Cicero’s Day 2013 (ENG)

The SIAC is pleased to announce Cicero’s Day, that will take place in Milano, organised by prof.ssa Giovanna Galimberti Biffino (Università Cattolica di Milano) with the support of «Elettra Latina» Committee of the Ufficio Scolastico Territoriale of Milano. Cicero’s Day, organised by our colleague with the collaboration of proff. Mariateresa Bonizzoni and Piergiorgio Pardo, will take place in Milano on the 15th of April 2013.

cicero's_dayAlthough the logistic details are still to be finalised, the principle of the event has been approved by the school local authorities. The day will address high school students who, under their teachers’ supervision, will have worked on Cicero, according to an agreed program. The Cicero’s Day will judge the best works submitted by students with prizes awarded by a jury composed by high school as well as university teachers.

The SIAC, in the person of its President, has been invited to take part in the awarding ceremony. The vision that has inspired the name of the event shows the attention and inclination towards young generations.

The success of the initiative will depend on the response from the teachers, their creativity, and the stimuli they will be able to provide as well as on the activity of the students.

The day will be preceded by an event open to both teachers and students. The meeting, entitled “Cicero’s day: alle radici della comunicazione” will take place on the 25 of February at 3pm in the Cripta Aula Magna of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Gemelli 1. Speakers will be: L. Castagna; A. Balbo; E. Malaspina; F. Sposi (coordinator) and G. Galimberti Biffino (moderator).

The Cicero’s Day aims to provide a moment of shared reflection on our Latin heritage and its importance on the constitution of European cultures, within which Cicero occupies a very prominent role. At the same time it aims at the promotion of classical studies as a way to forge a sense of responsible and enlightened citizenship.

It is inspired by the wish to fight the prejudices of which classical studies are currently victims amongst new and old generations alike: it is necessary to show the young public how fresh and innovative classical culture is and all that its teaching can offer. Cicero is the numen tutelare of this belief, symbol of the Roman world, he personified Latin language and culture. The purpose of the day is to prompt curiositas, the drive of all forms of knowledge and exhort the students to read classical texts.

The ambition of the day is not to shy away from a form of pride that derives from the awareness of belonging to a world full of tradition: the ancient world is not a past universe but is rich of promises for the future.

It is expected that teachers will publicise and support this project amongst their students: teachers will divide the students in small working groups to whom they will propose activities matching the students’ abilities. Teachers will have absolute freedom, although the project focuses mainly on three themes:

  • Cicero as great communicator;
  • Cicero as aesthetic model of behaviour;
  • Cicero as ethic model for politician.

To this end, here within some pointers and directions that may be followed (see infra).

On Cicero’s Day (April 15th 2013) it will take place the awarding ceremony of the best works carried out during the school year. The event will be preceded by the addresses of not necessarily Latinists who will talk about the importance of classical studies, and in particular of Latin, of which Cicero is an exemplary representative.

The works allow to compete will be those by students of secondary schools (either state or private). The works can be single- or collective-authored, and can take various forms: compositions either written or on other media format (such as, for example, DVD), screenplays, comics trips, biographies (fictional or historical), Latin compositions based on Cicerorian subject-matters, as well as collections of Ciceronian maxims and so on.

The event aims first to involve, almost in a virtuous synergy, teachers and students thanks to the use of the most modern means of communication, secondly, to function as a model for future events to be dedicated to other great Latin authors, and finally to lay the foundation of an event that looks at the future.

Suggested text

  • On the superiority of men thanks to the faculty of speaking and the advantages that derive from it: de orat. I, 30-34; de inv. I, 5
  • On the risks of the words’ ambiguities: de inv. I, 1
  • On bribery: Catil. I, 1-2; Catil. II, 10-11; 18-23; Verr. I, 1-3
  • On compromise as necessary evil: fam. I, 8, 2-4
  • On the behavioural code of public figures: off. I, 41-50
  • On ethical criteria to choose friends: am., passim
  • On the spontaneity of the vis oratoria: de orat. I, 17-18
  • On the importance of eloquence in social life (with reference to the Encomium of Helen of Gorgias): de orat. I, 30-31; 47-48; 51-52;
  • On the abilities of the orators (again with reference to the Encomium of Helen of Gorgias): de orat. II, 35-36; 65-68
  • On the main ‘tools’ of eloquence: de orat. II, 114-116.

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