“Womanly humanism in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations.”

William H. F. Altman  “Womanly humanism in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations,TAPA, 139: 411-45,  2009.


Like his de Finibus, Cicero’s Tusculanae Disputationes is best understood in the context of his daughter Tullia’s death as a result of childbirth. It is only the uncritical assumption that M. speaks for Cicero that validates reading theTusculans as a rejection of unmanly grief and a celebration of an aloof detachment associated with Anaxagoras. As befits a literary shrine conceived by a Platonist for a woman who gave her life for another, this multi layered text artfully advocates altruism, a virtuous but compassionate humanism that Cicero was man enough to present as womanly between the lines.