oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Crassus' plea for legal knowledge in Cicero's De oratore I 179
Cicero's De oratore is one of those works that traditionally belong to the field of classics but is today beginning to be claimed (again) as belonging to Roman law as well. In this book, Cicero gives his mature views on rhetoric, oratory, and philosophy. Casting it in the form of a dialogue, Cicero allows his two main speakers, Crassus and Antonius, to illustrate their arguments with examples from legal practice. Both were outstanding politicians and both acted as advocates in many important trials.
Works like the De oratore tend to fall between two disciplines. The examples which Crassus and Antonius employ form an obstacle to modern translators and commentators who are not well acquainted with Roman law. They often have problems in understanding them and, consequently, in translating them properly. It seems they do not realise that they require assistance from specialists in Roman law.
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