Publishing the Philippics, 44-43 BC

Author: Kelly, Douglas
Title: Publishing the Philippics, 44-43 BC
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: 22-38
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Histoire - Storia - History, Politique - Politica - Politics
Description: On the topic of publication, Douglas Kelly stresses that there were so-called Philippics speeches in circulation above the number of fourteen that we now possess. They were the product of a veritable ‘torrent of publication, which involved the rapid serial publication of the Philippics. It has been generally held that rapid publication was the norm for Cicero throughout his career, but Kelly shows that this was not in fact the reality prior to the Philippics, and was never so for his forensic speeches. For his political speeches, rapid publication was a feature only of the last months of Cicero’ career. Kelly thinks that this innovation can be attributed partly to a change of attitude in the preceding fifteen years towards the publication of political speeches and other political matter. It is one marker of the turbulent times which succeeded Caesar's first consulship in 59 BC. For Cicero, rapid publication was also motivated by the pressing need to influence public opinion in relation to Brutus and Cassius, and to be seen to be doing so. A struggle for legitimacy was taking place alongside the material struggle for troops, money, and provinces. This legitimacy required the demonstration of moral right and political necessity, though its strict legality may have been questionable. Cicero had to persuade a reluctant Roman elite that civil war was necessary to restore the traditional order of the state. His political speeches became his weapons. A battle of published speeches ensued. [Stevenson & Wilson 2008, 9]
Author initials: Kelly 2008