M. Tullii Ciceronis Opera cum Delectu Commentariorum

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by Marcus Tullius Cicero

M. Tullii Ciceronis Opera cum Delectu Commentariorum
George Wythe bookplate.jpg
Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Marcus Tullius Cicero
Published Parisiis; Londini: Apud J. B. Coignard, [etc.]; Apud P. Vaillant
Date 1740-1742
Edition Probable
Volumes volume set

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE-43 BCE) was a Roman statesman, politician, orator and writer.[1] He distinguished himself in the practice of law before entering politics and winning a consulship in 63 BCE.[2] As head of the Senate, Cicero thwarted the Catilinarian conspiracy to seize control of the government and struggled to uphold republican ideals amidst the civil wars that destroyed the Roman Republic.[3] Caesar’s rise to power ended Cicero's political career, and he devoted himself to writing, producing such works as Consolatio, Hortensius, De Natura Deorum' and the Tusculan Disputations.[4] He was executed at the behest of Mark Antony, whom Cicero had criticized publicly when Octavian rose to power.[5]

Owner's inscription, front pastedown, volume one.

Cicero is considered the foremost Roman orator. His style, which became known as Ciceronian rhetoric, was the primary rhetorical model for centuries.[6] Among his greatest works are his Catilinarian orations, the Phillipics delivered against Mark Antony, and his political works De Legibus, De Re Publica and De Oratore.[7] Cicero’s primary contribution to philosophy was bringing Greek ideas into Latin, allowing Rome to develop its own philosophical traditions.[8] He had a lasting impact on Renaissance and early modern thinkers, including Locke, Montesquieu and Hume.[9] Cicero’s conception of rationally-discernible natural law influenced America’s founders, including John Adams, James Wilson, and Thomas Jefferson.[10] Jefferson explicitly named him as helping establish a notion of “public right” that influenced the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution.[11]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Ciceronis opera. notis varior. 9.v. 4to." and given by Thomas Jefferson to James Ogilvie, the tutor of Jefferson's grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The precise edition owned by Wythe is unknown. The Brown Bibliography[12] lists the third edition (1758) based on the copy Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress.[13] George Wythe's Library[14] on LibraryThing lists the 1740-1742 edition as the "probable" edition and notes "No other edition of Cicero in nine volumes which matches the title has been located."

As yet, the Wolf Law Library has been unable to procure a copy of M. Tullii Ciceronis Opera cum Delectu Commentariorum.

See also


  1. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, s.v. "Cicero, Marcus Tullius," accessed October 9, 2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, s.v. ""CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.E.)," accessed October 9, 2013.
  5. Philip's Encyclopedia, s.v. "Cicero, Marcus Tullius," accessed October 9, 2013.
  6. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, s. v. "Cicero, Marcus Tullius."
  7. Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, s. v. "CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.E.)."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Walter Nicgorski, ""Cicero and the Natural Law," Natural Law, Natural Rights and American Constitutionalism (National Endowment for the Humanities, n.d.), accessed Oct. 9, 2013.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012, rev. 2014) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  13. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 5:165 [no.4913].
  14. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on January 28, 2015.