Politeness and formality in Cicero’s Letter to Matius (Fam. 11.27)

Auteur: Hall, Jon
Titre: Politeness and formality in Cicero’s Letter to Matius (Fam. 11.27)
Revue/Collection: "Museum Helveticum", 62, (4)
Annèe edition: 2005
Pages: 193-213
Mots-clès: Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: As Peter Brunt notes in his famous essay on Roman amicitia, the "polite civilities" exchanged by aristocrats such as Cicero and Caesar are highly significant: this courteous language played a crucial part in the cultivation and preservation of political friendships in the Late Roman Republic. As yet, however, few Classical scholars have taken up Brunt's Suggestion that this formal politeness receive close study in its own right. In the diseipline of sociolinguistics, by contrast, research into polite language has become something of a boom industry over the past three decades or so. These studies have not only confirmed Brunt's Observation regarding the social importance of politeness; they have also developed useful theoretical frameworks that can be profitably applied to the subject. In the following discussion, I would like to consider how some of these ideas can help us reach a better understanding of Cicero's use of linguistic courtesy. My focus will necessarily be quite narrow; nevertheless, as I hope to show, even the few letters addressed here can provide us with important insights that can be applied to the correspondence as a whole. In particular, we shall see that Cicero's use of polite routines reflects some of the fundamental tensions and social anxieties that prevailed among his aristoeratie peers [Author]
Liens: https://www.e-periodica.ch/cntmng?pid=mhl-001%3A2005%3A62%3A%3A307
Sigle auteur: Hall 2005