Chapter

The Search for <i>Otium</i>

Andrew Lintott

in Cicero as Evidence

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216444
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216444.003.0014
The Search for Otium

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In March 56, when speaking for Sestius, Cicero had claimed that the supreme aim for the helmsmen of the res publica was ‘cum dignitate otium’, the undisturbed enjoyment of their rank. A year later, he complained in a letter to Spinther that while those in power were likely to provide otium, a tranquil life — provided that certain persons could accept that power more submissively — there could be no longer any thought of that consular rank appropriate to a courageous and resolute senator. Nevertheless, he did not abandon the ideal: it appears in the lengthy apologia he was to write to Spinther in 54 and in the introduction to his dialogue De Oratore, which he composed in 55. Cicero certainly did not retire from public life; he sought to maintain his status first by forensic oratory and the favour (gratia) this earned with others, secondly by expressing his political and philosophical views in writing, and thirdly by seeking to ensure that his past career was firmly embedded in Roman historiography. This chapter discusses the letter to Lucceius, the pro Plancio, the last letter to Spinther, the de Oratore, and the De Re Republica.

Keywords: Lucceius; pro Plancio; Spinther; de Oratoer; De Re Republica

Chapter.  19526 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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