This site was organized by Professor Sander M. Goldberg of the Department of Classics at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Roman oratory was a living art. Orators knew that the persuasive power of a speech did not come from the force and clarity of its argument alone. A speaker needed not simply to be heard distinctly, but to project the kind of confident, engaging personality that could win an audience’s good will and command its belief. Rhetorical training therefore included practice in those aspects of voice and gesture that made orators into effective performers.
This site records a series of experiments in the performance of a Ciceronian speech. The goal was less to recreate an ‘authentic’ performance than to identify some parameters of Roman oratory by considering the demands on voice, gesture, dress, and bearing that delivery under ancient conditions imposed.