The functioning of Roman public life depended on amicitia. The fulcrum of the political groups, amicitia also humanised and strengthened relations between representatives of different alignments. According to some, it explains Roman politics: it was certainly a determining factor also because the political class had a single provenance. Indeed, ‘the conservative Roman voter could seldom be induced to elect a man whose name had not been known for centuries as a part of the history of the Republic’. Cicero reflects on amicitia in a famous treatise, in which he asserts categorically that true amicitia must be disinterested. He fails to acknowledge that amicitia founded on mutual interest and benefit may be in every sense perceived as amicitia and to all intents the same. One should look therefore not to Cicero's De amicitia for an understanding of amicitia, but rather to Caesar's Commentaries on the civil war.
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