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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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Plautus and the Tone of Roman Diplomacy of Intervention

Plautus and the Tone of Roman Diplomacy of Intervention

(p.49) 3 Plautus and the Tone of Roman Diplomacy of Intervention
Reading Republican Oratory

Elena Torregaray Pagola

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a scene in Plautus’ Amphitruo to reconstruct contemporary Roman oratorical practice in the context of the diplomacy of intervention, offering a close reading of a monologue by the slave Sosia (Amph. 186–218). In this extract Sosia describes the composition of a ‘victory speech’ for his master’s wife and, within the speech, recounts the diplomatic activity that preceded the war. Traces of the fetiales formula in the latter can be contextualized in terms of a rhetoric of intimidation, used to establish Roman supremacy even before the outbreak of war. The monologue itself, in depicting Sosia’s doubts and concerns while composing his speech, sheds light on the disposition of speakers in tense situations.

Keywords:   diplomacy of intervention, intimidation, fetiales, victory speech, Plautus

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