The Cataline Orations

The Cataline Orations were persuasive speeches given to the Roman Senate in 63 B.C. exposing the Cataline Conspiracy. They were written and given by Roman orator Cicero. The Cataline Conspiracy was an attempt by the senator Cataline and his army to overthrow the Roman Republic and kill Cicero (see this article).

The cause of this conspiracy was that Cataline had run for consulship against Cicero. He had failed and was determined to try again when Cicero accused him of treason and treachery.

Oratio in Catilinam Prima in Senatu Habita is the first oration, in which Cicero exposes the actual conspiracy to the Senate. Cataline is present during this oration, but he leaves right afterwards in a supposed self-exile. He has actually gone to meet his illegal army on the outskirts of the city. Cataline’s army is made up of veteran soldiers from General Sulla’s army

Cicero denounces Cataline in Senate

In the second oration, Oratio in Catilinam Secunda Habita ad Populum, Cicero informs the Senate that Cataline has not gone into exile but instead has gone to meet his army. He also declares that the traitors will carry out the conspiracy unless prevented. Cicero says that he, the Senate and the gods will protect the Roman Republic from the threatening danger.

Oratio in Catilinam Tertia ad Populum is the third oration, given after the prevention of the Cataline Conspiracy. It states that the citizens of the Roman Republic should rejoice because the disaster had been prevented. Cicero also gives evidence that Cataline’s accomplices had confessed their numerous crimes.

In his last fiery oration, Oratio in Catilinam Quarta in Senatu Habita, Cicero gives arguments so that the Senate will vote for the execution of the conspirators. However, in the end the Senate votes otherwise. One reason for this is that the criminals are mostly nobility.





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