The Academic Questions: Treatise de Finibus, and Tusculan Disputations

Overview

The Academic Questions.

Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Translated by Charles Duke Yonge.

Top 100 Ancient philosophy Classics.

"The object proposed was to give an account of the rise and progress of the Academic Philosophy, to point out the various modifications introduced by successive professors, and to demonstrate the superiority of the principles of the New Academy, as taught by ...

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Overview

The Academic Questions.

Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Translated by Charles Duke Yonge.

Top 100 Ancient philosophy Classics.

"The object proposed was to give an account of the rise and progress of the Academic Philosophy, to point out the various modifications introduced by successive professors, and to demonstrate the superiority of the principles of the New Academy, as taught by Philo, over those of the old, as advocated by Antiochus."

The following account of the two Books of the Academics is extracted from the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, edited by Dr. W. Smith:

"The history of this work, before it finally quitted the hands of its author, is exceedingly curious and somewhat obscure; but must be clearly understood before we can explain the relative position of those portions of it which have been transmitted to modern times. By comparing carefully a series of letters written to Atticus, in the course of b.c. 45 (Ep. ad Att. xiii. 32;1 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 35, 44), we find that Cicero had drawn up a treatise upon the Academic Philosophy, in the form of a dialogue between Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius; and that it was comprised in two books, the first bearing the name of Catulus, the second that of Lucullus. A copy was sent to Atticus; and, soon after it reached him, two new Introductions were composed, the one in praise of Catulus, the other in praise of Lucullus. Scarcely had this been done, when Cicero, from a conviction that Catulus, Lucullus, and Hortensius, although men of highly cultivated minds, and well acquainted with general literature, were known to have been little conversant with the subtle arguments of abstruse philosophy, determined to withdraw them altogether, and accordingly substituted Cato and Brutus in their place. Immediately after this change had been introduced, he received a communication from Atticus, representing that Varro was much offended by being passed over in the discussion of topics in which he was so deeply versed. Thereupon Cicero, catching eagerly at the idea thus suggested, resolved to recast the whole piece, and quickly produced, under the old title, a new and highly improved edition, divided into four books instead of two, dedicating the whole to Varro, to whom was assigned the task of defending the tenets of Antiochus; while Cicero himself undertook to support the views of Philo, Atticus also taking a share in the conversation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500473532
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/10/2014
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC - 7 December 43 BC; sometimes anglicized as Tully), was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.

His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language". Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zielinski, "Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.

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