Book Review: Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome


by Kathryn Tempest

London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2011. Pp. xvi, 256. Illus., maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 184725246X

Cicero and the Politics of the Late Republic

Dr. Tempest (Roehampton) presents Cicero as orator and politician in the context of the tumultuous final decades of the Roman Republic. This makes the book a very useful guide to the frequently convoluted and often murderous politics of the late Republic.

Tempest devotes six chapters -- about a third of the book – to cover the rise of Cicero, from provincial obscurity through upstart advocate to influential politician. She the uses four chapters to cover his attainment of the consulship, his role in crushing Catiline’s Conspiracy, his brief period of dominance in Roman politics, and his exile. Tempest devotes two chapters to Cicero’s efforts to regain influence in the era of the Triumvirs and of the demagogues. This is followed by a relatively long chapter on Cicero’s year as governor of Cilicia, a very neglected episode in this life, during which he took to the field against some hill tribes, and after a brief campaign caused him to be proclaimed “imperator – conqueror” by his troops, which is interesting not only because it throws some light on subsequent political events, but also because it illustrates the curious Roman constitutional concept of “imperium.” The final four chapters cover Cicero’s role in the civil wars, his reconciliation with Caesar, the rise of the Second Triumvirate, and Cicero’s ultimate fate. 

A lthough the book could use more maps, this is a good read for both those familiar with the period or for those seeking an introduction to Roman political life in final era of the Republic

Note:  Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome is also available in paperback, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-4725-3056-1, pdf,  $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4411-5482-8, and as an e-book, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4411-3226-0

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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