Life after Death
The chapter begins by setting out the terms of traditional aristocratic immortality in Rome, which consisted in the acquisition of praise (laus) and glory (gloria) during life and the survival in the memory of the family and the larger civic community after death; in contrast to philosophical belief in the immortality of the soul and the hubristic desire for deification, it was thus grounded in practices of commemoration. The chapter shows how Cicero nevertheless flirted with the radical possibility of continued existence after death through deification or the immortality of the soul, conceiving of the hereafter as a realm of reward and/ or punishment. The discussion thus illustrates how he strategically endorsed the popular, but also Platonic idea of the afterlife as a site of reckoning where mechanisms of distributive and retributive justice balance open accounts.
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