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Selected Works

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,862 ratings  ·  47 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 August 26th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published -43)
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Glenn Russell
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 knew I'd love Cicero long before I picked up this book. I knew I would because he was a guy who thought a house should be full of books, because he thought human beings were honor-bound to take care of each other and because his brain basically never stopped churning out interesting things! What I had not realized was that a lot of his writing (especially his work on ethics) is still very relevant today. It's something that never fails to astonish me with ancient philosophers; their timelessne ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Roy Lotz
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2010 added it
I didn't realise how much it was possible to hate Antony
Jackson Cyril
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Imagine a reader, 2000 years hence, forced to read the orations of Burke or Gladstone in translation and one gets close to the idea of trying to appreciate Cicero in a modern English translation. The wisdom is there, but we have greater moralists today. Perhaps when my Latin improves, I can hear Cicero's thunder in his native language.
Karen Watkins
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ben Hector
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Well done Michael Grant for the translation etc.

Interesting to read his attack on Verres and Marc Antony, but honestly stopped reading half way through Marc Antony so I could get to the letters, then 'On Duties' & 'On Old Age'.

Amazing just how fresh Cicero's writing style is despite 2000 years between my reading and his writing, and also amazing to see his letters to Pompey and Ceasar, very surreal considering their reputations.

On duties: what is right is always advantageous. What may seem
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I knew very little about Cicero until I read this book. The introduction is excellent followed by three parts including speeches and essays he wrote. Against Verres is a speech he made against the dangers of tyranny. The essays from On Duties and On Old Age are excellent. One thing I did learn was that Antony was a nasty piece of work although Cicero may have been a bit bias in his hatred of him.

Cicero was and still is influential today. In Roman times he was unsuccessful in stopping the Republ
Mark York
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very approachable book on philosophy and politics from the first century BC. Cicero's writings are nearly as relevant today as they were in his time. He was also a foundational influence on most of our American founding fathers, and as such, reading him is a great basis from which to understand our legal and cultural systems.
Zachary Rudolph
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Nobody who falls short of this perfect wisdom can possibly claim perfect goodness: its semblance is the most he can acquire. And these are the men, the ordinary men falling short of the ideal, whose moral obligations form the subject of my present work.”
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
adamsın cicero
Mark Mulvey
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His essay “On Old Age” is worth the price of admission alone.
Scott Cox
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was renown as the great Roman lawyer, philosopher, orator and statesman. Cicero lived during the volatile era of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Brutus, Cassius, Octavian and Mark Anthony. He was no friend of dictators (Caesar, Antony), and always a champion of republican ethics and ideals. J.A.K. Thomson notes that “Cicero is the greatest of all letter-writers,” there being approximately sixteen extant books of his writings. This collection contains five major samplings ...more
J. Watson (aka umberto)
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-ancient
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
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Admittedly I'm not well read in regards to Roman writers, but here we go.

I think Cicero would have been Platos ideal ruler, the philosopher king. He was certainly a thoughtful individual for his time.

For his time being the operator sentence. By 2016 standards Cicero sounds like an outraged granny who takes abstract concepts like "justice" as a universal given. Meta philosophy makes Cicero look prehistoric by our current philosophical standards and practices.

That said, one could also see how Cice
Shawn Thrasher
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Dan Cohen
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman, male, non-fiction
Very rare to see a collection of Selected Works so thrillingly and accurately take you through the life of its author.

The high-point of this work for me was On Old Age, which came appropriately at the end. The language is marvelous and so are most of the things being said. (Not sure I appreciate the moralising about carnal pleasures though, thx Marco).

Looking forward to reading more Cicero in the future.
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
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lawyer, philosopher, statesman and defender of Rome's Republic, Cicero was a master of eloquence, and his pure literary and oratorical style and strict sense of morality have been a powerful influence on European literature and thought for over two thousand years in matters of politics, philosophy, and faith.
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.
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.
Martin Bihl
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
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  • The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus
  • The Fall of the Roman Republic
  • The History of Rome, Books 21-30: The War with Hannibal
  • The Civil Wars
  • The Civil War
  • The Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline
  • Lives of the Later Caesars
  • The Rise of the Roman Empire
  • The Histories
  • The Later Roman Empire (A.D. 354-378)
  • The Erotic Poems
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • The Sixteen Satires
  • Four Tragedies and Octavia (Thyestes, Phaedra, Troades, Oedipus, Octavia)
  • A History of My Times
  • Natural History: A Selection
  • The Jewish War
  • The Eclogues
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.” 39 likes
“Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned - yet whose enormous fortune...has already brought him acquittal!” 16 likes
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