Cicero's Orations bound by Dimitris Koutsipetsidis
Bound in Harmatan Valencia leather. Laced-in boards. Surface gilding in 22 carat gold. Gilt (22 carat) onlays. Initials tooled in gold (22 carat. Handsewn endbands in silk thread. Hand-marbled endleaves. Custom clothbound case with velvet paper interior. Interior leather joints.
Cicero and the events and identity of Rome are intertwined. The design should emit a sense of splendor, novelty, but also of distortion and transformation. The river symbolizes the gradual transformation of the Roman republic (wide beginning at the back cover) to civil strife and power accumulation by ambitious individuals which led to the decline of the Senate (narrower part of the spine), eventually leading to an empire with a single dictator (narrow part at the front cover). At the same time it represents the “flow of words”, the growth and enrichment of the Latin language which is a core aspect of Rome and Cicero’s personality, leading to a finesse peak – a pinnacle of form and meaning. Combined with this visual element Cicero’s name on the spine adopts a narrative role – it shows us that he was pivotal in all that transpired.
The cover however would feel empty with just that. There was need to fill the rest of the binding in a way that displays its content but at the same time remains discreet. The golden river in the middle zone dominates the design, I couldn’t have something as intense – rather the opposite, so in order to celebrate Cicero I decide to blind tool parts of his orations in Latin. The text is in capitals and you can also notice the absence of punctuation – that is how Latin texts were written or inscribed on surfaces. I took exerpts from his speech “Against Catilina”, one of his most famous orations. You can locate the renown phrase “O tempora, o mores” (“what times do we live in?”) in the text.