Book

Community and Communication

Edited by Catherine Steel and Henriette van der Blom

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199641895
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746130 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641895.001.0001
Community and Communication

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This book brings together nineteen scholars to rethink the role of public speech in the Roman Republic. Speech was an integral part of decision-making in Republican Rome, and oratory was part of the education of every member of the elite. Yet no complete speech from the period by anyone other than Cicero survives, and as a result the debate on oratory, and political practice more widely, is liable to be distorted by the distinctive features of Cicero’s oratorical practice. With careful attention to a wide range of ancient evidence, this book shines a light on orators other than Cicero, and considers the oratory of diplomatic exchanges and impromptu heckling and repartee alongside the more familiar genres of forensic and political speech. In so doing, it challenges the idea that Cicero is a normative figure, and highlights the variety of career choices and speech strategies open to Roman politicians. The chapters in the book also demonstrate how unpredictable the outcomes of oratory were: politicians could try to control events by cherry-picking their audience and using tried methods of persuasion, but incompetence, bad luck, or hostile listeners were constant threats.

Keywords: oratory; contio; Roman Republic; Cicero; politics; political decision-making; forensic speech; political speech; Roman orators

Book.  416 pages. 

Subjects: Classical History

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Community and Communication

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Campaign Rhetoric in Community and Communication

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