De finibus bonorum et malorum

Marcus Tullius Cicero, 45 B.C. (Lacus Curtius)

At the end of October 1664, Lister noted that he had read: ‘M. Tullij l. de Finibus and de potend: Consolata’.

These were Cicero’s (Tully’s) De finibus bonorum et malorum [On Good and Evil Ends] and Cicero’s work on consolation, now lost except for fragments cited by other authors.  He wrote it after the death of his daughter Tullia.  Cicero was frequently mentioned on Lister’s reading list.

De Finibus is in the words of H. Harris Rackham:

the only systematic account surviving from antiquity of those rules of life which divided the allegiance of thoughtful men during the centuries when the old religions had lost their hold and Christianity had not yet emerged. . . . The de Finibus consists of three separate dialogues, each dealing with one of the chief ethical systems of the day . . . The first dialogue occupies Books I and II; in the former the Ethics of Epicurus are expounded, and in the latter refuted from the Stoic standpoint. . .  In the second dialogue the Stoic ethics are expounded (in Book III) by M. Cato, and criticized (in Book IV) from the standpoint of Antiochus 1 by Cicero.

The work was dedicated to Marcus Junius Brutus.

  1. Antiochus of Ascalon was a Platonist.

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