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A Popular Consul’s Claptrap and the Sequence of Tenses. The Text and Rhetorical Significance of Cicero, De lege agraria 2.7

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The starting point of this article is a textual problem at the beginning of §7 of Agr. 2 (Cicero’s first consular contio), where he claims that he will be a people’s man (popularis). A close examination of the role of attraction in the sequence of tenses shows that the transmitted text is almost certainly wrong. An emendation is proposed, which also gives the sentence a rhythmical ending. An analysis of Cicero’s strategy in the speech, and of the role that the sentence plays in it, suggests that such a marked clausula is appropriate and contributes, together with other formal features, to making the sentence a ‘claptrap’, designed to elicit approval from the contional audience.

Affiliations: 1: School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU,


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