The introduction contextualizes Cicero’s decision to strive for a permanent position in the Roman canon as a classic. First, it demonstrates that Cicero used his literary works innovatively in order to extend his political self-fashioning across both space and time. It then discusses the flourishing of classicism in Greek intellectual culture of the second and first centuries BCE, the routes by which this culture came to Rome, and the ambivalent Roman response to Greece in this period. The chapter concludes by arguing that the Hellenized educational system at Rome had a powerful impact upon Roman canon formation, and meant that Roman authors could quickly become classics. For a new man like Cicero who had staked his career on his abilities with Latin prose—and who had learned to use writing and publication to further his career—this was an attractive prospect.
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