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Forum Antiquum Lecture Fal 2021: 'Cicero, an illustrious man?'

Thursday 18 November 2021
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Vossius Room

A few weeks ago, Leanne Jansen in her Forum Antiquum paper has spoken about the ancient debate about Cicero’s qualities as political leader. She showed the ambiguities and restraints of his exemplary image.
I will try to tell a part of a complementary story by focusing on the question how Cicero’s rich and ambivalent life was turned into a positive exemplary narrative. I will start with few remarks on Cicero’s own ideas about his question and then very briefly touch upon some early imperial authors like Seneca the Elder and Velleius Paterculus. In the major part of this paper, I will turn to the corpus of ancient scholia and commentaries of his speeches, especially the first-century commentary buy Asconius Pedianus and the fourth-century Scholia Bobiensia. I will ask whether these collections, which mostly are concerned with Cicero as master of eloquence, also deal with Ciero’s moral and/or political exemplarity.

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