Saturday, April 25, 2020


Royal Virtues

Cicero, On Behalf of King Deiotarus 9.26 (tr. N.H. Watts):
This king is an exemplar of all the virtues, as I think you, Caesar, know well enough; but in nothing is he more remarkable and more admirable than in his sobriety; although I know that kings are not commonly praised in such terms. To be called a sober person does not convey much commendation to a king. Bravery, justice, earnestness, dignity, magnanimity, liberality, kindliness, generosity—these are the qualities we commend in a king; sobriety in a subject. Everyone is free to put what construction he pleases upon my words; none the less I pronounce sobriety, by which I mean moderation and temperance, to be the highest of virtues.

omnes in illo sunt rege virtutes, quod te, Caesar, ignorare non arbitror, sed praecipue singularis et admiranda frugalitas: etsi hoc verbo scio laudari regem non solere; frugi hominem dici non multum habet laudis in rege: fortem, iustum, severum, gravem, magnanimum, largum, beneficum, liberalem: hae sunt regiae laudes, illa privata est. ut volet quisque, accipiat: ego tamen frugalitatem, id est modestiam et temperantiam, virtutem maximam iudico.
A good example of a Tugendkatalog.

Id. 13.37:
And what shall I say of his valour, his magnanimity, his steadfastness, and his fortitude? These qualities have by all wise men and philosophers been asserted to be the highest, and by some to be the only valid possessions; it has been said that, possessing these, virtue possesses all that is requisite for the good, nay, for the happy life.

quid de virtute eius dicam? de magnitudine animi, gravitate, constantia? quae omnes docti atque sapientes summa, quidam etiam sola bona esse dixerunt, hisque non modo ad bene, sed etiam ad beate vivendum contentam esse virtutem.

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