Cicero



Cicero, was truly a man of the state. His writings also show us he was equally a man of
philosophical temperament and affluence. Yet at times these two forces within Cicero clash
and contradict with the early stoic teachings. Cicero gradually adopted the stoic
lifestyle but not altogether entirely, and this is somewhat due to the fact of what it was
like to be a roman of the time. The morals of everyday Rome conflicted with some of the
stoic ideals that were set by early stoicism. Thus, Cicero changed the face of stoicism by
romanizing it; redefining stoicism into the middle phase.
Of Cicero it can be said he possessed a bias towards roman life and doctrine. For Cicero
every answer lay within Rome itself, from the ideal governing body to the place of
divination. Cicero does not offer any alternate answers to roman society, which robs him
of being truly a unique and bold political philosopher. This is not to say however some
of his doctrines are untrue, just that he is somewhat blinded by his roman beliefs and
assumptions.
The assumptions of Cicero can be noticed when one inspects his view of the ideal
governing body, which he expresses through Scipio (in the commonwealth). Although Cicero
presents very convincing arguments for a Composite government, clearly his view is
possibly only due towards his belief in the roman structure of government.1
Cicero was limited to roman borders of experience, and this point was best illustrated
by his disagreement with Aristotle\'s writings on the decay of states. Cicero was
unable to think on the level of Aristotle\'s logic. He quite simply used roman history
as a mapping of the paths of the decay of states.
In contrast, Aristotle understood the underlying forces and influences that transpired when
a state degraded. Cicero quite frankly could not understand the forces which Aristotle so
eloquently denoted. For Cicero, history offered the only possible paths of outcomes; the
forces and behaviors played little part on the resulting state.2
A further point of philosophical belief which Cicero contradicted the stoic lifestyle,
is religion. Roman tradition conflicted greatly with stoic doctrine, and the two
philosophies could never truly harmonize with one another. This point brought the
distinction between the Greek learned world of intellect, and the traditional religious
roman patronage. This observation literally draws a line between the two worlds, that
of knowledge and reason opposing that of tradition and sentiment. This illustrated that
roman was truly unable to fully accept a Greek philosophy based on knowledge and
brotherhood, and a great Roman such as Cicero was similarly unable to accept the stoic
doctrine as a whole.3
The philosophy of stoicism originated in Greece, and was based on the order of the
universe. Nature to the stoics (universe) was a precisely ordered cosmos. Stoics taught
that there was an order behind all the evident confusion of the universe. Mans purpose
was to acquire order within the universe; harmonizing yourself with the universal order.
Within this notion of harmonizing lies wisdom, sin resides with resisting the natural
order (or nature). The stoics also tell of a rational plan in nature; our role was to
live in accord with this plan. The natural order was filled with divinity, and all things
possess a divine nature. This natural order was god, and thus the universe was god; the
Greek and roman pathos were simply beliefs forged by superstition. The stoics also had a
great indifference towards life, in the regard that the natural plan cannot be changed.
This attitude made stoic\'s recluse from fame, and opposed to seeking it.
One fundamental belief stoics held was in the universal community of mankind. They held
that a political community is nothing more than its laws\' borders, since the natural
laws are universal imposed; a universal political community existed in which all men
share membership. This interpretation is generally regarded as the early stoic stage,
which had yet to experience little roman influence. Upon roman adoption, stoicism went
through a romanizing period; an altering of the philosophy to better integrate into
roman mainstream.
The ideal state of Cicero\'s;
" For I hold it desirable, first, that there should be a dominant and royal
element in the commonwealth; second, that some powers should be
granted and assigned