No parent, nurse, teacher, poet, or stage perverts our senses; nor does the agreement of the multitude distract them from the truth. Nothing given to human life by the immortal gods is richer, nothing is more illustrious, nothing is preferable. [3] Furthermore, nothing is so suitable to right and the condition of nature (when I say that, I want it understood that I am speaking of the law) as command, without which no home or city or nation or the whole human race can exist, nor can the entire nature of things nor the universe itself. If you approve these things, I will continue to the remaining matters. Or is it—what is most disgraceful to say—pleasure? It also gave to the body a shape manageable and suitable to the human intellect. Or that I compose formulas for covenants and judicial decisions? That I produce pamphlets on the law  about rainwater falling from the eaves of houses and [the law] about walls of houses? But that law, the significance of which I have explained, can be neither eliminated nor repealed. As a result of that, the law that the gods gave to the human race has been correctly praised: it is the reason and mind of a wise being, suitable for ordering and deterring. Therefore, right has been given to all persons. Its significance is that as soon as someone wants something for himself more than for another person, it does not exist. When we have discovered it, there will be no doubt how to judge what we are seeking. Copyright 2020 The Witherspoon Institute. The Influence of the Scottish Enlightenment. When they have been made lucid, with wisdom as leader, he discerns that he is a good man and that for this very reason he is going to be happy. Our man who is just and good by nature will even speak with him, help him, lead him on his way. You have never seemed to me to devote yourself so much to speaking that you scorned civil law. I remember that you have studied law from the earliest time of your life, when I myself also used to come to Scaevola [famed jurist and teacher]. 91.3: Take a brief look at that book On the Commonwealth, from which you drank up that attitude of a patriotic citizen, that there is for good men no limit or end of looking out for one’s country.2 2 [fr. M. TVLLI CICERONIS DE LEGIBVS LIBRI TRES Liber Primus: Liber Secundus: Liber Tertius. M: And indeed correctly. The most learned men have been pleased to begin with law, which is correct if it is defined in the way they do: law is the supreme reason inherent in nature, which commands those things which ought to be done and prohibits the contrary. M: Toward the end of good things, by which all things are judged and for the sake of obtaining which all things should be done—a disputed matter and one full of disagreement among highly educated men, but it must nevertheless be judged at some time. his native language. When I have said a very little bit about this, I will come to civil law, from which this entire speech originated. Print PDF. Yet it is thin material for study although necessary for experience. In fact let us take the beginning of establishing right from the highest law, which was born before any law was written for generations in common [corrupt text here] or before a city was established at all. It did not begin to be a law precisely when it was written, but when it arose. 2011. Will irregularities of the body, if they are very remarkable, give some offense, and deformity of the mind give none? When it has grown up and been fully developed, it is rightly named wisdom. But for those whom royal power did not please, they wanted not to obey no one, but not always to obey one man. But since our entire speech is for the people’s business, sometimes it will be necessary to speak popularly and to call that a law which, when written, consecrates what it wants by either ordering [or forbidding], as the crowd calls it. It so happens that [text missing] the mother of all good things, wisdom (from the love of which philosophy found its name in a Greek word). Virtue is fully developed reason, and this is certainly in nature—therefore, in the same way all honorableness. Nor, even if a people accepts something ruinous, will that be a law of any kind among a people. And so it is proper both for him who obeys to hope that he will command at some time, and for him who commands to think that in a brief time he will have to obey. [18] Q: Truly, brother, you trace deeply and, as is proper, from the fountain head of what we are asking about. 15, 3 (April 59) is quoted from it. On the Laws (Latin: DE LEGIBUS) is a philosophical dialogue between: Cicero's friend Titus Pomponius Atticus; Cicero's brother Quintus; and Cicero himself. When these things have been explained, the source of laws and right can be discovered. Title Slide of Cicero - Das Leis (De legibus) Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. [24] Now when all nature is inquired about, it is usual to argue the following (and without doubt it is so): In the perpetual celestial courses [and] revolutions there emerged a sort of ripeness for planting the human race. For it is necessary that he who commands well should obey at some time, and he who temperately obeys seems to be worthy of commanding at some time. And if persons have different opinions, it does not follow that those who worship dog and cat as gods are not tormented by the same superstition as other races. But if whatever is according to nature were also according to judgment, and if human beings “thought that nothing human is alien to themselves” (as the poet [Terence] states), right would be cultivated equally by all. ad Att.II. Now the universe obeys the god, and the seas and lands obey the universe, and human life complies with the orders of the supreme law. Copyright David Fott. [43] And if right has not been confirmed by nature, they may be eliminated [missing portion of the text] In fact where will liberality be able to exist, where affection for the fatherland, where piety, where the will either to deserve well of another or to return a service? I think that the highest men in our city are those who have regularly interpreted it to the people and given legal advice. [21] M: Then, Pomponius, do you grant me this (for I know Quintus’s opinion), that all nature is ruled by the force, nature, reason, power, mind, majesty—or whatever other word there is by which I may signify more plainly what I want—of the immortal gods? If a good man is benevolent without a reward, it is disinterested; if for payment, it is hired. For I see that your dear, famous Plato did so, at whom you marvel, whom you rank ahead of all [others], whom you greatly cherish. Or if law can make right out of wrong, can’t the same law make good out of bad? Nevertheless, none of them was ever so daring that he did not either deny that he was guilty of a crime or fabricate some reason for his own just indignation and seek a defense of the crime in some right of nature. This item: Cicero: De re Publica (On the Republic) , De Legibus (On the Laws) (Loeb Classical Library No. Augustine, Epist. [51] What then? If law has been given, so has right. But since we are giving laws for free peoples, and since I have previously spoken in a book what I feel about the best republic, at this time I will tailor the laws to the form of city that I approve. Since this is so, please let us now come to the laws themselves. The instructions of physicians cannot be truly so called if in ignorance and inexperience they prescribe deadly things in place of salutary ones. The following abbreviations are used for Cicero’s works: De or. [19] And so they think that law is prudence, the effect of which is to order persons to act correctly and to forbid them to transgress. M. TVLLI CICERONIS DE LEGIBVS. [23] Therefore, since nothing is better than reason, and since it [is] in both human being and god, the primary fellowship of human being with god involves reason; and among those who have reason in common, correct reason is also in common. Then we must treat the laws [ius] and orders of peoples that have been composed and written, in which what are called the civil laws [ius] of our people will not be hidden. A: That is fine with us, and, if it pleases you, this way to the Liris along its bank and through the shade. [47] But the variety of opinions and the disagreement among human beings disturb us. Moreover, what nation does not cherish kindness, benevolence, or a soul that is grateful for and mindful of a benefit? But if he denies that he is going to snatch his life and take away his gold, he will never deny it on the ground that he judges it disgraceful by nature, but that he fears that it might become known and the result might be bad. 145 0 obj /Linearized 1 /O 148 /H [ 1289 696 ] /L 229113 /E 74188 /N 23 /T 226094 >> endobj xref 145 36 0000000016 00000 n 0000001089 00000 n 0000001146 00000 n 0000001985 00000 n 0000002238 00000 n 0000002368 00000 n 0000002850 … above all others (De legibus 1.5.15). This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty. 594 KB ePub: ePub standard file for your iPad or any e-reader compatible with that format 228 KB Facsimile PDF: This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book. ad Quintum Fr.III. We must consider laws by which cities ought to be ruled. De Legibus. These writings were an attempt to interpret Roman history in terms of Greek political theory. This type of command was first entrusted to the most just and wisest men, and that was extremely effective in our own republic as long as regal power ruled over it. [17] A: So you don’t think that the discipline of law should be drawn from the praetor’s edict, as many do now, or from the Twelve Tables [archaic set of basic Roman laws], as earlier men did, but from within the profoundest philosophy? The Treatise on the Commonwealth is Cicero’s imitation of Plato’s dialogue The Republic where he uses Stoic philosophy to explain Roman constitutional theory. Natural Law, Natural Rights, and American Constitutionalism. citations of De re publica or De legibus are to this edition. This same reason, when it is confirmed and completed in the human mind, is law. Now what will a man do in the darkness who fears nothing except a witness and a judge? Q: Certainly, by Hercules, and that is the correct way of teaching. [58] But surely the matter is such that since it is proper for the law to be the corrector of vices and the recommender of virtues, education about living is drawn from it. That can be said again in the opposite [direction] as praise of virtue. [52] Finally, if virtue is desired because of other things, necessarily there is something better than virtue. [33] M: What comes next, then, is that we have been made by nature to participate in right, one with another, and to share it among all persons. 1a]. Q: Then begin, for we are granting you the entire day. Cicero The Latin Library The Classics Page The Latin Library The Classics Page Are persons innocent and shameful in order to hear good things [about themselves], and do they blush in order to collect good hearsay? That is far off the mark. For the most unjust thing of all is to seek payment for justice. The same reason is law when it has been strengthened and fully developed in the human mind. Troubles, joys, desires, fears wander through the minds of all similarly. When we have had enough walking, we will rest. But if rights were established by peoples’ orders, if by leading men’s decrees, if by judges’ verdicts, there would be a right to rob, a right to commit adultery, a right to substitute false wills, if those things were approved by the votes or resolutions of a multitude. [A gap of uncertain length occurs in the manuscript.]. Nevertheless, unless Quintus prefers that we discuss something else, I will undertake it; and since we are unoccupied, I will speak. Those who have been given reason by nature have also been given correct reason, and thus law, which is correct reason in ordering and forbidding. A: Most correctly, and indeed with it as leader there will be no way to err. M: Moreover, shouldn’t a city lacking law be recognized to exist in no place for that very [reason]? But now I beseech [you] to begin to explain what you feel about civil law. What more foolish thing can be said than that? Then it shaped the appearance of his face so as to portray in it the character hidden within. Since that is law, we should also consider human beings to be united with gods by law. [10] Well, the divine mind cannot exist without reason, nor can divine reason not have this force in prescribing by law things that are correct and depraved. [20] Q: That is truly more convenient and suitable for the method of conversation we have begun. His preface to the De Legibus is so just and comprehensive that we choose to translate it almost entire. Now since god [thus] begot and adorned the human being—that is, he wanted him to have precedence over other things—it is clear (so that not everything must be discussed) that nature itself proceeds further by itself: even with no one teaching it, it has taken its start from those things the characteristics of which it recognized from its first, rudimentary intelligence; it alone strengthens and fully develops reason. The entire direction of the republic is encompassed in the system involving them. If the Thirty at Athens had wanted to impose laws, or if all the Athenians delighted in tyrannous laws, surely those laws should not be held to be just for that reason? , especially since they were repealed in one moment by one little line of the body a manageable... 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