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School of Classics > Events > Conferences > 2006-2007 > Praise and Blame in Roman Oratory

Praise and Blame in Roman Oratory

School of Classics, University of St Andrews

3 - 5 November 2006

Keynote Speakers:

Professor K-J. Hölkeskamp

Professor W. Jeffrey Tatum

Professor M. Jehne

From panegyric to invective, Roman oratory covered the full range of moral judgement, not just in forensic oratory, but also in funeral laudationes, political speeches and rhetorical exercises.  Cicero is outstanding in this regard, but not unique, and there are examples of praise and blame in fragmentary and reported speeches, panegyric and throughout the handbooks.

There has been a substantial body of work on issues such as the use of humour, the presentation of exempla, the attribution of moral impropriety.  Panegyric has also received attention as a genre, and there have been discussions of the social power of praise and blame, the connections with civility and propaganda on the one hand, and with social disruption or stability and punishment on the other.    Ideas of constructions and contests of character seem particularly appropriate to the adversarial encounters in lawcases.   The consequences for the individual of the levels of praise and blame we encounter in Roman oratory, and for the culture in which this was allowed and encouraged, are the topic of this colloquium.

The papers will present examples of the mechanisms and vehicles of praise and blame, whilst contributing towards a coherent statement of the functions of praise and blame at Rome in the Republic and early empire, their philosophical context, and social impact, which will engage with and further inform discussions of panegyric and invective in later periods.

Conference organiser Professor C. J. Smith

Programme (PDF, 60 KB) 


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