Cicero and Cataline

In 68 B.C., Cicero stood before the Roman Senate with an important message; Cataline, a leading citizen in the Roman Republic, was guilty of treasonous acts against the Republic. Cataline had run for consul, a high office, and had been defeated by Cicero, and Cataline was accused by Cicero of plotting against not just Cicero but all of Italy.

the_roman_senate_295Cicero declares that he had been spying on Cataline with a regular force of agents; had figured out that Cataline had organized a large army outside the city and was plotting to attack Rome and burn it to the ground and kill all the inhabitants. In his famous speech, he ordered Cataline to leave the city with all of his fellow conspirators, and refused to kill Cataline.

The speech is based entirely on rhetoric. Cicero doesn’t give any proof to the numerous accusations against Cataline, which included killing his wife, stirring up crime, and having bankrupted his family. In other words, Cataline was boxed in rhetorically speaking. He could not say anything to deflect the accusations because they were so much so serious that if would have taken a large amount of evidence to refute them.

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