Two major styles influential, both
derived from ancient Greek tradition:
1. Asiatic - from Pergamum in Asia Minor, dating
from late 4th c BC. Highly emotional, using
gestures, flowery phrases and musical rhythms
2. Attic - made famous by Lysias (d. 380 BC). Plain,
simple and direct
Rhetorica ad Herennium (Art of Rhetoric Addressed to
Herennius). Only surviving text on rhetoric from
Late Republican period
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
106 BC Born into Italian equestrian family.
Studies law and philosophy in Rome,
Athens and Rhodes. Pursues political career
and rises through ranks
69 BC Curule aedile
66 BC Praetor
63 BC Consul. Executes conspirators led by
58 BC Exiled by enemies
57 BC Recalled and hailed as hero
49-45 BC Supports Pompey against Julius
Caesar in civil war. Forgiven by
victorious Caesar
44 BC Caesar assassinated. Cicero approves
43 BC Executed by Octavian and Antony
Wrote large number of works, including:
Many legal and political speeches, including
In Catalinam (vs. Catalina) and the
Philippics (vs. Antony)
Essays, including De Senectute (On Old Age)
and De Amicitia (On Friendship)
Philosophical and legal treatises, including
De Legibus (On the Laws) and De Re
Publicae (On the Republic)
Works on rhetoric, including De Oratore (On
the Orator) and the Brutus (an account of
Roman oratory)
Also well known for many letters that describe
events taking place around him
In his rhetoric, Cicero uses blend of Asiatic
and Attic styles
Genres of Rhetoric
1. Judicial/forensic genre: used in law courts
2. Deliberative genre: used in parliamentary
or popular politics
3. Demonstrative/epideictic genre: used on
ceremonial occasions
Extracts from De Inventione (On Invention) and
Partitiones Oratoriae, both by Cicero, and
the Rhetorica ad Herenniam
Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC)
Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC)
Polybius (mid 2nd c BC)
Historical Writing
Earliest Roman historians, writing in wake of
Second Punic War (218-201 BC) took
inspiration from ancient Greek historians
and wrote in Greek. Later was gradual
changeover to writing in Latin
Early Roman histories are also propaganda
documents and have conservative agenda
Historians tended to be from upper classes
Julius Caesar (102-44 BC)
The Gallic War
The Civil War
Gaius (or Publius) Cornelius
Tacitus (c. 55-117 AD)
Little known of Tacitus’ life. Attained senatorial
rank. Served as consul in 97 AD. Later
proconsul (governor) of Asia
1. Dialogus (Dialogue), on oratory
2. Biography of father-in-law Agricola,
general and governor of Britain
(77-84 AD)
3. De Origine et Situ Germanorum
(On the Origin and Location of
the Germans), ≈ ethnography
4. Histories, covering Flavian period
(69-96 AD)
5. Annals, covering Julio-Claudian
dynasty from 14-68 AD, written
c. 100-111 AD
Only parts of these two works survive