Cicero 'Haruspex': Political Prognostication and the Viscera by Maridien Schneider

By Maridien Schneider

This monograph explores Marcus Tullius Cicero's expertise and interpretation of latest political occasions as mirrored in his inner most correspondence over the last years of either the Roman republic and his personal existence. Cicero's correspondence provides an in depth view of present political occasions in Rome and constitutes, including Caesar's writings, our significant modern proof for the conditions of the civil warfare of forty nine BC. The theoretical enter of Cicero's predecessors, their perceptions of constitutional improvement (in specific of Roman politics) in addition to Cicero's conception in their political theories are scrutinized to figure out the level of Cicero's expertise of a bigger trend of political occasions.

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67-69). 304-6). The identity of the rector rei publicae however, remains a controversial issue in modern scholarship. Popular solutions vary from Pompeius, Cicero himself, or an impersonal political lay figure. Although De republica contains allusions to and reflections on contemporary political matters at the time of its composition (cf. Geiger 1984), Cicero’s idea of the ideal or model statesman is consistent with the abstract nature of his political theorising in the essay. The model, as a particular political figure, existed neither in Scipio’s time: ([homo quem] iamdudum quaero et ad quem cupio pervenire ([the man whom] I have long been searching for and whom I desire to find, Rep.

92 Nevertheless, Caesar’s narrative displays a defensive tone unlike that found in his commentary on the Gallic wars. Caesar’s self-portrait here shows him as ‘defender’ of the res publica whose prime objective is to seek peace. In striving towards this aim and in his acts of patriotism he is opposed by the enemies of the res from his army, he keeps many pople tied to him with hopes and promises, and he covets everything that belongs to all other people). 91 Cicero’s reference to the enigmatic Platonic number may even convey a political message to Atticus, underlining a serious, if not catastrophical, turn of events for the future of the state.

52 This view is consistent with the perceptions of Appian, Plutarch,53 and especially Cicero himself,54 all of whom appear to have regarded this period of Syme (1939), Earl (1963), Badian (1972), Stockton (1978), Ridley (1981), Horvath (1994). 2: ‘No sword was ever brought into the assembly … until Tiberius Gracchus, while holding office as tribune in the act of proposing legislation, became the first man to die in civil unrest. The disturbances did not end with this foul act …’ Plut. TG 20: ‘This is said to have been the first outbreak of civil strife in Rome, which ended in bloodshed since the expulsion of the kings’.

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