Cicero’s use of judicial theater

Author: Hall, Jon
Title: Cicero’s use of judicial theater
Review/Collection: University of Michigan
Place edition: Ann Arbor
Year edition: 2014
Pages: 190
Keywords: Éloquence - Eloquenza - Eloquence, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre

Luis Unceta Gómez, Cuadernos de Filología Clásica. Estudios latinos . 36(1), 167-175 (Link) ;  Jill Harries, BMCR 2014.10.30 (Link) ; Henriette van der Blom, Phoenix, 70, 1-2, 2016, pp. 207-209 ; Sandrine Vallar, Latomus, 76 (3), 2017, pp. 853-855 (link) ; Manuwald, G., 2015, The Journal of Roman Studies, 105, pp. 427-428.

Description: Jon Hall examines Cicero's use of showmanship in the Roman courts, looking in particular at the nonverbal devices that he employs during his speeches as he attempts to manipulate opinion. Cicero's speeches in the law-courts often incorporate theatrical devices including the use of family relatives as props during emotional appeals, exploitation of tears and supplication, and the wearing of specially dirtied attire by defendants during a trial, all of which contrast strikingly with the practices of the modem advocate. Hall investigates how Cicero successfully deployed these techniques and why they played such a prominent part in the Roman courts. These "judicial theatrics" are rarely discussed by the ancient rhetorical handbooks, and Cicero’s Use of Judicial Theater argues that their successful use by Roman orators derives largely from the inherent theatricality of aristocratic life in ancient Rome—most of the devices deployed in the courts appear elsewhere in the social and political activities of the elite [Editor].
Author initials: 2014