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Title: A learned man and a patriot : the reception of Cicero in the early imperial period
Author: Sillett, Andrew James
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
This thesis is a literary study of how the life and works of Marcus Tullius Cicero were received in the century that followed his death. There are two ways of understanding the importance of such a study: the first is to think of it as a vital first step in assessing Cicero's impact on European thought and literature; the second is to see it as a study of how the people of early imperial Rome interacted with their Republican past. In order to provide a broad overview of this subject, I have chosen to focus on three separate areas of imperial literature which together provide a representative snapshot of Roman literary activity in this period. The period in question is essentially an extended Augustan age: beginning with Cicero's death ending in the reign of Tiberius. The first area of imperial literature under consideration is historiography. This section begins with a consideration of Sallust's decision to downplay Cicero's role in defeating the Catilinarian Conspiracy, ultimately concluding that this is authorial posturing on Sallust's part, a reflection of Cicero's importance in the years immediately following his death. This is followed by a chapter on the presence of Ciceronian allusions in Livy, arguing that they were a key means by which he enriched his narrative of the Hannibalic war. It concludes with two chapters on historiographical descriptions of Cicero's death, noting that these treatments become markedly more hagiographic the further one progresses into Tiberius' Principate. The second area under consideration is rhetoric, specifically focussing on the prominence of the declamation hall in this era. The three chapters in this section study the testimony of Valerius Maximus and Seneca the Elder, both of whom bear witness to Cicero's fundamental importance to this institution. The section concludes that the world of declamation was the prime motor for the hagiographic treatments of Cicero that was noted in the later historical accounts of his death. The third and final section considers the poetry of the Augustan era, demonstrating that a process of declining sophistication is not the whole story in Cicero's reception. By looking at Virgil and Ovid's intertextual relationships with Cicero, this section demonstrates that he was a rich source of inspiration for some of the ancient world's most erudite authors.
Supervisor: Morgan, Llewelyn Sponsor: Helmore Award ; Oxford University Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.719882  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classical literature--History and criticism--Early works to 1800 ; Rome--History--Republic ; 265-30 B.C.--Historiography ; Literature and society--Rome ; Rome--History--Augustus ; 30 B.C.-14 A.D ; Rome--History--Tiberius ; 14-37
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