Confessions of a Literary Forger: Reading the Letters of Mithridates to Brutus

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Abstract

The Greek Letters attributed to Marcus Brutus are part of a larger collection that includes imaginary responses and a preface written by an editor under the name of Mithridates. Whereas previous scholarship has examined these elements as individual components, this chapter argues that a reading of the collection that looks at its didactic function, coupled with a close examination of the contents of the letters, does much to reveal their interest in rhetorical argumentation, and especially the dilemma form. But the preface of Mithridates also does something more than that; in reflecting on the art of composing his replies, the author takes his reader into the world of the fake letter writer, whereby he presents his work as both a scholar and a creative artist.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTenue est mendacium
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Fakes and Authorship in Classical, Late Antique & Early Christian Works
Place of PublicationGroningen
PublisherBarkhuis
Pages119-135
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9789493194366
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • rhetoric, dilemma, ἐπινοία, pseudepigraphy, epistolary style

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