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A commentary on Cic. Fam. 5.1–18
A narrative on Cicero and the Roman republic

LOSITO, LAURA (2024) A commentary on Cic. Fam. 5.1–18
A narrative on Cicero and the Roman republic.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 07 May 2025.


Book 5 of Cicero’s (hereafter C.’s) Ad Familiares is generally thought to lack internal coherence, with no evidence of a clear rationale for the selection and organisation of its letters. Instead, it is often considered the product of a hurried or unthinking posthumous arrangement. This commentary (first modern commentary of any sort on Fam. 5) seeks to demonstrate that the letters in the book have been carefully selected and arranged in four different blocks (1–11; 12; 13–18; 19–21) by anonymous ancient editor(s), to create a meaningful storyline on C. and the republic. These deliberate clusters of letters gravitate around the pivotal letter 12, where C. asks Lucceius (without success) to recount—in an embellished ‘monograph’ on his career—the years 64–57, with a focus on C.’s activity against Catiline and exile. If in the first part of Fam. 5 (1–11), the ancient editor(s) mostly follow Lucceius’ agenda (since it includes letters from 64–57 and focuses mainly on C.’s efforts against Catiline and following exile), it is with the second half of the book (13–21) that the editor(s) significantly revise this narrative. Letters 13–21 include references to Clodius and (by extending the book’s narrative to encompass letters from the 40s) to the dramatic events of C.’s life, like Tullia’s death, C.’s loss of prestige and the fall of the republic. The final product, included in Fam. 5, is a narrative that displays a more ‘sincere’ portrait of C.—one decisively in contrast with the one requested to Lucceius and with which C. wanted to be remembered by posterity. This commentary investigates the narrative that emerges from Fam. 5 through a sustained close reading of the extant letters and analysis of their historical, philological, and linguistic features.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Latin Literature; Epistolography; Cicero; Ancient Letter Collections
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 May 2024 15:53

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