Cicero’s Treatment of Sulla in the Pro Roscio Amerino

Author: Coates, Gregory
Title: Cicero’s Treatment of Sulla in the Pro Roscio Amerino
Review/Collection: "Classical Quarterly", 72, 2
Year edition: 2022
Pages: 595-610
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: [Coates, Gregory][Abstract] This article addresses the view that Cicero's Pro Roscio Amerino contains ‘criticism’ of Sulla (the ‘anti-Sulla’ thesis). It argues that there is no evidence of criticism, that Cicero had no incentive to criticize Sulla, and that his attack is aimed solely against Chrysogonus. In particular, the article draws attention to the methodological implications of the ‘anti-Sulla’ thesis, arguing that it is unsound to second-guess Cicero's meaning, to project ‘sarcasm’ onto his words, or to suggest post euentum rewrites; these views, it is argued, owe more to preconceived scholarly notions of Sulla as a tyrant than to actual indications in the text. In addition, the notion that the speech was ‘courageous’ or ‘political’ is challenged, with emphasis being placed on the identity of the nobiles supporting Cicero: these Sullans had nothing to fear from Sulla but, equally, there is little reason to suppose that they were trying to attack him.
Author initials: Coates 2022