Truth and Fiction in the Speeches

Andrew Lintott

in Cicero as Evidence

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216444
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712180 | DOI:
Truth and Fiction in the Speeches

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This chapter argues that historians must not only consider what the texts of the speeches actually represent, but also the orator's preference for persuasiveness over truthfulness. It is shown that in the speeches, Cicero does not signal possible inventions by marks of diffidence. One example of falsehood in a forensic speech is Cicero's account in his defence of Milo with regard to the death of Clodius at Bovillae. The technique of inserting a relatively brief and unadorned lie into a mass of other narrative or argument, which may itself be a misrepresentation of the facts, is identified. Another technique is the falsehood by implication through tendentious description.

Keywords: persuasiveness; truthfulness; Milo; Ciceronian speeches; forensic speech; falsehood

Chapter.  3341 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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