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Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3400, Austin, TX 78712-1738 • 512-471-5742

Fall 2006

LAT 323 • Cicero

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33130 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
WAG 112

Course Description

Consider the politics of Old Age. Here is Cicero in very early 44 BCE, age 62, retired from public action by prudence, now that Caesar is in the saddle. Just the time to rusticate and write philosophy. And what better to write about than, well, that portion of life where rustication is definitely The Right Thing To Do? Senectus, that's the ticket! Even the Elder Cato grew old, and loved farming, if not philosophy. Why not write a philosophical dialogue, where the Censor, his life near its end, would expatiate on the peculiarly Roman excellence of a well-conducted Old Age? And so our ventriloquial hero throws his mind back a century, and enlists the icon of hard-bitten Romanitas as his spokesman, rationalizer for said heros enforced removal to private life... And then, the Ides of March come, and Caesar goes, and Ciceros options change. But no matter: Cato didnt exactly stay Out Of Things in 150 BCE, and neither will Cicero in 44. Its a poor piece of patriotic philosophy that cant point in two directions at once. He finishes the dialogue... and, typically, decides to straddle, serving the demands of writing and statecraft in an amazing spurt of energy. Possibly not the wisest choice, but it gave us the Tusculans, the DND, the De Officiis... and, of course, the Philippics, and assured his immortality even as he hastened his murder. Grading: Two hour exams 20% each 40% Short Paper (1000-1500 wds) 20% Final examination 40%


Cicero: De Senectute (On Old Age) ed. Charles Bennett


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