When was Cicero Happy? On Moments of Happiness in a Normal and Extraordinary Life

Author: Manuwald, Gesine
Title: When was Cicero Happy? On Moments of Happiness in a Normal and Extraordinary Life
Review/Collection: "Symbolae Osloenses", 85, 1
Year edition: 2011
Pages: 94-114
Keywords: Biographie - Biografia - Biography
Description: This paper explores the question of whether any circumstances, events or activities can be identified that may have made Cicero feel that he and / or other people were experiencing a moment or period of happiness in their private or public lives. By reviewing meaningful excerpts from a variety of Ciceronian works, this contribution presents examples of possible conditions and instances of happiness in Cicero's life (as far as it is possible to discover the feelings of an individual exclusively on the basis of their writings to other people). While Cicero hardly ever mentions preconditions for his own ‘happiness’ or states explicitly that he is ‘happy’, it can be inferred that he took pleasure in a range of situations that are generally regarded as blessings for human beings, such as having a family or a comfortable home. His special intellectual capability and his political career presented Cicero with further possibilities of winning success and satisfaction. Yet Cicero's feelings of happiness in all respects seem to have a basic component oriented towards community. Because Cicero's personal life is so intertwined with his public life and he has also considered the issue philosophically, his emotional disposition in ‘normal’ and ‘extraordinary’ moments is of a particular quality: he was able to derive joy from beliefs such as that he had saved the Republic, beyond the ordinary pleasures of all human beings such as conversations with good friends. [Author]
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00397679.2011.631363
Author initials: Manuwald 2011