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Cicero's Philosophy of History$
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Matthew Fox

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211920.001.0001

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History and Memory

History and Memory

(p.149) 6 History and Memory
Cicero's Philosophy of History

Matthew Fox (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter places Cicero's use of ironic history within its cultural context. Several different areas of Roman approaches to the past are discussed: the use of historical exempla, the use of funeral masks and the veneration of ancestors, and the Annalistic tradition of historical record-keeping. These are brought together in a discussion of Cicero's attitude to memory, and the intersection between memory and identity. The evidence from Cicero suggests an awareness of the symbolic power of history over its factual basis. The Roman interest in historical revival is explored. The chapter concludes that Cicero's use of history to explore rather than reinforce identity was characteristic of his times. His philosophical tendencies prompted him to exploit history's flexibility.

Keywords:   Tacitus, Sallust, Julius Caesar, Polybius, Annals, ancestors, historical revival, metaphor, ironic history

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