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Dr. Kathryn Tempest's "Cicero and his Enemies"

Dr. Kathryn Tempest from the University of Roehampton came in to NKS this week to present a talk about ‘Cicero and his Enemies’. Over 60 students from all year groups packed the library to hear Dr Tempest deliver this interesting and engaging talk and it was especially relevant to the A-Level Classics student who are currently studying the Politics of the Late Republic.

Cicero, she argues, should really be examined in regards to his enemies, rather than in regards to his friends as is too often the case. She suggests that they were more relevant and significant to his political career, and that most of his finest oratory was against his enemies.

He first used his rhetorical skill against Verres in 70 B.C. (which earned him his fame), and subsequently had three main enemies – Catiline, Clodius and Mark Antony. He argued successfully against all these people and, while he did not always win, he certainly laid the foundations for the rules of modern oratory and for his own career. As an esteemed orator and politician, he could use this status, along with his skill, to work situations in his – or rather Rome’s – favour.

I found this talk very educational and it gave a different perspective on the life and works of Cicero. Our course does not give too much detail on Cicero’s ‘inimicitiae’ (enemies) as it does his ‘amicitiae’ (friends), so this talk showed us a different side of Cicero and gave us a different interpretation of his life. No doubt the information will come in useful as an example of modern scholarship in the forthcoming exams and hopefully it will have inspired some of our Year 11s to give Classical Civilisation serious consideration as a dynamic and academically rigorous A level option.

We now eagerly anticipate the visit of Professor Richard Alston from Royal Holloway University on 31st January who will be delivering a talk on The Invention of the Roman Woman, based on the sculptured bust of Livia (wife of Augustus) currently housed in The Louvre, Paris.

James Rice
Head Boy
Year 13 Classics


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