Quotes from Cicero, true and false.

A friend showed me text message with the following quote:

The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. The mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence. Marcus Tullius Cicero 55 B.C.

It looked suspiciously current, so I fact checked it on the internet, the wonderful invention where you not only have to check the facts, but also check the fact checkers and their sources and sponsors.

According to The Chicago Tribune (20 April 1971), John H. Collins, Professor of History at Northern Illinois University, reported that this attribution to Cicero, actually originated in A Pillar of Iron (1965), Taylor Caldwell’s fictionalized account of the life of the senator.

However, this is a true quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero in regard to the danger of internal subversion. In a speech to the Roman Senate, as recorded by Sallust, Cicero said:
“A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague.”

Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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