Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis [On Duties]

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I regard the De Officiis as one of the most perfect treatises on morals which the world possesses, whether for the truth of the lessons given, for their universality, or for the beauty and lightness of the language. It is on a subject generally heavy, but is treated with so much art and grace as to make it a delight to have read it, and an important part of education to know it. (Anthony Trollope, Life of Cicero)

Cicero’s De Officiis (usually translated as On Duties or On Moral Obligation) has been praised as “the most influential secular prose work ever written” (Douglas, 149) and as one that “perhaps exercised more influence on the thought and standard of the western world than any other secular work ever written” (Grant, 117). That influence can be seen in fields as diverse as

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Citation: Brown, David. "De Officiis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 July 2013 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16055, accessed 09 December 2023.]

16055 De Officiis 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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