Φιλία in Cicero’s Correspondence
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This thesis uses Cicero’s letters as evidence for an interpretation of Cicero’s φιλίαι that is at variance with his professed views on φιλία as well as with the conclusions of modern scholars. As the use of the term φιλία over amicitia or “friendship” suggests, the thesis provides a discussion of Cicero’s philosophical beliefs as reflected by his relationship not only with his friends and allies, but also with his family. While there have been several noteworthy studies of his relationship with Atticus and with his family, there is a tendency to accept his claims in his letters to them as genuine. This approach differs significantly from the caution that can be found in the studies of his public speeches and the letters to his allies. This thesis examines the discrepancies between his words and deeds in order to determine the degree of his sincerity. It argues that the inconsistencies and contradictions in his correspondence and philosophical treatises suggest a deliberate effort to use their mutual φιλία for his personal gain. Scholars have assumed that Cicero’s public affiliation with the Academy and his well-attested attack on Epicureanism prove that he did not see any merit in Epicurean philosophy. This thesis rejects this assumption. On the contrary, it argues that his negative attitude towards Epicureans stemmed from a concern about his public persona and a desire to distance himself from Epicurus. After examining Cicero’s relationship chiefly with Atticus, his family, and some of his allies, the thesis concludes that his φιλίαι with them resembled more the Epicurean than the Aristotelian account of φιλία.