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The Fragments of the Republican Roman Orators

Final Report Summary - FRRO (The Fragments of the Republican Roman Orators)

The Fragments of Republican Roman Orators (www.frro.gla.ac.uk) project collects, analyses and translates the ancient evidence for public speech in Rome during the Republican period (507-31 B.C.). Decision-making in the Roman Republic involved voting by the citizen body as a whole on legislative proposals, and these votes took place after the arguments had been put forward in public speeches. Effective oratory was also a factor in the public reputation and profile of individual politicians and thus could contribute to electoral success. As a result, speaking well was a key factor in political life. But previous research in this area has concentrated on orators who published texts of their speeches, and not all did; this project also includes speakers who did not leave a written memorial to their words and whose words and performance are recorded by others. The result is a transformation in our understanding of how public speech worked within the Roman Republican political system because, for the first time, we can map activity as well as texts, and understand oratory as a normal feature of political life rather than an elevated literary product. The project also reveals, as orators, major figures in the political life of Rome such as Sulla, Marius and Pompey the Great: these are men who chose not to publish their speeches, but nonetheless, as the project reveals, were effective and regular speakers. The project outcomes are an edition of this material; two volumes of research papers exploring the implications of the material the project has gathered; a number of other papers and articles; and an on-line database of speakers.