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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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Oratorum Romanarum Fragmenta Liberae Rei Publicae

Oratorum Romanarum Fragmenta Liberae Rei Publicae

The Letter of Cornelia, Mater Gracchorum, and the Speeches of Her Father and Son

(p.309) 18 Oratorum Romanarum Fragmenta Liberae Rei Publicae
Reading Republican Oratory

Judith P. Hallett

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the boundaries of female public speech at Rome through an analysis of a letter, preserved by Nepos, which was sent to the tribune Gaius Gracchus by his mother Cornelia. It argues that Cornelia’s words should be studied alongside fragments of spoken oratory because of the intertextual relations between this fragment and the attested oratory of both her father Scipio Africanus and her son Gaius Gracchus and because of its characteristics as a contribution to a political debate. In addition, the probable oral circumstances of the letter’s composition and its use of oratorical sound effects further decrease the distance between it and the fragmentary remains of Republican speeches.

Keywords:   Cornelia, Gaius Gracchus, ancient letters, female public speech, oratorical fragments

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