For the man who rules efficiently must have obeyed others in the past, and the man who obeys dutifully appears fit at some later time to be a ruler.

[Nam et qui bene imperat, paruerit aliquando necesse est, et qui modeste paret, videtur qui aliquando imperet dignus esse.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Legibus [On the Laws], Book 3, ch. 2 / sec. 5 (3.2/3.5) [Marcus] (c. 51 BC) [tr. Keyes (1928)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For in order to command well, we should know how to submit; and he who submits with a good grace will some time become worthy of commanding.
[tr. Barham (1842)]

For he who commands well, must at some time or other have obeyed; and he who obeys with modesty appears worthy of some day or other being allowed to command.
[tr. Barham/Yonge (1878)]

A man who exercises power effectively will at some stage have to obey others, and one who quietly executes orders shows that he deserves, eventually, to wield power himself.
[tr. Rudd (1998)]

For the good commander must necessarily at some time be obedient, and the person who is properly obedient seems like someone worthy at some time of commanding.
[tr. Zetzel (1999)]

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.
[tr. Fott (2013)]

Added on 19-Oct-20 | Last updated 22-Apr-23
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1 thought on “<i>De Legibus [On the Laws]</i>, Book 3, ch. 2 / sec. 5 (3.2/3.5) [Marcus] (c. 51 BC) [tr. Keyes (1928)]”

  1. No man rules safely unless he is willing to be ruled. No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey. [Nemo secure apparet nisi qui libenter latet. Nemo secure præcipit nisi qui obedire didicit.] See also Cicero. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations: No man is sure in prelacy,…

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