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Cicero, Greek Learning, and the Making of a Roman Classic$
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Caroline Bishop

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829423.001.0001

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Aristotle

Aristotle

Chapter:
(p.129) 3 Aristotle
Source:
Cicero, Greek Learning, and the Making of a Roman Classic
Author(s):

Caroline Bishop

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198829423.003.0004

This chapter examines Cicero’s adaptation of Aristotle in his rhetorical works. Cicero considered Aristotle a somewhat remote figure, and associated him with times of political withdrawal and intense study. Yet he also held Aristotle in high esteem as a classic, especially for his contributions to rhetoric: Cicero was taught by his instructor Philo of Larissa that Aristotle invented the debate on both sides of a general rhetorical or philosophical question that for Cicero represented the tangible union of philosophy and rhetoric necessary for the ideal orator. When Cicero faced the prospect of further political inactivity after Caesar’s assassination, he decided to fully embrace Aristotle’s didacticism by composing his Topica, a how-to manual for this sort of debate that would make his ideal orator (who, of course, resembled Cicero himself) into a classic model in Roman rhetorical instruction.

Keywords:   Cicero, Aristotle, Philo of Larissa, ancient rhetoric, thesis and hypothesis (rhetoric), Hermagoras of Temnos, De Oratore, Topics, Topica, reception of Aristotle

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