Latin 125: Style and the Orator





Through close reading and discussion of key texts in the history of Roman rhetorical theory, this course will investigate the role of rhetoric in Roman society, politics, and literary culture. Selections from Cicero, De Oratore Book 3; the letters of Seneca the Younger and Pliny the Younger; and Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria Book 12, will be read in the original with supplementary readings of other relevant primary and secondary sources in English. The focus will be on the figure of the orator as constructed by these sources, their practical deployment and theoretical construction of style, and rhetoric's role in civic discourse. Through close-reading and discussion of sources from a range of genres, including dialogue, epistolography, and treatise, we will look at the following questions among others: what role do the orator and oratory play in Roman political theory? What is style and what role does it play in the construction of the orator? What is the connection between style and the body, rhetorical and artistic style, style and periodization, and stylistic and other categories (e.g. biological, legal, political, bodily)?