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[64] It will, moreover, befit a gentleman to be at the same time liberal in giving and not inconsiderate in exacting his dues, but in every business relation—in buying or selling, in hiring or letting, in relations arising out of adjoining houses and lands—to be fair, reasonable, often freely yielding much of his own right, and keeping out of litigation as far as his interests will permit and perhaps even a little farther. For it is not only generous occasionally to abate a little of one's rightful claims, but it is sometimes even advantageous. We should, however, have a care for our personal property, for it is discreditable to let it run through our fingers; but we must guard it in such a way that there shall be no suspicion of meanness or avarice. For the greatest privilege of wealth is, beyond all peradventure, the opportunity it affords for doing good, without sacrificing one's fortune.

Hospitality also is a theme of Theophrastus's praise, 1 and rightly so. For, as it seems to me at least, it is most proper that the homes of distinguished men should be open to distinguished guests. And it is to the credit of our country also that men from abroad do not fail to find hospitable entertainment of this kind in our city. It is, moreover, a very [p. 239] great advantage, too, for those who wish to obtain a powerful political influence by honourable means to be able through their social relations with their guests to enjoy popularity and to exert influence abroad. For an instance of extraordinary hospitality, Theophrastus writes that at Athens Cimon was hospitable even to the Laciads, the people of his own deme; for he instructed his bailiffs to that end and gave them orders that every attention should be shown to any Laciad who should ever call at his country home.

1 Another expression of beneficence is hospitality.

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load focus Notes (Walter Miller, 1913)
load focus Introduction (Walter Miller, 1913)
load focus Latin (Walter Miller, 1913)
hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references in indexes to this page (6):
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Athens
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Cimon
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Expediency
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Hospitality
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Laciads
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Theophrastus
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