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Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero the Orator

How to Read Oratory

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  • About this Course
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About this Lecture

In this module, we think about the genre of Roman oratory as a whole, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of oratory compared to other genres (e.g. poetry, philosophy) to the elite of Rome; (ii) the importance of oratory as works of art in their own right, especially the speeches of Cicero; (iii) the importance of public speaking in the political culture of the ancient world in general, and of Republican Rome in particular; (iv) the most common kinds of votes in Republican Rome – votes in elections (i.e. voting for a magistrate) and votes on legislative proposals (i.e. voting for or against a piece of legislation); (v) the different potential contexts for these votes – a public meeting, a court case and (for a select few) in the Senate; (vi) the art of rhetoric, including the three main categories of speech – deliberative (political), forensic (legal) and epideictic (display); (vi) some of the fundamental principles of deliberative and forensic oratory; and (vi) two key things to keep in mind when reading oratory.

About this Course

In this course, Professor Catherine Steel (University of Glasgow) explores Cicero as an orator 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 think about the genre of oratory as a whole, its importance in the political culture of the late Republic, and the various different contexts in which oratory might be delivered/heard. After that, in the second module, we think about the importance of oratory to an elite Roman’s political career, before turning in the third and final module to look more closely at Cicero’s first speech against Verres (In Verrem 1).

About the 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 Orator - How to Read Oratory [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic-cicero-the-orator/how-to-read-oratory

MLA style

Steel, Catherine. "Politics of the Late Republic: Cicero the Orator – How to Read Oratory." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Sep 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-of-the-late-republic-cicero-the-orator/how-to-read-oratory