Inspired by Marcus Tullius Cicero, translated by Michael Fontaine


Review by Gunnel Minett

Grieving is something everyone of us will experience if we are fortunate enough to live a long life. But that does not necessarily mean that it gets easier over time. And for some of us it may be a help and comfort to read about how people grieved two thousand years ago.

In 45 BCE the Roman statesman Cicero experienced grief in one of its worst forms, when his daughter died at an early age. In order to cope with his grief Cicero wrote a consolation speech, not for others, but for himself. In it he convinced himself that death and loss are part of life and that we can find ways to get through it. 

This book is a new translation from the original text (which is also presented in the book) by the professor of classics at Cornell university, Michael Fontaine. In particular the time aspect may act as a help for someone going through grief. It offers a sense of a tough but inevitable situation which people throughout human history have had to get through.

Published by Princeton University Press, Oxford, 2022, ISBN 9780691220321