Nimium felix: Caesar’s Felicitas and Cicero’s Philippics

Author: Welch, Kathryn
Title: Nimium felix: Caesar’s Felicitas and Cicero’s Philippics
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: 181-213
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: Kathryn Welch examines Cicero’ use of felicitas language in the Second Philippic and the history which lies behind it. Caesar’s claims to legitimacy rested heavily on the fact of his victory, and on the increasingly grandiose claims that supporters were making about his felicitas: it was a personal attribute rather than a mere gift from the gods, it was greater than that of either Sulla or Pompey, and it vastly overshadowed traditional expressions of the theology of victory such as priestly and augural symbols. Welch shows in careful detail the extent of Cicero's conundrum over felicitas in the period following Caesar's death. His first response, in the De Officiis, was to associate Caesar with Sulla’s criminality and lack of justice. In the Second Philippic he aimed to counter the claims of Caesar himself, later taken up by Antony, via the same philosophical point: that no one harmful to the res publica could be called felix and that mere victory could not be a basis for legitimate rule. This paper is another to argue that Ciceros views/were highly influential among his contemporaries and heirs.  [Stevenson & Wilson 2008, 17]
Author initials: Welch 2008