I'm finding Cicero a little less user-friendly than Seneca, but it's been interesting to read these so close together as I'm getting a much better understanding of the various philosphical theories. My PG Walsh translation is making it reasonably easy to read and bless him, there's a little summary of the text at the start so the main conclusions are summarised which I'm finding hugely useful. Having said that, I've only completed Book One, so have a ways to go.
My first note was Book 1, Para 20 which leapt out at me. 'But as so Plato so nobly put it, we are not born for ourselves alone, for our country claims a share in our origin, and our friends likewise'. We're going to encounter that sentence almost word for word in Checkmate, spoken by Sybilla.
My second note was at Book 1, Para 23: "So far as injustice goes, there are two kinds: the injustice of those who inflict it, and that done by those who do not protect victims for injury when they have the power to do so." It's directly relevant to NigheanDubh's example above for Venceslas which I completely agree with, and it reminded me a lot of DK, when the women and children are returned to Gozo. I think Lymond eventually quotes that action an indication of GRM's true nature, and it seems to be a key Stoic philosophy. If we'd read our Cicero before DK, we might have got another tip with "People who bestow favours which harm the individuals whom they are apparently eager to help are to be assessed as ruinous flatterers rather than men of kindness and generosity." Alcohol to Adam, gifts to the St Mary's men by GRM, even gifting Joleta to Lymond - Cicero might have been quite handy to our hero!
At Book 1, Para 30, Cicero writes; 'we judge other people's problems differently from our own.' This made me think of Danny, referenced from the first as the 'Bishop's bastard' and a key member of St Mary's while Lymond struggles with his parentage. I know that most of this sits around his faith in Sybilla, but the 'hunchback in the gutter' line could be an example of óther people's problems being treated differently.
I'll try and remember to come back to Book 1, Para 31 when we finish Checkmate in the context of the importance of keeping a vow or as I interpret it, some obligations can legitimately be renounced. Cicero says Ít can happen that some promise or agreement turns out to be prejudicial to the recipient of the promise, or to the person who offered it." Sybilla keeps her vow at considerable cost to herself and others, while Lymond vows to save his child in St Giles and doesn't keep it. I know it's a hot topic amongst LC readers!
I'm sure Cicero's position that nation is more important than parents, children and friends has been debated for centuries. "Our parents are dear to us, and so are our children and relatives and friends, but our native land alone subsumes all the affections we entertain. What good man would hesitate to face death on her behalf if it would be of service to her?" I'm trying to figure out what Lymond's thinking is on this.
When he faces Lauder at the end of GOK Pt 4.2, Lymond says: "Patriotism is a fine hothouse for maggots. It breeds intolerance; it forces a spindle-legged, spurious riot of colour ..EDIT .. But the man living one inch beyond the boundary is an inveterate foe. ..EDIT.. Patriotism; A celestial competition for the best breed of man: a vehicle for shedding boredom and exercising surplus power or surplus talents or surplus money; an immature and bigoted intolerance which homes the coin of barter in the markets of power."
Yet we eventually learn that Lymond has been furthering Scotland's interest, certainly ahead of his own. It also feels relevant to Lymond's recent state in Russia. Of course, this rating of priority - country, family, children, friends - might not be Stoic thinking, but rather Cicero's own view given that some of this book is highly critical of Caeser.
Anyway, I've found much to ponder so far.