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Document Details :

Title: 'Almost Divine'
Subtitle: The persona of C. Sulpicius Gallus (RE 66) in Cicero's De Republica
Author(s): NICE, Alexander
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 82    Issue: 3   Date: 2023   
Pages: 532-576
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.82.3.3292430

Abstract :
The opening of Cicero’s De Republica focuses on the prodigious sighting of two suns in 129 B.C., which leads to a discussion of a similar phenomenon in 163 B.C. C. Sulpicius Galus (cos. 166, RE 66), famous for his interpretation of the eclipse prior to the Battle of Pydna, is said to have explained the prodigy using the orrery of Archimedes at the house of M. Claudius Marcellus (cos. 166, 155, 152, RE 225). This paper argues that, through the persona of Sulpicius, Cicero could explore the transmission of knowledge from Greece to Rome, connect Romans of different generations (that of L. Aemilius Paulus (cos. 182, 168, RE 114), Scipio Aemilianus (cos. 147, 134, RE 335) and his own), and examine his own place in that tradition. Moreover, Sulpicius is a useful persona to emphasise Cicero’s own literary and philosophical agenda which strove to apply Greek philosophy to a Roman context in a pragmatic and practical manner.

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