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The Deaths of the RepublicImagery of the Body Politic in Ciceronian Rome$
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Brian Walters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198839576

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198839576.001.0001

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Murdering the Fatherland

Murdering the Fatherland

(p.101) 5 Murdering the Fatherland
The Deaths of the Republic

Brian Walters

Oxford University Press

Examining claims about “parricide” and “murdering the fatherland” in the wake of Caesar’s assassination, chapter 5 historicizes the discussions of earlier chapters by turning its attention to a single controversial image. The struggles of Cicero and his allies to paint Caesar and Antony as parricidae patriae (against opposing assertions about “murdering the parens patriae”) reveal the full panoply of body-political imagery being marshalled for a specific cause. Evocations of “parricide” are enjoined with images of disease, violence, and murder to strengthen their persuasiveness and drive the point home. Conflicting attempts to control the meaning of “parricide” mark the last traceable instance when imagery of Rome’s afflicted body was used to persuade in such a way, thus making the conflict a fitting end to the inquiry as a whole.

Keywords:   Roman Republic, body politic, oratory, invective, parricide, father, fatherland, Cicero, Mark Antony, Caesar

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