Dr Henriette van der Blom

Dr Henriette van der Blom

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Senior Lecturer in Ancient History

Contact details

Address
Dept of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am an ancient historian specialised in the history and political life of the Roman Republic. My research focuses on republican politics in the City of Rome, Roman oratory, all aspects of Cicero, and Roman approaches to the past. I have a strong interest in political oratory across historical periods – including current British political speech – and am the founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics.

Qualifications

  • BA in History and Latin, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Cand.mag. (MA) in History and Latin, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • M.St. in Greek/Roman History, University of Oxford
  • D.Phil in Ancient History, University of Oxford

Biography

I have been fortunate to experience a number of great universities and academic institutions such as the University of Copenhagen (where I was an undergraduate and graduate student in the then Department of History and Department of Latin and Greek), Brasenose College, Oxford (as a Master’s and doctoral student), Merton College and St John’s College, Oxford (as Lecturer in Ancient History), Wolfson College, Oxford (as Research Fellow), and the University of Glasgow (as Research Fellow and then Lecturer in Classics). I have been at the University of Birmingham since September 2016.

Teaching

I enjoy teaching all aspects of Roman history.

My courses include:

First year

  • A dangerous plot: the Catilinarian Conspiracy in late Roman Republican context

Second and third year

  • Roman Oratorical Culture
  • Republican Rome: From the Gracchi to Caesar
  • Understanding Ancient Societies
  • The End of the Roman Republic and the Age of Augustus
  • The Age of Cicero

Postgraduate

  • Research and Scholarship
  • The City in the Greco-Roman World
  • Ideas, Ideals and Ideologies

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome proposals for supervision in any aspect of Roman History, especially political life in the Roman republic or any aspect of Roman/Latin oratory and rhetoric.

I have supervised PhD students working on an anonymous rhetorical work from the Roman republican period, the Rhetorica ad Herennium, on ‘Roman’ speeches in the work of the Greek historian Dio Cassius, and on popular power in the late Roman Republic. I have also supervised a number of Master’s students (MA and MRes) on a range of Roman history topics.

I currently supervise the following PhD and research students:

  • Ben Salisbury, ‘Before Public Opinion: The Role of Tribunes of the Plebs in Creating, Manipulating, and Responding to Popular Sentiment in the Late Roman Republic (c. 70 – 49 BC)’ (supervising with Dr Hannah Cornwell)
  • Ashley Chhibber, ‘Heroism and the Failure to Communicate in the epics of Rome (Aeneid, Bellum Civile and Punica)’ (supervising with Professor Helen Lovatt, University of Nottingham)
  • Joshua Larosa, ‘Augustus patron of tradition: How Augustus utilised the mos maiorum in the image of the founders of Rome and the ethos they propagated’ (supervising with Dr Hannah Cornwell)
  • Tim Morrison, ‘A study of Cicero’s De senectute’ (supervising with Dr Elena Theodorakopoulos)
  • Erich Pracht, as part of the Epistolary Visions of Transformational Leadership research project (supervising with Professor Eve-Marie Becker, University of Münster, Germany)

Find out more - our PhD Classics and Ancient History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

I specialise in the political life and oratorical culture of the Roman republic and early Empire, especially the history of the late Roman republic, patterns of political careers, all aspects of Cicero, oratory and rhetoric, fragmentary evidence, exempla and cultural memory.

My first book, Cicero’s Role Models, explores Cicero’s rhetorical and political strategy as a newcomer in Roman republican politics. It argues that Cicero advertised himself as follower of chosen models of behaviour from the past – his role models or exempla – in order to promote his public persona and political influence.

My second book, Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic, investigates the relationship between oratory and political career in the Roman republic. Through close study of speech fragments and testimonies, I analyse how far the oratorical profile and performances of politicians such as Pompey, Caesar, Cato the Younger and others define and restrict their political actions and agendas, and, ultimately, their political influence and careers. In relation to this project, I co-organised an international conference on Oratory and Political Career in the Roman Republic (Oxford, 2010) from which an edited volume appeared: C. Steel & H. van der Blom (eds) (2013), Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press.

I am planning a new book on the reception of Roman republican orators and oratory in the Roman imperial period.

I am the founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics (NOP), an interdisciplinary research network on the relationship between oratory and politics. The aim of the Network for Oratory and Politics, initially funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and now funded by the AHRC, is to facilitate research into and discussion of political oratory across historical periods and regions in order to broaden up the study of political speech and reach out to non-academic communities. The network aims to connect academics with political practitioners of public speech such as politicians, speech writers and the general public in an exchange of knowledge and ideas. For more information, visit the website for Network for Oratory and Politics

Another research project, funded by the AHRC and entitled The Crisis of Rhetoric, takes the ideas of the Network for Oratory and Politics further: Over two years, I am leading a project group of political scientists, linguists, historians, classicists and rhetoricians to analyse what is going wrong in current British political communication. We involve politicians, speech writers, civil servants and political journalists in our research to remedy the faulty communication. 

I am co-investigator on an international and interdisciplinary research project into the leadership through letters by Cicero, St Paul and Seneca, funding by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, entitled Epistolary Visions of Transformational Leadership and running 2018-21.

Together with Professor Harvey Yunis, I co-edit the first volume of a new Cambridge History of Rhetoric (5 vols, edited by P. Mack and R. Copeland) which focuses on the ancient world from the third millennium BC to AD 350.

I am a member of the editorial and advisory boards of the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators project (University of Glasgow) which will provide a new edition with commentary and translation of the fragments of the non-Ciceronian Roman orators of the republican period. Alongside this edition, I co-edited with Professor Catherine Steel and Dr Christa Grey a conference volume entitled Institutions and Ideology in Republican Rome: speech, audience and decision (Cambridge University Press, 2018). For more information, visit the website for the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators.

Other activities

Major grants

  • 5,900,673 DKK ~ ca. £700,000 (Independent Research Fund Denmark): project ‘Epistolary Visions of Transformational Leadership (EVTL): Cicero - Paul – Seneca’ (Co-PI), 2018-21.
  • £34,444 (Arts and Humanities Research Council): project ‘The Crisis of Rhetoric’ (PI), 2017-19.
  • £19,929 (Royal Society of Edinburgh): Network for Oratory and Politics (PI), 2015-17.
  • £125,000 (Carlsberg Foundation, Denmark): A New Brutus. Oratory and Political Career in the Roman Republic (PI), 2008-12.
  •  £14,400 (John Fell OUP Fund, the Pelham Fund at the University of Oxford, the Strategic Research Fund at University of Glasgow and the Carlsberg Foundation, Denmark): international conference Oratory and Politics in the Roman Republic (PI), 2010.

Recorded events

Publications

Monographs

  • Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • Cicero’s Role Models, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • ‘Cato and the People’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 55.2 (2012) 39-56.
  • ‘Pompey in the Contio’, Classical Quarterly 61.2 (2011) 553-73.
  • ‘Graecophile or Graecophobe? Cicero’s choice between Roman and Greek exempla’ in: Classical Outlook 84.4 (2007) 157-62.
  • Officium and res publica. Cicero’s political role after the Ides of March’ in: Classica & Mediaevalia 54 (2003) 287-319. 

Edited volumes

  • S. Chen, J. Baines, H. van der Blom & T. Rood (eds), Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World, Equinox Publishers, 2019.
  • H. van der Blom, C. Gray & C. Steel (eds), Institutions and Ideology in Republican Rome: speech, audience and decision, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • C. Steel & H. van der Blom (eds), Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Chapters in edited volumes

  • Novitas between republic and empire’, forthcoming in C. Tiersch & M. Nebelin (eds), Semantische Kämpfe zwischen Republik und Prinzipat? Studien zu Kontinuität und Transformation der politischen und sozialen Sprache in Rom, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  • Bellum civile in Cicero: terminology and self-fashioning’, in C. H. Lange & F. J. Vervaet (eds), The Historiography of Late Republican Civil War (Leiden, 2019), 111-36.
  • ‘Roman republican history in imperial rhetorical exercises’, in J. Baines, S. Chen, H. van der Blom & T. Rood (eds), Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World, Equinox (Sheffield, 2019), 359-75.
  • ‘The reception of Cicero’s self-presentation in the early imperial period’, in E.-M. Becker & J. Mortensen (eds), Paul as homo novus: Strategies of self-fashioning – Applying or inverting a Ciceronian term, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen, 2018), 269-90.
  • ‘Cicero’s self-presentation as a homo novus’, in E.-M. Becker & J. Mortensen (eds), Paul as homo novus: Strategies of self-fashioning – Applying or inverting a Ciceronian term, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen, 2018), 39-53.
  • ‘Caesar’s Orations’, in L. Grillo & C.B. Krebs (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Caesar, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 2018), 193-205.
  • ‘Ciceronian constructions of the oratorical past’ in K. Sandberg & C. Smith (eds), Omnium Annalium Monumenta (Leiden, 2018), 234-56.
  • ‘The reception of republican political communication: Tacitus’ choice of exemplary republican orators in context’, in C. Rosillo Lopez (ed.), Political Communication in the Roman World, (Leiden, 2017), 231-52.
  • ‘Sulla in the contio: an oratorical episode in pieces’, in J. Kwapizs, T. Derda & J. Hilder (eds), Fragments, Holes, and Wholes, Journal of Juristic Papyrology Supplements 30 (Warsaw, 2017), 181-95.
  • ‘Creating a great orator: the self-portrait and reception of Cicero the orator’, in F. Marco Simón, F. Pina Polo, J. Remesal Rodríguez (eds), Autorretratos: la creación de la imagen personal en la antigüedad, Collecció INSTRUMENTA (Barcelona 2017), 87-99.
  • ‘Elite rhetoric and self-presentation: Metellus Numidicus returns’, in A. Serafim, B. da Vela & S. Papaioannou (eds), A Theatre of Justice: Aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric, Brill (Leiden, 2017), 114-29.
  • ‘How to make or break a public career in republican Rome through public speeches’, in A.-C. Harders & M. Haake (eds), Politische Kultur und soziale Struktur der Römischen Republik, Franz Steiner Verlag (Stuttgart, 2017), 325-34.
  • ‘‘dignitatis dicendi facultas’: oratorical prestige and public office’, in R. Baudry & F. Hurlet (eds), Le Prestige à Rome à la fin de la République et au début du Principat, Colloques de la MAE, René-Ginouvès 13 (Paris 2017), 207-18.
  • ‘Homo novus/New man’, in D. Clayman (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Classics, Oxford University Press (New York), 2017.
  • ‘Asconius Pedianus’, entry in the Encyclopaedia of Ancient History, ed. R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine & S. Huebner, Wiley-Blackwell (2016).
  • ‘Character attack and invective speech in the Roman Republic: Cicero as target’, in M. Icks & E. Shiraev (eds), Character Assassination throughout the Ages, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, 2014), 37-57.
  • ‘Introduction’ (with C. Steel), in C. Steel & H. van der Blom (eds), Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 2013), 1-10.
  • ‘Fragmentary Speeches: The Oratory and Political Career of Piso Caesoninus’, in C. Steel & H. van der Blom (eds), Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome, Oxford University Press (Oxford, 2013), 297-312.
  • Homo novus’, entry in the Encyclopaedia of Ancient History, ed. R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine & S. Huebner, Wiley-Blackwell (2012).
  • ‘Historical exempla as tools of praise and blame in Ciceronian oratory’, in R. Covino & C.J. Smith (eds), Praise and Blame in Roman Oratory, Classical Press of Wales, (Swansea, 2011) 49-68.

Reviews

  • Review of C. Criste: ‘Voluntas auditorium: Forensische Rollenbilder und emotionale Performanzen in den spätrepublikanischen quaestiones, in: Gnomon (forthcoming).
  • Review of C. Lundgreen (ed): ‘Staatlichkeit in Rom? Diskurse und Praxis (in) der römischen Republik’, in: Klio 66 (2017) 351-56.
  • Review of J. Zarecki: ‘Cicero’s Ideal Statesman in Theory and Practice’, in: Gnomon 89 (2017) 561-2.
  • Review of J. Hall: ‘Cicero’s Use of Judicial Theatre’, in: Phoenix 70 (2016) 207-9.
  • Review of E. Begemann: ‘Schicksal als Argument. Ciceros Rede vom fatum in der späten Republik’ in: Gnomon 87 (2015) 459-61.
  • Review of I. Hammar: ‘Making Enemies. The Logic of Immorality in Ciceronian Oratory’, in: Classical Review 64.2 (2014), 452-53.
  • Review of Y. Baraz: ‘A written republic: Cicero’s philosophical politics’, in: British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21.2 (2013), 404-6.
  • Review of I. Gildenhard: ‘Creative Eloquence. The Construction of Reality in Cicero’s Speeches’’, in: The Journal of Roman Studies 102 (2012), 375-76.
  • Review of M. Skinner: ‘Clodia Metella’, in: Classical Review 62.2 (2012) 582-83.
  • Review of A. Dyck: ‘Cicero. Pro Sexto Roscio’, in: The Ancient History Bulletin Online Reviews 1 (2011) 86–87.
  • Review of I. Samotta: ‘Das Vorbild der Vergangenheit. Geschichtsbild und Reformvorschläge bei Cicero und Sallust’, in: The Journal of Roman Studies 101 (2011) 242-43.
  • Review of P. White: ‘Cicero in Letters. Epistolary Relations of the Late Republic’, in: Classical Journal 2011.10.02.
  • ‘Law in Cicero’, Review of Harries, Cicero and the Jurists, in: Classical Review 58.2 (2008) 454-55.
  • Review of E. Fantham: The Roman World of Cicero’s De Oratore; J. G. F. Powell and J. J. Paterson (eds.): Cicero the Advocate; E. Narducci: Cicerone e i suoi interpreti. Studi sull’Opera e la Fortuna, in: Greece & Rome 52 (2005) 246-49.

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