Cicero's Caesarian Speeches: A Stylistic Commentary

Cicero's Caesarian Speeches: A Stylistic Commentary

Cicero's Caesarian Speeches: A Stylistic Commentary

Cicero's Caesarian Speeches: A Stylistic Commentary

Synopsis

This is a detailed analysis of three speeches that Cicero delivered before Julius Caesar on behalf of the Romans who, like himself, had opposed Caesar in the recent civil war. Gotoff's commentary, which includes new texts for each of the speeches, identifies the techniques Cicero used and examines his psychology of persuasion.

Excerpt

The unique factor common to Cicero's three Caesarian speeches is that they were delivered before Rome's master by Rome's master orator. Everything hinges on the complex psychological relationship between the two men. Cicero's contemporary letters tell much about his shifting attitude toward the dictator in the years leading up to these works. To a certain extent, however, we must extrapolate from the orations themselves what Cicero thought about Caesar and what he thought Caesar thought about him. I focus on the psychological relationship between the orator of the Caesarianae and their singular audience here in the Introduction and, where apposite, in the commentary. The commentary, with a somewhat different philological approach to elucidation, attempts a rhetorical and stylistic analysis focused on the same point, which must be the basis for understanding these speeches.

My work is intended to complement, on a linguistic and stylistic level, that of a number of scholars who in the last fifty years have enhanced the study and appreciation of Cicero's speeches by looking past the traditional subjects of Ciceronian studies and examining the orations as dramatic performances, whether in the courtroom, the Forum, or the Senate. This is practical rhetoric, more vital and more interesting than the mere outlining of speeches and labeling of figures of speech and thought. It is also, finally, the only way to understand and appreciate the brilliance of Cicero and his enormous success. The practice of oratory and its place in Republican politics and society, subjects exciting in themselves, become more meaningful when the work of their only extant exponent is understood, not as set pieces for the edification of later readers, but as the stock in trade of the professional politician, a man who put his competence and authority on the line every time he performed.

The great contribution of Richard Heinze's commentary on Pro Caelio and of the more recent works by C. Neumeister, J. C. Classen, and W. Stroh . . .

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