LAT 390 • Cicero: Readings
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
Study of Cicero's life and work is essential to any understanding of that pivotal period in ancient political, social, and intellectual history--the late Roman Republic. Study of his work is also essential to mastering the Latin language, which he did so much to shape; and one could, as many have, spend a lifetime studying Cicero's works. His extant corpus, though only a fraction of his original output, comprises over fifty speeches, nearly a thousand letters to friends and associates, a dozen philosophical dialogues and treatises, several works on rhetorical theory and practice, and even some fragments of verse (which, while widely mocked, is far from negligible). It is hardly surprising, then, that this corpus is so central to the study of the Latin language and of Roman culture quite generally. This course aims to improve your facility in reading Latin prose in various genres, and to introduce you to Cicero's intellectual and stylistic range. The class will read together a speech, a dialogue, and several letters; and each student will also choose an additional speech or dialogue to read independently. Most of our time will be devoted to the thing itself--translating the various texts. I will also give occasional set-piece presentations on important issues in Latin grammar. No paper is required; occasional exercises will encourage your industry; a final exam will enable and oblige you to render unto Cicero what is his.