The Rhetoric of Internal Negotiation in Civil War

Activity: Academic and Industrial eventsConference, workshop or symposium


The Roman state was structurally and functionally centred on (elite) political debate; however; the breakdown of ideal political models of consensus between the populus and senate and of concordia ordinum illustrate social disorder through the breakdown of stable political language and debates on the correct and appropriate formations of the res publica through language. During the course of the first century BC, political language increasingly introduced elements of ‘hostile politics’, making the language of external war commonplace in internal debates.

The collapse of language in Republican politics is a key aspect of the breakdown of the Republican political structures, yet it is equally relevant to consider how negotiation and internal diplomacy, as mechanisms of communication, were used to construct relationships of power between different political groups within the state. In recent years, diplomacy, as a socio-political practice in the Mediterranean world, has received increased attention. Even though diplomacy is conventionally understood as relations between two different political entities or (sovereign) states, I believe that there are pertinent questions to ask about the ways political powers attempted to frame internal negotiations and ‘diplomatic’ spaces for such interactions. As Constantinou (1996) articulates, ‘diplomacy’s raison d’être is…established only when there are boundaries for identity and those boundaries of identity are crossed’. In the turbulent, internal conflicts of the 40s and 30s, the mediation of ‘self’ and ‘other’ through both ‘hostile politics’ and rhetorics of negotiation and reconciliation provide suitable ground for the framework of ‘internal’ diplomacy as a political tool.

This paper offers an initial examination into how models of negotiation and diplomacy were deployed as political tools during the civil wars of the 40s. The case studies include Caesar’s use of negotiation within his de bello civili, alongside Cicero’s letters, and the construction and deconstruction of diplomatic relations in the aftermath of Caesar’s assassination.

Period22 Jul 2019
Event typeConference
LocationRome, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Roman History
  • Roman Civil War
  • Caesar
  • de bello civili
  • negotiation
  • diplomacy