Cicero and Political Trees

  • Henriette van der Blom University of Birmingham


Cicero used and represented trees for a variety of purposes, but this article focuses on Cicero’s attitudes to political usage of trees within a wider context of “botanising rulers”, triumphing trees, Roman euergetism and spectacle, and sacred trees. Starting with trees within a Roman political-military context (Lucullus, Pompey and Cicero), then within the political-religious context (including the ficus Ruminalis), and finally Cicero’s ideas of and engagement with Pompey’s triumph and theatre complex. I argue that Cicero’s arboreal attitude depended on his attitude to the notions and relationships the trees were made to symbolise, and how these related to his own notions of correct Roman elite behaviour.


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Author Biography

Henriette van der Blom, University of Birmingham

Henriette van der Blom is Reader in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), an expert on Cicero, political speech, rhetoric and Roman political culture. She has published Cicero’s Role Models: The Political Strategy of a Newcomer (Oxford University Press, 2010), Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and a string of edited volumes, chapters and articles. She is the founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics and currently co-editing the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators and the Cambridge History of Rhetoric I: The Ancient World.

How to Cite
van der Blom, H. (2023). Cicero and Political Trees. Ciceroniana On Line, 7(2), 377-401.
Environment, Nature, and Politics in Cicero’s public and private life