brief period before his death, was played, and it is at this time that his great period of literary activity begins. In 55 he produced the work De oratore, in 54 the
1 The most attractive biography a politician only by accident; his of Cicero in English is that by entire natural bent was towards Mr Forsyth.
literature. See the Introduction 2 To judge rightly of Cicero, it to my edition of the Academica. must be remembered that he was
De re publica (the characters in which are nearly all mentioned in the Laelius), in 52 the De legibus, all three works on a large scale, and entitled to rank as philosophical, according to ancient ideas? All of them shew his continued acquaintance with the discussions current in his time of problems which would now be recognised as belonging to philosophy.
From 51 to 46 B.C. owing first to his absence in Cilicia, then to the civil troubles, Cicero almost ceased to write. But in the latter year he was reconciled with Caesar, and as the senate and law courts were closed against him on his refusal to compromise his political principles, he betook himself with greater devotion than ever to literature. He began to carry out a great plan for interpreting the best philosophical writings of the Greeks to his cultivated fellow-countrymen. Idleness he felt to be absolutely unendurable and it seemed to him that he could do his country no better service than by conferring on it a philosophical literature of its own. Hitherto those Romans who had studied philosophy at all had studied it in Greek. The only Latin philosophical literature was Epicurean, and putting aside the poem of Lucretius, which had scarcely then become famous, consisted entirely of books rudely written, which had however attained a large circulation?.
Cicero made no claim to originality as a philosopher, or even to an entire and complete acquaintance with every detail of the Greek systems. His usual plan was to take one or two leading Greek works on the subject with which he was dealing, and to represent freely in his own language their subject-matter, introducing episodes and illustrations of his own. We shall presently see how this general plan was carried out in the case of the Laelius.
The first work written in 46 was the Hortensius, or De philosophia, now lost. It was founded on a lost dialogue of Aristotle, and set forth the advantages of studying philosophy. During
Almost every branch of learn. ing was ranked under the head of philosophy. Strabo claimed that one branch of philosophy was geography.
3 Cf. Off. 1, 2 philosophandi scientiam concedens multis, etc.