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CLA 74 — Speaker, Statesman, and Philosopher: Marcus Tullius Cicero

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Mar 29—May 24
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Mar 31
Units: 2
Tuition: $495
Instructor(s): Christopher Krebs
Status: Open
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Mar 29—May 24
9 weeks
Refund Date
Mar 31
2 Units
Christopher Krebs
A contemporary of Julius Caesar, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) is known to many as Rome’s great speaker: no surprise, given that 150 years after his death, the Roman professor of rhetoric Quintilian described him as “eloquence personified.” He is known to others as the eminent politician who died at the deathbed of the Republic he thought he was guarding, while still others know him as the philosopher who brought Greek philosophy to Rome, to the Latin language, and to the Western tradition. Cicero was all of these in one person, yet he is all too rarely approached in this wholesomeness. In this course, in an effort to appreciate Cicero more fulsomely, we will read some of his most important work: three of his speeches; the most famous of his treatises on rhetoric, On the Speaker; and his philosophical legacy to his wayward son, On Duties. We will look for commonalities across these works, reflect on the political, cultural, and intellectual circumstances of the late Roman Republic, and compare and contrast the private Cicero who roams his letters with the official persona. We will also read modern biographies of Cicero to further our understanding of how he has been viewed through the ages until today.

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.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Cicero, Siobhan McElduff, tr,/ed., In Defence of the Republic (ISBN 978-0140455533)
(Required) Cicero, On the Ideal Orator (ISBN 978-0195091984)
(Required) Cicero, On Duties (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought (ISBN 978-0521348355 )
(Required) Elizabeth Rawson, Cicero: A Portrait (ISBN 978-0862920517)