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Ancient LettersClassical and Late Antique Epistolography$
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Ruth Morello and A. D. Morrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203956.001.0001

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Cicero's ‘Stomach’: Political Indignation and the Use of Repeated Allusive Expressions in Cicero's Correspondence *

Cicero's ‘Stomach’: Political Indignation and the Use of Repeated Allusive Expressions in Cicero's Correspondence *

Chapter:
(p.87) 3 Cicero's ‘Stomach’: Political Indignation and the Use of Repeated Allusive Expressions in Cicero's Correspondence*
Source:
Ancient Letters
Author(s):

Stanley E. Hoffer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203956.003.0004

This chapter examines the Ciceronian letter collection, a rare and precious example of an informal and almost spontaneous writing style among the Roman elite, and how much Cicero's epistolary style reflects casual spoken Latin among the elite. In some of Cicero's letters to Atticus, his thoughts and manner of expression from day to day, even hour to hour, can sometimes be tracked. The degree to which the collection is still only a formalized literary representation of actual conversation is discussed by focusing on a prominent feature of Cicero's letters — the use of repeated allusive expressions — paying special attention to expressions that refer to resentment and suppressed indignation (often involving the word stomachus). Such features are analysed as their tendency to cluster together, their tendency to be used at rhetorical turning-points and in connection with epistolary content and style, and, most notably, their tendency to have loaded political significance in expressing resentment at the despotism of Julius Caesar and other dynasts. The chapter aims to show how one can simultaneously analyse Cicero's intimate letters both as rare windows into casual Latin conversation and as masterpieces of literary construction in the epistolary genre.

Keywords:   Cicero, ancient letters, Rome, writing style, repeated allusive expressions, political indignation, private correspondence, stomachus, metaphors

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