Cicero and Male Virtue

Autore: Borkowska, Katarzyna
Titolo: Cicero and Male Virtue
Rivista/Miscellanea: In : Renata Iwicka (ed.), Manifestations of Male Image in the World's Cultures, Jagiellonian University Press, Cambridge University Press, 190 p.
Anno edizione: 2021
Pagine: 31-46
Parole chiave: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Poesia - Poesie - Poetry, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Descrizione: As we learn from Plutarch and Quintilian, and can deduce from his own texts, Cicero was criticised for his literary interests and education in Greek philosophy, as well as for his style and performance as an orator, too feminine for the Roman taste. In order to examine the reasons behind the accusations that Cicero had to face, I shall briefly discuss the opinions expressed by Cato the Censor (as referred by Plutarch) and Julius Caesar, presenting the attitudes towards cultural practices (especially foreign) within Roman society of the Late Republic. Following Brian Krostenko’s steps, I take Roman virtue (virtus) to be constructed in opposition to individualism and aestheticism. Both these qualities were perceived as Greek and feminine, and both were closely associated with culture, whence the apparent superstition against culture that it weakens male virtue arose. An analysis of Cicero’s texts reveals that, aware of the said superstition, he tried to defend the study of literature and philosophy by grounding it in the socially valuable, masculine sphere. He emphasises the benefits poetry can bring to the community in Pro Archia; in Tusculan Disputations he redefines virtus, stressing its relation to masculinity, but emphasising one component – a strength of character that only a study of philosophy can shape. [Author]
Sigla autore: Borkowska 2021