After the conference at Luca in 56 BC, where Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey renewed their Triumvirate, Cicero was forced to accept a compromise, which appears in the orations that he delivered to defend both the Triumvirs (De prouinciis consularibus) and his own enemies (defence of Vatinius and Gabinius). In a letter to Lentulus Spinther of December 54, Cicero justified his new political attitude toward the popular leaders. Designed as a plea, this letter, one of Cicero's longest, raises the question: “What similarity is there between a letter and a speech in court or at a public meeting?” (Fam.IX, 21, 1). Relying on the intertextuality of the letter to Lentulus with the oration Pro Plancio, delivered four months previously, this paper considers how Cicero adapts appropriateness and decorum to his addressee and displays a rhetoric that is half way between judicial eloquence and epistolary discourse.
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