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Reading Republican OratoryReconstructions, Contexts, Receptions$
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Christa Gray, Andrea Balbo, Richard M. A. Marshall, and Catherine E. W. Steel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198788201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198788201.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

‘Certain gentlemen say…’

‘Certain gentlemen say…’

Cicero, Cato, and the Debate on the Validity of Clodius’ Laws

(p.191) 11 ‘Certain gentlemen say…’
Reading Republican Oratory

Kit Morrell

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the nature and significance of a debate between Cicero and Cato in 56 BC over the repeal of Clodius’ tribunician laws. By combining close attention to the evidence of Plutarch and Dio with a study of the prosopography and geographical movements of some members of the Roman elite, it seeks to reconstruct the arguments used on each side and suggests identifications for several of the anonymous ‘gentlemen’ elliptically identified as Cicero’s adversaries in the contemporary De prouinciis consularibus. It is argued that Cicero’s attacks on these unnamed opponents relate to a recently-held Senate meeting in which the validity of Clodius’ laws was debated and Cicero’s position rejected both on technical grounds and in the interests of constitutional stability. The repercussions of this debate for Cicero and Cato personally and for Roman politics more broadly are also discussed.

Keywords:   Cicero, Cato the Younger, Clodius, senatorial oratory, Plutarch, Cassius Dio

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