O Singulare Prodigium: Ciceronian Invective as a Religious Expiation

Author: Corbeill, Anthony
Title: O Singulare Prodigium: Ciceronian Invective as a Religious Expiation
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: 240-254
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: Anthony Corbeill’s approach forms a nice bridge between those who envisage invective as responses to the realities of Roman society and those whose analysis is more strictly rhetorical or literary. He takes invective seriously as charges made against socially inappropriate behaviour and sees Cicero’ texts as a public space for the construction of Roman belief. What does it mean, then, when figures such as Clodius and Antony are described as monstrous prodigies? It is certainly more than mere name-calling or a dead metaphor. In fact, Corbeill shows that such references are set in contexts which virtually enact the process of expiation, so that the rhetoric becomes a way of expelling the prodigium monstrum from the community. Noteworthy on the score of reception is the observation that Cicero only employs prodigium as an epithet in his speeches in the presence of an exclusively elite audience, among whom would have been the cream of Romes priestly magistrates.  [Stevenson & Wilson 2008, 18]
Link: https://www.academia.edu/34141275/O_singulare_prodigium_Ciceronian_Invective_as_Religious_Expiation_Cicero_s_Philippics_History_Rhetoric_and_Ideology_Ed_T_Stevenson_and_M_Wilson_Auckland_Polygraphia_2008_Prudentia_37_38_240_254
Author initials: Corbeill 2008