Quotations by Cicero, Marcus Tullius


What the object of senile avarice may be I cannot conceive. For can there be anything more absurd than to seek more journey money, the less there remains of the journey?

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
“On Old Age” [tr. Shuckburgh (1909)]

Alt. trans.: "Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey's end."
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The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(63 BC or 55 BC?)
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No man can be brave who thinks pain the greatest evil; nor temperate, who considers pleasure the highest good.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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By doubting we come at truth.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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The first law is that the historian shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Also, there must be no suspicion of partiality … or of malice.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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Each man must use his own judgement.

[Suo cuique iudicio est utendum.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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To yield to occasion is the mark of a wise man.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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If you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains; If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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What is so beneficial to the people as liberty, which we see not only to be greedily sought after by men, but also by beasts, and to be preferred to all things.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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The way to avoid the imputation of impudence is not to be ashamed of what we do, but never to do what we ought to be ashamed of.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)

Attributed in The Spectator (28 May 1712).
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There is no better way to convince others than first to convince oneself.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Martin Luther, Table Talk (1566) [tr. Smith & Gallinger (1915)].
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Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts (1891).
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Where is there dignity unless there is also honesty?

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Ad Atticum
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Wise men are instructed by reason; men of understanding, by experience; the most ignorant, by necessity; and beasts by nature.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Ad Atticum
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What one has, one ought to use; and whatever he does he should do with all his might.

[Quod est, eo decet uti: et quicquid agas, agere pro viribus.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Cato Maior de Senectute, 2.9.27
    (Source)
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Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

[Nam et secundas res splendidiores facit amicitia et adversas partiens communicansque leviores.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Amicitia, para. 22
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There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Divinatione [On Divination], Book 2, sec. 58 (45 BC)

Alt. trans.:
  • "There is nothing so absurd as but some philosopher has said it." Also cited as sec. 119.
  • "In short, somehow or other, I know nothing is so absurd as not to have found an advocate in one of the philosophers." [tr. Yonge (1902)]
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The beginnings of all things are small.

[Omnium rerum principia parva sunt.]

Cicero - beginnings of all things - wist_info quote

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, Book 5, ch. 58

Alt. trans.: "Everything has a small beginning."
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The good of the people is the chief law.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Legibus, bk. 3, ch. 3, sct. 8 (52-45 BC)
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I do not … find fault with the accumulation of property, privided it hurts nobody, but unjust acquisition of it is always to be avoided.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.08 [tr. Miller (1913)]
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A great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heartfelt kindness. … Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.14 [tr. Miller (1913)]
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There is nothing so characteristic of narrowness and littleness of soul as the love of riches.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.20 [tr. Miller (1913)]
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The more laws, the less justice.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.33
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The chief way to gain good will is by good deeds.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 2.9 [tr. Edinger (1974)]
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Who knows only his own generation remains always a child.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Oratore (46 BC)
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The greatest pleasures are only narrowly separated from disgust.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Oratore, III, 200
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No well-informed person has declared a change of opinion to be inconstancy.

[Nemo doctus unquam mutationem consilii inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Atticum, Book 16, Letter 7 (59-54 BC)

Alt. trans.: No philosopher ever yet -- and there has been a great deal written upon the subject -- defined a mere change of plan as vacillation. [Nemo doctus umquam (multa autem de hoc genere scripta sunt) mutationem consili inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Often mis-cited as Letter 8.
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Persistence in a single view has never been regarded as a merit in political leaders.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, 1.9.21
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Men think they may justly do that for which they have a precedent.

[Quod exemplo fit, id etiam jure fieri putant.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, 4.3
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Even if you have nothing to write, write and say so.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, IV, 8, 4

http://www.bartleby.com/66/58/12458.html
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Every evil in the bud is easily crushed: as it grows older, it becomes stronger.

[Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur; inveteratum fit pleurumque robustius.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Philippicae, V, 11
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The name of peace is sweet, and the thing itself is beneficial, but there is a great difference between peace and servitude. Peace is freedom in tranquility, servitude is the worst of all evils, to be resisted not only by war, but even by death.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Phillippica, II, 113
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Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Phillippica, XII, ii, 5
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The philosophers themselves, even in those books in which they tell us to despise fame, inscribe their names.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Pro archia poeta, ch. 11
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It is a trait of fools to perceive the faults of others but not their own.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculanae disputationes, 3.30
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