Thursday, October 20, 2016

Brona’s Salon: Going Back to Ancient Rome with Cicero

I am supposed to do a lot of reports (year ends suck! -_-), and I still have 7 books and 3 plays to complete for The Classics Club challenge. But, hey! A girl needs a break, doesn’t she? So, I think I will take mine by joining Brona’s Salon, though I’m 4 days late… Sorry Brona, I have just found about your salon today! :)

So, here it is…

What are your currently reading?

Defence Speeches by Marcus Tulius Cicero

How did you find out about this book?

For years I have a soft spot for Ancient Rome. Few years ago, after reading Robert Harris’ Cicero series (Imperium & Lustrum), I fell in love with Cicero, who is, probably, the greatest orator of all time. So I googled some of his works, and found this one.

Why are you reading it now?

Maybe US Presidential debates had something to do with it, LOL!... Anyway, I’m reading it for my Classics Club challenge.

 First impressions? 

It was quite intimidating, considering how long speeches usually take in Roman court (from books I’ve read). And I was rather disappointed in finding that Catiline’s case wasn’t covered in this book. But then I remembered, this is Cicero’s defense speeches, while in Catiline’s case he was the prosecutor.

Which character do you relate to so far?

Cicero, of course! :)

Are you happy to continue?

Sure, it turns out to be quite interesting! I am still in the first (of five cases), and I have been amazed by Cicero’s eloquent yet sharp oration.

Where do you think the story will go? 

This first case that I am in now is very simple. Now I am so looking forward to other cases that (hopefully) more complicated, and thus would highlight more of Cicero’s eloquence. Oh boy, this would be one really beautiful reading! *excited*


  1. Wow! That's an impressive task.

    I went through an Ancient Rome phase when Colleen McCullough was writing her Julius Caesar series in the early 1990's (I also studied parts of it at school). But I haven't tackled any of the classic writings from the time.

    The Robert Harris books have been on my radar - glad to hear you enjoyed them.

    Thanks for stopping by my Salon :-)
    I keep the link open for a month to give everyone a generous time frame to join in.

    1. I only read (DNF though...) McCullough's Antony & Cleopatra, and didn't like her style. Robbert Harris is much better, you'd love Cicero series! :)

    2. You are about the tenth person to mention the Harris books! Looks like I had better take another look :-)

  2. Oh, this sounds like fun! I have one of Cicero's works marked for reading. My mum is a great fan of Roman history, and her sympathy with Cicero sparked a little curiosity. The same series Brona mentions had me even more curious about Cicero since McCullough does not paint him in a very good light. I should tackle something of his some time soon.

    1. Seems your mum and I should see each other... :P
      If your mum haven't read it, Robert Harris' Cicero series will make her sympathize with him more.

  3. I read this and absolutely loved it. His first case was amazing but it was so interesting to see how his delivery and orations changed with the other cases. In the first, you see his youth and how he tries to make it work for him, whereas in the others, he is becoming a seasoned defender. Here's a link to my review if you want to take a look after you've finished:

    1. Glad to find that you loved it too, Cleo.
      Even in his first case he's already shown eloquence and sharp defence. But my favorite is always his speech against Catiline (will absolutely buy his "Selected Political Speeches" which include this particular speech!)

  4. This book is still on my night to bed.
    Just cannot seem to start it.
    Your post and comments from others will help me "just do It!"

    1. I felt the same way before. It has been on my TBR list for a year or more before I decided to give it a try.
      So, just take it, the first speech will make you craving for more! ;)

  5. Wow! My first thought was impressive, but Brona already used that. My second thought is intimidating;nonetheless, it is also interesting -the past is always interesting. And yes, when you mention the U.S. presidential debates (compared to Cicero) makes one think, "Ugh, we've come a long way - the wrong way, I'm quite sure (having only read portions of Cicero's speeches)."

    1. Intimidating was also my first reaction everytime I tried to read it, Ruth (yes, I have tried it several times, :P). But after reading the first case, it turned out to be interesting...for example: how Cicero led the jurors to think his way. Just bravo!


What do you think?