L’incendio come strumento politico di lotta e delegittimazione nel I secolo a.C.


  • Alessia Terrinoni

Parole chiave:

Fire, Arson, Political struggle


The fire of the temple of the Nymphs occurred between 57 and 56 BCE is an example of some practices and tendencies typical of the late republican Roman history, related to the use of fires with a political background. Starting from them, it is possible to consider the entire period beginning with the 80’s of 1st cent. BCE, by pursuing two research axes: 1) the study of the ways, times and contexts in which fire began to be used as an instrument of political struggle, thus breaking with the past; 2) the analysis of the communication strategies of the late republican oratory which made the ‘arsonist’ a recurring figure in public debate. The survey on the sources points out at the cultural changes related to fire brought by the events of the years between 88 and 80 BCE. Definitely breaking with the past, the use of fire started to play an increasingly central role in political struggles, so that fires became a well-established and common practice in the contrasts between Roman citizens. At the same time, fire and the intentional use of it became, right from Sulla, an important rhetorical topos for political delegitimization, as clearly shown by Cicero’s orations.