In 'De legibus' II, 19-22 and III, 6-11 Cicero puts together a corpus of laws, imitating the
Twelve Tables, which are indeed considered as a symbol of antiquity during the late republican
culture: the ancient legislative Roman text can be interpreted as a guide-text that underlies
the whole dialogue. The complex network of references and allusions to the Twelve Tables
suggests a possible reading key that picks out the main feature of this ciceronian work in the
conceptual field of the ‘ancientness’ and of the ‘antiquity’ (antiquus, antiquitas, uetus, uetustas).
The linguistic analysis of the quoted chapters, which are characterized by an archaizing
extremism, leads us to the heart of the problems of 'De legibus’ interpretation: what is the
idea of antiquity that this strong archaism seeks to convey? What is the final purpose of this
revival of the ancient world? The present article investigates the manifold forms of the antiquity
pattern in 'De legibus'. The ending chapters of Book II are of particular interest, because
they constitute a philological-antiquarian essay, delineating Cicero’s attitude towards the
study of the antiquity. Their analysis high-lights the relationship between the author and
the contemporary antiquarianism. Further, the analysis points out Cicero’s reflection on
historical knowledge, historiography and antiquarianism, developed in the 50s BCE.