previous next
[18] This; however, I do feel first of all—that friendship cannot exist except among good men; nor do I go into that too deeply,1 as is done by those2 who, in discussing this point with more than usual accuracy, and it may be correctly, but with too little view to practical results, say that no one is good unless he is wise. We may grant that; but they understand wisdom to be a thing such as no mortal man has yet attained.3 I, however, am bound to look at things as they are in the experience of everyday life and not as they are in fancy or in hope. Never could I say that Gaius Fabricius, Manius Curius, and Tiberius Coruncanius, whom our ancestors adjudged to be wise, were wise by such a standard as that. [p. 129] Therefore, let the Sophists keep their unpopular4 and unintelligible word to themselves, granting only that the men just named were good men. They will not do it though; they will say that goodness can be predicated only of the “wise” man.

1 Id ad vivum reseco, lit. “cut back to the quick.”

2 i.e. those who profess the art of disputation; of. 17.

3 The perfect “wise man” of the Stoics represents an ideal, though they allowed that a few men, such as Socrates, almost realized it.

4 Lit. “at which everyone looks askance,” as indicating conceit or arrogance.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
hide References (34 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: