Making a New Man: Ciceronian Self-Fashioning in the Rhetorical Works

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In Making a New Man John Dugan investigates how Cicero (106-43 BCE) uses his major treatises on rhetorical theory (De oratore, Brutus, and Orator) in order to construct himself as a new entity within Roman cultural life: a leader who based his authority upon intellectual, oratorical, and literary accomplishments instead of the traditional avenues for prestige such as a distinguished familial pedigree or political or military feats. Eschewing conventional Roman notions of manliness, Cicero constructed a distinctly aesthetized identity that flirts with the questionable domains of the theatre and the feminine, and thus fashioned himself as a 'new man'.