As there is no important doctrine of Ancient Philosophy which is not touched upon somewhere in the Academica, it is evidently impossible for an editor to give information which would be complete for a reader who is studying that subject for the first time. I have therefore tried to enable readers to find easily for themselves the information they require, and have only dwelt in my own language upon such philosophical difficulties as were in some special way bound up with the Academica. The two books chiefly referred to in my notes are the English translation of Zeller’s Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (whenever Zeller is quoted without any further description this book is meant), and the Historia Philosophiae of Ritter and Preller. The pages, not the sections, of the fourth edition of this work are quoted. These books, with Madvig’s De Finibus, all teachers ought to place in the hands of pupils who are studying a philosophical work of Cicero. Students at the Universities ought to have constantly at hand Diogenes Laertius, Stobaeus, and Sextus Empiricus, all of which have been published in cheap and convenient forms.
Although this edition is primarily intended for junior students, it is hoped that it may not be without interest for maturer scholars, as bringing together much scattered information illustrative of the Academica, which was before difficult of access. The present work will, I hope, prepare the way for an exhaustive edition either from my own or some more competent hand. It must be regarded as an experiment, for no English scholar of recent times has treated any portion of Cicero’s philosophical works with quite the purpose which I have kept in view and have explained above. Should this attempt meet with favour, I propose to edit after the same plan some others of the less known and less edited portions of Cicero’s writings.
In dealing with a subject so unusually difficult and so rarely edited I cannot hope to have escaped errors, but after submitting my views to repeated revision during four years, it seems better to publish them than to withhold from students help they so greatly need. Moreover, it is a great gain, even at the cost of some errors, to throw off that intellectual disease of over-fastidiousness which is so prevalent in this University, and causes more than anything else the unproductiveness of English scholarship as compared with that of Germany,
I have only to add that I shall be thankful for notices of errors and omissions from any who are interested in the subject.
JAMES S. REID.
CHRIST’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, December, 1873.
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THIS WORK.