From aesthetics to the ethics of ugliness: three personae de mimo in Ciceronian orations

  • Caterina Di Giuseppe


This article examines some Ciceronian witnesses from three different speeches in which Cicero refers to three of the main characters in the contemporary sociopolitical context, portraying them as mimic actors and actresses. These three characters are not professional actors, but on the stage of life they act as if they were: the first is Mark Antony, who in the Philippcs is not only flanked by mimic actors, but in some accounts seems to play their role himself; then comes Clodia, who in the Pro Caelio is depicted as archimima, a figure who held both for the roles of protagonist and director of the mimic plays; the last character analyzed is a collective character, the Alexandrian ambassadors, who in the Pro Rabirio Postumo are portrayed in mimic and gestural attitudes similar to those of actors. The aim of the article will be to show that Cicero uses the comparison with mimes in a degrading way and, consequently, that in the portrayal of these characters as actors can be seen an ethical extension of Aristotle’s aesthetic theory of comedy.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Caterina Di Giuseppe

Caterina Di Giuseppe ( ha conseguito la laurea magistrale presso l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano nel 2022 con una tesi sulle testimonianze ciceroniane riguardo al genere teatrale del mimo. Dal giugno 2023 è dottoranda in filologia classica sotto la guida dei professori Gregor Vogt-Spira e Massimo Rivoltella presso la Philipps-Universität Marburg e l’Università Cattolica di Milano con un progetto di ricerca in co-tutela sullo studio comparato delle tre maggiori forme del teatro popolare latino, l’atellana, il mimo e il pantomimo.

How to Cite
Di Giuseppe, C. (2023). From aesthetics to the ethics of ugliness: three personae de mimo in Ciceronian orations. Ciceroniana On Line, 7(1), 31-58.