Abstract In his commentary on Cicero, De inventione, Grillius gives Cicero's pro Tullio as an example of the genus obscurum causae and identifies the occultatio negotii as the distinction of this type of exordium. This article argues that the occultatio negotii is an ironic form of dissimulatio, by which the orator hides the real object of the debate and clouds the issue, drawing the attention of the judges to points not directly connected with it. This oratorical tactic is used by Cicero in the pro Tullio. Avoiding the real issue (the clash between Tullius' and Fabius' slaves), the orator focuses on a juridical problem (the meaning of dolus malus) and appears as a defender of the voluntas legis, opposing the (supposed) legal formalism of the antagonist.
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