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Comment: 1993 Penguin Pub. softcover. Same ISBN, but different cover art than shown. Dark tanning on page edges. 1/4 inch tear on 3 page edges. No writing or highlighting.
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On Government (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1994


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On Government (Penguin Classics) + Cicero: Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Classics) + Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 421 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman orator and statesman, was born at Arpinum of a wealthy local family. He was taken to Rome for his education with the idea of a public career and by the year 70 he had established himself as the leading barrister in Rome. In the meantime his political career was well under way and he was elected praetor for the year 66. One of the most permanent features of his political life was his attachment to Pompeii. As a politician, his greatest failing was his consistent refusal to compromise; as a statesman his ideals were more honorable and unselfish than those of his contemporaries. Cicero was the greatest of the roman orators, posessing a wide range of technique and an excpetional command of the Latin tongue. He followed the common practice of publishing his speeches, but he also produced a large number of works on the theory and practice of rhetoric, on religion, and on moral and political philosophy. He played a leading part in the development of the Latin hexameter. Perhaps the most interesting of all his works is the collection fo 900 remarkably informative letters, published posthumously. These not only contain a first-hand account of social and political life in the upper classes at Rome, but also reflect the changing personal feelings of an emotional and sensitive man.

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lao Tzu on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I want to talk about the selection first and then the translation of this book, Cicero: On Government.

First, the selection: the Verres oration, Brutus, and the Philippics are the three main reasons that why you should buy this book. "For Balbus" is only a selection (so don't be fooled!), and "For Murena" and "The Republic" and "The Laws" are available in Oxford World's Classics. (As a general rule, don't buy penguin if the same thing is also published by Oxford.)

Second, the translation: Michael Grant's translation is only of average quality. (See my comment on "Cicero: Selected Works"). If you want to read excellent translation of Cicero's works, I'd strongly recommend "Cicero: Defence Speeches" translated by D.H. Berry, which included a better translated version of "For Murena".

Finally, this book was first published in 1993, and "Cicero: Selected Works" in 1960. If you compare these two books, you can see moderate improvements in Michael Grant's translation. However, his translation in 1993 is barely OK, while his in 1960 is terrible. Unfortunately, the Verres oration, Brutus, and the Philippics are still not published by Oxford, so you are stuck with Grant's translation unless you want to buy the expensive Loeb Classic edition.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cicero is the greatest of latin writers. His knowledge is so wide. This book brings together many of his thoughts on government.This book makes it obvious how much he loved the republican form of government. Our founding fathers were widely read on Cicero's treatise's and rightly so. Excellent reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Cicero's ideas and perceptions are much beyond the time he lived in. Today's polititians could learn a lot from this old time master.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the title, most of "On Government" actually reflects the arts and compromises of politics as practiced by Cicero rather than a systemic or philosophical view of the relationship between a state and its citizens. The opening chapters of speeches to prosecute a political opponent or defend allies (charged with pretty similar crimes) are entertaining, but do more to demonstrate Cicero's suppleness and flexibility in reconciling his principles with the requirements of practical politics than to articulate a coherent vision of governance. Similarly, "The Brutus" is a lengthy and interesting guide to Cicero's view of what comprised effective oratory - and discusses examples of various successful contemporary speakers - but is more akin to a modern politician describing tactically and electorally successful peers in his/her memoirs rather than a discussion of policies or principles.

This leaves somewhat less than a quarter of the book to actually discuss the principles and practices required in office rather than illustrating the methods required to get there in the first place. The relatively short "On The State" and "On Laws" seek to combine a defence of traditional practices with measures to limit the scope and power of laws and officials, while the concluding "Philippics" are powerful (and under the circumstances, courageous) public attacks on Mark Antony's attempts to succeed Julius Caesar as dictator, although even these attacks take the necessity of old republican practices as safeguards against a dictatorship as givens rather than arguing for their necessity from first principles.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book truly shows the art of a great speaker and orator. Cicero is the best!. "On government" truly develops the mind. (The book is also handy if you want to expand your vocabulary.)
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