Dorothy Tarrant Lecture: Earthquakes, Etruscan Priests, and Roman Politics in the Age of Cicero

Dorothy Tarrant Lecture: Earthquakes, Etruscan Priests, and Roman Politics in the Age of Cicero
Date
24 January 2018, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Type
Lecture
Venue
Room 349, Third Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Description

Anthony Corbeill, University of Virginia

In 56 BCE Cicero, orator and statesman, was enjoying his first Roman spring since returning from exile. April brought terrestrial rumblings north of Rome. The senate chose to investigate, enlisting Etruscan diviners to determine their significance. The priestly response was elucidated before the assembled Roman people by Publius Clodius, former tribune and engineer of Cicero's exile. The next day, Cicero offered the senate his reading of the same text in a speech combining harsh personal invective with incisive argumentation about determining divine will through natural phenomena. Cicero’s 'De haruspicum responsis' is unique in providing a contemporary account of how the senate assessed a prodigy, and it offers the only complete text written by a priestly body (here, the Etruscan 'haruspices'). My lecture will address the criteria used by the senate in deciding how natural phenomena might affect the Roman state.

Contact

Valerie James
valerie.james@sas.ac.uk
020 7862 8716