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Chapter 5 - The Champion of the Senate

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2020

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Summary

Cicero shows deference to the senate’s will and holds up the senate’s authority as a defining characteristic of the functioning republic. The more the senate’s authority seems to erode in this period of crisis and dysfunction, the more Cicero insists on its solidarity and power. Especially in orations delivered to the senate, Cicero casts himself as a champion of the senate’s collective authority and promotes concord among its members based on a sense of shared virtue, shared values, and mutual respect.In De Haruspicum Responsis and In Pisonem, he describes his recall from exile and the restoration of his house on the Palatine as symbols of the senate’s support for him and his politics, while his opponents Piso, Gabinius, Clodius, and later Antony and Calenus (Philippics 2, 5, 7) are characterized in his orations as detested by the senate. Historically, one of the most obvious symptoms of the aspiring tyrant in Rome was contempt or abuse of the senate. He claims that Caesar shares his fidelity to the senate in De Provinciis Consularibus and Pro Marcello, and therefore is not a tyrant.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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