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Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero

2. Cicero and Res Publica

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About this Lecture


In this module, we provide an introduction to how the Roman state was run in the first century BC, before turning to what Cicero himself thought about the workings of the Roman constitution.


In this course, Dr Henriette van der Blom (University of Birmingham) explores the politics of the Late Republic through one of its central figures: Marcus Tullius Cicero. We begin by providing a broad introduction to Cicero's life and career as well as the nature of the sources – most of which were written by Cicero himself. In the second module, we turn to the concept of the res publica, focusing in particular on how Cicero thought the Roman state should be run – and how it was actually run. In the third module, we think about Cicero's prosecution of Verres in 70 BC and the importance of this trial in his burgeoning political career, before turning in the fourth module to the most important year of Cicero's life – 63 BC. In the fifth module, we consider the importance of Cicero's private letters as a source for this period, before turning in the sixth and final module to the final decade or so of Cicero's life – his return from exile, the descent into Civil War, and his murder in 43 BC.


Dr Henriette van der Blom is Reader in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in the history and political life of the Roman Republic, Roman oratory and rhetoric, all aspects of Cicero, and Roman approaches to the past. She is the founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics which gathers speech practitioners and academics in discussions of political oratory across historical periods, including current British political speech.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

van der Blom, H. (2018, August 15). Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero - Cicero and Res Publica [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

van der Blom, H. "Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero – Cicero and Res Publica." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,