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Letters and CommunitiesStudies in the Socio-Political Dimensions of Ancient Epistolography$
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Paola Ceccarelli, Lutz Doering, Thorsten Fögen, and Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804208.001.0001

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A Republic in Letters

A Republic in Letters

Epistolary Communities in Cicero’s Correspondence, 49–44 BCE

Chapter:
(p.205) 7 A Republic in Letters
Source:
Letters and Communities
Author(s):

Ingo Gildenhard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198804208.003.0008

The corpus of letters from and to Cicero that survives from the five-year period after Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BCE and his assassination on the Ides of March 44 BCE demands attention as a special medium of political commentary, intervention, and reflection—as well as community-building. The chapter shows how in a commonwealth shattered by civil war and in the process of being transformed in an autocratic key through Caesar’s victory and dictatorship, the letter offers Cicero a medium for various forms of political activism: in and through his correspondence, he tries to come to terms with Caesar, stake out a position for himself in Caesar’s world, and mediate between the centre of power and high-profile Republicans still languishing in exile in various places across the Mediterranean. These efforts are all designed to sustain a community of peers committed to a Republican commonwealth.

Keywords:   Cicero, Caesar, civil war, dictatorship, exile, centre and periphery, political culture

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