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Cicero’s Epistulae ad Brutum between politics, rhetoric and philosophy

Les « Lettres Ad Brutum » entre politique, rhétorique et philosophie

Le «Lettere Ad Brutum» tra politica, retorica e filosofia

Lecturae Ciceronis 2025

*  *  *

Published on Thursday, May 23, 2024


Consacré au corpus épistolaire Ad Brutum, ce colloque s’inscrit dans la nouvelle série de conférences lancée en 2024 par la Société internationale des amis de Cicéron (SIAC) : les Lecturae Ciceronis. L’objectif de ces Lecturae est de rassembler des chercheuses et des chercheurs non sur un thème cicéronien mais sur une œuvre cicéronienne pour en proposer la lecture la plus approfondie possible, en croisant des approches et des méthodes diverses : histoire du texte, étude des sources, étude du contexte, lecture analytique au plus près du texte, analyses lexicales ou synthèses théoriques. L’enjeu premier des Lecturae est d’offrir pour l’œuvre considérée à la fois un état de l’art et des pistes permettant une approche renouvelée, dégagée des a priori et redonnant aux textes ses différents niveaux de sens.


20-21 March 2025, University of Lille


Sophie Aubert-Baillot (U. Lille), Carlos Lévy (AIBL), Ermanno Malaspina (UniTo)

Event organised with the support of UMR 8164 HALMA and the International Society of Cicero’s Friends (SIAC)


Only twenty-six letters from Cicero to M. Iunius Brutus survive from his impressive correspondence he wrote between 1 April and 27 July 43, at a time when the political and military struggle was raging between the supporters of the Caesaricides and their opponents. The history of the selection, organisation and transmission of these letters is extremely turbulent : like the letters Ad Quintum, those Ad Brutum suffered from transpositions and losses of leaves in the archetype. While the authenticity of some of the letters was questioned by Erasmus, who described them as declamatiunculae, other scholars extended their criticism to the entire collection, basing their arguments on lexical, stylistic, historical or ideological grounds. It is now accepted that such a controversy was unfounded ; however, the status of letters I, 16, from Brutus to Cicero, and I, 17, from Brutus to Atticus, which in their virulent criticism of Cicero bear similarities to the Pseudo-Sallust’s Inuectiua in Tullium, is regularly challenged. In any case, their inclusion in the corpus goes back a long way, since Plutarch mentions them in his Life of Brutus.

Although less studied than the epistolary exchange between Cicero and his brother Quintus or, a fortiori, his friend Atticus, the letters Ad Brutum nevertheless form a fascinating collection, as much for the philological complexity of its composition as for the dramatic tension of the events it recalls, from Antony’s defeat at Modena to the deaths of the consuls Hirtius and Pansa, from Lepidus’ defection to Brutus’ constantly postponed return to Rome. Determining what to do about Octavian, the central figure in these letters, gave rise to heated debates between the two correspondents. But the corpus is not just about political analysis. There are echoes not only of philosophical reflections, such as the consolation Brutus received after the death of his wife Porcia, but also of rhetorical discussions, such as the praise Brutus bestowed on Cicero’s speeches attacking Antony in the autumn of 44, the Philippics of a new Demosthenes. These are just some of the facets of this rich and dense collection, the last epistolary record left by Cicero, who died a few months later.

Dedicated to the letters Ad Brutum, this conference is part of the new series of colloquia launched in 2024 by the Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (SIAC): the Lecturae Ciceronis. The aim of these Lecturae is to bring together researchers and offer an in-depth reading of a Ciceronian work, combining a variety of approaches and methods: history of the text, study of sources, study of context, close-up analytical reading of the text, lexical analyses or theoretical syntheses. The primary aim of the Lecturae is to offer both a state-of-the-art analysis of the work in question, as well as avenues for a fresh approach, which is free from preconceptions and aims to restore the various levels of meaning of the texts. Once they have passed through the reading committee, the papers presented at these Lecturae Ciceronis may be published in issue 2025, IX, 2 of Ciceroniana on Line, entirely devoted to the letters Ad Brutum and due for publication in December 2025.

For this second Lectura Ciceronis, to be held on March 20 and 21, 2025 at the University of Lille (France), the scientific committee welcomes all proposals for papers on Cicero’s letters Ad Brutum, in the above-mentioned fields, and in particular on the history of the text, the political dimension, the rhetorical issues and the use of philosophy. Papers may consist of analytical readings of key passages from the text, or of synthetic presentations. 

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers of no more than one page should be sent, together with a brief CV, to the scientific committee via https://adbrutum.sciencesconf.org

by September 15, 2024. 

Papers (30 minutes) may be presented in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Important: if they wish to take part in the publication resulting from the symposium, selected speakers must be able to submit their article, written according to COL standards, by June 15th, 2025 at the latest.

Scientific Board - Reading committee

Sophie Aubert-Baillot (Université de Lille), Andrea Balbo (Università di Torino), Thomas Bénatouïl (Université de Lille), Julien Dubouloz (Aix-Marseille Université), Alessandro Garcea (Sorbonne Université), Charles Guérin (Sorbonne Université), Carlos Lévy (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres), Ermanno Malaspina (Università di Torino), Gernot Müller (Universität Bonn), Peter Osorio (University of Maryland).

Organising committee

Elisa Della Calce (Università di Torino), Simone Mollea (Università di Torino), Beatrice Barilotti (Université de Lille), Maryam Hasnaoui (Université de Lille).


  • Université de Lille
    Lille, France (59)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Sunday, September 15, 2024


  • Cicéron, Brutus, corpus épistolaire, rhétorique, philosophie, politique, philologie


  • Sophie Aubert-Baillot
    courriel : sophie [dot] aubert [at] univ-lille [dot] fr

Information source

  • Sophie Aubert-Baillot
    courriel : sophie [dot] aubert [at] univ-lille [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Cicero’s Epistulae ad Brutum between politics, rhetoric and philosophy », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 23, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/11phn

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