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Classics and Latin Studies

009 Rebel with a Cause – Catiline, the Roman Revolution, and the Multivalence of History

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“Cicerone denuncia Catilina,” by Cesare Maccari (1840-1919)

Photo by Cesare Maccari

Lucius Sergius Catilina (108-62BCE), also known as Catiline, was a Roman politician and soldier. He is known for his unsuccessful attempt of overthrowing the republic around 63 BCE.  

Who was Catiline?

Lucius Sergius Catilina (108-62 BCE), commonly referred to by his cognomen as “Catiline,” was a high-born Roman politician. Unobtrusively successful during the early phase of his career (the cursus honorum), he repeatedly failed in his bid for Rome’s highest office, the consulship.

Not much is known about Catiline, as our primary sources are the speeches and letters by the Roman orator and politician Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43) and The Catilinarian Conspiracy by the Roman historian Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-34).

What lessons can be learned from studying The Catiline Conspiracy?

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Photo by By Sallust - Houghton Library

Lucius Sergius Catilina “Catiline” was a high-born Roman politician. Successful early in his career, he repeatedly failed in his bid for Rome’s highest office, the consulship. He has hatched up a conspiracy, which led to his incrimination. Who was he? Our primary sources are the speeches and letters by the orator and politician Marcus Tullius Cicero and the historian Gaius Sallustius Crispus. Both shared bias but differed in kind; both knew how to construct a persona that fit their prospective narratives. Throughout this workshop, we will find out who this man was. Also, we may reconstruct what he was made to be.

Prerequisites

Students interested in taking this course should have an avid interest in Classics studies and must be able to read Latin. Students are required to complete a Latin Assessment during the application process.

Workshop Expectations

All students in this workshop will conduct original research. With the support from the professor, students will:

  • Learn how to analyze text by reviewing questions of grammar and syntax, rhetorical terms, and historical context. 

  • Have improved understanding of Ciceronian and Sallustian Latin

  • Have a better sense of rhetorical systems and some of their implications

  • Learn how to formulate original research questions, develop a hypothesis, design a study, collect and analyze data

  • Complete an individualized research project resulting in a deliverable

 

Sample Research Topics

  • Cicero’s Catiline outside of the Catilinarian Orations: a portrait.  

  • Topics of invective across the four Catilinarian Orations.

  • Cicero’s Catiline in the Sallust’s Catilinarian Conspiracy.

  • Catiline and the elusiveness of the past.

  • Sallust’s Rome in the Bellum Catilinae: A “Makros Anthropos”

  • How location adds to Cicero’s rhetoric in the Catilinarians

  •  Catiline’s sister? Sempronia is in Sallust

Past Students' Research Projects

009-21 Student Research - Eureka Program Classics.jpg
009-22 Student Research - Eureka Program Classics.jpg
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