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Selected Political Speeches

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,450 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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. Whet ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 26th 1973 by Penguin Classics (first published -84)
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Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
We live in an age where we are sooner sickened than delighted by political oratory, but it must be borne in mind, while perusing these selections, that persuasion is a beautiful thing. And, indeed, Cicero aimed to please, considering that he literally aimed to find the mean between the Attic (laconic) and Asiatic (verbose) styles, which the ancients called respectively didactic and entertaining; the mean was considered pleasure - to learn and be thrilled. Included here are the Catilinarian Invec ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When reading this I began to see how historians have pieced together Ancient Rome. It's exciting to know that with a little commitment (some would say a lot) one can read the extant primary sources on Ancient Rome and begin to see the world through your own historical lens. Archeology is above my pay grade but I can certainly read a lot.

My favorite speeches were the last two. In Support of Marcus Claudius Marcellus is all about Julius Caesar and the final speech The First Philippic has some fin
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came in expecting irresistible rhetorical firepower, and I got that in spades. What took me by surprise was the sheer range of registers: from the Bravo-like drama and the airing of an opponent's dirty laundry to the sordid, "Dear-Leader"-like prostration before Pompey or Caesar; from self-effacing modesty to breathtaking self-aggrandizement; from established facts to flat-out fiction; from carefully tuned emotional appeals to unhinged hyperbole (i.e., if you disagree with me, the Republic sha ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: discipulis historiae Romanae / students of Roman history
Shelves: non-fiction, pilfered
* * * 1/2

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 historica
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The greatest orator of his day as well as an accomplished philosopher and historian, Cicero lived at the single most turbulent and dangerous period of Rome's history. He knew Pompey, Caesar, Cato, Brutus and Cassius.

A truly modern man - his ego easily flattered, desirous of material wealth and public success, but also strongly motivated by a need to do what was right and just - his political speeches are masterworks of propaganda, spin, inescapable reasoning and emotional appeals.

Reading about
Jeremy Egerer
Nov 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I hate to give Cicero a three star review, but this Penguin translation (Penguin is usually solid) absolutely murdered Cicero's prose. After reading about 145 pages, and realizing that something was missing, I decided to download a free eBook of Cicero's works, translated by C.D. Yonge, and the difference was so profound, I wonder how Penguin could have even let this be published.

Go for the 19th century translations, when people wrote with soul. Cicero won't translate right otherwise.

That being
Daniel Wright
If you want to get an idea of why Cicero is such an intriguing and human historical figure, I recommend Robert Harris' novels. If you want to get an idea of why Cicero is regarded as one of the greatest rhetoricians of all time, and certainly the greatest Latin rhetorician, I recommend reading him in Latin. If you don't know Latin and don't have time to learn (although I sometimes wonder how people who don't know Latin manage to use adequate English) then you could do much worse than the Penguin ...more
D. J.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Cicero was the master of political rhetoric. A titan of oratory, perhaps only equaled by his nemesis Julius Caesar.

Anyone wishing to capture a glimpse of the political environment of pre-imperial Rome, and/or learn how to fashion great speeches, this book is a great place to start.

Long live Cicero!
David Antoš
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked the book. It was quite fun to get an insight into life and thinking of one of the greatest politicians of late Roman Republic. In spite of and perhaps thanks to all the pettiness and short-term pragmatism that no human can really avoid. :-)
Rachael Malfer
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In a word, brilliant. It is no surprise that his speeches have as much power now as they did then. It is not so much in the topics themselves that make them do memorable, but the construction of these pieces.
José Muñoz
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was quite fun to get an insight into life and thinking of one of the greatest politicians of late Roman Republic
Ray LaManna
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
The best.
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: greek-roman
As an orqtor, there were few better than Cicero.
Craig Bolton
Cicero: Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Classics) by Marcus Tullius Cicero (1977)
Feb 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
i dont care for it
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: itialian-roman
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Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. Cicero is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.