In the time of the late Republic, an ōrātor like Cicero would give all sorts of speeches. And some of his most famous are either attacking or defending someone on trial.

Was there a Classical-era word for someone who did this specifically, narrower than the general ōrātor? In other words, some equivalent to our modern "lawyer" (or even narrower "prosecutor" or "defense attorney" perhaps)?

  • 4
    Advocatus seems to cover at least a subset of this, but L&S are terse about it.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 11:51
  • 4
    Defensor and accusator also quite literally mean "defense attorney" and "prosecutor," at least in the context of legal proceedings. Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


Lewis & Short's patronus entry gives some options used by classic authors:

II. Transf., a defender before a court of justice, an advocate, pleader (syn.: advocatus, causidicus, procurator, cognitor): judicis est semper in causis verum sequi, patroni nonnumquam verisimile, etiamsi minus sit verum, defendere, Cic. Off. 2, 14, 51; id. de Or. 2, 69, 280: patronus alicui causae constitui, id. Mur. 2, 4; cf.: his de causis ego huic causae patronus exstiti, id. Rosc. Am. 2, 5; Lex. Servil. lin. 9: patronus partis adversae, Quint. 4, 1, 11; cf.: patronus adversarii, id. 4, 1, 11; Tac. Or. 1.

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