summum bonum


Senior Member
Hello, everyone,
Is the above Latin? What does it mean?
"Before the Romantic period, in which originality became the summum bonum, plagiarism was rife but viewed with far greater indulgence than it is now."
I have got a footnote for summum bonum : Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.) 1.2. (Not that I know what that is. :p )
Thank you.
  • charlie2

    Senior Member
    Eddie said:
    A very good morning to you, Charlie!

    summum bonum is indeed Latin. It means the greatest or supreme good.
    Alright! I should have guessed it (now I am saying this! ;) ) Summum must be something like "le sommet" and bonum is where "bon" et "bonne" come from, am I correct, Eddie?


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    summus, highest + bonum, good

    You're right, Charlie. Sommet would be the highest point.

    Now about Cicero. Cicero dedicates his De officiis (On Duties) to the relationship between the honorable and the beneficial; while Cicero does not address this work specifically to the orator, the seemingly irreconcilable goals that Cicero attempts to resolve--virtue and expediency--are also the ends that the ethical orator must balance. He influenced the rhetorical tradition more than any other rhetorician or orator. Because of this influence, it is likely that making sense of Cicero's own ethical justifications of rhetorical practice would provide insight into understanding his successors' ideas about the moral character of rhetoric.