Cicero and the ’ancestral constitution’ : a study of Cicero’s Contio speeches

Author: Fogel, Jerise
Title: Cicero and the ’ancestral constitution’ : a study of Cicero’s Contio speeches
Place edition: New York
Editor: Columbia University, Department of Classics.
Year edition: 1994
Pages: IV, 348
Keywords: Chronologie des oeuvres - Cronologia degli scritti - Works chronology, Politique - Politica - Politics, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics

Microform available from UMI (AAC 94-27068).

Description: [Abstract] Thesis (Ph. D.). I argue that rhetorical appeal to the "ancestral constitution," that is, one kind of argument from precedent, can be found in Cicero’s speeches and that the most interesting use of it is in the contio speeches, which constitute a genre unto themselves. Chapter I examines previous work on political vocabulary and the vocabulary of "ancestors" and tradition in Cicero’s works, and in Roman thought in general. I identify four kinds of argument from precedent, and demonstrate the way in which two of these can be used by Cicero in a complimentary fashion in speeches on the same subject addressed to different audiences. Chapter II identifies types of live audience and stylistic components of speeches addressed to these audiences. The terms Cicero uses in his speeches to introduce appeals to ancestors are enumerated and discussed, and the "civic maiores" are shown to be a Ciceronian construct aimed at all his Roman hearers, especially his contio audiences. The way in which Cicero coordinates use of these terms with other appeals to tradition, exempla and generalizing plurals alluding to great men of the past, is described. Chapter III analyzes the extant contio speeches (excluding de lege agraria III) in chronological order, attempting to place them within their rhetorical and political framework, and to trace some lines of development of Cicero’s argument. I concentrate on de imperio Cn. Pompei and de lege agraria II because of the prominence of the theme in those two speeches and their importance to Cicero as the opening speeches of his praetorship and consulship. Cicero, I conclude, became less interested in the appeal to civic maiores, even in the contio speeches themselves, in his later career, and discuss what the analyses of the speeches mean for the phenomenon of argument from tradition and in particular from "ancestral" institutional tradition in the late republic. Appendices include a study of written and spoken oratory, a speech-by-speech list of exempla in Cicero’s speeches, and a discussion of the publication date of de lege agraria II.
Author initials: Fogel 1994