Marcus Tullius Cicero Quotes About Life (Wisdom)

Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic, lived from 3 January 106 BC to 7 December BC. During the political upheavals that resulted in the foundation of the Roman Empire, he attempted to uphold idealistic principles.

He is regarded as one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists, and his extensive writings include treatises on rhetoric, philosophy, and politics. He was a wealthy member of the Roman equestrian order from a wealthy municipal family who served as consul in 63 BC.

82 Marcus Tullius Cicero Quotes

  1. “A home without books is a body without a soul”
marcus tullius cicero quotes

2. “Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.”

marcus cicero quotes on silence

3. “If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.”

cicero quotes about shame

4. “Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.”

marcus tullius cicero quotes on nature

5. “To study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die.”

marcus tullius cicero quotes on philosophy

6. “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

7. “A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”

8. “Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature.”

9. “Dogs wait for us faithfully.”

10. “A man of courage is also full of faith.”

marcus cicero quotes on courage

11. “The life of the dead is set in the memory of the living.”

12. “It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.”

13. “It is a great thing to know your vices.”

14. “Knowledge which is divorced from justice may be called cunning rather than wisdom.”

15. “Life is nothing without friendship.”

cicero friendship quotes

16. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

17. “Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gave birth to conscious intelligences?”

18. “Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.”

19. “Freedom is participation in power.”

20. “Your enemies can kill you, but only your friends can hurt you.”

marcus tullius cicero quotes on friends

21. “For what I lack in experience I make up for in diligence.”

22. “The purpose of education is to free the student from the tyranny of the present.”

23. “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

24. “Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude.”

25. “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

marcus tullius quotes on reading books

26. “I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.”

27. “My conscience has more weight for me than the opinion of the whole world”

28. “The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”

29. “We must not only obtain Wisdom: we must enjoy her.”

30. “Honesty is the best policy”

marcus quote on honesty

31. “Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief”

32. “Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God”

33. “A man of courage is also full of faith,”

34. “The closer the collapse of the Empire, the crazier its laws are.”

35. “It is our own evil thoughts which madden us.”

cicero quotes on thoughts

36. “The reward of friendship is friendship itself.”

36. “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

37. “The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.”

38. “Ability without honor is useless.”

39. “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”

40. “No power is strong enough to be lasting if it labours under the weight of fear.”

marcus cicero quotes on fear

41. “We are all servants of the laws in order to be free”

42. “The fruit of too much liberty is slavery.”

43. “Our span of life is brief, but is long enough for us to live well and honestly.”

44. “The welfare of the people is the highest law”

45. “He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.”

marcus tullius cicero quotes on passion

46. “We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.”

47. “If you would abolish covetousness, you must abolish its mother, profusion.”

48. “Kindness is stronger than fear.”

49. “The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”

50. “Trust no one unless you have eaten much salt with him.”

cicero quotes on trust

51. “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”

52. “The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct.”

53. “Law applied to its extreme is the greatest injustice”

54. “There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it.”

55. “For the whole life of a philosopher is, as the same philosopher says, a meditation on death.”

cicero on duties quotes

56. “It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.”

57. “To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.”

58. “What an ugly beast is the ape, and how like us.”

59. “A mental stain can neither be blotted out by the passage of time nor washed away by any waters.”

60. “Old age: the crown of life, our play’s last act.”

old age quote

61. “The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.”

62. “I do not understand what the man who is happy wants in order to be happier.”

63. “Hatreds not voiced, but which are concealed, is to be feared more than those openly declared.”

64. “A hatred not shown and which remains concealed, is to be feared more than that which is openly voiced.”

65. “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”

wisdom quote

66. “The good life is impossible without a good state; and there is no greater blessing than a well-ordered state.”

67. “A man of faith is also full of courage”

68. “Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.”

69. “The mind becomes accustomed to things by the habitual sight of them, and neither wonders nor inquires about the reasons for things it sees all the time.”

70. “A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.”

marcus tullius cicero quotes about life

71. “No one can be a sound judge if he does not give due weight to convincing suspicions.”

72. “The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intention.”

73. “Wisdom is the only thing which can banish sorrow from the breast .”

74. “Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship.”

75. “If you have a library in your garden, everything will be complete.”

marcus cicero wisdom quotes

76. “Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.”

77. “Endless money forms the sinews of war.”

78. “We forget our pleasures, we remember our sufferings”

79. “The extreme of right is the extreme of wrong.”

80. “No power on earth, if it labours beneath the burden of fear, can possibly be strong enough to survive.”

marcus freedom quote

81. “Instead let Virtue herself, by her own unaided allurements, summon you to a glory that is genuine and real.”

82. “Love is the attempt to form a friendship inspired by beauty.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero Short Biography

He had a significant impact on the Latin language. More than 75 percent of the extant Latin literature that is known to have existed during his lifetime was written by him, and subsequent prose, not only in Latin but in other European languages up to the 19th century, has been described as either a reaction against or a return to his style. 

Cicero distinguished himself as a translator and philosopher by adapting the main schools of Hellenistic philosophy’s arguments into Latin and developing a Latin philosophical vocabulary with neologisms like evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia.

Cicero thought that his political career was his most significant accomplishment, despite the fact that he was a skilled orator and an accomplished lawyer. The second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government during his term as consul by attacking the city with outside forces. Cicero put an end to the uprising by summarily and contentiously killing five conspirators without a trial.

Cicero fought for the restoration of the traditional republican form of government during the turbulent middle of the first century BC, which was characterized by civil wars and the rule of Julius Caesar. In the power struggle that followed Caesar’s passing, Cicero turned against Mark Antony and attacked him in a number of speeches. He was declared an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate, and after being captured during an attempt to flee from the Italian peninsula, he was killed by soldiers acting on their behalf in 43 BC. 

Additional Read:

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Cicero: Early Life, Education, Entry into Politics

Cicero – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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