Was Cicero a Fine Gaeler?


Sir, – Pat Leahy remarks that the Roman orator and statesman Cicero was “a bit of a Fine Gaeler” in relation to his view that “virtue is its own reward” – and, in consequence, his overall ineffectiveness in the cruel world of practical politics (“Bickering wears down patience as government talks crawl forwards”, Opinion & Analysis, May 30th).

I find this a most astute observation. There was indeed something Garret-like about Cicero, even as his opponents, such as Verres, Catiline, Mark Antony, and even Julius Caesar himself, would have found themselves very much at home in the Tent at the Galway Races.

Let us hope that Leo can break out of the mould! – Yours, etc,


(Regius Professor

of Greek, Emeritus),

Trinity College, Dublin),


Dublin 13.