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Cicero, De oratore 2.90-92: A Probable Case of ‘Author Variant’

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At De oratore 2.90-92, the mutili (M) omit a passage in which the orator L. Fufius is severely criticized. It is solely transmitted by the integri (L). In the present paper I argue that the ‘lacuna’ in M is not accidental: it is more probable that Cicero himself, not long after he had completed and published De oratore, revised 2.90-92 and deleted the Fufius-passage. The outburst against Fufius is to be seen as a covert attack on one of Cicero’s personal enemies, the Caesarian Q. Fufius Calenus, and Cicero’s revision of 2.90-92 can well be understood as being due to changed circumstances, notably his improved relationship with Caesar. While M contains the revised version of 2.90-92, L does not contain the original one. This can be gathered from certain problems which mar the L-text. These problems are, in my view, to be connected with Cicero’s later revision of the passage: it seems likely that L’s text is due to contamination of the two versions. The original version can no longer be retrieved with certainty in all detail. Under the circumstances, the best we can do is to edit 2.90-92 according to the revised version (= M).

Affiliations: 1: Van Houweningenstraat 6-3 1052 tj Amsterdam The Netherlands


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