Featured Work

De Officis by Marcus Tullius Cicero


Manuscript in Latin, on paper. This manuscript of Marcus Tullius Cicero’s “De Officis” was prepared for Nicolai Renciade by an unknown scribe in 1446. Renciade was a student of Giovanni de Juvianello, a professor of grammar, rhetoric, and poetics in Viterbo. This manuscript also contains three additional works of Cicero: “Paradoxa stoicorum,” an introduction to Stoicism; “Laelius seu de amicitia,” a dialogue on friendship; and “De senectute,” a dialogue on aging and death.

Cicero wrote “De Officis” in under four weeks in late 44 BC; he was assassinated less than a year later. The treatise was written in an effort to define the ideal way to live. Cicero believed that a natural law directs both humans and gods. He also wrote that the way to an ideal life is to follow nature, understanding, and politics and to avoid indulgence and idleness.

“De Officis” was enormously influential from the Middle Ages onward. It inspired Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and served as the moral authority during the Middle Ages. In later centuries, “De Officis” impacted Erasmus and Voltaire.

TITLE: De Officis by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Published: 1446

Catalogue: #0943