Rhetoric at Rome (Latin) LATIN4035

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course offers the opportunity to study Roman rhetorical theory and its practical manifestation in a representative range of Roman speeches. It covers the history and development of rhetoric at Rome in dialogue with Greek models, the variety of theoretical approaches and their adaptation to the conditions of public speech at Rome, and the relationship between rhetoric, public speaking, and the change from Republic to Empire. Cicero's speeches are the main focus for practical analysis, as the only surviving complete speeches from the Republican period, but the course also considers declamation, imperial speech-writing, and fragmentary evidence. A selection of speeches will be read in Latin.


5x1hr lectures, 5x1hr seminars, 10x1 hr seminars on reading and discussion of Latin set texts over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the honours options in Latin and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of LATIN2002, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who quality under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Examination: (90 minute duration) - 50%

Rhetorical analysis of a passage in Latin from a speech (2,500 words) - 50% 


The word count for this course is slightly greater than the standard of 4,000 for UG Honours courses. However, given the nature of this subject, a slightly higher word count is felt necessary to allow students to explore in proper depth the complexity of this topic.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Assess and apply a range of Roman rhetorical theories.

■ Explore the role of rhetoric within Roman educational theory and practice.

■ Explore a representative range of Roman oratory in its political, legal and social context

■ Explore how Roman orators used rhetorical theory in their speeches in order to achieve specific practical ends.

■ Read a selection of representative speeches in Latin.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Apply a detailed understanding of ancient rhetorical theory and its relevance to Roman education and culture

■ Apply rhetorical theory to the analysis of Roman speeches

■ Apply critical skills through close reading of passages of ancient rhetorical texts

■ Situate a representative range of Roman speeches in their political, legal and social contexts

■ Analyse and comment perceptively on passages in Latin from Roman oratory

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.