Skidmore College
Classics 201:  The Oratory of Cicero
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Anatomy of a conspiracy
 
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Conspiracy project
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Course syllabusCourse timetableOnline resourcesReturn to the CL 201homepage
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Session I (12 Feb)
Session II (5 Mar)
Session III (2 Apr)

Session I results:  O tempora!  O mores!
Session II results:  The seeds of conspiracy
Diary of a conspiracy

Select bibliography
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Was Catiline a reformer, striving to revive the flagging Roman Republic?  Was he a monster and a criminal, obsessed with power and wealth?

Our project this term will be to reconstruct the Catilinarian conspiracies in all their shadowy glory.  We shall learn who the conspirators were, what they wanted, what they achieved, and how they were thwarted.

Our reconstruction will unfold over three class meetings (dates given below).  Note that a fourth meeting is scheduled for 23 April, but may not actually be needed.  Prior to each meeting I will assign each student the task of gathering a certain piece or pieces of information.  We will then put the pieces together in class.  In the end we shall have a full picture of the conspiracies, and of the times in which they arose.

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Session I:  Friday, 12 February (written component due 15 February)

O tempora!  O mores!  (Click here to see the results)

In this, our introductory session, we shall introduce both Cicero and Catiline, as well as the political climate of the first century BCE.

Here are the questions I want to answer during this session, one question per student:

Consult the books in our Bibliography, which are on reserve at Scribner Library, to obtain a broad but accurate answer to your question.  In class you will give a five minute presentation, in which you will report your findings.

Written Component.  On the following Monday you will submit to me via email (either as the message or as an attachment) a written version of your presentation, which must be the equivalent of one typewritten page.  Your report will eventually be posted to the course websuite, although I reserve the right to require some follow-up information of you.  Please indicate what references you have used.

Your write-up is due Monday, 15 February, by 5:00 p.m.

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Session II:  Friday, 5 March (written component due 8 March)

The Seeds of Conspiracy.  (Click here to see the results)

In our second session we shall increase the focus on Catiline and Cicero by tracking their movements between the years 68-64 BCE—that is, before 63, the year of the great conspiracy.

The following students will track Cicero:

  • A. Cencini
  • L. Berenson
  • M. Mucha
  • D. Benincasa
  • S. Stuart
The following students will track Catiline:
  • H. Liverant
  • C. Dunn
  • B. Vancik
  • E. Levy
Be sure to note what offices these men held in these years, what offices they tried to obtain, and any other significant events in their public or private lives.

I have placed xeroxed portions of the following books from InterLibrary Loan on closed reserve at Scribner Library (click on the title to see the full entry in our Bibliography):

You will note that many of these books make reference to Sallust, a historian who wrote the Bellum Catilinae, an account of the conspiracy with a decidedly different slant from the orations of Cicero.  We shall consider Sallust's account in a future session.

Written Component.  On the following Monday you will submit to me via email (either as the message or as an attachment) a written version of your findings, which must be the equivalent of one typewritten page.  Aim for a year by year narrative of events in the life of either man.

Your report will eventually be posted to the course websuite, although I reserve the right to require some follow-up information of you.  Please indicate what references you have used.

Your write-up is due Monday, 8 March, by 5:00 p.m.

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Session III:  Friday, 2 April (written component due 5 April)

Diary of a Conspiracy.  (Click here to see the results)

In our third session we shall increase the focus on Catiline and Cicero even further by tracking their movements between the months of October 63 through January 62.

The following students will track Catiline:

  • A. Cencini and L. Berenson:  October 63
  • M. Mucha and D. Benincasa:  November 63
  • S. Stuart:  December 63 and January 62
The following students will track Cicero:
  • H. Liverant:  October 63
  • C. Dunn and B. Vancik:  November 63
  • E. Levy:  December 63 and January 62
Describe the actions of either man for your allotted time period.  In most cases you will need to work on a day-by-day basis.  This is not to say that you need account for every single day, just those that featured major events.

I have placed xeroxed portions of the following books from InterLibrary Loan on closed reserve at Scribner Library (click on the title to see the full entry in our Bibliography):

Written Component.  On the following Monday you will submit to me via email (either as the message or as an attachment) a written version of your findings, which must be the equivalent of one typewritten page.  Again, aim for a day by day narrative of events during your time period.

Your report will eventually be posted to the course websuite, although I reserve the right to require some follow-up information of you.  Please indicate what references you have used.

Your write-up is due Monday, 5 April, by 5:00 p.m.

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Select Bibliography.

Most titles on 3-hour open reserve at Scribner Library.  Titles marked with (­) must be requested at the reserve desk.

[blank] Beard, M. & M. Crawford.  (1985) Rome in the late republic
Broughton, T. R. S.  (1984) Magistrates of the Roman republic
Fowler, W. W.  (1963) The city-state of the Greeks and Romans
Crawford, M. H.  (1993) Roman republic
Habicht, C.  (1990) Cicero the politician
Homo, L. P.  (1962) Roman political institutions, from city to state
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Hutchinson, L.  (1966) The conspiracy of Catiline
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Kaplan, A.  (1968) Catiline:  the man and his role in the Roman revolution
Leach, J.  (1978) Pompey the Great
Levi, M. A.  (1966) Political power in the ancient world
Lintott, A. W.  (1968) Violence in republican Rome
McDonald, A. H.  (1966) Republican Rome
Marsh, F. B.  (1963) History of the Roman world from 146 to 30 B.C.
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Odahl, C. M.  (1971) The Catilinarian conspiracy
Oman, C. W. C.  (1902) Seven Roman statesmen of the later republic:  The Gracchi.  Sulla.  Crassus.  Cato.  Pompey.  Caesar.
Raaflaub, K. A. (ed.)  (1986) Social struggles in archaic Rome:  new perspectives on the conflict of the orders
Rawson, B.  (1978) Politics of friendship:  Pompey and Cicero
Rawson, E.  (1983) Cicero:  a portrait
Robinson, C. E.  (1982) History of the Roman republic
Robinson, O. F.  (1992) Ancient Rome:  city planning and administration
Salmon, E. T.  (1982) The making of Roman Italy
Scullard, H. H.  (1988) From the Gracchi to Nero:  a history of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68
Seager, R. (ed.)  (1969) Crisis of the Roman republic:  studies in political and social history
Starr, C. G.  (1980) Beginnings of imperial Rome:  Rome in the mid-republic
Stockton, D. L.  (1981) From the Gracchi to Sulla:  sources for Roman history
Strachan-Davidson, J. L.  (1894) Cicero and the fall of the Roman republic
Wiseman, T. P.  (ed.)  (1985) Roman political life:  90 B.C. - A.D. 69

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Last modified 19 April 1999