Patterns of imagery in Ciceronian invective

Author: Tolf, James Stephen
Title: Patterns of imagery in Ciceronian invective
Place edition: Ann Arbor
Editor: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing
Year edition: 1999
Pages: 153
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Politique - Politica - Politics, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: [Tolf, James Stephen]  [Abstract] This dissertation analyzes the metaphorical language of Ciceronian invective in the speeches against Verres (Verrines), Catiline (Catilinarians), Piso, Vatinius and Antonius (Philippics). These speeches span Cicero's career and provide an opportunity to observe any evolution in Cicero's invective. The dissertation first supplies a brief discussion of ancient and modern views of metaphor and takes a glance at the scholarship on metaphor and invective in Cicero. Next an attempt is made to establish where Cicero stands in the tradition of Roman invective by looking at the antecedents of Ciceronian invective: Lucilius, Plautus and early Roman oratory. An in-depth analysis of the imagery of Ciceronian invective in these five groups of speeches follows, containing similar categories of animals, monsters, gladiators, pirates and sexual excess, but also revealing Cicero's tremendous skill at tailoring his attack to depict vivid characters with unique personalities and criminal predilections.     In addition to the imagery of invective, these speeches contain other metaphorical language, predominantly related to the state. This national imagery depicts the state as an organism, a ship and a building in addition to images of fire, light and physical combat. The speeches against Verres, Vatinius and Piso take very little advantage of this imagery, but the deliberative speeches against Catiline and Antonius make more extensive use it. The Catilinarians have several creative images, although they lack any sustained and thematic application. The Philippics are remarkable for their employment of national imagery as fire, light, architecture, navigation and physical combat are interweaved into Cicero's call for an end to tyranny and restoration of libertas.  The conclusion examines the scanty amount of invective contemporary with Cicero in oratory and elsewhere. Invective was clearly a vital part of life in the late Republic and even from his earliest speeches Cicero held the first place in the ability to manipulate abuse. The evolution of Cicero's skill in the application of national imagery from the Verrines to Philippics is evident as Cicero tempered his abuse and used speeches typically devoted only to abuse to pursue a political plan of action.
Author initials: Tolf 1999