Summary and Conclusions

  • Charles B. Schmitt
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idees book series (ARCH, volume 52)


We are now in a position to see more clearly precisely how Cicero’s Academica was used and assimilated during the Renaissance. Side by side with the enormous interest shown in Ciceronian rhetoric there also continued to be some concern with his philosophical writings. As I hope we have been able to show, even one of the least influential of these works had a certain impact on a variety of thinkers, especially during the sixteenth century. An interest in this work grew as the philosophical doctrines of ancient scepticism came increasingly to the fore. The limited study of this work during the fifteenth and early sixteenth century reflects the relatively meager interest of thinkers of that period in scepticism. Only toward the end of the sixteenth century do we find that the new sceptical trend in European thought begins to grow from a small stream to an ever widening river. In this tendency the role of the Academica was minor, for by that time more detailed Greek sources of ancient sceptical thought were becoming generally available. It was Cicero’s work, however, which did much to pave the way for this more far-reaching sceptical movement, which reached full fruition only in the seventeenth century.


Sixteenth Century Philosophical Doctrine Sceptical Argument Philosophical Idea Ancient Philosophy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles B. Schmitt

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