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[40] So also to buyers and sellers, to employers and employed, and to those who are engaged in commercial dealings generally, justice is indispensable for the conduct of business. Its importance is so great, that not even1 those who live by wickedness and crime can get on without some small element of justice. For if a robber takes anything by force or by fraud from another member of the gang, he loses his standing even in a band of robbers; and if the one called the “Pirate Captain” should not divide the plunder impartially, he would be either deserted or murdered by his comrades. Why, they say that robbers even have a code of laws to observe and obey. And so, because of his impartial division of booty, Bardulis, the Illyrian bandit, of whom we read in Theopompus, acquired great power, Viriathus, of Lusitania, much greater. He actually defied even our armies and generals. But Gaius Laelius—the one surnamed “the Wise”—in his praetorship crushed his power, reduced him to terms, and so checked his intrepid daring, that he left to his successors an easy conquest.

Since, therefore, the efficacy of justice is so great that it strengthens and augments the power even of robbers, how great do we think its power will be in a constitutional government with its laws and courts?

1 Honour among thieves.

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load focus Notes (Walter Miller, 1913)
load focus Introduction (Walter Miller, 1913)
load focus Latin (Walter Miller, 1913)
hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references in indexes to this page (7):
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Bardulis
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Gaius Laelius
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Illyria
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Justice
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Lusitania
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Theopompus
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Viriathus
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