Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic: the case of Pompeius Magnus

CAHA Museum (Arts 305)
Wednesday 5 October 2016 (17:00-18:00)

Henriette Van der Blom (Birmingham)

Pompey the Great conjures up images of the great general who defeated Rome’s worst enemies but lost the civil war to Caesar. But Pompey was also a clever politician who delivered public speeches in the senate, popular assembly and the law courts at Rome. In fact, this overlooked aspect of Pompey’s career gives us crucial information not just about his career when in the city of Rome but also about the ways in which Roman republican politicians used oratory to further their public careers. 

In this talk, Henriette van der Blom (Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham), tells the story of Pompey’s skilled use of public speeches to manipulate the people, please the senate and patronise the juries. She shows how in-depth studies of orators other than the dominating Cicero can help us to better understand how Roman politicians really used speeches and how oratory formed a complex relationship with other factors for political success.

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception at which the Henriette’s new book, Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press), will be launched. There will be copies on sale (at significant discount) and the chance to discuss the research findings with the author.

Henriette van der Blom is an expert in the fields of Roman republican history, politics and oratory, her research focuses on political life, the ways in which Roman politicians presented themselves to the public and the complex role of oratory in politics. She is involved in a project to collect, translate and comment on the surviving fragments of all non-Ciceronian oratory from the republican period, and she has previously published Cicero’s Role Models: The Political Strategy of a Newcomer (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome (edited with C. Steel; Oxford University Press, 2013).


Book launch!

Dr Van der Blom's Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press)