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Three Views on Nobility and Civility: Cicero, More and Thucydides

In a number of writings philosopher authors have often described their ideas of various concepts from the existence of God and good government to those of nobility and civility. Perhaps Plato's Republic may be considered the first of such works that focused on the morality of good governance and definitions of justice, nobility, and civility. Subsequent philosophers, authors, or theologians would provide works defining their own version of these concepts. In Thucydides' (441 BCE) The History of the Peloponnesian War, Cicero's (44 BCE) Laelius on Friendship, and Sir Thomas More's (1516) Utopia; the authors all provide a different kind of work. Thucydides' (441 BCE) History is primarily a chronological history of the wars between Athens and Sparta. Cicero's (44 BCE) On Friendship is primarily a discussion of the author's loss of a good friend, his bereavement over it, and what constitutes a good friend. Thomas More (1516) provides an alternative "utopian" society in Utopia, primarily as a means of criticizing various practices in English society, government, and the church.

Despite the distinctions in content among all three of these authors and works; they all share a common tendency to wax philosophically on the concept of what is honorable or "noble" behavior in human beings. In Thucydides' (441 BCE) History the author gives what is considered an objective account of the war, but he also provides an account of what equates to a noble character or nobility in human beings. This is quite clear in the funeral oration of Pericles in Book Two. In Cicero's (44 BCE) On Friendship the author provides an in-depth account of the qualities of character that made his worthy companion Atticus such a noble friend; qualities without which an individual cannot offer "friendship." In Sir Thomas More's (1516) Utopia the author discusses why only philosophers can make the noblest rulers and illustrates the importance of wel...

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Three Views on Nobility and Civility: Cicero, More and Thucydides. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:04, March 26, 2019, from