Q. Cicero's Commentariolum Petitionis

10/13/08

Permalink 04:52:57 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 202 words, 1347 views   English (US)
Categories: Q. Cicero's Commentariolum

Q. Cicero's Commentariolum Petitionis

I mentioned Quintus Cicero’s Commentariolum Petitionis in a post earlier this month. With the US election approaching, I thought I’d post a few choice paragraphs over the days leading up to November 4th. First though, a little background.

The Commentariolum Petitionis was ostensibly written by Quintus Cicero as a letter/pamphlet to advise his brother’s successful run for the consulship in 64 BCE. I say “ostensibly” because there are reasons to doubt the full authorship. Some of the passages are echoed in other speeches of Cicero; either Cicero plagiarized his brother or the orator is the actual author of at least some passages in the Commentariolum. Also the pamphlet seems to over-emphasize the danger of Catiline as an election opponent (Catiline ended up losing badly). Assuming the pamphlet was written after the Catilinarian conspiracy would explain this, as memories of the personal threat to Cicero might make Catiline loom larger in the author’s mind. But regardless of who wrote it, most scholars agree the pamphlet comes from the 1st century BCE and accurately reflects the political climate of its time.

Look for a few choice excerpts in the coming days. I’ll also add a blog category to help with filtering on this topic.

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