Marcus Tullius Cicero , born in 106 B.C., was a notable Roman politician, philosopher and of course writer. Considered perhaps one of the best writers in the ancient Roman Republic, he was a famous defender of the republican system and fought against the dictatorship of the so-called Caesar, by all means available to him.
As one of the most relevant characters of Ancient Rome we have all heard about him, but would you like to know a little more about his most personal ideas?
- You may be interested in: “Virgil’s 75 Most Famous Quotes”
Best quotes and famous quotes from Cicero
Someone as relevant as Marcus Tullius Cicero, necessarily needed a selection of his 90 best phrases like the one you will find below . We hope you enjoy them!
1. Let the weapons give way to the robe.
Laws are certainly more powerful than guns.
2. He who seduces a judge with the prestige of his eloquence seems to me more guilty than he who corrupts him with money.
Not everyone has the gift of eloquence and to be able to use it is something extraordinary.
3. There are illnesses of the soul that are more pernicious than those of the body.
The emotional damage we receive can be very harmful to ourselves.
4. How long, Catilina, are you going to abuse our patience?
Being patient is something that not everyone has, patience is a wonderful gift.
5. The testimony of my conscience is for me more precious than all the speeches of men.
We will never forget our experiences, no matter what others think.
6. We are slaves to the law in order to be free.
The law is the same for all men, and whether it is just or not depends on the rulers.
7. To be content with what we possess is the surest and best of riches.
Settling for little in life can bring us many advantages; we must be practical.
8. To be mistaken about men is to be mistaken; to persist in error is to be crazy.
We must not fall into the same mistake again and again. Other great thinkers also made this fantastic quote their own.
9. Wherever one is well, there is the homeland.
Looking for the ideal place to live is something that has always accompanied man.
10. Force is the right of beasts.
It is not the one who uses force that is more powerful, but the one who uses intelligence, otherwise this civilization would not exist.
11. Honesty is always praiseworthy, even when it is not useful, rewarding or profitable.
We must always be honest, it may not be helpful but it will allow us to sleep peacefully at night.
12. The cultivation of memory is as necessary as food for the body.
Memories are perhaps our most valuable assets and will always be with us.
13. As nothing is more beautiful than knowing the truth, nothing is more shameful than approving the lie and taking it for the truth.
Lying is a plague that humanity must rid itself of; it brings us nothing positive in the long run.
14. Eat and drink, for after death there will be no pleasure.
We must make the most of life, as this quote from Cicero encourages us to do.
15. Poets are born, speakers are made.
In this quotation, Cicero shows us the difference between a poet and an orator.
16. Thinking is like living twice.
No doubt, when we remember, we instantly go back to that place.
17. Even though I am now older, I continue to learn from my disciples.
We can always learn from an agile and brilliant mind, it’s never too late.
18. Nature itself has imprinted on everyone’s mind the idea of one God.
The idea of believing in a God is something that has always accompanied man, whether it is true or not.
19. Never offend a friend, even in jest.
Being respectful is a sign of intelligence, we must know how to keep our friends.
20. There is no man of any nation who, having taken nature for his guide, cannot reach the truth.
Nature, just as science is governed by the law of right or wrong, will in time achieve its purpose.
21. Victory is by nature insolent and arrogant.
The one who is used to always winning, just like a spoiled child, will adopt bad attitudes.
22. The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory.
The most valuable things are always the ones that cost the most to get.
23. Nature wants friendship to be a helper of virtues, but not a companion of vices.
A life of vices will unequivocally lead us into loneliness, vices are not good company.
24. We were not born just for ourselves.
We must collaborate in the society in which we find ourselves in order to feel fulfilled as individuals.
25. Not only is fortune blind, but it also ordinarily makes blind those whom it caresses.
When we live surrounded by fortune, we tend to settle down and let ourselves be carried away by events.
26. What could be greater than having someone you dare to talk to like yourself?
Friendships allow us to talk about our own shortcomings with someone other than ourselves.
27. History: witness of the times, light of truth, life of memory, teacher of life, witness of antiquity.
History is a great source of knowledge from which we can all learn.
28. There is no justice if each one is not allowed to possess his own.
Since Roman times, there has been private property, a relevant aspect of our society.
29. There is nothing made by the hand of man that sooner or later time does not destroy.
Time destroys everything in its path, after enough time we will be nothing but dust
30. There is no time in life that is free from duty.
There are always tasks that we must commit, we will never be exempt from them.
31. Virtue is the perfected reason.
When we reach a very high level of perfection in any task, we achieve in it, mastery.
32. My books are always at my disposal, never busy.
Reading is an activity that can provide us with great personal pleasure, as well as enriching us intellectually.
33. Nothing disturbs human life so much as ignorance of good and evil.
Not being aware of what is right and what is wrong will lead us to a guaranteed error.
34. The entire life of the philosophers is a meditation on death.
It is very common among philosophers to ramble on about death and how it will catch up with us.
35. This is the first precept of friendship; ask friends only for what is honest, and do for them only what is honest.
As this quote from the great master Cicero tells us, we must act honestly with our friends.
36. Men resemble the gods when they do good to mankind.
The best way for a man to act is undoubtedly by doing good for others.
37. There is nothing so incredible that oratory cannot make it acceptable.
Many times words are not enough to explain the greatness of a deed.
38. Living without friends is not living.
Friendship is a wonderful aspect that makes our lives much happier.
39. There is nothing more unjust than seeking rewards in justice.
Justice does not comfort the oppressed or the injured, because it acts justly with the aggressor, perhaps causing discomfort in the other party.
40. You do not take a step, you do not plot, you do not conceive a single thought without my knowing it; and I say more, without my knowing it in all its details.
Cicero speaks to us in this quote, about how he could anticipate the movements of his enemies.
41. I pay more attention to the testimony of my conscience than to all the judgments that men make of me.
We must know how to listen to the voice of our conscience, it will often lead us on the right path.
42. Thus, if you would look up and see this eternal seat and mansion, do not trust what the common people say, nor put the hope of your actions in human rewards; it owes the same virtue with its attractions to lead you to true glory.
We must act fairly and honorably, not for the applause of others but for the mere pleasure of doing things right.
43. No man has come to be great without a touch of divine inspiration.
Undoubtedly, great works are always the fruit of great inspiration.
44. The loss of our strength is due more to the vices of youth than to the ravages of the years.
Knowing how to act with head in our youth will provide us with a better old age.
45. The happy and blissful life is the unique object of the whole philosophy.
We all want to achieve happiness in life and for many of us, curiously enough, it is not elusive.
46. We know everything: the light of day is not as clear to us as your faults.
An accusatory quote from Cicero that we may be able to use at some stressful time in our lives.
47. It’s good to get used to fatigue and running, but you don’t have to force the pace.
Wanting to go too fast can make us faint and thus fail to reach our goal. As the saying goes, “dress me slowly, I’m in a hurry.”
48. The things we say when the mood is angry are always more sincere than when it is quiet.
Anger can cloud our judgment and make us talk too much, we must calm our spirits before we speak out.
49. Nothing is more attractive in a man than his courtesy, his patience and his tolerance.
No doubt these are three virtues that we should all possess, a great piece of advice that Cicero gives us.
50. The observation of nature and meditation have generated art.
In nature we can find the most perfect forms, because with the passing of time, it has been nature who has created them in her wisdom.
51. There is no absurdity that has not passed through the mind of some philosopher.
Even the most absurd aspects of life are often studied by philosophy.
52. Superstition, that in which an inane fear of the gods is condensed; religion, that which is based on a pious cultivation of the divinity.
In ancient Rome, superstition and religion directly affected the population in its day-to-day life.
53. Not to care at all about what people think of oneself is not only arrogance, but also shamelessness.
The opinion of others towards us can bring us great misfortunes, beware of what others think.
54. Of course, if a defence counsel were to be appointed ex officio, preference would be given to the one who, bringing together the authority of the judge and the talent of the speaker, would be invested with the dignity that the accused will have.
In this quotation, Cicero talks about law and the qualities needed to practice it.
55. I explained to you, Senators, the reason for my departure: now I will briefly explain to you the reason for my return, in which there is more to admire.
Even someone as important as Cicero himself had to report his comings and goings to the authority of the moment on many occasions.
56. There the others with what they say of you, for they must speak; for all that they say will also be circumscribed by this small space of the regions you see, for no one’s fame was ever perennial, for it disappears with the death of men and is extinguished with the oblivion of posterity.
Many things will be said about us in the course of our lives, but in time they will all be forgotten.
57. If it is thought that my feelings have changed, that my firmness has been broken, that my soul has become dejected, it is a strange error.
Cicero was always faithful to his ideas and personality, nothing and nobody was going to change him.
58. It seemed that a new dawn had dawned, not only banished the tyranny that had kept us subjugated, but also the fear of returning to it: and it gave the Republic a great pledge that it wanted freedom from the city, having banished the name of dictator, which had often been just, from the recent memory of the perpetual dictatorship.
A staunch defender of the Republican system, Cicero wanted a government of the people, for the people.
59. A home without books is like a body without a Soul.
Books are goods of great intellectual value and in ancient Rome they are surely much more valuable.
60. I cannot help but be interested in those who sail on the same stormy sea.
We must support those who dare to innovate; the evolution of humanity depends on them.
61. Certainly, ignorance of the evils to come is more useful to us than knowledge of them.
Many times the knowledge that something bad will happen, makes us unhappier too soon.
62. I do not consider free those who do not sometimes have their leisure time.
Leisure is something necessary for the human being, it helps us to de-stress and relax.
63. My retaliation will be proportionate to the various kinds of attacks directed against my authority or person.
I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of those who once attacked this philosopher.
64. I speak, but I cannot affirm anything; I will always seek, I will often doubt, and I will distrust myself.
Doubt is natural to all great thinkers, without it we would never find the truth.
65. His irritated soul thought of nothing else but punishing his enemies; I think of mine, nor will I remember them except to the extent that the supreme interest of the republic imposes it.
Trusting that justice will act against all evildoers can help us lead a fuller life.
66. If he who buys with the formalities prescribed by law is saved from the claims of a third party when the seller justifies the ownership of the thing sold, all the more so when the right of a consul to hold such a high office is in question, the call to justify the appointment of the people is the consul who proposed it and must give him possession.
The defense of justice is something very important that at that time was already practiced, corruption never had the easy things in ancient Rome.
67. The law, then, is the distinction between just and unjust things, expressed in accordance with that most ancient and first nature of things.
A very controversial definition that explains what Cicero understood as The Law.
68. Here, conscript fathers, right here among us, in the bosom of this corporation, the holiest and most august of the universe, men take their seats who premeditate my death, and yours, and the destruction of Rome; what do I say? The end of the world!
This philosopher knew his life was in danger as he recited these very words.
69. Finally, review with me the penultimate night, and you will be convinced that I am more vigilant in saving the Republic than you are in losing it. I tell you that on the penultimate night you went to the quarter of the blacksmiths and were, I do not have to shut you up, in the house of M. Lecca; there the accomplices of your criminal rages met in great numbers.
The Roman Republic was a melting pot of plots and conspiracies, where one always plotted the death of the other.
70. Always bad peace is better than the best war.
Peace is the highest goal that a man should pursue; politicians as elected officials should dedicate themselves to that end.
71. If we do good out of interest, we will be cunning, but never good.
We should not act out of interest, being honest in life is very important,
72. Friendship begins where it ends or when the interest ends.
Knowing how to guard against those who act out of interest can be very beneficial.
73. Confidence corrupts friendship; much contact consumes it; respect preserves it.
Respecting our friendships is something we must all do, give them their personal space and know how to understand them.
74. How long shall we still be the plaything of your anger? Where will the outbursts of your unbridled daring stop?
There are people who try to manipulate others to achieve their own ends, we must not get carried away by this type of individual.
75. Violence, injustice, and the anger of the wicked, have been able to tear me away and destroy other things; but they have not been able, nor will they be able, to take away my courage or diminish my strength.
Our firm decision is what will allow us to achieve our purpose. Nothing can stop our strength of will.
76. Tripping twice on the same rock is a proverbial misfortune.
Human beings are the only animals that trip over the same stone twice. Has this ever happened to you?
77. I’m not ashamed to confess that I’m ignorant of what I don’t know.
When we do not know something about something, it is important that others know it.
78. The life of the dead consists in being present in the spirit of the living.
We will always remember those people who, unfortunately, have had to leave us.
79. The democratic aspiration is not simply a recent phase of human history. It is human history.
Since the beginning of civilization there have always been leaders and there has always been someone with an interest in overthrowing that leader.
80. Friendship in favourable circumstances makes them more splendid; and in adverse circumstances, by breaking them up and communicating them, they are more bearable.
Friendship is a force that can make us much more powerful; a group of well-balanced friends can be unstoppable.
81. True glory takes root and expands; vain pretences fall to the ground like flowers. The false does not last long.
When something does not have a good foundation, it is bound to collapse sooner or later.
82. The truth is corrupted by both lies and silence.
When we know something is not true, we must make sure that those around us know it too.
83. All men can fall into error; but only fools persevere in it.
As Benjamin Franklin so aptly said, “To make mistakes is human, to persevere in them is diabolical.
84. Laws are silenced by guns.
Armed struggles do not understand laws or rights, these are always violated in a conflict of this kind.
85. It is not enough to reach wisdom, it is necessary to know how to use it.
When we have a lot of knowledge, we have to know how to use it.
86. No one who trusts himself envies the virtue of the other.
What others possess must be of no importance to us, what is important is what we possess.
87. If you want to be old for a long time, get old soon.
Old age is the last stage that human beings go through, in Ancient Rome this stage used to be quite short.
88. He is eloquent who says with sharpness the humble things; with gallantry and splendour the higher things, and in tempered style the medium things.
To be possessed of the gift of prayer, can allow us to know how to express ourselves in the most difficult moments.
89. All pretend things fall like wilted flowers, because no simulation can last long.
Only those things that are authentic and of the highest quality persist over time.
90. The law has not been established by the ingenuity of men, nor by the commandment of peoples, but it is something eternal that governs the universe with the wisdom of reigning and forbidding.
Through the laws, men are able to live in society. Otherwise, there would only be chaos in the world.