The Republic and the Laws
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The Republic and the Laws

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,041 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Cicero's The Republic is an impassioned plea for responsible government written just before the civil war that ended the Roman Republic in a dialogue following Plato. Drawing on Greek political theory, the work embodies the mature reflections of a Roman ex-consul on the nature of political organization, on justice in society, and on the qualities needed in a statesman. Its...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published July 15th 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published -51)
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Dr. George H. Elder
It is terribly difficult to judge fragments, and especially to compare them with complete works such as Plato's Republic. That being said, Cicero clearly takes a much different approach than does Plato. He proposes that philosophy must be intermixed with pragmatism and experience to produce the optimal leaders and laws. In this sense, Cicero's Republic and Laws pays attention to more practical concerns than does Plato, who lacked any degree of actual involvement with real-world affairs when comp...more
This work is devided into 6 books. Most of the books are dedicated to discuss the best way of government for achieving the true Republic ('public thing'), a fair society with equal rights for all citizens. It is presented as a dialogue among friends. They present the pro and con of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. For developping this ideas, they discuss History of Rome.

The last book is dedicated to God and author's spiritual experience. As a Brazilian, this part was expecially interessan...more
Scott Zuke
Jan 21, 2010 Scott Zuke rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fairly serious Classics students and hardcore hobbyists.
I felt a little sorry for Cicero in these books. He was really trying to imitate the style of the Platonic dialogue, but...Romans just didn't have the personality to pull off such a feat--it just wasn't in their blood. As a result, rather than getting a timeless discussion of philosophy and the nature of the world and humanity, we get two self-serving, overly-long discourses on the wisdom of the *soon-to-be-overthrown* Roman republic.

The "overly-long" part would refer to the dialogues had they s...more
Steven Rhodes
I wish I could rate this work higher, but due to the extremely fragmentary nature of the text I can only give it 3/5. Hell, 3/5 of the work is missing! It seemed like every time Cicero was about to expound on a point of contention, I would find in place of his writings an editorial note along the lines of "[six leaves have been lost; the gist of what Cicero is trying to say here, according to (insert other source here), blablablabla]". It's difficult to rate a book when so much is missing, thoug...more
I must admit to quite a bit of skimming. I wanted to see the basis for Cicero's arguments more than I cared about the arguments or examples themselves. And skimming felt somewhat justified given the (frustrating!) fragmentation of the available text.

The whole using-dialogues-to-address-the-reader thing became kind of annoying when the speakers started blending together. They weren't really offering (counter-)arguments, so it became kind of self-promoting. Or something.

Cicero's good ol'-fashioned...more
Diego Castañeda
Una obra clásica en la filosofía política de su tiempo y uno de los trabajos de Marco Tulio Cicerón que aun sobreviven; se pueden observar en el una clara y profunda influencia de la filosofia griega no solo de Platon con quien se le asocia con regularidad, si no también con otros como Aristoteles, Anaximandro, Pitagoras etc.. Para los interesados en conocer sobre el sistema político y el derecho romano es un libro clave pues retrata con gran elocuencia la composición de las magistraturas y dife...more
Missing fragments of the work cause annoyance since some parts end so sudden, that you can not help but feel sad, because there is no other way of learning what Cicero might have said other than guesses. But this shouldn't stop any Classicists from enjoying this opus. "Somnium Scipionis" alone is enough reason to forget the missing parts. Cicero's attempt at Platonic dialogue and his philosophical and political thoughts may seem unoriginal but in no way they are pure copies of the past thinkers...more
Derek Peffer
This is my first collection of Cicero's work, and I wasn't super impressed. He's clearly a very distinguished Orator. I see no doubt of that. However this collection was fairly drudge with little meat to nibble on. The title is awfully misleading. "In defense of the republic" is some fragmented Senatorial cases Cicero defended. Sometimes it was to regain his property, other times it was Cicero talking about his badass consulship. He was a coward who could talk some major shit! But when his game...more
Before saying anything about the book itself, I have to say I was severely disappointed by the way this collection was put together. I was annoyed when I realized that it contained several speeches that were already included in other Penguin collections of Cicero’s speeches I’ve read before. Although granted, it’s my fault as well for not looking carefully enough at the book when I bought. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the fact they decided to include fragments of certain speeches instead of...more
Michael Newton
I really enjoyed Cicero's writing and insight into politics and government, but too much of Cicero's Republic is missing to make it a compelling read. What parts do exist are reminiscent of Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, and Polybius's Histories and Cicero certainly built upon those sources. It is interesting to read what this great man who fought against Cataline, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian/Octavius/Augustus has to say on the topic. I certainly recommend Cicero's Republic...more
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Aaron Crofut
A Roman version of Aristotle's politics. Cicero takes a very negative view of Democracy, which tends to fall in love with whichever person promises the mob the most of other people's property, a situation tailor made for tyrants. Good government must allow everyone to have a say in a society that will protect their rights, rather than offer those rights up to be sacrificed to pander to the poor. This book is clearly a source that inspired the Enlightenment thinkers.

Scipio's Dream is a must read...more
Natch Greyes
Cicero takes much from Plato in these two works. The major difference, aside from Cicero's wonderful wording, is that Cicero argues that philosophy alone will not suffice, one must also have experience. This is a rather consistent theme in his works, undoubtedly due to his own lifestyle. Unfortunately, both of these works are incomplete, The Laws more so than The Republic, and, at times, this makes reading them difficult. While both of these works are seminal in expressing the best of Western Th...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
It is amazing how much influence Cicero had in the development of the US constitution and government. There were so many things that reminded me of The Declaration of Independence and the three branches of government that we have. I agreed with a lot of what Cicero presents and some of it just made me think. He was a very honest man in his views and how he felt about things. It, unfortunately cost him his life as he was killed by Mark Antony and Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) for his words.

Mar 29, 2010 K rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: classics
I liked this because it was half as long as Aristotle's books, mostly because a lot of Cicero's writing was lost to the ages. Way to go, ages!

Cicero's more down with wealth than Aristotle & Plato, but basically takes a lot of their ideas and condenses them very sweetly into small paragraphs. He's influenced by the Stoics, so he adds a belief about the world and everything being connected to the divine and humanity being bound together or whatever by natural law, but then in the Laws he sugg...more
Много липсващи парчета :( Все пак си струва
Wonderful. Be warned, though, that the entirety of the text has not survived. The depth of the rest makes that fact even sadder.
Un texto excelente, combina magistralmente una hermosa lección de historia y un genial ejemplo de alocución...
Read as part of a summer institute on political and constitutional theory. I've been wanting to read Cicero for a while as the Founders drew inspiration from his writings. He is interesting, and like Aristotle he makes some interesting comments on politics and society, but doesn't always seem to point in one direction. For something really different, trying reading his "Scipio's Dream". Now that is far out!
I really like and respect Cicero, I think he's one of the greatest orators in history, however I find some inconsistencies in his arguments. His ideas of justice seem to be very naturalistic, I also think he doesn't address the real issues or questions about the nature of the laws and the necessity for justice in a society. It is a great book for law students.
This one is a bit frustrating, because so much of the text is missing (especially from the Republic). There are significant gaps in which the editor and translator have to guess about what was said. This is nobody's fault, obviously— it's two thousand years old, and stuff gets lost. But it does make it hard to follow the arguments.
Still haven't found a good bio about cicero and I will NEVER read anything Anthony Everett writes again...but you can't get any better than what the person wrote themselves. A great read for anyone who loves Ancient Rome as much as I do. It wasn't easy but who doesn't love a challenge?
This book is very important to understanding how our country was set up and some of the logic behind the ideas. It is also very helpful to understanding the method Cicero took in fighting for the Roman Republic
Cicero inspired me to never loose "SELF!" Even though we conform to identifies that aligns with cultural, religious, and educvational beliefs, as an individual, preserve individual uniqueness...
William Prueter
Mar 21, 2007 William Prueter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one interested in Natural Law
Shelves: ancientromans
Go to; Click my Latin page. Click on books read. Scroll to Marcus Tullius Cicero- it is in there. There is a better translation than the Loeb edition listed here. It is reviewed also.
John Cairns
I liked its fragmentary nature and that's it's pretty well a rehash of the Roman republic constitution, with historical references, Cicero approved of shortly before its demise and his.
when in rome, do as the romans do: take what is greek and make it roman. this is not a work of originality -- this man has obviously read plato. but it is a tremendous pleasure to read.
Required reading for anyone interested in the history of ethics, jurisprudence, or political theory. Absolutely necessary for understanding St. Thomas.
john nielsen boyack
Oct 14, 2013 john nielsen boyack rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: guidos
Recommended to john nielsen by: buttons mcgee
Indeed, what matters it if the men who come after you will have your name upon their lips when the men who lived before you never mentioned you?
Ray Stafford
there were so many important parts missing that it was hard to understand what he was trying to say sometimes but it made the book shorter :)
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  • Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (Loeb Classical Library No. 194)
  • Virgil: Eclogues. Georgics. Aeneid: Books 1-6 (Loeb Classical Library)
  • The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • The Histories
  • The Satyricon/The Apocolocyntosis
  • On Law, Morality, and Politics
  • The Discourses & Other Early Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • The Athenian Constitution
  • The Civil War
  • The Jugurthine War and The Conspiracy of Catiline
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • Plato I: Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. (Loeb Classical Library, #36)
  • Essays: Moral, Political and Literary
  • Natural History: A Selection
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • The Laws of Plato
January 3, 106 BCE – December 7, 43 BCE

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. Cicero is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.
More about Marcus Tullius Cicero...
Selected Works Selected Political Speeches On the Good Life On Duties (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) The Nature of the Gods

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“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.” 10 likes
“In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.” 10 likes
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