Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Show how Cicero exemplifies the speaker who is also a doer.

Some of Cicero’s orations have long been used in the teaching of Latin. What practical value is there in studying the structures of argument by an ancient orator?

During what period in American political history did Cicero most influence political speakers?

One of Cicero’s favorite courtroom techniques was “passing over” a subject that he would, in fact, thus emphasize, so that his listeners would remember it. Cite some instances of this technique being used today, in or out of literature.

The word “rhetoric” is often used with negative connotations. What are the principles by which Cicero defends the importance of rhetoric?

Summarize and assess Cicero’s essay on friendship or one of his other essays.


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Further Reading:

Bailey, D. R. Shackleton. Cicero. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972. Provides a detailed biography of Cicero and discusses his writings in the context of his life. Part of the Classical Life and Letters series.

Cicero. Letters of Cicero: A Selection in Translation. Compiled and translated by L. P. Wilkinson. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968. Provides translations of Cicero’s important letters from the year after his consulship to the end of his life, with an informative introduction.

Classen, Jo-Marie. Displaced Persons: The Literature of Exile from Cicero to Boethius. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. A fascinating study of the literary genre of exile narratives, discussing both the mechanics and the philosophical and rhetorical strategies of writing about the personal experience of exile.

Everitt, Anthony. Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician. New York: Random House, 2002. Places Cicero’s life and career amid the context of the political intrigue and civil unrest of the Roman Republic.

Everitt, Anthony. Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician. New York: Random House, 2002. A biography aimed at a general audience, focusing on Cicero’s political career. Does an excellent...

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