Cicero Versus Antonius: On the Structure and Construction of the Philippic Collection

Author: Manuwald, Gesine
Title: Cicero Versus Antonius: On the Structure and Construction of the Philippic Collection
Review/Collection: In : Stevenson,Tom & Wilson, Marcus (Eds.), Cicero's Philippics: History, rhetoric and ideology, Polygraphia, coll. "Prudentia", Auckland, 2008, 374 p.
Year edition: 2008
Pages: 39-61
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: Gesine Manuwald analyses the structure of the Philippics corpus, and revives Wilfried Stroh’s thesis that Philippics 3-14 formed the original corpus, based on the Demosthenic model of a cycle of twelve speeches. Philippics 1 and 2 were added later. Analysing divisions between the speeches on literary grounds rather than in terms of historical developments, she finds that all the Philippics from 3 onwards are designed to give the current situation and Cicero’s policy a coherent and consistent appearance. The particular aim of Philippics 3-14, on this reading, is to construct a specific image of Cicero and his policy. The Philippics emerge as a more coherent set than the Consular Orations. They were collected as a cycle designed to construct Cicero’s persona and present Cicero as a man who, in a dramatically stylised and critical situation, took the initiative and laid the foundations for preserving the res publica. The essentially literary question of whether one can observe a possible structuring principle within the transmitted corpus of speeches makes its character as a construct more apparent. In turn, this has consequences for the evaluation of the Philippics as historical sources because such an analysis highlights how fragile are common assumptions about the unity of purpose of the fourteen speeches. Manuwald’s paper requires that decisions about selection, arranging, matching, and pruning were made on the basis of speeches already in circulation. Thoughts of doing this can be traced to Cicero’s lifetime, though perhaps the project was brought to fruition not long after his death. [Stevenson & Wilson 2008, 9]
Author initials: Manuwald 2008