Tagged: Speeches

Cicero: In Verrem

In Verrem (“Against Verres”) is a series of speeches made by Cicero in 70 BC, during the corruption and extortion trial of Gaius Verres, the former governor of Sicily. The speeches made Cicero famous. This is the only known case where he acted as prosecutor. Verres basically plundered Sicily as governor, and he went into exile before the case came to a verdict. Thus Cicero, who opened the prosecution by simply presenting the witnesses and their damning stories, never got to make his speeches, but he published them later anyway. Here are some excerpts of the text:   In Verrem, I, 1-6 I think...

Cicero: First Speech against Catilina

The speech was given in 63 BC before the Roman Senate. The following quote from the Perseus Digital Library first summarizes the political background, then reprints the text of the speech.  THE ARGUMENT. Lucius Catiline, a man of noble extraction, and who had already been praetor, had been a competitor of Cicero’s for the consulship; the next year he again offered himself for the office, practicing such excessive and open bribery, that Cicero published a new law against it, with the additional penalty of ten years’ exile; prohibiting likewise all shows of gladiators from being exhibited by a candidate within two...

Patton’s speech to the Third Army.

General George Patton’s speech to the US Third Army was given in 1944, prior to the landing in the Normandy. Patton tried to motivate the inexperienced Third Army for its pending combat duty and terrible losses. He pushed his soldiers to do their duty regardless of personal fear, challenging them to be aggressive and engage in constant offensive action. The speech is laced with profanity, and was well-received with his men. It is another example of a classical speech when a General addresses his troops before the battles begin. Be seated. Men, all this stuff you hear about America not...

Thucydides: Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Pericles’ Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides’ book History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an famous Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the war, which lasted from 431 to 404 BC. It was a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead, and the speech defines the character of the Athenian democracy.  “Most of those who have spoken here before me have commended the lawgiver who added this oration to our other funeral customs. It seemed to them a worthy thing that such an honor should be given...