chapter  10
14 Pages

CICERO’S DEFINITION OF RES PUBLICA

In his Politics in the Ancient World Moses Finley had this to say of Cicero’s Republic:1 ‘Like Mommsen, I find the central idea of the Republic “as unphilosophical as unhistorical” and I am not persuaded otherwise by the unending flood of adulatory commentaries.’ In a footnote he added:2

As an extreme illustration of the nonsense Cicero continues to evoke, I submit the still regularly cited book by V.Pöschl, Römischer Staat und griechisches Staatsdenken bei Cicero (Berlin, 1936), which concludes (p. 173) that the Republic ‘fused into one the Roman empire, perhaps the greatest creation of that world, and the philosophy of Plato, the most sublime spiritual creation of antiquity’.