Page:1888 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.djvu/13
THE TUSCULAN DISPUTATIONS.
In the year a.u.c. 708, and the sixty-second year of Cicero's age, his daughter, Tullia, died in childbed; and her loss afflicted Cicero to such a degree that he abandoned all public business, and, leaving the city, retired to Asterra, which was a country house that he had near Antium; where, after a while, he devoted himself to philosophical studies, and, besides other works, he published his Treatise de Finibus, and also this treatise called the Tusculan Disputations, of which Middleton gives this concise description:
"The first book teaches us how to contemn the terrors of death, and to look upon it as a blessing rather than an evil:
"The second, to support pain and affliction with a manly fortitude;
"The third, to appease all our complaints and uneasinesses under the accidents of life;
"The fourth, to moderate all our other passions;
"And the fifth explains the sufficiency of virtue to make men happy."
It was his custom in the opportunities of his leisure to take some friends with him into the country, where, instead of amusing themselves with idle sports or feasts, their diversions were wholly speculative, tending to improve the mind and enlarge the understanding. In this manner he now spent five days at his Tusculan villa in discussing with his friends the several questions just mentioned. For, after employing the mornings in declaiming and rhetorical exercises, they used to retire in the after-