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Keeping up Appearances: Shame and Oratory in Cicero's Thought
Unformatted Document Text:  morality, and the kinds of knowledge that oratory required. 9 Though the quarrel seems to have faded in the 3 rd century, it reemerged in the 2 nd century in tandem with Rome’s increased activity and power in the Greek east and the increasing presence and influence of Greek intellectuals in Rome itself. Polybius, for instance, refers to the great crowd of intellectuals “flocking [to Rome] from Greece;” while some Romans welcomed the influx of Greek culture, others were far less amenable. 10 This is certainly evident in the hostility of Cato the Elder to the Athenian embassy (especially Carneades) sent to Rome in 155 B.C.E.; it is also evident in the senatorial motion passed in 161 to expel philosopher and rhetoricians from Rome. 11 Cicero’s On the Ideal Orator draws on this quarrel, with Cicero thrice invoking the Gorgias at I.47, III.122 and III.129. In this work, and against the backdrop of the quarrel, Cicero synthesizes philosophy and rhetoric in his conception of oratory, adopting a middle position between those rhetoricians who foreswore philosophy and those philosophers who denigrated rhetoric. This engagement with the quarrel is evident in his 9 Cicero, On the Ideal Orator, trans. James M. May and Jakob Wisse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). 23. 10 Polybius, The Histories, trans. W.R. Paton (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929). XXXI.24.7. 11 On Cato’s hostility to the embassy (especially Carneades), as well as his complex attitude toward Greek culture in general, see Mark Morford, The Roman Philosophers from the Time of Cato the Censor to the Death of Marcus Aurelius (London: Routledge, 2002). 17-22. On the senatorial motion, see Martin Lowther Clarke, Rhetoric at Rome: A Historical Survey (New York: Routledge, 1996). 11. 4

Authors: Kapust, Daniel.
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background image
morality, and the kinds of knowledge that oratory required.
Though the quarrel seems to
have faded in the 3
rd
century, it reemerged in the 2
nd
century in tandem with Rome’s
increased activity and power in the Greek east and the increasing presence and influence
of Greek intellectuals in Rome itself. Polybius, for instance, refers to the great crowd of
intellectuals “flocking [to Rome] from Greece;” while some Romans welcomed the
influx of Greek culture, others were far less amenable.
This is certainly evident in the
hostility of Cato the Elder to the Athenian embassy (especially Carneades) sent to Rome
in 155 B.C.E.; it is also evident in the senatorial motion passed in 161 to expel
philosopher and rhetoricians from Rome.
Cicero’s
On the Ideal Orator draws on this quarrel, with Cicero thrice invoking
the Gorgias at I.47, III.122 and III.129. In this work, and against the backdrop of the
quarrel, Cicero synthesizes philosophy and rhetoric in his conception of oratory, adopting
a middle position between those rhetoricians who foreswore philosophy and those
philosophers who denigrated rhetoric. This engagement with the quarrel is evident in his
9
Cicero, On the Ideal Orator, trans. James M. May and Jakob Wisse (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001). 23.
10
Polybius, The Histories, trans. W.R. Paton (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1929). XXXI.24.7.
11
On Cato’s hostility to the embassy (especially Carneades), as well as his complex
attitude toward Greek culture in general, see Mark Morford, The Roman Philosophers
from the Time of Cato the Censor to the Death of Marcus Aurelius (London: Routledge,
2002). 17-22. On the senatorial motion, see Martin Lowther Clarke, Rhetoric at Rome: A
Historical Survey (New York: Routledge, 1996). 11.
4


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