“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everybody is writing a book”
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child”
“If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it”
“Politicians are not born; they are excreted”
“What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious”
“For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence of their lives”
“We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one”
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century: Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it; Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; Neglecting the development and refinement of the mind; Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do”
“A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear”
All of the above quotes are from Marcus Tullius Cicero, born January 3rd 106 BC, died December 7th 43 BC aged 63; Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, poet, political theorist, consul and constitutional theorist and is the traditional master of Latin prose, credited with transforming Latin from a modest utilitarian language into a versatile literary medium capable of expressing abstract and complicated thoughts with precision and clarity. Jefferson named Cicero as one of a handful of figures who contributed to the tradition of public rights.
He still speaks to us from across a two thousand year bridge.