The victorious wisdom of Simonides
Verhine, Eric Christian
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This study examines the problem of why two of Cicero’s later philosophical works on the topic of religion, De Natura Deorum and De Divinatione, subject the topic to much greater skepticism than had his earlier works, De Republica and De Legibus, in which he had only touched on the topic. After surveying and rejecting a number of theories previously set forth to account for this apparent shift in Cicero’s philosophic perspective, this study proceeds to establish the agonistic literary context in which Cicero was writing as a backdrop against which it is possible to discern his intentions for De Natura Deorum and De Divinatione. The study concludes that Cicero’s aim in these works is to construct religion as a discourse that reveals the shortcomings of Epicureanism and Stoicism and that justifies his own philosophical school, Academic skepticism.