Mediated Cicero. The Influence of Ancient Canonization on the Image of Cicero the Orator and Politician since Antiquity


Cicero is one of the most canonical authors of antiquity. His rhetorical excellence has heavily influenced modern ideas about eloquence, and his political legacy was regularly invoked in discussions about republicanism and good leadership. Yet, a study which explains the factors that have facilitated this canonization is missing so far. My project offers one answer by focusing on the intermediateness of his reception. It shows that our image of Cicero is preconditioned by a stream of previous reception which forms an integral aspect of the Ciceronian tradition.
Therefore, the first assumption of my project is that in order to fully understand the concept of 'classical tradition', one has to chart the reception and canonization of antiquity within antiquity itself. Therefore, it identifies two fundamental ancient discourses that have defined the later strands of Cicero's reception: the image of the historical Cicero in imperial historiography and exempla literature, and ancient scholarship on Cicero's rhetorical treatises and speeches. The first has constructed an image of Cicero as a personal and political exemplum. The latter has defined his writings as the basis of rhetorical excellence by teaching them in schools and commenting on them ever since the first century AD. The project will argue that the reception of Cicero in later times followed these patterns that had been set out in antiquity.
The second assumption of the project is the interlacement of Cicero?s political and rhetorical exemplarity. It argues that the later Ciceronian reception followed Cicero's own concept of a political oratory as the only worthy form of speaking. The project will cast new light on mediating processes of reception in general and on the ongoing interest in Cicero in particular and raise modern days' awareness of the interdependence of these two aspects.


Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • C.H. Pieper(2017): Cicero auctor et actor Lampas. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse classici pp. 444 - 455

Professionele publicatie


  • C.H. Pieper(2017): Executive editor of "Mnemosyne. A Journal of Classical Studies" (Brill: Leiden and Boston)





Dr. C.H. Pieper

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS)


L.M. Jansen MA, Dr. C.H. Pieper, A.J.L. van der Velden