Readings of Scipio's dictatorship in Cicero's 'De Re Publica' (6.12)

Stevenson, Tom (2005) Readings of Scipio's dictatorship in Cicero's 'De Re Publica' (6.12). Classical Quarterly, 55 1: 140-152. doi:10.1093/cq/bmi010

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Author Stevenson, Tom
Title Readings of Scipio's dictatorship in Cicero's 'De Re Publica' (6.12)
Journal name Classical Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0009-8388
Publication date 2005-04-01
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/cq/bmi010
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 55
Issue 1
Start page 140
End page 152
Total pages 13
Editor M. Griffin
R. Maltby
R. Ash
J. Mossman
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Oxford University
Language eng
Subject C1
430110 History - Classical Greek and Roman
780199 Other
430000 History and Archaeology
2103 Historical Studies
Formatted abstract
A well-known passage (Rep. 6.12) of the famous Somnium Scipionis (Dream of Scipio) in the sixth book of Cicero’s De Re Publica (On the State/Commonwealth) may imply that moves were afoot to make Scipio Aemilianus a dictator just prior to his death in 129 B.C. 1

There has always been a question about how to read this passage. Is it to be read as evidence for events surrounding Scipio’s death? Is it to be read as evidence for partisan politics of Cicero’s day, with Pompey or Cicero himself to be substituted for Scipio? Should interpretation be governed by the philosophical character of the work as a whole? Or by the atypical nature of the dream sequence? Historians have naturally tended to search for historical and political significance.

Recently their approach has been questioned, and their findings explicitly rejected for Rep. 6.12, by an interpretation that prefers to find meaning in the literary properties of the text itself. The aim of this paper is to defend the historians’ approach in a way that maintains both the possibility that a dictatorship was mooted for Scipio and the likelihood that Cicero wanted to signal his support for an office like the traditional dictatorship in dealing with the troubled political conditions of contemporary Rome.
Keyword Classics
Scipio Aemilianus
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 15:55:28 EST