The paper explores the history of the personification of the Law in the ancient culture, from its first appearance, brief but influential, in a famous passage of Pindar, along its reappearances and transformations in the literature of the Hellenistic and Imperial age. A detailed analysis is offered in particular of the solemn prosopopoiia of the Laws in Plato’s Crito (who was undoubtedly, for the subsequent rethorical doctrine and tradition, an extraordinary paradigm for the use of this rhetorical figure), and of the different rhetorical devices by which new and sometimes unexpected personifications of Nomos are created later on. In the transition from the Greek to Latin literature the masculine nomos becomes the female lex: and also this change of gender will not remain without allegorical consequences. Moreover, the sermocinatio of the Nomoi in Plato’s Crito had a remarkable influence particularly on the Ciceronian oratory; but a phenomenon apparently similar to it from the rhetorical point of view – the apostrophe and the appeal to the personified laws - came to assume frequently, in the transition between Cicero and the declamatory tradition, a connotation and a function diametrically opposite with respect to the Platonic model. The relationship between the orator and the law can often be, in these cases, a relationship of contrast, of dispute, of violent hostility. The personified feminine Law - apostrophized sometimes with humor, sometimes with dramatic tones which can evoke tragedy - is accused of illogical behavior and to promote shameful actions, and it is reproached of blindness or at least distraction, or even of prostitution. In such a way the oratory and the declamation can experience in every possible direction - beyond the legal technicalities that the declamation tends to banish - the allegorical personification as a form of effective emotional and symbolic dramatization of the relationship between the individual and the Law.

Allegorie della Legge: prosopopea delle leggi e appello alle leggi personificate: un topos retorico (e le sue trasformazioni) dal Critone platonico alla tradizione declamatoria

MORETTI, GABRIELLA
2012

Abstract

The paper explores the history of the personification of the Law in the ancient culture, from its first appearance, brief but influential, in a famous passage of Pindar, along its reappearances and transformations in the literature of the Hellenistic and Imperial age. A detailed analysis is offered in particular of the solemn prosopopoiia of the Laws in Plato’s Crito (who was undoubtedly, for the subsequent rethorical doctrine and tradition, an extraordinary paradigm for the use of this rhetorical figure), and of the different rhetorical devices by which new and sometimes unexpected personifications of Nomos are created later on. In the transition from the Greek to Latin literature the masculine nomos becomes the female lex: and also this change of gender will not remain without allegorical consequences. Moreover, the sermocinatio of the Nomoi in Plato’s Crito had a remarkable influence particularly on the Ciceronian oratory; but a phenomenon apparently similar to it from the rhetorical point of view – the apostrophe and the appeal to the personified laws - came to assume frequently, in the transition between Cicero and the declamatory tradition, a connotation and a function diametrically opposite with respect to the Platonic model. The relationship between the orator and the law can often be, in these cases, a relationship of contrast, of dispute, of violent hostility. The personified feminine Law - apostrophized sometimes with humor, sometimes with dramatic tones which can evoke tragedy - is accused of illogical behavior and to promote shameful actions, and it is reproached of blindness or at least distraction, or even of prostitution. In such a way the oratory and the declamation can experience in every possible direction - beyond the legal technicalities that the declamation tends to banish - the allegorical personification as a form of effective emotional and symbolic dramatization of the relationship between the individual and the Law.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/880435
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