Dr Henriette van der Blom

Research Fellow, Wolfson College; Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford; Research Fellow, University of Glasgow

I am an ancient historian and I specialise in the political life and oratorical culture of the Roman republic and early Empire. I have researched the ways in which the Romans looked to the past and how historical examples were used to promote present-day agendas and political figures. I have an ongoing interest in all things related to the Roman statesman, author and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, and I am fascinated by the workings and ideology of the political system in the Roman republic.

I teach papers in all areas and period of Roman history and have supervised students on the late Roman republic, Cicero's political thought, the anonymous work Rhetorical ad Herennium, and the ways in which the historian Cassius Dio constructs speeches in his narrative of Roman history. 

My book on Cicero’s Role Models (Oxford University Press, 2010) explores Cicero’s rhetorical and political strategy as a newcomer in Roman republican politics. I am now writing a book (to be published by Cambridge University Press) on the relationship between oratory and political career in the Roman republic, which investigates how far the oratorical profile and performances of politicians such as Pompey, Caesar, Cato the Younger and others define and restrict their political actions and agendas, and, ultimately, their political influence and careers.

I have recently published a collected volume on essays on the topic of oratory and politics at Rome: Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome (co-edited with C. Steel; Oxford University Press, 2013). I am also one of the editors of the Fragments of the Roman Republican Orators project (with Prof. Catherine Steel and funded by the European Research Council) to provide a new edition with commentary and translation of the fragments of the Roman orators of Republican Rome.

Departmental Profile