Marcus Tullis Cicero (106 BC-43 BC)

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

“To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.”

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.”

“Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labor; read as one goes in; read as one goes out. The task of the educated mind is simply put: read to lead.”

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

“Laws are silent in times of war.”

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

“If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.”

“The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”

“The life of the dead is set in the memory of the living.”

“The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”

“For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.”

“What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.”

“Politicians are not born; they are excreted.”

“Life is nothing without friendship.”

“It is a great thing to know your vices.”

“The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.”

“We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.”

“To study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die.”

“While there’s life, there’s hope.”

“Our span of life is brief, but is long enough for us to live well and honestly.”

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”

“What an ugly beast is the ape, and how like us.”

“God’s law is ‘right reason.’ When perfectly understood it is called ‘wisdom.’ When applied by government in regulating human relations it is called ‘justice.”

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

“The man who backbites an absent friend, nay, who does not stand up for him when another blames him, the man who angles for bursts of laughter and for the repute of a wit, who can invent what he never saw, who cannot keep a secret — that man is black at heart: mark and avoid him.”

“A man of courage is also full of faith.”

“I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.”

“Freedom is participation in power.”

“Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.”

“What one has, one ought to use; and whatever he does, he should do with all his might.”

“The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.”

“When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s [children’s] minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.”

“Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?”

“A friend is a second self.”

“Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts.”

“It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.”

“Never injure a friend, even in jest.”

“A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.”

“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”

“If a man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all.”

“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.”

“Ability without honor is useless.”

“Nothing stands out so conspicuously, or remains so firmly fixed in the memory, as something which you have blundered.”

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

“Hours and days and months and years go by; the past returns no more, and what is to be we cannot know; but whatever the time gives us in which we live, we should therefore be content.”

“The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.”

“Knowledge which is divorced from justice may be called cunning rather than wisdom.”

“Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.”

“I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know.”

“Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute.”

“Your enemies can kill you, but only your friends can hurt you.”

“To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.”

“Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.”

“Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.”

“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”

“We must not only obtain wisdom: we must enjoy her.”

“To teach is a necessity, to please is a sweetness, to persuade is a victory.”

“The life of the dead is placed on the memories of the living. The love you gave in life keeps people alive beyond their time. Anyone who was given love will always live on in another’s heart.”

“Neither can embellishments of language be found without arrangement and expression of thoughts, nor can thoughts be made to shine without the light of language. ”

“Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.”

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; … it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions…It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely.”

“Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.”

“Endless money forms the sinews of war.”

“Cultivation of the mind is as necessary as food to the body.”

“A mental stain can neither be blotted out by the passage of time nor washed away by any waters.”

“Trust no one unless you have eaten much salt with him.”

“He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.”

“Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else’s traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man’s character is, the better it fits him.”

“If you would abolish covetousness, you must abolish its mother, profusion.”

“Dogs wait for us faithfully.”

“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the “new wonderful good society” which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean “more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious”.”

“Let arms give place to the robe, and the laurel of the warriors yield to the tongue of the orator.”

“Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship.”

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.”

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquities.”

“We are bound by the law, so that we may be free.”

“Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude.”

“Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

“Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.”

“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

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