Meditandum

Roman politics

Haec veniebant mihi in mentem de duabus illis commentationibus matutinis, quod tibi cotidie ad Forum descendenti meditandum esse dixeram: “novus sum, consulatum peto.” tertium restat: “Roma est,” civitas ex nationum conventu constituta, in qua multae insidiae, multa fallacia, multa in omni genere vitia versantur, multorum arrogantia, multorum contumacia, multorum malevolentia, multorum superbia, multorum odium ac molestia perferenda est. video esse magni consili atque artis in tot hominum cuiusque modi vitiis tantisque versantem vitare offensionem, vitare fabulam, vitare insidias, esse unum hominem accommodatum ad tantam morum ac sermonum ac voluntatum varietatem.
(Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis 54)

All these things have occurred to me regarding the first two of the morning meditations I suggested as you go down to the Forum: “I am an outsider. I want to be a consul.” Now let me turn briefly to the third: “This is Rome.” Our city is a cesspool of humanity, a place of deceit, plots, and vice of every imaginable kind. Anywhere you turn you will see arrogance, stubbornness, malevolence, pride, and hatred. Amid such a swirl of evil, it takes a remarkable man with sound judgment and great skill to avoid stumbling, gossip, and betrayal. How many men could maintain their integrity while adapting themselves to various ways of behaving, speaking, and feeling? (tr. Philip Freeman)

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