Metaphors Cicero lived by : The Role of Metaphor and Simile in De senectute

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)



This dissertation examines the function of metaphor and simile in Cicero’s dialogue De senectute. For this purpose, it employs Lakoff-Johnsonian metaphor theory and compares the metaphorical concepts that the scholars of that tradition have found in English with the metaphors found in Cicero’s text. Many languages are being investigated today by scholars who use this theory, and differences and similarities are being explored. This thesis intends to establish a method for applying Lakoff-Johnsonian research to classical Latin. In the first main chapter, the metaphorical source domains and their connections to different target domains are listed and analyzed. The study tries to ascertain why the connections look the way they do. The second main chapter shows that the metaphorical target domains are often linked to a large number of source domains. The general role of metaphors and similes in Cicero’s reasoning is scrutinized, and the author argues that Cicero’s account of the ideas in the dialogue cannot be separated from the metaphors that are employed to express these ideas. The survey also ties clusters of metaphors together into coherent systems, and a large number of metaphors are traced back to authors earlier than Cicero.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Latin, Lakoff, Cicero, Johnson, ‘On Old Age’, Metaphor, De senectute, Kövecses
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2009 May 25
  • Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-628-7799-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2009-05-25 Time: 10:15 Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Lowe, Nick J Title: Ph.D. Affiliation: University of London ---

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