Cicero and Gyges

Auteur: Woolf, Raphael
Titre: Cicero and Gyges
Revue/Collection: Classical Quarterly 63, no 2
Annèe edition: 2013
Pages: 801-812
Mots-clès: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Sources - Fonti - Sources, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: The tale of Gyges' ring narrated by Cicero at De officiis 3.38 is of course originally found, and acknowledged as such by Cicero, in Plato (Resp. 359c–360b). I would like in this paper to address two questions about Cicero's handling of the tale – one historical, one philosophical. The purpose of the historical question is to evaluate, with respect to the Gyges narration, Cicero's quality as a reader of Plato. How well does Cicero understand the role of the story in its original Platonic context? The motivation for the question is that, at first blush, Cicero seems to have badly misunderstood it. I shall argue that the appearance is illusory, and that Cicero understands the tale's Platonic provenance perfectly well. Now it should be noted that the question of Cicero's grasp of the tale's purpose in Plato is distinct from the question whether Cicero himself puts the story to the same or a different use than Plato did. I shall suggest that while there are striking points of contact between the two treatments, on one crucial feature – namely the tale's ostentatiously far-fetched nature – Cicero is instructively more explicit than Plato. [Author]
Sigle auteur: Woolf 2013