This article considers the speech assigned by Sallust in his Historiae to C. Aurelius Cotta, cos. 75 B.C.E. and argues that our reading of the speech must proceed from a consideration of the devotio which is its logical and emotional climax. Sallust constructs this devotio as an incomplete and therefore inherently problematic act. Cotta's inconsistent and self-contradictory rhetoric draws the reader's attention to the problematic status of this non-act. Moreover, Sallust has seized an opportunity to comment upon Cicero's De Natura Deorum, in which the very same Cotta appears as interlocutor. In literary dialogue with Cicero, we find a Sallustian perspective on the role of civic religion, sincerity, and patriotism in the late Republic.


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