Cicero, Academica 1.45 : Interpreting academic history

Abstract

Focused on the reference to Socrates’ confession of ignorance at Academica 1.45, this paper challenges the common assumption that the passage transmits Arcesilaus’ conception of Socrates. This paper develops in two steps a more plausible reading of the passage. According to this reading, Cicero presents an interpretation of Arcesilaus’ historical relation to Socrates. In conclusion, the paper argues that traditional readings of Acad. 1.45 underestimate not only Cicero’s originality as an historical thinker, but also his clever reconstruction of Academic history, as it effectively opposes the controversial Academic history defended by Antiochus in the early first century BCE.

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2022-03-29

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