Presenter: Dustin McKenzie (Mid-candidature review seminar)

In his Verrine Orations Cicero condemned Verres and this corrupt governor’s vilest actions: the flogging and the crucifixion of Publius Gavius, who was a Roman citizen. According to Cicero, Verres was especially cruel in his execution of Gavius, because he crucified him in Messana, overlooking the Strait and facing Italy. In doing so Verres taunted Gavius, reminding him of his freedom while he was executing him. This seminar is a case-study of how Cicero, in his Verrine Orations, depicted the Strait of Messana, demonstrating how he used and manipulated the Strait’s political and geographical landscape in ways that were designed to secure the famously potent conviction against Verres in 70 BCE. The seminar demonstrates that Cicero used the Strait as a moral and rhetorical tool in order to promote the Sicilians, secure Verres’s conviction and pre-emptively counter any potential reply from, his lawyer, Hortensius, who was one of Rome’s leading orators.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

Event details

  • The seminars take place at 4pm, in the Michie Building (09), Room 536
  • Seminars are also on Zoom. Send an email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( for the link.
  • Upcoming seminars can be found here.
  • Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events. Masks are no longer required at UQ locations - however, UQ strongly encourages mask wearing when physical distancing is not possible. UQ strongly encourages all campus attendees to be up to date with vaccinations. And finally, those who are feeling unwell, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 7 days or have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 7 days, are asked not to attend this seminar.
  • For those attending in person, if you would like to join us for drinks and/or dinner afterwards at UQ’s St. Lucy's from 5:15 pm, please RSVP by email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( by 9am on the day of the seminar.
  • Please also contact Duncan Keenan-Jones should you have questions about the event.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at