Cicero and Greek philosophy

Author: Striker, Gisela
Title: Cicero and Greek philosophy
Review/Collection: "Harvard Studies in Classical Philology", 97
Place edition: Cambridge (Massachusetts)
Editor: Harvard University Press
Year edition: 1995
Pages: 53-61
Keywords: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Sources - Fonti - Sources
Description: [Comment] To speak about Cicero and Greek philosophy is to speak about Cicero and philosophy, period. Philosophy, for the Romans of Cicero's age, was a Greek thing, and there was no other philosophy around. Philosophy was one of the disciplines the Romans of the first century B.C. took over from the Greeks as a part of higher education. It was both a prestigious and a suspect branch of Greek cultureprestigious because it was intellectually demanding, suspect because philosophical argument could be seen as subversive; witness the notorious story of the futile attempt by Cato the Censor in the second century to banish philosophers from the city in order to safeguard the morals of Rome's young men. To judge from Cicero's prefaces, the suspicions never quite went away, although Stoicism, at least, turned out to be highly respectable. Cicero tried with varying success to raise the status of philosophy by introducing famous Roman statesmen as speakers in his dialogues,1 while assuring his readers that the affairs of the state would of course take precedence over philosophical pursuits. In providing a framework in which to place more technical considerations and an incentive to further study, Cicero was quite successful in putting Greek philosophical doctrines into Latin in various treatises and dialogues.
Author initials: Striker 1995