oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Ciceronian virtues and values in contextual perspective

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



I have known Philip Thomas since the early seventies of the previous century and have held him in the highest regard since he was first "imported" from the Netherlands by Professor Paul van Warmelo, my predecessor in the Department of Roman Law and Legal History at the University of Pretoria. From the outset he impressed me as a sincere, hard-working and dedicated legal historian and academic. I am still indebted to him for the trouble he took, quite unsolicited, in drawing my attention to a number of errors in the Afrikaans version of my text book on Roman private law, hence enabling me to avoid such errors in later printings and in the English version.

Although the present contribution may be taken as constituting a long-overdue token of gratitude to Philip for his assistance in this regard, it is primarily intended as a mark of appreciation for his wide-ranging efforts over many years of unconditional commitment to academic research and teaching. In addition I have chosen the topic of Ciceronian virtues and values not only in recognition of his regular references to Ciceronian sources in his own work on Roman law and legal history, but also because we shared a love for and deep-seated interest in Cicero's major contribution to the reception of ancient Greek legal thought and philosophy into that of Rome and the West. It goes without saying that I am particularly privileged to have the opportunity to honour his name in this way.
My own interest in Cicero must, I believe, be attributed to the passion I developed for his life and works during my secondary school Latin studies under the guidance of Mrs M J (Jean) Smart at Springs Boys' High School. From our first greeting () in 1957, her inspiration served to guide me into law and languages, including an all too brief academic career in Roman law and legal history. Much of this inspiration was derived from Cicero's orations, such as the and , and his philosophical treatises, such as the and to which, amongst other Ciceronian sources, I have occasionally referred in publications and judgments handed down over a long period of time. Needless to say I had no difficulty in dedicating my first contribution on Cicero to Mrs Smart.

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