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Download Politeness and Politics in Cicero's Letters by Jon Hall PDF

By Jon Hall

Politeness and Politics in Cicero's Letters examines the political and private negotiations that Cicero undertakes within the letters exchanged with different robust males of the overdue Roman Republic, reminiscent of Caesar, Pompey and Mark Antony. Drawing upon sociolinguistic theories of politeness, the ebook explores the precise conventions of epistolary courtesy that formed formal interplay between males of the Roman elite.

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Additional resources for Politeness and Politics in Cicero's Letters

Example text

In these situations, an aristocrat’s ostentatious concern with his various duties and obligations helped to demonstrate both his own verecundia and his respect for the addressee’s social position. Not surprisingly, in most cases the failure to offer thanks drew sharp rebukes. , for example, Cicero complains (perhaps a little unfairly) that Atticus’ freedman Dionysius has not formally passed on his thanks following a stay at the orator’s home (Att. 1; SB 130):32 “Dionysius, vir optimus, ut mihi quoque est perspectus, et doctissimus tuique amantissimus, Romam venit XV Kal.

Id et Lucceio et Pompeio valde gratum fore teque apud eos praeclare positurum confirmo et spondeo. I certainly want you to be assured that in doing what you have done on behalf of L. Lucceius you have obliged a man who is most grateful. What you have done is very welcome to Lucceius himself, and Pompey, whenever he sees me (and indeed he sees me often) expresses to you the most extraordinary thanks. I will add what I feel sure will be highly agreeable to you, that I myself have taken the greatest pleasure in your kindness to Lucceius.

Although the following discussion is based around seven specific letters, at several places I use these as a springboard for the detailed consideration of individual strategies of politeness. These strategies match in part those identified by Sophie Roesch in her brief survey of politeness in the correspondence;4 but by examining them in the context of specific letters, I hope to present a more nuanced picture of their use. This type of analysis requires a close engagement with the text of individual letters, and the pages that follow include both the Latin and an English translation of relevant passages in order to help the reader track the argument more precisely.

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