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Selected Works

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  2,355 ratings  ·  30 reviews
• Introduction by Michael Grant
Against Verres, I
• twenty-three letters
The Second Philippic Against Antony
On Duties, III
On Old Age
• Appendices inc. maps, genealogy, definitions.

First published 1960; reprinted w/revisions 1965; reprinted w/additional revisions 1971.
Paperback, 3rd edition, 272 pages
Published September 30th 1960 by Penguin Classics (first published -43)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Glenn Russell

Selected Works of the great Roman orator/statesman/philosopher Cicero is an excellent book for anyone approaching his work for the first time. Not only are there selections from Cicero’s writings on politics, moral philosophy and old age but there is a superb 30 page introduction written by Michael Grant. Thank you, Penguin books and thank you, Michael Grant! To provide a little Roman rasa, below are several quotes from the book along with my comments.

From Michael Grant’s Introduction

“Cicero wa
I have students who know more about Rome than I do, and considering that my students only come up to my knees, I am hardly someone to listen to about Rome. That said, I don't think it could do a great deal of harm for more Americans to learn about the life of a man who died trying to defend his Republic against the tide of Empire.

Sure this collection has its boring moments, but Michael Grant does his best to piece together a portrait of Cicero's life and career without inflicting too much pain
For many in his lifetime and since, Cicero was the embodiment of Plato's dream - a philosophical ruler. This selection gives credit to the man and that distinction, whose writings here are divided between, appropriately, those denouncing tyranny and those discussing morality. But he was an emotional man, too, as the Second Phillipic shows, where, for 50 pages, he attempts to completely destroy Mark Antony, repeatedly abusing him with epithets insulting his intelligence and degenerate sensuality, ...more
May 05, 2010 Adam added it
I didn't realise how much it was possible to hate Antony
It is strangely alluring to contemplate this iconic figure of the ancient world, whose name seems to crop up in every corner of the Western canon. I've seen references to Cicero in works ranging from St. Augustine to James Joyce. His influence on the Western Mind has been profound—according to Michael Grant, incalculable. In terms of politics, philosophy, or prose, Cicero is inescapable.

In fact, I’ve often been given the impression that education used to almost entirely consist of memorizing lin
Karen Watkins
Why Cicero? For FUN.
[In the best sense of the word.]

Teachers sometimes hint that Cicero was brilliant: great orator, terrific peephole into Ancient Rome, teaches you how "they" thought, smorgasbord ... Even thinking about such insipid descriptions makes me crave instead a long nap. Shudder. These things are all true, but they sound banal beyond endurance.

What you should know is that reading Cicero is great FUN. He was one of the very political 1% [read: filthy rich] of his time, who loved city
Okay, I am not going to lie. While Cicero's writing is brilliant, and I'm sure to hear his oratory would be extraordinary, I did not enjoy this book very much. Honestly, I read this to assist me with my studies for my A levels and well, this book was rather compulsory to read. Nevertheless, as good as his (or perhaps I should say Tiro's) writing is I didn't find this particularly interesting to read and it never captured my interest very much. Perhaps I am just used to reading fictional books? O ...more
I’ve read some of Cicero’s political speeches before and while they do speak volumes on Cicero’s rhetorical skills, the selections present in this particular volume show a much more human side of him. I didn’t find the political speech Against Verres to be his finest, but the bits and pieces of correspondence that came after it just made me want to read more of it. I can imagine how illuminating the entire correspondence would be in relation to the way of thinking that existed in Rome at that ti ...more
I think reading Cicero's worth spending my time in exploring the works by one of the greatest orators in the ancient world. We may come across some statements we can't understand, I think that's quite all right since reading his messages written around 2,000 years ago might take time to digest for his readers in the 21st century.

However, I think reading his works is like listening to a professor teach/guide you, not a philospher at all. In other words, we can learn and apply in our daily lives
Amazon review:
How many men and women who have lived more than 2,000 years ago have impressed us with their humanity? We tend to see the statuary, but rarely the person behind it. When you read this outstanding selection edited by the excellent classical historian Michael Grant, you see that Marcus Tullius Cicero has a human face -- and it shows in his work.
The Roman Republic that Cicero loved was falling apart. Marius and Sulla, the Gracchi, the conflicts over the powers of the tribunes had deal
Shawn Thrasher
Cicero is magnificent, and Grant's translation is fantastic. His "Second Philippic Against Antony" is so deliciously scathing; it's definitely NOT a speech a modern politician could make. Full of the most elegant and witty trash talking I think I've ever read. I can hardly keep all of the sarcastic, bombastic, biting, salt in the wounds catch phrases in my head. Here's a delightful one, about Antony's mother: "Poor woman! Her capacity for child-bearing has indeed been catastrophic." Modern polit ...more
Randy Evans
The book I'm reading "Selections from Cicero" is actually a different volume translated by Joseph Pearl. It has piqued my interest further, but I find the "selections" in this volume too short. Perhaps this was the translator's purpose -- to create an unsatisfied reader who would look for more. If so, well done.
George Hodgson
There is a reason why Cicero is one of the most read of the ancient authors - frankly it is because his words and thoughts are wise and timeless. Against Verres is an excellent outline of a legal case whereas The Second Phillipic Against Antony contains some of the best put downs ever written. No wonder Antony had him killed. On Old Age contains many words of wisdom. A fun and inspiring read.
Jun 23, 2014 Zelda rated it 4 of 5 stars
This is a partial review as I did not read all of the selections. I did read "The Second Philippic Against Anthony" and I have read another translation of "On Duties, III".

I would like to return to this to read "On Old Age".

It was illuminating to find out that the "greatest political speech of all time" basically boiled down to Cicero straight-up ragging on Antony, especially on his sexual proclivities. Politics hasn't changed much, I suppose.
Had read some other Cicero works centered mostly around philosophy which were outstanding. This was a little different however.
These works were broken down into 5 sections. Only two of which were philosophical works.
The other three consisted of a speech given to judges in court, a scathing tirade against Mark Antony, and a collection of correspondence, mostly during the downfall of Rome as a republic and the rise of the empire when Julius Caesar was coming into power, whom he was vehemently aga
Dan Cohen
A bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed Against Verres, some of the letters, and the Second Philippic, but was a little disappointed by On Duties. It was noticeable how much more competent he seems when discussing legal philosophy than ethics. Although he clearly fancied himself as a philosopher, to me it seems obvious that his core ability was as a lawyer / orator, and his attacks on Verres and Antony are fantastic no-holds-barred assaults. Worth a read for those of us who missed out on a classical edu ...more
The English translation of Cicero's Second Philippic against Antonius is a true masterpiece of polemic—in the original Latin it must have been the template for such. Politically, his tergiversations and equivocations proved costly (ultimately to himself) but he was possessed of a first-rate literary mind.
After reading Cicero, I am merely indifferent. His speeches seem brilliant, but I may have enjoyed and appreciated them more after hearing, rather than reading them. Either way, I know he was a captivating rhetorician, so I shall respect him for that and keep him on my shelf to read sometime later on.
unfortunately i found this tough going. probably because i am fairly ignorant about ancient rome. perhaps if were better educated i would have been able to lose myself in the prose. alas, it was not to be. though i did like the letters - made that era come to life for me.
It was a good read. I enjoyed his prosecution of Antony, and the philosophical dilemmas he raised. "Is that which is right ever conflict with that which is advantageous?" I also was convicted of how in the American culture we do not revere our elders as we should.
My advice is to skip the section on Cicero's letters, it's boring. But his work on growing old is fantastic, and it really does make you almost look forward to old age. Reading his works, you can see why the Roman Empire flourished.
Dave Russell
"Against Verres" 4 stars
"Letters" 3 stars
"The Second Philippic" 5 stars
"on Duties" 2 stars
"On Old Age" 4 stars

That averages out to 3.6 and since I can't give half stars, overall, the book gets 4 stars.
Aug 18, 2008 Jorgina marked it as to-read
Not the publication i am reading, but since I don't read Latin, any translation will work for me. I love to read great persuasive oration...and Cicero is the greatest of his time.
Rick Davis
Simply outstanding. The best parts were "On Duties" and "On Old Age".
Jan 11, 2009 Alcyone marked it as to-read
I love Cicero... no more to say.
So, so beautiful.
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  • The Civil Wars
  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus
  • The Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline
  • The Civil War
  • The Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives
  • The History of Rome, Books XXI-XXX: The War With Hannibal
  • The Annals of Imperial Rome
  • The Rise of the Roman Empire
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia
  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • The Jewish War
  • Odes and Epodes (Loeb Classical Library)
  • The Erotic Poems
  • The Later Roman Empire: A.D. 354-378
  • The Comedies
  • The Pot of Gold and Other Plays
  • The Sixteen Satires
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.
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“We must not only obtain Wisdom: we must enjoy her.” 24 likes
“Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned - yet whose enormous fortune...has already brought him acquittal!” 8 likes
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