Cicero Quotes

A community is like the ones who govern it.

A friend is, as it were, a second self.

A good orator is pointed and impassioned.

A home without books is a body without soul.

A letter does not blush.

A man of courage is also full of faith.

A man’s own manner and character is what most becomes him.

A person who is wise does nothing against their will, nothing with sighing or under coercion.

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

A sensual and intemperate youth translates into an old worn-out body.

A tear dries quickly when it is shed for troubles of others.

A war is never undertaken by the ideal State, except in defense of its honor or its safety.

Ability without honor is useless.

According to the law of nature it is only fair that no one should become richer through damages and injuries suffered by another.

Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end.

All pain is either severe or slight, if slight, it is easily endured; if severe, it will without doubt be brief.

All things tend to corrupt perverted minds.

An unjust peace is better than a just war.

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

As fire when thrown into water is cooled down and put out, so also a false accusation when brought against a man of the purest and holiest character, boils over and is at once dissipated, and vanishes and threats of heaven and sea, himself standing unmoved.

As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.

As I give thought to the matter, I find four causes for the apparent misery of old age; first, it withdraws us from active accomplishments; second, it renders the body less powerful; third, it deprives us of almost all forms of enjoyment; fourth, it stands not far from death.

As you have sown so shall you reap.

Before beginning, plan carefully.

Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.

Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.

Can there be greater foolishness than the respect you pay to people collectively when you despise them individually?

Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?

Come here soldier. There is nothing proper about what you’re doing, but at least make sure you cut off my head properly.

Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks in great and honorable courses with a sure hope and trust in itself.

Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.

Death is not natural for a state as it is for a human being, for whom death is not only necessary, but frequently even desirable.

Empire and liberty.

Even if you have nothing to write, write and say so.

Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.

Every stage of human life, except the last, is marked out by certain and defined limits; old age alone has no precise and determinate boundary.

Fear is not a lasting teacher of duty.

For a tear is quickly dried, especially when shed for the misfortunes of others.

For how many things, which for our own sake we should never do, do we perform for the sake of our friends.

For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agriculture.

Freedom is a man’s natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force or law.

Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.

Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered.

Friends are proved by adversity.

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.

Friendship makes prosperity brighter, while it lightens adversity by sharing its grieves and anxieties.

Frivolity is inborn, conceit acquired by education.

Glory follows virtue as if it were its shadow.

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

Great is our admiration of the orator who speaks with fluency and discretion.

Great is the power of habit. It teaches us to bear fatigue and to despise wounds and pain.

Great is the power, great is the authority of a senate that is unanimous in its opinions.

Hatred is settled anger.

Hatreds not vowed and concealed are to be feared more than those openly declared.

He cannot be strict in judging, who does not wish others to be strict judges of himself.

He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.

He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.

Honor is the reward of virtue.

I add this, that rational ability without education has oftener raised man to glory and virtue, than education without natural ability.

I am a Roman citizen.

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

I criticize by creation – not by finding fault.

I never admire another’s fortune so much that I became dissatisfied with my own.

I never heard of an old man forgetting where he had buried his money! Old people remember what interests them: the dates fixed for their lawsuits, and the names of their debtors and creditors.

I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war.

I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity.

If I err in belief that the souls of men are immortal, I gladly err, nor do I wish this error which gives me pleasure to be wrested from me while I live.

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

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

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.

If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains; if you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains.

In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible.

In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.

In doubtful cases the more liberal interpretation must always be preferred.

In everything truth surpasses the imitation and copy.

In everything, satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.

In honorable dealing you should consider what you intended, not what you said or thought.

In so far as the mind is stronger than the body, so are the ills contracted by the mind more severe than those contracted by the body.

In the master there is a servant, in the servant a master.

In time of war the laws are silent.

It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellent.

It is better to receive than to do injury.

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

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

It is the nature of every person to error, but only the fool perseveres in error.

It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.

It might be pardonable to refuse to defend some men, but to defend them negligently is nothing short of criminal.

It shows a brave and resolute spirit not to be agitated in exciting circumstances.

It shows nobility to be willing to increase your debt to a man to whom you already owe much.

Just as the soul fills the body, so God fills the world. Just as the soul bears the body, so God endures the world. Just as the soul sees but is not seen, so God sees but is not seen. Just as the soul feeds the body, so God gives food to the world.

Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense.

Justice is the set and constant purpose which gives every man his due.

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

Laws are silent in time of war.

Laws should be interpreted in a liberal sense so that their intention may be preserved.

Let reason govern desire.

Let the punishment match the offense.

Let the welfare of the people be the ultimate law.

Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive.

Liberty consists in the power of doing that which is permitted by the law.

Life is nothing without friendship.

Like associates with like.

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

Love is the attempt to form a friendship inspired by beauty.

Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.

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

Nature abhors annihilation.

Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth.

Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.

Never injure a friend, even in jest.

Next to God we are nothing. To God we are Everything.

No liberal man would impute a charge of unsteadiness to another for having changed his opinion.

No obligation to do the impossible is binding.

No one can be brave who considers pain to be the greatest evil in life, or can they be temperate who considers pleasure to be the highest good.

No one can give you better advice than yourself.

No one dances sober, unless he is insane.

No one has the right to be sorry for himself for a misfortune that strikes everyone.

No one is so old as to think he cannot live one more year.

No one was ever great without some portion of divine inspiration.

No poet or orator has ever existed who believed there was any better than himself.

No sane man will dance.

No well-informed person ever imputed inconsistency to another for changing his mind.

Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.

Not cohabitation but consensus constitutes marriage.

Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?

Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.

Nothing contributes to the entertainment of the reader more, than the change of times and the vicissitudes of fortune.

Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.

Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.

Nothing is so strongly fortified that it cannot be taken by money.

Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable.

Nothing so cements and holds together all the parts of a society as faith or credit, which can never be kept up unless men are under some force or necessity of honestly paying what they owe to one another.

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

O wretched man, wretched not just because of what you are, but also because you do not know how wretched you are!

Of all nature’s gifts to the human race, what is sweeter to a man than his children?

Old age, especially an honored old age, has so great authority, that this is of more value than all the pleasures of youth.

Old age: the crown of life, our play’s last act.

One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul is ever destroyed, actually sees.

Orators are most vehement when their cause is weak.

Our character is not so much the product of race and heredity as of those circumstances by which nature forms our habits, by which we are nurtured and live.

Peace is liberty in tranquillity.

People do not understand what a great revenue economy is.

Rashness belongs to youth; prudence to old age.

Rather leave the crime of the guilty unpunished than condemn the innocent.

Reason should direct and appetite obey.

Rightly defined philosophy is simply the love of wisdom.

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

Since an intelligence common to us all makes things known to us and formulates them in our minds, honorable actions are ascribed by us to virtue, and dishonorable actions to vice; and only a madman would conclude that these judgments are matters of opinion, and not fixed by nature.

So near is falsehood to truth that a wise man would do well not to trust himself on the narrow edge.

Study carefully, the character of the one you recommend, lest their misconduct bring you shame.

Superstition is an unreasoning fear of God.

Sweet is the memory of past troubles.

Take from a man his reputation for probity, and the more shrewd and clever he is, the more hated and mistrusted he becomes.

That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.

The administration of government, like a guardianship ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, not of those who receive the trust.

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

The best interpreter of the law is custom.

The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt, the mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence.

The causes of events are ever more interesting than the events themselves.

The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.

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

The eyes like sentinel occupy the highest place in the body.

The false is nothing but an imitation of the true.

The foolishness of old age does not characterize all who are old, but only the foolish.

The foundation of justice is good faith.

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

The good of the people is the greatest law.

The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory.

The greatest pleasures are only narrowly separated from disgust.

The harvest of old age is the recollection and abundance of blessing previously secured.

The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.

The injuries that befall us unexpectedly are less severe than those which are deliberately anticipated.

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

The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.

The long time to come when I shall not exist has more effect on me than this short present time, which nevertheless seems endless.

The magistrates are the ministers for the laws, the judges their interpreters, the rest of us are servants of the law, that we all may be free.

The mansion should not be graced by its master, the master should grace the mansion.

The more laws, the less justice.

The multitude of fools is a protection to the wise.

The name of peace is sweet, and the thing itself is beneficial, but there is a great difference between peace and servitude. Peace is freedom in tranquillity, servitude is the worst of all evils, to be resisted not only by war, but even by death.

The nobler a man, the harder it is for him to suspect inferiority in others.

The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory.

The only excuse for war is that we may live in peace unharmed.

The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give everyone else his due.

The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.

The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.

The safety of the people shall be the highest law.

The sinews of war are infinite money.

The soil of their native land is dear to all the hearts of mankind.

The spirit is the true self. The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure.

The study and knowledge of the universe would somehow be lame and defective were no practical results to follow.

The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct.

The young man should be praised, honored, and exalted.

There are more men ennobled by study than by nature.

There is no fortune so strong that money cannot take it.

There is no one so old as to not think they may live a day longer.

There is no place more delightful than one’s own fireplace.

There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it.

There is pleasure in calm remembrance of a past sorrow.

There is wickedness in the intention of wickedness, even though it be not perpetrated in the act.

There never was a great soul that did not have some divine inspiration.

They are eloquent who can speak low things acutely, and of great things with dignity, and of moderate things with temper.

They condemn what they do not understand.

This is the truth: as from a fire aflame thousands of sparks come forth, even so from the Creator an infinity of beings have life and to him return again.

Those wars are unjust which are undertaken without provocation. For only a war waged for revenge or defense can be just.

Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.

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

Thrift is of great revenue.

Time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.

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

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.

To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless.

To know the laws is not to memorize their letter but to grasp their full force and meaning.

To live is to think.

To some extent I liken slavery to death.

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

To the sick, while there is life there is hope.

True glory takes root, and even spreads; all false pretences, like flowers, fall to the ground; nor can any counterfeit last long.

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 wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to to [sic] alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.

True nobility is exempt from fear.

Victory is by nature insolent and haughty.

Virtue is a habit of the mind, consistent with nature and moderation and reason.

Virtue is its own reward.

We are motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is the more he is inspired by glory. The very philosophers themselves, even in those books which they write in contempt of glory, inscribe their names.

We do not destroy religion by destroying superstition.

We forget our pleasures, we remember our sufferings.

We must conceive of this whole universe as one commonwealth of which both gods and men are members.

We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one.

We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.

We think a happy life consists in tranquility of mind.

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

What gift has providence bestowed on man that is so dear to him as his children?

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.

What is permissible is not always honorable.

What is thine is mine, and all mine is thine.

What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?

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

What sweetness is left in life, if you take away friendship? Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun. A true friend is more to be esteemed than kinsfolk.

What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes.

Whatever is done without ostentation, and without the people being witnesses of it, is, in my opinion, most praiseworthy: not that the public eye should be entirely avoided, for good actions desire to be placed in the light; but notwithstanding this, the greatest theater for virtue is conscience.

Whatever that be which thinks, understands, wills, and acts. it is something celestial and divine.

Whatever you do, do with all your might.

When you are aspiring to the highest place, it is honorable to reach the second or even the third rank.

When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.

While the sick man has life, there is hope.

While there’s life, there’s hope.

You must become an old man in good time if you wish to be an old man long.

You will be as much value to others as you have been to yourself.