Persuasion and Propaganda in Ancient Rome: Cicero's Oratory

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I'm really impressed by the professor's rhetoric and her handling of the subject.
Date published: 2021-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Always interesting and entertaining Professor Aldrete's lectures are always presented with enthusiasm. His style really conjures mental pictures of the past and I have enjoyed several of his courses.
Date published: 2021-04-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Superficial Critique of Cicero's Oratory/Rhetoric Cicero's approach to teaching and utilizing Rhetoric is of great historical importance for an understanding of Western Civilization. Here, Prof. Aldrete focuses mainly on Cicero's orations against Cateline without providing much by way of historical context. Though exaggeration and vilification are indeed used to persuade the Senate in these orations, it is not true that Cicero "ignored facts, evidence" and treated appeal to emotions (pathos) as the "only important factor." Indeed, Cicero brought evidence to the Senate that Cateline (as history records) planned to assassinate several Senators and torch the city with a large band of co-conspirators. Perhaps Cicero's ( and Cato's) push to execute Cateline without a trial (as guaranteed in the constitution of the Republic) diminished his standing in Rome-- but the Second Cateline Conspiracy was, as Cicero saw, a sign of things to come. Also, there is no discussion of his writings on Rhetoric and Speech. If there had been, for example, a discussion of De Oratore, his last work on the subject, it would be clear that Cicero was very concerned about merely emotional rhetoric uninformed by reason (logos) and ethical principles. Rhetoric, he concludes, must be guided by philosophical wisdom. Weather or not he failed to always live up to his own standards, it's important to recognize those standards and the influence they have exercised on subsequent figures. At any rate, if some of his oratory is similar to that of modern politicians playing on audience emotions, it should also be pointed out that his speeches also influenced the likes of Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke and Winston Churchill. This 40 minute take-down simply doesn't do this historical giant justice.
Date published: 2021-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learned a lot Hard to imagine a better presentation. Very interesting to be able to get a lecture on such an obscure topic. Professor is outstanding.
Date published: 2021-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cicero - the OG of Political Spin I love a bit of Cicero and so was pleased to see this lecture. I have read his correspondence and philosophy moreso than his speeches, so it's great to get a bit of an overview from a bona fide academic. This is one of the many late republic figures whose life and works could absolutely form the backbone of a full 24 part lecture series, but I am happy to see just one. Engaging and lively presentation as usual from this professor, so full marks there. My favourite bit of Cicero is when, during the 2nd Philippic, having made any number of scathing inferences and associations, he finally out and says of Antony: "This man is a drink-sodden, sex-addled wreck!". Priceless, and again makes us think of modern politics! I think that was also the speech that sealed his fate; Antony not being best pleased with that assessment.
Date published: 2021-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad to reflect on the fact that Cicero's rhetorical techniques are still widely used today by politicians because the mob hasn't really progressed much at all; the success of these dirty tricks is a function of the society/audience they are aimed at, not some intrinsic value. This was an excellent lecture and definitely left me wanting more. Oh, and let's not forget that Cicero ended up with his severed hands and head displayed on the Rostra in the heart of Rome!
Date published: 2021-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from request My request is that a little Latin be used particularly because this is Cicero we are talking about. English translations are needed but to hear the sound is important as well.
Date published: 2020-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Presentation of the Subject Engaging speaker, knows his subject, lecture is well-paced and very interesting. This entire course should definitely be produced.
Date published: 2020-12-04
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Persuasion and Propaganda in Ancient Rome: Cicero's Oratory
1: Persuasion and Propaganda in Ancient Rome: Cicero's Oratory

Meet Cicero, one of the greatest public speakers of all time, and learn how he applied the tools of creating and delivering speeches that not only resonated with the public but persuaded them to his way of thinking. Join Professor Gregory S. Aldrete from the University of Wisconsin to delve into ancient Roman rhetoric techniques and discover how they provided the groundwork for both positive and negative methods we use in modern political campaigning.

37 min
Gregory S. Aldrete

As an ancient historian, my goals are to share the enthusiasm for and fascination with antiquity that I feel, and to show some of the connections between that world and our own.


University of Michigan


University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

About Gregory S. Aldrete

Dr. Gregory S. Aldrete is Professor of Humanistic Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, where he has taught since 1995. He earned his B.A. from Princeton University and his master's degree and Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Michigan. Honored many times over for his research and his teaching, Professor Aldrete was named by his university as the winner of its highest awards in each category, receiving both its Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship and its Founders Association Award for Excellence in Teaching. That recognition of his teaching skills was echoed on a national level in 2009, when he received the American Philological Association Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level-the national teaching award given annually by the professional association of classics professors. The recipient of many prestigious research fellowships including five from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Professor Aldrete has published several important books in his field, including Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome; Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome; Daily Life in the Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia; The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life I: The Ancient World (as editor); Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery: Reconstructing and Testing Ancient Linen Body Armor (with S. Bartell and A. Aldrete) and The Long Shadow of Antiquity: What Have the Greeks and Romans Done for Us (with A. Aldrete).

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