Ancient Political Autobiography and Civil War: Anchoring Fortuna in the commentarii of Sulla, Cicero and Caesar

Klooster, J., 4-Dec-2015, p. 1-9, 9 p.

Research output: Working paperAcademic

To analyze changes in mentality during and after the Civil Wars, this paper studies a number of commentarii and hypomnemata, political autobiographies or memoirs, from the late Roman Republic. (a.o. the fragments of the works of Sulla, and Cicero, and the Bellum Civile of Caesar). Previous autobiographical war-reports had usually described supra-national wars, where the enemy nation were not part of the authors’ intended audience. In reporting on a civil war, the situation was necessarily different, and a new degree or even mode of self-justification, propaganda or apology will have been inevitable.

For instance: in what ways does the fact that the authors themselves are party to a civil conflict influence the authors’ narrative stance, the self-representation of the author and of the other, and the deployment of topical concepts like Fortuna (fate, chance) and divine intervention? Traditionally, Fortuna was supposed to be on the Roman side. However, if in a civil conflict, there were two Roman parties opposing each other, could Fortuna still pick sides? The concept, as we see in the texts mentioned, is continually being questioned, reshaped and rethought, or even simply evaded.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 4-Dec-2015

ID: 30732964