How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders by Marcus Tullius Cicero & Philip Freeman

How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders by Marcus Tullius Cicero & Philip Freeman

Author:Marcus Tullius Cicero & Philip Freeman [Cicero, Marcus Tullius & Freeman, Philip]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780691156576
Amazon: B00AX3994M
Goodreads: 16176211
Publisher: Princeton University
Published: 2013-01-06T00:00:00+00:00


The Roman state is founded firm on ancient customs and its men.

—Ennius, Annales

The poet who wrote these words so brief and true seems to me to have heard them from a divine oracle. For neither men by themselves without a state based on strong customs nor traditions without men to defend them could have established and maintained a republic such as ours whose power stretches so far and wide. Before our time, the cherished customs of our forefathers produced exceptional and admirable men who preserved the ways and institutions of our ancestors.

But now our republic looks like a beautiful painting faded with age. Our generation has not only failed to restore the colors of this masterpiece, but we have not even bothered to preserve its general form and outline. What now remains of the ancient ways of our country the poet declares we were founded upon? These traditions have so sunk into oblivion that we neither practice them nor even remember what they were. And what shall I say about the men? For the reason our customs have passed away is that the people who once upheld them no longer exist. We should be put on trial as if for a capital crime to explain why this disaster has happened. But there is no defense we can give. Our country survives only in words, not as anything of substance. We have lost it all. We have only ourselves to blame.


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