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Academica
written by "Reid, James S. (James Smith), 1846-1926"
...Before we proceed to construct in outline the speech of Catulus from indications offered by the Lucullus, it is necessary to speak of the character and philosophical opinions of Catulus the elder. In the many passages where Cicero speaks of him, he seldom omits to mention his sapientia, which implies a certain knowledge of philosophy. He was, says Cicero, the kindest, the most upright, the wisest, the holiest of men[228]. He was a man of universal merit, of surpassing worth, a second Laelius[229]. It is easy to gather from the De Oratore, in which he appears as an interlocutor, a more detailed view of his accomplishments. Throughout the second and third books he is treated as the lettered man, par excellence, of the company[230]. Appeal is made to him when any question is started which touches on Greek literature and philosophy. We are especially told that even with Greeks his acquaintance with Greek, and his style of speaking it, won admiration[231]. He defends the Greeks from the attacks of Crassus[232]. He contemptuously contrasts the Latin historians with the Greek[233]. He depreciates the later Greek rhetorical teaching, while he bestows [xlix] high commendation on the early sophists[234]. The systematic rhetoric of Aristotle and Theophrastus is most to his mind[235]. An account is given by him of the history of Greek speculation in Italy[236]. The undefiled purity of his Latin style made him seem to many the only speaker of the language[237]. He had written a history of his own deeds, in the style of Xenophon, which Cicero had imitated[238], and was well known as a wit and writer of epigrams[239]. Although so much is said of his general culture, it is only from the Academica that we learn definitely his philosophical opinions. In the De Oratore, when he speaks of the visit of Carneades to Rome[240], he does not declare himself a follower of that philosopher, nor does Crassu...

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