Campania ridens. Proposals for an "Epistolary" Geography

  • Barbara Del Giovane Università di Firenze


The article explores representations of Campania’s environment in Cicero’s Letters. Campania is not evoked in landscape descriptions in the traditional sense but is configured first and foremost as a geographic alter-ego of Rome (a pusilla Roma, as Cicero calls the environment of his villa in Cumae) that reproduces the same social and cultural dynamics of the Urbs. The environment of Campania is conjured primarily in digressions on “landscape entities” with a strong ideological and political bearing (this is the case of Baiae, a town that is figuratively deployed as part of Cicero’s rhetorical attack on Clodius, or an ambiguous place, linked in a double thread to Caesar and the Caesarians). The article also examines the possibility that for Cicero there was a singular Campanian “spirit”, discernible in the epistles to Campanian addressees. In particular, an analysis of Marcus Marius and Papirius Paetus will draw out certain distinctive common traits among these Campanians, such as Epicureanism and a sense of humour that, especially in the case of Paetus, is reminiscent of a bygone Roman quick-wittedness.


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Author Biography

Barbara Del Giovane, Università di Firenze

Barbara Del Giovane  è Professoressa associata presso il Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia (DILEF) dell’Università di Firenze. I suoi interessi di ricerca includono Seneca, i frammenti di Telete e Bione di Boristene, Cicerone, Orazio, Varrone, Musonio Rufo, le poesie anonime politiche tramandate nelle Vite dei Cesari di Svetonio, il dionisismo in una prospettiva di ideologia politica imperiale, la figura di Nerone. Sta lavorando a un commento alle Epistole ciceroniane a Papirio Peto (fam. 9, 15-26), con un saggio introduttivo sull’ironia in Cicerone.

How to Cite
Del Giovane, B. (2023). Campania ridens. Proposals for an "Epistolary" Geography. Ciceroniana On Line, 7(2), 403-431.
Environment, Nature, and Politics in Cicero’s public and private life