Cicero in Letters: Epistolary Relations of the Late Republic

Paperback | April 15, 2012

byPeter White

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Cicero in Letters is a guide to the first extensive correspondence that survives from the Greco-Roman world. The more than eight hundred letters of Cicero that are its core provided literary models for subsequent letter writers from Pliny to Petrarch to Samuel Johnson and beyond. Thecollection also includes some one hundred letters by Cicero's contemporaries. The letters they exchanged provide unique insight into the experience of the Roman political class at the turning point between Republican and imperial rule. The first part of this study analyzes effects of the milieu in which the letters were written. The lack of an organized postal system limited the correspondence that Cicero and his contemporaries could conduct and influenced what they were willing to write about. Their chief motive for exchangingletters was to protect political relationships until they could resume their customary, face-to-face association in Rome. Romans did not normally sign letters, much less write them in their own hand. Their correspondence was handled by agents who drafted, expedited, and interpreted it. Yet everyletter advertised the level of intimacy that bound the writer and the addressee. Finally, the published letters were not drawn at random from the archives that Cicero left. An editor selected and arranged them in order to impress on readers a particular view of Cicero as a public personality. The second half of the book explores the significance of leading themes in the letters.It shows how, in a time of deepening crisis, Cicero and his correspondents drew on their knowledge of literature, the habit of consultation, and the rhetoric of government in an effort to improve cooperation and to maintain the political culture which they shared. The result is a revealing look atCicero's epistolary practices and also the world of elite social intercourse in the late Republic.

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Cicero in Letters is a guide to the first extensive correspondence that survives from the Greco-Roman world. The more than eight hundred letters of Cicero that are its core provided literary models for subsequent letter writers from Pliny to Petrarch to Samuel Johnson and beyond. Thecollection also includes some one hundred letters by ...

Peter White is Herman C. Bernick Family Professor in Classics and the College at the University of Chicago. His previous books include Promised Verse, winner of the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit from the American Philological Association.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:250 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:April 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199914346

ISBN - 13:9780199914340

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Table of Contents

PrefaceI. Reading the Letters from the Outside In1. Constraints and Biases in Roman Letter-Writing2. The Editing of the Collection3. Frames of the LetterII. Epistolary Preoccupations4. The Letters and Literature5. Giving and Getting Advice by Letter6. Letter-Writing and LeadershipAfterword: The Collection in HindsightAppendix 1: Quantifying the Letter CorpusAppendix 2: Contemporary Works Mentioned in the LettersBibliography of Titles Cited