For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

On Duties

by Cicero (1991)

Key Passage

Other arts require greater good sense or else procure substantial benefit, for example, medicine, architecture or teaching things that are honourable. They are honourable for those who belong to the class that they befit. Trade, if it is on a small scale, should be considered demeaning. If, however, men trade on a large and expansive scale, importing many things from all over, and distributing them to many people without misrepresentation, that is not entirely to be criticised. Indeed, if ever such men are satiated, or rather satisfied, with what they have gained, and just as they have often left the high seas for the harbour, now leave the harbour itself for land in the country, it seems that we have every right to praise their occupation. However, there is no kind of gainful employment that is better, more fruitful, more pleasant and more worthy of a free man than agriculture. (p.58)


Cicero, Ancient Rome, Ancient World, History, Skepticism, Stoicism, Craft, Liberty, Duties, Demeaning Work, Honour, Agriculture


Cicero Citations


E. T. Griffin, E. M.



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