Tyrants, Kings and Fathers in the Philippics

Author: Stevenson, Tom
Title: Tyrants, Kings and Fathers in the Philippics
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: 95-113
Description: Tom Stevenson is one of a number of contributors who would argue that the invective against Antony should not be dismissed out of hand or assessed purely in terms of its factual basis. Much of it relates to conventional descriptions of tyrants in Greek and Roman literature, but the reality and potential of Antony’s power was such as to make the image of the tyrant far more compelling in the circumstances. In the wake of Caesar’s assassination, Cicero evidently meant Antony to be clear about the fate of tyrants. Furthermore, anti-tyrant rhetoric was absolutely central to any assessment of Cicero’s career, to his conflicts with Catiline and Clodius, and to his aspirations to be accepted as the true Father of the Fatherland instead of Julius Caesar. It needs to be recognised that Roman political rhetoric operated on a principle of antithesis. Antony is criticised in terms which simultaneously construct Cicero as his polar opposite. There may be some question about whether Ciceros arguments were accepted widely at the time, but there are indications in several imperial authors that the Philippics were looked upon as works which advanced considerably Cicero's claims to be known as the state's father.  [Stevenson & Wilson 2008, 13]
Author initials: Stevenson 2008