Cicero’s political ideal

Auteur: Wheeler, Marcus
Titre: Cicero’s political ideal
Revue/Collection: "Greece and Rome", 21
Annèe edition: 1952
Pages: 49-56
Mots-clès: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: [Abstract] The fragmentary state in which Cicero's treatise De Republica has come down to us has given rise to considerable speculation as to the exact nature of the political ideal contained in it. Very varying conjectures have been advanced as to the significance and status of the rector or moderator rei publicae, and very different answers given to the question: Is the ideal a revised and improved form of the π?τριος πολιτε?α or is it some kind of enlightened monarchy? The assumption on which this paper rests is, however, that the issue has not yet grown so academic but that a further examination of it may serve either to reveal some new, or to stress some neglected, feature of the traditional problem. It is first necessary to say something about the use of the word ‘ideal’ in reference to the Republic. It is customary to talk of the ‘ideal’ which Cicero propounds in that work, yet there is patently something unsatisfactory in the term, since historians are unable to agree as to what that ideal is. It may be suggested that the reason for this is in part an ambiguity of the word ‘ideal’ corresponding to a distinction in Cicero's intention in writing the Republic. What this might be is most easily seen from comparison with Aristotle's Politics, which similarly is said to contain its author's political ideal, and similarly has given rise to dispute as to what exactly that ideal is. In this case, however, there need be no doubt as to what is intended, since Aristotle explicitly distinguishes two senses of ‘ideal’ as applied to constitutions, namely that which is best a priori and that which is the best that can be expected relative to circumstances.
Sigle auteur: Wheeler 1952