Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


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Cicero on books

 
Sunday, October 21, 2007, 13:33 - Latin Language, Legal Phrases and Expressions
Posted by Administrator
At one time Amazon.com used to include refrigerator magnets in shipments to customers, bearing a quote attributed to Cicero: A room without books is like a body without a soul. Coffee mugs, bookmarks, cards and other items with this quote also reportedly exist. Occasionally, this adage is attributed to G.K. Chesterton. Holbrook Jackson in his inspiring "Anatomy of Bibliomania" invites the reader to “agree with Cicero” on this precise point making a reference to Lubbock’s "Pleasures of Life" (published around the time when Chesterton was barely out of grade school). Lubbock, however, only informs us that "Cicero described a room without books, as a body without a soul." In all likelihood, what he has in mind is a phrase from Att. 4.8: postea vero quam Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita videtur meis aedibus (it is also possible that Lubbock used a secondary source). Thus, the neatly worded quotation from Cicero dissolves into thin air. It is amazing how it's possible that in this day and age, a quote so dubious in its attribution can be passed off as a genuine item.

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