Cicero the Homerist


Cicero clearly knew both the texts of Homer and the Alexandrian scholarship on those texts, but he chose not to exhibit this knowledge frequently in his works. Instead, his expertise in Homer and Homeric scholarship is displayed only in accordance with specific concerns of genre and audience: most of Cicero’s Homeric citations come in his letters to Atticus; a few appear in his philosophical works; almost none are found in his speeches. Such variation shows that Cicero was well aware of the ambiguous status of Greek literature and learning in the Roman world.

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