Cicero de Amicitia

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“De Amicitia” (on friendship) was a dialogue written by a stoic philosopher known as Cicero during Julius Caesar’s most successful time as an emperor around 45 B.C. The dialogue focused on what Cicero felt aside from wisdom was the “[best thing that has ever] been given to man by the immortal gods.” Throughout the dialogue there are signs of contradiction about the friendship Cicero discusses. Normally friendship is not seen as a way of mutual profit but to Cicero this was one of the main reasons to befriend certain men. In the dialogue he expresses his views on friendship by using Scipio and Laelius’ friendship.

Cicero conceived friendship as a high-order relationship that was more meaningful and intense than any other relationship. In the “De Amicitia” he states that “…goodwill may be eliminated from relationship while from friendship it cannot…” suggesting that the friendship will cease to exist if benevolence is removed. He firmly believes that a friendship is the truest bond that two people, particularly men, can have. The friendship that Scipio leaves behind with Laelius after his death was said to give him a type of immortality sent from the heavens. Cicero’s idea of friendship closely resembles the patron-client relationship among Romans during this time period.

In ancient Rome many people followed Stoicism, which gave Romans the idea that they should all accept their “natural role” in order to obtain happiness. Some natural roles for people were better than others- equality was basically a nonexistent term during these times. This is where the patron-client relationship took place; patrons provided for clients as long as the client supported their patron. Elections were a common place to see the patron-client relationship in

effect. The patron provided his client with protection and gifts in return for the client’s commitment to vote whenever the patron or his associate was up for election. The relationship between the two...
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