Cicero’s Oration against Catline

Lesson 1

Objectives: Students will determine the purpose of the speech by identifying the rhetorical techniques used by Cicero.

Aim: How does Cicero appeal to the Senate’s morals to fulfill the purpose of his oration?

Text:  Cicero’s Oration against Catline (

Resource: The Roman magistrate ranking

Do Now: Do a “quick and dirty “research to find out who Cicero was and why he made the speech against Catline

Mini Lesson

About Cicero’s rhetorical style-(cited from

Cicero made his reputation as an orator in politics and in the law courts, where he preferred appearing for the defense and generally spoke last because of his emotive powers. Unfortunately, not all his cases were as morally sound as the attack on thegovernor of Sicily, Gaius Verres, which was perhaps his most famous case. In his day Roman orators were divided between “Asians,” with a rich, florid, grandiose style, of which Quintus Hortensius was the chief exponent, and the direct simplicity of the“Atticists,” such as Caesar and Brutus. Cicero refused to attach himself to any school. He was trained by Molon of Rhodes, whose own tendencies were eclectic, and he believed that an orator should command and blend a variety of styles. He made a close study of the rhythms that were likely to appeal to an audience, especially in the closing cadences of a sentence or phrase. His fullness revolutionized the writing of Latin; he is the real creator of the “periodic” style, in which phrase is balanced against phrase, with subordinate clauses woven into a complex but seldom obscure whole. Cicero’s rhetoric was a complex art form, and the ears of the audience were keenly attuned to these effects. Of the speeches, 58 have survived, some in an incomplete form; it is estimated that about 48 have been lost.

How do we write an effective and appealing speech?

  1. Establish a specific purpose
  2. Use techniques such as describing a situation, laying out claims,  portraying an relevant person, narrating an event, imploring to universal moral values, analyzing specific words and thoughts.

Teacher-lead practice-

Read page 1 of Th First Oration Against Catline and identify rhetorical techniques Cicero uses and explain the purpose of the techniques.

  1. To gain the Senate to his side, how does Cicero address the senators directly and indirectly?
  2. How does Cicero both praise and blame the senate at the same time? What kind of praises and blames? What effects does he achieve by doing so?
  3. How does Cicero address Catline?
  4. How does Cicero show his attitude toward Catline? What does Cicero believe he deserves?
  5. Why does Cicero use multiple points of view, such as ” he, we, you”? What effects does the use of multiple points of view create?

Independent Practice-

Read the last paragraph from page 1 to the last paragraph of page 2, do the following-

  1. What is the main idea of this passage?
  2. In the beginning of the passage, why does he list in details the names who were executed?
  3. How does Cicero describe himself in the 2nd paragraph? Why? Show evidence.
  4. How does he accuse Catline in the passage? What’s the tone revealed?
  5. Identify two metaphors used in the passage. What do they mean? How effectively are they used?
  6. What are the crimes Cicero lays out to condemn  Catiline ?
  7. How does Cicero boast his own talents?

End of the Lesson Assessment: What is the most effective strategy  used by Cicero ? Why? What’s the purpose of his speech?

Homework: Make a statement to describe the purpose of Cicero’s speech. So fa, what are some of the rhetorical strategies he has employed to make his speech effective to his audience? Provide specific examples to support your point.

Read and annotate page 3.

Lesson 2

Objectives: Students will argue why Catiline deserves the punishment Cicero suggests by citing the crimes he has committed against the republic.

Aim: Why does Cicero suggest Catiline go into banishment? Why is it a better punishment than death sentence?

Text: Cicero’s speech page 3

Do Now: Practice using the following new vocabulary-

  1. Conflagration
  2. Nefarious
  3. Worthless dregs
  4. Exhort
  5. Profligate
  6. Infamy
  7. Licentious
  8. Atrocity
  9. Iniquity
  10. Abstained
  11. Entangle

Mini Lesson:

Guided practice-

  1. In paragraph 9 &10, how does Cicero lay out the crimes Catiline has committed? What effects will the listing of the crimes create?
  2. Analyze the complex sentence- “ I strengthened and fortified my house with a stronger guard; I refused admittance, when they came, to those whom you sent in the morning to salute me, and of whom I had foretold to many eminent men that they would come to me at that time.”
  3. Find an example of the following rhetorical devices-
    • Repetition
    • Juxtaposition of the evil and virtues
    • Alliteration
  4. How are we, the listeners, convinced that Catiline is wicked and infamous?
  5. Why does Cicero use “ Are you to go into banishment? I do not order it; but, if you consul me, I advise”

Independent Practice-

Write a paragraph in which you make a claim on how Cicero uses one of the most effective rhetorical devices to serve his purpose (specify it).

End of the Lesson Assessment: How do techniques purport purposes of a speech?

Homework: Complete the paragraph based on page 3. Read and annotate page 4.

Lesson 3

Objectives: Students will analyze how effectively Cicero personifies the State to reveal that Cataline has no allies and hated by all, therefore must depart, by identifying specific diction and complex sentences connected by conjunctions.

Aim: How does Cicero try to convince Cataline to “depart somewhere out of their sight”?

DO Now: Review activity 3 from lesson 2.

Mini Lesson:

  • Complex sentences connected by the following conjunctions-
  1. no other than
  2. not so as to ..but by…
  • extended metaphor:
    1. slip through, drop down,
    2. sacred mysteries, consecrated, devoted, plunge the body of the consul
    3. flee, gazed by,  by the hostile eyes of everyone
    4. consciousness of your wickedness


  1. hatred of all men is just and …whose minds and senses you offend
  2. …pacify them..depart out their sight


  • neither feel awe of her authority, nor deference for her judgement, nor fear of her power
  • ..plunge it in the body of the consul
  • welfare of teh republic

Independent Practice

  1. Identify an example of logo. Be sure to point out it it is inductive or deductive reasoning. If it is deductive reasoning, be sure to provide the premise.
  2. Why does Cicero use words such as : dagger, execute, devise, contrive” to describe Catline?
  3. How does Cicero use ” silence” from and ” fear” of the the fellow citizens to condemn Catiline?

Homework: In this passage ( page 4), how does Cicero continue painting a picture of Catline who is wicked and isolated? How does this depiction help the senators see the necessity of banishing Cataline?

Lesson 4

Objectives: Students will identify at least one rhetorical device they have not previously used before in their writing by referring to a rhetorical device handbook.

Aim: How does Cicero use rhetorical device to emphasize on punishing Cataline?

The Text: The First Oration Against Catiline

Do Now: Review the resource of rhetorical devices (

Mini Lesson

Identify the strategy-

  1. But as to you, Catiline, while they are quiet they approve, while they permit me to speak they vote, while they are silent they are loud and eloquent.( para.19)
  2. those most honorable and excellent men, and the other virtuous citizens who are now surrounding the senate, whose numbers you could see, whose desires you could know, and whose voices you a few minutes ago could hear, (para 19)
  3. identify the verbs in paragraph 16. How effectively re they used?

Independent Practice

Make a claim and support it with specific evidence.

Homework: On page 5, what point does Cicero attempt to make? Why and how? Identify one rhetorical device you have never written before and discuss how it is used to enhance the effect of pursuasion by Cicero.


Lesson 5

Finish reading the Cicero’s orations against Cataline and do the following-

  1. Annotate
  2. Identify rhetorical devices
  3. Summarize the main idea of each paragraph
  4. Make a claim based on each page
  5. identify three major examples of the same device to support the claim

Read and annotate ” A Thematic Analysis of Cicero’s First Catilinarian” – a real cool blog

Lesson 6

Objectives: Students will continue to analyze the diction and syntax of Cicero’s speech and see how effective the techniques are used to deliver his meesage to his enemy.

Aim: How does Cicero use repetiton and powerful verbs to emphasize his point?

Text: Cicero’s First Oration Against Catiline pages 6-8

Do Now:  Read paragraph 22 on page 6. Identify verbs that are used . What point does Cicero try to make through them?

Mini Lesson:

Why doe Cicero use a set of opposing diction such as ” enjoy, delight, exult” and ” lie , unclean desire” ” splended endurance  in paragrpah 24? To what do these binaries create?

Student Independet Practice

Read closely paragraph 28.

  • What state is Rome in?
  • How is the Roman state described?

Homework: Write an essay in which you identify one of the main purposes of Cicero’s speech,
“Cicero’s First Oration against Cataline” and discuss how the purpose is effectively revealed through the use of a specific strategy.  Due May 4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *