Roms," a work not yet brought to a conclusion.)
The works of Cicero are so numerous and diversified, that it is necessary for the sake of distinctness to separate them into classes, and accordingly they may be conveniently arranged under five heads: — 1. Philosophical works. 2. Speeches. 3. Correspondence. 4. Poems. 5. Historical and Miscellaneous works. The last may appear too vague and comprehensive, but nothing of importance belonging to this section has been preserved.
Several of the topics handled in this department are so intimately connected and shade into each other by such fine and almost imperceptible gradations, that the boundaries by which they are separated cannot in all cases be sharply defined, and consequently some of the subdivisions may appear arbitrary or inaccurate; for practical purposes, however, the following distribution will be found sufficiently precise: —
A. Philosophy of Taste or Rhetoric. B. Political Philosophy. C. Philosophy of Morals. D. Speculative Philosophy. E. Theology.
In the table given below, those works to which an asterisk is prefixed have descended to us in a very imperfect and mutilated condition, enough, however, still remaining to convey a clear conception of the general plan, tone, and spirit; of those to which a double asterisk is prefixed, only a few fragments, or even a few words, survive; those printed in Italics are totally lost; those included within brackets are believed to be spurious: —
The Editio Princeps of the collected philosophical works of Cicero was printed at Rome in 1471, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, 2 vols. folio, and is a work of excessive rarity. The first volume contains De Natura Deorum, De Divinatione, De Officiis, Paradoxa, Laelius, Cato Major, Versus duodecim Sapientium; the second volume, Quaestiones Tusculanae, De Finibus, De Fato, Q. Cicero de Petitione Consulatus, Fragments of the Hortensius, Timaeus, Academicae Quaestiones, De Legibus.
We have belonging to the same period, De Officiis, De Amicitia, De Senectute, Somnium Scipionis, Paradoxa, Tusculanae Quaestiones, in 2 vols. folio, without place or date, but known to have been published at Paris about 1471, by Gering, Crantz, and Friburger.
Also, the De Natura Deorum, De Divinatione, De Fato, De Legibus, Hortensius, (Modestus,) De Disciplina Militari, appeared in 1 vol. 4to., 1471, at Venice, from the press of Vindelin de Spira.
An excellent edition, intended to embrace the whole philosophical works of Cicero, was commenced by J. A. Goerenz, and carried to the extent of three volumes, 8vo., which contain the De Legibus, Academica, De Finibus, Leipz. 1809-1813.
Before entering upon an examination of Cicero's philosophic writings in detail, we must consider very briefly the inducements which first prompted Cicero to devote his attention to the study of philosophy, the extent to which his original views were subsequently altered and enlarged, the circumstances under which his various treatises were composed, the end which they were intended to accomplish, the degree of importance to be attached to these works, the form in which they are presented to the reader, and the opinions really entertained by the author himself.
Cicero dedicated his attention to philosophy in the first instance not merely as a branch of general education, but as that particular branch which was likely to prove peculiarly serviceable to him in attaining the great object of his youthful aspirations — oratorical fame. (See Paradox. praef., De Off. prooem.) He must have discerned from a very early period that the subtle and astute, though often sophistical, arguments advanced by rival sects in supporting their own tenets and assailing the positions of their adversaries, and the habitual quickness of objection and readiness of reply which distinguished the oral controversies of the more skilful disputants could be turned to admirable account in the wordy combats of the courts; and hence the method pursued by the later Academy of probing the weak points and detecting the filllacies of all systems in succession, possessed the strongest attractions for one who to insure success must be able to regard each cause submitted to his judgment under many different aspects, and be prepared to anticipate and repel exceptions, of whatever nature, proceeding from whatever quarter. We have already seen, in the biographical portion of this article, that Cicero allowed no opportunity to escape of gaining an intimate acquaintance with the doctrines of the most popular sects, without resigning himself exclusively to one; and he was fully sensible that he owed much of the signal success which attended his efforts, after his return from Greece, to this