This paper focuses on Cicero’s prefaces to his philosophical Tusculan disputations and in particular on their function. I will argue that in these paratexts, Cicero not only comes to grips with the concept and value of philosophy, but also inaugurates the genre of the history of philosophy in Rome. To support this thesis, I will illuminate at first the four aspects and concepts of ‘philosophy’ which Cicero develops: (2.1) philosophy as studium sapientiae, (2.2) philosophy in the Latin language, (2.3) ‘perfect philosophy’: the method and models of Cicero, and (2.4) philosophy as ‘medicine for the soul’. In a second step, two narratives that Cicero provides will illustrate (3) the scope of philosophy and its history in the prefaces. Both narratives also present intercultural encounters: the first (3.1) between the early Greek philosopher Pythagoras and the Etruscan king Numa, the second (3.2) between the so-called ‘Athenian legation’ and the senate in Rome. Against this background, I will finally focus on the climax of Cicero’s fifth preface, in which he outlines, in a spectacular overview, a history of philosophy. This sketched history of philosophy covers (4.1) an early time of wisdom and some even earlier representatives from a mythical time, (4.2) then the ‘old philosophy’ opening up with Pythagoras, and finally (4.3) the ‘Socratic’ philosophy. Cicero’s own dialogues belong to the latter category, being its consummate realisation. Through his own Latin endeavour to write a history of philosophy in Rome, Cicero in fact works out his own biased history of philosophy, which finds its fulfilment in Cicero himself.