Cicero and the Education of the Republic's Last Generation

Posted: 13 Aug 2013

See all articles by Joseph DiLuzio

Joseph DiLuzio

Baylor University - Department of Classics

Date Written: 2013


Amid the dysfunction of the late Roman Republic, the orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero composed On the Ideal Orator (de Oratore). In this dialogue, he sets forth an educational program whose purpose is the formation of a governing class marked by technical proficiency, wisdom, and collegiality. To this end, Cicero calls for orator-statesmen to be skilled in rhetoric as well as learned in the subjects of history, philosophy, and law. His subsequent dialogues On the Republic (de Republica) and On the Laws (de Legibus) serve as means to this end. In addition, Cicero criticizes the technical emphasis of fee-paying schools and instead advocates traditional methods of elite education that involve emulation, socialization, and the fostering of relationships between aspiring senators and leading members of the governing class. This paper unfolds in three parts: after outlining the process and development of elite education in the second and first centuries B.C., it moves on to consider the political crisis that prompted Cicero to set forth his program; the final part considers the form and content of Cicero’s early dialogues as they relate to the formation of the ideal statesman.

Suggested Citation

DiLuzio, Joseph, Cicero and the Education of the Republic's Last Generation (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN:

Joseph DiLuzio (Contact Author)

Baylor University - Department of Classics ( email )

Baylor University
One Bear Place # 97352
Waco, TX 76798
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics