De Amicitia, Scipio's Dream
Marcus Tullius Ciceronis

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& the Distributed Proofreaders Team


De Amicitia, Scipio's Dream

By Cicero

Translated, with an Introduction and Notes

By Andrew P. Peabody


* * * * *


1. Introduction.

2. Reputation of Laelius for wisdom. The curiosity to know how he bore
the death of Scipio.

3. His grounds of consolation in his bereavement

4. He expresses his faith in immortality. Desires perpetual memory in
this world of the friendship between himself and Scipio.

5. True friendship can exist only among good men.

6. Friendship defined.

7. Benefits derived from friendship.

8. Friendship founded not on need, but on nature.

9. The relation of utility to friendship.

10. Causes for the separation of friends.

11. How far love for friends may go.

12. Wrong never to be done at a friend's request.

13. Theories that degrade friendship

14. How friendships are formed.

15. Friendlessness wretched.

16. The limits of friendship.

17. In what sense and to what degree friends are united. How friends are
to be chosen and tested.

18. The qualities to be sought in a friend.

19. Old friends not to be forsaken for new.

20. The duties of friendship between persons differing in ability, rank,
or position.

21. How friendships should be dissolved, and how to guard against the
necessity of dissolving them.

22. Unreasonable expectations of friends. Mutual respect necessary in
true friendship.

23. Friendship necessary for all men.

24. Truth-telling, though it often gives offence, an essential duty from
friend to friend.

25. The power of truth. The arts of flattery.

26. Flattery availing only with the feeble-minded.

27. Virtue the soul of friendship. Laelius describes the intimacy of the
friendship between himself and Scipio.

* * * * *


1. Scipio's visit to Masinissa. Circumstances under which the dream

2. Appearance of the elder Africanus, and of his own father, to Scipio.
Prophecy of Scipio's successes and honors, with an intimation of his
death by the hands of his kindred.

3. Conditions on which heaven may be won.

4. The nine spheres that constitute the universe.

5. The music of the spheres.

6. The five zones of the earth.

7. Brevity and worthlessness of earthly fame.

8. All souls eternal.

9. The soul to be trained for immortality. The fate of those who merge
their souls in sense.



The _De Amicitia_, inscribed, like the _De Senectute_, to Atticus, was
probably written early in the year 44 B.C., during Cicero's retirement,
after the death of Julius Caesar and before the conflict with Antony.
The subject had been a favorite one with Greek philosophers, from whom
Cicero always borrowed largely, or rather, whose materials he made
fairly his own by the skill, richness, and beauty of his elaboration,
Some passages of this treatise were evidently suggested by Plato; and
Aulus Gellius says that Cicero made no little use of a now lost essay of
Theophrastus on Friendship.

In this work I am especially impressed by Cicero's dramatic power. But
for the mediocrity of his poetic genius, he might have won pre-eminent
honor from the Muse of Tragedy. He here so thoroughly enters into the
feelings of Laelius with reference to Scipio's death, that as we read we
forget that it is not Laelius himself who is speaking. We find ourselves
in close sympathy with him, as if he were telling us the story of his
bereavement, giving utterance to his manly fortitude and resignation and
portraying his friend's virtues from the unfading image phototyped on
his own loving memory. In other matters too Cicero goes back to the time
of Laelius and assumes his point of view assigning to him just the
degree of foresight which he probably possessed and making not the
slightest reference to the very different aspect in which he himself had
learned to regard and was wont to represent the personages and events of
that earlier period. Thus while Cicero traced the downfall of the
republic to changes in the body politic that had taken place or were
imminent and inevitable when Scipio died he makes Laelius perceive only
a slight though threatening deflection from what had been in the earlier
time [Footnote 1]. So too though Cicero was annoyed more than by almost
any other characteristic of his age by the prevalence of the Epicurean
philosophy and ascribed to it in a very large degree the demoralization
of men in public life with Laelius the doctrines of this school are
represented as they must have been in fact as new and unfamiliar. In
time Laelius is here made to say not a word which he being the man that
he was and at the date assumed for this dialogue might not have said
himself; and it may be doubted whether a report of one of his actual
conversations would have seemed more truly genuine.

This is a rare gift often sought indeed yet sought in vain not only by
dramatists who have very [Footnote 1 _Deflexit jam aliquantul im_]
seldom attained it but by authors of a very great diversity of type and
culture. One who undertakes to personate a character belonging to an age
not his own hardly ever fails of manifest anachronisms. The author finds
it utterly impossible to fit the antique mask so closely as not now and
then to show through its chinks his own more modern features, while this
form of internal evidence never fails to betray an intended forgery
however skilfully wrought. On the other hand there is no surer proof of
the genuineness ot a work purporting to be of an earlier but alleged to
be of a later origin than the absence of all tokens of a time subsequent
to the earliest date claimed for it. [Footnote: Thus among the many
proofs of the genuineness of our canonical Gospels perhaps none is more
conclusive than the fact that though evidently written by unskilled men
they contain not a trace or token of certain opinions known to have been
rife even before the close of the first Christian century; while the (so
called) apocryphal Gospels bear, throughout, such vestiges of their
later origin as would neutralize the strongest testimony imaginable in
behalf of their primitive antiquity.]

In connection with this work it should be borne in mind that the special
duties of friendship constituted an essential department of ethics in
the ancient world and that the relation of friend to friend was regarded
as on the same plane with that of brother to brother. No treatise on
morals would have been thought complete had this subject been omitted.
Not a few modern writers have attempted the formal treatment of
friendship but while the relation of kindred minds and souls has lost
none of its sacredness and value, the establishment of a code of rules
for it ignores on the one hand the spontaneity of this relation, and on
the other hand, its entire amenableness to the laws and principles that
should restrict and govern all human intercourse and conduct.

Shaftesbury, in his 'Characteristics,' in his exquisite vein of irony
sneers at Christianity for taking no cognizance of friendship either in
its precepts or in its promises. Jeremy Taylor, however, speaks of this
feature of Christianity as among the manifest tokens of its divine
origin, and Soame Jenyns takes the same ground in a treatise expressly
designed to meet the objections and cavils of Shaftesbury and other
deistical writers of his time. These authors are all in the right and
all in the wrong, as to the matter of fact. There is no reason why
Christianity should prescribe friendship which is a privilege, not a
duty, or should essay to regulate it, for its only ethical rule of
strict obligation is the negative rule which would lay out for it a
track that shall never interfere with any positive duty selfward,
manward or Godward. But in the life of the Founder of Christianity, who
teaches, most of all, by example, friendship has its apogee,--its
supreme pre-eminence and honor. He treats his apostles and speaks of and
to them, not as mere disciples but as intimate and dearly beloved
friends, among these there are three with whom he stands in peculiarly
near relations, and one of the three was singled out by him in dying for
the most sacred charge that he left on the earth, while at the same time
that disciple shows in his Gospel that he had obtained an inside view so
to speak, of his Master's spiritual life and of the profounder sense of
his teachings which is distinguished by contrast rather than by
comparison from the more superficial narratives of the other

But Christianity has done even more than this for friendship. It has
superseded its name by fulfilling its offices to a degree of perfectness
which had never entered into the ante-Christian mind. Man shrinks from
solitude. He feels inadequate to bear the burdens, meet the trials, and
wage the conflicts of this mortal life, alone. Orestes always needed and
craved a Pylades, but often failed to find one. This inevitable
yearning, when it met no human response found still less to satisfy it
in the objects of worship. Its gods, though in great part deified men,
could not be relied on for sympathy, support or help. The stronger
spirits did not believe in them, the feebler looked upon them only with
awe and dread. But Christianity, in its anthropomorphism, which is its
strongest hold on faith and trust, insures for the individual man in a
Divine Humanity precisely what friends might essay to do yet could do
but imperfectly for him. It proffers the tender sympathy and helpfulness
of Him who bears the griefs and carries the sorrows of each and all;
while the near view that it presents of the life beyond death inspires
the sense of unbroken union with friends in heaven, and of the fellow-
feeling of "a cloud of witnesses" beside. Thus while friendship in
ordinary life is never to be spurned when it may be had without
sacrifice of principle, it is less a necessity than when man's relations
with the unseen world gave no promise of strength, aid, or comfort.

Experience has deepened my conviction that what is called a free
translation is the only fit rendering of Latin into English; that is,
the only way of giving to the English reader the actual sense of the
Latin writer. This last has been my endeavor. The comparison is, indeed,
exaggerated; but it often seems to me, in unrolling a compact Latin
sentence, as if I were writing out in words the meaning of an algebraic
formula. A single word often requires three or four as its English
equivalent. Yet the language is not made obscure by compression. On the
contrary, there is no other language in which it is so hard to bury
thought or to conceal its absence by superfluous verbiage.

I have used Beier's edition of the _De Amicitia_, adhering to it in the
very few cases in which other good editions have a different reading.
There are no instances in which the various readings involve any
considerable diversity of meaning.


Caius Laelius Sapiens, the son of Caius Laelius, who was the life-long
friend of Scipio Africanus the Elder, was born B.C. 186, a little
earlier in the same year with his friend Africanus the Younger. He was
not undistinguished as a military commander, as was proved by his
successful campaign against Viriathus, the Lusitanian chieftain, who had
long held the Roman armies at bay, and had repeatedly gained signal
advantages over them. He was known in the State, at first as leaning,
though moderately and guardedly, to the popular side, but after the
disturbances created by the Gracchi, as a strong conservative. He was a
learned and accomplished man, was an elegant writer,--though while the
Latin tongue retained no little of its archaic rudeness,--and was
possessed of some reputation as an orator. Though bearing his part in
public affairs, holding at intervals the offices of Tribune, Praetor,
and Consul, and in his latter years attending with exemplary fidelity to
such duties as belonged to him as a member of the college of Augurs, he
yet loved retirement, and cultivated, so far as he was able, studious
and contemplative habits. He was noted for his wise economy of time. To
an idle man who said to him, "I have sixty years" [_Sexaginta annos
habeo._] (that is, I am sixty years old), he replied, "Do you mean the
sixty years which you have not?" His private life was worthy of all
praise for the virtues that enriched and adorned it; and its memory was
so fresh after the lapse of more than two centuries, that Seneca, who
well knew the better way which he had not always strength to tread,
advises his young friend Lucilius to "live with Laelius;" [_Vire cum
Laelio._] that is, to take his life as a model.

The friendship of Laelius and the younger Scipio Africanus well deserves
the commemoration which it has in this dialogue of Cicero. It began in
their boyhood, and continued without interruption till Scipio's death.
Laelius served in Africa, mainly that he might not be separated from his
friend. To each other's home was as his own. They were of one mind as to
public men and measures, and in all probability the more pliant nature
of Laelius yielded in great measure to the stern and uncompromising
adherence of Scipio to the cause of the aristocracy. While they were
united in grave pursuits and weighty interests, we have the most
charming pictures of their rural and seaside life together, even of
their gathering shells on the shore, and of fireside frolics in which
they forgot the cares of the republic, ceased to be stately old Romans,
and played like children in vacation-time.


Caius Fannius Strabo in early life served with high reputation in
Africa, under the younger Africanus, and afterward in Spain, in the war
with Viriathus. Like his father-in-law, he was versed in the philosophy
of the Stoic school, under the tuition of Panaetius. He was an orator,
as were almost all the Romans who aimed at distinction; but we have no
reason to suppose that he in this respect rose above mediocrity. He
wrote a history, of which Cicero speaks well, and which Sallust commends
for its accuracy; but it is entirely lost, and we have no direct
information even as to the ground which it covered. It seems probable,
however, that it was a history either of the third of the Punic wars, or
of all of them; for Plutarch quotes from him--probably from his History
--the statement that he, Fannius, and Tiberius Gracchus were the first to
mount the walls of Carthage whent he city was taken.


Quintus Mucius Scaevola filled successively most of the important
offices of the State, and was for many years, and until death, a member
of the college of Augurs. He was eminent for his legal learning, and to
a late and infirm old age was still consulted in questions of law, never
refusing to receive clients at any moment after daylight. But while he
was regarded as foremost among the jurists of his time, he professed
himself less thoroughly versed in the laws relating to mortgages than
two of his coevals, to whom he was wont to send those who brought cases
of this class for his opinion or advice. He was remarkable for early
rising, constant industry, and undeviating punctuality,--at the meetings
of the Senate being always the first on the ground.

No man held a higher reputation than Scaevola for rigid and scrupulous
integrity. It is related of him that when as a witness in court he had
given testimony full, clear, strong, and of the most damnatory character
against the person on trial, he protested against the conviction of the
defendant on his testimony, if not corroborated, on the principle, held
sacred in the Jewish law, that it would be a dangerous precedent to
suffer the issue of any case to depend on the intelligence and veracity
of a single witness. When, after Marius had been driven from the city,
Sulla asked the Senate to declare him by their vote a public enemy,
Scaevola stood in a minority of one; and when Sulla urged him to give
his vote in the affirmative, his reply was: "Although you show me the
military guard with which you have surrounded the Senate-house, although
you threaten me with death, yon will never induce me, for the little
blood still in an old man's veins, to pronounce Marius--who has been the
preserver of the city and of Italy--an enemy."

His daughter married Lucius Licinius Crassus, who had such reverence tor
his father-in-law, that, when a candidate for the consulship, he could
not persuade himself in the presence of Scaevola to cringe to the
people, or to adopt any of the usual self-humiliating methods of
canvassing for the popular vote.


PALIMPSESTS[Footnote: _Rubbed again_,--the parchment, or papyrus, having
been first polished for use, and then rubbed as clean as possible, to be
used a second time.]--the name and the thing--are at least as old as
Cicero. In one of his letters he banters his friend Trebatius for
writing to him on a palimpsest,[Footnote: _In palimpsesto_.] and marvels
what there could have been on the parchment which he wanted to erase.
This was a device probably resorted to in that age only in the way in
which rigid economists of our day sometimes utilize envelopes and
handbills. But in the dark ages, when classical literature was under a
cloud and a ban, and when the scanty demand for writing materials made
the supply both scanty and precarious, such manuscripts of profane
authors as fell into the hands of ecclesiastical copyists were not
unusually employed for transcribing the works of the Christian Fathers
or the lives of saints. In such cases the erasion was so clumsily
performed as often to leave distinct traces of the previous letters. The
possibility of recovering lost writings from these palimpsests was first
suggested by Montfaucon in the seventeenth century; but the earliest
successful experiment of the kind was made by Bruns, a German scholar,
in the latter part of the eighteenth, century. The most distinguished
laborer in this field has been Angelo Mai, who commenced his work in
1814 on manuscripts in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, of which he was
then custodian. Transferred to the Vatican Library at Rome, he
discovered there, in 1821, a considerable portion of Cicero's _De
Republica_, which had been obliterated, and replaced by Saint
Augustine's Commentary on the Psalms. This latter being removed by
appropriate chemical applications, large portions of the original
writing remained legible, and were promptly given to the public.

This treatise Cicero evidently considered, and not without reason, as
his master-work. It was written in the prime of his mental vigor, in the
fifty-fourth year of his age, after ample experience in the affairs of
State, and while he still hoped, more than he feared for the future of
Rome. His object was to discuss in detail the principles and forms of
civil government, to define the grounds of preference for a republic
like that of Rome in its best days, and to describe the duties and
responsibilities of a good citizen, whether in public office or in
private life. He regarded this treatise, in its ethics, as his own
directory in the government of his province of Cilicia, and as binding
him, by the law of self-consistency, to unswerving uprightness and
faithfulness, He refers to these six books on the Republic as so many
hostages [Footnote: _Praedibus_.] for his uncorrupt integrity and
untarnished honor, and makes them his apology to Atticus for declining
to urge an extortionate demand on the city of Salamis.

The work is in the form of Dialogues, in which, with several
interlocutors beside, the younger Africanus and Laelius are the chief
speakers; and it is characterized by the same traits of dramatic genius
to which I have referred in connection with the _De Amicitia_.

The _De Republica_ was probably under interdict during the reigns of the
Augustan dynasty; men did not dare to copy it, or to have it known that
they possessed it; and when it might have safely reappeared, the
republic had faded even from regretful memory, and there was no desire
to perpetuate a work devoted to its service and honor. Thus the world
had lost the very one of all Cicero's writings for which he most craved
immortality. The portions of it which Mai has brought to light fully
confirm Cicero's own estimate of its value, and feed the earnest--it is
to be feared the vain--desire for the recovery of the entire work.

Scipio's Dream, which, is nearly all that remains of the Sixth Book of
the _De Republica_, had survived during the interval for which the rest
of the treatise was lost to the world. Macrobius, a grammarian of the
fifth century, made it the text of a commentary of little present
interest or value, but much prized and read in the Middle Ages. The
Dream, independently of the commentary, has in more recent times passed
through unnumbered editions, sometimes by itself, sometimes with
Cicero's ethical writings, sometimes with the other fragments of the _De

In the closing Dialogue of the _De Republica_ the younger Africanus
says: "Although to the wise the consciousness of noble deeds is a most
ample reward of virtue, yet this divine virtue craves, not indeed
statues that need lead to hold them to their pedestals, nor yet triumphs
graced by withering laurels, but rewards of firmer structure and more
enduring green." "What are these?" says Laelius. Scipio replies by
telling his dream. The time of the vision was near the beginning of the
Third Punic War, when Scipio, no longer in his early youth, was just
entering upon the career in which he gained pre-eminent fame,
thenceforward to know neither shadow nor decline.

* * * * *

I have used for Scipio's Dream, Creuzer and Moser's edition of the _De


* * * * *

1 Quintus Mucius, the Augur, used to repeat from memory, and in the most
pleasant way, many of the sayings of his father-in-law Caius Laelius,
never hesitating to apply to him in all that he said his surname of The
Wise. When I first put on the robe of manhood [Footnote: In the earliest
time a boy put on the _toga virilis_ when he had completed his sixteenth
year, in Cicero's time pupilage ceased a year earlier and by Justinin's
code the period at which it legally ceased was the commencement of the
fifteenth year. The Scaevola to whom Cicero was thus taken was Quintus
Mucius (Scaevola) the Augur, already named.] my father took me to
Scaevola and so commended me to his kind offices, that thenceforward, so
far as was possible and fitting I kept my place at the old man's side.
[Footnote: It was customary for youth in training for honorable
positions in the State to attach themselves especially to men of
established character and reputation, to attend them to public places,
and to remain near them whenever anything w"as to be learned from their
conversation, their legal opinions, their public harangues, or their
pleas before the courts. Distinguished citizens deemed themselves
honored by a retinue of such attendants. Cicero, in the _De Officiis_,
says that a young man may best commend himself to the early esteem and
confidence of the community by such an intimacy.] I thus laid up in my
memory many of his elaborate discussions of important subjects, as well
as many of his utterances that had both brevity and point, and my
endeavor was to grow more learned by his wisdom. After his death I stood
in a similar relation to the high-priest Scaevola, [Footnote: As Cicero
says, the most eloquent of jurists, and the most learned jurist among
the eloquent. He was at the same time pre-eminent for moral purity and
integrity. It was he, who, as Cicero (_De Officiis_, iii. 15) relates,
insisted on paying for an estate that he bought a much larger sum than
was asked for it, because its price had been fixed far below its actual
value.] whom I venture to call the foremost man of our city both in
ability and in uprightness. But of him I will speak elsewhere. I return
to the Augur. While I recall many similar occasions, I remember in
particular that at a certain time when I and a few of his more intimate
associates were sitting with him in the semicircular apartment
[Footnote: Latin, _hemicyclio,_ perhaps, a semicircular seat.] in his
house where he was wont to receive his friends, the conversation turned
on a subject about which almost every one was then talking, and which
you, Atticus, certainly recollect, as you were much in the society of
Publius Sulpicius; namely, the intense hatred with which Sulpicius, when
Tribune of the people, opposed Quintus Pompeius, then Consul, [Footnote:
The quarrel arose from the zelous espousal of the Marian faction by
Sulpicius, who resorted to arms, in order to effect the incorporation of
the new citizens from without the city among the previously existing
tribes. Hence a series of tumults and conflicts, in one of which a son
of Pompeius lost his life.] with whom he had lived in the closest and
most loving union,--a subject of general surprise and regret. Having
incidentally mentioned this affair, Scaevola proceeded to give us the
substance of a conversation on friendship, which Laelius had with him
and his other son-in-law, Caius Fannius, the son of Marcus, a few days
after the death of Africanus. I committed to memory the sentiments
expressed in that discussion, and I bring them out in the book which I
now send you. I have put them into the form of a dialogue, to avoid the
too frequent repetition of "said I" and "says he," and that the
discussion may seem as if it were held in the hearing of those who read
it. While you, indeed, have often urged me to write something about
friendship, the subject seems to me one of universal interest, and at
the same time specially appropriate to our intimacy. I have therefore
been very ready to seek the profit of many by complying with your
request. But as in the _Cato Major_, the work on Old Age inscribed to
you, I introduced the old man Cato as leading the discussion, because
there seemed to be no other person better fitted to talk about old age
than one who had been an aged man so long, and in his age had been so
exceptionally vigorous, so, as we had heard from our fathers of the
peculiarly memorable intimacy of Caius Laelius and Publius Scipio, it
appeared appropriate to put into the mouth of Laelius what Scaevola
remembered as having been said by him when friendship was the subject in
on the authority of men of an earlier generation, and illustrious in
their time, seems somehow to be of specially commanding influence on the
reader's mind. Thus, as I read my own book on Old Age, I am sometimes so
affected that I feel as if not I, but Cato, were talking. But as I then
wrote as an old man to an old man about old age, so in this book I write
as the most loving of friends to a friend about friendship. [Footnote:
In the Latin we have here two remarkable series of assonances,
rhythmical to the ear, and though translatable in sense not so in
euphony. "Ut tum _senex_ ad _senem_ de _senectute,_ sic hoc libro ad
_amicum amicissimus_, de _amicitia_ scripsi."] Then Cato was the chief
speaker, than whom there was in his time scarcely any one older, and no
one his superior in intellect, now Laelius shall hold the first place,
both as a wise man (for so he was regarded), and as excelling in all
that can do honor to friendship. I want you for the while to turn your
mind away from me, and to imagine that it is Laelius who is speaking.
Caius Fannius and Quintus Mucius come to their father-in-law after the
death of Africanus. They commence the conversation, Laelius answers
them. In reading all that he says about friendship, you will recognize
the picture of your own friendship for me.

2 FANNIUS It is as you say, [Footnote: The reference is to what Laelius
is supposed to have said already. The dialogue, as given here, is made
to commence in the midst of a conversation.] Laelius, for there never
was a better man, or one more justly renowned, than Africanus, But you
ought to bear it in mind that the eyes of all are turned upon you at
this time, for they both call you and think you wise. This distinction
has been latterly given to Cato, and you know that in the days of our
fathers Lucius Atilius [Footnote: The first Roman known to have borne
the surname of Sapiens He was one of the earliest of the juriconsults
who took pupils.] was in like manner surnamed The Wise, but both of them
were so called for other reasons than those which have given you this
name,--Atilius, for his reputation as an adept in municipal law, Cato,
for the versatility of his endowments for there were reported to his
honor many measures wisely planned and vigorously carried through in the
Senate, and many cases skilfully defended in the courts, so that in his
old age The Wise was generally applied to him as a surname. But you are
regarded as wise on somewhat different grounds, not only for your
disposition and your moral worth, but also for your knowledge and
learning, and not in the estimation of the common people, but in that of
men of advanced culture, you are deemed wise in a sense in which there
is reason to suppose that in Greece--where those who look into these
things most discriminatingly do not reckon the seven who bear the name
as on the list of wise men--no one was so regarded except the man in
Athens whom the oracle of Apollo designated as the wisest of
men.[Footnote: Socrates.] In fine, you are thought to be wise in this
sense, that you regard all that appertains to your happiness as within
your own soul, and consider the calamities to which man is liable as of
no consequence in comparison with virtue. I am therefore asked, and so,
I believe, is Scaevola, who is now with us, how you bear the death of
Africanus; and the question is put to us the more eagerly, because on
the fifth day of the mouth next following, [Footnote: Latin, _proxumis
nonis_. The _nones_, the ninth day before the _ides_, fell on the fifth
of the month, except in March. May, July, and October, when the _ides_
were two days later. We have elsewhere intimation that the Augurs held
a meeting for business on the _nones_ of each month.] when we met, as
usual, in the garden of Decimus Brutus the Augur, to discuss our
official business, you were absent, though it was your habit always on
that day to give your most careful attendance to the duties of your

SCAEVOLA. As Fannius says, Caius Laelius, many have asked me this
question. But I answered in accordance with what I have seen, that you
were bearing with due moderation your sorrow for the death of this your
most intimate friend, though you, with your kindly nature, could not
fail to be moved by it; but that your absence from the monthly meeting
of the Augurs was due to illness, not to grief.

LAELIUS. You were in the right, Scaevola, and spoke the truth; for it
was not fitting, had I been in good health, for me to be detained by my
own sad feeling from this duty, which I have never failed to discharge;
nor do I think that a man of firm mind can be so affected by any
calamity as to neglect his duty. It is, indeed, friendly in you,
Fannius, to tell me that better things are said of me than I feel worthy
of or desire to have said; but it seems to me that you underrate Cato.
For either there never was a wise man (and so I am inclined to think),
or if there has been such a man, Cato deserves the name. To omit other
things, how nobly did he bear his son's death! I remembered Paulus,
[Footnote: Paulus Aemilius, who lost two sons, one a few days before,
the other shortly after, the triumph decreed to him for the conquest of
the Macedonian King Perseus.] I had seen Gallus,[Footnote: Gaius
Sulpicius Gallus, mentioned as an astronomer by Cicero, _De Officiis_,
i. 6, and _De Senectute_, 14.] in their bereavements. But they lost
boys; Cato, a man in his prime and respected by all.[Footnote: The
younger Cato had won fame as a soldier and distinguished eminence as a
jurist. At the time of his death he was praetor elect.] Beware how you
place in higher esteem than Cato even the man whom Apollo, as you say,
pronounced superlatively wise; for it is the deeds of Cato, the sayings
of Socrates, that are held in honor. Thus far in reply to Fannius. As
regards myself, I will now answer both of you.

3. Were I to deny that I feel the loss of Scipio, while I leave it to
those who profess themselves wise in such matters to say whether I ought
to feel it, I certainly should be uttering a falsehood. I do indeed feel
my bereavement of such a friend as I do not expect ever to have again,
and as I am sure I never had beside. But I need no comfort from without,
I console myself, and, chief of all, I find comfort in my freedom from
the apprehension that oppresses most men when their friends die, for I
do not think that any evil has befallen Scipio. If evil has befallen, it
is to me. But to be severely afflicted by one's own misfortunes is the
token of self-love, not of friendship. As for him, indeed who can deny
that the issue has been to his pre-eminent glory? Unless he had wished--
what never entered into his mind--an endless life on earth what was
there within human desire that did not accrue to the man who in his very
earliest youth by his incredible ability and prowess surpassed the
highest expectations that all had formed of his boyhood, who never
sought the consulship, yet was made consul twice, the first time before
the legal age,[Footnote: He left the army in Africa B.C. 147 for home to
offer himself as a candidate for the aedileship, for which he had just
reached the legal age of thirty seven; but such accounts of his ability
efficiency, and courage had preceded him and followed him from the army,
that he was chosen Consul, virtually by popular acclamation.] the second
time in due season as to himself, but almost too late for his
country,[Footnote: The war in Spain had been continued for several
years, with frequent disaster and disgrace to the Roman army, when
Scipio, B.C. 134, was chosen Consul with a special view to this war,
which he closed by the capture and destruction of Numantia, inconnection
with which, it must he confessed, his record is rather that of a
relentless and sanguinary enemy than of a generous and placable
antagonist.] who by the overthrow of two cities implacably hostile to
the Roman empire put a period, not only to the wars that were but to
wars that else must have been? What shall I say of the singular
affability of his manners, of his filial piety to his mother, [Footnote:
He was the son of Paulus Aemilius, and the adopted son of Publius
Cornelius Scipio Africanus. His mother, divorced for no assignable
reason, was left very poor, and her son, on the death of the widow of
his adopting father, gave her the entire patrimony that came into his
possession.] of his generosity to his sisters, [Footnote: After his
mother's death, law and custom authorized him to resume what he had
given her, but he bestowed it on his sisters, thus affording them the
means of living comfortably and respectably.] of his integrity in his
relations with all men? How dear he was to the community was shown by
the grief at his funeral. What benefit, then, could he have derived from
a few more years? For, although old age be not burdensome,--as I
remember that Cato, the year before he died, maintained in a
conversation with me and Scipio, [Footnote: The _De Senectute_]--it yet
impairs the fresh vigor which Scipio had not begun to lose. Thus his
life was such that nothing either in fortune or in fame could be added
to it, while the suddenness of his death must have taken away the pain
of dying. Of the mode of his death it is hard to speak with certainty,
you are aware what suspicions are abroad. [Footnote: He retired to his
sleeping apartment apparently in perfect health, and was found dead on
his couch in the morning,--as was rumored, with marks of violence on his
neck. His wife was Sempronia, the sister of the Gracchi whose agrarian
schemes he had vehemently opposed. She was suspected of having at least
given admission to the assassin, and even her mother, the Cornelia who
has been regarded as unparelleled among Roman women for the virutes
appertaining to a wife and mother, did not escape the charge of
complicity. Her son Caius was also among those suspected, but the more
probable opinion is that Papirius Carbo was alone answerable for the
crime. Carbo had been Scipio's most bitter enemy and had endeavoured to
inflame the people against him as their enemy.] But this may be said
with truth that of the many days of surpassing fame and happiness which
Publius Scipio saw in his lifetime, the most glorious was the day before
his death when on the adjournment of the Senate he was escorted home by
the Conscript Fathers, the Roman people, the men of Latium and the
allies, [Footnote): Scipio had at that session of the senate proposed a
measure in the utmost degree offensive to Caius Gracchus and his party.
The law of Tiberius Gracchus would have disposed, at the hands of the
commissioners appointed under it, of large tracts of land belonging to
the Italian allies. Scipio's plan provided that such lands should be
taken out of the jurisdiction of the commissioners, and that matters
relating to them should be adjudged by a different board to be specially
appointed--a measure which would have been a virtual abrogation of the
agrarian law. On this account he had his honorable escort home, and on
this account, in all probability, he was mudered.]--so that from so
high a grade of honor he seems to have passed on into the assembly of
the gods rather than to have gone down into the underworld.

4 For I am far from agreeing with those who have of late promulgated the
opinion that the soul perishes with the body and that death blots out
the whole being. [Footnote: The reference here is of course to the
Epicurians. This school of philosophy had grown very rapidly, and
numbered many disciples when this essay was written; but in the time of
Laelius it had but recently invaded Rome, and Amafanius, who must have
been his contemporary, was the earliest Roman writer who expounded its
doctrine] I on the other hand attach superior value to the authority of
the ancients whether that of our ancestors who established religious
rites for the dead which they certainly would not have done if they had
thought the dead wholly unconcerned in such observances [Footnote: This
is sound reasoning as these rites were annually renewed and consisted in
great part of the invocation of ancestors--a custom which could not have
originated if those ancestors were supposed to be utterly dead. This
passage may remind the reader of the answer of Jesus Christ to the
Sadducees, who denied that the Pentateuch contained any intimation of
immortality. He quotes the passage in which God is represented as
saying, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob," and adds, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,"
implying that ancestors whom the writer of that record supposed to be
dead could not have been thus mentioned.] or thatof the former Greek
colonists in this country who by their schools and teaching made
Southern Italy [Footnote: Latin _Magna Graecia_-the name given to the
cluster of Greek colonies that were scattered thick along the shore of
Southern Italy. At Croton in Magna Graecia Pythagoras established his
school and the colonies were the chief seat and seminary of his
philosophy which taught the immortality of the soul.]--now in its
decline, then flourishing--a seat of learning, or that of him whom the
oracle of Apollo pronounced the wisest of men who said not one thing
to-day, another to-morrow, as many do, but the same thing always,
maintaining that the souls of men are divine, and that when they go out
from the body, the return to heaven is open to them, and direct and easy
in proportion to their integrity and excellence. This was also the
opinion of Scipio, who seemed prescient of the event so near, when, a
very short time before his death, he discoursed for three successive
days about the republic in the presence of Philus, Manilius, and several
others,--you, Scaevola, having gone with me to the conferences,--and
near the close of the discussion he told us what he said that he had
heard from Africanus in a vision during sleep. [Footnote: The _De
Republica_ consists of dialogues on three successive days in Scipio's
garden, and Scipio is the chief speaker. The work was supposed to be
irrecoverably lost, with the exception of this Dream of Scipio and a few
fragments, but considerable portions of it were discovered in a
palimpsest in 1822. The Dream of Scipio will be found in the latter part
of this volume.] If it is true that the soul of every man of surpassing
excellence takes flight, as it were, from the custody and bondage of the
body, to whom can we imagine the way to the gods more easy than to
Scipio? I therefore fear to mourn for this his departure, lest in such
grief there be more of envy than of friendship. But if truth incline to
the opinion that soul and body have the same end, and that there is no
remaining consciousness, then, as there is nothing good in death, there
certainly is nothing of evil For if consciousness be lost, the case is
the same with Scipio as if he had never been born, though that he was
born I have so ample reason to rejoice, and this city will be glad so
long as it shall stand Thus in either event, with him, as I have said,
all has issued well, though with great discomfort for me, who more
fittingly, as I entered into life before him ought to have left it
before him. But I so enjoy the memory of our friendship, that I seem to
have owed the happiness of my life to my having lived with Scipio, with
whom I was united in the care of public interests and of private
affairs, who was my companion at home and served by my side in the army
[Footnote: Laelus went with Scipio on the campaign which resulted in the
destruction of Carthage.] and with whom--and therein lies the special
virtue of friendship--I was in perfect harmony of purpose, taste, and
sentiment. Thus I am now not so much delighted by the reputation for
wisdom of which Fannius has just spoken, especially as I do not deserve
it, as by the hope that our friendship will live in eternal remembrance,
and this I have the more at heart because from all ages scarce three or
four pairs of friends are on record, [Footnote: Those referred to
probably Theseus and Peirithous, Achilles and Patroclus, Orestes and
Pylades, Damon and Phintius,--all but the last, perhaps the last also,
mythical] on which list I cannot but hope that the friendship of Scipio
and Laelius will be known to posterity.

FANNIUS. It cannot fail, Laelius, to be as you desire. But since you
have made mention of friendship, and we are at leisure, you will confer
on me a very great favor, and, I trust, on Scaevola too, if, as you are
wont to do on other subjects when your opinion is asked, you will
discourse to us on friendship, and tell us what you think about it, in
what estimation you hold it, and what rules you would give for it.

SCAEVOLA. This will indeed be very gratifying to me, and had not Fannius
anticipated me, I was about to make the same request. You thus will
bestow a great kindness on both of us.

5. LAELIUS. I certainly would not hesitate, if I had confidence in my
own powers; for the subject is one of the highest importance, and, as
Fannius says, we are at leisure. It is the custom of philosophers,
especially among the Greeks, to have subjects assigned to them, which
they discuss even without premeditation. [Footnote: This was the boast
and pride of the Greek sophists.] This is a great accomplishment, and
requires no small amount of exercise. I therefore think that you ought
to seek the treatment of friendship by those who profess this art. I can
only advise you to prefer friendship to all things else within human
attainment, insomuch as nothing beside is so well fitted to nature,--so
well adapted to our needs whether in prosperous or in adverse
circumstances. But I consider this as a first principle--that friendship
can exist only between good men. In thus saying, I would not be so rigid
in definition [Footnote: Latin. _Neque ut ad ilium reseco_, literally,
nor in this matter do I cut to the quick.] as those who establish
specially subtle distinctions, [Footnote: The Stoics of the more rigid
type, who maintained that the wise man alone is good, but denied that
the truly wise man had yet made his appearance on the earth.] with
literal truth it may be, but with little benefit to the common mind; for
they will not admit that any man who is not wise is a good man. This may
indeed be true. But they understand by wisdom a state which no mortal
has yet attained; while we ought to look at those qualities which are to
be found in actual exercise and in common life, not at those which exist
only in fancy or in aspiration. Caius Fabricius, Manius Curius, Tiberius
Coruncanius, wise as they were in the judgment of our fathers, I will
consent not to call wise by the standard of these philosophers. Let them
keep for themselves the name of wisdom, which is invidious and of
doubtful meaning, if they will only admit that these may have been good
men. But they will not grant even this; they insist on denying the name
of good to any but the wise. I therefore adopt the standard of common
sense. [Footnote: Latin _agamus igitur piagui (ut aiunt) Minerva_, that
is with a less refined, a grosser wisdom more nearly conformed to the
sound, if somewhat crass, common-sensFe of the majority.] Those who
integrity, equity, and kindness win approval, who are entirely free from
avarice, lust and the infirmities of a hasty temper, and in whom there
is perfect consistency of character, in fine men like those whom I have
named while they are regarded as good, ought to be so called, because to
the utmost of human capacity they follow Nature who is the best guide in
living well. Indeed, it seems to me thoroughly evident that there should
be a certain measure of fellowship among all, but more intimate the
nearer we approach one another. Thus this feeling has more power between
fellow-citizens than toward foreigners, between kindred than between
those of different families. Toward our kindred, Nature herself produces
a certain kind of friendship. But this lacks strength, and indeed
friendship in its full sense, has precedence of kinship in this
particular, that good-will may be taken away from kinship, not from
friendship, for when good will is removed, friendship loses its name,
while that of kinship remains. How great is the force of friendship we
may best understand from this,--that out of the boundless society of the
human race which Nature has constituted, the sense of fellowship is so
contracted and narrowed that the whole power of loving is bestowed on
the union of two or a very few friends.

6 Friendship is nothing else than entire fellow feeling as to all things
human and divine with mutual good-will and affection; [1] and I doubt
whether anything better than this, wisdom alone excepted, has been given
to, man by the immortal gods Some prefer riches to it, some, sound
health, some, power, some, posts of honor, many, even sensual
gratification. This last properly belongs to beasts, the others are
precarious and uncertain, dependent not on our own choice so much as on
the caprice of Fortune. Those, indeed, who regard virtue as the supreme
good are entirely in the right, but it is virtue itself that produces
and sustains friendship, not without virtue can friendship by any
possibility exist. In saying this, however I would interpret virtue in
accordance with our habits of speech and of life, not defining it, as
some philosophers do, by high-sounding words, but numbering on the list
of good men those who are commonly so regarded,--the Pauli, the Catos,
the Galli, the Scipios, the Phili Mankind in general [1 It may be
doubted whether this close conformity of opinion and feeling is
essential, or even favorable to friendship. The amicable comparison and
collision of thought and sentiment are certainly consistent with, and
often conducive to the most friendly intimacy Friends are not
infrequently the complements, rather than the likeness, of each other
Cicero and Atticus were as close friends as Scipio and Laelius; but they
were at many points exceedingly unlike. Atticus had the tact and skill
in worldly matters, which Cicero lacked. Atticus kept aloof from public
affairs while Cicero was unhappy whenever he could not imagine himself
as taking a leading part in them. Atticus was an Epicurran, and Cicero
never lost an opportunity of attacking the Epicurean philosophy.] are
content with these. Let us then leave out of the account such good men
as are nowhere to be found. Among such good men as there really are,
friendship has more advantages than I can easily name. In the first,
place, as Ennius says;--

"How can life be worth living, if devoid Of the calm trust reposed by
friend in friend? What sweeter joy than in the kindred soul, Whose
converse differs not from self-communion?"

How could you have full enjoyment of prosperity, unless with one whose
pleasure in it was equal to your own? Nor would it be easy to bear
adversity, unless with the sympathy of one on whom it rested more
heavily than on your own soul. Then, too, other objects of desire are,
in general, adapted, each to some specific purpose,--wealth, that you
may use it; power, that you may receive the homage of those around you;
posts of honor, that you may obtain reputation; sensual gratification,
that you may live in pleasure; health, that you may be free from pain,
and may have full exercise of your bodily powers and faculties. But
friendship combines the largest number of utilities. Wherever you turn,
it is at hand. No place shuts it out. It is never unseasonable, never
annoying. Thus, as the proverb says, "You cannot put water or fire to
more uses than friendship serves." I am not now speaking of the common
and moderate type of friendship, which yet yields both pleasure and
profit, but, of true and perfect friendship, like that which existed in
the few instances that are held in special remembrance. Such friendship
at once enhances the lustre of prosperity, and by dividing and sharing
adversity lessens its burden.

7. Moreover, while friendship comprises the greatest number and variety
of beneficent offices, it certainly has this special prerogative, that
it lights up a good hope for the time to come, and thus preserves the
minds that it sustains from imbecility or prostration in misfortune. For
he, indeed, who looks into the face of a friend beholds, as it were, a
copy of himself. Thus the absent are present, and the poor are rich, and
the weak are strong, and--what seems stranger still [Footnote:
Literally, _what is harder to say_.]--the dead are alive, such is the
honor, the enduring remembrance, the longing love, with which the dying
are followed by the living; so that the death of the dying seems happy,
the life of the living full of praise. [Footnote: The sense of this
sentence is somewhat overlaid by the rhetoric; yet it undoubtedly means
that an absent friend is esteemed and honored in the person of the
friend who not only loves him, but is regarded as representing him; that
a poor friend enjoys the prosperity of his rich friend as if it were his
own; that a weak friend feels his feebleness energized by the friend who
in need will fight his battles for him; and that no man is suffered to
lapse from the kind and reverent remembrances of those who see his
likeness in the friend who keeps his memory green.] But if from the
condition of human life you were to exclude all kindly union, no house,
no city, could stand, nor, indeed, could the tillage of the field
survive. If it is not perfectly understood what virtue there is in
friendship and concord, it may be learned from dissension and discord.
For what house is so stable, what state so firm, that it cannot be
utterly overturned by hatred and strife? Hence it may be ascertained how
much good there is in friendship. It is said that a certain philosopher
of Agrigentum [Footnote: Empedocles. Only a few fragments of his great
poem are extant. His theory seems like a poetical version of Newton's
law of universal gravitation. The analogy between physical attraction
and the mutual attraction of congenial minds and souls has its record in
the French word _aimant_, denoting _loadstone_ or _magnet_.] sang in
Greek verse that it is friendship that draws together and discord that
parts all things which subsist in harmony, and which have their various
movements in nature and in the whole universe. The worth and power of
friendship, too, all mortals understand, and attest by their approval in
actual instances. Thus, if there comes into conspicuous notice an
occasion on which a friend incurs or shares the perils of his friend,
who can fail to extol the deed with the highest praise? What shouts
filled the whole theatre at the performance of the new play of my guest
[Footnote: Or _host_; for the word _hospes_ may have either meaning. It
denotes not the fact of giving or receiving hospitality, but the
permanent and sacred relation established between host and guest. This
relation has lost much of its character in modern civilization, and I
doubt whether it has a name in any modern European language.] and friend
Marcus Pacuvius, when--the king not knowing which of the two was
Orestes--Pylades said that he was Orestes, while Orestes persisted in
asserting that he was, as in fact he was, Orestes! [Footnote: Among the
many and conflicting legends about Orestes is that which seems to have
been the theme of the lost tragedy of Pacuvius. Orestes, after avenging
on his mother and her paramour the murder of his father, in order to
expiate the guilt of matricide, was directed by the Delphian oracle to
go to Tauris, and to steal and transport to Athens an image of Artemis
that had fallen from heaven. His friend Pylades accompanied him on this
expedition. They were seized by Thoas the king, and Orestes, as the
principal offender, was to be sacrificed to Artemis. His sister,
Iphigeneia, priestess of Artemis, contrived their escape, and the three
arrived safe at Athens with the sacred image.] The whole assembly rose
in applause at this mere fictitious representation. What may we suppose
that they would have done, had the same thing occurred in real life? In
that case Nature herself displayed her power, when men recognized that
as rightly done by another, which they would not have had the courage to
do themselves. Thus far, to the utmost of my ability as it seems to me,
I have given you my sentiments concerning friendship. If there is more
to be said, as I think that there is, endeavor to obtain it, if you see
fit, of those who are wont to discuss such subjects.

FANNIUS. But we would rather have it from you. Although I have often
consulted those philosophers also, and have listened to them not
unwillingly, yet the thread of your discourse differs somewhat from that
of theirs.

SCAEVOLA. You would say so all the more, Fannius, had you been present
in Scipio's garden at that discussion about the republic, and heard what
an advocate of justice he showed himself in answer to the elaborate
speech of Philus. [Footnote: Carneades, when on an embassy to Rome, for
the entertainment of his Roman hosts, on one day delivered a discourse
in behalf of justice as the true policy for the State, and on the next
day delivered an equally subtile and eloquent discourse maintaining the
opposite thesis. In the third Book of the _De Republica_ Philus is made
the "devil's advocate," and has assigned to him the championship of what
we are wont to call a Machiavelian policy, and, in general, of the
morally wrong as the politically right. He is represented astaking the
part reluctantly, saying that one consents to soil his hands in order to
find gold, and he professes to give the substance of the famous
discourse of Carneades. Laelius answers him, and, so far as we can
judge from the fragments of his reply that are extant, with the
preponderance of reason, which Cicero intended should incline on the
better side. There was perhaps a sublatent irony in making Philus play
this part; for he was an eminently upright man. Valerius Maximus
eulogizes him for his rigid integrity and impartiality, and relates that
when at the expiration of his consulship he was sent to take command of
the army against Numantia, he chose for his lieutenants Metellus and
Pompeius, both his intensely bitter enemies, but the men best fitted for
the service.]

FANNIUS. It was indeed easy for the man pre-eminently just to defend

SCAEVOLA. As to friendship, then, is not its defence easy for him who
has won the highest celebrity on the ground of friendship maintained
with pre-eminent faithfulness, consistency, and probity?

8. LAELIUS. This is, indeed, the employing of force; for what matters
the way in which you compel me? You at any rate do compel me; for it is
both hard and unfair not to comply with the wishes of one's sons-in-law,
especially in a case that merits favorable consideration.

In reflecting, then, very frequently on friendship, the foremost
question that is wont to present itself is, whether friendship is craved
on account of conscious infirmity and need, so that in bestowing and
receiving the kind offices that belong to it each may have that done for
him by the other which he is least able to do for himself, reciprocating
services in like manner; or whether, though this relation of mutual
benefit is the property, of friendship it has yet another cause; more
sacred and more noble, and derived more genuinely from the very nature
of man. Love, which in our language gives name to friendship, [Footnote:
_Amor,--amicitia._] bears a chief part in unions of mutual benefit; for
a revenue of service is levied even on those who are cherished in
pretended friendship, and are treated with regard from interested
motives. But in friendship there is nothing feigned, nothing pretended,
and whatever there is in it is both genuine and spontaneous. Friendship,
therefore, springs from nature rather than from need,--from an
inclination of the mind with a certain consciousness of love rather than
from calculation of the benefit to be derived from it. Its real quality
may be discerned even in some classes of animals, which up to a certain
time so love their offspring, and are so loved by them, that the mutual
feeling is plainly seen,--a feeling which is much more clearly manifest
in man, first, in the affection which exists between children and
parents, and which can he dissolved only by atrocious guilt; and in the
next place, in the springing up of a like feeling of love, when we find
some one of manners and character congenial with our own, who becomes
dear to us because we seem to see in him an illustrious example of
probity and virtue For there is nothing more lovable than virtue,--
nothing which more surely wins affectionate regard, insomuch that on the
score of virtue and probity we love even those whom we have never seen.
Who is there that does not recall the memory of Caius Fabricius, of
Manius Curius, of Tiberius Coruncanras, whom he never saw, with some
good measure of kindly feeling? On the other hand, who is there that can
fail to hate Tarquinius Superbus, Spurius Cassius, Spurius Maelius? Our
dominion in Italy was at stake in wars under two commanders, Pyrrhus and
Hannibal. On account of the good faith of the one, we hold him in no
unfriendly remembrance; [Footnote: Pyrrhus, after the only victory that
he obtained over the Romans, treated his prisoners with signal humanity,
and restored them without ransom. See _De Officiis_, i. 12] the other
because of his cruelty our people must always hate. [Footnote: It may be
doubted wheter Hannibal deserved the reproach here implied. The Roman
historians ascribe to him acts of cruelty no worse than their own
generals were chargeable with: while nothing of the kind is related by
either Polybius, or Plutarch. It is certain that after the battle of
Cannae he checked the needless slaughter of the Roman fugitives, and
Livy relates several instances in which he paid funeral honors, to
distinguished Romans slain in battle. The intense hostility of the
Romans to Carthage may have led to an unfair estimate of the great
general's character, and to the invention or exaggeration of reports to
his discredit.]

9. But if good faith has such attractive power that we love it in those
whom we have never seen, or--what means still more--in an enemy, what
wonder is it if the minds of men are moved to affection when they behold
the virtue and goodness of those with whom they can become intimately

Love is, indeed, strengthened by favors received, by witnessing
assiduity in one's service, and by habitual intercourse; and when these
are added to the first impulse of the mind toward love, there flames
forth a marvellously rich glow of affectionate feeling. If there are any
who think that this proceeds from conscious weakness and the desire to
have some person through whom one can obtain what he lacks, they assign,
indeed, to friendship a mean and utterly ignoble origin, born, as they
would have it, of poverty and neediness. If this were true, then the
less of resource one was conscious of having in himself, the better
fitted would he be for friendship. The contrary is the case; for the
more confidence a man has in himself, and the more thoroughly he is
fortified by virtue and wisdom, so that he is in need of no one, and
regards all that concerns him as in his own keeping, the more noteworthy
is he for the friendships which he seeks and cherishes. What? Did
Africanus need me? Not in the least by Hercules. As little did I need
him. But I was drawn to him by admiration of his virtue while he, in
turn, loved me, perhaps from some favorable estimate of my character,
and intimacy incieased our mutual affection. But though utilities many
and great resulted from our friendship, the cause of our mutual love did
not proceed from the hope of what it might bring. For as we are
beneficent and generous, not in order to exact kindnesses in return (for
we do not put our kind offices to interest), but are by nature inclined
to be generous, so, in my opinion, friendship is not to be sought for
its wages, but because its revenue consists entirely in the love which
it implies. Those, however, who, after the manner of beasts, refer
everything to pleasure, [Footnote: The Epicureans] think very
differently. Nor is it wonderful that they do, for men who have degraded
all their thoughts to so mean and contemptible an end can rise to the
contemplation of nothing lofty, nothing magnificent and divine. We may,
therefore, leave them out of this discussion. But let us have it well
understood that the feeling of love and the endearments of mutual
affection spring from nature, in case there is a well-established
assurance of moral worth in the person thus loved. Those who desire to
become friends approach each other, and enter into relation with each
other, that each may enjoy the society and the character of him whom he
has begun to love, and they are equal in love, and on either side are
more inclined to bestow obligations than to claim a return, so that in
this matter there is an honorable rivalry between them. Thus will the
greatest benefits be derived from friendship, and it will have a more
solid and genuine foundation as tracing its origin to nature than if it
proceeded from human weakness. For if it were utility that cemented
friendships, an altered aspect of utility would dissolve them. But
because nature cannot be changed, therefore true friendships are
eternal. This may suffice for the origin of friendship, unless you have,
perchance, some objection to what I have said.

FANNIUS. Go on, Laelius. I answer by the right of seniority for Scaevola
who is younger than I am.

SCAEVOLA. I am of the same mind with you. Let us then, hear farther.

10 LAELIUS. Hear then, my excellent friends the substance of the
frequent discussions on friendship between Scipio and me. He indeed,
said [footnote: The construction of this entire section is in the
subjective imperfect depending on the _dicebat_ in the second sentence.
It has seemed to me that the direct form of constiution which I have
adopted is more consonant with the genius of our language.] that nothing
is more difficult than for friendship to last through life; for friends
happen to have conflicting interests, or different political opinions.
Then, again, as he often said, characters change, sometimes under
adverse conditions, sometimes with growing years. He cited also the
analogy of what takes place in early youth, the most ardent loves of
boyhood being often laid aside with its robe. But if friendships last on
into opening manhood, they are not infrequently broken up by rivalry in
quest of a wife, or in the pursuit of some advantage which only one can
obtain. [Footnote: Had Cicero not been personating Laelius, who died
long before the quarrel occurred, he would undoubtedly have cited the
case of Servilius Caepio and Livius Diusus. They married each other's
sisters, and were united in the closest intimacy, and seemingly in the
dearest mutual love; but as rivals in bidding for a ring at an auction-
sale they had their first quarrel, which grew into intense mutual
hatred, led almost to a civil war between their respective partisans,
and bore no small part in starting the series of dissentions which
issued in the Social War, and the destruction of not far from three
hundred thousand lives. I refer to this in a note, because it must have
been fresh in Cicero's memory, and had annotation been the habit of his
time, he would most assuredly have given it the place which I now give
it.] Then, if friendships are of longer duration, they yet, as Scipio
said, are liable to be undermined by competition for office; and indeed
there is nothing more fatal to friendship than, in very many cases, the
greed of gain, and among some of the best of men the contest for place
and fame, which has often engendered the most intense enmity between
those who had been the closest friends. Strong and generally just
aversion, also, springs up when anything morally wrong is required of a
friend; as when he is asked to aid in the gratification of impure
desire, or to render his assistance in some unrighteous act,--in which
case those who refuse, although their conduct is highly honorable, are
yet charged by the persons whom they will not serve with being false to
the claims of friendship, while those who dare to make such a demand of
a friend profess, by the very demand, that they are ready to do anything
and everything for a friend's sake. By such quarrels, not only are old
intimacies often dissolved, but undying hatreds generated. So many of
these perils hang like so many fates over friendship, that to escape
them all seemed to Scipio, as he said, to indicate not wisdom alone, but
equally a rare felicity of fortune.

11. Let us then, first, if you please, consider how far the love of
friends ought to go. If Coriolanus had friends, ought they to have
helped him in fighting against his country, or should the friends of
Viscellinus [Footnote: Spurius Cassius Viscellinus, the author of the
earliest agrarian law, passed, but never carried into execution. He was
condemned to death,--probably a victim to the rancorous opposition of
the patrician order, of which he was regarded as a recreant member by
virtue of his advocacy of the rights or just claims of the _plebs_.
Cicero in early life was by no means so hostile to the principle
underlying the agrarian laws, and to the memory of the Gracchi, as he
was after he had reached the highest offices in the gift of the people.]
or those of Spurius Maelius [Footnote: Maelius, of the equestrian order,
but of a plebeian family, obtained unbounded popularity with the _plebs_
by selling corn at a low price, and giving away large quantities of it,
in a time of famine. He was charged with seeking kingly power, and, on
account of his alleged movements with that purpose, Cincinnatus was
appointed dictator, and Maelius, resisting a summons to his tribunal,
was killed by Ahala, his master of the horse. There seems to have been
little evidence of his actual guilt.] have aided them in the endeavor to
usurp regal power? We saw, indeed, Tiberius Gracchus, when he was
disturbing the peace of the State, deserted by Quintus Tubero and others
with whom he had been on terms of intimacy. But Caius Blossius, of
Cumae, the guest,[Footnote: _Hospes,_ guest, host, or both.] Scaevola,
of your family, coming to me, when I was in conference with the Consuls
Laenas and Rupilius, to implore pardon, urged the plea that he held
Tiberius Gracchus in so dear esteem that he felt bound to do whatever he
desired. I then asked him, "Even if he had wanted you to set fire to the
Capitol, would you have done it?" He replied, "He never would have made
such a request." "But if he had?" said I. "I would have obeyed him," was
the answer. And, by Hercules, he did as he said, or even more; for he
did not so much yield obedience to the audacious schemes of Tiberius
Gracchus, as he was foremost in them; he was not so much the companion
of his madness, as its leader. Therefore, in consequence of this folly,
alarmed by the appointment of special judges for his trial, he fled to
Asia, entered the service of our enemies, and finally met the heavy and
just punishment for his disloyalty to his country. [Footnote: He took
refuge with Aristonicus, King of Pergamus, then at war with Rome; and
when Aristonicus was conquered, Blossius committed suicide for fear of
being captured by the Roman army.]

It is, then, no excuse for wrong-doing that you do wrong for the sake of
a friend. Indeed, since it may have been a belief in your virtue that
has made one your friend, it is hard for friendship to last if you fall
away from virtue. But if we should determine either to concede to
friends whatever they may ask, or to exact from them whatever we may
desire, we and they must be endowed with perfect wisdom, in order for
our friendship to be blameless. We are speaking, however, of such
friends as we have before our eyes, or as we have seen or have known by
report,--of such as are found in common life. It is from these that we
must take our examples, especially from such of them as make the nearest
approach to perfect wisdom. We have learned from our fathers that Papus
Aemilius was very intimate with Caius Luscinus, they having twice been
consuls together, as well as colleagues in the censorship; and it is
said also that Manius Curius and Tiberius Coruncanius lived in the
closest friendship both with them and with each other. Now we cannot
suspect that either of these men would have asked of one of his friends
anything inconsistent with good faith, or with an engagement sanctioned
by oath, or with his duty to the State. Indeed, to what purpose is it to
say that among such men if one had asked anything wrong, he would not
have obtained it? For they were men of the most sacred integrity; while
to ask anything wrong of a friend and to do it when asked are alike
tokens of deep depravity. But Caius Carbo and Caius Cato were the
followers of Tiberius Gracchus, as was his brother Caius, at first with
little ardor, but now [Footnote: _Now_, that is, at the time at which
this dialogue has its assumed date, immediately after Scipio's death. At
that time Caius Gracchus was acting as a commissioner under his
brother's agrarian law.] most zealously.

12. As to friendship, then, let this law be enacted, that we neither ask
of a friend what is wrong, nor do what is wrong at a friend's request.
The plea that it was for a friend's sake is a base apology,--one that
should never be admitted with regard to other forms of guilt, and
certainly not as to crimes against the State. We, indeed, Fannius and
Scaevola, are so situated that we ought to look far in advance for the
perils that our country may incur. Already has our public policy
deviated somewhat from the method and course of our ancestors. Tiberius
Gracchus attempted to exercise supreme power; nay, he really reigned for
a few months. What like this had the Roman people ever heard or seen
before? What, after his death, the friends and kindred who followed him
did in their revenge on Publius Scipio [Footnote: Publius Cornelius
Scipio Nasica, who took the lead of the Senate in the assassination of
Tiberius Gracchus, and incurred such popular odium that he could not
safely stay in Rome. He was sent on a fictitious mission to Asia to get
him out of the way of the people, and not daring to return, wandered
with no settled habitation till his death at Pergamum not long before
the assumed date of this dialogue.] I cannot say without tears. We put
up with Carbo [Footnote: Carbo succeeded Tiberius Gracchus on the
commission for carrying the agrarian law into execution, and was shortly
afterward chosen Tribune. He then proposed a law, permitting a tribune
to be re-elected for an indefinite number of years. This law was
vehemently opposed by Scipio Africanus the Younger, and if he was really
killed by Carbo, it was probably on account of his hostility to Carbo's
ambitious schemes.] as well as we could in consideration of the recent
punishment of Tiberius Gracchus; but I am in no mood to predict what is
to be expected from the tribuneship of Caius Gracchus. Meanwhile the
evil is creeping upon us, from its very beginning fraught with threats
of ruin. Before recent events, [Footnote: The reference undoubtedly here
is to the Papirian law which had just been passed before the assumed
date of this dialogue, having been proposed and carried through by
(Caius _Papirius_) Carbo. By this law the use of the ballot was
established in all matters of popular legislation.] you perceive how
much degeneracy was indicated in the legalization of the ballot, first
by Gabinian, [Footnote: By which magistrates were to be chosen by
ballot.] then two years later by the Cassian law. [Footnote: By which
the judges were to be chosen by ballot. With reference to the use of the
ballot the parties in Rome were prototypes of like parties in England.
The voice of the people was for the ballot, on the ground that it made
suffrage free, as it could not be when employers or patrons could
dictate to their dependents and make them suffer for failure to vote in
favor of their own candidates or measures. The aristocratic party
opposed the ballot as fatal to their controlling influence, which many
sincere patriots, like Cicero, regarded as essential to the public
safety, while patrician demagogues, intriguers, and office-seekers made
it subservient to their own selfish or partisan interests.] I seem
already to see the people utterly alienated from the Senate, and the
most important affairs determined by the will of the multitude; for more
persons will learn how these things are brought about than how they may
be resisted. To what purpose am I saying this? Because no one makes such
attempts without associates. It is therefore to be enjoined on good men
that they must not think themselves so bound that they cannot renounce
their friends when they are guilty of crimes against the State. But
punishment must be inflicted on all who are implicated in such guilt,--
on those who follow, no less than on those who lead. Who in Greece was
more renowned than Themistocles? Who had greater influence than he had?
When as commander in the Persian war he had freed Greece from bondage,
and for envy of his fame was driven into exile, he did not bear as he
ought the ill treatment of his ungrateful country. He did what
Coriolanus had done with us twenty years before. Neither of these men
found any helper against his country; [Footnote: No one of his own
fellow-countrymen.] they therefore both committed suicide. [Footnote: If
the story of Coriolanus be not a myth, as Niebuhr supposes it to be, his
suicide forms no part of the story as Livy tells it. The suicide of
Themistocles is related as a supposition, not as an established fact. If
he died of poison, as was said, it may have been administered by a rival
in the favor of Artaxerxes.] Association with depraved men for such an
end is not, then, to be shielded by the plea of friendship, but rather
to be avenged by punishment of the utmost severity, so that no one may
ever think himself authorized to follow a friend to the extent of making
war upon his country,--an extremity which, indeed, considering the
course that our public affairs have begun to take, may, for aught I
know, be reached at some future time. I speak thus because I feel no
less concern for the fortunes of the State after my death than as to its
present condition.

13. Let this, then, be enacted as the first law of friendship, that we
demand of friends only what is right, and that we do for the sake of
friends only what is right. [Footnote: This is a virtual repetition of
the law of friendship announced at the beginning of the previous
section, and Cicero probably so intended it. He states the rule, then
demonstrates its validity, then repeats it in an almost identical form,
implying what the mathematician expresses when he puts at the end of a
demonstration _Quod erat demonstrandum._] This understood, let us not
wait to be asked. Let there be constant assiduity and no loitering in a
friend's service. Let us also dare to give advice freely; for in
friendship the authority of friends who give good counsel may be of the
greatest value. Let admonition be administered, too, not only in plain
terms, but even with severity, if need be, and let heed be given to such
admonition. On this subject some things that appear to me strange have,
as I am told, been maintained by certain Greeks who are accounted as
philosophers, and are so skilled in sophistry that there is nothing
which they cannot seem to prove. Some of them hold that very intimate
friendships are to be avoided; that there is no need that one feel
solicitude for others; that it is enough and more than enough to take
care of your own concerns, and annoying to be involved to any
considerable extent in affairs not belonging to you; that the best way
is to have the reins of friendship as loose as possible, so that you can
tighten them or let them go at pleasure; for, according to them, ease is
the chief essential to happy living, and this the mind cannot enjoy, if
it bears, as it were, the pains of travail in behalf of a larger or
smaller circle of friends. [Footnote: This passage seems to be a
paraphrase of a passage in the _Hippolytus_ of Euripides, in which the
Nurse says: "It behooves mortals to form moderate friendships with one
another, and not to the very marrow of the soul, and the affections of
the mind should be held loosely, so that we may slacken or tighten them.
That one soul should be in travail for two is a heavy burden." Euripides
was regarded, and rightly, as no less a philosopher than a tragedian,
and was not infrequently styled [Greek: sophos]. Cicero here veils his
thorough conversance with Greek literature and philosophy, and assumes
the part of Laelius, in whose time, though Greek was not omitted in the
education of cultivated men, the study was comparatively new, and was
not carried to any great extent.]

Others, [Footnote: The Epicureans.] I am told, with even much less of
true human feeling, teach what I touched upon briefly a little while
ago, that friendships are to be sought for defence and help, not on
account of good-will and affection. The less of self-confidence and the
less of strength one has, the more is he inclined to make friends. Thus
it is that women [Footnote: Latin, _mulierculae_, a diminutive, meaning,
however, not _little women_, but denoting the feebleness and dependence
of women in comparison with men. It must be confessed, too, that the
term is sometimes used, and perhaps here, semi-contemptuously; for the
Roman man felt an overweening pride in mere manhood.] seek the support
of friendship more than men do, the poor more than the rich, the
unfortunate more than those who seem happy. Oh, pre-eminent wisdom! It
is like taking the sun out of the world, to bereave human life of
friendship, than which the immortal gods have given man nothing better,
nothing more gladdening. What is the ease of which they speak? It is
indeed pleasing in aspect, but on many occasions it is to be renounced;
for it is not fitting, in order to avoid solicitude, either to refuse to
undertake any right cause or act, or to drop it after it is undertaken.
If we flee from care, we must flee from virtue, which of necessity with
no little care spurns and abhors its opposites, as goodness spurns and
abhors wickedness; temperance, excess; courage, cowardice. Thus you may
see that honest men are excessively grieved by the dishonest, the brave
by the pusillanimous, those who lead sober lives by the dissolute. It is
indeed characteristic of a well-ordered mind to rejoice in what is good
and to be grieved by the opposite. If then, pain of mind fall to the lot
of a wise man as it must of necessity unless we imagine his mind
divested of its humanity, why should we take friendship wholly out of
life, lest we experience some little trouble on account of it? Yet more,
if emotion be eliminated, what difference is there, I say not between a
man and a brute, but between a man and a rock, or the trunk of a tree,
or any inanimate object? Nor are those to be listened to, who regard
virtue as something hard and iron-like. [Footnote: Here, undoubtedly,
Cicero refers to the sterner type of Stoicism, which in his time was
already obsolescent, and was yielding place to the milder, while no less
rigid, ethics of which the _De Officiis_ may be regarded as the manual.]
As in many other matters, so in friendship, it is tender and flexible so
that it expands, as it were, with a friend's well being, and shrinks
when his peace is disturbed. Therefore the pain which must often be
incurred on a friend's account is not of sufficient moment to banish
friendship from human life, any more than the occasional care and
trouble which the virtues bring should be a reason for renouncing them.

14. Since virtue attracts friendship, as I have said, if there shines
forth any manifestation of virtue with which a mind similarly disposed
can come into contact and union from such intercourse love must of
necessity spring. For what is so absurd as to be charmed with many
things that have no substantial worth, as with office, fame,
architecture, dress, and genteel appearance, but not to be in any wise
charmed by a mind endowed with virtue, and capable of either loving or--
if I may use the word--re-loving? [Footnote: Latin, _redamare_, a word
coined by Cicero, and used with the apology, _ut ita dicam_] Nothing
indeed yields a richer revenue than kind affections, nothing gives more
delight than the interchange of friendly cares and offices. Then if we
add, as we rightly may, that there is nothing which so allures and
attracts aught else to itself as the likeness of character does to
friendship it will certainly be admitted that good men love good men and
adopt them into fellowship as if united with them by kindred and by
nature. By nature I say, for nothing is more craving or greedy of its
like than nature. This, then as I think, is evident, Fannius and
Scaevola that among the good toward the good there cannot but be mutual
kind feeling and in this we have a fountain of friendship established by

But the same kind feeling extends to the community at large. For virtue
is not unsympathetic, nor unserviceable, [Footnote: Latin, _immunis_,
literally--without office.] nor proud. It is wont even to watch over the
well-being of whole nations, and to give them the wisest counsel, which
it would not do if it had no love for the people.

Now those who maintain that friendships are formed from motives of
utility annul, as it seems to me, the most endearing bond of friendship;
for it is not so much benefit obtained through a friend as it is the
very love of the friend that gives delight. What comes from a friend
confers pleasure, only in case it bears tokens of his interest in us,
and so far is it from the truth that friendships are cultivated from a
sense of need, that those fully endowed with wealth and resources,
especially with virtue, which is the surest safeguard, and thus in no
need of friends, are the very persons who are the most generous and
munificent. Indeed, I hardly know whether it may not be desirable that
our friends should never have need of our services. Yet in the case of
Scipio and myself, what room would there have been for the active
exercise of my zeal in his behalf, had he never needed my counsel or
help at home or in the field? In this instance, however, the service
came after the friendship, not the friendship after the service.

15. If these things are so, men who are given up to pleasure are not to
be listened to when they express their opinions about friendship, of
which they can have no knowledge either by experience or by reflection.
For, by the faith of gods and men, who is there that would be willing to
have a superabundance of all objects of desire and to live in the utmost
fulness of wealth and what wealth can bring, on condition of neither
loving any one nor being loved by any one? This, indeed, is the life of
tyrants, in which there is no good faith, no affection, no fixed
confidence in kindly feeling, perpetual suspicion and anxiety, and no
room for friendship; for who can love either him whom he fears, or him
by whom he thinks that he is feared? Yet they receive the show of
homage, but only while the occasion for it lasts. [Footnote: Latin, _dum
taxat ad tempus_, that is, while the homage rendered is in close contact
with the occasion,--with the immunity or profit to be purchased by it.]
If they chance to fall, as they commonly have fallen, they then
ascertain how destitute of friends they have been, as Tarquin is
reported to have said that he learned what faithful and what unfaithful
friends he had, when he could no longer render back favors to those of
either class,--although I wonder whether pride and insolence like his
could have had any friends. Moreover, as his character could not have
won real friends, so is the good fortune of many who occupy foremost
places of influence so held as to preclude faithful friendships. Not
only is Fortune blind, but she generally makes those blind whom she
embraces. Thus they are almost always beside themselves under the
influence of haughtiness and waywardness; nor can there be created
anything more utterly insupportable than a fortune-favored fool. There
are to be seen those who previously behaved with propriety who are
changed by station, power, or prosperity, and who spurn their old
friendships and lavish indulgence on the new. But what is more foolish
than when men have resources, means, wealth at their fullest command,
and can obtain horses, servants, splendid raiment, costly vases,
whatever money can buy, for them not to procure friends, who are, if I
may so speak, the best and the most beautiful furniture of human life?
Other things which a man may procure know not him who procures them, nor
do they labor for his sake,--indeed, they belong to him who can make
them his by the right of superior strength. But every one has his own
firm and sure possession of his friendships, while even if those things
which seem the gifts of fortune remain, still life unadorned and
deserted by friends cannot be happy. But enough has been said on this
branch of our subject.

16. We must now determine the limits or bounds of friendship. On this
subject I find three opinions proposed, neither of which has my
approval,--the first, that we should do for our friends just what we
would do for ourselves, the second, that our good offices to our friends
should correspond in quantity and quality to those which they perform
for us, the third, that one's friends should value him according to his
own self-estimate. I cannot give unqualified assent to either of these
opinions. The first--that one should be ready to do for his friends
precisely what he would do for himself--is inadmissible. How many things
there are that we do for our friends which we should never do on our own
account!--such as making a request even an entreaty, of a man unworthy
of respect or inveighing against some person with a degree of
bitterness, nay, in terms of vehement reproach. In fine, we are
perfectly right in doing in behalf of a friend things that in our own
case would be decidedly unbecoming. There are also many ways in which
good men detract largely from their own comfort or suffer it to be
impaired, that a friend may have the enjoyment which they sacrifice. The
second opinion is that which limits kind offices and good will by the
rule of equality. This is simply making friendship a matter of
calculation with the view of keeping a debtor and creditor account
evenly balanced. To me friendship seems more affluent and generous and
not disposed to keep strict watch lest it may give more than it receives
and to fear that a part of its due may be spilled over or suffered to
leak out or that it may heap up its own measure over full in return.
[Footnote: We have here, first, a figure drawn from pecuniary accounts,
then one from liquid measure, then one from dry measure--all designed to
affix the brand of the most petty meanness on the (so called) friendship
which makes it a point neither to leave nor to brook a preponderance of
obligation on either side.] But worst of all is the third limit which
prescribes that friends shall take a man's opinion of himself as a
measure for their estimate and treatment of him. There are some persons
who are liable to fits of depression, or who have little hope of better
fortune than the present. In such a case, it is the part of a friend,
not to hold the position toward his friend which he holds toward
himself, but to make the efficient endeavor to rouse him from his
despondency, and to lead him to better hope and a more cheerful train of
thought. It remains for me then, to establish another limit of
friendship. But first let me tell you what Scipio was wont to speak of
with the severest censure. He maintained that no utterance could have
been invented more inimical to friendship [Footnote: Latin, _inimciorem_
(that is, _in amiciorem_) _amicitiae_.] than that of him who said that
one ought to love as if he were going at some future time to hate, nor
could he be brought to believe that this maxim came, as was reported
from Bias, who was one of the seven wise men, but he regarded it as
having proceeded from some sordid person, who was either inordinately
ambitious or desirous of bringing everything under his own control. For
how can one be a friend to him to whom he thinks that he may possibly
become an enemy? In this case one would of necessity desire and choose
that his friend should commit offences very frequently, so as to give
him, so to speak, the more numerous handles for fault-finding, and on
the other hand one would be vexed, pained, aggrieved by all the right
and fitting things that friends do. This precept then from whomsoever it
came, amounts to the annulling of friendship. The proper rule should be,
that we exercise so much caution in forming friendships, that we should
never begin to love a friend whom it is possible that we should ever
hate; but even in case we should have been unfortunate in our choice,
Scipio thought that it would be wiser to bear the disappointment when it
comes than to keep the contingency of future alienation in view.

17. I would then define the terms of friendship by saying that where
friends are of blameless character, there may fittingly be between them
a community of all interests, plans, and purposes without any exception
even so far that, if perchance there be occasion for furthering the not
entirely right wishes of friends when life or reputation is at stake,
one may in their behalf deviate somewhat from a perfectly straight
course [1] yet not so far as to

[1 This at first sight appears like a license to yield up moral
considerations to friendship, though the qualification, in the sequel,
"not so far as to incur absolute dishonor," and "virtue is by no means
to be sacrificed," seem saving clauses. But Cicero certainly has a
right to be his own interpreter since in the _De Officiis_ as I think,
he explains in full and in accordance with the highest moral principle,
what he means here, and we have a double right to insist on this
interpretation first, because the _De Officiis_ was written so very
little while after the _De Amicitia_, and both at so ripe an age, that a
change of opinion on important matters was improbable and secondly,
because in the later treatise he expressly refers to the former as
giving in full his views on friendship, and thus virtually sanctions
that treatise. Now in the _De Officiis_ he says A good man will do
nothing against the State, or in violation of his oath of good faith,
for the sake of his friend, not even if he were a judge in his friend's
case. . . . He will yield so far to friendship as to wish his friend's
case to be worthy of succeeding, and to accommodate him as to the time
of trial, within legal limits. But inasmuch as he must give sentence
upon his oath, he will bear it in mind that he has "God for a witness."
In another passage of the _De Officiis,_ Cicero asserts, somewhat
hesitatingly, yet on the authority of Panaetius as the strictest of
Stoics, the moral rightfulness of "defending on some occasions a guilty
man, if he be not utterly depraved and false to all human relations." As
in the passage on which I am commenting special reference is made to the
peril of life or reputation, what Cicero contends for, as it seems to
me, is the right of defending a guilty friend as advocate, or of
favoring him as to time and mode of trial as a judge. Aulius Gellius, in
connection with this passage in _De Amicitia,_ tells the following story
of Chilo, who was on some of the lists of the seven wise men. Chilo, on
the last day of his life, said that the only thing that gave him uneasy
thought, and was burdensome to his conscience, was that once when he and
two other men were judges in a case in which a friend of his was tried
for a capital crime, he, in accordance with his own conviction, voted
his friendy guilty, but so influenced the minds of his two associates
that they gave their voice for his acquittal.]

incur absolute dishonor. There is a point up to which a concession made
to friendship is venial. But we are not bound to be careless of our own
reputation, nor ought we to regard the esteem of our fellow-citizens as
an instrument of such affairs as devolve upon us,--an esteem which it is
base to conciliate [footnote: Latin, _colligere,_ to collect, or gather
up, one by one, the good-will of each individual citizen.] by flattery
and fawning. Virtue, which has the sincere regard of the people as its
consequence, is by no means to be sacrificed to friendship.

But, to return to Scipio, who was all the time talking about friendship,
he often complained that men exercised greater care about all other
matters; that one could always tell how many goats and sheep he had, but
could not tell how many friends he had; and that men were careful in
selecting their beasts, but were negligent in the choice of friends, and
had nothing like marks and tokens [footnote: Latin, _signa et notas,_
the marks and tokens by which the quality and worth of goats and sheep
were estimated.] by which to determine the fitness of friends.

Firm, steadfast, self-consistent men are to be chosen as friends, and of
this kind of men there is a great dearth. It is very difficult to judge
of character before we have tested it; but we can test it only after
firendship is begun. Thus friendship is prone to outrun judgment, and to
render a fair trial impossible. It is therefore the part of a wise man
to arrest the impulse of kindly feeling, as we check a carriage in its
course, that, as we use only horses that have been tried, so we may
avail ourselves of friendships in which the characters of our friends
have been somehow put to the test. Some readily show how fickle their
friendship is in paltry pecuniary matters; others, whom a slight
consideration of that kind cannot influence, betray themselves when a
large amount is involved. But if some can be found who think it mean to
prefer money to friendship, where shall we come upon those who do not
put honors, civic offices, military commands, places of power and trust,
before friendship, so that when these are offered on the one hand, and
the claims of friendship on the other, they will much rather make choice
of the objects of ambition? For nature is too feeble to despise a
commanding station, and even though it be obtained by the violation of
friendship men think that this fault will be thrown into obscurity,
because it was not without a weighty motive that they held friendship in
abeyance. Thus true friendships are rare among those who are in public
office, and concerned in the affairs of the State. For where will you
find him who prefers a friend's promotion to his own? What more shall I
say? Not to dwell longer on the influence of ambition upon friendship,
how burdensome how difficult does it seem to most men to share
misfortunes to which it is not easy to find those who are willing to
stoop. Although Ennius is right in saying

"In unsure fortune a sure friend is seen,"

yet one of these two things convicts most persons of fickleness and
weakness,--either their despising their friends when they themselves are
prosperous, or deserting their friends in adversity.

18 Him, then, who alike in either event shall have shown himself
unwavering, constant, firm in friendship we ought to regard as of an
exceedingly rare and almost divine order of men.

Still further good faith is essential to the maintenance of the
stability and constancy which we demand in friendship, for nothing that
is unfaithful is stable. It is, moreover, fitting to choose tor a friend
one who is frank, affable, accommodating, interested in the same things
with ourselves,--all which qualities come under the head of fidelity,
for a changeful and wily disposition cannot be faithful, nor can he who
has not like interests and a kindred nature with his friend be either
faithful or stable. I ought to add that a friend should neither take
pleasure in finding fault with his friend, nor give credit to the
charges which others may bring against him,--all which is implied in the
constancy of which I have been speaking. Thus we come back to the truth
which I announced at the beginning of our conversation, that friendship
can exist only between the good. It is, indeed, the part of a good or--
what is the same thing--a wise man [Footnote: Wisdom and goodness were
identical with the Stoics.] to adhere to these two principles in
friendship,--first, that he tolerate no feigning or dissembling (for an
ingenuous man will rather show even open hatred than hide his feeling by
his face), and, secondly, that he not only repel charges made against
his friend by others, but that he be not himself suspicious, and always
thinking that his friend has done something unfriendly.

To these requisites there may well be added suavity of speech and
manners, which is of no little worth as giving a relish to the
intercourse of friendship. Rigidness and austerity of demeanor on every
occasion indeed carry weight with them, but friendship ought to be more
gentle and mild, and more inclined to all that is genial and affable.

19 There occurs here a question by no means difficult,[Footnote: Latin,
_subdifficilis_ which I should render _somewhat difficult_ had not
Cicero treat that question as one that presents no difficulty. In the
ancient tongues, as in our own or even more than in our own, a word is
often better defined by its use than in the dictionary.] whether at any
time new friends worthy of our love are to be preferred to the old, as
we are wont to prefer young horses to those that have passed their
prime. Shame that there should be hesitation as to the answer! There
ought to be no satiety of friendships, as there is rightly of many other
things. The older a friendship is, the more precious should it be as is
the case with wines that will bear keeping, [Footnote: Some of the best
Italian wines will not "bear keeping," and it was probably true of more
of them in Cicero's time than now that wines are so often vitiated by
strong alcoholic mixtures in order to preserve them. Cato, in his _De Re
Rustica_, prescribes a method of determining whether the wine of any
given vintage will "keep".] and there is truth in the proverb that many
pecks of salt must be eaten together to bring friendship to perfection.
[Footnote: Aristotle quotes this as a proverbial saying, so that it must
be of very great antiquity.] If new friendships offer the hope of fruit,
like the young shoots in the grain-field that give promise of harvest,
they are not indeed to be spurned, yet the old are to be kept in their
place. There is very great power in long habit. To recur to the horse
there is no one who would not rather use the horse to which he has
become accustomed, if he is still sound, than one unbroken and new. Nor
has habit this power merely as to the movements of an animal, it
prevails no less as to inanimate objects. We are charmed with the places
though mountainous and woody, [Footnote: Therefore uninviting, for
mountain and forest had not in early time the charm which we find in
them. Indeed the love of nature uncultivated and unadorned is for the
most part, of modern growth.] where we have made a long sojourn. But
what is most remarkable in friendship is that it puts a man on an
equality with his inferior. For there often are in a circle of friends
those who excel the rest, as was the case with Scipio in our flock, if I
may use the word. He never assumed superiority over Philus, never over
Rupilius, never over Mummius, never over friends of an order lower than
his own. Indeed he always reverenced as a superior, because older than
himself, his brother Quintus Maximus [Footnote: Quintus Fabius Maximus
Aemilianus, the eldest son of Aemilius Paulus, and the adopted son of
Fabius Maximus.] a thoroughly worthy man, but by no means his equal, and
in fact he wanted to make all his friends of the more consequence by
whatever advantages he himself possessed. This example all ought to
imitate, that if they have attained any superiority of virtue, genius,
fortune, they may impart it to and share it with those with whom they
are the most closely connected; and that if they are of humble
parentage, and have kindred of slender ability or fortune, they may
increase their means of well-being, and reflect honor and worth upon
them,--as in fable those who were long in servile condition through
ignorance of their parentage and race, when they were recognized and
found to be sons either of gods or of kings, retained their love for the
shepherds whom for many years they supposed to be their fathers. Much
more ought the like to be done in the case of real and well-known
fathers; for the best fruit of genius, and virtue, and every kind of
excellence is reaped when it is thus bestowed on near kindred and

20. Moreover, as among persons bound by ties of friendship and intimacy
those who hold the higher place ought to bring themselves down to the
same plane with their inferiors, so ought these last not to feel
aggrieved because they are surpassed in ability, or fortune, or rank by
their friends. Most of them, however, are always finding some ground of
complaint, or even of reproach, especially if they can plead any service
that they have rendered faithfully, in a friendly way, and with a
certain amount of painstaking on their part. Such men, indeed, are
hateful when they reproach their friends on the score of services which
he on whom they were bestowed ought to bear in mind, but which it is
unbecoming for him who conferred them to recount.

Those who are superior ought, undoubtedly, not only to waive all
pretension in friendly intercourse, but to do what they can to raise
their humbler friends to their own level.[l] There are some who give
their friends trouble by imagining that they are held in low esteem,
which, however, is not apt to be the case except with those who think
meanly of themselves. Those who feel thus ought to be raised to a just
self-esteem, not only by kind words, but by substantial service. But
what you do for any one must be measured, first by your own ability, and
then by the capacity of him whom you would favor and help. For, however
great your influence may be, you cannot raise all your friends to the
highest positions. Thus Scipio could effect the election of Publius
Rupilius to the consulship; but he could not do the same for his brother
Lucius.[2] In general, friendships that are properly so called are
formed between persons of mature years and established character; nor if
young men have been fond of hunting or of ball-playing, is there any
need of permanent attachment to those whom they then liked as associates
in the same sport. On this principle our nurses and the slaves that led
us to school will demand by right of priority the highest grade

[1 Or, as it might be rendered by supplying a _se_ "so ought the humbler
to do what they can to raise themselves." Some of the commentators
prefer this sense; but if Cicero meant _se,_ I think that he would have
written it.]

[2 The brother of Publius Rupilius, not his own brother.]

of affectionate regard,--persons, indeed, who are not to be neglected,
but who are on a somewhat different footing from that of friends.
Friendships formed solely from early associations cannot last; for
differences of character grow out of a diversity of pursuits, and
unlikeness of character dissolves friendships. Nor is there any reason
why good men cannot be the friends of bad men, or bad men of good,
except that the dissiliency of pursuits and of character between them is
as great as it can be.

It is also a counsel worthy of heed, that excessive fondness be not
suffered to interfere, as it does too often, with important services
that a friend can render. To resort again to fable, Neoptolemus could
not have taken Troy [Footnote: Or rather, could not have borne the
indispensable part which it was predicted that he should bear in the
taking of Troy.]if he had chosen to comply with the wishes of Lycomedes,
who brought him up, and who with many tears attempted to dissuade him
from his expedition. Equally in actual life there are not infrequently
important occasions on which the society of friends must be for a time
abandoned; and he who would prevent this because he cannot easily bear
the separation, is of a weak and unmanly nature, and for that very
reason unfit to fill the place of a friend. In fine, in all matters you
should take into consideration both what you may reasonably demand of
your friend, and what you can fitly suffer him to obtain from you.

21. The misfortune involved in the dissolution of friendships is
sometimes unavoidable; for I am now coming down from the intimacies of
wise men to common friendships. Faults of friends often betray
themselves openly--whether to the injury of their friends themselves, or
of strangers--in such a way that the disgrace falls back upon their
friends. Such friendships are to be effaced by the suspension of
intercourse, and, as I have heard Cato say, to be unstitched rather than
cut asunder, unless some quite intolerable offence flames out to full
view, so that it can be neither right nor honorable not to effect an
immediate separation and dissevering. But if there shall have been some
change either in character or in the habits of life, or if there have
sprung up some difference of opinion as to public affairs,--I am
speaking, as I have just said, of common friendships, not of those
between wise men,--care should be taken lest there be the appearance,
not only of friendship dropped, but of enmity taken up; for nothing is
more unbecoming than to wage war with a man with whom you have lived on
terms of intimacy. Scipio, as you know, had withdrawn from the
friendship of Quintus Pompeius [Footnote: Laelius intending to present
himself as a candidate for the consulship, Scipio asked Pompeius whether
he was going to be a candidate, and when he replied in the negative,
asked him to use his influence in behalf of Laelius. This Pompeius
promised, and then, instead of being true to his word, offered himself
for the consulship, and was elected.] on my account, he became alienated
from Metellus [Footnote: Scipio and Metellus, though their intimacy was
suspended for political reasons, held each other in the highest regard,
and no person in Rome expressed profounder sorrow than Metellus for
Scipio's death or was more warm in his praise as a man of unparalleled
ability, worth, and patriotism.] because of their different views as to
the administration of the State. In both cases he conducted himself with
gravity and dignity, and without any feeling of bitterness. The endeavor
then, must first be, to prevent discord from taking place among friends,
and if anything of the kind occurs, to see that the friendship may seem
to be extinguished rather than crushed out. Care must thus be taken lest
friendships lapse into violent enmities, whence are generated quarrels,
slanders, insults, which yet, if not utterly intolerable, are to be
endured and this honor tendered to old friendship that the blame may
rest with him who does not with him who suffers the wrong.

The one surety and preventive against these mistakes and misfortunes is,
not to form attachments too soon, nor for those unworthy of such regard.
But it is those in whose very selves there is reason why they should be
loved, that are worthy of friendship. A rare class of men! Indeed,
superlatively excellent objects of every sort are rare, nor is anything
more difficult than to discover that which is in all respects perfect in
its kind. But most persons have acquired the habit of recognizing
nothing as good in human relations and affairs that does not produce
some revenue, and they most love those friends, as they do those cattle,
that will yield them the greatest gain. Thus they lack that most
beautiful and most natural friendship, which is to be sought in itself
and for its own sake, nor can they know from experience what and how
great is the power of such friendship. One loves himself, not in order
to exact from himself any wages for such love, but because he is in
himself dear to himself. Now, unless this same property be transferred
to friendship, a true friend will never be found, for such a friend is,
as it were, another self. But if it is seen in beasts, birds, fishes,
animals tame and wild, that they first love themselves (for self-love is
born with everything that lives) and that they then require and seek
those of their kind to whom they may attach themselves, and do so with
desire and with a certain semblance of human love, how much more is this
natural in man, who both loves himself, and craves another whose soul he
may so blend with his own as almost to make one out of two.

22 But men in general are so perverse, not to say shameless, as to wish
a friend to be in character what they themselves could not be and they
expect of friends what they do not give them in return. The proper
course however, is for one first to be himself a good man, and then to
seek another like himself. In such persons the stability of friendship,
of which I have been speaking, can be made sure, since, united in mutual
love, they will, in the first place, hold in subjection the desires to
which others are enslaved; then they will find delight in whatever is
equitable and just, and each will take upon himself any labor or burden
in the other's stead, while neither will ever ask of the other aught
that is not honorable and right. Nor will they merely cherish and love,
they will even reverence each other. But he who bereaves friendship of
mutual respect [1] takes from it its greatest ornament. Therefore those
are in fatal error who think that in friendship there is free license
for all lusts and evil practices. Friendship is given by nature, not as
a companion of the vices, but as a helper of the virtues, that, as
solitary virtue might not be able to attain the summit of excellence,
united and associated with another it might reach that eminence. As to
those between whom there is, or has been, or shall be such an alliance,
the fellowship is to be regarded as the best and happiest possible,
inasmuch as it leads to the highest good that nature can bestow. This is
the alliance, I say, in which are included all things that men think
worthy their endeavor,--honor, fame, peace of mind, and pleasure, so
that if these be present life is happy, and cannot be happy without
them. Such a life being the best

[1 Latin, _verecundio,_ an indefinite word; for it may have almost any
good meaning. I have rendered it _respect_, because I have no doubt that
it derives its meaning here from _verebuntur_, which I have rendered
_reverence_, in the preceding sentence.]

and greatest boon, if we wish to make it ours, we must devote ourselves
to the cultivation of virtue, without which we can attain neither
friendship nor anything else desirable. But if virtue be left out of the
account, those who think that they have friends perceive that they are
mistaken when some important crisis compels them to put their friends to
the test. Therefore--for it is worth reiterating--you ought to love
after having exercised your judgment on your friends, instead of forming
your judgment of them after you have begun to love them. But while in
many things we are chargeable with carelessness, we are most so in
choosing and keeping our friends. We reverse the old proverb, [Footnote:
What this proverb may have been we cannot determine with precision from
its opposite; but the caution based upon it might remind one of our
proverb about shutting the barn door after the horse is stolen. The
words, _acta agimus,_ so terse that they can be translated only by a
paraphrase, are probably the converse of the proverb, which may have
been something like _non agenda sunt acta_.] take counsel after acting,
and attempt to do over again what we have done; for after having become
closely connected by long habit and even by mutual services, some
occasion of offence springs up, and we suddenly break in sunder a
friendship in full career.

23. The more blameworthy are they who are so very careless in a matter
of so essential importance. Indeed, among things appertaining to human
life, it is friendship alone that has the unanimous voice of all men as
to its capacity of service. By many even virtue is scorned, and is said
to be a mere matter of display and ostentation. Many despise wealth, and
contented with little take pleasure in slender diet and inexpensive
living. Though some are inflamed with desire for office, many there are
who hold it in so low esteem that they can imagine nothing more inane or
worthless. Other things too, which seem to some admirable, very many
regard as of no value. But all have the same feeling as to friendship,--
alike those who devote themselves to the public service, those who take
delight in learning and philosophy, those who manage their own affairs
in a quiet way, and, lastly, those who are wholly given up to sensual
pleasure. They all agree that without friendship life cannot be, if one
only means to live in some form or measure respectably. [Footnote: Latin
_liberaliter_ that is, worthily of a free man.] For friendship somehow
twines through all lives and leaves no mode of being without its
presence. Even if one be of so rude and savage a nature as to shun and
hate the society of men, as we have learned was the case with that Timon
of Athens, [Footnote: Plutarch says that Timon had an associate,
virtually a friend, not unlike himself, Apemantus, on whom he freely
vented his spite and scorn for all the world beside and that he also
took a special liking to Alcibiades in his youth, perhaps as to one
fitted and destined to do an untold amount of mischief.] if there ever
was such a man [Footnote: Latin, _nescio, quem_, I know not whom, or of
whom I am ignorant, that is, there may or may not have been such a man.]
he yet cannot help seeking some one in whose presence he may vomit the
venom of his bitterness. The need of friendship would be best shown,
were such a thing possible, if some god should take us away from this
human crowd, and place us anywhere in solitude, giving us there an
abundant supply of all things that nature craves but depriving us
utterly of the sight of a human countenance. Who could be found of so
iron make that he could endure [Footnote: Latin, tam ... _ferreus,_ qiu
... _ferre_ posset,--an assonance which cannot be represented by
corresponding English words.] such a life, and whom solitude would not
render incapable of enjoying any kind of pleasure? That is true then
which, if I remember aright, our elders used to say that they had heard
from their seniors in age as having come from Archytas of Tarentum--"If
one had ascended to heaven and had obtained a full view of the nature of
the universe and the beauty of the stars, yet his admiration would be
without delight, if there were no one to whom he could tell what he had
seen" Thus Nature has no love for solitude, and always leans as it were,
on some support, and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate

24 But while Nature declares by so many tokens what she desires, craves,
needs, we--I know not how--grow deaf, and fail to hear her counsel.

Intercourse among friends assumes many different forms and modes, and
there frequently arise causes of suspicion and offence, which it is the
part of a wise man sometimes to avoid, sometimes to remove, sometimes to
bear. One ground of offence, namely, freedom in telling the truth, must
be put entirely away, in order that friendship may retain its
serviceableness and its good faith, for friends often need to be
admonished and reproved, and such offices, when kindly performed, ought
to be received in a friendly way. Yet somehow we witness in actual life,
what my friend [Footnote: Terence with whom Laelius was so intimate that
he was reported probably on no sufficient ground to have aided in the
composition of some of the plays that bear Terence's name. This verse is
from the _Andria._] says in his play of _Andria_--

"Complacency *[Footnote: _Obsequium_] wins friends, but truth gives
birth to hatred."

Truth is offensive, if hatred, the bane of friendship is indeed born of
it, but much more offensive is complacency, when in its indulgence for
wrong doing it suffers a friend to go headlong to ruin. The greatest
blame, however, rests on him who both spurns the truth when it is told
him and is driven by the complacency of friends to self-deception. In
this matter therefore there should be the utmost discretion and care,
first, that admonition be without bitterness, then, that reproof be
without invective. But in complacency--for I am ready to use the word
which Terence furnishes--let pleasing truth be told, let flattery, the
handmaid of the vices be put far away, as unworthy, not only of a
friend, but of any man above the condition of a slave, for there is one
way of living with a tyrant, another with a friend. We may well despair
of saving him whose ears are so closed to the truth that he cannot hear
what is true from a friend. Among the many pithy sayings of Cato was
this 'There are some who owe more to their bitter enemies than to the
friends that seem sweet, for those often tell the truth, these never'.
It is indeed ridiculous for those who are admonished not to be annoyed
by what ought to trouble them, and to be annoyed by what ought to give
them no offence. Their faults give them no pain, they take it hard that
they are reproved,--while they ought, on the contrary, to be grieved for
their wrong-doing, to rejoice in their correction.

25 As, then, it belongs to friendship both to admonish and to be
admonished, and to do the former freely, yet not harshly, to receive the
latter patiently not resentfully, so it is to be maintained that
friendship has no greater pest than adulation, flattery, subserviency,
for under its many names [Footnote: Latin _multis nominibus,_ which some
commentators render "on many accounts" with reference to matters of
purchase and sale, debit and credit. But I think that Cicero brings in
_adulatio, blanditia, and assentatio,_ as so many synonyms of
_obsequtum,_ intending to comprehend in his indictment whatever alias
the one vice may assume.] a brand should be put on this vice of fickle
and deceitful men, who say everything with the view of giving pleasure,
without any reference to the truth. While simulation is bad on every
account, inasmuch as it renders the discernment of the truth which it
defaces impossible, it is most of all inimical to friendship; for it is
fatal to sincerity, without which the name of friendship ceases to have
any meaning. For since the essence of friendship consists in this, that
one mind is, as it were, made out of seveial, how can this be, if in one
of the several there shall be not always one and the same mind, but a
mind varying, changeful, manifold? And what can be so flexible, so far
out of its rightful course, as the mind of him who adapts himself, not
only to the feelings and wishes, but een to the look and gesture, of

"Does one say No or Yes? I say so too My rule is to assent to

as Terence, whom I have just quoted, says, but he says it in the person
of Gnatho,[Footnote: A parasite in Terence's play of _Eunuchus_, from
which these verses are quoted.]--a sort of friend which only a frivolous
mind can tolerate. But as there are many like Gnatho, who stand higher
than he did in place, fortune, and reputation, then subserviency is the
more offensive, because then position gives weight to their falsehood.

But a flattering friend may be distinguished and discriminated from a
true friend by proper care, as easily as everything disguised and
feigned is seen to differ from what is genuine and real. The assembly of
the people, though consisting of persons who have the least skill in
judgment, yet always knows the difference between him who, merely
seeking popularity, is sycophantic and fickle, and a firm inflexible,
and substantial citizen. With what soft words did Caius Papirius
[Footnote: Caius Papirius Carbo, the suspected murderer of Scipio.]
steal [Footnote: Latin _influebat_ flowed in, a figure beautifully
appropriate, but hardly translatable.] into the ears of the assembly a
little while ago, when he brought forward the law about the re-election
of the tribunes of the people! [Footnote: There was an old law, which
prohibited the re-election of a citizen to the same office till after an
interval of ten years. In the law here referred to, Carbo--then tribune
--sought to provide for the re-election of tribunes as soon and as often
as the people might choose, thus undoubtedly hoping to secure for
himself a permanent tenure of office.] I opposed the law. But, to say
nothing of myself, I will rather speak of Scipio. How great, ye immortal
gods, was his dignity of bearing! What majesty of address! So that you
might easily call him the leader of the Roman people, rather than one of
their number. But you were there, and you have copies of his speech.
Thus the law was rejected by vote of the people. But, to return to
myself, you remember, when Quintus Maximus, Scipio's brother, and Lucius
Mancinus were Consuls, how much the people seemed to favor the law of
Caius Licinius Crassus about the priests. The law proposed to transfer
the election of priests from their own respective colleges to the
suffrage of the people; [Footnote: The several pontifical colleges had
been close corporations, filling their own vacancies. The law which
Laelius defeated proposed transferring the election of priests to the
people.] and he on that occasion introduced the custom of facing the
people in addressing them [Footnote: It had been customary, when the
Senate was in session, for him who harangued the people to face the
temple where the Senate sat, thus virtually recognizing the supreme
authority of that body.] Yet under my advocacy the religion of the
immortal gods obtained the ascendancy over his plausible speech. That
was during my praetorship, five years before I was chosen Consul. Thus
the cause was gained by its own merits rather than by official

26. But if on the stage, or--what is the same thing--in the assembly of
the people, in which there is ample scope for false and distorted
representations, the truth only needs to be made plain and clear in
order for it to prevail, what ought to be the case in friendship, which
is entirely dependent for its value on truth,--in which unless, as the
phrase is, you see an open bosom and show your own, you can have nothing
worthy of confidence, nothing of which you can feel certain, not even
the fact of your loving or being loved, since you are ignorant of what
either really is? Yet this flattery of which I have spoken, harmful as
it is, can injure only him who takes it in and is delighted with it.
Thus it is the case that he is most ready to open his ear to flattery,
who flatters himself and finds supreme delight in himself. Virtue indeed
loves itself; for it has thorough knowledge of itself, and understands
how worthy of love it is. But it is reputed, not real, virtue of which I
am now speaking; for there are not so many possessed of virtue as there
are that desire to seem virtuous. These last are delighted with
flattery, and when false statements are framed purposely to satisfy and
please them, they take the falsehood as valid testimony to their merit.
That, however, is no friendship, in which one of the (so-called) friends
does not want to hear the truth, and the other is ready to lie. The
flattery of parasites on the stage would not seem amusing, were there
not in the play braggart soldiers [Footnote: Latin, _milites gloriosi.
Miles Gloriosus_ is the title of one of the comedies of Plautus; and one
of the stock characters of the ancient comedy is a conceited,
swaggering, brainless soldier, who is perpetually boasting of his own
valor and exploits, and who takes the most fulsome and ridiculous
flattery as the due recognition of his transcendent merit. The verse
here quoted is from Terence's _Eunuchus_. Thraso, a _miles gloriosus_
(from whom is derived our adjective _thrasonical_), asks this question
of Gnatho, the parasite, one of whose speeches is quoted in S 25.
_Magnus_ is the word in the question; _ingentes_, in the answer.] to be

"Great thanks indeed did Thais render to me?"

"Great" was a sufficient answer; but the answer in the play is
"Prodigious." The flatterer always magnifies what he whom he is aiming
to please wishes to have great. But while this smooth falsehood takes
effect only with those who themselves attract and invite it; even
persons of a more substantial and solid character need to be warned to
be on their guard, lest they be ensnared by flattery of a more cunning
type. No one who has a moderate share of common-sense fails to detect
the open flatterer; but great care must be taken lest the wily and
covert flatterer may insinuate himself; for he is not very easily
recognized, since he often assents by opposing, plays the game of
disputing in a smooth, caressing way, and at length submits, and suffers
himself to be outreasoned, so as to make him on whom he is practising
his arts appear to have had the deeper insight. But what is more
disgraceful than to be made game of? One must take heed not to put
himself in the condition of the character in the play of _The Heiress:_
[Footnote: _Epicleros_, a comedy by Caecilius Statius, of whose works
only a few fragments, like this, are extant. Next to the braggart
soldier, a credulous old man-generally a father-who could have all
manner of tricks played upon him without detecting their import, was the
favorite butt for ridicule in the ancient comedy.]

"Of an old fool one never made such sport As you have made of me this
very day;"

for there is no character on the stage so foolish as that of these
unwary and credulous old men. But I know not how my discourse has
digressed from the friendships of perfect, that is, of wise men,--wise,
I mean, so far as wisdom can fall to the lot of man,--to friendships of
a lighter sort. Let us then return to our original subject, and bring it
to a speedy conclusion.

27. Virtue, I say to you, Caius Fannius, and to you, Quintus Mucius,--
virtue both forms and preserves friendships. In it is mutual agreement;
in it is stability; in it is consistency of conduct and character. When
it has put itself forth and shown its light, and has seen and recognized
the same light in another, it draws near to that light, and receives in
return what the other has to give; and from this intercourse love, or
friendship,--call it which you may,--is kindled. These terms are equally
derived in our language from loving; [Footnote:
_Amor_..._amicitia_..._ab amando_.] and to love is nothing else than to
cherish affection for him whom you love, with no felt need of his
service, with no quest of benefit to be obtained from him; while,
nevertheless, serviceableness blooms out from friendship, however little
you may have had it in view. With this affection I in my youth loved
those old men,--Lucius Paulus, Marcus Cato, Caius Gallus, Publius
Nasica, Tiberius Gracchus, the father-in-law of my friend Scipio. This
relation is more conspicuous among those of the same age, as between
myself and Scipio, Lucius Furius, Publius Rupilius, Spurius Mummius. But
in my turn, as an old man, I find repose in the attachment of young men,
as in yours, and in that of Quintus Tubero, and I am delighted with the
intimacy of Publius Rutilius and Aulus Virginius, who are just emerging
from boyhood. While the order of human life and of nature is such that
another generation must come upon the stage, it would be most desirable,
could such a thing be, to reach the goal, so to speak, with those of our
own age with whom we started on the race; but since man's life is frail
and precarious, we ought always to be in quest of some younger persons
whom we may love, and who will love us in return; for when love and
kindness cease all enjoyment is taken out of life.

For me indeed, Scipio, though suddenly snatched away, still lives and
will always live; for I loved the virtue of the man, which is not
extinguished. Nor does it float before my eyes only, as I have always
had it at hand; it will also be renowned and illustrious with
generations to come. No one will ever enter with courage and hope on a
high and noble career, without proposing to himself as a standard the
memory and image of his virtue. Indeed, of all things which fortune or
nature ever gave me, I have nothing that I can compare with the
friendship of Scipio. In this there was a common feeling as to the
affairs of the State; in this, mutual counsel as to our private
concerns; in this, too, a repose full of delight. Never, so far as I
know, did I offend him in the least thing; never did I hear from him a
word which I would not wish to hear. We had one home; [Footnote: This
may refer to their living together on their campaigns, journeys, and
rural sojourns; but more probably to the fact that each felt as much at
home in the other's house as in his own.] the same diet, and that
simple; [Footnote: Latin, _communis_. I do not find that this word has
in Latin the sense of _cheap_ and _mean_ which our word _common_ has.
But here it cannot mean that Laelius and Scipio fed together, which is
sufficiently said in the preceding _idem victus_. It must therefore
denote such fare as was common to them with their fellow-citizens in
general, and that is simple and not luxurious fare.] we were together,
not only in military service, but also in journeying and in our rural
sojourns. And what shall I say of our unflagging zeal in the pursuit of
knowledge, and in learning everything now within our reach,--an
employment in which, when not under the eyes of the public, we passed
all our leisure time together? Had the recollection and remembrance of
these things died with him, I could not anyhow bear the loss of a man,
thus bound to me in the closest intimacy and holding me in the dearest
love. But they are not blotted out, they are rather nourished and
increased by reflection and memory; and were I entirely bereft of them,
my advanced age would still be my great comfort, for I can miss his
society but for a brief season, and all sorrows, however heavy, if they
can last but a little while, ought to be endured.

I had these things to say to you about friendship; and I exhort you that
you so give the foremost place to virtue without which friendship cannot
be, that with the sole exception of virtue, you may think nothing to be
preferred to friendship.


1. When I arrived in Africa, to serve, as you know, in the office of
military Tribune of the fourth Legion, under Manius [Footnote: The
praenomen _Marcus_ is given to Manilius in the manuscript of the _De
Republics_ discovered by Angelo Mai; but Manius is the reading in all
previous authorities as to this special fragment.] Manilius as consul, I
desired nothing so much as to meet Masinissa [Footnote: King of
Numidia,--a country nearly identical in extent with the present province
of Algeria. Its name defines its people, being derived from [Greek:
nomades], _nomads._ Its inhabitants were a wild, semi-savage cluster of
tribes, black and white. Masinissa, though faithful to the Romans after
he had convinced himself that theirs must be the ascendant star, was a
crafty, treacherous, cruel prince, probably with enough of civilization
to have acquired some of its vices, while he had not lost those of the
savage.] the king, who for sufficient reasons [Footnote: The elder
Africanus had confirmed him in the possession of his own Numidia, and
had added to it the adjoining kingdom of Cirta.] stood in the most
friendly relation to our family. When I came to him, the old man
embraced me with tears, and shortly afterward looked up to heaven and
said: "I thank thee, sovereign Sun, [Footnote: The Numidians worshipped
the heavenly bodies.] and all of you lesser lights of heaven, that
before I pass away from this life I behold in my kingdom and beneath
this roof Publius Cornelius Scipio, whose very name renews my strength,
so utterly inseparable from my thought is the memory of that best and
most invincible of men who first bore it." Then I questioned him about
his kingdom, and he asked me about our republic; and with the many
things that we had to communicate to each other, the day wore away.

At a later hour, after an entertainment of royal magnificence, we
prolonged our conversation far into the night, while the old man talked
to me about nothing else but Africanus, rehearsing not only all that he
had done, but all that he had said. When we parted to go to our rest,
sleep took a stronger hold on me than usual, on account both of the
fatigue of my journey and of the lateness of the hour. In my sleep, I
suppose in consequence of our conversation (for generally our thoughts
and utterances by day have in our sleep an effect like that which Ennius
describes in his own case as to Homer, [Footnote: The first verse of the
_Annales_ of Ennius was:--

"In somnis mihi visus Homerus adesse poeta."]

about whom in his waking hours he was perpetually thinking and talking),
Africanus appeared to me, with an aspect that reminded me more of his
bust than of his real face. I shuddered when I saw him. But he said:
"Preserve your presence of mind, Scipio; be not afraid, and commit to
memory what I shall say to you.

2. "Do you see that city, which was brought through me into subjection
to the Roman people, but now renews its old hostility, and cannot remain
quiet,"--and he showed me Carthage from a high place full of stars,
shining and splendid,--"against which you, being little more than a
common soldier, are coming to fight? In two years from now you as Consul
will overthrow this city, and you will obtain of your own right the
surname which up to this time you hold as inherited from me. When you
shall have destroyed Carthage, shall have celebrated your triumph over
it, shall have been Censor, and shall have traversed, as an ambassador,
Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Greece, you will be chosen a second time Consul
in your absence, and will put an end to one of the greatest of wars by
extirpating Numantia. But when you shall be borne to the Capitol in your
triumphal chariot after this war, you will find the State disturbed by
the machinations of my grandson. [Footnote: Tiberius Gracchus, whose
mother, Cornelia, was the daughter of the elder Africanus.]

"In this emergency, Africanus, it will behoove you to show your country
the light of your energy, genius, and wisdom. But I see at that time, as
it were, a double way of destiny. For when your age shall have followed
the sun for eight times seven revolutions, and these two numbers
[Footnote: The Pythagoreans regarded seven as the number representing
light, and eight as representing love. Seven was also a perfect number,
as corresponding to the number of celestial orbits (including the sun,
the moon, and the five known planets), the number of days in the quarter
of the moon's revolution, and the number of the gates of sense (so to
speak), mouth, eyes, ears, and nostrils. Eight was a perfect number, as
being first after unity on the list of cubes; and Plato in the _Timaeus_
speaks of eight celestial revolutions--including that of the earth--as
unequal in duration and velocity, but as forming, in some unexplained
way, a cycle synchronous with the year.]--each perfect, though for
different reasons--shall have completed for you in the course of nature
the destined period, to you alone and to your name the whole city will
turn; on you the Senate will look, on you all good citizens, on you the
allies, on you the Latini. You will he the one man on whom the safety of
the city will rest; and, to say no more, you, as Dictator, must re-
establish the State, if you escape the impious hands of your kindred."
[Footnote: See _De Amicitia_ S 3, note.] Here, when Laelius had cried
out, and the rest of the company had breathed deep sighs, Scipio,
smiling pleasantly upon them, said, "I beg you not to rouse me from
sleep and break up my vision. Hear the remainder of it."

3. "But that you, Africanus, may be the more prompt in the defence of
the State, know that for all who shall have preserved, succored,
enlarged their country, there is a certain and determined place in
heaven where they enjoy eternal happiness; for to the Supreme God who
governs this whole universe nothing is more pleasing than those
companies and unions of men that are called cities. Of these the rulers
and preservers, going hence, return hither."

Here I, although I had been alarmed, not indeed so much by the fear of
death as by that of the treachery of my own kindred, yet asked whether
Paulus, my father, and others whom we supposed to be dead were living.
"Yes, indeed," he replied, "those who have fled from the bonds of the
body, like runners from the goal, live; while what is called your life
is death. But do you see your father Paulus coming to you?" When I saw
him, I shed a flood of tears; but he, embracing and kissing me, forbade
my weeping.

Then as soon as my tears would suffer me to speak, I began by saying,
"Most sacred and excellent father, since this is life, as Africanus
tells me, why do I remain on the earth, and not rather hasten to come to
you?" "Not so," said he; "for unless the God who has for his temple all
that you now behold, shall have freed you from this prison of the body,
there can be no entrance for you hither. Men have indeed been brought
into being on this condition, that they should guard the globe which you
see in the midst of this temple, which is called the earth; and a soul
has been given to them from those eternal fires which you call
constellations and stars, which, globed and round, animated with god-
derived minds, complete their courses and move through their orbits with
amazing speed. You, therefore, Publius, and all rightly disposed men are
bound to retain the soul in the body's keeping, nor without the command
of him who gave it to you to depart from the life appointed for man,
lest you may seem to have taken flight from human duty as assigned by
God. But, Scipio, like this your grandfather, [Footnote: By adoption.
The younger Africanus was adopted by a son of the elder.] like me, your
father, cherish justice and that sacred observance of duty to your kind,
which, while of great worth toward parents and family, is of supreme
value toward your country. Such a life is the way to heaven, and to this
assembly of those who have already lived, and, released from the body,
inhabit the place which you now see,"--it was that circle that shines
forth among the stars in the most dazzling white,--"which you have
learned from the Greeks to call the Milky Way." And as I looked on every
side I saw other things transcendently glorious and wonderful. There
were stars which we never see from here below, and all the stars were
vast far beyond what we have ever imagined. The least of them was that
which, farthest from heaven, nearest to the earth, shone with a borrowed
light. But the starry globes very far surpassed the earth in magnitude.
The earth itself indeed looked to me so small as to make me ashamed of
our empire, which was a mere point on its surface.

4. While I was gazing more intently on the earth, Africanus said: "How
long, I pray you, will your mind be fastened on the ground? Do you not
see into the midst of what temples you have come? In your sight are nine
orbs, or rather globes, by which all things are held together. One is
the celestial, the outermost, embracing all the rest,--the Supreme God
himself, [Footnote: Here crops out the Pantheism--the non-detachment or
semi-detachment of God from nature--which casts a penumbra around
monotheism and the approaches to it, almost always, except under Hebrew
and Christian auspices.] who governs and keeps in their places the other
spheres. In this are fixed those stars which ever roll in an unchanging
course. Beneath this are seven spheres which have a retrograde movement,
opposite to that of the heavens. One of these is the domain of the star
which on earth they call Saturn. Next is the luminary which bears the
name of Jupiter, of prosperous and healthful omen to the human race;
then, the star of fiery red which you call Mars, and which men regard
with terror. Beneath, the Sun holds nearly the midway space, [Footnote:
The middle, as the fifth of the nine spheres, enclosed by four; and
enclosing four.] leader, prince, and ruler of the other lights, the mind
and regulating power of the universe, so vast as to illuminate and flood
all things with his light. Him, as his companions, Venus and Mercury
follow on their different courses; and in a sphere still lower the moon
revolves, lighted by the rays of the sun. Beneath this there is nothing
that is not mortal and perishable, except the souls bestowed upon the
human race by the gift of the gods. Above the moon all things are
eternal. The earth, which is the central and ninth sphere, has no
motion, and is the lowest [Footnote: The lowest because central, and
therefore farthest from the outermost or celestial sphere.] of all, and
all heavy bodies gravitate spontaneously toward it."

5. When I had recovered from my amazement at these things I asked, "What
is this sound so strong and so sweet that fills my ears?" "This," he
replied, "is the melody which, at intervals unequal, yet differing in
exact proportions, is made by the impulse and motion of the spheres
themselves, which, softening shriller by deeper tones, produce a
diversity of regular harmonies. Nor can such vast movements be urged on
in silence; and by the order of nature the shriller notes sound from one
extreme of the universe, the deeper from the other. Thus yonder supreme
celestial sphere with its clustered stars, as it revolves more rapidly,
moves with a shrill and quick strain; this lower sphere of the moon
sends forth deeper notes; while the earth, the ninth sphere, remaining
motionless, [Footnote: Therefore without sound. ] always stands fixed in
the lowest place, occupying the centre of the universe. But these eight
revolutions, of which two, those of Mercury and Venus, are in unison,
make seven distinct tones, with measured intervals between, and almost
all things are arranged in sevens. [Footnote: Latin, _qui numerus_ (that
is, _septem_) _rerum omnium fere nodus est_. Literally, "which number is
the knot of almost everything." The more intelligible form in which I
have rendered these words seems to me to convey their true meaning, and
my belief to that effect is confirmed by reading what several
commentators say about the passage.] Skilled men, copying this harmony
with strings and voice, have opened for themselves a way back to this
place, as have others who with excelling genius have cultivated divine
sciences in human life. But the ears of men are deafened by being filled
with this melody; nor is there in you mortals a duller sense than that
of hearing. As where the Nile at the Falls of Catadupa pours down from
the loftiest mountains, the people who live hard by lack the sense of
hearing because of the loudness of the cataract, so this harmony of the
whole universe in its intensely rapid movement is so loud that men's
ears cannot take it in, even as you cannot look directly at the sun, and
the keenness and visual power of the eye are overwhelmed by its rays."
While I marvelled at these things, I ever and anon cast my eyes again
upon the earth.

6. Then Africanus said: "I perceive that you are now fixing your eyes on
the abode and home of men, and if it seems to you small, as it really
is, then look always at these heavenly things, and despise those
earthly. For what reputation from the speech of men, or what fame worth
seeking, can you obtain? You see that the inhabited places of the earth
are scattered and of small extent, that in the spots [Footnote: Latin,
_maculis_,--a figure so bold in Cicero's time as to need an apology for
its use, but now employed with no consciousness of its being otherwise
than strictly literal.]--so to speak--where men dwell there are vast
solitary tracts interposed, and that those who live on the earth are not
only so separated that no communication can pass from place to place,
but stand, in part at an oblique angle, in part at a right angle with
you, in part even in an opposite direction; [Footnote: It hardly needs
to be said, that the reference here is to the convex surface of the
earth, on which those remote from one another may hold all the various
angles to each other that are borne by the spokes of a wheel.] and from
these you certainly can anticipate no fame.

"You perceive also that this same earth is girded and surrounded by
belts, two of which--the farthest from each other, and each resting at
one extremity on the very pole of the heavens--you see entirely frost-
bound; while the middle and largest of them burns under the sun's
intensest heat. Two of them are habitable, of which the southern, whose
inhabitants are your antipodes, bears no relation to your people; and
see how small a part they occupy in this other northern zone, in which
you dwell. For all of the earth with which you have any concern--narrow
at the north and south, broader in its central portion--is a mere little
island, surrounded by that sea which you on earth call the Atlantic, the
Great Sea, the Ocean, while yet, with such a name, you see how small it
is. To speak only of these cultivated and well-known regions, could your
name even cross this Caucasus which you have in view, or swim beyond
that Ganges? Who, in what other lands may lie in the extreme east or
west, or under northern or southern skies, will ever hear your name? All
these cut off, you surely see within what narrow bounds your fame can
seek to spread. Then, too, as regards the very persons who tell of your
renown, how long will they speak of it?

7. "But even if successive generations should desire to transmit the
praise of every one of us from father to son in unbroken succession, yet
because of devastations by flood and fire, which will of necessity take
place at a determined time, we must fail of attaining not only eternal
fame, but even that of very long duration. Now of what concern is it
that those who shall be born hereafter should speak of you, when you
were spoken of by none who were born before you, who were not fewer, and
certainly were better men?--especially, too, when among those who might
hear our names there is not one that can retain the memories of a single
year. Men, indeed, ordinarily measure the year only by the return of the
sun, that is, one star, to its place; but when all the stars, after long
intervals, shall resume their original places in the heavens, then that
completed revolution may be truly called a year. As of old the sun
seemed to be eclipsed and blotted out when the soul of Romulus entered
these temples, so when the sun shall be again eclipsed in the same part
of his course, and at the same period of the year and day, with all the
constellations and stars recalled to the point from which they started
on their revolutions, then count the year as brought to a close.
[Footnote: The Stoics maintained that the visible universe would last
through such a cycle as is here described, which in their conjectural
astronomy comprehended many thousands of years, and then would be
consumed by fire, or somehow be reduced to chaos, and a new universe
take its place.] But be assured that the twentieth part of this year has
not yet come round.

"Therefore, should you renounce the hope of returning to this place in
which are all things that great and excellent men can desire, of what
worth is that human glory which can scarcely extend to a small part of a
single year? If, then, you shall determine to look high up, and to
behold continuously this dwelling and eternal home, you will neither
give yourself to the flattery of the people, nor place your hope of
well-being on rewards that man can bestow. Let Virtue herself by her own
charms draw you to true honor. What others may say of you, regard as
their concern, not yours. They will doubtless talk about you, but all
that they say is confined within the narrow limits of the regions which
you now see; nor did such speech as to any one ever last on into
eternity,--it is buried with those who die, and lost in oblivion for
those who may come afterward."

8. When he had spoken thus, I said, "O Africanus, if indeed for those
who have deserved well of their country there is, as it were, an open
road by which they may enter heaven, though from boyhood treading in my
father's steps and yours, I have done no discredit to your fame, I yet
shall now strive to that end with a more watchful diligence." And he
replied: "Strive [Footnote: Or, you will strive indeed.] indeed, and
bear this in mind, that it is not you that are mortal, but your body
only. Nor is it you whom this outward form makes manifest; but every
man's mind is he,--not the bodily shape which can be pointed at by the
finger. Know also that you are a god, if he indeed is a god who lives,
who perceives, who remembers, who foresees, who governs and restrains
and moves the body over which he is made ruler even as the Supreme God
holds the universe under his sway; and in truth as the eternal God
himself moves the universe which is mortal in every part, so does the
everlasting soul move the corruptible body.

"That, indeed, which is in perpetual movement is eternal; but that
which, while imparting motion to some other substance, derives its own
movement from some other source, must of necessity cease to live when it
ceases to move. Then that alone which is the cause of its own motion,
because it is never deserted by itself, never has its movement
suspended. But for other substances that are moved this is the source,
the first cause, [Footnote: Latin, _principium_.] of movement. But the
first cause has no origin; for all things spring from the first cause:
itself, from nothing. That indeed would not be a first cause which
derived its beginning from anything else; and if it has no beginning, it
never ceases to be. For the first cause, if extinct, will neither itself
be born again from aught else, nor will it create aught else from
itself, if indeed all things must of necessity originate from the first
cause. Thus it is that the first cause of motion is derived from that
which is in its nature self-moving; but this can neither be born nor
die. Were it to die, the whole heaven would of necessity collapse, and
all nature would stand still, nor could it find any force which could be
set in movement anew from a primitive impulse. [Footnote: From a first
cause; the first cause, by hypothesis, having ceased to be.]

9. "Since, then, that which is the source of its own movement is
manifestly eternal, who is there that can deny that this nature has been
given to the soul? For whatever is moved by external impulse is
soulless; [Footnote: Latin, _inanimum._] but whatever has a soul
[Footnote: Latin, _animal._ My renderings of _inanimum_ and _animal_
here, if not justified by any parallel instances (and I know not whether
they are), are required by the obvious meaning of the sentence.] is
stirred to action by movement inward and its own; for this is the
peculiar nature and virtue of the soul. Moreover, if it is this alone of
all things that is the source of its own movement, it certainly did not
begin to be, and is eternal. "This soul I bid you to exercise in the
best pursuits, and the best are your cares for your country's safety, by
which if your soul be kept in constant action and exercise, it will have
the more rapid flight to this its abode and home. This end it will
attain the more readily, if, while it shall be shut up in the body, it
shall peer forth, and, contemplating those things that are beyond,
abstract itself as far as possible from the body. For the souls of those
who have surrendered themselves to the pleasures of the body, have
yielded themselves to their service, and, obeying them under the impulse
of sensual lusts, have transgressed the laws of gods and men, when they
pass out of their bodies are tossed to and fro around the earth, nor
return to this place till they have wandered in banishment for many

He departed; I awoke from sleep.


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