Impersonation, known by the general terms fictio personae in Latin and prosopopoeia in Greek, was a way to vary and animate a speech by summoning a figure to speak the orator’s sentiments in his (or her or its) own voice (cf. Quint. Inst. 9.2.29-35). The device brought the orator’s style of performance ever closer to the actor’s and encouraged a certain grandeur of manner and style. Among the most famous prosopopoeiae in Roman oratory is a passage from Cicero’s speech in defense of Marcus Caelius where the advocate, having already cast Caelius’ jilted lover Clodia as the evil genius behind the prosecution, summons her distinguished ancestor Appius Claudius Caecus to shame and scold her for her conduct (Cael. 33-34).

To view this speech in three different versions click HERE. On that page you will be able to learn more about each version, view all three movie versions, view the English translation, and view explanatory notes.