Review on: “On Living and Dying Well” by Cicero

Photo by Dogancan Ozturan on Unsplash

If it’s possible to attain wisdom,
then we should put it to use and not just possess it.
The only limit on seeking the truth is finding it;
and to give up looking is shameful,
because what we’re looking for
is the most beautiful thing there is.

Cicero, On Ends, 1.1-12

If you, like me, had the to translate Cicero in school, you probably hate the guy! The first thing you would, in every Latin test, was to glance a the author name and hope that was not Cicero. Anything but Cicero!!! Such his texts are hard to translate!

Despite, be the name of the book I want to suggest you is titled On Living and Dying Well. I’m still more frightened by the name of the author.

Jokes aside, I, really, want to recommend this is book. Especially if you have finished to read the more canonical Stoic authors.

This book is a collection of the best chapters and text by Cicero on how to achieve virtue via ethics, on how to keep a virtues life with respect of your duty toward society and friends and how obtain a dignified death.

The author Thomas Habinek performed a great translation of the texts (my teacher would have been proud) that make it vary easy for the modern reader to understand and appreciate the philosophical text.

Brilliant is also which text to report:

  • Tusculan Disputationes (Against the fear of Death)
  • On Friendship
  • On Duties
  • On the Orator
  • The Dream of Scipio

The author also presents an introduction to the philosophy, with an overview on the philosophical and political landscape of the era of Cicero.

Concluding, this is the perfect book for who wants to expand his reading on the Stoic position and do not know much about Cicero and his position.
I’ll certainly keep reading his books.

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