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Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero

1. Cicero's Life and Career

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About this Lecture


In this module, we provide an introduction to the life and career of Marcus Tullius Cicero, focusing in particular on his birth and upbringing, his early career as an advocate in Rome, and his rise up the political ladder. We also think about the nature of the sources that are available for this period.


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 a Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in the political life and oratorical culture of the Roman republic and early Empire, especially the history of the late Roman republic, patterns of political careers, all aspects of Cicero, oratory and rhetoric, fragmentary evidence, exempla and memorialisation. Her recent publications include Cicero’s Role Models (OUP, 2010) and Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (CUP, 2016)

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

van der Blom, Henriette. "Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero – Cicero's Life and Career." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,