Bonus vir. Politica filosofia retorica e diritto nel de officiis di Cicerone

Author: Fiori, Roberto
Title: Bonus vir. Politica filosofia retorica e diritto nel de officiis di Cicerone
Place edition: Napoli
Editor: Modelli teorici e metodologici nella storia del diritto privato - Quaderni: 5
Year edition: 2011
Pages: 380
Keywords: Droit - Diritto - Law, Philologie - Filologia - Philology, Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy
Description: Cicero’s De officiis is one of the most important texts in Roman ethics, and one of the most cited literary texts in the studies of Roman law. However, it has never been the subject, as a whole, of a thorough study from the point of view of the jurist. The book is divided in two parts. The first part aims to reconstruct the different contexts within which the work should — in my opinion — be read: the ‘present’ of the political events after Caesar’s killing and the use of philosophy as a framework to support the opposite positions of the parties; the ‘past’ of the traditional values of the Roman republic, that were felt by Cicero as particularly consistent with Stoic ethics, probably because of their ties with the archaic features of Roman and Greek cultures, both influenced by survivals of the Indo-European ‘Weltanschauung’; the ‘future’ of the work, i.e. the way it can be understood by the modern reader, after the general spread of the Kantian distinction between law and ethics. The second part analyses the text. From a philological point of view, the hypothesis is proposed that Cicero’s project, left undone, was to shape the subject matter according to the rhetorical principles laid down in the contemporary Topica. This has led him to divide the text in different and often symmetrical parts according to the rhetorical notions of definitio and consecutio, to which a part is added dealing with the topic ‘according to circumstances’ (katà perístasin). The more or less refined concinnitas helps in identifying the parts of the work that are less dependent on Panetius’ treatise. From a juridical point of view, the analysis is focused on the treatises of iustitia and prudentia, which seem to be the more relevant for Roman law and the more autonomous from the Greek model. The study of the text shows the importance of the legal notion of bona fides, which Cicero adopts as a paradigm of ‘true’ behaviour in opposition to dolus, the ‘false’ representation of things: an antithesis which recalls both Stoic gnoseology and the traditional Indo-European conflict between ‘truth/order’ and ‘falsehood/disorder’[Author].
Author initials: Fiori 2011