Appius’ Indignation: Gossip, Tradition, and Performance in Republican Rome

Autore: Dufallo, Basil
Titolo: Appius’ Indignation: Gossip, Tradition, and Performance in Republican Rome
Rivista/Miscellanea: Transactions of the American Philological Association - Volume 131
Anno edizione: 2001
Pagine: 119-142
Parole chiave: Droit - Diritto - Law, Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History
Descrizione: [Abstract] Reading the pro Caelio’s account of Clodia’s vengeful obsession with the young aristocrat Marcus Caelius, we are perhaps always at risk of behaving like those Romans who followed the common talk (hominum sermo) about the most scandalous aspects of Caelius’ case: believing, that is, in what is said because it accords with Clodia’s reputation (cf. Cic. Cael. 69). Aware of the pitfalls of credulity, scholars have long been anxious about whether the affair actually happened and was in fact a subject of gossip among Cicero’s contemporaries. We are right to wonder, since our doubt may not only determine our view of the speech as persuasion but also help us interrogate Roman misogyny as promulgated through judicial oratory and other types of public performance. A Roman quaestio was of course supposed to elicit and divulge true information about a past event; the speeches, however, for both the prosecution and the defense, could be expected to take full advantage of sexual stereotypes and might well involve distortion of the facts.
Sigla autore: Dufallo 2001