Scipio and Cicero, Ghirlandaio, 1480

Treatise on Friendship by  Cicero, tr. by E. S. Shuckburgh (Collier, N.Y., 1909) . Tulli Ciceronis: Laelius De Amicitia, ed. Clifton Price,1902; and M. Tulli Ciceronis: Scripta Quae Manserunt Omnia, Part 4, Vol. 3, ed. C.F.W. Mueller, 1890.) 





(to Laelius, on Friendship)






[5.] Finally, as I sent the former essay to you as a gift from one old man to another, so I have dedicated this On Friendship as a most affectionate friend to his friend. In the former Cato spoke, who was the oldest and wisest man of his day; in this Laelius speaks on friendship - Laelius, who was at once a wise man (that was the title given him) and eminent for his famous friendship. Please forget me for a while; imagine Laelius to be speaking.

5. Sed ut tum ad senem senex de senectute, sic hoc libro ad amicum amicissimus scripsi de amicitia. Tum est Cato locutus, quo erat nemo fere senior temporibus illis, nemo prudentior; nunc Laelius et sapiens (sic enim est habitus) et amicitiae gloria excellens de amicitia loquetur. Tu velim a me animum parumper avertas, Laelium loqui ipsum putes





Cicero describes his deceased friend, Scipio


[12.] We may conclude that [my friend Scipio's] life, from the good fortune which had attended him and the glory he had obtained, was so circumstanced that it could not be bettered, while the suddenness of his death saved him the sensation of dying. [...] From such an elevation of popular esteem the next step seems naturally to be an ascent to the gods above, rather than a descent to Hades.

12. Quam ob rem vita quidem talis fuit vel fortuna vel gloria, ut nihil posset accedere, moriendi autem sensum celeritas abstulit; [...] ut ex tam alto dignitatis gradu ad superos videatur deos potius quam ad inferos pervenisse.

[13.] 4. FOR I am not one of these modern philosophers who maintain that our souls perish with our bodies, and that death ends all. With me ancient opinion has more weight: [...] “the souls of men are divine, and that when they have quitted the body a return to heaven is open to them, least difficult to those who have been most virtuous and just.”

13. Neque enim assentior iis qui haec nuper disserere coeperunt, cum corporibus simul animos interire atque omnia morte deleri; plus apud me antiquorum auctoritas valet, [...] animos hominum esse divinos, iisque, cum ex corpore excessissent, reditum in caelum patere, optimoque et iustissimo cuique expeditissimum.





[15.] [...]YET such is the pleasure I take in recalling our friendship, that I look upon my life as having been a happy one because I have spent it with Scipio. With him I was associated in public and private business; with him I lived in Rome and served abroad; and between us there was the most complete harmony in our tastes, our pursuits, and our sentiments, which is the true secret of friendship. It is not therefore in that reputation for wisdom mentioned just now by Fannius-especially as it happens to be groundless-that I find my happiness so much, as in the hope that the memory of our friendship will be lasting. What makes me care the more about this is the fact that in all history there are scarcely three or four pairs of friends on record; and it is classed with them that I cherish a hope of the friendship of Scipio and Laelius being known to posterity.

15. Quam ob rem cum illo quidem, ut supra dixi, actum optime est, mecum incommodius, quem fuerat aequius, ut prius introieram, sic prius exire de vita. Sed tamen recordatione nostrae amicitiae sic fruor ut beate vixisse videar, quia cum Scipione vixerim, quocum mihi coniuncta cura de publica re et de privata fuit, quocum et domus fuit et militia communis et, id in quo est omnis vis amicitiae, voluntatum, studiorum, sententiarum summa consensio. Itaque non tam ista me sapientiae, quam modo Fannius commemoravit, fama delectat, falsa praesertim, quam quod amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore, idque eo mihi magis est cordi, quod ex omnibus saeculis vix tria aut quattuor nominantur paria amicorum; quo in genere sperare videor Scipionis et Laeli amicitiam notam posteritati fore.





[18.] But I must at the very beginning lay down this principle- friendship can only exist between good men. I do not, however, press this too closely, like the philosophers who push their definitions to a superfluous accuracy. They have truth on their side, perhaps, but it is of no practical advantage. Those, I mean, who say that no one but the “wise” is “good.” Granted, by all means. But the “wisdom” they mean is one to which no mortal ever yet attained. We must concern ourselves with the facts of everyday life as we find it-not imaginary and ideal perfections. Even Gaius Fannius, Manius Curius, and Tiberius Coruncanius, whom our ancestors decided to be “wise,” I could never declare to be so according to their standard. Let them, then, keep this word “wisdom” to themselves. Everybody is irritated by it; no one understands what it means. Let them but grant that the men I mentioned were “good.” No, they won’t do that either. No one but the “wise” can be allowed that title, say they. Well, then, let us dismiss them and manage as best we may with our own poor mother wit, as the phrase is.

18. Sed hoc primum sentio, nisi in bonis amicitiam esse non posse; neque id ad vivum reseco, ut illi qui haec subtilius disserunt, fortasse vere, sed ad communem utilitatem parum; negant enim quemquam esse virum bonum nisi sapientem. Sit ita sane; sed eam sapientiam interpretantur quam adhuc mortalis nemo est consecutus, nos autem ea quae sunt in usu vitaque communi, non ea quae finguntur aut optantur, spectare debemus. Numquam ego dicam C. Fabricium, M’. Curium, Ti. Coruncanium, quos sapientes nostri maiores iudicabant, ad istorum normam fuisse sapientes. Quare sibi habeant sapientiae nomen et invidiosum et obscurum; concedant ut viri boni fuerint. Ne id quidem facient, negabunt id nisi sapienti posse concedi.

[19.] We mean then by the “good” those whose actions and lives leave no question as to their honour, purity, equity, and liberality; who are free from greed, lust, and violence; and who have the courage of their convictions_. The men I have just named may serve as examples. Such men as these being generally accounted “good,” let us agree to call them so, on the ground that to the best of human ability they follow nature as the most perfect guide to a good life.

19. Agamus igitur pingui, ut aiunt, Minerva. Qui ita se gerunt, ita vivunt ut eorum probetur fides, integritas, aequitas, liberalitas, nec sit in eis ulla cupiditas, libido, audacia, sintque magna constantia, ut ii fuerunt modo quos nominavi, hos viros bonos, ut habiti sunt, sic etiam appellandos putemus, quia sequantur, quantum homines possunt, naturam optimam bene vivendi ducem.

Now this truth seems clear to me, that nature has so formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but that this tie becomes stronger from proximity. So it is that fellow-citizens are preferred in our affections to foreigners, relations to strangers; for in their case Nature herself has caused a kind of friendship to exist, though it is one which lacks some of the elements of permanence. Friendship excels relationship in this, that whereas you may eliminate affection from relationship, you cannot do so from friendship. Without it relationship still exists in name, friendship does not.

Sic enim mihi perspicere videor, ita natos esse nos ut inter omnes esset societas quaedam, maior autem ut quisque proxime accederet. Itaque cives potiores quam peregrini, propinqui quam alieni; cum his enim amicitiam natura ipsa peperit; sed ea non satis habet firmitatis. Namque hoc praestat amicitia propinquitati, quod ex propinquitate benevolentia tolli potest, ex amicitia non potest; sublata enim benevolentia amicitiae nomen tollitur, propinquitatis manet.

[20.] You may best understand this friendship by considering that, whereas the merely natural ties uniting the human race are indefinite, this one is so concentrated, and confined to so narrow a sphere, that affection is ever shared by two persons only or at most by a few.

20. Quanta autem vis amicitiae sit, ex hoc intellegi maxime potest, quod ex infinita societate generis humani, quam conciliavit ipsa natura, ita contracta res est et adducta in angustum ut omnis caritas aut inter duos aut inter paucos iungeretur.







6. NOW friendship may be thus defined: Est enim amicitia nihil aliud nisi

a complete accord on all subjects human and divine,

joined with mutual goodwill and affection.

omnium divinarum humanarumque rerum

cum benevolentia et caritate consensio;

AND with the exception of wisdom, I am inclined to think nothing better than this has been given to man by the immortal gods. qua quidem haud scio an excepta sapientia nihil melius homini sit a dis immortalibus datum.



 There are people who give the palm to riches or to good health, or to power and office, many even to sensual pleasures. This last is the ideal of brute beasts; and of the others we may say that they are frail and uncertain, and depend less on our own prudence than on the caprice of fortune. Then there are those who find the “chief good” in virtue. Well, that is a noble doctrine. But the very virtue they talk of is the parent and preserver of friendship, and without it friendship cannot possibly exist.

  Divitias alii praeponunt, bonam alii valetudinem, alii potentiam, alii honores, multi etiam voluptates. Beluarum hoc quidem extremum, illa autem superiora caduca et incerta, posita non tam in consiliis nostris quam in fortunae temeritate. Qui autem in virtute summum bonum ponunt, praeclare illi quidem, sed haec ipsa virtus amicitiam et gignit et continet nec sine virtute amicitia esse ullo pacto potest.





[21.] Let us, I repeat, use the word virtue in the ordinary acceptation and meaning of the term, and do not let us define it in high-flown language. Let us account as good the persons usually considered so, such as Paulus, Cato, Gallus, Scipio, and Philus. Such men as these are good enough for everyday life; and we need not trouble ourselves about those ideal characters which are nowhere to be met with.

21. Iam virtutem ex consuetudine vitae sermonisque nostri interpretemur nec eam, ut quidam docti, verborum magnificentia metiamur virosque bonos eos, qui habentur, numeremus, Paulos, Catones, Galos, Scipiones, Philos; his communis vita contenta est; eos autem omittamus, qui omnino nusquam reperiuntur.

[22.] Well, between men like these the advantages of friendship are almost more than I can say. To begin with, how can life he worth living, to use the words of Ennius, which lacks that repose which is to be found in the mutual good-will of a friend? What can be more delightful than to have some one to whom you can say everything with the same absolute confidence as to yourself? Is not prosperity robbed of half its value if you have no one to share your joy? On the other hand, misfortunes would be hard to bear if there were not some one to feel them even more acutely than yourself. In a word, other objects of ambition serve for particular ends-riches for use, power for securing homage, office for reputation, pleasure for enjoyment, health for’ freedom from pain and the full use of the functions of the body. But friendship embraces innumerable advantages. Turn which way you please, you will find it at hand. It is everywhere; and yet never out of place, never unwelcome. Fire and water themselves, to use a common expression, are not of more universal use than friendship. I am not now speaking of the common or modified form of it, though even that is a source of pleasure and profit, but of that true and complete friendship which existed between the select few who are known to fame. Such friendship enhances prosperity, and relieves adversity of its burden by halving and sharing it.

22. Talis igitur inter viros amicitia tantas opportunitates habet quantas vix queo dicere. Principio qui potest esse vita ‘vitalis’, ut ait Ennius, quae non in amici mutua benevolentia conquiescit? Quid dulcius quam habere quicum omnia audeas sic loqui ut tecum? Qui esset tantus fructus in prosperis rebus, nisi haberes, qui illis aeque ac tu ipse gauderet? adversas vero ferre difficile esset sine eo qui illas gravius etiam quam tu ferret. Denique ceterae res quae expetuntur opportunae sunt singulae rebus fere singulis, divitiae, ut utare, opes, ut colare, honores, ut laudere, voluptates, ut gaudeas, valetudo, ut dolore careas et muneribus fungare corporis; amicitia res plurimas continet; quoquo te verteris, praesto est, nullo loco excluditur, numquam intempestiva, numquam molesta est; itaque non aqua, non igni, ut aiunt, locis pluribus utimur quam amicitia. Neque ego nunc de vulgari aut de mediocri, quae tamen ipsa et delectat et prodest, sed de vera et perfecta loquor, qualis eorum qui pauci nominantur fuit. Nam et secundas res splendidiores facit amicitia et adversas partiens communicansque leviores.





[23.] 7. AND great and numerous as are the blessings of friendship, this certainly is the sovereign one,

that it gives us bright hopes for the future

and forbids weakness and despair.

23. Cumque plurimas et maximas commoditates amicitia contineat, tum illa nimirum praestat omnibus, quod bonam spem praelucet in posterum nec debilitari animos aut cadere patitur.

In the face of a true friend a man sees as it were a second self.

Verum enim amicum qui intuetur, tamquam exemplar aliquod intuetur sui.

So that where his friend is
he is;

if his friend is rich,
he is not poor;

though he be weak,
his friend’s strength is his;

Quocirca et absentes

 et egentes

 et imbecilli

and – what is most difficult to conceive –

et,quod difficilius dictu est,

though dead,
[through his friend] he lives






Virtue - the Only Noble Basis

of Friendship



[26.]  8. Laelius. [...]

26. Laelius: [...]

It has very often occurred to me when thinking about friendship, that the chief point to be considered was this: is it weakness and want of means that make friendship desired? I mean, is its object an interchange of good offices, so that each may give that in which he is strong, and receive that in which he is weak? Or is it not rather true that, although this is an advantage naturally belonging to friendship, yet its original cause is quite other, prior in time, more noble in character, and springing more directly from our nature itself? The Latin word for friendship, amicitia, is derived from that for love, amor; and love [amor] is certainly the prime mover in contracting mutual affection. For as to material advantages, it often happens that those are obtained even by men who are courted by a mere show of friendship and treated with respect from interested motives. But friendship by its nature admits of no feigning, no pretence: as far as it goes it is both genuine and spontaneous.

Saepissime igitur mihi de amicitia cogitanti maxime illud considerandum videri solet, utrum propter imbecillitatem atque inopiam desiderata sit amicitia, ut dandis recipiendisque meritis quod quisque minus per se ipse posset, id acciperet ab alio vicissimque redderet, an esset hoc quidem proprium amicitiae, sed antiquior et pulchrior et magis a natura ipsa profecta alia causa. Amor enim, ex quo amicitia nominata est, princeps est ad benevolentiam coniungendam. Nam utilitates quidem etiam ab iis percipiuntur saepe qui simulatione amicitiae coluntur et observantur temporis causa, in amicitia autem nihil fictum est, nihil simulatum et, quidquid est, id est verum et voluntarium.

[27.]. Therefore I gather that friendship springs from a natural impulse rather than a wish for help: from an inclination of the heart, combined with a certain instinctive feeling of love, rather than from a deliberate calculation of the material advantage it was likely to confer. The strength of this feeling you may notice in certain animals. They show such love to their offspring for a certain period, and are so beloved by them, that they clearly have a share in this natural, instinctive affection. But of course it is more evident in the case of man: first, in the natural affection between children and their parents, an affection which only shocking wickedness can sunder; and next, when the passion of love has attained to a like strength - on 

27. Quapropter a natura mihi videtur potius quam ab indigentia orta amicitia, applicatione magis animi cum quodam sensu amandi quam cogitatione quantum illa res utilitatis esset habitura. Quod quidem quale sit, etiam in bestiis quibusdam animadverti potest, quae ex se natos ita amant ad quoddam tempus et ab eis ita amantur ut facile earum sensus appareat. Quod in homine multo est evidentius, primum ex ea caritate quae est inter natos et parentes, quae dirimi nisi detestabili scelere non potest; deinde cum similis sensus exstitit amoris,

our finding, that is, some one person with whose character and nature we are in full sympathy, because we think that we perceive in him what I may call the beacon-light of virtue. si aliquem nacti sumus cuius cum moribus et natura congruamus, quod in eo quasi lumen aliquod probitatis et virtutis perspicere videamur.

[28.]. For nothing inspires love, nothing conciliates affection, like virtue. Why, in a certain sense we may be said to feel affection even for men we have never seen, owing to their honesty and virtue. Who, for instance, fails to dwell on the memory of Gaius Fabricius and Manius Curius with some affection and warmth of feeling, though he has never seen them? Or who but loathes Tarquinius Superbus, Spurius Cassius, Spurius Maelius? We have fought for empire in Italy with two great generals, Pyrrhus and Hannibal. For the former, owing to his probity, we entertain no great feelings of enmity: the latter, owing to his cruelty, our country has detested and always will detest.

28. Nihil est enim virtute amabilius, nihil quod magis adliciat ad diligendum, quippe cum propter virtutem et probitatem etiam eos, quos numquam vidimus, quodam modo diligamus. Quis est qui C. Fabrici, M’. Curi non cum caritate aliqua benevola memoriam usurpet, quos numquam viderit? quis autem est, qui Tarquinium Superbum, qui Sp. Cassium, Sp. Maelium non oderit? Cum duobus ducibus de imperio in Italia est decertatum, Pyrrho et Hannibale; ab altero propter probitatem eius non nimis alienos animos habemus, alterum propter crudelitatem semper haec civitas oderit.



Need (Utility) and Pleasure - Base Motives for 




[29.]  9. NOW, if the attraction of probity is so great that we can love it not only in those whom we have never seen, but, what is more, actually in an enemy, we need not be surprised if men’s affections are roused when they fancy that they have seen virtue and goodness in those with whom a close intimacy is possible. I do not deny that affection is strengthened by the actual receipt of benefits, as well as by the perception of a wish to render service, combined with a closer intercourse. When these are added to the original impulse of the heart, to which I have alluded, a quite surprising warmth of feeling springs up.

29. Quod si tanta vis probitatis est ut eam vel in iis quos numquam vidimus, vel, quod maius est, in hoste etiam diligamus, quid mirum est, si animi hominum moveantur, cum eorum, quibuscum usu coniuncti esse possunt, virtutem et bonitatem perspicere videantur? Quamquam confirmatur amor et beneficio accepto et studio perspecto et consuetudine adiuncta, quibus rebus ad illum primum motum animi et amoris adhibitis admirabilis quaedam exardescit benevolentiae magnitudo.

And if any one thinks that this comes from a sense of weakness, that each may have some one to help him to his particular need, all I can say is that, when he maintains it to be born of want and poverty, he allows to friendship an origin very base, and a pedigree, if I may be allowed the expression, far from noble. If this had been the case, a man’s inclination to friendship would be exactly in proportion to his low opinion of his own resources. Whereas the truth is quite the other way. Quam si qui putant ab imbecillitate proficisci, ut sit per quem adsequatur quod quisque desideret, humilem sane relinquunt et minime generosum, ut ita dicam, ortum amicitiae, quam ex inopia atque indigentia natam volunt. Quod si ita esset, ut quisque minimum esse in se arbitraretur, ita ad amicitiam esset aptissimus; quod longe secus est.

[30.]. For when a man’s confidence in himself is greatest, when he is so fortified by virtue and wisdom as to want nothing and to feel absolutely self-dependent, it is then that he is most conspicuous for seeking out and keeping up friendships. Did Africanus, for example, want anything of me? Not the least in the world! Neither did I of him. In my case it was an admiration of his virtue, in his an opinion, may be, which he entertained of my character, that caused our affection. Closer intimacy added to the warmth of our feelings.

30. Ut enim quisque sibi plurimum confidit et ut quisque maxime virtute et sapientia sic munitus est, ut nullo egeat suaque omnia in se ipso posita iudicet, ita in amicitiis expetendis colendisque maxime excellit. Quid enim? Africanus indigens mei? Minime hercule! ac ne ego quidem illius; sed ego admiratione quadam virtutis eius, ille vicissim opinione fortasse non nulla, quam de meis moribus habebat, me dilexit; auxit benevolentiam consuetudo.

But though many great material advantages did ensue, they were not the source from which our affection proceeded.

Sed quamquam utilitates multae et magnae consecutae sunt, non sunt tamen ab earum spe causae diligendi profectae.

[31.]. For as we are not beneficent and liberal with any view of extorting gratitude, and do not regard an act of kindness as an investment, but follow a natural inclination to liberality; so we look on friendship as worth trying for,

31. Ut enim benefici liberalesque sumus, non ut exigamus gratiam (neque enim beneficium faeneramur sed natura propensi ad liberalitatem sumus),

not because we are attracted to it by the expectation of ulterior gain, but in the conviction that what it has to give us is from first to last included in the feeling itself.

sic amicitiam non spe mercedis adducti sed quod omnis eius fructus in ipso amore inest, expetendam putamus.  

[32.]. Far different is the view of those who, like brute beasts, refer everything to sensual pleasure. And no wonder. Men who have degraded all their powers of thought to an object so mean and contemptible can of course raise their eyes to nothing lofty, to nothing grand and divine. Such persons indeed let us leave out of the present question. And let us accept the doctrine that the sensation of love and the warmth of inclination have their origin in a spontaneous feeling which arises directly the presence of probity is indicated. When once men have conceived the inclination, they of course try to attach themselves to the object of it, and move themselves nearer and nearer to him. Their aim is that they may be on the same footing and the same level in regard to affection, and be more inclined to do a good service than to ask a return, and that there should be this noble rivalry between them. Thus both truths will be established.

32. Ab his qui pecudum ritu ad voluptatem omnia referunt longe dissentiunt, nec mirum; nihil enim altum, nihil magnificum ac divinum suspicere possunt qui suas omnes cogitationes abiecerunt in rem tam humilem tamque contemptam. Quam ob rem hos quidem ab hoc sermone removeamus, ipsi autem intellegamus natura gigni sensum diligendi et benevolentiae caritatem facta significatione probitatis. Quam qui adpetiverunt, applicant se et propius admovent ut et usu eius, quem diligere coeperunt, fruantur et moribus sintque pares in amore et aequales propensioresque ad bene merendum quam ad reposcendum, atque haec inter eos sit honesta certatio.

We shall get the most important material advantages from friendship; and its origin from a natural impulse rather than from a sense of need will be at once more dignified and more in accordance with fact. For if it were true that its material advantages cemented friendship, it would be equally true that any change in them would dissolve it. But nature being incapable of change, it follows that genuine friendships are eternal. Sic et utilitates ex amicitia maximae capientur et erit eius ortus a natura quam ab imbecillitate gravior et verior. Nam si utilitas amicitias conglutinaret, eadem commutata dissolveret; sed quia natura mutari non potest, idcirco verae amicitiae sempiternae sunt.

So much for the origin of friendship. [...]

Ortum quidem amicitiae videtis, [....]

10. Laelius. Well, then, my good friends, listen to some conversations about friendship which very frequently passed between Scipio and myself. I must begin by telling you, however, that be used to say that the most difficult thing in the world was for a friendship to remain unimpaired to the end of life. So many things might intervene: conflicting interests; differences of opinion in politics; frequent changes in character, owing sometimes to misfortunes, sometimes to advancing years. He used to illustrate these facts from the analogy of boyhood, since the warmest affections between boys are often laid aside with the boyish toga;

Laelius: Audite vero, optimi viri, ea quae saepissime inter me et Scipionem de amicitia disserebantur. Quamquam ille quidem nihil difficilius esse dicebat, quam amicitiam usque ad extremum vitae diem permanere. Nam vel ut non idem expediret, incidere saepe, vel ut de re publica non idem sentiretur; mutari etiam mores hominum saepe dicebat, alias adversis rebus, alias aetate ingravescente. Atque earum rerum exemplum ex similitudine capiebat ineuntis aetatis, quod summi puerorum amores saepe una cum praetexta toga ponerentur.

[34.]  and even if they did manage to keep them up to adolescence, they were sometimes broken by a rivalry in courtship, or for some other advantage to which their mutual claims were not compatible. 34. Sin autem ad adulescentiam perduxissent, dirimi tamen interdum contentione vel uxoriae condicionis vel commodi alicuius, quod idem adipisci uterque non posset.

Even if the friendship was prolonged beyond that time, yet it frequently received a rude shock should the two happen to be competitors for office. For while the most fatal blow to friendship in the majority of cases was the lust of gold, in the case of the best men it was a rivalry for office and reputation, by which it had often happened that the most violent enmity had arisen between the closest friends.

Quod si qui longius in amicitia provecti essent, tamen saepe labefactari, si in honoris contentionem incidissent; pestem enim nullam maiorem esse amicitiis quam in plerisque pecuniae cupiditatem, in optimis quibusque honoris certamen et gloriae; ex quo inimicitias maximas saepe inter amicissimos exstitisse.  

[35.]. Again, wide breaches and, for the most part, justifiable ones were caused by an immoral request being made of friends, to pander to a man’s unholy desires or to assist him in inflicting a wrong. A refusal, though perfectly right, is attacked by those to whom they refuse compliance as a violation of the laws of friendship. Now the people who have no scruples as to the requests they make to their friends, thereby allow that they are ready to have no scruples as to what they will do for their friends; and it is the recriminations of such people which commonly not only quench friendships, but give rise to lasting enmities. “ In fact,” he used to say, “these fatalities overhang friendship in such numbers that it requires not only wisdom but good luck also to escape them all.”

35. Magna etiam discidia et plerumque iusta nasci, cum aliquid ab amicis quod rectum non esset postularetur, ut aut libidinis ministri aut adiutores essent ad iniuriam; quod qui recusarent, quamvis honeste id facerent, ius tamen amicitiae deserere arguerentur ab iis quibus obsequi nollent. Illos autem qui quidvis ab amico auderent postulare, postulatione ipsa profiteri omnia se amici causa esse facturos. Eorum querella inveterata non modo familiaritates exstingui solere sed odia etiam gigni sempiterna. Haec ita multa quasi fata impendere amicitiis ut omnia subterfugere non modo sapientiae sed etiam felicitatis diceret sibi videri.



Virtue as the Limit of Friendship - No Evil Conspiracy




[36.]. 11. WITH these premises, then, let us first, if you please, examine the question-how far ought personal feeling to go in friendship? For instance: suppose Coriolanus to have had friends, ought they to have joined him in invading his country? Again, in the case of Vecellinus or Spurius Maelius, ought their friends to have assisted them in their attempt to establish a tyranny?

36. Quam ob rem id primum videamus, si placet, quatenus amor in amicitia progredi debeat. Numne, si Coriolanus habuit amicos, ferre contra patriam arma illi cum Coriolano debuerunt? num Vecellinum amici regnum adpetentem, num Maelium debuerunt iuvare?

[38.]. But if we decide it to be right to grant our friends whatever they wish, and to ask them for whatever we wish, perfect wisdom must be assumed on both sides if no mischief is to happen. But we cannot assume this perfect wisdom; for we are speaking only of such friends as are ordinarily to be met with, whether we have actually seen them or have been told about them-men, that is to say, of everyday life. I must quote some examples of such persons, taking care to select such as approach nearest to our standard of wisdom.

38. Quod si rectum statuerimus vel concedere amicis, quidquid velint, vel impetrare ab iis, quidquid velimus, perfecta quidem sapientia si simus, nihil habeat res vitii; sed loquimur de iis amicis qui ante oculos sunt, quos vidimus aut de quibus memoriam accepimus, quos novit vita communis. Ex hoc numero nobis exempla sumenda sunt, et eorum quidem maxime qui ad sapientiam proxime accedunt.

[40.]  12. WE may then lay down this rule of friendship - neither ask nor consent to do what is wrong. For the plea “for friendship’s sake” is a discreditable one, and not to be admitted for a moment. This rule holds good for all wrong - doing, but more especially in such as involves disloyalty to the republic. For things have come to such a point with us, my dear Fannius and Scaevola, that we are bound to look somewhat far ahead to what is likely to happen to the republic. The constitution, as known to our ancestors, has already swerved somewhat from the regular course and the lines marked out for it

40. Haec igitur lex in amicitia sanciatur, ut neque rogemus res turpes nec faciamus rogati. Turpis enim excusatio est et minime accipienda cum in ceteris peccatis, tum si quis contra rem publicam se amici causa fecisse fateatur. Etenim eo loco, Fanni et Scaevola, locati sumus ut nos longe prospicere oporteat futuros casus rei publicae. Deflexit iam aliquantum de spatio curriculoque consuetudo maiorum.

[43.]  We conclude, then, not only that no such confederation of evilly disposed men must be allowed to shelter itself under the plea of friendship, but that, on the contrary, it must be visited with the severest punishment, lest the idea should prevail that fidelity to a friend justifies even making war upon one’s country. And this is a case which I am inclined to think, considering how things are beginning to go, will sooner or later arise. And I care quite as much what the state of the constitution will be after my death as what it is now.

43. Quare talis improborum consensio non modo excusatione amicitiae tegenda non est sed potius supplicio omni vindicanda est, ut ne quis concessum putet amicum vel bellum patriae inferentem sequi; quod quidem, ut res ire coepit, haud scio an aliquando futurum sit. Mihi autem non minori curae est, qualis res publica post mortem meam futura, quam qualis hodie sit.  





Fratenal Correction  

Gladly Received



[44.]  13. LET this, then, be laid down as the first law of friendship, that [1]  we should ask from friends and do for friends only what is good. [2]  But do not let us wait to be asked either: let there be ever an eager readiness, and an absence of hesitation. [3]  Let us have the courage to give advice with candour.

44. Haec igitur prima lex amicitiae sanciatur, ut ab amicis honesta petamus, amicorum causa honesta faciamus, ne exspectemus quidem, dum rogemur; studium semper adsit, cunctatio absit; consilium vero dare audeamus libere.

In friendship, let the influence of friends who give good advice be paramount; and let this influence be used to enforce advice not only in plain-spoken terms, but sometimes, if the case demands it, with sharpness; and when so used, let it be obeyed.

Plurimum in amicitia amicorum bene suadentium valeat auctoritas, eaque et adhibeatur ad monendum non modo aperte sed etiam acriter, si res postulabit, et adhibitae pareatur.





[47.]  [...] What noble philosophy! You might just as well take the sun out of the sky as friendship from life; for the immortal gods have given us nothing better or more delightful. But let us examine the two doctrines. What is the value of this “ freedom from care”? It is very tempting at first sight, but in practice it has in many cases to be put on one side. For there is no business and no course of action demanded from us by our honour which you can consistently decline, or lay aside when begun, from a mere wish to escape from anxiety. Nay, if we wish to avoid anxiety we must avoid virtue itself, which necessarily involves some anxious thoughts in showing its loathing and abhorrence for the qualities which are opposite to itself-as kindness for ill-nature, self-control for licentiousness, courage for cowardice. Thus you may notice that it is the just who are most pained at injustice, the brave at cowardly actions, the temperate at depravity.

47. O praeclaram sapientiam! Solem enim e mundo tollere videntur, qui amicitiam e vita tollunt, qua nihil a dis immortalibus melius habemus, nihil iucundius. Quae est enim ista securitas? Specie quidem blanda sed reapse multis locis repudianda. Neque enim est consentaneum ullam honestam rem actionemve, ne sollicitus sis, aut non suscipere aut susceptam deponere. Quod si curam fugimus, virtus fugienda est, quae necesse est cum aliqua cura res sibi contrarias aspernetur atque oderit, ut bonitas malitiam, temperantia libidinem, ignaviam fortitudo; itaque videas rebus iniustis iustos maxime dolere, imbellibus fortes, flagitiosis modestos. Ergo hoc proprium est animi bene constituti, et laetari bonis rebus et dolere contrariis.  





14. [48.]  LET me repeat then, “the clear indication of virtue, to which a mind of like character is naturally attracted, is the beginning of friendship.” When that is the case the rise of affection is a necessity.

Cum autem contrahat amicitiam, ut supra dixi, si qua significatio virtutis eluceat, ad quam se similis animus applicet et adiungat, id cum contigit, amor exoriatur necesse est.

[49.]  For what can be more irrational than to take delight in many objects incapable of response, such as office, fame, splendid buildings, and personal decoration, and yet to take little or none in a sentient being endowed with virtue, which has the faculty of loving or, if I may use the expression, loving back? For nothing is really more delightful than a return of affection, and the mutual interchange of kind feeling and good offices.

49. Quid enim tam absurdum quam delectari multis inanimis rebus, ut honore, ut gloria, ut aedificio, ut vestitu cultuque corporis, animante virtute praedito, eo qui vel amare vel, ut ita dicam, redamare possit, non admodum delectari? Nihil est enim remuneratione benevolentiae, nihil vicissitudine studiorum officiorumque iucundius.

And if we add, as we may fairly do, that nothing so powerfully attracts and draws one thing to itself as likeness does to friendship, it will at once be admitted to be true that the good love the good and attach them to themselves as though they were united by blood and nature. For nothing can be more eager, or rather greedy, for what is like itself than nature. So, my dear Fannius and Scaevola, we may look upon this as an established fact, that between good men there is, as it were of necessity, a kindly feeling, which is the source of friendship ordained by nature. But this same kindliness affects the many also. For that is no unsympathetic or selfish or exclusive virtue, which protects even whole nations and consults their best interests. And that certainly it would not have done had it disdained all affection for the common herd.

50. Quid, si illud etiam addimus, quod recte addi potest, nihil esse quod ad se rem ullam tam alliciat et attrahat quam ad amicitiam similitudo? concedetur profecto verum esse, ut bonos boni diligant adsciscantque sibi quasi propinquitate coniunctos atque natura. Nihil est enim appetentius similium sui nec rapacius quam natura. Quam ob rem hoc quidem, Fanni et Scaevola, constet, ut opinor, bonis inter bonos quasi necessariam benevolentiam, qui est amicitiae fons a natura constitutus. Sed eadem bonitas etiam ad multitudinem pertinet. Non enim est inhumana virtus neque immunis neque superba, quae etiam populos universos tueri iisque optime consulere soleat; quod non faceret profecto, si a caritate vulgi abhorreret.

[51.]  Again, the believers in the “interest” [utilitas] theory appear to me to destroy the most attractive link in the chain of friendship. For it is not so much what one gets by a friend that gives one pleasure, as the warmth of his feeling; and we only care for a friend’s service if it has been prompted by affection. And so far from its being true that lack of means is a motive for seeking friendship, it is usually those who being most richly endowed with wealth and means, and above all with virtue (which, after all, is a man’s best support), are least in need of another, that are most openhanded and beneficent. Indeed I am inclined to think that friends ought at times to be in want of something. For instance, what scope would my affections have had if Scipio had never wanted my advice or co-operation at home or abroad? It is not friendship, then, that follows material advantage, but material advantage friendship.

51. Atque etiam mihi quidem videntur, qui utilitatum causa fingunt amicitias, amabilissimum nodum amicitiae tollere. Non enim tam utilitas parta per amicum quam amici amor ipse delectat, tumque illud fit, quod ab amico est profectum, iucundum, si cum studio est profectum; tantumque abest, ut amicitiae propter indigentiam colantur, ut ii qui opibus et copiis maximeque virtute, in qua plurimum est praesidii, minime alterius indigeant, liberalissimi sint et beneficentissimi. Atque haud sciam an ne opus sit quidem nihil umquam omnino deesse amicis. Ubi enim studia nostra viguissent, si numquam consilio, numquam opera nostra nec domi nec militiae Scipio eguisset? Non igitur utilitatem amicitia, sed utilitas amicitiam secuta est.



More Flexible Moral Limit of Friendship - No 

Utter Disgrace



[56.]  16. TO turn to another branch of our subject. We must now endeavour to ascertain what limits are to be observed in friendship-what is the boundary-line, so to speak, beyond which our affection is not to go.

56. Constituendi autem sunt qui sint in amicitia fines et quasi termini diligendi.

On this point I notice three opinions, with none of which I agree. One is that we should love our friend just as much as we love ourselves, and no more; another, that our affection to them should exactly correspond and equal theirs to us; a third, that a man should be valued at exactly the same rate as he values himself. [...]

De quibus tres video sententias ferri, quarum nullam probo, unam, ut eodem modo erga amicum adfecti simus, quo erga nosmet ipsos, alteram, ut nostra in amicos benevolentia illorum erga nos benevolentiae pariter aequaliterque respondeat, tertiam, ut, quanti quisque se ipse facit, tanti fiat ab amicis.

[60.]  This maxim, then, let it be whose it will, is the utter destruction of friendship. The true rule is to take such care in [choosing] friends as never to enter upon love of someone whom we could under any circumstances come to hate. And even if we are unlucky in our choice, we must put up with it-according to Scipio-in preference to making calculations as to a future breach.

60. Quare hoc quidem praeceptum, cuiuscumque est, ad tollendam amicitiam valet; illud potius praecipiendum fuit, ut eam diligentiam adhiberemus in amicitiis comparandis, ut ne quando amare inciperemus eum, quem aliquando odisse possemus. Quin etiam si minus felices in diligendo fuissemus, ferendum id Scipio potius quam inimicitiarum tempus cogitandum putabat.





[61.]  17. THE real limit to be observed in friendship is this: the characters of two friends must be stainless. There must be complete harmony of interests, purpose, and aims, without exception. Then if the case arises of a friend’s wish (not strictly right in itself) calling for support in a matter involving his life or reputation, we must make some concession from the straight path - on condition, that is to say, that extreme disgrace is not the consequence. Something must be conceded to friendship. And yet we must not be entirely careless of our reputation, nor regard the good opinion of our fellow-citizens as a weapon which we can afford to despise in conducting the business of our life, however lowering it may be to tout for it by flattery and smooth words. We must by no means abjure virtue, which secures us affection.

61. His igitur finibus utendum arbitror, ut, cum emendati mores amicorum sint, tum sit inter eos omnium rerum, consiliorum, voluntatum sine ulla exceptione communitas, ut, etiamsi qua fortuna acciderit ut minus iustae amicorum voluntates adiuvandae sint, in quibus eorum aut caput agatur aut fama, declinandum de via sit, modo ne summa turpitudo sequatur; est enim quatenus amicitiae dari venia possit. Nec vero neglegenda est fama nec mediocre telum ad res gerendas existimare oportet benevolentiam civium; quam blanditiis et assentando colligere turpe est; virtus, quam sequitur caritas, minime repudianda est.





[65.]  18. NOW, what is the quality to look out for as a warrant for the stability and permanence of friendship?

65. Firmamentum autem stabilitatis constantiaeque eius, quam in amicitia quaerimus,

[1] It is loyalty.
Nothing that lacks this can be stable.

fides est;
 nihil est enim stabile quod infidum est.

[2] We should also in making our selection look out for simplicity,

[3] a social disposition,

[4] and a sympathetic nature,
moved by what moves us.

Simplicem praeterea

et communem

et consentientem
id est qui rebus isdem moveatur, eligi par est

These all contribute to maintain loyalty.

, quae omnia pertinent ad fidelitatem;

You can never trust a character which is intricate and tortuous. Nor, indeed, is it possible for one to be trustworthy and firm who is unsympathetic by nature and unmoved by what affects ourselves. We may add, that he must neither take pleasure in bringing accusations against us himself, nor believe them when they are brought. All these contribute to form that constancy which I have been endeavouring to describe. And the result is, what I started by saying, that friendship is only possible between good men.

neque enim fidum potest esse multiplex ingenium et tortuosum, neque vero, qui non isdem rebus movetur naturaque consentit, aut fidus aut stabilis potest esse.Addendum eodem est, ut ne criminibus aut inferendis delectetur aut credat oblatis, quae pertinent omnia ad eam, quam iam dudum tracto, constantiam. Ita fit verum illud, quod initio dixi, amicitiam nisi inter bonos esse non posse.

Now there are two [actually three] characteristic features in his treatment of his friends that a good (which may be regarded as equivalent to a wise) man will always display.

Est enim boni viri, quem eundem sapientem licet dicere, haec duo tenere in amicitia:

First, he will be entirely without any make-believe or pretence of feeling; for the open display even of dislike is more becommg to an ingenuous character than a studied concealment of sentiment.

primum ne quid fictum sit neve simulatum; aperte enim vel odisse magis ingenui est quam fronte occultare sententiam;

Secondly, he will not only reject all accusations brought against his friend by another, but he will not be suspicious himself either, nor be always thinking that his friend has acted improperly.

deinde non solum ab aliquo allatas criminationes repellere, sed ne ipsum quidem esse suspiciosum, semper aliquid existimantem ab amico esse violatum.

[66.]  Besides this, there should be a certain pleasantness in word and manner which adds no little flavour to friendship. A gloomy temper and unvarying gravity may be very impressive; but friendship should be a little less unbending, more indulgent and gracious, and more inclined to all kinds of good-fellowship and good-nature.

66. Accedat huc suavitas quaedam oportet sermonum atque morum, haudquaquam mediocre condimentum amicitiae. Tristitia autem et in omni re severitas habet illa quidem gravitatem, sed amicitia remissior esse debet et liberior et dulcior et ad omnem comitatem facilitatemque proclivior.



Equality in 




[69.]  But here is another golden rule in friendship: put yourself on a level with your friend. For it often happens that there are certain superiorities, as for example Scipio’s in what I may call our set. Now he never assumed any airs of superiority over Philus, or Rupilius, or Mummius, or over friends of a lower rank stilt. For instance, he always shewed a deference to his brother Quintus Maximus because he was his senior, who, though a man no doubt of eminent character, was by no means his equal. He used also to wish that all his friends should be the better for his support.

69. Sed maximum est in amicitia parem esse inferiori. Saepe enim excellentiae quaedam sunt, qualis erat Scipionis in nostro, ut ita dicam, grege. Numquam se ille Philo, numquam Rupilio, numquam Mummio anteposuit, numquam inferioris ordinis amicis, Q. vero Maximum fratrem, egregium virum omnino, sibi nequaquam parem, quod is anteibat aetate, tamquam superiorem colebat suosque omnes per se posse esse ampliores volebat.

[70.]  This is an example we should all follow. If any of us have any advantage in personal character, intellect, or fortune, we should be ready to make our friends sharers and partners in it with ourselves. For instance, if their parents are in humble circumstances, if their relations are powerful neither in intellect nor means, we should supply their deficiencies and promote their rank and dignity. You know the legends of children brought up as servants in ignorance of their parentage and family. When they are recognized and discovered to be the sons of gods or kings, they still retain their affection for the shepherds whom they have for many years looked upon as their parents. Much more ought this to be so in the case of real and undoubted parents. For the advantages of genius and virtue, and in short,of every kind of superiority, are never realized to their fullest extent until they are bestowed upon our nearest and dearest.

70. Quod faciendum imitandumque est omnibus, ut, si quam praestantiam virtutis, ingenii, fortunae consecuti sint, impertiant ea suis communicentque cum proximis, ut, si parentibus nati sint humilibus, si propinquos habeant imbecilliore vel animo vel fortuna, eorum augeant opes eisque honori sint et dignitati. Ut in fabulis, qui aliquamdiu propter ignorationem stirpis et generis in famulatu fuerunt, cum cogniti sunt et aut deorum aut regum filii inventi, retinent tamen caritatem in pastores, quos patres multos annos esse duxerunt. Quod est multo profecto magis in veris patribus certisque faciendum. Fructus enim ingenii et virtutis omnisque praestantiae tum maximus capitur, cum in proximum quemque confertur.





[71.]  20. BUT the converse must also be observed. For in friendship and relationship, just as those who possess any superiority must put themselves on an equal footing with those who are less fortunate, so these latter must not be annoyed at being surpassed in genius, fortune, or rank. But most people of that sort are forever either grumbling at something, or harping on their claims; and especially if they consider that they have services of their own to allege involving zeal and friendship and some trouble to themselves. People who are always bringing up their services are a nuisance. The recipient ought to remember them; the performer should never mention them.

71. Ut igitur ii qui sunt in amicitiae coniunctionisque necessitudine superiores, exaequare se cum inferioribus debent, sic inferiores non dolere se a suis aut ingenio aut fortuna aut dignitate superari. Quorum plerique aut queruntur semper aliquid aut etiam exprobrant, eoque magis, si habere se putant, quod officiose et amice et cum labore aliquo suo factum queant dicere. Odiosum sane genus hominum officia exprobrantium; quae meminisse debet is in quem conlata sunt, non commemorare, qui contulit.



Friendship to be Sought for its Own Sake 




[78.]  Our first object, then, should be to prevent a breach; our second, to secure that, if it does occur, our friendship should seem to have died a natural rather than a violent death. Next, we should take care that friendship is not converted into active hostility, from which flow personal quarrels, abusive language, and angry recriminations. These last, however, provided that they do not pass all reasonable limits of forbearance, we ought to put up with, and, in compliment to an old friendship, allow the party that inflicts the injury, not the one that submits to it, to be in the wrong. Generally speaking, there is but one way of securing and providing oneself against faults and inconveniences of this sort-not to be too hasty in bestowing our affection, and not to bestow it at all on unworthy objects.

78. Quam ob rem primum danda opera est ne qua amicorum discidia fiant; sin tale aliquid evenerit, ut exstinctae potius amicitiae quam oppressae videantur. Cavendum vero ne etiam in graves inimicitias convertant se amicitiae; ex quibus iurgia, maledicta, contumeliae gignuntur. Quae tamen si tolerabiles erunt, ferendae sunt, et hic honos veteri amicitiae tribuendus, ut is in culpa sit qui faciat, non is qui patiatur iniuriam. Omnino omnium horum vitiorum atque incommodorum una cautio est atque una provisio, ut ne nimis cito diligere incipiant neve non dignos.

[79.]  Now, by “worthy of friendship” I mean those who have in themselves the qualities which attract affection. This sort of man is rare; and indeed all excellent things are rare; and nothing in the world is so hard to find as a thing entirely and completely perfect of its kind. But most people not only recognize nothing as good in our life unless it is profitable, but look upon friends as so much stock, caring most for those by whom they hope to make most profit.

79. Digni autem sunt amicitia quibus in ipsis inest causa cur diligantur. Rarum genus. Et quidem omnia praeclara rara, nec quicquam difficilius quam reperire quod sit omni ex parte in suo genere perfectum. Sed plerique neque in rebus humanis quicquam bonum norunt, nisi quod fructuosum sit, et amicos tamquam pecudes eos potissimum diligunt ex quibus sperant se maximum fructum esse capturos.

[80.]  Accordingly they never possess that most beautiful and most spontaneous friendship which must be sought solely for itself without any ulterior object. They fail also to learn from their own feelings the nature and the strength of friendship.

80. Ita pulcherrima illa et maxime naturali carent amicitia per se et propter se expetita nec ipsi sibi exemplo sunt, haec vis amicitiae et qualis et quanta sit.

For every one loves himself, not for any reward which such love may bring, but because he is dear to himself independently of anything else. But unless this feeling is transferred to another, what a real friend is will never be revealed; for he is, as it were, a second self.

Ipse enim se quisque diligit, non ut aliquam a se ipse mercedem exigat caritatis suae, sed quod per se sibi quisque carus est. Quod nisi idem in amicitiam transferetur, verus amicus numquam reperietur; est enim is qui est tamquam alter idem.

[81.]  But if we find these two instincts showing themselves in animals,- whether of the air or the sea or the land, whether wild or tame,-first, a love of self, which in fact is born in everything that lives alike; and, secondly, an eagerness to fiud and attach themselves to other creatures of their own kind; and if this natural action is accompanied by desire and by something resembling human love, how much more must this be the case in man by the law of his nature? For man not only loves himself, but seeks another whose spirit he may so blend with his own as almost to make one being of two.

81. Quod si hoc apparet in bestiis, volucribus, nantibus, agrestibus, cicuribus, feris, primum ut se ipsae diligant (id enim pariter cum omni animante nascitur), deinde ut requirant atque appetant ad quas se applicent eiusdem generis animantis, idque faciunt cum desiderio et cum quadam similitudine amoris humani, quanto id magis in homine fit natura! qui et se ipse diligit et alterum anquirit, cuius animum ita cum suo misceat ut efficiat paene unum ex duobus.





[91.]  25. WELL, then, if it is true that to give and receive advice -the former with freedom and yet without bitterness, the latter with patience and without irritation-is peculiarly appropriate to genuine friendship, it is no less true that there can be nothing more utterly subversive of friendship than flattery, adulation, and base compliance. I use as many terms as possible to brand this vice of light-minded, untrustworthy men, whose sole object in speaking is to please with-out any regard to truth.

91. Ut igitur et monere et moneri proprium est verae amicitiae et alterum libere facere, non aspere, alterum patienter accipere, non repugnanter, sic habendum est nullam in amicitiis pestem esse maiorem quam adulationem, blanditiam, assentationem; quamvis enim multis nominibus est hoc vitium notandum levium hominum atque fallacium ad voluntatem loquentium omnia, nihil ad veritatem.

[92.]  In everything false pretence is bad. for it suspends and vitiates our power of discerning the truth. But to nothing it is so hostile as to friendship; for it destroys that frankness without which friendship is an empty name. For the essence of friendship being that two minds become as one, how can that ever take place if the mind of each of the separate parties to it is not single and uniform, but variable, changeable, and complex?

92. Cum autem omnium rerum simulatio vitiosa est (tollit enim iudicium veri idque adulterat), tum amicitiae repugnat maxime; delet enim veritatem, sine qua nomen amicitiae valere non potest. Nam cum amicitiae vis sit in eo, ut unus quasi animus fiat ex pluribus, qui id fieri poterit, si ne in uno quidem quoque unus animus erit idemque semper, sed varius, commutabilis, multiplex?





27. WELL, then, Fannius and Mucius, I repeat what I said before. It is virtue, virtue, which both creates and preserves friendship.

Virtus, virtus, inquam, C. Fanni, et tu, Q. Muci, et conciliat amicitias et conservat

On it depends
harmony of interest,

In ea est enim
convenientia rerum,
 in ea
 in ea

[Note similarity to Benedictine vows of conversation morum, stabilitas, obedientia]


When Virtue has reared her head and shewn the light of her countenance, and seen and recognised the same light in another, she gravitates towards it, and in her turn welcomes that which the other has to shew; and from it springs up a flame which you may call love or friendship as you please. Both words are from the same root in Latin; and love is just the cleaving to him whom you love without the prompting of need or any view to advantage-though this latter blossoms spontaneously on friendship, little as you may have looked for it.

quae cum se extulit et ostendit suum lumen et idem aspexit agnovitque in alio, ad id se admovet vicissimque accipit illud, quod in altero est; ex quo exardescit sive amor sive amicitia; utrumque enim dictum est ab amando; amare autem nihil est aliud nisi eum ipsum diligere, quem ames, nulla indigentia, nulla utilitate quaesita; quae tamen ipsa efflorescit ex amicitia, etiamsi tu eam minus secutus sis.

[104.]  Why speak of our eagerness to be ever gaining some knowledge, to be ever learning something, on which we spent all our leisure hours far from the gaze of the world?

104. Nam quid ego de studiis dicam cognoscendi semper aliquid atque discendi? in quibus remoti ab oculis populi omne otiosum tempus contrivimus.

If the recollection and memory of these things had perished with the man, I could not possibly have endured the regret for one so closely united with me in life and affection. But these things have not perished; they are rather fed and strengthened by reflexion and memory. Even supposing me to have been entirely bereft of them, still my time of life of itself brings me no small consolation: for I cannot have much longer now to bear this regret; and everything that is brief ought to be endurable, however severe.

Quarum rerum recordatio et memoria si una cum illo occidisset, desiderium coniunctissimi atque amantissimi viri ferre nullo modo possem. Sed nec illa exstincta sunt alunturque potius et augentur cogitatione et memoria mea, et si illis plane orbatus essem, magnum tamen adfert mihi aetas ipsa solacium. Diutius enim iam in hoc desiderio esse non possum. Omnia autem brevia tolerabilia esse debent, etiamsi magna sunt.

This is all I had to say on friendship. One piece of advice on parting. Make up your minds to this.

Haec habui de amicitia quae dicerem. Vos autem hortor

Virtue (without which friendship is impossible) is first; but next to it, and to it alone, the greatest of all things is Friendship.

ut ita virtutem locetis, sine qua amicitia esse non potest, ut ea excepta nihil amicitia praestabili putetis.









De Amicitia 14-27



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