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Cicero: Selected Political Speeches (Penguin…
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Cicero: Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Classics) (edition 1977)

by Marcus Tullius Cicero

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544428,853 (3.73)2
Amid the corruption and power struggles of the collapse of the Roman Republic, Cicero (106-43BC) produced some of the most stirring and eloquent speeches in history. A statesman and lawyer, he was one of the only outsiders to penetrate the aristocratic circles that controlled the Roman state, and became renowned for his speaking to the Assembly, Senate and courtrooms. Whether fighting corruption, quashing the Catiline conspiracy, defending the poet Archias or railing against Mark Antony in the Philippics - the magnificent arguments in defence of liberty which led to his banishment and death - Cicero's speeches are oratory masterpieces, vividly evocative of the cut and thrust of Roman political life.… (more)
Member:jamesshelley
Title:Cicero: Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Marcus Tullius Cicero
Info:Penguin Classics (1977), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
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Selected Political Speeches by Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Cicero was, admittedly, a pompus git. He was almost certainly not well-liked by most of his fellow senators, and was held in contempt by not a few. He was, however, arguably the finest orator in Roman history, and close to one of its finest writers. This collection of some of his better known speeches is designed for the layman, the student and the dilettante. The translation leans toward the simplistic, but this does not detract from its value. I'm a whole-hearted fan of Penguin's editions of Classical literature. As a means of bringing the richness of Greek & Roman writing within reach of the general reading public, they are simply priceless ( )
  drmaf | Sep 11, 2013 |
A solid collection of speeches from Marcus Tullius Cicero. Each one is accompanied by a detailed introduction that puts the speech into its historical context, which is very helpful for people who are not that familiar with Roman history. Footnotes are sprinkled throughout the speeches as well, providing clarification or explaining a play on meaning (for example, on the word "popularis" in the First Philippic, or the "penny" pun in the speech in defence of Caelius), explaining historical references, and indicating passages that come out rather obscure in translation.

Speaking of the translation, this was a very good job. Of course the sentence construction is extremely formal, but then these were being delivered in the Senate and the Assembly, so of course Cicero would want to pull out all the rhetorical stops and speak eloquently, not casually. I did often find myself reading the same sentence a couple of times in a row, but that's what happens when you pick dense intellectual works as bus books. One oddity I noticed was the translator's use of the word "Besides" at the beginning of a clause. Sometimes it did not seem to fit, as if it was being used as the stock translation for a particularly tricky Latin word.

In any case, the book was still very readable and even had some pretty funny lines. It was very illuminating and I learned a bit more about Roman history through the work of Cicero -- perhaps slightly biased, especially in the case of those invectives against Catiline and Mark Antony, but it's more than I knew before, in particular about Mark Antony and Caesar. If you like this time period, give this book a shot. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 16, 2012 |
Just as interesting and illuminating as listening to any given modern lawyer or political figure trying to earn their keep. ( )
  CaptainBroadchurch | Sep 1, 2006 |
Yes, I know Cicero is de rigour for all people of substance but it is way too dry for me. ( )
  ElTomaso | Jun 18, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marcus Tullius Ciceroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grant, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Selection translated by Michael Grant. Do not combine with other editions containing different speeches.
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