Symposium: Philosophy in Cicero's Letters

Co-sponsored by the Department of Classics and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE)—ill-fated statesman during the collapse of the Roman Republic, Latin orator extraordinaire, and the author of a wide-ranging and influential corpus of philosophical writings—is unique among premodern individuals in that we possess large parts of his correspondence and are thus unusually well informed about both the minutiae of his life and the developments of his thought.  In recent years and months, scholarly interest has increasingly turned to the philosophical aspects of this correspondence, which contains everything from passing references to philosophical jokes, serious disquisitions, and the author's attempts to apply philosophical precepts to his own and his correspondents' lives. 

The one-day symposium, "Philosophy in Cicero's Letters" aims to capture this moment in the fast-developing scholarship on Cicero, ancient philosophy, and intellectual history. 

Four scholars who are right now working on some aspects of the topic will be presenting papers: Margaret Graver (Dartmouth), Nathan Gilbert (University of Toronto), Katharina Volk (Columbia), and Raphael Woolf (King's College London.  These speakers will be paired with responses from four established specialists on Cicero, ancient philosophy, and late Republican culture: Yelena Baraz (Princeton), Brad Inwood (Yale), Wolfgang Mann (Columbia), and James Zetzel (Columbia).