A Character in Search of Authors: Three Unwritten Works about Cicero’s Consulship

Bugaeva Natalia V.

The article deals with Cicero’s failure to become the hero of a historical work and two poems. It is noteworthy that in each case the great orator appealed to the Greeks. He expected a panegyrical epic poem in accordance with the official version of Catilina’s plot from his former client Archias and (possibly) from a certain Thyillus, a man of low social status. Cicero also mentioned casually in his correspondence a rejection from Posidonius. The author draws parallels between the appeal to the author of Histories and Cicero’s letter to Lucceius. The polite refusal of Posidonius was conditioned by his reluctance to become part of a propaganda campaign and to be bound by strictly predetermined interpretation of the events. All three works requested by Cicero should have been written in Greek and intended for broad dissemination. Cicero’s requests were sent ahead of the publication of his autobiographical works. Both the chronology and the choice of language refute the supposition that Cicero’s self-laudation was concerned primarily with the practical aim of suppressing the attacks of his enemies. He was above all trying to perpetuate his glory.

Keywords: Cicero, Archias, Thyillus, Posidonius (Poseidonios), Late Roman Republic, literary propaganda

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