'Earthquakes, Etruscan Priests, and Roman Politics in the Age of Cicero' with Professor Anthony Corbeill (University of Virginia)

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Tuesday 10th April 2018
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Classics and Ancient History Seminar Series
  • Admission: Free.
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Location: Walbank Seminar Room, 12 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool

April of 56 BCE brought terrestrial rumblings to Rome while Cicero was enjoying his first Roman spring since returning from exile. The senate chose to investigate, enlisting Etruscan diviners (haruspices) to determine their significance. Publius Clodius, former tribune and engineer of Cicero's exile, assembles the Roman people to elucidate how this cryptic priestly response reveals the danger of Cicero's renewed presence in the city. The next day, Cicero offered the senate his reading of the same text in "On the Responses of the Haruspices." This speech is unique in providing a contemporary account of how the senate assessed a prodigy, and it offers the only complete text composed by a priestly body. I am currently writing a commentary on the speech and will highlight passages in which Cicero combines harsh personal invective with incisive argumentation about how to determine divine will through natural phenomena.