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CLA 135 — Eavesdropping on Antiquity: Cicero’s Letters

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 13—Mar 17
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 15
Units: 2
Tuition: $485
Instructor(s): Christopher Krebs
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Live Online(About Formats)
Wednesdays
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Jan 13—Mar 17
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 15
2 Units
Fees
$485
Instructor(s):
Christopher Krebs
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) was not just Rome’s greatest speaker, one of his generation’s leading intellectuals, and an eminent statesman; he was also a profuse letter writer. Some 800 letters have come down to us, beginning in November of 68 BCE down to the year of his death. Included in his collections are copies of letters by his contemporaries. These letters offer an unparalleled opportunity to listen in on conversations during the late Roman Republic, and they offer a window into Cicero’s innermost fears and hopes. For example, one of the collections comprises his private correspondence to his lifelong friend Atticus, who was living in far-away Athens. The letters allow us to get closer to Cicero than any other individual from antiquity (with the exception of Augustinus, perhaps). In this course, we will read select letters offering political commentary, philosophical discussions, and personal trivia, and we will reflect on the communicatory role of letters in Rome, their materiality and transport, and the difference between private and public letters. We will also establish what ancient writers had to say about the nature and function of letters. If, as it is said, a letter is one half of a conversation, we will provide the other half.

Christopher Krebs, Associate Professor of Classics, Stanford

Christopher Krebs studied Classics and philosophy in Berlin and Kiel and at the University of Oxford, and taught at Harvard before coming to Stanford. He is the author of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Writings of Julius Caesar.