On Government

On Government

Written by:
Introduction by:
Translated by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140445954
  • 432 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


“The creature you have to deal with, Romans, is not just a villainous crook”
Cicero (106-43BC) was a key figure in the Roman Republic and a witness to its dramatic collapse into a dictatorship. The seven works collected here expound his passionate belief in national harmony, fully demonstrating his formidable powers as an orator and writer. Delivered after the assassination of Julius Caesar when Mark Antony looked set to take over Rome, the Philippics are a brilliant attack on one-man rule that ultimately cost cicero his life. In Against Verres, he argues for the impeachment of a corrupt provincial governor, yet Cicero’s principles were tested in For Murena and Far Balbus when he was forced to defend guilty men in order to maintain political stability. On the State and On Laws are treatises on the art of government, while the Brutus is masterly survey oratory, a Roman Statesman’s most important skill.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

1. Against Verres (II, 5): How Not to Govern a Province
2. For Murena: When to Sacrifice a Principle
3. For Balbus: The Admission of Foreigners to Citizenship
4. On the State (III): The Ideal Form of Government (V, VI): The Good Statesman
5. On Laws (III): How to Run the Ideal Government
6. The Brutus: The Importance of Oratory
7. The Philippics (IV, V, X): Against Rule by One Man
Appendix I: Some of the Arguments used in For Balbus
Appendix II: Minor Orators Mentioned in the Brutus
The Roman Empire in 51 B.C.
Eastern Europe
The East
Western Europe and North Africa
Plan of Rome

Further Reading