Laelius de Amicitia Liber
by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Introduction

"The date of its composition belongs within the year 44 B.C., but the month cannot be fixed with absolute certainty. It was written after the Cato Maior and after the completion of Divination, in which (Div. ii. 3) Cicero gives the names of his philosophic books so far written and does not mention this work. It is referred to in the second volume of De Officiis (ii. 9. 31), which was written in November. In a letter to Atticus (Ad Att. xvi. 13 c) Cicero, on November 5, 44, asks when 'Fannius, son of Marcus' (one of the interlocutors), was tribune. This inquiry suggests that he was then writing or revising the Laelius and tends to fix the date of composition in the autumn of 44 B.C."
--From the Loeb Classical Volume #154, "Introduction to Laelius", Harvard UP, 1996.

 

"There are three persons in the dialogue: Laelius, the principal speaker, Fannius and Scaevola, his auditors and interrogators.
     Gaius Laelius, of about the same age as his friend Scipio Minor, was the son of another C. Laelius who had been the friend of Scipio Major. He was the type of the best Roman gentleman of the time--of spotless character, witty, deeply read in all accessible literature, by principle a Stoic, and in active life an honorable statesman and a competent soldier. He occupied all the usual magistracies, was tribune 151 B.C., praetor 145 B.C., and consul in 140 B.C., although he failed to secure that office in 141 B.C. in spite of the help of Scipio in his canvass. He distinguished himself in the Third Punic War and in the war in Spain; and for the later years of his life busied himself, like his friend, with literature and philosophy, himself gaining credit as a writer and orator. He was for many years one of the College of Augurs.
     Gaius Fannius, born about 160 B.C., married the daughter of Laelius. He served under Scipio in Africa and Spain, and he and Tiberius Gracchus were the first to mount the walls of Carthage at its capture, 146 B.C. He was a person of great literary attainments, and among other things wrote a history of his own times.
     Quintus Mucius Scaevola, another son-in-law of Laelius, was born about 157 B.C., and was pro-praetor of Asia in 121 B.C. On his return to Rome he was prosecuted unsuccessfully for extortion in his province. He lived to a great age--was certainly alive in 88 B.C. His family had produced a series of great lawyers, among whom he himself was not the least renowned. When Cicero assumed the toga virilis, his father took him to Scaevola, from whose side the future orator never willingly departed. This Scaevola is generally spoken of as Augur, to distinguish him from his namesake, the Pontifex.

THE DIALOGUE

The scene of the Dialogue is laid at Rome in the days immediately following the sudden death of Scipio Minor, when Laelius was about 57 years of age. His sons-in-law are calling upon him, and he makes his own friendship for Scipio the basis of a general discourse on the subject of Friends and Friendship."
--Excerpts from Introduction of "Cicero: De Amicitia," University Tutorial Press, London, 1897.

De Amicitia: (Ch 01-09) Latin Text The text comes from "Cicero: De Amicitia" University Tutorial Press, London, 1897 and is based on C. F. W. Müller's in Bibliotheca Teubneriana.
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