Julius Caesar,Cicero,Cato The Younger,Caius Memmius,Caius Marius,Catiline,Mark Antony

Civil War in the Roman Republic, 106 to 44BCE

Listen in app
IntroductionWhile compiling and narrating these speeches, I've often been struck by how easily they could be translated into a modern day context. Frequently, a speech has reminded me of the news of the day, somewhere in the world. Nowhere has this been more evident than in these speeches. Given over two thousand years ago, every single one could be applied to situations and people today with barely any revision.
The late republic (from about 133BCE) was characterized by civil discontent, with three Servile Wars, two attempted coups, a Social War between Rome and Italian allies, and endless conflict.
We begin in 110-106BCE with two speeches railing against the fixed social order and corruption of the highborn, as well as the scorn poured on those of lower birth. We then jump to the Cataline Conspiracy in 63 BCE, an attempt to overthrow the Senate that was only defeated at great cost, and continued to be a symbol of Rome’s troubles. Here we see Cataline exhorting his troops, Cato arguing for harsh punishment, C icero calling Cataline every contemptible name under the sun, and the only known speech of Julius Caesar, in which he argues for a sensible and jurisprudential response to this great crime.
Cicero’s leadership of Rome is then documented, covering the beliefs and actions that saw him exiled and then returned to power by the Senate. Finally, we have Mark Antony’s hagiographic oration of Julius Caesar, and then two speeches of Cicero’s railing against the perversion of Caesar’s legacy that Mark Antony was putting into practice, and the need to hold onto tradition for the right reasons, not simply to cover the misdeeds of politicians. Antony became Consul in this time, and Cicero saw in him the final downfall of the republic, which lasted for only seventeen years after this moment before becoming an Empire.
Publication year
Have you already read it? How did you like it?
Drag & drop your files (not more than 5 at once)