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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Editor's note


Raymond Geuss originally encouraged me to undertake this translation; I owe him and Quentin Skinner thanks for publishing it in this series, and I am also grateful to Richard Fisher, Elizabeth Howard, Caroline Drake, and Jane Van Tassel of Cambridge University Press for their expert advice and assistance.

A preliminary draft of the translation of Book 1 of On the Laws was used by students in Contemporary Civilization CI101 in the core curriculum of Columbia College; I am grateful to David Johnston, the director of the course, for including it in the course reader, and to the students in my own section who offered useful corrections and suggestions. Susanna Zetzel has offered advice on numerous passages and has improved the introduction immeasurably. Robert Kaster and Gareth Williams generously read a draft of the entire book and have offered many corrections of my Latin, English, and logic. The remaining faults are my own.

This translation was begun during a sabbatical leave in 1993 and completed during a research leave in 1997–98 aided by a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. I am grateful both to Columbia University and to the Guggenheim Foundation for their support. I received practical assistance of other kinds from my good friends Douglas Kilburn, Robert Phinney, and Scott Decker, who supplied water, heat, and light, without which the revision of this book would have taken far longer to complete.