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CLAS337 Murder and Corruption in Ciceronian Rome

Fulvia with the Head of Cicero_by Pavel Svedomsky

Lecturer: Professor Jon Hall

A 'new man' in Roman politics, Marcus Tullius Cicero won fame and respect with the power of his oratory. He lived during a period of tremendous political crises for Rome, which ultimately led to the death of the Republic and the death of Cicero himself. This paper examines several speeches of Cicero delivered in the law court, with a view to understanding their rhetorical finesse as well as exploring their historical context.

Internal Assessment


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Exploration of the violent and corrupt politics of the Late Roman Republic through an examination of Cicero's speeches in the senate and law courts.

A 'new man' in Roman politics, Marcus Tullius Cicero made his name as an advocate in the Roman law courts. His defence speeches on behalf of politicians accused of murder and bribery give us fascinating insights into the violence and corruption of ancient Rome, as well as Cicero's oratorical skill as a lawyer.

Paper title Murder and Corruption in Ciceronian Rome
Paper code CLAS337
Subject Classical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021, expected to be offered in 2022 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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18 200-level CLAS, GREK or LATN points
CLAS 437
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Professor Jon Hall
Paper Structure
Internal Assessment 40%
Cicero Defence Speeches trans. D. H. Berry (Oxford UP, 2008)
Course reader
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • A knowledge of six of Cicero's speeches
  • An understanding of the political violence and corruption that lies behind these speeches
  • The ability to analyse the persuasive strategies in Cicero's speeches
  • The skills of effective written communication

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Not offered in 2021, expected to be offered in 2022

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system