CHW 3M 2013: Cicero and Rome

Cicero, by graye via Flickr.
Cicero, by graye via Flickr.

Before we consider one of the truly great Romans, let’s quickly review what we know:

  • the Romans borrowed from Etruscan culture to create their own society
  • in Rome, fathers were paramount
  • despite being a metropolitan centre, Rome still remembered its origins. Little could be done without the work done by Roman farmers.
  • Rome was governed by a very specific set of laws called the Twelve Tables.

A few more details:

  • Rome began as a Republic, meaning that it worked on principles similar to Athens. While not fully democratic, the Roman Republic was governed by elected officials in the Senate.
  • Rome, however, was far from peaceful. Ambitious men attempted to seize power for themselves; one such man, Sulla, was Cicero’s contemporary.

One of the Republic’s greatest citizens was a writer and lawyer named Marcus Tullius Cicero, commonly known as Cicero. He lived during the final years of the Republic, and witnessed a Civil War, the dominance of Sulla, and the rise of his rival, Julius Caesar.

Today, you watch a re-enactment of his first major trial, which brought him fame and glory. As you watch, consider the nature of justice in the Republic; is every citizen equally served and protected by the law?

Key terms you need to learn today:

  • Death Lists/Proscription
  • Calumniator (remember the letter “K”)



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