Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas developed by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) to support and reinvigorate the Roman Republic when, as it transpired, it was in its final years, threatened by civil wars, the rule of Julius Caesar and the triumvirates that followed. As Consul he had suppressed a revolt by Catiline, putting the conspirators to death summarily as he believed the Republic was in danger and that this danger trumped the right to a fair trial, a decision that rebounded on him. While in exile he began works on duty, laws, the orator and the republic. Although left out of the conspiracy to kill Caesar, he later defended that murder in the interests of the Republic, only to be murdered himself soon after.

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  • Melissa Lane 10 episodes
    The Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University and 2018 Carlyle Lecturer at the University of Oxford
  • Catherine Steel 5 episodes
    Professor of Classics at the University of Glasgow
  • Valentina Arena No other episodes
    Reader in Roman History at University College London

Reading list

  • Libertas and the Practice of Politics in the Late Roman Republic
    Valentina Arena (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Cicero on Politics and the Limits of Reason: The Republic and the Laws
    Jed Atkins (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • In Defence of the Republic
    Cicero (trans. Siobhan McElduff) (Penguin, 2011) Google Books →
  • On duties
    Cicero (trans. M.T. Griffin and ed. E.M. Atkins) (Cambridge University Press, 1991) Google Books →
  • The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome
    Joy Connolly (Princeton University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Cicero as Historical Evidence: A Historian's Companion
    Andrew Lintott (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Cicero: A Portrait
    Elizabeth Rawson (Bloomsbury, 2013) Google Books →
  • Reading Cicero: Genre and Performance in Late Republican Rome
    Catherine Steel (Duckworth, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Cicero
    Catherine Steel (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome
    Kathryn Tempest (Continuum, 2011) Google Books →
  • Cicero: The Philosophy of a Roman Sceptic
    Raphael Woolf (Routledge, 2015) Google Books →
  • Cicero: On the Commonwealth and On the Laws: Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
    James E. G. Zetzel (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

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Auto-category: 937 (Roman Republic)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 63 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero was elected as one of the two consuls in Rome, the highest political position, a remarkable rise for someone born outside the establishment.