Any attempt to sketch. Cicero's political ideals from his own treatises de Republica and de Legibus has to confront two difficulties, one of which, at least is real and insuperable. This obstacle is that both treatises are in their present condition so defective or fragmentary that we have to judge Cicero's ideal from a torso, not a complete work. The six books On the Republic were clearly finished and published just before Cicero started for Cilicia in 51 B.C.; but though the bulk of the first three books has been recovered from the Vatican palimpsest, of the last three we have only the Somnium Scipionis and the merest fragments, so that on education and, above all, on Cicero's specific remedy for the evils of the day, the ‘moderator rei publicae,’ we have to reconstruct his views from two or three isolated notices accidentally preserved. The de Legibus was begun as soon as, or before, the Republic was finished, but was discontinued during Cicero's proconsulate and the Civil War (51–48 B.C.).