[I]f the Gods have neither the power nor the inclination to help us; if they take no care of us, and pay no regard to our actions; and if there is no single advantage which can possibly accrue to the life of man; then what reason can we have to pay any adoration, or any honors, or to prefer any prayers to them? Piety, like the other virtues, cannot have any connection with vain show or dissimulation; and without piety, neither sanctity nor religion can be supported; the total subversion of which must be attended with great confusion and disturbance in life.
-from The Nature of the Gods
Roman orator and politician Cicero provides a vital firsthand viewpoint on the fall of the Roman Empire, and a grounding in his work is necessary for appreciating philosophers who came after him, including Saint Augustine, upon whom he exerted a profound influence. This edition, a replica of the 1877 translation by C. D. Yonge, offers highly readable versions of some of Cicero's most significant writings:
. Tusculan Disputations is a classic of Stoic metaphysics, Cicero's argument that virtue is the root of the only true human happiness.
. On the Nature of the Gods, which examines multiple viewpoints on the gods and religion, is an excellent example of the philosophical dialogue, and of Cicero's skeptical method.
. On the Commonwealth, one of Cicero's most important works of political philosophy, sets out his thoughts on the ideal society.
Roman lawyer and philosopher MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (106-43 B.C) also wrote On Invention, On the Orator, On the Republic, and On the Laws.
British scholar CHARLES DUKE YONGE (1812-1891) is also the author of The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and History of England From 1760 to 1860.