Cicero’s de legibus I: its Plan and Intention

"Cicero's de legibus I: its Plan and Intention," American Journal of Philology 108, no. 2 (1987): 295-309. Reprinted in The Archaeology of the Soul, 2012.

Although the Laws’ transitions from one topic to another are managed adroitly if one considers them dialogically, their thematic purpose is obscure. It is easy to see how historiography yields to legal philosophy, and that the poorness of Roman historians matches the narrowness of Roman jurists, but not how the opposition between poetry and history, and in particular that between Cicero the published poet and Cicero the historian yet to be, introduces properly the question of law. Cicero, however, has suggested how we can go about trying to put together the argument with the form of the dialogue.