Hearing the Earth Speak: Paralinguistic Mutterings in Cicero, De haruspicum responsis

Autore: Corbeill, Anthony
Titolo: Hearing the Earth Speak: Paralinguistic Mutterings in Cicero, De haruspicum responsis
Rivista/Miscellanea: In : Andreas Serafim, Sophia Papaioannou, Nonverbal Behaviour in Ancient Literature: Athenian Dialogues III, Walter de Gruyter, 2023, 304 p.
Anno edizione: 2023
Pagine: 267-282
Parole chiave: Religion - Religione - Religion, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Descrizione: During the Roman Republic, prodigies provided a means for extralinguistic communication between the human and divine realms: hermaphroditic births, weeping statues, or showers of stones were regularly debated in the Roman senate in order to determine what, if anything, such phenomena may connote. In 56 BCE, rumblings in the north of Latium prompted the Roman senate to elicit a written response from the Etruscan haruspices in order to explain what these particular noises were saying. This response in turn provides the occasion for Cicero’s De haruspicum responsis. In this speech,  Cicero provides a close reading of the response in its Latin translation. I will analyze what appears to be the opening of the response to show how various aspects of its verbal manifestation– homoioteleuton, hiatus, cacophonous combinations of consonants--replicate the seismic activity  being described. And yet this not simply a literary trick. By describing these unnatural tremors with  unnatural Latin sounds, the translator of the Etruscan response – perhaps the Pythagorean Nigidius  Figulus – underscores the relationship upon which the system of Roman prodigies depends: the intersection and interaction of language, nature and morality. Eliciting other evidence concerning the care that Romans could take in translating Etruscan writings, I conclude with general remarks on Cicero’s use of human language to explicate more-than-human communication. [Author]
Sigla autore: Corbeill 2023