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CL2303 Ciceronian Rome: Culture and Ideology


Module Organiser: Professor Monica Gale
Duration of Course: One term (Sep-Dec)
Contact Hours: 16 Lectures, 3 seminars
Weighting: 5 ECTS
Assessment: 100% coursework (one written assignment, one other exercise)

By the middle of the first century BC, Rome was the centre of a large and powerful empire, a cosmopolitan city of immense sophistication. It was also a society in political and intellectual crisis. This module will use the varied and wide-ranging writings of Cicero as a basis for the exploration of different aspects of Roman thought, culture and society at this time. Cicero's outlook will also be juxtaposed with those of other contemporary writers such as Lucretius and Catullus.

Set Texts

  • Cicero, Pro Caelio and Pro Archia, in D.H. Berry (trans.), Cicero: Defence Speeches (Oxford 'Worlds' Classics', 2000)
  • The Republic (Books 1, 5, 6), in N. Rudd (trans.), Cicero: The Republic and the Laws (Oxford 'Worlds' Classics', 1998)
  • The Nature of the Gods (Book 1; 2.1-44, 60-75, 154-68; 3.1-19, 60-4, 79-95), trans. H.C.P. McGregor (Penguin, 1972)
  • On Duties (Books 1 and 2), ed. M.T. Griffin and E.M. Atkins (Cambridge, 1991)

Students will need to obtain their own copies of each of these texts, and bring them to lectures and seminars as appropriate. The editions listed above are recommendations only; any modern translation (e.g. Penguin) will do.

Introductory Reading

  • M. Beard and M.H. Crawford, Rome in the Late Republic: Problems and Interpretations (London, 1985)
  • J. Boardman, J. Griffin and O. Murray, The Oxford History of the Roman World (Oxford, 1988), chs. 4 and 5
  • M. Fuhrmann, Cicero and the Roman Republic (Oxford, 1990)
  • R.W. Sharples, Stoics Epicureans and Sceptics: An Introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy (London, 1996)

Learning Outcomes:

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Close familiarity with the text of the prescribed works of Cicero
  • Ability to explore the prescribed works of Cicero and associated literary texts as sources for the values, thought and culture of the Late Republican period
  • Understanding of the concepts of culture and ideology (including the notion of dominant and oppositional ideologies)
  • Ability to comment critically on select passages from the prescribed texts, both orally and in writing
  • Familiarity with recent critical approaches to Roman ideology in general, and to the prescribed texts

Last updated 20 August 2018