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New Light on Cicero's(?) Self-Consolation: The 1583 Edition and a Letter-Book from the Bodleian Library

 

Date: Friday 23 August 2013
Time: 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Venue: Stretton Room, Napier 420, The University of Adelaide
Presenter: Prof. Han Baltussen
Enquiries: Janet Hart, Tel: 08 8313 2421
All welcome.

 

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Cicero’s Self-Consolation, extant in fragments only today, was a remarkable testimony of personal grief, which was both private in nature and communal in its objective. It played a significant role in the consolation tradition in antiquity and inspired later writers in their own compositions (Seneca, Lactantius third c. CE, and Jerome fourth c. CE). Its disappearance from view for centuries is one of many deplorable losses amongst ancient literary treasures. In this paper I examine the evidence for the reception of Cicero’s work. After reviewing the current state of knowledge on Cicero’s work, I shall strengthen William McCuaig’s argument (Princeton 1989) that the Consolatio published in 1583 is not Cicero’s and, using some new evidence from the Bodleian library, demonstrate that the debate about its authenticity spread across Europe much faster than has been claimed so far.