Cicero Writes De Republica (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: In his De republica, Cicero argued that the mixed constitution of the Roman state was the perfect government because it evolved naturally and was not the creation of a single lawgiver.
Summary of Event
For centuries, the only known substantial portion of De republica (51 b.c.e.; On the State, 1817, commonly known as De republica) was the “Dream of Scipio” (Somnium Scipionis). Scattered quotations, many in Saint Augustine’s De civitate Dei (413-427 c.e.; The City of God, 1610), provided hints of the main text. In 1820, a manuscript of much of the rest was found in the Vatican Library. Although scholars still do not possess the full text of De republica, it is sufficiently intact to reveal its main argumentation and to justify an assessment of its contribution to political theory. (“On the commonwealth” is a more accurate rendering of Cicero’s title; the Roman state was not a republic in the modern sense of the word.)
It is fairly certain that Cicero had completed the writing of the De republica before his term as the governor of the province of Cilicia in Asia Minor in 51 b.c.e. This date is decisive for proper appraisal of the work. Cicero’s political career had peaked when he suppressed the Catiline conspiracy as consul in 63 b.c.e. Politics were turbulent. Cicero had a powerful enemy in Publius Clodius...
(The entire section is 1686 words.)
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