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No downtime is expected, but site performance may be temporarily impacted. Refworks Account Login. Open Collections. UBC Theses and Dissertations. Featured Collection. I argue that when the In Pisonem is viewed as a 'character contest', the conflict between Piso and Cicero appears to have been both unavoidable and yet inconclusive, despite evidence of Cicero's victory in the speech itself.
While Cicero's attack on Piso displays superior rhetorical skill, humour and poise, the fact that Piso responded to the publication of the In Pisonem by publishing his own speech demonstrates that he was able to continue his side of the battle beyond Cicero's apparent victory. Although Cicero can claim a victory as the 'manifest outcome' of the Senate debate, it is clear that 'interpretological outcomes' came into play on both sides.
Piso's persistence in the quarrel permits him a secondary claim to victory when Cicero, believing he has already won, decides not to respond. Comparison with Cicero's handling of Clodius' victory in the Bona Dea scandal, reinforces the importance of interpretation in determining the outcomes of invective contests.
Win or lose, Roman orators will put the best face on their 1 Corbeill and Beard Piso's success in the conflict is seen as well in his continuation as Caesar's father-in-law, a role that Cicero clearly attempted to put in jeopardy in his attack. In this regard, Goffman's account of 'character contest' proves a reliable guide to understanding the grey areas which obscure the outcome of the conflict.
Facework and Invective All Latin translations are my own, unless otherwise noted. English translations from Greek texts of Plutarch, Arrian and Aristotle are taken from the most recent Loeb Classical Library editions.
The following abbreviations are used, with commentaries cited by the authors name only below. Letters to His Brother Quintus De orat. On the Orator P. Against Piso Prov. On the Consular Provinces Sen. On Old Age Sest. On behalf of Sestius Grimal, P. Ciceron, discors contre Pison, Paris. Nisbet, R. Calpurnium Pisonem oratio. Siobhan McElduff, firstly, for her generous involvement in this project during her sabbatical year, but above all, for her wisdom in suggesting the In Pisonem as a fruitful field for my graduate research into Roman oratory.
The pleasures I have derived from the study of this oration more than outweigh the pains I have taken to complete this dissertation. I owe a profound debt of gratitude to Dr. Mark Vessey, as well, whose involvement in my studies began many years ago when he acted as supervisor for my graduating essay Medieval Studies, B. His generous involvement in my current thesis has afforded me a valuable opportunity to advance my own scholarship.
Introduction Cicero's In Pisonem holds an important place in the history of Late Republican invective. Written and delivered in the Senate in the fall of 56 BCE with his opponent Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus present in the audience, both the text and its context offer rich evidence of the social interactions and strategies which informed the orator's use of invective as a political weapon.
At a time crucial both for the re-establishment of Cicero's career and for the Triumvirate's consolidation of their power-sharing arrangement, Cicero's attack on Julius Caesar's father-in-law is both iconoclastic and iconic as a text in which Cicero offers his audience one of his most virulent attacks on an important aristocratic senatorial individual alongside one of his most compelling self- portraits of his accomplishments and achievements as a savior of the Republic and as a novus homo.
In this thesis, I argue for a reading the In Pisonem and its literary and social contexts within Erving Goffman's framework of face theory. I believe that this methodology, which was first successfully applied to the study of the oratory of the Second Sophistic in work by Maude Gleason and more recently to the study of social interaction in the Homeric epics by Ruth Scodel , will yield important insights into the social processes underlying Cicero's contest with Piso specifically, and contribute to a clear understanding of the workings of invective as a contest in the In Pisonem.
The focus of this study is not the role of face in the history of emotions, though the history of emotions 2 will inform my approach to the particulars of Roman cultural competition. Rather, it is on the grey areas that surround seemingly clear-cut outcomes, and the processes through which orators manage outcomes through their responses to face-threatening situations.
In Chapter two I provide a historical background for the conflict between Cicero and Piso, and then I will analyze aspects of the conflict which help situate it within the various venues available to the Roman orator.
From here, I will contrast Goffman's concept of the 'character contest' with current approaches to invective as a zero-sum game to argue that Goffman's elaboration of non-zero sum aspects of character contest offers important insights into the outcome of invective contests. Ruth Scodel has recently demonstrated how epic heroes bring other considerations into the zero-sum game of honor they play to arrive at nuanced, dynamic outcomes that reflect the complexities of their social world.
Where modern Western societies are 2 Riggsby Furthermore, where the sheer scale of modern professional life offers very different rewards and risks for social competition, and novel opportunities for re-invention give individuals greater scope in searching out their proper place in society, the social constraints imposed by the tiny aristocratic community of the Roman Senate, were absolute and all-binding: you were either in or out.
Nonetheless, the honour of Roman senators like Cicero most often proved to be durable under attack and even exile could be a temporary setback. Exile seems to have functioned in the Republic as a safety valve, affording the political system a non-violent means of removing the opposition from the scene.
Those who went into exile voluntarily to avoid a political trial stood a fair chance of being restored by a Roman voting assembling once the danger had passed, Cicero compares himself to Metellus Numidicus as a voluntary exile Sest. His lack of cooperation with the First Triumvirate formed by Caesar, Crassus and Pompey in 59 left Cicero open to the suspicions and precautionary measures by what was now the most powerful faction on the Roman political scene.
The attack took the form of a bill, called the de capitate civis Romani, which denied fire and water to anyone who had executed a Roman citizen without fair trial. This was tied to a second bill assigning the provinces of Macedonia and Cilicia later changed to Syria to the consuls of Piso had 9 Baldson Tax contracts were offered every five years to the company with the highest bid. The group of equites who bought the Asiatic tax contracts in 61 soon discovered that the contracts had been overvalued and requested compensation in the form of a new contract from the Senate.
With the help of Crassus and others, the price was eventually reduced by one third in 59 during Caesar's consulship after the company agreed to a merger with their competitors. While Crassus had no financial interest in the original company, the merger opened up a tremendous investment opportunity for him when his own clients swooped in and with Crassus' financial backing forced the original owners into a partnership, In a letter to Atticus in 59, Cicero does not even mention Piso as a possible candidate for the consulship Att.
Clodius, 10 Nisbet vi. The speech was never published. Crawford assembles the references to Pro C. The subsequent actions of the consulars did not show any signs of misgivings they may have had about cooperating with Clodius: a consular edict was passed forbidding the Senate to wear the mourning garb they had adopted as a show of support for Cicero; Gabinius ordered that the demonstrations 18 by the equites could only be held miles from Rome; and both re- affirmed their approval of the de capite civis Romani at a contio convened outside the pomerium so that Caesar, now with his legions, could attend.
With none of his former friends in a position to protect or help him, Cicero fled into exile in March of While Cicero felt betrayed by Pompey and Caesar, their efforts to bring about his recall in 57 and their power kept him from publicly voicing any misgivings he still felt after his 18 L.
Aelius Lamia led the demonstrations by the equites in support of Cicero in In June of 56, Cicero charged both proconsuls with misconduct in the de provinciis consularibus and successfully brought about their recall. The shoe was now on the other foot, and Piso, forced back to Rome, delivered an invective against Cicero challenging him to prosecute.
Modern readers of the In Pisonem will inevitably feel that they are receiving a one-sided image of its aristocratic target. VI 10; Invect. Audiences in law-courts and Senate debates expected probative and plausible arguments and orators consequently limited the frequency of their use of insult for the sake of attaining their higher goals.
Every contest in oratory is ultimately about who is the best orator. Since oratory was fundamentally concerned with the production and dissemination of codes of elite masculine comportment and behaviour, to fail in oratory was to fail as a man. In this view, Piso's contest with Cicero was a complete failure and we should be inclined to accept Cicero's image of Piso at Pis.
The passage has been cited by Anthony Corbeill as an illustration of how invective disables the 24 Nisbet offers the following instances of invective in early Roman culture: unflattering proper names, insulting curses forbidden by the Twelve Tables, ribald songs at weddings and triumphs, the difixiones, and the abusive epithets of Plautus and Lucilius, Huizinga illustrates the survival of ancient play-elements in the modern lawsuit with references to the slanging-matches of the Greek iambos and the Eskimo drumming matches, which were both festal occasions for vituperative contests and public criticism, Too much invective in a judicial or deliberative speech would have led audiences to regard the speech as a literary exercise rather than an important contribution to a legal or political argument, Instead I wanted to see you shunned, rejected, and mocked by everyone else while forsaken and abandoned by yourself.
I wanted to see you looking around at everything, frightened by the smallest noise, with no confidence in your own resources as you have lost voice, freedom, authority, and any resemblance of a person of consular rank.
I wanted to see you shivering, trembling, and supplicating everyone and this is what I have seen. The problem with this reading of the Pis. I am surprised at your saying that you think I ought to answer it, particularly as, while no one is likely to read that speech, unless I write an answer to it, every schoolboy learns mine against him as an exercise, Q. One could choose not to respond because one regards the debate as over with oneself as the winner.
One person can be clearly defeated, both parties can maintain honour, or both parties can lose. Similarly, when an evenly matched contest is won by an opponent who cheats, the loser maintains honor for his dedication to the rules. Differing interpretations of outcomes of hostile encounters undercut zero-sum competition by introducing complicating factors that allow both sides to maintain alternate views of the result.
When Clodius was acquitted by a jury after the inquiry into the Bona Dea scandal, Cicero admitted to Atticus that his side had lost. But the manifest outcome of thirty-one votes to twenty-five was not the end of the story.
Clodius had bribed the juror with money, girls and social favours. A clear-cut victory is tarnished by speculations and the interpretological outcome is the opposite of the manifest result or, at least, according to Cicero. Cicero decries the outcome in a set speech and then wins a series of exchanges will be examined below.
The fact that everyone believes that Clodius has bribed the 27 Goffman Faced with two rival voices of communal values, the audience be complicit in the moral denigration of both speakers.
Or, conversely, they may tire of the whole exercise and become unresponsive and withhold laughter, effectively isolating both sides in the hopes that the combatants will simply give up on a tiresome contest. The nature of invective as a contest is reciprocal, but the goal of lowering the opponent's status has to be worked out according to the target's peculiar strengths and weaknesses. On Piso's side, his aim is to portray Cicero as a sore loser who ran afoul of the Triumvirs whom he now claims as his friends, who was too cowardly to remain in Rome to defend himself Pis 31, 34 and is now seeking revenge on the consuls of 58 because he is too cowardly to face his real enemies Pis All of this culminates in Piso's challenge to prosecute and Piso wins his version of the contest when Cicero refuses to take the bait Pis 82, Cicero's reluctance to undertake prosecutions in his later career is well- known, and Piso seems to have correctly accessed the situation when he made the challenge.
In Goffman's terms, this strategy represents a contest-contest: a series of provocations intended to either bait the opponent into a more serious contest, in this case a legal challenge, or if the contest is declined, to demonstrate that the opponent does not have the courage to oppose him. It is a powerful argument and one that clearly demonstrates an awareness of the limits of rhetoric on the Late Republican political scene.
Praise and Blame: Positive and Negative Aspects of 'Face' Cicero believed that the social life of the individual was motivated by two basic drives: firstly, the desire to win praise for himself, and secondly, the desire to avoid blame. In aggressive facework, rivalry introduces a complicating factor, since individuals who have won praise and face for themselves can now be upstaged by an opponent who feels, rightfully or not, that he deserves more praise and more face.
Paris Lat. Cicero, In Pisonem 1. Translated by N. No one complains that some Syrian or other, some member of newly-made slaves, has become consul. We were not deceived by your slavish complexion, your hairy cheeks, and your discoloured teeth; it was your eyes, eyebrows, forehead, in a word your whole countenance, which is a kind of dumb interpreter of the mind, which pushed your fellow-men into delusion; this it was which tricked, betrayed, inveigled those who were unacquainted with you.
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (consul 58 BC)
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Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus c. He was reportedly a follower of a school of Epicureanism that had been modified to befit politicians, as Epicureanism itself favoured withdrawal from politics. Caesar mentions his father-in-law in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Piso's recall was perhaps in consequence of the violent attack made upon him by Cicero in the Senate in his speech De provinciis consularibus. At the outbreak of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey , Piso offered his services as mediator.