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Cicero Quotes

Quotations in Latin, with translations, and the source.

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Cicero at 60. Marble bust of Cicero.

Cicero at 60. Photogravure from a marble bust in the Prado Gallery at Madrid.

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Cicero Bio > Cicero Quotes

Cicero rose remarkably to the top of the Roman political hierarchy, fell precipitously, went into exile because of his hostile relations with Clodius Pulcher, made a permanent name for himself in Latin literature, and had political and social relations with contemporaries like his confidente Atticus, and all the big names, Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony and Octavian (Augustus).

Here are some of his famous sayings:

"Hunger is the best appetiser of food, and thirst of drink." Cibi condimentum esse famem, potionis sitim. De finibus 2.28 (Cicero quoting Socrates.)
"Socrates would walk hard till evening and when he was asked why he did so, replied that by walking he was getting hunger as a relish to make a better dinner." Socraten ferunt, cum usque ad vesperum contentius ambularet quaesitumque esset ex eo, quare id faceret, respondisse se, quo melius cenaret, obsonare ambulando famem. Tusculan Disputations V.34
"Most happy is he who is entirely self-reliant, and who centers all his requirements in himself alone." Beatissimus [is est], qui est totus aptus ex sese, quisque in se uno sua ponit omnia. Paradoxa.2
"It is better to receive than inflict an injury." Nam cum accipere quam facere praestat iniuriam Tusc Disp. V.56
"Elegance should be observed, but it should be neither tiresome nor too precious." Adhibenda est munditia, non odiosa neque exquisita nimis. De officiis 1.36
"I am never less alone than when alone." minus solum, quam cum solus esset De officiis 3.1
"He is never less at leisure than when at leisure and never less alone than when he is alone." numquam se minus otiosum esse, quam cum otiosus, nec minus solum, quam cum solus esset. De officiis. iii. 1.
"You, boy, who owe everything to a name." 'qui omnia nomini debes,' Philippic 13
"More law, less justice." Ex quo illud "summum ius summa iniuria" factum est iam tritum sermone proverbium. De officiis I.10.33
"Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system." Nihil est incertius volgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum. Pro Murena 36
"Moderation should be observed in joking." Adhibenda est in jocando moderatio. De oratore 2.59
"I do not perceive why he who is happy requires to be happier. Beatus qui est, non intelligo quid requirat ut sit beatior. Tusc. Disp. 5.8.23
"With friends all things are in common." Amicorum esse omnia communia. De officiis 1.16
"Wars are to be undertaken in order that it may be possible to live in peace without molestation." Bella suscipienda sunt ob eam causam, ut sine injuria in pace vivatur. De officiis 1.11
"Kindness is produced by kindness." Benignitate benignitas tollitur. De officiis 2.15
"We must beware of giving ear to flatterers." Cavendum est ne assentoribus patefaciamus aures. De officiis 1.26
"Care must be taken lest the punishment exceed the guilt." Cavendum est ne major poena quam culpa sit. De officiis 1.25
"Good men are incited to fraud by no king of gain, evil men are often so incited by very small gain." Boni nullo emolumento impelluntur in fraudem, improbi saepe parvo. Pro Milone 12.32
"Cato used to say that he wondered that one soothsayer did not laugh when he sawa nother." Cato mirari se aiebat, quod non rideret aruspex aruspicem cum vidisset. De divinatione 2.24
"I shall regard him as the best prophet who guesses well." Bene qui conjiciet, vatem hunc perhibebo optimum. De divinatione 2.5
"Undoubtedly ignorance of future ills is a more useful thing than knowledge." Certe igitur ignoratio futurorum malorum utilior est quam scientia. . De divinatione 2.9
"Thus in the beginning the world was so made that certain signs come before certain events." sed ita a principio incohatum esse mundum, ut certis rebus certa signa praecurrerent.... De divinatione 1.118

Source: Dictionary of Quotations (Classical), by Thomas Benfield Harbottle (New York: 1897).

BIOGRAPHY:
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and orator lived from 106-43 B.C. For more information on Cicero, see
Marcus Tullius Cicero Resources
Catilinarian Conspiracy
Cicero Texts
Cicero Timeline

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