Cicero and Caesar : A Turbulent Amicitia
Parison, Adam L.
Though some study into the relationship between Cicero and Caesar has occurred, it is relatively little and the subject warrants more consideration. This is a significant gap in the historiography of late republican history. This thesis examines and attempts to define their relationship as a public amicitia. By looking at the letters of Cicero, his three Caesarian speeches, and his philosophical dialogue de Amicitia, I show that the amicitia between these two men was formed and maintained as a working relationship for their own political benefit, as each had something to gain from the other. Cicero's extant letters encompass a little more than the last twenty years of Cicero's life, when some of the most important events in Roman history were occurring. In this thesis, I examine selected letters from three collections, ad Quintum fratrem, ad Familiares, and ad Atticum for clues relating to Caesar's amicitia with Cicero. These letters reveal the tumultuous path that the amicitia between Cicero and Caesar took over the years of the mid-50s until Caesar's death, and , surprisingly, show Cicero's inability to choose a side during the Civil War and feel confident in that choice. After Caesar's victory at Pharsalus in 48, the letters reveal that Cicero hoped that Caesar could or would restore the republic, and that as time passed, he became less optimistic about Caesar and his government, but still maintained the public face of amicitia with Caesar. Cicero's three Caesarian speeches, pro Marcello, pro Ligario, and pro Rege Deiotaro, which he gave with Caesar in attendance, reveal that Cicero's hope for Caesar peaked in pro Marcello and that Cicero and Caesar were working together for pro Ligario. By the time that pro Rege was given however, Cicero was far more disenchanted with Caesar and his government, and his speech is more forced than his previous ones, which read as more sincere. The tenor of these orations fit with those of Cicero's letters; a similar pattern in Cicero's attitude towards Caesar can be seen in both the letters and speeches. The final source that is examined in this thesis is Cicero's de Amicitia, which is a piece of his philosophica that examines amicitia (friendship) in the Roman world. This is the only text written after Caesar's death that is examined in this thesis, and I believe that if it is read with an eye towards the amicitia between Caesar and Cicero, this treatise, which devalues ordinary political amicitia, gives the reader clues about the problems caused by political amicitia. While the majority of this treatise deals with a more warm kind of amicitia, I do not believe that this is what Cicero had with Caesar. They had neither a friendship nor an alliance but a forced cordial relationship that dipped into elements of friendship and alliance whenever strategically possible. Because of the necessity of their maintaining good relations, they formed this peculiar but extremely important variety of amicitia. Based on the evidence in this thesis, there was some kind of public amicitia between the two men, even after Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and especially after the Caesarian victory at Pharsalus in August of 48; that amicitia lasted down almost to the death of Caesar on March 15, 44.
Parison, Adam L.. (January 2014). Cicero and Caesar : A Turbulent Amicitia (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4555.)
Parison, Adam L.. Cicero and Caesar : A Turbulent Amicitia. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4555. March 04, 2024.
Parison, Adam L., “Cicero and Caesar : A Turbulent Amicitia” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Parison, Adam L.. Cicero and Caesar : A Turbulent Amicitia [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University