Social evasion and aristocratic manners in Cicero’s De oratore

Author: Hall, Jon
Title: Social evasion and aristocratic manners in Cicero’s De oratore
Review/Collection: "American Journal of Philology", 117, (1)
Year edition: 1996
Pages: 95-120
Keywords: Politique - Politica - Politics, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: This article argues that contrary to popular scholarly interpretation, De Oratore does not, in fact, merely depict idealized characters remote from everyday realities, but rather characters who face practice problems of everyday aristocratic interaction, and in this sense, it captures the true flavor of ancient Roman manners. Hall begins with a portrayal of social manners in several scenes and closely reads selected scenes that highlight social manners; he then proceeds to compare the manners presented in the text with manners reveals in Cicero’s own correspondences via letters to other aristocracy, providing both cultural history as well as revealing the similarities between the manners exhibited in the letters with the manners found in De Oratore. Hall’s purpose is to present a new understanding of both the characters, the context, and even the purpose of De Oratore that has formerly been unrealized by basing interpretations on the text alone, interpretations that, according to Hall, do not give due to the realities of ancient Roman aristocracy. [Andress9]
Author initials: Hall 1996