Recommendations of Cicero speeches

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swtwentyman
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Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Sat May 14, 2016 6:48 pm

The last two or three sessions I've been working on Cerutti's student edition of Cicero's Pro Archia (and I should finish in one, maybe two, more sessions):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/086516805 ... chia+latin

I've found, in the main, Cicero's speeches more difficult than Livy or Vergil but with this book I find that it often takes only one note for an entire sentence to fall into place. Cerutti's edition is aimed at those fresh out of their introductory textbooks and while I don't need the greater part of the notes, it helps very much when I need it. What other good commentaries/editions of Cicero speeches are to be recommended? They don't have to be as elementary as this; I just want to get better at the difficult parts, which seem to be the kind of thing you can get the hang of.

I have the Loebs of Pro Archia and the Catilinarians, which include several other speeches; alternatively I could try working through the post-reditum ones, which seem short and interesting enough. Even without a commentary I could perhaps get some experience out of them.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by Hylander » Sat May 14, 2016 8:15 pm

There are quite a few annotated editions of pro Caelio, at varying levels:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_ ... pro+caelio

This is a speech that will thrust you into the thick of late Republican politics, and it's also witty and amusing. Cicero was defending a thug who killed another thug.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Sat May 14, 2016 8:35 pm

Thank you very much. I'll do that one next prose work I read.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by Hylander » Sat May 14, 2016 8:47 pm

No, I was wrong. I was thinking of pro Milone who killed Clodius. But pro Caelio is still a good speech for reading. I think Dyck's edition will be very dense but very informative. You might couple that with one of the editions aimed at less advanced students.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by seneca2008 » Sat May 14, 2016 10:31 pm

I have got Austin which I see Dyck complains about so I have ordered it and hope to receive some enlightenment. :D

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Sun May 15, 2016 6:07 am

I've ordered the Loeb and the Bryn Mawr commentary. I've never used this series and know nothing about it but it gets good reviews and it's cheap.

How essential/enriching is Dyck's edition? I live paycheck-to-paycheck and the two books I've ordered are already about $30 together (which admittedly is pretty cheap) and I don't know if dropping $25 on a short text I've already got is justifiable, but I might reconsider if it's really worth it.

I'm definitely open to it since the green-and-yellow Eclogues was essential to understanding the text well.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by seneca2008 » Sun May 15, 2016 6:46 am

I can always post stuff from Dyck and it will be interesting to see how helpful the Bryn Mawr commentary is. Between us we should have enough so don't worry about getting Dyck.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Mon May 16, 2016 3:28 pm

Thank you very much.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:19 am

In response to seneca2008's question about the Bryn Mawr commentary:

First: it's taken me inexcusably long to finish this speech because I had struggled to find a way to fit both Latin and Greek reading into my schedule while dealing with motivation problems and poor work ethic which could lead to frequent breaks in reading; about a month ago I realized things weren't working so I revamped my habits and got into a new regimen that's worked a lot better for me, and I've struck up an e-mail exchange with another Textkitter that's helped to motivate me in both languages and helped my diligence.

I eventually bought Dyck's commentary and have used both that and the Bryn Mawr and I'm very glad I did: they really work very well together. Dyck is a lot more informative than the Bryn Mawr and elucidates the structure of the argument as well as helps in reading comprehension, as the Bryn Mawr is much more mechanical, preferring to give direct grammatical aid and shows the structure of the language rather than of the speech and the ideas therein. In several instances Dyck was actually a greater help.

The Bryn Mawr more so than other commentaries I've used (of several works) could be maddening in that it many times explains that which doesn't need explaining and sometimes doesn't explain that which does need it. It glosses most less-common words and uses so I've rarely needed to crack the dictionary but neglects to mention that, for instance, "caput" is used in one place to mean "headwaters" (Dyck does mention it). But it, and especially in conjunction with the Dyck, makes reading the speech rapid and pleasurable while still forcing you to think. A chapter can be got through in 30min with only the rare mistake. All in all I'd recommend the Bryn Mawr and strongly suggest that one get the Dyck.

I still have a page and a half to go in the Pro Caelio. I've enjoyed it very much and I might reread it in the near future to get my head around it better; my reading a chapter every other day, especially early on when it could be less frequent, has resulted in a stop-and-start rhythm so that I'm not sure exactly when -- or why -- it turns into a character assassination of Clodia (it begins in earnest with the "crimen auri et veneni" part but I'm at a loss to explain why). After this I'll read some correspondence between Cicero and Caelius before turning to the Pro Milone (I have both an intermediate and advanced commentary for that, too) after which I'll probably be totally burnt out on Cicero and ready to move on to the Aeneid.

Thanks to Hylander for the recommendation.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by horus92 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:07 am

I would say an unfamiliar author always feels somewhat difficult. You said you thought Cicero harder than Livy; I've read a good amount of Cicero and almost no Livy so I feel the opposite.

My favorite speeches are the criminal cases. Pro Cluentio and Pro Roscio have to go at the top. The Pro Cluentio is brilliantly argued and the timeline is sort of chopped up and rearranged in a way to support his case. Not all of Cicero's speeches show this sort of neat argumentation, in fact many are disappointingly sophistic. The Pro Cluentio is pretty sophistic in its way too, especially when he talks about the bribery in a previous case, but still very neat. The Pro Roscio is a brave speech, since he's going up against Sulla, and has to walk this tight-rope of not insulting the man himself, even though his whole defense can be read as an attack on his purges. It's possible this speech was what inspired him to leave the country for a few years.

The political speeches, besides the Catilinarians and Philippics, always bothered me because they're always full of nonsense (you had to have more than a little nonsense in you to survive in the late Republic after all). In the Pro Milone Cicero defends a conservative political gangster who was accused of murdering Clodius. Milo and Clodius' men had gotten in a fight on the road, Clodius was badly wounded, Clodius was taken to an inn nearby, and Milo ordered his men to drag him out and they beat him to death in the road. Cicero tries to claim that Clodius had been lying in wait for Milo with some specious arguments and doesn't even mention the fact that Milo ordered him dragged out of the inn (in the De Oratore Antonius at one point says if your opponent has an argument you can't answer it's best to more or less ignore it). Cicero works himself up to the point of weeping as he speaks for Milo, and says: "His lacrimis non movetur Milo. Est quodam incredibili robore animi." (he makes statements like this several times iirc). I get a chuckle imagining this great orator working himself up to a such a state, and some battle-hardy thug like Milo sitting completely impassively like a murder defendant might sit today.

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by Victor » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:18 am

This book's a good starting point for getting to grips with the niceties of Cicero's rhetorical technique:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ciceros-Caesar ... 0807844071

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Re: Recommendations of Cicero speeches

Post by swtwentyman » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:43 am

Thanks, horus92. I'll keep your recommendations in mind. Right now I'm not good enough to read the Lobes on their own without commentary -- well, I've never tried, but... -- and I'm going to start the Pro Milone in a little bit, after reading some of Cicero's letters and some other stuff, and I'll probably be burnt out on Cicero anyway and ready to move on. But thanks again!

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