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Cicero's Use of Judicial Theater

Jon Hall

Publication Year: 2014

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Thanks are due to various colleagues and friends who have helped in the preparation of this book. Ellen Bauerle, Alexa Ducsay, and Mary Hashman at the University of Michigan Press shepherded the project from proposal to finished product with kindness and efficiency. Dean Alexander...


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Note on Texts and Translations

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pp. xi-xii

The texts of Cicero’s works have been drawn from the Teubner editions (with minor changes for orthographical purposes), except for those listed below. (See bibliography for full details.) Any occasional divergences in the text used are identified in the footnotes. English translations are...

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pp. 1-4

...These scenes depict a judicial world alien to most modern readers. We do not today expect to see lawyers parading around the court carrying children in their arms. The impartial administration of justice (we would like to think) has no business with this kind of manipulative...

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Chapter 1. Judicial Theater in Ancient Rome: Some Basic Considerations

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pp. 5-39

There is considerable evidence to suggest that a strong tradition of showmanship flourished in Roman oratory before Cicero’s time. In 167 BCE, for example, the former consul, M. Servilius, delivered a speech in front of the people supporting the triumph proposed for Aemilius Paullus following...

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Chapter 2. A Sordid Business: The Use of “Mourning Clothes” in the Courts

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pp. 40-63

At modern trials, we often see defendants dressing up smartly for their appearances in court. This formal attire usually aims to convey an image of the accused as one who respects the authority of the judge and jurors, and who adheres to society’s rules. At times, this mask may slip a...

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Chapter 3. Too Proud to Beg: Appeals and Supplications in the Courts

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pp. 64-98

From Livy’s Periochae, we learn that M. Antonius encountered a significant obstacle as he planned his emotional appeal on behalf of M’. Aquillius: the battle-hardened general evidently refused to address any direct pleas for acquittal to the jury (Livy Per. 70: ipse iudices rogare noluit). For...

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Chapter 4. Shedding Tears in Court: When Crying Is Good

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pp. 99-128

Cicero in several orations develops his emotional theatrics to such an extent that he affects to break down in tears as he speaks.1 Although such overt emotionality is not unknown in modern courtrooms, the image of a weeping male advocate is one that raises important questions...

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Chapter 5. Judicial Theatrics beyond Cicero

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pp. 129-154

As we saw in chapter one, a broad tradition of oratorical theatrics was well established by the time Cicero embarked upon his career in the courts. But how widespread was the use of such showmanship among his own contemporaries? Was he unusual in integrating these techniques...

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pp. 155-160

This survey of Cicero’s judicial theater has placed us in an unfamiliar world—one where millionaires on occasion dressed in dirtied clothes, engaged in submissive supplication, and wept profusely in public. And yet, as startling as such practices may appear, we have seen that they were...


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pp. 161-178

Index Locorum

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pp. 179-182

Index Nominum

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pp. 183-186

General Index

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pp. 187-190

E-ISBN-13: 9780472120369
E-ISBN-10: 0472120360
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472072200
Print-ISBN-10: 047207220X

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Speeches.
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., Latin -- History and criticism.
  • Oratory, Ancient.
  • Theater -- Rome.
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