Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Eloquence Personified: How To Speak Like Cicero


This first-year seminar aims to introduce participants to Cicero's Rome and Roman rhetoric, and to practice his art of speaking well. After reading a short rhetorical treatise by Cicero, we will analyze a Ciceronian speech and then more recent speeches by American politicians. We will also watch a few oratorical performances to learn about the delivery. During the remainder of the term we will practice rhetoric (in part resuming ancient preliminary exercises—progymnasmata), and participants will be asked to prepare and deliver in class two speeches of seven and ten minutes in length.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Christopher Krebs

Christopher Krebs is an associate professor in the Department of Classics, and received a master's degree from Oxford and a doctorate from the University of Kiel in Germany. He has taught at University College (Oxford), École Normale Supérieure (Paris), and Harvard University and was the APA fellow at the Thesaurus Linguae Latina in Munich in 2008-2009. Professor Krebs has published a monograph on Tacitus' Germania, which has or will be translated into Dutch, Spanish, German, and Korean. He is currently writing a commentary on Caesar's Bellum Gallicum 7 and co-editing with Luca Grillo the Cambridge Companion to Caesar. His teaching interests grow out of these same subjects and also include the Latin and Greek languages as well as Roman satire.