Seneca the Elder on Plagiarizing Cicero’s Verrines

Author: McGill, Scott
Title: Seneca the Elder on Plagiarizing Cicero’s Verrines
Review/Collection: Rhetorica Vol. 23, No. 4
Year edition: 2005
Pages: 337–346
Keywords: Héritage - Fortuna - Legacy
Description: [Abstract] In a comment on the age in which he was writing, Seneca the Elder states in Suas. 2.19 that anyone can plagiarize Cicero's Verrines with impunity. Critics have taken Seneca's assertion as a sign of diminished familiarity with the In Verrem and of Cicero's diminished popularity. This article offers a different interpretation. Seneca assails the inattentiveness of contemporary audiences as they listen to declamations in the rhetorical schools, not their ignorance of the Verrines or aversion to Cicero. Seneca incorporates the In Verrem into that critique due to its emblematic length in order to satirize the audiences' carelessness. The use of the Verrines as a symbol relies for its effect on the easy identification of the text and its size, and consequently points to the fame of that title and its length, as well as of its author Cicero, in the 30s CE.
Author initials: McGill 2005