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CLAS437 Cicero and Roman Oratory

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 forensic speeches of Cicero, with a view to understanding their rhetorical finess as well as exploring their historical context.

Internal Assessment


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Cicero’s speeches, their persuasive techniques, and the role of oratory in Roman society.

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 Cicero and Roman Oratory
Paper code CLAS437
Subject Classical Studies
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021, expected to be offered in 2022 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,154.90
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,801.79

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72 300-level CLAS, GREK or LATN points
CLAS 337
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 50%
Cicero Defence Speeches trans. D.H. Berry (Oxford UP, 2008)
Cicero Political Speeches trans. D.H. Berry (Oxford UP, 2006)
Course Reader
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • A knowledge of ten 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