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Cover of: Divine Images, Religion and Resilience in Cicero's De signis
Claudia Beltrão

Divine Images, Religion and Resilience in Cicero's De signis

Section: Articles
Volume 9 (2023) / Issue 2, pp. 226-243 (18)
Published 13.10.2023
DOI 10.1628/rre-2023-0015
This article addresses the fourth part of the second speech of Cicero's Orationes in Verrem (De signis), in which the invective against Verres is constructed through detailed accounts of his several misappropriations and robberies of religious artworks and divine statues from Sicilian cities. An immense desolation and abandoned fields are described as outcomes of the impiety and greed of a vicious Roman provincial governor. Religious content plays a significant role in Cicero's speech, and this article focuses on the cases of Diana of Segesta and Ceres of Henna (Verr. 2.4.72–83 and 105–115). These episodes emotionally impact Cicero's audience by connecting the Sicilian loss of divine statues with significant life stressors in Roman urban life. Divine images, sufficiently close to the Romans, work in the speech as catalysts both for their worshippers in the episodes and Cicero's audience. Cicero connected the misfortunes of the Sicilians to occasions when religious responses to political and military crises were fundamental to the safety of Rome, in powerful associations in which religious feelings and memories of resilience are at the heart of the narrative.