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A Written RepublicCicero's Philosophical Politics$
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Yelena Baraz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153322

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153322.001.0001

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Otiose Otium

Otiose Otium

The Status of Intellectual Activity in Late Republican Prefaces

Chapter:
(p.13) Chapter One Otiose Otium
Source:
A Written Republic
Author(s):

Yelena Baraz

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153322.003.0001

This chapter examines Cicero’s struggles with Roman anxieties about philosophy and situates them within a broader contemporary discourse that tries to expand the field of acceptable activity to include the intellectual. The discussion draws on the prefaces to Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae and Bellum Iugurthinum and the preface to the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium, along with the criticisms that Cicero claims are leveled against his project. The chapter presents a broader picture of the resistance to intellectual activity that characterized the Roman elite and that Cicero was trying to anticipate. It also considers Cicero’s engagement with a quotation from Ennius that advocates a limited involvement with philosophy, as well as the issue of the mos maiorum and philosophy’s relationship to tradition, which is central to Cicero’s self-presentation.

Keywords:   philosophy, Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, Bellum Iugurthinum, Rhetorica ad Herennium, intellectual activity, Ennius, mos maiorum, Cicero, prefaces

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