Cicero 'Haruspex': Political Prognostication and the Viscera of a Deceased Body Politic

Cicero 'Haruspex': Political Prognostication and the Viscera of a Deceased Body Politic

Maridien Schneider

Language: English

Pages: 265

ISBN: 2:00279365

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This monograph explores Marcus Tullius Cicero's awareness and interpretation of contemporary political events as reflected in his private correspondence during the last years of both the Roman republic and his own life. Cicero's correspondence gives a detailed view of current political events in Rome and constitutes, together with Caesar's writings, our major contemporary evidence for the circumstances of the civil war of 49 BC. The theoretical input of Cicero's predecessors, their perceptions of constitutional development (in particular of Roman politics) as well as Cicero's perception of their political theories are scrutinized to determine the extent of Cicero's awareness of a larger pattern of political events.

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was Horvath (1994:87-116) has successfully shown that the traditional interpretation that claims that the process of the dispossession of the Italian peasantry resulted in a disgruntled uncontrollable peasantry and that it created a manpower shortage in Italy which weakened the basis of Roman power, is grossly overstated and no longer tenable. 56 Cf. Gruen’s interpretation (1974) of continuity as keynote of the late Republic. 55 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 33 accused of ignoring the senate, acting

was Horvath (1994:87-116) has successfully shown that the traditional interpretation that claims that the process of the dispossession of the Italian peasantry resulted in a disgruntled uncontrollable peasantry and that it created a manpower shortage in Italy which weakened the basis of Roman power, is grossly overstated and no longer tenable. 56 Cf. Gruen’s interpretation (1974) of continuity as keynote of the late Republic. 55 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 33 accused of ignoring the senate, acting

always in reference to Pompeius as role-player (BC 1.25.3, 26.6). 95 One may expect censure from Caesar even in this early phase of his take-over. Cicero’s reference to Caesar as ‘guardian’ overseeing their writing certainly suggests as much for the dictator years (Fam. 7.25.1). 96 Cf. Caesar BC 3.82-3. 93 94 44 ORIGINES muniamus (Let this be our new style of conquering: to arm ourselves with mercy and generosity), in which the Leitmotiv is to be clementia97 thus facilitating a receptive

Academic scepticism probably waned with Philo’s theoretical surrender to dogmatism, just when the strict scepticism of Philo’s early days disappeared with the publication of his Roman Books. At that stage Cicero began to aspire towards a public career, and the purely analytical character of Academic scepticism had fewer advantages in a society where resolute action and firm convictions (the logical consistency of the Stoics, for instance) appeared more 117 For a detailed discussion of Philo’s

exsequitur, patres consilio valere decet, populo supervacuanea est calliditas (And then, when the plebs obey the senate in its mind as it does as a body and follows its ordinances, it is fitting that the fathers should prevail through their counsel and that this still is more than enough for the people, Ad Caesarem de Re Publ 2.10.5). This view, regardless of the day and age in which it was written, emulates the oldfashioned moralising of late-Republican times when delusions about a ‘triumphant

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