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Cicero in LettersEpistolary Relations of the Late Republic$
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Peter White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388510.001.0001

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Frames of the Letter

Frames of the Letter

(p.63) 3 Frames of the Letter
Cicero in Letters

Peter White (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Apart from their explicit content, Roman letters signaled meaning through material elements of the text: the papyrus or tablet surface, the handwriting, and the writer's seal. Generic conventions—the salutation, the opening, the sign‐off, and the dateline—could be manipulated in ways that showed the sender's relationship with the addressee. Finally, the dyadic frame that is the essence of letters tended to exaggerate the politeness of epistolary interaction, and to compartmentalize the relationship that the letter writer maintained with each separate correspondent.

Keywords:   frame, papyrus, tablet, handwriting, seal, generic conventions, politeness, compartmentalization

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