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Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero the Correspondent

1. Cicero’s Letters

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we provide an introduction to Cicero’s letters as a whole, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of letters in the ancient world, especially in a political culture such as Rome’s where social connections were vitally important to one’s political aspirations, and where Roman elites could expect to be geographically separate from each other for long periods of time; (ii) Cicero’s letters to Atticus (Epistulae ad Atticum) – including the figure of Atticus, the nature of the relationship between Cicero and Atticus, and the style of their letters; (iii) Cicero’s letters to his ‘friends’ (Epistulae ad Familiares) – including the range of correspondents and the type of letters Cicero was sending to them; (iv) the ways in which each of these letter collections was ‘edited’ – in what order do the letters appear? has anything been missed out?; (v) two more letter collections – Cicero’s letters to Brutus (Epistulae ad Brutum) and his letters to Quintus (Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem) – and the nature of the correspondence in both of these cases; (vi) other letter collections that haven’t survived, e.g. Cicero’s letters to Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus); and (vii) three key questions to keep in mind when reading Cicero’s letters.

Course

In this course, Professor Catherine Steel (University of Glasgow) explores Cicero as a correspondent in a set of lectures designed to be used alongside the OCR A Level Classical Civilization option, ‘Politics and the Late Republic’. In the first module, we provide an introduction to Cicero’s letters a whole, thinking in particular about the importance of letters generally in the ancient world and the various letter collections that have come down to us. After that, in the following three modules, we go through each of the eleven set letter, which we have grouped into three distinct periods: letters written before the civil war (62-49 BC), letters written during the civil war (49 BC), and letters written after the civil war (49-43 BC).

Lecturer

Catherine Steel is Professor of Classics and Head of the Department of Classics at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests relate to the Roman Republic, the writings of Cicero and Roman oratory. Her recent publications include Reading Cicero: Genre and Performance in Late Republican Rome (2005), The End of the Roman Republic, 146-44 B.C.: Conquest and Crisis (2013) and (with Dr Henriette van der Blom) Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome (2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Steel, C. (2020, September 05). Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero the Correspondent - Cicero’s Letters [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic-cicero-the-correspondent/cicero-s-letters-07a140b8-aebd-40d4-961e-e5ec5de72a7a

MLA style

Steel, Catherine. "Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero the Correspondent – Cicero’s Letters." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Sep 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic-cicero-the-correspondent/cicero-s-letters-07a140b8-aebd-40d4-961e-e5ec5de72a7a