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VI CONCLUSION Further, there is such authority in all that he says that his audience feel ashamed to disagree with him, and the zeal of the advocate is so transfigured that it has the effect of the sworn evidence of a witness, or the verdict of a judge. And at the same time all these excellences, of which scarce one could be attained by the ordinary man even by the most concentrated effort, flow from him with every appearance of spontaneity, and his style, although no fairer has ever fallen on the ears of men, nonetheless displays the utmost felicity and ease. It was not, therefore, without good reason that his own contemporaries spoke of his "sovereignty" in the courts, and that for posterity the name of Cicero has come to be regarded not as the name of a man, but as the name of eloquence itself. (Quintilian Institutiones Oratoriae 10. 1.111-112) Oratory, by its very nature, involves character. Verbal persuasion of any sort always implies the presentation of a persona by the speaker that can effect its audience for good or for ill. In the foregoing analysis of Ciceronian oratory, I have attempted to demonstrate the role and the extent of Cicero's use of rhetorical ethos and its effects on persuasion. Unfortunately the ravages of time and fortune, and perhaps Cicero's own greatness as an orator, have made it impossible for us to compare his oratory to that of his countrymen and contemporaries. Nevertheless, a thorough examination of his extant speeches and his use of rhetorical ethos in them has provided us with some tenable hypotheses about this extraordinarily effective source for persuasion. Although it is not unusual to find character playing a role in oratory, it is perhaps surprising to discover both the extent to which Cicero utilizes it as a persuasive tool and the variety of methods he employs in its application. The sociopolitical circum- stances in Republican Rome are largely responsible for this. The importance of individual character in such a society must not be underestimated. For the Romans, a man's character remained essentially constant from birth, even from generation to generation of the same family. It was almost impossible to change or to disguise one's ethos. A man's actions were a direct result of his character ; indeed, 'character determined actions. Under such circumstances , a man's deeds along with his family's military or political accomplishments were important. Those who excelled in these areas amassed influence, glory, reputation, authority, and dignity . Under such a system a close-knit and very exclusive cadre of nobles emerged who guarded their privileges and jealously protected admission to their ranks. Roman Republican history has often testified to the power that such individuals could and did exert upon society. It was into such a social and political milieu that the young novus homo, Cicero, found himself thrust in the early part of the first century B.C. As an orator working under the Roman convention of advocacy, it was absolutely necessary that he deal not only with the characters of his client and his opponent, but also with his own ethos and that of opposing counsel. In large part, the study of ethos in Ciceronian oratory is the story of the orator's struggle to establish an ethos of authority, to exert it when once established, to reestablish it when it had been diminished, and finally to reexert it with the courage of a true patriot when the very ideals for which it was established tottered on the brink of collapse. The preceding chapters of this study have attempted to chronicle this struggle. Investigation not only has revealed the artistic applications of Cicero's rhetorical ethos but also has brought to light broader observations about Ciceronian oratory and Republican Roman oratory in general. Internal evidence in the speeches overwhelmingly confirms the thesis that a man in possession of auctoritas, gratia, dignitas, and a sterling existimatio could wield immense influence in a Roman court of law. Cases involving the charge of election bribery (ambitus) are particularly informative about the importance of ethos in Roman society and, more specifically , in a Roman court. Priority of election at the polls, previous offices held, degree of nobility, and ancestral achievements all find their way into court cases and are granted by the litigants, to the astonishment of modem audiences, the status of worthy, even necessary arguments and proofs. 163 Conclusion 164 Trials of Character In the early...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469616322
Related ISBN
9780807817599
MARC Record
OCLC
868976113
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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