3 Itaque tum Scaevola cum in eam ipsam mentionem incidisset, exposuit nobis sermonem Laeli de amicitia habitum ab illo secum et cum altero genero. A detailed analysis of St. Bernard’s borrowings from Cicero’s De Amicitia appears in R. Gelsomino, S. Bernardo di Chiaravalle e il “de Amicitia” di Cicerone”. LAELIUS DE AMICITIA, QUAGLIA [CICERONE] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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If you find a mistake though, please let me know! In the former work the speaker was Cato, whom scarcely any in his day exceeded in age and none surpassed in wisdom; in the present treatise the speaker on friendship will be Laelius, a wise man for he was so esteemedand a man who was distinguished by a glorious friendship.

Please put me out of your mind for a little while and believe that Laelius himself is talking. What you say is true, Laelius; for there was no better man than Africanus, and no one more illustrious. But you should realize that all men have fixed their eyes on you alone; you it is whom they both call and believe to be wise. Acilius because of his reputation for skill in civil law; Cato because of his manifold experience, and because of the many well-known instances wherein both in Senate and forum he displayed shrewdness of foresight, resolution of conduct, or sagacity in reply; and as a result, by the time he had reached old age, he bore the title of “the Wise” as a sort of cognomen.

Your wisdom, in public estimation, consists in this: Putting aside all other proof, consider how he bore the death of his son! The exalted expectation which his country conceived of him in amicitiw childhood, amicita at a bound, through incredible merit, more than realized in his youth. Though he never sought the consulship, he was elected consul twice — the first time 8 before he was of legal age, the second time at a period seasonable for him, but almost too late for the safety of the commonwealth.

And he overthrew the two cities that were the deadliest foes of our empire and thereby put an end not only to existing wars, but to future wars as well. These things are well known to you both. Moreover, how dear he was to the State was indicated by the grief displayed at his funeral. If the truth really is that the souls of all good men after death make the easiest escape from what may be termed the imprisonment and fetters of the flesh, whom can we think of as having had an easier journey to the gods than Scipio?

But cicerlne, on the other hand, the truth rather is that soul and body perish at the same time, and that no sensation remains, then, it follows that, as there is nothing good in death, so, of a certainty, there is nothing evil. That cannot be otherwise, Laelius.

Hence your compliance will be very agreeable to us both. What amiicitia suggest is a task for philosophers and, what is more, for Greeks — that of discoursing on any subject however suddenly it may be proposed to them. This is a difficult thing cicegone do and requires no little practice. We may grant that; but they understand wisdom to be a thing such as no mortal man has yet attained. They will not do it though; they will say that goodness can be predicated only of the “wise” man.


Those who so act and so live as to give proof of loyalty and uprightness, of fairness cicefone generosity; who are free from all passion, caprice, and insolence, and have great strength of character — men like those just mentioned — such men let us consider good, as aicitia were accounted good in life, and also entitled to be called by that term because, in as far as that is possible for man, they follow Nature, who is the best guide to good living.

For it seems clear to me that we were so created that between us all there exists a certain tie which strengthens with our proximity akicitia each other. Therefore, fellow countrymen are preferred to foreigners and relatives 19a to strangers, for with them Nature herself engenders friendship, but it is one that is lacking in constancy.

For friendship excels relationship 19b in this, that goodwill may be eliminated from relationship while from clcerone it cannot; since, if you remove goodwill from friendship the very name of friendship is gone; if you remove it from relationship, the cicwrone of relationship still remains. Some prefer riches, some good health, some power, some public honours, and many even prefer sensual pleasures.

This last is the highest aim of brutes; the others are fleeting and unstable things and dependent less upon human foresight than upon the fickleness of fortune. Again, there are those who place the “chief good” in virtue and that is really a noble view; but this very virtue is the parent and preserver of friendship and without virtue friendship cannot exist at all.

In the first place, how can life be what Ennius calls “the life worth living,” if it does not repose on the mutual goodwill of a friend?

What is sweeter than to have someone with whom you may dare discuss anything as if you were communing with yourself? Adversity would indeed be hard to bear, without him to whom the burden would be heavier even than to yourself. In short, all other objects of desire are each, for the most part, adapted to a single end — riches, for spending; influence, for honour; public office, for reputation; pleasures, for sensual enjoyment; and health, for freedom from pain and full use of the bodily functions; but friendship embraces innumerable ends; turn where dde will it is ever at your side; no barrier shuts it out; it is never untimely and never in the way.


Therefore, we ve not use the proverbial 22 “fire and water” on more occasions than we use friendship. For friendship adds a brighter radiance to prosperity and lessens the burden of adversity by dividing and sharing it. Again, he who looks upon a true friend, looks, as it were, upon a sort of image of himself. Wherefore friends, though absent, are at hand; though in need, yet abound; though weak, are strong; dr — harder saying still — though dead, are yet alive; so great is the esteem on the part of their friends, the tender recollection and the deep longing that still attends them.

These things make the death of the departed seem ciceronee and the life of the survivors worthy of praise. If that statement is not clear, then you may understand how great is the power of friendship and of concord from a consideration of the results of enmity and disagreement. For what house is so strong, or what state so enduring that it cannot be utterly overthrown by animosities and division?

From this it may be judged how great good there is in friendship. And indeed this is a statement which all men not only understand but also approve. Whenever, therefore, there comes to light some signal service in undergoing or sharing the dangers of a friend, who does not proclaim it with the loudest praise?

In this case Nature easily asserted her own power, inasmuch as men approved in another as well done that which they could not do themselves.

But we prefer to inquire of you. You would say so with greater confidence, Fannius, if you had been present recently in Scipio’s country home during the discussion on the Republic. What an advocate of justice Laelius was then against the elaborate speech of Philus!

Well, then, would not the defence of friendship be easy for that man who has preserved it with the utmost fidelity, constancy, and sense of amicihia, and thereby gained the greatest renown? Really you are employing violence; for what matters it what means you take of forcing me? Forcing me you amiciita are. For it is love amorfrom which the word “friendship” amicitia is derived, that leads to the establishing of goodwill.

For while it is true that advantages are frequently obtained even from those who, under a pretence of friendship, are courted and honoured to suit the occasion; yet in friendship there is nothing false, nothing pretended; whatever there is is genuine and comes of its own accord. What this feeling is may be perceived even in the case of certain animals, which, up to a certain time, so love their offspring and are so loved by them, that their impulses are easily seen.

But this is much more evident in man; first, from the affection existing between children and parents, which cannot be destroyed except by some execrable crime, and again from that kindred impulse of love, which arises when once we have met someone whose habits and character are congenial with our own; because in him we seem to behold, ciceone it were, a sort of lamp of uprightness and virtue.

Against two leaders we had bitter struggles for iccerone empire of Italy — Pyrrhus and Hannibal; for amiicitia former, because of his uprightness, we have no great enmity; for the latter, qmicitia of his cruelty, 26 this State will always dee hatred.

If this were so, then just in proportion as any man judged his resources to be small, would he be fitted for friendship; whereas the truth is far otherwise. Now what need did Africanus have of me? Although many and great advantages did ensue from our friendship, still the beginnings of our love did not spring from the hope of gain. Thus the greatest advantages will be realized from friendship, and its origin, being derived from nature rather than from weakness, will be more dignified and more consonant with truth.

For on the assumption that advantage is the cement of friendships, if advantage were removed friendships would fall apart; but since nature is unchangeable, therefore real friendships are eternal. You now have my views on the origin of friendship, unless cucerone have something to say in reply. Therefore, let us hear.

Then listen, most worthy gentlemen, to the points very frequently mentioned between Scipio and me in our discussions of friendship.

Now he, indeed, used to say that nothing was harder than for a friendship to continue to the very end of life; for it often happened either that the friendship ceased to be mutually advantageous, or the parties to it did not entertain the same political views; and that frequently, too, the dispositions of men were changed, sometimes by adversity and sometimes by the increasing burdens of age.

And then he would draw an illustration of this principle from the analogy of early life. By cixerone ceaseless recriminations not only are social intimacies usually destroyed, but also everlasting enmities are produced.

LacusCurtius • Cicero — De Amicitia

So many dangers of this kind,” he would say, cicerrone like evil fates over friendships, that it seems to me to require both wisdom and good luck to escape them all. Supposing Coriolanus to have had friends, were those anicitia in duty bound to bear arms with him against their country?

Or ought the friends of Vecellinus, or of Maelius, to have supported them in their attempts to gain regal power? And so, as a result of his madness, being in fear of the special court of inquiry, he fled into Asia, joined our enemies, and paid a heavy and righteous penalty 31 for his crimes against the Republic. Therefore it is no justification whatever of your sin to have sinned in behalf of a friend; for, since his belief in your virtue induced the friendship, it is hard for that friendship to remain if you have forsaken virtue.

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Well, then, it is impossible for us even to suspect any one of these men of importuning a friend for anything contrary to good faith or to his solemn oath, or inimical to the commonwealth. What is the need of asserting in the case of men like these, that if such a request had been made it would not have been granted, seeing that they were the purest of men, and moreover, regarded it equally impious to grant and make such a request? But Tiberius Gracchus did find followers in Gaius Carbo and Gaius Cato, 33 and he found a follower also in his own brother Gaius, who though not very ardent then is now intensely so.

And dishonourable it certainly is, and not to be allowed, for anyone to plead in defence of sins in general and especially of those against the State, that he committed them for the sake of a friend. For, my dear Fannius and Scaevola, we Romans are now placed in such a situation that it is our duty to keep a sharp look-out for the troubles that may befall our State. Had the Roman people ever heard of or experienced such a thing before? As for Carbo, because of the short time since the punishment of Tiberius Gracchus, 35 we have borne with him as best we could.

For more people will learn how to start a revolution than how to withstand it. It must, therefore, be enjoined upon good men 41 that if by any chance they should inadvisedly fall into friendships of this kind, they must not think themselves so bound that they cannot withdraw from friends who are sinning in some important matter of public concern; for wicked men, on the other hand, a penalty must be enacted, and assuredly it will not be lighter for the followers than for the leaders in treason.

Who was more eminent in Greece than Themistocles, who more powerful? But he, after having saved Greece from slavery by his leadership in the war with Persia, and after having been banished because of his unpopularity, would not submit to the injustice of an ungrateful country, as he was in duty bound to do: Not one single supporter could be found to aid these men against their country; therefore, each took his own life.

Some of these men teach that too much intimacy in friendships should be avoided, lest it be necessary for one man to be full of anxiety for many; that each one of us has business of his own, enough and to spare; that it is annoying to be too much involved in the affairs of other people; that it is best to hold the reins of friendship as loosely as possible, so that we may either draw them up or slacken them at will; for, they say, an essential of a happy life is freedom from care, and this the soul cannot enjoy if one man is, as it were, in travail for many.

Why, they seem to take the sun out of the universe when they deprive life of friendship, than which we have from the immortal gods no better, no more delightful boon. For of what value is their vaunted “freedom from care”? In appearance it is indeed an alluring thing, but in reality often to be shunned. For it is inconsistent not to undertake any honourable business or course of conduct, or to lay it aside when undertaken, in order to avoid anxiety.

Nay, if we continually flee from trouble, we must also flee from Virtue, who necessarily meets with some trouble in rejecting and loathing things contrary to herself, as when kindness rejects ill-will, temperance lust, and bravery cowardice.

And so you may see that it is the just who are most pained at injustice, the brave at cowardice, the self-restrained at profligacy. It is, therefore, characteristic of the well-ordered mind both to rejoice at good deeds and to be pained at the reverse. Then it surely will be granted as a fact that good men love and join themselves to other good men, in a union which is almost that of relationship and nature.

For there is nothing more eager or more greedy than nature for what is like itself. But this same goodness belongs also to the generality of men. For it is not so much the material gain procured through a friend, as it is his love, and his love alone, that gives us delight; and that advantage which we derive from him becomes a pleasure only when his service is inspired by an ardent zeal.


And it is far from being true that friendship is cultivated because of need; rather, is it cultivated by those who are most abundantly blessed with wealth and power and especially with virtue, which is man’s best defence; by those least in need of another’s help; and by those most generous and most given to acts of kindness.

Wherein, for example, would any zeal have displayed itself if Scipio amicitla never been in need of my advice or assistance either at home or abroad?

For what person is there, in amiciita name of cicdrone and men! Yet tyrants are courted under a pretence of affection, but only for a season. For when by chance they have fallen from power, as they generally do, then is it known how poor they were in friends.

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