Laelius de Amicitia
The work is written as a dialogue between prominent figures of the Middle Roman Republic and is set after the death of the younger Scipio Africanus (otherwise known as Scipio Aemilianus, Scipio Africanus Minor or Scipio the Younger) in 129 BC. The interlocutors of the dialogue chosen by Cicero are Gaius Laelius, a close friend of the late statesman, and Laelius's two sons-in-law, Gaius Fannius, and Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero in his youth knew Scaevola, and states that Scaevola described to him the substance of the conversation on Friendship which he and Fannius had held with Laelius a few days after the death of Scipio.
De Amicitia is addressed to Atticus, who, as Cicero tells him in his dedication, could not fail to discover his own portrait in the study of a perfect friend.
In the dialogue Fannius, the historian, and Mucius Scaevola, the Augur, both sons-in-law of Laelius, pay him a visit immediately after the sudden and suspicious death of Scipio Africanus. The loss which Laelius had thus sustained leads to a eulogy on the virtues of the departed hero, and to a discussion on the nature of their friendship. Many of the sentiments which Laelius utters are declared by Scaevola to have originally flowed from Scipio, with whom the nature and laws of friendship formed a favourite topic of discourse.
But I must at the very beginning lay down this principle—friendship can only exist between good men. …We mean then by the "good" those whose actions and lives leave no question as to their honour, purity, equity, and liberality; who are free from greed, lust, and violence; and who have the courage of their convictions.
- Dunlop, John (1827), History of Roman literature from its earliest period to the Augustan age, 1, E. Littell
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Laelius de Amicitia (Latin text at Forum Romanum)
- Laelius de Amicitia at LacusCurtius (English translation by W. A. Falconer, with introduction)
- Treatises on Friendship and Old Age at Project Gutenberg (English translation by E. S. Shuckburgh, with introduction), in one file with the de Senectute.
- Horace MS 1b Laelius de Amicitia at OPenn
- Martin Biastoch: Ciceros Laelius de amicitia. Klett, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 3-12-623166-7