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Rhetoric and The Immortal Soul in Tusculan Disputation 1

From: Syllecta Classica
Volume 24 (2013)
pp. 77-103 | 10.1353/syl.2013.0009



In the core argument of Tusculan Disputation 1, the interlocutor M identifies four qualities or behaviors of the soul that render it immortal: motus, memoria, inventio, and philosophia. The first three of these activities correspond to three of the activities typically prescribed for the orator. A consideration of Cicero’s discussion of these activities in various rhetorical works reveals that he tends to treat each of them with unique philosophical depth, connecting each to psychic activity. Based on the arguments of Tusc. Disp. 1 then, the orator, in composing and delivering speeches, is practicing the highest behavior of his immortal soul and therefore is doing something worthy, whether in the field of public oratory or rhetorical philosophy.

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