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Cicero the Advocate$
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Jonathan Powell and Jeremy Paterson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152804.001.0001

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Audience Expectations, Invective, and Proof

Audience Expectations, Invective, and Proof

(p.187) 7 Audience Expectations, Invective, and Proof
Cicero the Advocate

Christopher Craig

Oxford University Press

In his defence of his friend Milo, who has been accused of seditious violence for murdering Cicero's enemy Clodius, Cicero argued that, even if Milo had murdered Clodius, he should still be acquitted because the removal of Clodius was in the best interests of the res publica. Cicero's assertion of veracity, in the midst of a torrent of invective asserting that Clodius was murderous, rapacious, sacrilegious, unsparing of his own family, guilty of incest with his sister, hateful to the gods, and a clear and present danger to the continued survival of the Roman state, nicely underscores the problem of audience perceptions of invective in Ciceronian oratory. This chapter examines why Cicero feels the need for this assertion by analysing his speech for Milo as a case study of his use of invective in a judicial speech. It also discusses whether the audience expects exuberant ad hominem attacks not to be true, and if they do not, then what is the relationship of ad hominem attacks to factually probative argument.

Keywords:   invective, defence, veracity, Milo, Clodius, judicial speech, ad hominem attacks, argument

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