The present paper intends to highlight some aspects of Cicero’s speech in defence of Marcus Caelius Rufus on 4 April 56 BC on the first day of the Ludi Megalenses. In 56 BC, as a result of peculiar coincidence of political and private relations, Cicero was given the opportunity to deal a heavy blow on Clodius and Clodia in his Pro Caelio, whom he mocked in the trial with murderous humour using the means of Roman theatre, and, thus, arranged a peculiar theatre performance during the Megalensia, which anyway served as the time of the Ludi scaenici. After outlining the circumstances of the lawsuit (I.) and the background of the Bona Dea case that sowed the seeds of the conflict between Cicero and the gens Clodia (II.) in our paper we intend to analyse the rhetoric situation provided by the Ludi Megalenses and genially exploited by Cicero (III.) and the orator’s tactics applied in the speech in defence of Caelius (IV.).
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