Otium as Civic and Personal Stability in Cicero’s Dialogues
Abstract

From 63 forward Cicero develops and idealizes a novel concept of otium involving both civic stability and the opportunity for dignified activity and achievement through private leisure, conspicuously locating the interlocutors of his dialogues in such a condition. He regularly contrasts this otium with his own, despite the fact that his interlocutors also lived in periods of civil strife and were unlikely to have experienced their private otium any differently. Ultimately, by representing the stability of this condition over several generations and even implicating himself in it in certain dialogues, Cicero naturalizes the fiction of his otium, implying a transcendent, transtemporal political stability in Rome.


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