Cicero’s Laelius de Amicitia ("Laelius on Friendship")

An Introduction

Important Elements / Participants / Outline / Study Questions / Summary

Important Elements

Platonic Dialogue
Roman History
Immortality of the Soul
Roman Concept of Friendship
Philosophical views: Stoicism (Virtue) vs. Epicureanism (Pleasure)

Participants in the Dialogue:

Gaius Laelius Sapiens
Quintus Mucius Scaevola the Augur
Gaius Fannius Strabo

This essay is about the friendship between Gaius Laelius Sapiens and Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor (185/4–129 BC). It is also a celebration of the friendship between Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BC) and Titus Pomponius Atticus (109–32 BC).

Cicero is recounting a conversation between Gaius Laelius and his sons-in-law (Fannius and Scaevola) which Cicero says he heard about from his mentor Scaevola. This conversation took place shortly after the death of Scipio in 129 BC.


1–5 Dedication to Atticus

6–104 The Dialogue

8-15 Laelius reflects on Scipio’s death

17–24 Laelius’ definition of friendship

26–32 Laelius speaks on the origin of friendship

33–104 Laelius’ friendship with Scipio


Cicero Homepage / Cicero's "On Friendship" / Some Study Questions /


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