This book examines Cicero’s philosophical activity during the chaotic years of Julius Caesar’s rule, with particular emphasis on the cultural, social, and political positioning of his philosophica. Caesar’s new position, and the destructive war that led to his rise to power, revealed to Cicero the weaknesses of the political system that he had supported and idealized. Whereas Caesar was looking for ways to remake the Roman state, Cicero was searching for a solution of his own. The book analyzes how Cicero appropriated philosophy in a new way and presented his project as a response to the abuse of the concept of the mos maiorum that had culminated in civil war and dictatorship. The evidence comes from two sources: the preface to the second book of Cicero’s De Divinatione and book of draft prefaces called volumen prohoemiorum. The book explores the more implicit rhetoric of the prefaces—their structure, quotations, and allusions—for what they reveal about the meaning and the presentation of Cicero’s philosophical project.
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