Translated by Andrew P. Peabody Annotation of text copyright ©2008 David Trumbull, Agathon Associates. All Rights Reserved.
|Here begins Book II of Cicero's De Officiis, being the continuation of the topic from Book I.|
 I think, my son Marcus, that it has been sufficiently explained in my first book how duties are to be derived from
the right, and from each of the four virtues which I named as divisions of the right. It comes next in order, to treat
of those kinds of duties that belong to the adornment of life and the command of its utilities, to influence and resources
of every description. Under this head I have said that the inquiry is, first, what is expedient and what inexpedient,
and then, of expedient things which is the more expedient, which the most expedient. I shall proceed to the discussion
of these things, after saying a few words concerning my design and method in writing on philosophical subjects.
Although, indeed, my books have roused not a few to the desire not only of reading, but of writing, still I sometimes fear that the mere name of philosophy may be offensive to certain worthy men, and that they may marvel that I spend so much labor and time upon it. In truth, so long as the state was administered by men of its own choice, I bestowed upon it all my care and thought. But when all things were held under the absolute sway of one man, and there was no longer room for advice or influence, while at the same time I had lost my associates in the guardianship of the state, men of the highest eminence, I did not abandon myself to melancholy, which would have consumed me had I not resisted it, nor yet, on the other hand, to sensual pleasures unworthy of a philosopher. And oh that the state had continued in the condition in which it recommenced its life, and had not fallen into the hands of men desirous not so much of reforming as of revolutionizing its constitution! In that case, in the first place, as I used to do when the state stood on a firm basis, I should expend more labor in pleading than in writing; and in the next place, I should commit to writing not the subjects now in hand, but my arguments before the courts, as I have often done. But when the state, on which all my care, thought, labor, used to be expended, had utterly ceased to be, my forensic and senatorial literature was of course silenced. Yet since my mind could not be unemployed, having been conversant with these studies from my early days, I thought that my chagrin could be most honorably laid aside if I betook myself to philosophy, to which I devoted a large part of my youth as a learner, while after I began to hold important offices and gave myself wholly to the service of the state, philosophy had as much of my time as was not taken up by the claims of my friends and the public. Yet this time was all consumed in reading; I had no leisure for writing.
 I seem, then, in the severest calamities to have attained at least this good fortune, that I am able to commit
to writing subjects not sufficiently familiar to my fellow-countrymen, and yet preeminently worthy of their
cognizance. For what, in the name of the gods, is more desirable than wisdom? What more to be prized? What better?
What more worthy of man? It is the seekers of this, then, who are called philosophers; nor is philosophy,
if you undertake to translate it, anything else than the love of wisdom. But wisdom, as defined by the ancients,
is the knowledge of things divine and human, and of the causes by which these things are kept in harmony. I cannot
well understand what he who blames the pursuit of this knowledge can regard as commendable. For if gratification of
the mind and repose from care be sought, what pleasure can be compared with the pursuits of those who are always
searching out what may look and tend toward a good and happy life? Or if regard is paid to consistency of character
and to virtue, either this is the science by which we may attain them, or there is none at all. To say that there
is no science of these greatest of human interests when there are none of the smallest concerns that have not
their science, is the language of men who talk without thinking, and who deceive themselves in matters of the highest
moment. Then, too, if there is any instruction in virtue, where should it be sought, when you turn away from this
department of learning? But these things are usually discussed with greater precision in urging readers to the
study of philosophy, as I have done in another treatise. My present purpose was simply to say why, deprived of
opportunities for the service of the state, I chose this department of study above all others.
It is objected to me, and that too by educated and learned men, that I seem not to act consistently, when I say that nothing can be known with certainty, and yet am accustomed to give my opinion on other subjects, and am now setting forth the rules of duty. I could wish that these persons had an adequate understanding of my philosophical doctrine. For I am not one of those whose minds drift about in uncertainty, and never have any definite aim. Indeed, what sort of an intellect, or rather of a life, would remain, if fixed principles not only of reasoning, but of conduct, were abolished? This is not my case; but while others say that some things are certain, some doubtful, so I, differing from them, call some things probable, some improbable. What is there, then, that can hinder me from pursuing those things that seem to me probable, rejecting those things that seem improbable, and, while I shun the arrogance of positive assertion, escaping the recklessness which is at the farthest remove from wisdom? All opinions are controverted by our school, on the ground that this very probability cannot be brought to light unless by a comparison of the arguments on both sides. These things, however, are, as I think, expounded with sufficient care in my Academics. But though you, my Cicero, are becoming versed in the most ancient and noble of philosophies, under the guidance of Cratippus, who bears the closest resemblance to the illustrious founders of the school, I am unwilling that these speculations of mine, nearly allied to those of your school, should be unknown to you. But let us now take up the plan proposed for our discussion.
 At the outset I proposed for the full discussion of duty five divisions, two relating to what is becoming
and right; two to the conveniences of life, resources, influence, wealth; the fifth to the determination of
our choice, whenever the right and the expedient might seem mutually repugnant. The divisions relating to the
right, which I would have you thoroughly understand, are finished. This of which I am now going to treat is
what is termed expediency, with reference to which custom has turned out of the right way, and has been gradually
brought to the point of separating the right from the expedient, and of maintaining that what is not expedient
may be right, and what is not right, expedient, than which there could be no doctrine more pernicious to human
well-being. There are, indeed, philosophers of the very highest authority who on strict and tenable grounds make
a distinction in theory between three several kinds of excellence, which yet, as they admit, are inseparable
in their nature; for whatever is just they regard as expedient, and likewise what is right as just. Hence it
follows that whatever is right is also expedient. Those who imagine that the distinction is not in mere theory,
but in fact, often admiring adroit and crafty men, take roguery for wisdom. Their mistake ought to be
eliminated, and the universal opinion brought over to the hope that men may learn to expect the attainment of
what they desire by right purposes and honest deeds, not by fraud and roguery.
The means of sustaining human life are in part inanimate, as gold, silver, the products of the earth, and other things of that sort; in part, living beings that have their own instincts and appetites. Of these last some are destitute of reason, others are rational. Those destitute of reason are horses, oxen, other cattle, bees, by whose labor contribution is made to the service and subsistence of men. Of the rational there are named two classes, — the one of gods, the other of men. Reverence and purity will make the gods propitious. But next to and close after the gods, men can be of the greatest service to men. The same division applies to those things that cause injury and obstruction. But because it is thought that the gods do no injury, these being out of the question, men are regarded as most of all interfering injuriously with men. Indeed, the very things that I have called inanimate are produced for the most part by the labor of men, nor could we have them unless handicraft and skill had given their aid, nor could we utilize them except under the management of men. Nor without the labor of man could there be any care of health, or cultivation of the soil, or harvesting and preservation of grain and other products of the ground. Nor could there be the exportation of our superfluous commodities, nor the importation of those in which we are lacking, unless men performed these offices. By parity of reason the stones that we need for our use could not be quarried from the earth,
“Nor iron, brass, silver, gold, be dug from their deep caverns,”
| Whence, indeed, could houses, to dispel the severity of the cold and to allay the discomfort of the heat, have been furnished for mankind in the beginning, or how could they have been repaired, when made ruinous by storm, or earthquake, or age, unless society had learned to seek aid in these things from men? Take into the account also aqueducts, canals, works for the irrigation of fields, breakwaters, artificial harbors. Whence could we have these without the labor of men? From these and many other things it is obvious that we could in no wise have received the revenues and uses derived from inanimate objects without the skill and labor of men. Then, again, what revenue or what convenience could be derived from beasts, unless by the aid of men? For it was men certainly who were foremost in discovering what use we might make of the several beasts in our service; nor could we now without the labor of men either feed them, or tame them, or keep them, or receive returns from them in their season. By men also those beasts that do harm are killed, and those that can be of use are captured. Why should I enumerate the multitude of arts without which life could not have been at all? How would the sick be cured, what would be the enjoyment of the healthy, what would be our food or our mode of living, did not so many arts give us their ministries? It is by these things that the civilized life of men is so far removed from the subsistence and mode of living of the beasts. Cities, too, could not have been built and peopled but for the association of men, in consequence of which laws and rules of moral conduct have been established, as also an equitable distribution of rights, and a systematic training for the work of life. These things have been followed by mildness of disposition and by modesty, and the consequence is that human life is better furnished with what it needs, and that by giving, receiving, and interchanging commodities and conveniences we may have all our wants supplied.|
 I am dwelling on this subject longer than is necessary; for who is there to whom what Panaetius says with no
little prolixity is not perfectly obvious, that no one, either as a military commander or as a civil magistrate,
could ever have carried into effect important and serviceable measures without the zealous co-operation of men?
He names Themistocles, Pericles, Cyrus, Agesilaus, Alexander, who, he says, could not have accomplished such great
things without the aid of men. He cites witnesses that are unnecessary in a matter beyond doubt.
Still further, as we obtain great benefits by the sympathy and co-operation of men, so there is no degree of evil, however execrable, which may not spring from man for man. There is extant a book about the destruction of men, by Dicaearchus, a distinguished and eloquent Peripatetic, who, after enumerating other causes, — such as inundation, pestilence, perils of the desert, the sudden inrush of destructive beasts (by whose assaults, he says, whole races of men have been consumed), — then shows by comparison how many more men have been exterminated by the violence of men, that is, by wars or seditions, than by all other forms of calamity. Since, then, there is no doubt on this point, that men transcend all other causes both of benefit and of injury to men, I maintain that it is a special property of virtue to conciliate the minds of men, and to make them availing for its own uses. Thus, while whatever in inanimate objects and in the use and management of beasts redounds to human benefit is to be ascribed to the mechanic arts, the good will of men, prompt and ready for the improvement of our condition, is elicited only by the wisdom and virtue which belong to men of superior excellence. Indeed, all virtue may be said to consist in three things, one of which lies in the clear discernment of what is true and real in every subject, of the correspondences of things, of their consequences, sources, and causes; the second, in the restraining of those troubled movements of mind which the Greeks call PAQN, and in making the impulses which they call OMAS obedient to reason; the third, in the considerate and wise treatment of those with whom we are associated, by whose good will we may have in full and overflowing measure whatever nature craves, and by whose agency we may ward off impending evil, may exact retribution of those who attempt to do us harm, and visit them with such punishment as justice and humanity will permit.
| By what means we can attain this capacity of winning and holding men’s affections, I will shortly expound; but there are a few things to be said first. Who does not know that Fortune has great power on either side, whether toward prosperous or adverse events? For when we sail under her propitious breath, we reach our desired port, and when she sends a contrary wind, we founder. Fortune herself, then, occasions some calamities — though comparatively rare — independently of human agency: in the first place, from inanimate things, as by gales, tempests, shipwrecks, falling buildings, conflagrations; then from beasts, by stings, bites, assaults. These, as I have said, are comparatively infrequent. But the destruction of armies, as of three very recently, and of many others in former times; the murder of commanders, as lately that of an eminent and remarkable man; the enmity, also, of the multitude, and by its means the exile, ruin, flight, often of well-deserving citizens; and, on the other hand, prosperous events, civic honors, military commands, victories, — these, although they are partly dependent on fortune, cannot be brought to pass on either side without the aid and endeavor of men. This, then, being understood, I am to explain how we can elicit and call forth the good will of men for our own benefit. If the discussion shall seem too long, let it be compared with the advantage to be derived from it. It will then, perhaps, seem too brief. Whatever, then, men bestow upon a man to enrich and ennoble him, they do it, either from kind feeling to a person whom for some reason they hold dear; or from respect for one to whose virtue they look up, and whom they think worthy of as ample good fortune as can accrue to him; or for one in whom they have confidence, and whose counsel and aid for their own benefit they hope in return; or for one whom they hold in dread for his capacity to injure them; or, on the other hand, for those from whom they have expectations, as when kings and demagogues distribute largesses; or, finally, when they are moved by price and bribe, which is the meanest and vilest way, both for those whose favor is held by it and for those who endeavor to resort to it; for it is a bad case when what ought to be effected by virtue is attempted by money. Yet since subsidies of this kind are sometimes necessary, I will define their proper use, when I shall have first spoken of things which bear a closer relation to virtue. Moreover, men put themselves under the command and power of others for several reasons. They are led to this either by kind feeling, or by the greatness of favors received, or by the high social position of him to whom they yield deference, or by hope that such a course will be of use to them, or by fear of being forcibly compelled to render obedience; or they are attracted by the prospect of generous gifts and by promises; or, lastly, as we often see in our state, they are hired for wages.|
 But of all things nothing tends so much to the guarding and keeping of resources as to be the object of
affection; nor is anything more foreign to that end than to be the object of fear. Ennius says most fittingly: —
“Hate follows fear; and plotted ruin, hate.”
It has been lately demonstrated, if it was before unknown, that no resources can resist the hatred of a numerous body. It is not merely the destruction of this tyrant, whom the state, subdued by armed force, endured so long as he lived and obeys most implicitly now that he is dead, that shows how far the hatred of men may prove fatal; but similar deaths of other tyrants, hardly one of whom has escaped a like fate, teach this lesson. For fear is but a poor guardian for permanent possession, and, on the other hand, good will is faithful so long as there can be need of its loyalty. Those who hold under their command subjects forcibly kept down must indeed resort to severity, as masters toward their slaves when they cannot otherwise be restrained. But nothing can be more mad than the policy of those who in a free state conduct themselves in such a way as to be feared. For though the laws be submerged by some one man’s power, though liberty be panic-stricken, yet in time they rise to the surface, either by opinions circulated, though unuttered, or by the quiet mustering of votes that shall dispose of the high offices of state. Men indeed feel more keenly the suppression of liberty than any evils incident to its preservation. Let us then embrace the policy which has the widest scope, and is most conducive, not to safety alone, but to affluence and power, namely, that by which fear may be suppressed, love retained. Thus shall we most easily obtain what we desire both in private and in public life. For it is inevitable that those who wish to be feared should themselves fear the very persons by whom they are feared. What, for instance, must have been the case with the elder Dionysius? With what tormenting fear must he have been racked, when, dreading the barber’s razor, he used to singe off his own beard with burning coals? What are we to think of Alexander of Pherae? In what state of mind must we suppose him to have lived, who, as we read the record, though somewhat fond of his wife Thebe, yet when he came from supper to her chamber, ordered a barbarian attendant, and indeed one, as we are told, branded with the marks of a Thracian, to precede him with a drawn sword, and sent in advance some of his body-guards to search the woman’s boxes, and see whether there were not some weapon concealed among the clothes? O wretch, to think a tattooed savage more to be trusted than his own wife! Yet he was in the right; for he was slain by that very wife, because she suspected him of adultery. Nor indeed is there any ruling power strong enough to be enduring, when it makes itself the object of dread. Of this we may find an example in Phalaris whose cruelty was notorious beyond that of any other tyrant, who perished, not by treachery, like that Alexander of whom I have just spoken, — not by the hands of a few, like this tyrant of ours, but who was assailed by the whole mass of the people of Agrigentum. What? Did not the Macedonians desert Demetrius, and in a body betake themselves to Pyrrhus? What? When the Lacedaemonians usurped power that was not rightfully theirs, did not almost all their allies leave them, and show themselves idle spectators of the disaster at Leuctra?
| I prefer on such a subject to draw my examples from foreign states rather than from our own. Yet so long as the sway of the Roman people was maintained by the bestowal of benefits, not by injustice, wars were waged either in defence of our allies or of our own government; the issues of our successful wars were either merciful or no more severe than necessity demanded; our Senate was the harbor and refuge of kings, tribes, nations; while our magistrates and military commanders sought to obtain the highest praise from this one thing, — the guarding of the interests of our provinces and our allies by equity and good faith. Our sovereignty might then have been termed the patronage, rather than the government, of the world. We previously had encroached by degrees on this habit and policy; after Sulla’s victory we entirely departed from it; for nothing any longer appeared inequitable toward our allies, after so much cruelty had been exercised upon our own citizens. In his case a worthy cause was crowned by a disgraceful victory; for he dared to say, when under the auctioneer’s spear he sold in the market-place the property of good men and rich men who were undoubtedly citizens, that he was selling his booty. He was succeeded by one who in an impious cause, after even a more disgraceful victory, not merely offered for public sale the goods of individual citizens, but embraced whole provinces and countries in one destructive ban. And so, foreign nations being thus oppressed and ruined, in token of our forfeited empire, we saw Massilia borne in effigy in a triumphal procession, and a triumph celebrated over that city without whose aid our commanders never gained a Transalpine triumph. I might mention many other abominable things done to our allies, if the sun had ever beheld anything more shameful than this very transaction. We therefore are justly punished; for unless we had so often had impunity from guilt, so great liberty of sinning would never have come into the hands of one man, whose heritage of property falls to few, that of depraved desire to many bad men. Nor indeed will there ever be wanting seed and pretext for civil wars, so long as abandoned men remember and hope to see again that bloody spear which Publius Sulla brandished in the dictatorship of his kinsman, not refusing to be salesman under a more atrociously guilty spear thirty-six years afterward; while another Sulla, who in the former dictatorship was secretary, in this last was city-quaestor. Hence it ought to be inferred that while such prizes are held in view, civil wars will never cease to be. And so only the walls of the city stand and remain, and even they already fear the extremity of crime; the state itself we have utterly lost. Moreover (for I must return to the point under discussion), we have fallen into these calamities because we preferred to be feared rather than to be loved and esteemed. If these things could befall the Roman people exercising an unrighteous sway, what ought individuals to think as to their own conduct and fortune? Since it is manifest that the power of good will is great, that of fear feeble, it follows that we should inquire by what means we can most easily obtain, together with respect and confidence, that love of others which we crave. We do not all, indeed, need this love in an equal degree; for it must be determined by each person’s plan of life, whether he requires the love of many, or whether it is enough for him to be held in dear regard by a few. This, however, may be accounted as certain, that it is a prime and most essential requisite, to have the enduring intimacy of friends who love us and hold us in high esteem. This one thing, precious above all others, if attained, leaves but little difference between persons of the loftiest rank and those in moderate condition, and it is almost equally attainable by those of either class. All, perhaps, do not alike need promotion, and fame, and the good will of the citizens at large; but yet, if one has these, they render some help, as to other ends, so to the obtaining of friendships.|
 But I have treated of friendship in another book, under the title of Laelius. Let me now speak of fame.
Though on that subject also I have written two books, let me touch briefly upon it here, since it is of the
utmost service in the administration of important affairs. The highest fame, and that to which there are no
drawbacks, consists of these three things, — the affection of the multitude, their confidence, and their
regarding a person as worthy of honor because they hold him in admiration. Moreover, these requisites to
fame — to speak plainly and concisely — are obtained from the multitude by nearly the same means by which
they are obtained from individuals. But there is also a certain other avenue to the popular favor, by which
we may, as it were, steal into the affections of all.
Of the three things just named, let us consider, first, the rules for winning good will. It is, indeed, best secured by conferring benefits. But, in the second place, favor is elicited by the will to do good, even if the means of beneficence chance to be insufficient. The love of the multitude, indeed, is strongly excited by the very report and reputation of liberality, beneficence, honesty, good faith, and all those virtues which are included in gentleness of manners and affability. For since that very style of character which we call right and becoming, in itself, gives us pleasure, and by its nature and aspect captivates the minds of all, and shines forth with the greatest lustre from the virtues that I have named, we are therefore compelled by Nature herself to love the persons in whom we think that these virtues are found. These, however, are only the most efficient causes of good will; for there may be some others, though of less weight.
Of the confidence which may be reposed in us there are two efficient causes, our having a reputation for discretion and, at the same time, for honesty. For we have confidence in those whom we think our superiors in intelligence, who, as we believe, look into the future, and who, when an affair is in agitation and a crisis is reached, can clear it of difficulty, and take counsel according to circumstances (for this men regard as true and serviceable discretion); while the confidence reposed in honest and faithful men, that is, in good men, is such that there can rest upon them no suspicion of fraud and wrong. And so we think that our personal security, our fortunes, our children, can be most fittingly intrusted to their care. Of these two qualities, then, honesty has the greater power to create confidence; for while without discretion honesty has sufficient prestige, discretion without honesty can be of no avail in inspiring confidence. For the more skilful and adroit one is, for this very reason is he the more odious and the more open to suspicion, if he has no reputation for honesty. Intelligence, then, combined with honesty, will have all the power that it can desire in creating confidence; honesty without discretion will have much influence toward that end; discretion without honesty will be of no avail whatever.
 But if any one may have wondered, why, while all philosophers alike maintain, and I myself have often asserted,
that whoever has one virtue has all, I now separate them as if a man could be honest without being wise also, my
answer is that the nicety of expression employed when the inmost truth is under discussion is one thing; the language
used when what we say is entirely adapted to popular opinion is another. Therefore, on this head I am speaking
as people in general do, when I call some men brave, others good, others wise; for I ought to employ common and
usual terms when I am speaking of public opinion, and Panaetius employed them in the same way. But let us return
to our subject.
Of the three requisites for fame, the third that I named was this, — that men should so hold us in admiration as to regard us worthy of honor. Men generally admire all things that they see to be great and beyond their expectation, and specially in individual objects such unexpected good qualities as they discern. Therefore they admire and extol with the highest praise those men in whom they think that they perceive certain rare and surpassing virtues; while they look down with contempt on those in whom they imagine that there is no manliness, no spirit, no energy. For they do not despise all of whom they think ill. They do not despise, indeed, those whom they regard as villanous, malicious, fraudulent, capable of doing mischief, — by no means; of persons of this sort they think ill. But, as I have said, those are despised who, as the saying is, are of no good to themselves or to any one else, in whom there is no work, no industry, no forethought. On the other hand, those are regarded with a certain measure of admiration, who are thought to excel others in virtue, and to be free not only from all disgrace, but also from those vices which their fellow-men cannot easily resist. For sensual pleasures, the most alluring of mistresses, turn away the minds of the greater part of mankind from virtue, and equally when the fiery trial of affliction comes most persons are beyond measure terrified. Life, death, riches, poverty, most violently agitate the great mass of mankind. When men with a lofty and large soul look down on these experiences, whether prosperous or adverse, while any great and honorable object of endeavor proposed to them converges and concentrates their whole being in its pursuit, who can fail to admire in them the splendor and beauty of virtue?
| This contempt of the mind for outward fortunes thus excites great admiration; and most of all, justice, for which one virtue men are called good, seems to the multitude a quality of marvellous excellence, — and not without good reason; for no one can be just, who dreads death, pain, exile, or poverty, or who prefers their opposites to honesty. Men have, especially, the highest admiration for one who is not influenced by money; for they think that the man in whom this trait is made thoroughly manifest has been tested by fire. Thus justice constitutes all three of the requisites to fame which I have named, — affection, because it aims to do good to the greatest number, and for the same reason, confidence and admiration, because it spurns and neglects those things to which most men are drawn with burning greediness. Moreover, in my opinion, every mode and plan of life demands the aid of men, and craves especially those with whom there may be friendly conversational intercourse, which is not easy, unless you are looked upon as a good man. Therefore, even to a recluse, or to one who passes his life in the country, the reputation of honesty is essential, and the more so because, if he do not have it, in his defenceless condition, he will be assailed by many wrongs. Those, too, who sell and buy, hire and lease, and are involved in business affairs, need honesty for the management of their concerns. The force of this virtue is such that those who obtain their subsistence by crime and guilt cannot live entirely without honesty. For he who takes anything by stealth or force from a fellow-robber cannot maintain his place in a band of robbers; and even the man who is called captain of a crew of pirates, if he were not impartial in the division of their plunder, would be either killed or deserted by his crew. Indeed, it is said that even among robbers there are laws which they obey, which they hold sacred. Thus by fairness in the distribution of booty, Bardylis, an Illyrian robber, of whom Theopompus makes mention, obtained great wealth, and Viriathus, the Lusitanian, much greater, to whom indeed some of our armies and commanders gave way in battle, whom Caius Laelius, commonly called the Wise, when he was praetor, crippled and reduced, and so subdued his ferocity that he transmitted an easy conflict with him to his successors. Since, then, the force of justice is such that it strengthens and augments the resources even of robbers, how great shall we account its efficacy among laws and courts, and in a well ordered state?|
 I am inclined to think, indeed, that not only among the Medes, as Herodotus relates, but also among our
ancestors, men who had borne a high moral character were in early times appointed kings, in order to the
administration of justice; for when the poor commonalty were oppressed by those of greater wealth, they had
recourse to some one man pre-eminent in virtue, who, while he defended the poorer classes from wrong, by
establishing equitable jurisdiction kept the highest under the same legal obligations with the lowest. There
was like reason for making laws as for choosing kings; for equality of right was always sought, nor without
equality can right exist. If this could be obtained through the ministry of one just and good man, the people
were contented under his rule. But when this ceased to be the case, laws were invented which should speak with all,
at all times, in one and the same voice. This, then, is manifest, that those of whose justice the mass of the
people had an exalted opinion used to be chosen as rulers. If in addition these same persons were thought wise,
there was nothing that men did not expect to obtain under their administration. Justice is, therefore, by all means
to be cherished and held fast, at once for its own sake — else it would not be justice — and for the increase
of one’s honor and fame.
But as there is a method, not only of acquiring money, but also of investing it, so that it may supply constant demands for generous giving no less than for necessary uses, so is fame to be properly invested as well as sought. There is great truth, however, in the saying of Socrates, that this is the nearest way, and, as it were, a short road to fame, — for one to endeavor to be such as he would wish to be regarded. If there be those who think to obtain enduring fame by dissembling and empty show, and by hypocrisy, not only of speech, but of countenance also, they are utterly mistaken. True fame strikes its roots downward, and sends out fresh shoots; all figments fall speedily, like blossoms, nor can anything feigned be lasting. Very many cases might be cited in attestation on either side; but for the sake of brevity I will name but a single family. Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius, will be praised as long as the memory of Roman affairs shall last; but his sons were not approved by good men while they were living, and in death they have their position among those whose murder was justifiable.
 Let him, then, who would obtain genuine fame discharge the duties of justice. What these are I have shown in the First Book.
But in order that we may be taken for what we really are, though there is the greatest efficacy in our being what we would be taken for, yet some additional rules are to be given. If, indeed, one from early youth finds himself in a position of celebrity and reputation, either inherited from his father (as I think is the case with you, my Cicero,) or by some chance or happy combination of circumstances, the eyes of all are turned to him; inquiry is made about him, what he is doing, how he is living, and, as if he were moving in the clearest light, nothing that he says or does can be concealed. But those whose first years, on account of their lowly and obscure condition, are passed out of the knowledge of men, as soon as they emerge from childhood, ought to hold great aims in view, and to strive after them with unswerving diligence, which they will do with the greater confidence, since that age is not only exempt from envious regard, but is even looked upon with favor.
A youth, then, has the first title to fame, if he have the opportunity of obtaining it by military service, in which many in the days of our ancestors won early distinction; for wars were almost perpetual. But your time of service fell upon the epoch of that war in which one party was exceedingly guilty, the other unsuccessful. Yet in this war, when Pompey had made you commander of the left wing of his army, you won great praise both from that illustrious man and from your fellow-soldiers for your horsemanship, your skill in the use of weapons, and your endurance of all the hardships of the camp and the field. This reputation of yours sank, indeed, simultaneously with the state. I have undertaken this discussion, however, not with reference to you alone, but with reference to young men as a class. Let us then pass on to the remaining subjects.
As in all other respects mental are much greater than bodily achievements, so those things which we accomplish by intellect and reason win greater favor than those which we perform by mere physical strength. The first claim that can be proffered for the general esteem proceeds from regularity of conduct, with filial piety and kindness to those of one’s own family. Then, too, young men become most favorably known when they seek the society of eminent, wise, and patriotic citizens, with whom if they are intimate, they inspire the people with the expectation that they are going to resemble those whom they have chosen as models for imitation. His frequenting the house of Publius Mucius gave the youth of Publius Rutilius the reputation both of moral purity and of legal knowledge. On the other hand, however, Lucius Crassus, while yet a mere boy, sought no countenance from his elders, yet won for himself the highest reputation from that splendid and famous accusation; and (as we learn was the case with Demosthenes), at the very age when young men are wont to be applauded for their exercises in declamation, Lucius Crassus showed that he could already do to perfection before the judges what it would have been to his credit to have merely rehearsed by way of practice at home.
 But while there are two kinds of speech, to one of which conversation belongs, to the other public debate,
there is no doubt that the latter is most conducive to the acquisition of fame (for it is that which we dignify
by the name of eloquence); yet it is hard to say to what a degree agreeableness and affability of conversation
win favor. There are extant letters of Philip to Alexander, of Antipater to Cassander, and of Antigonus to
Philip, — all three, as we learn, men of the greatest practical wisdom, — in which they advise their sons to
allure the minds of the multitude in their favor by kindliness of address, and to charm the soldiers by accosting
them in a genial way.
But the speech that is uttered with energy in a great assembly often awakens the enthusiasm of the entire audience; for great is the admiration bestowed on him who speaks fluently and wisely, and those who hear him think that he also has more intelligence and good sense than other men. And if there is in the speech substantial merit united with moderation, there can be nothing more worthy to be admired, especially if these properties are found in a young man. But while there are many kinds of occasions that demand eloquence, and many young men in our state have obtained praise by speaking both before judges and in the Senate, the highest admiration attends the eloquence of the courts, before which there are two descriptions of oratory, that of accusation, and that of defence, of which, although the latter is more worthy of praise, yet the former is very frequently regarded with favor. I spoke just now of Crassus. Marcus Antonius did the same when he was a young man. A public accusation also brought into favorable notice the eloquence of Publius Sulpicius, when he arraigned for trial that seditious and worthless citizen, Caius Norbanus. Yet this ought not to be done often, nor ever except in the interest of the state, as in the cases that I have named, or to avenge wrongs, as the two Luculli did, or for those under one’s special patronage, as when I appeared in behalf of the Sicilians, and Julius in behalf of the Sardinians in the accusation of Albucius the propraetor. The painstaking fidelity of Lucius Fufius in the accusation of Manius Aquillius is also well known. One may, then, venture upon accusation once, or, at any rate, not often. Or if there be reason for doing so more frequently, let it be done as a service to the state, whose enemies one is not to be blamed for punishing repeatedly. But even then let there be a limit; for it is the part of a hard man, or, I should rather say, scarcely of a man, to prefer a capital charge against any considerable number of persons. While it is fraught with personal danger, it is also damaging to one’s reputation, to allow himself to be called an accuser, which was the fortune of Marcus Brutus, born of an illustrious race, the son of the Brutus who was eminent for his skill in the civil law. Moreover, this maxim of duty is to be carefully observed, that you never bring an innocent person to a capital trial; for this cannot possibly be done without guilt. Nay, what is so inhuman as to pervert eloquence, bestowed by Nature for the security and preservation of men, to the destruction and ruin of good citizens? On the other hand, we are not to be so scrupulous as to decline defending on some occasions a guilty man, if he be not utterly depraved and false to all human relations. This the people demand, custom permits, even humanity endures. It belongs to the judge in the cases before him always to seek the truth; to the advocate, sometimes to defend the probable, even if it be not absolutely true, — which I should not dare to write, especially in a philosophical treatise, unless that strictest of the Stoics, Panaetius, were of the same opinion. But fame and favor are best secured by the defence of accused persons, especially if it so happens that this service is rendered in aid of one who seems to be circumvented and put in peril by the influence of some man in power, — a service which I have performed on many other occasions, and especially — when I was still a young man — in defending Sextus Roscius against the power of Lucius Sulla, then playing the tyrant, — a speech which, as you know, is published.
| Having explained the ways in which, consistently with duty, young men may obtain fame, I must speak, in the next place, of beneficence and liberality, of which there are two sorts, kindness to those needing it being shown either by personal service or by money. The latter is more easy, especially for one who is rich; but the former is more noble, more magnificent, and more worthy of a strong and eminent man. For although in both modes there is the generous desire of bestowing benefit, yet in the one case the kindness is drawn from the purse, in the other from the giver’s own ability and worth. The bounty which proceeds from one’s property drains the very source of liberality. Thus generosity is made impossible by generosity, which you can extend to the fewer in time to come, the more numerous its beneficiaries have been in the time past. But those who will be beneficent and generous in personal service, that is, by influence and effort, the more persons they have already benefited, will have the more helpers in doing good. Then, too, by the habit of beneficent action, they will be better prepared, and, as it were, better trained, to merit the gratitude of the larger number. Philip, in a certain letter of his, very justly blames his son Alexander for seeking the good will of the Macedonians by distributing gifts among them. “What, the mischief!” says he, “ever induced you to entertain a hope like this, that those whom you had corrupted by money would be faithful to you? Are you doing this that the Macedonians may hope to have you not for their king, but for their lackey and caterer?” “Lackey and caterer” is well said, since such conduct is mean for a king; and still better was it that he termed lavish giving “corruption.” For he who receives such gifts grows worse, and more ready to expect the like in all time to come. He said this to his son; let us regard his advice as given to all. It is, then, beyond doubt that the kindness which consists in personal service and effort is more honorable, and extends farther, and can benefit a larger number. Yet gifts must be sometimes bestowed, nor is this form of kindness to be wholly repudiated; and aid should be often given to the deserving poor from one’s own property, but thriftily and moderately. Many, indeed, have squandered their property in inconsiderate generosity. But what is more foolish than to disable yourself from continuing to do what you take pleasure in doing? Moreover, rapine follows extravagance in giving; for when men in consequence of their lavish generosity have begun to be in want, they are constrained to lay hands on the property of others. Thus, while they desire to be generous in order to win favor, they obtain not so much the attachment of those to whom they have been liberal as the hatred of those whom they have robbed. Therefore private property should neither be so shut up that kindness cannot open it, nor so thrown wide as to lie open to all. Let a limit be observed, and let this be determined by our means. We ought always to remember what has been so often repeated by our people as to have come into use as a proverb, that prodigal giving has no bottom. For what bound can there be to such giving, when those who have been accustomed to receive, crave what they have been wont to get, and others also crave the same?|
| Of bountiful givers there are, in fine, two kinds, the one class prodigal, the other liberal, — the prodigal, those who, in public banquets, distributions of flesh, gladiatorial shows, and the preparation of games and wild-beast fights, pour out money on the kinds of things of which they will leave but a brief remembrance, or none at all; the liberal, those who by their wealth redeem persons captured by robbers, or take upon themselves the debts of their friends, or render them aid in marriage-portions for their daughters, or help them in acquiring or increasing property. I therefore wonder what came into the mind of Theophrastus in the book that he wrote about Riches, in which he said many things admirably well, but that to which I now refer, absurdly. For he is prolix in praise of the magnificence and elaborateness of popular entertainments, and regards the means of meeting such expenses as the chief advantage of wealth. But in my mind the advantage derived from the liberality of which I have given a few examples seems much greater and more certain. How much more soberly and justly does Aristo of Ceos reprove us for not being surprised at these outpourings of money which are made to of Ceos reprove us for not being surprised at these outpourings of money which are made to propitiate the multitude! “If those besieged by an enemy,” he says, “are forced to pay a pound for a pint of water, at the first hearing it seems incredible and all are amazed; yet when they consider the case they excuse it on the plea of necessity; but in this immense waste and these boundless expenditures we feel no great astonishment, and that too, though neither is want thus relieved nor respectability enhanced, and the very delight of the multitude is transient and lasts but a little while, and, withal, is felt only by the most fickle, whose memory of the enjoyment expires as soon as they are satiated.” He fittingly concludes that “these things are gratifying to boys, and weak women, and slaves, and to free men who bear the nearest resemblance to slaves; but that they cannot by any means be approved by a serious man and one who weighs what is done by fixed principles.” Yet I am aware that in our city it is an old tradition, and one that has come down from good times, that lavishness in the aedileship may be expected even from the best men. Thus Publius Crassus, rich equally in his surname and in his estate, gave the most costly public entertainments in his aedileship, and shortly afterward Lucius Crassus, with Quintus Mucius, the most moderate of all men, for his colleague, served through a most magnificent aedileship; and in like manner Caius Claudius, the son of Appius, and many afterward, the Luculli, Hortensius, Silanus. Publius Lentulus, when I was consul, surpassed all that went before him. Scaurus imitated him. But the entertainments given by my friend Pompey in his second consulship were the most magnificent. With reference to all these matters you se e what my opinion is.|
| Yet the suspicion of penuriousness must be avoided. Mamercus, a very rich man, by declining to be a candidate for the aedileship, lost his election as consul. If such expenditure, then, is demanded by the people, and though not desired, at least approved by good citizens, it is to be incurred, yet in proportion to one’s ability, as in my own case; and if at any time some end of great importance and value can be gained by largesses to the people, they may be bestowed, as in the recent instance in which Orestes gained great honor by a public dinner in the streets under the name of a tithe-offering. Nor did any one find fault with Marcus Seius, because in a time of dearth he gave the people corn for a penny a peck; for he thus freed himself from great and inveterate odium by a lavishness not unbecoming inasmuch as he was an aedile, and not very extravagant. But it was to the highest honor of my friend Milo when, not so very long ago, by gladiators bought for the sake of the state which was dependent on my safety, he suppressed all the plots and mad endeavors of Publius Clodius.5 There is, therefore, sufficient reason for profuseness, if it is either necessary or useful. Yet in expenditures of this sort the rule of moderation is the best. Lucius Philippus, indeed, the son of Quintus, a man of great genius and of the highest eminence, used to boast that, without giving any public entertainment, he had been elected to all the offices that were regarded as the most honorable. Cotta said the same; so did Curio. I can also to a certain extent make the same boast; for, as compared with the importance of the offices which I obtained without any opposing votes in the years at which I became eligible to them respectively, — which was not the case with either of those whom I have named, — the expense of my aedileship was very small. At the same time, the more desirable expenditures in connection with public office are for moles, docks, harbors, aqueducts, and whatever may be of service to the community. Although what is given personally, as it were, into men’s hands, confers more immediate gratification, the expense incurred in public works is more thankworthy. I blame the cost bestowed on theatres, porticos, new temples, with diffidence on account of my regard for Pompey’s memory; but the wisest authorities disapprove of such expenditures, as did this very Panaetius whom in my present treatise I have followed, not translated; as did also Demetrius Phalereus, who finds fault with Pericles for throwing away so much money on that famous vestibule of the Parthenon. But this entire subject is carefully discussed in my book on the Republic. The whole system of such extravagant largesses, in general worthy of censure, is under certain circumstances necessary, — yet, when it becomes necessary, the expense must be apportioned to one’s means, and kept within moderate limits.|
 In the other style of free expenditure which proceeds from liberality, we ought not to be equally ready to
give where the cases are unlike. The case of him who is laboring under misfortune differs from that of him who,
without any actual stress of adverse circumstances, seeks to improve his condition. Generosity ought to be more
readily bestowed on the unfortunate, unless perchance they deserve what they suffer. Yet with regard to those who
desire assistance, not to be saved from utter ruin, but to reach a higher position, we ought to be by no means
niggardly, but to be judicious and careful in selecting suitable subjects for our bounty. For Ennius says very fittingly: —
“Good done amiss I count as evil done.”
But what is given to a good and grateful man yields us in return a revenue both from him and from others. For when one does not give at haphazard, generosity confers the highest pleasure, and most persons bestow upon it the greater applause, because the kindheartedness of any one who holds a conspicuous station is the common refuge for all. Care must be taken, therefore, that we confer on as many as possible benefits of such a nature that their memory may be transmitted to children and posterity, so that they too cannot be ungrateful. All, indeed, hate him who is unmindful of a benefit received, and think themselves wronged when generosity is thus discouraged; and he who is thus ungrateful becomes the common enemy of persons of slender fortunes. Moreover, the liberality of which I now speak is of service also to the state in redeeming captives from slavery, and in providing needy persons with the comforts of life, which used to be very commonly done by men of senatorial rank, as we find written out in full in the speech of Crassus. This habitual practice of charity I regard as far preferable to the giving of public shows. The former is the part of substantial and prominent citizens; the latter seems to belong to those who fawn on the people, and tickle, so to speak, the fickleness of the multitude by low pleasure. But it will be becoming for one, while munificent in giving, to be also not severe in exacting, and in all contracts, in selling and buying, in hiring and leasing, in questions arising out of adjoining houses and estates, to be fair and accommodating, freely making concessions from his own right, avoiding litigation as much as he can without excessive sacrifice, and perhaps even beyond what might seem the proper limit. For it is not only generous, but sometimes profitable also, to abate a little from one’s rightful claims. Yet reference must be had to one’s own estate, which cannot be suffered to go to ruin without disgrace to the owner; but private property must be so cared for as to leave no suspicion of penuriousness and avarice. Indeed, the ability of being generous without robbing one’s self of his patrimony is the greatest revenue that money can yield. Theophrastus also rightly commends hospitality; for it is, as it seems to me, very becoming that the houses of distinguished men should be open to distinguished guests; and it is even for the honor of the state that foreigners should not lack this kind of liberality in our city. It is also in the highest degree expedient for those who desire to obtain great influence by honorable means to avail themselves of help and favor among foreign nations through their guests. Theophrastus, indeed, says that Cimon, at Athens, was hospitable not to strangers only, but to all of his own district of Laciadae, making such arrangements and giving such orders to his farm-servants, that every attention should be shown to any citizen of that district who might turn aside to his country residence.
| But the benefits which are bestowed, not by gift, but by personal service, are conferred, sometimes on the whole state, sometimes on individual citizens. To protect the rights of others, to aid them by legal advice, and by this sort of knowledge and skill to be of service to as many as possible, tends very largely to the increase of one’s influence and popularity. Thus among many things to be commended in the days of our ancestors, it is worthy of note that the knowledge and the interpretation of our admirably constituted civil law were always held in the highest honor. This science, until the present unsettled times, the leading men of the state retained as one of their special prerogatives. Now, as is the case with civil offices and with all grades of rank, its prestige is destroyed, and this the more shamefully, as it took place in the lifetime of him who would have transcended in legal learning all his predecessors whom he equalled in rank. This kind of service, then, is gratifying to many, and is adapted to bind men by the ties of benefit. Closely allied to skill in interpreting the law is oratory, which even surpasses it both as a grave pursuit and as a personal accomplishment. For what stands before eloquence, whether in the admiration of its hearers, the hope of those who need its aid, or the gratitude of those defended by it? To this, therefore, our ancestors assigned the first rank among civil professions. There is, then, an extended range of beneficial services and of patronage open to the eloquent man, who willingly appears in the courts, and, as was the custom in the time of our fathers, without reluctance and without compensation defends the causes of the many who seek his aid. The subject was reminding me to deplore here, as elsewhere in my writings, the discontinuance, not to say the extinction, of eloquence, — only I should dread the appearance of making complaint in my own behalf. But yet we see how many orators have passed away, in how few is there good promise, in how much fewer ability, in how many nothing save presumption. Yet while not all, indeed only a few can be either skilled in the law or eloquent, still one may render service to many, by canvassing in their behalf for appointments, by appearing in their interest before judges and magistrates, by watching the progress of their cases in court, and soliciting for them the aid of legal counsellors and of advocates. Those who do thus, obtain the largest amount of good will, and their labor has a most widely extended influence. Nor need they here to be admonished (for it is obvious), that they take heed lest while they desire to assist some, they disoblige others. For under such circumstances they are liable to hurt the feelings of those whom it is either morally wrong or inexpedient for them to wound. If they do this unwittingly, it is the result of carelessness; if knowingly, of recklessness. You must even resort to apology wherever you can, to those to whom you unwillingly give offence, showing them why what you did was necessary, so that you could not have done otherwise, and promising them that the omission shall be compensated by other services and kind offices.|
| But while in giving assistance to men reference is usually had either to character or to condition, it is easy to say, and men commonly do say, that in conferring favors they are influenced by the character, not by the outward condition of their beneficiaries. This mode of speaking sounds well. Yet who is there, who in rendering his service does not prefer the cause of a rich and influential man to that of a man without influence, though of signal excellence? Our will, for the most part, inclines the more strongly toward him from whom we may expect the more prompt and speedy remuneration. Yet we ought to look more carefully at the nature of things. Undoubtedly that poor man, if he is a good man, even if he cannot return the favor, can bear it faithfully in mind; and it is well said, whoever he be that first said it, “He who has money has not repaid it; he who has repaid it has it not: but he who has returned kindness has it, and he who has it has returned it.” Now those who think themselves rich, respectable, fortunate, are unwilling to be placed under obligation by kindness rendered, nay, they even think that they have bestowed a favor when they have received one however great, and they imagine that something is also demanded or expected of them, — still more, it seems to them as bad as death to have it said that they are indebted to any one’s patronage, or to be called any one’s clients. On the other hand, the man of slender means just spoken of, thinking that whatever is done for him is done from regard to himself, not to his outward condition, endeavors to appear grateful, not only to him who has deserved his thanks, but also, — for he needs many helpers, — to those from whom he expects similar favors. Nor, if perchance he can render some good office in return, does he magnify it, but rather underrates it in what he says about it. This also is to be observed, that if you defend a rich and successful man, the favor does not extend further than to the man himself, or, peradventure, to his children; while if you defend a poor, yet upright and self-respecting man, all men of humble condition who are not bad — and there is a great proportion of these among the people — see in you a defence prepared for their exigencies. Therefore I think a kindness better invested with good men than with men of fortune. In fine, we should endeavor to meet the claims of those of every class; but if it come to a competition between rival claimants for our service, Themistocles may be well quoted as an authority, who, when asked whether he would marry his daughter to a good poor man, or to a rich man of less respectable character, replied, “I, indeed, prefer the man who lacks money to the money that lacks a man.” But the moral sense is corrupted and depraved by the admiration of wealth. Yet of what concern to any one of us is another man’s great fortune? Perhaps it is of benefit to him who has it, — not always, however. But suppose it to be of benefit to him, — he may, indeed, have more to spend; but how is he made any better? If, however, he be really a good man, let not his wealth be a hindrance, only let it not be a motive for your serving him. The decisive question must be, not how rich one is, but what sort of a man he is. But the ultimate rule in conferring favors and rendering service is, never to make any effort against the right, or in behalf of the wrong; for the basis of enduring praise and reputation is justice, without which there can be nothing worthy of commendation.|
 Having now spoken of the kinds of good offices that concern individuals, I must next discuss those which
have reference to a body of men and to the state. Of these a part are such as accrue to the benefit of the whole
community; a part, such as affect individuals, though in the form of public service. Both interests ought
certainly to be cared for, that of individuals no less than of the community at large, yet in such a way that
what is done may be of benefit, or at all events, not of injury to the state. The distribution of corn by Caius
Gracchus was excessive, and tended to drain the public treasury; that of Marcus Octavius was moderate, and both
within the easy ability of the state and necessary to the people, — therefore a beneficial measure both to the
individual citizens who received the public bounty and to the state. He who administers the affairs of the state
must take special care that every man be defended in the possession of what rightfully belongs to him, and that
there be no encroachment on private property by public authority. Philippus, during his tribunate, when he
proposed the agrarian law (which he readily suffered to be rejected, behaving in the matter with great moderation),
while in defending the measure he said many things adapted to cajole the people, did mischief by the ill-meant
statement that there were not in the city two thousand men that had any property. It was a criminal utterance,
tending to an equal division of property, than which what more ruinous policy can there be? Indeed, states and
municipalities were established chiefly to insure the undisturbed possession of private property; for though
under the guidance of Nature men were brought together, still it was with the hope of guardianship for their
property that they sought the defence of cities. Pains should also be taken that there may be no need of
levying a tax on property, which in the time of our ancestors was often done on account of the poverty of
the treasury and the frequency of wars. Against such a contingency provision should be made long beforehand.
But in case such a tax should be necessary for any state — for I would rather speak thus than forebode evil
for our own state, and I am treating not of our own, but of states in general — pains must be taken to make
all the citizens understand that in order to remain secure they must yield to this necessity. Moreover, it will
be the duty of those who govern the state to take care that there be a full supply of everything requisite for
the public service. How this provision is commonly made and how it ought to be made, there is no need of
discussing, — it is a perfectly plain matter; the subject required to be merely alluded to.
But the chief thing in every department of public business and official administration is that even the least suspicion of greediness for money be put at rest. Caius Pontius, the Samnite, said, “Oh that Fortune had reserved me and delayed my birth till the time, should it ever come, when the Romans had begun to take bribes! I would not then have suffered them to hold their supremacy any longer.” Many generations must, indeed, have been waited for; for only of late this evil has invaded our state. Therefore I am glad that Pontius lived then rather than now, if indeed he was so much of a man. It is not yet a hundred and twenty years since Lucius Piso’s law about extortion was passed, whereas there had been no such law before. But there have since been so many laws each more severe than the preceding, so many accused, so many penally sentenced, so great an Italian war caused by fear of judicial proceedings, such a pillaging and plundering of our allies when laws and courts were suspended, that we owe what strength we have to the weakness of others, not to our own virtue.
 Panaetius praises Africanus because he abstained from all illicit gain. Why should he not praise him? There were
in him other greater qualities; the merit of abstaining from illicit gain belongs not only to the man, but to
those times. Paulus obtained all the immense treasure of Macedonia. He brought so much money into the public treasury,
that the booty acquired by that one commander put an end to the property-tax. But to his own house he brought
nothing save the eternal memory of his name. Africanus imitated his father, being none the richer for the overthrow
of Carthage. What think you? Was Lucius Mummius, his colleague in the censorship, any the richer when he had
destroyed to its foundations a city of vast wealth? He chose to embellish Italy rather than his own house; though
indeed in the embellishment of Italy his house also seems to me more truly embellished. There is, then, — to
return to the point whence I made this digression, — no fouler vice than the greed of money, especially in the
case of the leading citizens who govern the state; for to turn the state into a source of profit is not only
vile, but even outrageous and execrable. Thus the oracle which the Pythian Apollo pronounced,
“By naught but greed of gain will Sparta perish,”
he seems to have proclaimed not to the Lacedaemonians alone, but to all rich nations. But by no means can those who preside over public affairs more readily conciliate the favor of the multitude than by abstinence from the acquisition of wealth and the moderate use of what they have.
Those, therefore, who desire to be popular, and with that view either attempt agrarian measures, that the occupants of the public domains may be driven from their homes, or advocate the remission of debts, are undermining the foundations of the state, — in the first place, harmony, which cannot exist when money is taken from some and debts are cancelled for others; in the next place, equity, which is utterly destroyed, if hindrances are laid in the way of men’s keeping their own property. For, as I said above, this belongs to the very idea of a state and a city, that the protection of every man’s property should be certain and not a subject of solicitude. Moreover, by measures thus ruinous to the state men do not gain the favor that they anticipate. He from whom property is taken becomes their enemy. He to whom it is given conceals his desire to receive it, and especially in the case of debt cancelled, hides his joy, lest he may be suspected of having been insolvent. On the other hand, he who is wronged remembers it, and keeps his grievance in full sight. Nor if those to whom property is wrongfully given are more numerous than those from whom it has been unjustly taken, are they therefore possessed of more influence; for these matters are determined, not by number, but by weight. But what justice is there in a proceeding by which he who had no landed estate obtains an estate that has been in the possession of the same family for many years, or even generations, while he who has had the estate loses it?
| It was for wrongs of this sort that the Spartans banished Lysander the ephor, and put to death Agis the king, the first instance of the kind; and from that time such dissensions ensued that tyrants sprang up, and men of high rank were expatriated, and that most admirably constituted state fell to pieces. Nor did it fall alone, but overthrew also the remainder of Greece by the contagion of evils which, starting from the Lacedaemonians, spread from state to state. What more? Did not agrarian agitations destroy our citizens the Gracchi, sons of that most eminent man Tiberius Gracchus, grandsons of Africanus? On the other hand, praise is most justly bestowed on Aratus of Sicyon, who, when his state had been kept under oppression by tyrants for fifty years, going from Argos to Sicyon, obtained possession of the city by entering it secretly, and after suddenly crushing the tyrant Nicocles, restored six hundred exiles who had been the richest men in the state, and freed the people by his advent. Then when he came to reflect on the difficulty about property and its occupancy, thinking it very unjust that those whom he had restored and whose estates were in the possession of others should remain poor, and at the same time deeming it hardly fair that possessions of fifty years’ standing should be disturbed, because after so long a time many estates were innocently held by inheritance, many by purchase, many by dowry, he determined that neither ought the property to be taken from those in possession, nor ought the former owners to be left without compensation. Having come to the conclusion that there was need of money to set this matter right, he said that he wanted to go to Alexandria, and ordered everything to remain as it was till his return. So he hastened to Ptolemy, who had been his host, the second king after the building of Alexandria. Having explained to him his purpose to restore freedom to his country, and informed him of the posture of affairs, this man most worthy of celebrity easily obtained from the rich king the aid of a large amount of money. Carrying this to Sicyon, he took into his counsel fifteen of the principal men, with whom he considered carefully the cases both of those who held the property of others, and of those who had lost their own property, and managed by a valuation of the estates to persuade some of the present occupants to resign their estates and accept money instead, and others to account it more to their advantage to have the value of their estates paid to them than to recover possession of them. Thus it was brought about that all went their ways perfectly satisfied, without any ground of mutual complaint. O truly great man, well worthy to have been a native of our own commonwealth! Thus it is fitting to deal with citizens; not, as we have twice seen, to plant the spear in the market-place, and to submit the property of citizens to sale by the auctioneer. That Greek, indeed, as was to have been expected of a wise and excellent man, thought that the welfare of all should be consulted; and this is the consummate reason and wisdom of a good citizen, not to create separate interests among those of the same state, but to hold all together by the same principles of equity. May men live without compensation on the estates of others? Why so? That when I have bought, built, keep the estate in good order, spend money upon it, you without my consent may have the use of what is mine? What else is this but to take from some what is their own, and to give to others what is not their own? Then too, what does the cancelling of debts mean, but that you may buy an estate with my money, and keep it, while I go without the money?|
 Therefore the care should be to check such excessive indebtedness as will be of injury to the state (which
may be prevented in many ways), and not, if there are debts, to deprive the rich of their money, and to let
the debtors gain what is not theirs. For nothing holds the state more firmly together than good faith,
which cannot possibly exist unless the payment of debts is obligatory. Never was there a more earnest endeavor
against the payment of debts than in my consulship. The attempt was made by arms and military operations,
and by men of every kind and order, which I resisted with such energy that so dire a calamity was averted
from the state. Never was there a larger amount of debt, nor was it ever discharged more fully or more easily;
for when the hope of successful fraud was removed, the necessity of paying was the consequence. He indeed,
of late conqueror, but at that time conquered, carried out what he had then planned after he had ceased to
have any personal interest in it. So great was his appetite for evil-doing, that the very doing of evil
gave him delight, even when there was no special reason for it. From this kind of generosity, then, — the
giving to some what is taken from others, — those who mean to be guardians of the state will refrain, and
will especially bestow their efforts, that through the equity of the laws and of their administration
every man may have his own property made secure, and that neither the poorer may be defrauded on account
of their lowly condition, nor any odium may stand in the way of the rich in holding or recovering what belongs
to them; while they will also aid the growth of the state in power, territory, and revenue, by whatever means,
military or domestic, may be at their command. Such are the aims of truly great men; these things were wont
to be done in the times of our ancestors; and those who perform faithfully duties of this class will with the
greatest benefit to the state secure for themselves distinguished favor and reputation.
Among these precepts relating to expediency, Antipater of Tyre, a Stoic, who recently died at Athens, thinks that two subjects were omitted by Panaetius, — the care of health and that of money, — which, I suppose, were passed over by that illustrious philosopher, because they presented no difficulty. They certainly belong under the head of expediency. I would say, then, that good health is maintained by the knowledge of one’s own constitution, by observing what things are wont to be salutary or injurious, by self-restraint in the whole manner and habit of living, by abstaining from sensual indulgences, and, lastly, by the skill of those to whose profession these matters belong. Property ought to be obtained in ways not dishonorable, to be preserved by diligence and frugality, to be increased also by the same means. These things Xenophon, the disciple of Socrates, has thoroughly discussed in his book on Domestic Economy, which, when I was about of your present age, I translated into Latin.
 But the comparison of things that are expedient — this being the fourth division, omitted by
Panaetius — is often necessary. For bodily endowments are wont to be compared with outward advantages,
and outward advantages with bodily endowments, bodily endowments themselves, too, with one another, and
outward advantages, some with others. Thus in comparing bodily endowments with outward advantages, you would
rather be in good health than rich; in comparing outward advantages with bodily endowments, you would choose
to be rich rather than to possess extraordinary strength of body. In comparing bodily endowments among themselves,
good health would be preferred to sensual gratification, strength to swiftness of foot; and of outward advantages,
fame to wealth, city revenues to country revenues. Of this last kind of comparisons is that quoted from the
elder Cato, who, when asked what was the most profitable thing to be done on an estate, replied, “To feed cattle
well.” “What second best?” “To feed cattle moderately well.” “What third best?” “To feed cattle, though but
poorly.” “What fourth best?” “To plough the land.” And when he who had made these inquiries asked, “What is
to be said of making profit by usury?” Cato replied, “What is to be said of making profit by murder?” From
this and from many things beside it may be inferred that comparisons of things expedient are not infrequently
made, and that this is rightly added as a fourth head to our discussion of duty. But in everything appertaining
to this last topic, the acquisition and investment of money, — I could wish, as to its use, too, — the
discussions that might be held by certain very good men sitting among the bankers in the Exchange are worth
more than those by any philosophers of any school. Yet these matters ought to be taken notice of; for they
belong under the head of expediency, — the subject of this book. Let us, in the next place, pass on to what
remains of the proposed plan.
Here ends Book II of Cicero's De Officiis; the topic continues in Book III.