Cicero on bad leaders

Detail from  Cicero Denounces Catiline , by Cesare Maccari, 1888

Detail from Cicero Denounces Catiline, by Cesare Maccari, 1888

From Cicero’s philosophical dialogue De Legibus (On the Laws), Book III, XIV:

 
Corrupt leaders are all the more pernicious to the republic because not only do they harbor their own vices but they spread them among the citizenry; they do harm not only because they are themselves corrupt but because they corrupt others—and they do more harm by the example they set than by their own transgressions.
 

Let the reader understand.

I expand on thoughts like these in fictional form in The Last Day of Marcus Tullius Cicero, which I wrote in the summer of 2016 and has only grown more starkly relevant since. But be forewarned—my vision in that book is neither a partisan one (whoever you think I’m thinking about as I write this post, it’s not them) nor a hopeful one.