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Ciceronian Constructions of the Oratorical Past

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Cicero presented two kinds of histories of oratory at Rome: one through his recollection of individual orators speaking in specific spaces in his speeches, employed to support his arguments and broader agendas; another in his rhetorical treatises (especially De oratore and Brutus), in which he constructed a narrative about skill and technique which placed Roman oratory in the context of Greek oratory, and Roman orators in the context of rhetorical education and oratorical ability. The chapter investigates these two approaches to Rome’s speaking culture and discusses the background to this development of a second and parallel approach, focusing on the role of oratory in Roman memory and history, Cicero’s self-presentation, and the late republican trend of memorialisation.



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