In the 40s BCE, during his forced retirement from politics under Caesar's dictatorship, Cicero turned to philosophy, producing a massive and important body of work. As he was acutely aware, this was an unusual undertaking for a Roman statesman because Romans were often hostile to philosophy, perceiving it as foreign and incompatible with fulfilling one's duty as a citizen. How, then, are we to understand Cicero's decision to pursue philosophy in the context of the political, intellectual, and cultural life of the late Roman republic? In A Written Republic, Yelena Baraz takes up this question and makes the case that philosophy for Cicero was not a retreat from politics but a continuation of politics by other means, an alternative way of living a political life and serving the state under newly restricted conditions. Baraz examines the rhetorical battle that Cicero stages in his philosophical prefaces--a battle between the forces that would oppose or support his project. He presents his philosophy as intimately connected to the new political circumstances and his exclusion from politics.
His goal--to benefit the state by providing new moral resources for the Roman elite--was traditional, even if his method of translating Greek philosophical knowledge into Latin and combining Greek sources with Roman heritage was unorthodox. A Written Republic provides a new perspective on Cicero's conception of his philosophical project while also adding to the broader picture of late-Roman political, intellectual, and cultural life.
Yelena Baraz is assistant professor of classics at Princeton University.
Acknowledgments ix Abbreviations and Translations xi Introduction 1 Chapter One: Otiose Otium: The Status of Intellectual Activity in Late Republican Prefaces 13 Cicero's Ennius, or Anxiety about Too Much Philosophy 15 Sallust, or Anxiety about Writing 22 Rhetorica ad Herennium, or Anxiety about Status 36 Chapter Two: On a More Personal Note: Philosophy in the Letters 44 Philosophy as a Basis for Action 46 Philosophy and Politics 67 Writing as a Primary Occupation 78 The Consolation of Philosophy 86 Chapter Three: The Gift of Philosophy: The Treatises as Translations 96 The Shape of Translation: Tusculans I 103 Why Translation? De Finibus I 113 Chapter Four: With the Same Voice: Oratory as a Transitional Space 128 The Philosophizing Orator: A Stoic or an Academic? Cato versus Cicero in the Paradoxa Stoicorum 131 Always Philosophizing: Cicero as the Linchpin in De Natura Deorum I 137 From Oratory to Philosophy: The Logic of Tusculan Disputations I 140 Chapter Five: Reading a Ciceronian Preface: Strategies of Reader Management 150 Making Friends with Strangers: Topica 156 Drawing Strength from Tradition: De Senectute 173 Chapter Six: Philosophy after Caesar: The New Direction 187 Looking Back: De Divinatione II 188 From the Ides to the De Officiis 194 From Quintus the Elder to Marcus the Younger: The Pattern of Dedications 204 The Final Encounter: De Officiis 212 Bibliography 225 Index Locorum 243 General Index 249