Cicero’s De Officiis, politeness and modern conduct manuals

Author: Hall, Jon
Title: Cicero’s De Officiis, politeness and modern conduct manuals
Review/Collection: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 24, Issue 1
Year edition: 2023
Pages: 16 - 31
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics
Description: This paper considers the guidelines for polite conversation and appropriate comportment presented in Cicero’s philosophical treatise De Officiis (44 bce), examining them in the light of recent scholarship on modern conduct manuals. In particular, it considers: (1) Cicero’s attempt to impose order on conversational practices; (2) his guidelines on rebuking others appropriately (a topic often omitted from modern manuals); (3) the ways in which his views on conversation coincide with modern theories of politeness; (4) his association of polite manners with moral behaviour and social class; and (5) the role of caricature in his depictions of inappropriate behaviour [Author]
Author initials: Hall 2023