On Friendship

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by bethlib
Last updated 6 years ago

Language Arts

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On Friendship

Life of Cicero


Cicero's Influence in Rome

Cicero's Essay On Friendship

Cicero's Message in On Friendship

Quote From Cicero Taken from On Friendship

Marcus Tullius Cicero On Friendship

By reading this essay, I learned that friendship was valuable to many in the time of Cicero. People wanted to know how to make friendships and keep them. Laelius and Cicero provided a work that really captures the meaning of friendship. Because of this essay, the friendship of Laelius and Scipio will continue to live on and impress people every time they read this.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was not only a philosopher, but he was also involved in politics. He was more of a politician, than he was a philosopher. He only really spent time on his writings when he was prohibited from being involved in politics. His influence was exemplified widely around the world. Cicero's works are partly responsible for St. Augustine's conversion from a sinful life, to a sinless life. The works that he created were influential in Rome and all over the world. He is still recognized today for the works he had thousands of years ago.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in 106 B.C. in Arpinum which is located just outside of Rome. In his youth, Cicero studied his father's writings in his library. Seeing this, his father took him to Rome so that he could get a better education. As he became older, he became involved in the politics of Rome. He did not except his invitation as the fourth member of the first triumverate because he did not agree with the violent tactics used by Caesar. Because of this, he was exiled to Macedonia. When he was finally able to return, Caesar was assasinated and Cicero attempted to compromise with Mark Antony. When Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus, formed the second triumverate they began to eliminate their enemies. Cicero was at the top of their list. On December 7, 43 B.C. he met his fate at the hands of Mark Antony's men.

In Cicero's Essay, On Friendship, he explains what true friendship is according to the experience that Gaius Laelius and Scipio Africanus shared. He explains in the beginning that we should read it as though they are the words of Laelius. Just as Cicero chose Cato as an example of a remarkable old man in his old age, he chose the friendship between Laelius and Scipio to write about in his essay on frienship. Laelius and Scipio's frienship was one of the most remarkable of their time. Cicero explains before the essay begins to forget about him for a while, and only think of Laelius. He also states that as we read we will start to portray a picture of our own friendships in our life. Laelius was a modest and humble person, as he did not even recognize "the wise" as part of his name. When asked what made friendship true, he did not say wisdom, but he said virtue. Laelius recalls his life as a very happy and succesful one because Scipio was part of it. Laelius says that for it to be true frienship, there must be harmony in almost everyhing you do. This means agreement and feeling the same way most of the time will be very beneficial to the relationship. Laelius and Scipio's relationship touched Laelius so much, that he was able to say "what is the point of living without a friend?". Laelius grieves the loss of his dear friend, but he does not regret the time he spent with Scipio. He knows that Scipio has an immortal soul that is in heaven and not with Hades. Laelius speaks of a very good and strong friendship based on loyalty and virtue. He wishes that his frienship with Scipio will never be forgotten, and this wish certainly came true as it is still recognized today as one of the best friendships in Roman history.

The picture above is a picture of the original copy of the English translation of On Friendship.

Cicero wants to tell us how important it is to have friends of our own in our life. He tells us how important it is that that they have virtue and that they are good. He gives great tips on keeping friendships as well. Laelius speaks of his friendship with his recently deceased good friend, Scipio Africanus. He tells us all about their relationship and how much he really enjoyed Scipio's company. He tells us about loyalty and other good qualities that one must attain to keep a steady and healthy friendship with someone.