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The Intellectual Background of Cicero's Rhetorical Works

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Chapter Summary

Intellectual activities are of course often frowned upon by people who regard themselves as 'practical', and this was also true in Greece and Rome. In Rome, however, this sentiment usually took a specific form: intellectual activities were 'Greek' and therefore not properly Roman. This chapter illustrates the complexities of Roman intellectual life in Cicero's time, a point emphasized throughout this chapter, perhaps too much so in the eyes of some readers. But if this emphasis is justified, we must conclude that what makes the intellectual activities of the period more interesting, makes them at the same time difficult to describe and reconstruct. Yet in some areas firm, positive conclusions can be drawn. It is likely that renewed, detailed examination of some of the evidence, and especially of Cicero's writings themselves, will take us even further, and deepen our understanding of Cicero's stance and purposes in his 'rhetorical' works.

Keywords: Cicero; Greece; rhetorical works; Rome



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