Roman Republican Trials Workshop

19 February 2016, 2:00 pm–6:30 pm

Event Information

Open to



Skutsch Room, Gordon House

This workshop will explore different dimensions of Roman Republican trials, which are emerging from a current research project aimed at the creation (alongside a printed monograph) of a digital database of all Republican trials, both public and private.

Traditionally, Roman trials have been perceived as generated by personal motives or as part of political factionalism in the elite's struggle for power. More recently, however, trials have been read as loci where disputes about real contemporary concerns took place and new venues for future conduct were explored. As historical analysis of the Roman political system has widened, trials and forensic rhetoric have taken centre stage as moments of ideological formation. Attended not only by those involved in the trial but also their friends, supporters, and random bystanders, trials have also constituted loci for the formation of public opinion as well as the exercise of public pressure beyond formal institutions. Within this context, this digital reference work aims at providing a user-friendly research tool which will enable to provide a quick and comprehensive answer to questions, such as, for example, how often the same advocates and witnesses appeared together, or the comparative frequency over time of which crimes were prosecuted, as well as investigating issues of daily life, such as debts, property, and obligations.

Following Michael Alexander's Trials of the late Roman Republic successful model, the database will contain all essential information concerning the trial (date, charge, etc.) in a user-friendly format. There will be a commentary containing case summaries, discussion of the thorniest historical and legal issues, the explanation of how certain conclusions have been reached, and direct links to related ancient sources. The structure of the database will allow for continuing expansion and updating.


2.00 Introduction

Chair: Valentina Arena

2.15 Federico Russo (University of Vienna, Austria)

'The ambitus in Mid-Republican Rome: Legislative measures and Historiographical Reflection'

Chair: Andrea Raggi

2.55 Tracy Deline (MacEwan University, Canada)

'Vestal Virgins on Trial'

Chair: Simon Corcoran

3.35 Kirsten Jahn (University of Magdeburg, Germany)

'A difficult inheritance - one or two trials against Pompey?'

4.15 coffee break

4.30 Chiara d' Aloja (University of Bari, Italy)

'The political significance of Cornelius trial and definition of maiestas'

Chair: Gabriel Bodard

5.10 Alice Borgna (University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy)

'Let's go digital: Classics and Digital Humanities, some case-studies'

5.50 Michael Sperberg-McQueen (Black Mesa Technologies LLC, USA)

'Technical challenges of TLRR2: infrastructure on a shoe-string for a distributed project'

6.30 Drinks reception

All welcome!

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