Mathilde Skoie (UiO): Catiline: the reception of a conspirator.

Salvator Rosa, The conspiracy of Catiline


The story of Catiline and his conspiracy has been a popular tale throughout history. As the primary sources to the affaire, Ciceros Catilinarian speeches and Sallusts Bellum Catilinae have been on the school curriculum from Antiquity till today, we find Catiline and his conspiracy used in everything from declamatory exercises, jesuit drama to You-tube reenactments. His name has even been used as a paradigm for nouns in the first declension. Furthermore, major figures like Ben Jonson, Voltaire, Ibsen and Salieri have found inspiration in his story.

We mostly find Catiline cast in line with the negative presentations of Cicero and Sallust. For instance, when briefly alluded to by poets Catiline is mostly used as short hand for villain. But there are also more subversive voices, and ever so often there have been attempts to rehabilitate Catiline. Though perhaps not as many as one might expect. One of these more subversive voices is the Norwegian playwrite Henrik Ibsen in his very first drama, Catilina (1850).

During my research leave in the spring I have tried to establish a context for the exploration of more particular instances of the reception of Catiline. That is, I have tried to find the pertinent questions and trends in the reception of this figure. In the seminar I will give the audience an update on my thoughts so far. Through this exploration I would also like to focus on some more general questions concerning work on the reception of historical figures.

For a sense of where this is coming from, see the short reports in the series Catilinaria on Mathildes Antikkblogg .


Mathilde Skoie is professor at the University of Oslo. Her research interests are mainly in Augustan poetry and the reception of Antiquity broadly conceived.


Publisert 24. sep. 2018 10:27 - Sist endret 3. jan. 2019 09:02