Contentio honestissima e certamen nequitiae nelle opere di Seneca

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In De beneficiis (I 4.3-4; III 21-22; V. 1-5), Seneca uses the contentio-motif to represent the virtuous mechanism he suggests to employ in the praxis of benefits, in which the defeat is never considered shameful. According to the most recent studies on the treatise (especially, see the works of G. Picone, R. R. Marchese e R. Raccanelli), this pattern does not invalidate the social inequalities of the asymmetric relationships, but it offers a positive model of behaviour, consisting in a form of virtuous alternation. Thus, in the light of the anthropological studies on gift-giving and reciprocity in the Roman society, the paper aims to compare the dynamic of contentio honestissima with the certamen nequitiae, by which Seneca represents the praxis of offence and revenge in De ira (II 9.1; II 34.5) and in his tragedies. In the dramas, the certamen motif concerns the agonistic attitude towards previous generations and it’s set up as a “vertical competition” in crimes (Thy. 18-32; Phoen. 331-339; Phaedr. 142-144; 686-688), with the only exception of Medea, who competes with herself trying to overcome the scelera she made when she was a virgo (Med. 48-55; 116-130). Therefore, owing to the lack of specific studies in this respect, such a comparison may be useful to investigate the pattern of contentio and its meaning in Latin literature and, specifically, in Seneca’s works.
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteIn gara col modello. Studi sull’idea di competizione nella letteratura latina. Un libro per Giusto Picone
Numero di pagine35
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

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