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Creative EloquenceThe Construction of Reality in Cicero's Speeches$
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Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291557.001.0001

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Definition and the Politics of Truth

Definition and the Politics of Truth

(p.141) 5 Definition and the Politics of Truth
Creative Eloquence

Ingo Gildenhard

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on two techniques that Cicero used to gain an (often counterintuitive) purchase on reality: definition and the rhetoric of truth. After general reflections on the correlation between civic bloodshed and semantic strife, the chapter concentrates on two particularly striking instances of semantic reinvention in Cicero's speeches, i.e. his conception of optimates in the pro Sestio; and his onslaught on Antony's (constitutional) self and identity in the Philippics. The final section considers how Cicero wields the attribute verus (and various opposites) to split reality in two and effect a chiastic reversal of seeming and being: constitutional facts and prevalent norms and values are consigned to a world of falsehood, whereas his own, idiosyncratic views acquire definitive ontological substance.

Keywords:   antony, civil war, definition, identity, optimates, philippics, pro Sestio, rhetoric, truth

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