Quintus Tullius Cicero: Commentariolum Petitionis [Little handbook on electioneering]

(2758 words)
  • François Prost (Université de Paris IV Sorbonne)

Title and form, genre and content

The text is referred to as ‘Commentariolum Petitionis’ according to the closing words of its author: “for I want this handbook of electioneering to be perfect in every way” (§58). Yet this text is not formally a treatise, but a letter, hence it has no original title. It is transmitted as written by Quintus Tullius Cicero to his elder brother, Marcus the orator, who was then (in 64) canvassing for the election to the consulship of 63. However, on account of its length (20 pages in the Loeb and Oxford editions), its specific aim and focus, as well as its tone and substance, it may belong equally to two complementary sub-genres: first, that of the didactic letter, in which …

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Prost, François. "Commentariolum Petitionis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=32842, accessed 27 September 2016.]