13. Study Questions Copy

Praeteritio is a rhetorical term for the argumentative strategy of calling attention to a point by seeming to disregard it. Effectively, what Cicero is doing is introducing material to his speech that would probably be not seen as admissible, or even be thought of as irrelevant. Therefore, he is pretending to be not mentioning it.

He has killed: Cluentia (his wife), Gaius Oppianicus (his brother) and Auria, his brother’s wife (together with her unborn child).

There is a lot of emotive language used here: se maximo cum dolore mori; iam appropinquare partus videretur, mulierem veneno interfecit. iam exhausto illo poculo mortis, cum et de suo et de uxoris interitu clamaret. Deaths, and the attendant anguish are being highlighted, to gain the sympathies of the listeners.

Poison is being used. This may have been seen as a cowardly weapon, because the murderer is performing the act secretively. Poison is often associated with women.

There is the risk that the jurors will think that Cicero is being irrelevant, discussing the crimes of a man who has already been convicted of them and has subsequently died.


Play Video