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[65] 19. Again, the kindnesses shown not by gifts1 of money but by personal service2 are bestowed sometimes upon the community at large, sometimes upon individual citizens. To protect a man in his legal rights [, to assist him with counsel,] and to serve as many as possible with that sort of knowledge tends greatly to increase one's influence and popularity.

Thus, among the many admirable ideas of our3 ancestors was the high respect they always accorded to the study and interpretation of the excellent body of our civil law. And down to the present unsettled times the foremost men of the state have kept this profession exclusively in their own hands; but now the prestige of legal learning has departed along with offices of honour and positions of dignity; and this is the more deplorable, because it has come to pass in the lifetime of a man4 who in knowledge of the law would easily have surpassed all his predecessors, while in honour he is their peer. Service such as this, then, finds many to appreciate it and is calculated to bind people closely to us by our good services.

[p. 241]

1 (2) personal service.

2 Acts of kindness and personal service mean to Cicero throughout this discussion the services of the lawyer, which were voluntary and gratis.

3 The profession of the law.

4 This eminent jurist was Servius Sulpicius Lemonia Rufus, a close friend of Cicero, author of the well-known letter of condolence to Cicero on the death of his daughter Tullia.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references in indexes to this page (3):
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Generosity
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Law
    • M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis: index, Republic
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