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A Popular Consul’s Claptrap and the Sequence of Tenses: The text and Rhetorical Significance of Cicero, De lege agraria 2.7

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jakob Wisse


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The starting point of this article is a textual problem at the beginning of § 7 of Agr. 2 (Cicero’s first consular contio), where he claims that he will be a people’s man (popularis). A close examination of the role of attraction in the sequence of tenses shows that the transmitted text is almost certainly wrong. An emendation is proposed, which also gives the sentence a rhythmical ending. An analysis of Cicero’s strategy in the speech, and of the role that the sentence plays in it, suggests that such a marked clausula is appropriate and contributes, together with other formal features, to making the sentence a ‘claptrap’, designed to elicit approval from the contional audience.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wisse J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Mnemosyne

Year: 2014

Volume: 67

Issue: 6

Pages: 911-929

Online publication date: 21/11/2013

Acceptance date: 03/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0026-7074

ISSN (electronic): 1568-525X

Publisher: Brill


DOI: 10.1163/1568525X-12341458


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