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III.6

This webpage reproduces a section of
Institutio Oratoria

by
Quintilian

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1920

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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IV.1

(Vol. I) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria

Book III

Chapters 7‑11

p465 7 1 I will begin with the class of causes which are concerned with praise and blame. This class appears to have been entirely divorced by Aristotle,95 and following him by Theophrastus, from the principal side of oratory (which they call πραγματική) and to have been reserved solely for the delectation of audiences, which indeed is shown to be its peculiar function by its name, which implies display.96 2 Roman usage on the other hand has given it a place in the practical tasks of life. For funeral orations are often imposed as a duty on persons holding public office, or entrusted to magistrates by decree of the senate. Again the award of praise or blame to a witness may carry weight in the courts, while it is also a recognised practice to produce persons to praise the character of the accused. Further the published speeches of Cicero directed against his rivals in the election to the consulship,97 and against Lucius Piso, Clodius and Curio,98 are full of denunciation, and were notwithstanding delivered in the senate as formal expressions of opinion in the course of debate. 3 I do not deny that some compositions of this kind are composed solely with a view to display, as, for instance, panegyrics of gods and heroes of the past, a consideration which provides the solution of a question which I discussed a little while back,99 and proves that those are wrong who hold that an orator will never speak on a subject unless it involves some problem. 4 But what problem is involved by the praise of Jupiter Capitolinus, a stock theme of the sacred Capitoline contest,100 which is undoubtedly treated in regular rhetorical form?

p467 However, just as panegyric applied to practical matters requires proof, so too a certain semblance of proof is at times required by speeches composed entirely for display. 5 For instance, a speaker who tells how Romulus was the son of Mars and reared by the she-wolf, will offer as proofs of his divine origin the facts that when thrown into a running stream he escaped drowning, that all his achievements were such as to make it credible that he was the offspring of the god of battles, and that his contemporaries unquestionably believed that he was translated to heaven. 6 Some arguments will even wear a certain semblance of defence: for example, if the orator is speaking in praise of Hercules, he will find excuses for his hero having changed raiment with the Queen of Lydia and submitted to the tasks which legend tells us she imposed upon him. The proper function however of panegyric is to amplify and embellish its themes.

This form of oratory is directed in the main to the praise of gods and men, but may occasionally be applied to the praise of animals or even of inanimate objects. 7 In praising the gods our first step will be to express our veneration of the majesty of their nature in general terms: next we shall proceed to praise the special power of the individual god and the discoveries whereby he has benefited the human race. 8 For example, in the case of Jupiter, we shall extol his power as manifested in the governance of all things, with Mars we shall praise his power in war, with Neptune his power over the sea; as regards inventions we shall celebrate Minerva's discovery of the arts, Mercury's discovery of letters, Apollo's of medicine, Ceres' of the fruits of the earth, Bacchus' p469of wine. Next we must record their exploits as handed down from antiquity. Even gods may derive honour from their descent, as for instance is the case with the sons of Jupiter, or from their antiquity, as in the case of the children of Chaos, or from their offspring, as in the case of Latona, the mother of Apollo and Diana. 9 Some again may be praised because they were born immortal, others because they won immortality by their valour, a theme which the piety of our sovereign has made the glory even of these present times.101

10 There is greater variety required in the praise of men. In the first place there is a distinction to be made as regards time between the period in which the objects of our praise lived and the time preceding their birth; and further, in the case of the dead, we must also distinguish the period following their death. With regard to things preceding a man's birth, there are his country, his parents and his ancestors, a theme which may be handled in two ways. For either it will be creditable to the objects of our praise not to have fallen short of the fair fame of their country and of their sires or to have ennobled a humble origin by the glory of their achievements. 11 Other topics to be drawn from the period preceding their birth will have reference to omens or prophecies foretelling their future greatness, such as the oracle which is said to have foretold that the son of Thetis would be greater than his father. 12 The praise of the individual himself will be based on his character, his physical endowments and external circumstances. Physical and accidental advantages provide a comparatively unimportant theme, which requires variety of treatment. At time for instance p471we extol beauty and strength in honorific terms, as Homer does in the case of Agamemnon102 and Achilles;103 at times again weakness may contribute largely to our admiration, as when Homer says104 that Tydeus was small of stature but a good fighter. 13 Fortune too may confer dignity as in the case of kings and princes (for they have a fairer field for the display of their excellences) but on the other hand the glory of good deeds may be enhanced by the smallness of their resources. Moreover the praise awarded to external and accidental advantages is given, not to their possession, but to their honourable employment. 14 For wealth and power and influence, since they are the sources of strength, are the surest test of character for good or evil; they make us better or they make us worse. 15 Praise awarded to character is always just, but may be given in various ways. It has sometimes proved the more effective course to trace a man's life and deeds in due chronological order, praising his natural gifts as a child, then his progress at school, and finally the whole course of his life, including words as well as deeds. At times on the other hand it is well to divide our praises, dealing separately with the various virtues, fortitude, justice, self-control and the rest of them and to assign to each virtue the deeds performed under its influence. 16 We shall have to decide which of these two methods will be the more serviceable, according to the nature of the subject; but we must bear in mind the fact that what most pleases an audience is the celebration of deeds which our hero was the first or only man or at any rate one of the very few to perform: and to these we must add any other achievements which surpassed hope or p473expectation, emphasising what was done for the sake of Julius rather than what he performed on his own behalf. 17 It is not always possible to deal with the time subsequent to our hero's death: this is due not merely to the fact that we sometimes praise him, while still alive, but also that there are but few occasions when we have a chance to celebrate the award of divine honours, posthumous votes of thanks, or statues erected at the public expense. 18 Among such themes of panegyric I would mention monuments of genius that have stood the test of time. For some great men like Menander have received ampler justice from the verdict of posterity than from that of their own age. Children reflect glory on their parents, cities on their founders, laws on those who made them, arts on their inventors and institutions on those that first introduced them; for instance Numa first laid down rules for the worship of the gods, and Publicola first ordered that the lictors' rods should be lowered in salutation to the people.

19 The same method will be applied to denunciations as well, but with a view to opposite effects. For humble origin has been a reproach to many, while in some cases distinction has merely served to increase the notoriety and unpopularity of vices. In regard to some persons, as in the story of Paris, it has been predicted that they would be the cause of destruction to many, some like Thersites and Irus have been despised for their poverty and mean appearance, others have been loathed because their natural advantages were nullified by their vices: the poets for instance tell us that Nireus105 was a coward and Pleisthenes106 a debauchee. 20 The mind too has as p475many vices as virtues, and vice may be denounced, as virtue may be praised, in two different ways. Some have been branded with infamy after death like Maelius, whose house was levelled with the ground, or Marcus Manlius, whose first name was banished from his family for all generations to come. 21 The vices of the children bring hatred on their parents; founders of cities are detested for concentrating a race which is a curse to others, as for example the founder of the Jewish superstition;107 the laws of Gracchus are hated, and we abhor any loathsome example of vice that has been handed down to posterity, such as the criminal form of lust which a Persian is said to have been the first to practise on a woman of Samos. 22 And even in the case of the living the judgment of mankind serves as a proof of their character, and the fairness or foulness of their fame proves the orator's praise or blame to be true.

23 Aristotle108 however thinks that the place and subject of panegyrics or denunciations make a very considerable difference. For much depends on the character of the audience and the generally received opinion, if they are to believe that the virtues of which they approve are pre-eminently characteristic of the person praised and the vices which they hate of the person denounced. For there can be little doubt as to the attitude of the audience, if that attitude is already determined prior to the delivery of the speech. 24 It will be wise too for him to insert some words of praise for his audience, since this will secure their good will, and wherever it is possible this should be done in such a manner as to advance his case. Literature p477will win less praise at Sparta than at Athens, endurance and courage more. Among some races the life of a freebooter is accounted honourable, while others regard it as a duty to respect the laws. Frugality might perhaps be unpopular with the Sybarites, whilst luxury was regarded as crime by the ancient Romans. Similar differences of opinion are found in individuals. 25 A judge is most favourable to the orator whose views he thinks identical with his own. Aristotle also urges a point, which at a later date Cornelius Celsus emphasised almost to excess, to the effect that, since the boundary between vice and virtue is often ill-defined, it is desirable to use words that swerve a little from the actual truth, calling a rash man brave, a prodigal generous, a mean man thrifty; or the process may, if necessary, be reversed. But this the ideal orator, that is to say a good man, will never do, unless perhaps he is led to do so by consideration for the public interest.

26 Cities are praised after the same fashion as men. The founder takes the place of the parent, and antiquity carries great authority, as for instance in the case of those whose inhabitants are said to be sprung from the soil. The virtues and vices revealed by their deeds are the same as in private individuals. The advantages arising from site or fortifications are however peculiar to cities. Their citizens enhance their fame just as children bring honour to their parents.

27 Praise too may be awarded to public works, in connexion with which their magnificence, utility, beauty and the architect or artist must be given due consideration. Temples for instance will be praised for their magnificence, walls for p479their utility, and both for their beauty or the skill of the architect. Places may also be praised, witness the praise of Sicily in Cicero.109 In such cases we consider their beauty and utility: beauty calls for notice in places by the sea, in open plains and pleasant situations, utility in healthy or fertile localities. Again praise in general terms may be awarded to noble sayings or deeds. Finally things of every kind may be praised. 28 Panegyrics have been composed on sleep and death, and physicians have written eulogies on certain kinds of food.

While therefore I do not agree that panegyric concerns only questions regarding what is honourable, I do think that it comes as a rule under the heading of quality, although all three bases110 may be involved in Panegyric and it was observed by Cicero111 that all were actually used by Gaius Caesar in his denunciation of Cato. But panegyric is akin to deliberative oratory inasmuch as the same things are usually praised in the former as are advised in the latter.

8 1 I am surprised that deliberative oratory also has been restricted by some authorities to questions of expediency. If it should be necessary to assign one single aim to deliberative I should prefer Cicero's112 view that this kind of oratory is primarily concerned with what is honourable. I do not doubt that those who maintain the opinion first mentioned adopt the lofty view that nothing can be expedient which is not good. 2 That opinion is perfectly sound so long as we are fortunate enough to have wise and good men for counsellors. But as we most often express our views before an ignorant audience, and more especially before popular assemblies, of which p481the majority is usually uneducated, we must distinguish between what is honourable and what is expedient and conform our utterances to suit ordinary understandings. 3 For there are many who do not admit that what they really believe to be the honourable course is sufficiently advantageous, and are misled by the prospect of advantage into approving courses of the dishonourable nature of which there can be no question: witness the Numantine treaty and the surrender of the Caudine Forks.113 4 Nor does it suffice to restrict deliberative oratory to the basis of quality which is concerned with questions of honour and expediency. For there is often room for conjecture as well. Sometimes again definition is necessary or legal problems require handling; this is especially the case when advice has to be given on private matters, where there is some doubt of the legality of the course under consideration. Of conjecture114 I shall speak more fully a little later on. 5 Returning to definition for the moment, we find it in the question raised by Demosthenes, "whether Philip should give or restore Halonnesus,"115 and to that discussed by Cicero in the Philippics116 as to the nature of a tumultus. Again does not the question raised in connection with the statue of Servius Sulpicius117 as to "whether statues should be erected only in honour of those ambassadors who perish by the sword" bear a strong resemblance to the questions that are raised in the law courts? 6 The deliberative department of oratory (also called the p483advisory department), while it deliberates about the future, also enquires about the past, while its functions are twofold and consist in advising and dissuading.

Deliberative oratory does not always require an exordium, such as is necessary in forensic speeches, since he who asks an orator for his opinion is naturally well disposed to him. But the commencement, whatever be its nature, must have some resemblance to an exordium. For we must not begin abruptly or just at the point where the fancy takes us, since in every subject there is something which naturally comes first. 7 In addressing the senate or the people the same methods apply as in the law courts, and we must aim as a rule at acquiring the goodwill of our audience. This need cause no surprise, since even in panegyric we seek to win the favour of our hearers when our aim is praise pure and simple, and not the acquisition of any advantage. 8 Aristotle,118 it is true, holds, not without reason, that in deliberative speeches we may often begin with a reference either to ourselves or to our opponent, borrowing this practice from forensic oratory, and sometimes producing the impression that the subject is of greater or less importance than it actually is. On the other hand he thinks that in demonstrative oratory the exordium may be treated with the utmost freedom, 9 since it is sometimes drawn from irrelevant material, as for example in Isocrates' Praise of Helen,119 or from something akin to the subject, as for instance in the Panegyricus of the same author, when he complains that more honour is given to physical than to moral excellence, or as Gorgias in the speech delivered at the Olympic games praises the founders of the great national games. Sallust seems p485to have imitated these authors in his Jugurthine War and in the introduction to his Catiline, which has no connection with his narrative.

10 But it is time for me to return to deliberative oratory in which, even when we introduce an exordium, we must content ourselves with a brief prelude, which may amount to no more than a mere heading. As regards the statement of facts, this is never required in speeches on private subjects, at least as regards the subject on which an opinion has to be given, because everyone is acquainted with the question at issue. 11 Statements as to external matters which are relevant to the discussion may however frequently be introduced. In addressing public assemblies it will often be necessary to set forth the order of the points which have to be treated. 12 As regards appeals to the emotions, these are especially necessary in deliberative oratory. Anger has frequently to be excited or assuaged and the minds of the audience have to be swayed to fear, ambition, hatred, reconciliation. At times again it is necessary to awaken pity, whether it is required, for instance, to urge that relief should be sent to a besieged city, or we are engaged in deploring the overthrow of an allied state. But what really carries weight in deliberative speeches is the authority of the speaker. 13 For he, who would have all men trust his judgment as to what is expedient and honourable, should both possess and be regarded as possessing genuine wisdom and excellence of character. In forensic speeches the orator may, according to the generally received opinion, indulge his passion to some extent. But all will agree that the advice given by a speaker should be in keeping with his moral character.

p487 14 The majority of Greek writers have held that this kind of oratory is entirely concerned with addressing public assemblies and have restricted it to politics. Even Cicero120 himself deals chiefly with this department. Consequently those who propose to offer advice upon peace, war, troops, public works or revenue must thoroughly acquaint themselves with two things, the resources of the state and the character of its people, so that the method employed in tendering their advice may be based at once on political realities and the nature of their hearers. 15 This type of oratory seems to me to offer a more varied field for eloquence, since both those who ask for advice and the answers given to them may easily present the greatest diversity.

Consequently there are three points which must be specially borne in mind in advice or dissuasion: first the nature of the subject under discussion, secondly the nature of those who are engaged in the discussion, and thirdly the nature of the speaker who offers them advice. 16 As to the subject under discussion its practicability is either certain or uncertain. In the latter case this will be the chief, if not the only point for consideration; for it will often happen that we shall assert first that something ought not to be done, even if it can be done, and secondly, that it cannot be done. Now when the question turns on such points as to whether the Isthmus can be cut through, the Pontine Marshes drained, or a harbour constructed at Ostia, or whether Alexander is likely to find land beyond the Ocean,121 we make use of conjecture. 17 But even in connection with things that are undoubtedly feasible, there may at times be room for conjecture, as for instance in questions seems as whether Rome is ever likely to p489conquer Carthage, whether Hannibal will return to Africa if Scipio transports his army thither, or whether the Samnites are likely to keep faith if the Romans lay down their arms.122 There are some things too which we may believe to be both feasible and likely to be carried into effect, but at another time or place or in another way.

18 When there is no scope for conjecture, our attention will be fixed on other points. In the first place advice will be asked either on account of the actual thing on which the orator is required to express his views, or on account of other causes which affect it from without. It is on the actual thing that the senate for instance debates, when it discusses such questions as whether it is to vote pay for the troops. In this case the material is simple. 19 To this however may be added reasons for taking action or the reverse, as for example if the senate should discuss whether it should deliver the Fabii to the Gauls when the latter threaten war,123 or Gaius Caesar should deliberate whether he should persist in the invasion of Germany, when his soldiers on all sides are making their wills.124 20 These deliberative themes are of a twofold nature. In the first case the reason for deliberation is the Gallic threat of war, but there may still be a further question as to whether even without such threat of war they should surrender those who, contrary to the law of nations, took part in a battle when they had been sent out as ambassadors and killed the king with whom they had received instructions to treat. 21 In the second case Caesar would doubtless never deliberate on the question at all, but for the perturbation shown by his soldiers; but there is still room for enquiry whether quite apart from this occurrence it p491would be wise to penetrate into Germany. But it must be remembered that we shall always speak first on that subject which is capable of discussion quite apart from the consequences.

22 Some have held that the three main considerations in an advisory speech are honour, expediency and necessity. I can find no place for the last. For however great the violence which may threaten us, it may be necessary for us to suffer something, but we are not compelled to do anything; whereas the subject of deliberation is primarily whether we shall do anything. 23 Or if by necessity they mean that into which we are driven by fear of worse things, the question will be one of expediency. For example, if a garrison is besieged by overwhelmingly superior forces and, owing to the failure of food and water supplies, discusses surrender to the enemy, and it is urged that it is a matter of necessity, the words "otherwise we shall perish" must needs be added: consequently there is no necessity arising out of the circumstances themselves, for death is a possible alternative. And as a matter of fact the Saguntines125 did not surrender, nor did those who were surrounded on the raft from Opitergium.126 24 It follows that in such cases also the question will be either one of expediency alone or of a choice between expediency and honour. "But," it will be urged, "if a man would beget children, he is under the necessity of taking a wife." Certainly. But he who wishes to become a father must needs be quite clear that he must take a wife. 25 It appears to me, therefore, that where necessity exists, there is no room for deliberation, any more than where it is clear that a thing is p493not feasible. For deliberation is always concerned with questions where some doubt exists. Those therefore are wiser who make the third consideration for deliberative oratory to be τὸ δυνατόν or "possibility" as we translate it; the translation may seem clumsy, but it is the only word available. 26 That all these considerations need not necessarily obtrude themselves in every case is too obvious to need explanation. Most writers, however, say that there are more than three. But the further considerations which they would add are really but species of the three general considerations just mentioned. For right, justice, piety, equity and mercy (for thus they translate τὸ ἥμερον), with any other virtues that anyone may be pleased to add, all come under the heading of that which is honourable. 27 On the other hand, if the question be whether a thing is easy, great, pleasant or free from danger, it comes under questions of expediency. Such topics arise from some contradiction; for example a thing is expedient, but difficult, or trivial, or unpleasant, or dangerous. 28 Some however hold that at times deliberation is concerned solely with the question whether a thing is pleasant, as for instance when discussion arises as to whether a theatre should be built or games instituted. But in my opinion you will never find any man such a slave to luxury as not to consider anything but pleasure when he delivers an advisory speech. 29 For there must needs be something on every occasion that takes precedence of pleasure: in proposing the erection of a theatre the orator will consider the advantages to be derived from relaxation from toil, and the unbecoming and undesirable struggle for places which will arise if p495there is no proper accommodation; religion, too, has its place in the discussion, for we shall describe the theatre as a kind of temple for the solemnization of a sacred feast. 30 Often again we shall urge that honour must come before expediency; as for instance when we advise the men of Opitergium not to surrender to the enemy, even though refusal to do so means certain death. At times on the other hand we prefer expediency to honour, as when we advise the arming of slaves in the Punic War.127 31 But even in this case we must not openly admit that such a course is dishonourable: we can point out that all men are free by nature and composed of the same elements, while the slaves in question may perhaps be sprung from some ancient and noble stock; and in the former case when the danger is so evident, we may add other arguments, such as that they would perish even more cruelly if they surrendered, should the enemy fail to keep faith, or Caesar (a more probable supposition) prove victorious. 32 But in such a conflict of principles it is usual to modify the names which we give them. For expediency is often ruled out by those who assert not merely that honour comes before expediency, but that nothing can be expedient that is not honourable, while others say that what we call honour is vanity, ambition and folly, as contemptible in substance as it is fair in sound. 33 Nor is expediency compared merely with inexpediency. At times we have to choose between two advantageous courses after comparison of their respective advantages. The problem may be still more complicated, as for instance when Pompey deliberated whether to go to Parthia, Africa or Egypt.128 In such a case the enquiry is not which of p497two courses is better or worse, but which of three or more. 34 On the other hand in deliberative oratory there will never be any doubt about circumstances wholly in our favour. For there can clearly be no doubt about points against which there is nothing to be said. Consequently as a rule all deliberative speeches are based simply on comparison, and we must consider what we shall gain and by what means, that it may be possible to form an estimate whether there is more advantage in the aims we pursue or greater discipline advantage in the means we employ to that end. 35 A question of expediency may also be concerned with time (for example, "it is expedient, but not now") or with place ("it is expedient, but not here") or with particular persons ("it is expedient, but not for us" or "not as against these") or with our method of action ("it is expedient, but not thus") or with degree ("it is expedient, but not to this extent").

But we have still more often to consider personality with reference to what is becoming, and we must consider our own as well as that of those before whom the question is laid. 36 Consequently, though examples are of the greatest value in deliberative speeches, because reference to historical parallels is the quickest method of securing assent, it matters a great deal whose authority is adduced and to whom it is commended. For the minds of those who deliberate on any subject differ from one another and our audience may be of two kinds. 37 For those who ask us for advice are either single individuals or a number, and in both cases the factors may be different. For when advice is asked by a number of persons it makes a considerable difference whether they are p499the senate or the people, the citizens of Rome or Fidenae, Greeks or barbarians, and in the case of single individuals, whether we are urging Cato or Gaius Marius to stand for office, whether it is the elder Scipio or Fabius who is deliberating on his plan of campaign. 38 Further sex, rank, and age, must be taken into account, though it is character that will make the chief difference. It is an easy task to recommend an honourable course to honourable men, but if we are attempting to keep men of bad character to the paths of virtue, we must take care not to seem to upbraid a way of life unlike our own. 39 The minds of such an audience are not to be moved by discoursing on the nature of virtue, which they ignore, but by praise, by appeals to popular opinion, and if such vanities are of no avail, by demonstration of the advantage that will accrue from such a policy, or more effectively perhaps by pointing out the appalling consequences that will follow the opposite policy. 40 For quite apart from the fact that the minds of unprincipled men are easily swayed by terror, I am not sure that most men's minds are not more easily influenced by fear of evil than by hope of good, for they find it easier to understand what is evil than what is good. 41 Sometimes we urge good men to adopt a somewhat unseemly course, while we advise men of poor character to take a course in which the object is the advantage of those who seek our advice. I realise the thought that will immediately occur to my reader: "Do you then teach that this should be done or think it right?" 42 Cicero129 might clear me from blame in the matter; for he writes to Brutus in the following terms, after setting forth a number of things that p501might honourably be urged on Caesar: "Should I be a good man to advise this? No. For the end of him who gives advice is the advantage of the man to whom he gives it. But, you say, your advice is right. Certainly, but there is not always room for what is right in giving advice." However, this is a somewhat abstruse question, and does not concern deliberative oratory alone. I shall therefore reserve it for my twelfth and concluding book.130 43 For my part I would not have anything done dishonourably. But for the meantime let us regard these questions as at least belonging to the rhetorical exercises of the schools: for knowledge of evil is necessary to enable us the better to defend what is right. 44 For the present I will only say that if anyone is going to urge a dishonourable course on an honourable man, he should remember not to urge it as being dishonourable, and should avoid the practice of certain declaimers who urge Sextus Pompeius to piracy just because it is dishonourable and cruel. Even when we address bad men, we should gloss over what is unsightly. For there is no man so evil as to wish to seem so. 45 Thus Sallust makes Catiline131 speak as one who is driven to crime not by wickedness but by indignation, and Varius makes Atreus say:

"My wrongs are past all speech,

And such shall be the deeds they force me to."

How much more has this pretence of honour to be kept up by those who have a real regard for their own good name! 46 Therefore when we advise Cicero to beg Antonius for mercy or even to burn the Philippics if Antonius promises to spare him on that condition,132 we shall not emphasise the love of life in our advice (for if that passion has any force with p503him, it will have it none the less if we are silent), but we shall exhort him to save himself in the interest of the state. 47 For he needs some such reason as that to preserve him from feeling shame at entreating such a one as Antony. Again if we urge Gaius Caesar133 to accept the crown we shall assert that the state is doomed to destruction unless controlled by a monarchy. For the sole aim of the man who is deliberating about committing a criminal act is to make his act appear as little wicked as possible.

48 It also makes a great deal of difference who it is that is offering the advice: for if his past has been illustrious, or if his distinguished birth or age or fortune excite high expectations, care must be taken that his words are not unworthy of him. If on the other hand he has none of these advantages he will have to adopt a humbler tone. For what is regarded as liberty in some is called licence in others. Some receive sufficient support from their personal authority, while others find that the force of reason itself is scarce sufficient to enable them to maintain their position.

49 Consequently, I regard impersonation as the most difficult of tasks, imposed as it is in addition to the other work involved by a deliberative theme. For the same speaker has on one occasion to impersonate Caesar, on another Cicero or Cato. But it is a most useful exercise because it demands a double effort and is also of the greatest use to future poets and historians, while for orators of course it is absolutely necessary. 50 For there are many speeches composed by Greek and Latin orators for others to deliver, the words of which had to be adapted to suit the position and character of those for whom they were p505written. Do you suppose that Cicero thought in the same way or assumed the same character when he wrote for Gnaeus Pompeius and when he wrote for Titus Ampius and the rest?134 Did he not rather bear in mind the fortune, rank and achievements of each single individual and represent the character of all to whom he gave a voice so that though they spoke better than they could by nature, they still might seem to speak in their own persons? 51 For a speech which is out of keeping with the man who delivers it is just as faulty as the speech which fails to suit the subject to which it should conform. It is for this reason that Lysias is regarded as having shown the highest art in the speeches which he wrote for uneducated persons, on account of their extraordinary realism. In the case of declaimers indeed it is of the first importance that they should consider what best suits each character: for they rarely play the rôle of advocates in their declamations. As a rule they impersonate sons, parents, rich men, old men, gentle or harsh of temper, misers, superstitious persons, cowards and mockers, so that hardly even comic actors have to assume more numerous rôles in their performances on the stage than these in their declamations. 52 All these rôles may be regarded as forming part of impersonation, which I have included under deliberative themes, from which it differs merely in that it involves the assumption of a rôle. It is sometimes introduced even with controversial themes, which are drawn from history and involve the appearance of definite historical characters as pleaders. 53 I am aware also that historical and poetical themes are often set for the sake of practice, such as Priam's speech to p507Achilles or Sulla's address to the people on his resignation of the dictatorship. But these will fall under one or other of the three classes into which I have divided causes. For entreaty, statement, and argument, with other themes already mentioned, are all of frequent occurrence in forensic, deliberative or demonstrative subjects, according as circumstances demand, 54 and we often introduce fictitious speeches of historical persons, whom we select ourselves. Cicero for instance in the pro Caelio135 makes both Appius Caecus and her brother Clodius address Clodia, the former rebuking her for her immorality, the latter exhorting her thereto.

55 In scholastic declamations the fictitious themes for deliberative speeches are often not unlike those of controversial speeches and are a compromise between the two forms, as for instance when the theme set is a discussion in the presence of Gaius Caesar of the punishment to be meted out to Theodotus; for it consists of accusation and defence, both of them peculiar to forensic oratory. 56 But the topic of expediency also enters into the case, in such questions as whether it was to Caesar's advantage that Pompeius should be slain; whether the execution of Theodotus would involve the risk of a war with the king of Egypt; whether such a war would be highly inopportune at such a critical moment, would prove dangerous and be certain to last a long time. 57 There is also a question of honour. Does it befit Caesar to avenge Pompeius' death? or is it to be feared that an admission that Pompeius did not deserve death will injure the cause of the Caesarian party? 58 It may be noted that discussions of such a kind may well occur in actual cases.

p509 Declaimers have however often been guilty of an error as regards deliberative themes which has involved a series of consequences. They have considered deliberative themes to be different and absolutely opposed to forensic themes. For they have always affected abrupt openings, an impetuous style and a generous embellishment, as they call it, in their language, and have been especially careful to make shorter notes for deliberative than for forensic themes. 59 For my part while I realise that deliberative themes do not require an exordium, for reasons which I have already stated, I do not, however, understand why they should open in such a wild and exclamatory manner. When a man is asked to express his opinion on any subject, he does not, if he is sane, begin to shriek, but endeavours as far as possible to win the assent of the man who is considering the question by a courteous and natural opening. 60 Why, I ask, in view of the fact that deliberations require moderation above all else, should the speaker on such themes indulge in a torrential style of eloquence kept at one high level of violence? I acknowledge that in controversial speeches the tone is often lowered in the exordium, the statement of facts and the argument, and that if you subtract these three portions, the remainder is more or less of the deliberative type of speech, but what remains must likewise be of a more even flow, avoiding all violence and fury. 61 With regard to magnificence of language, deliberative declaimers should avoid straining after it more than others, but it comes to them more naturally. For there is a preference among those who invent such themes for selecting great personages, such as kings, princes, senators and peoples, while the theme itself p511is generally on a grander scale. Consequently since the words are suited to the theme, they acquire additional splendour from the magnificence of the matter. 62 In actual deliberations the case is different, and consequently Theophrastus laid it down that in the deliberative class of oratory the language should as far as possible be free from all affectation: in stating this view he followed the authority of his instructor, although as a rule he is not afraid to differ from him. 63 For Aristotle136 held that the demonstrative type of oratory was the best suited for writing and that the next best was forensic oratory: his reason for this view was that the first type is entirely concerned with display, while the second requires art, which will even be employed to deceive the audience, if expedience should so demand, whereas advice requires only truth and prudence. 64 I agree with this view as regards demonstrative oratory (in fact all writers are agreed on this point), but as regards forensic and deliberative themes I think that the style must be suited to the requirements of the subject which has to be treated. 65 For I notice that the Philippics of Demosthenes are pre-eminent for the same merits as his forensic speeches, and that the opinions expressed by Cicero before the senate or the people are as remarkable for the splendour of their eloquence as the speeches which he delivered in accusing or defending persons before the courts. And yet Cicero137 says of deliberative oratory that the whole speech should be simple and dignified, and should derive its ornament rather from the sentiments expressed than the actual words. 66 As regards the use of examples practically all authorities are with good reason agreed that there is no subject to which they are better suited, since as a p513rule history seems to repeat itself and the experience of the past is a valuable support to reason. 67 Brevity and copiousness are determined not so much by the nature as by the compass of the subject. For, just as in deliberations the question is generally less complicated, so in forensic cases it is often of less importance.

Anyone who is content to read not merely speeches, but history as well, in preference to growing grey over the notebooks of the rhetoricians, will realise the truth of what I say: for in the historians the speeches delivered to the people and the opinions expressed in the senate often provide examples of advice and dissuasion. 68 He will find an avoidance of abrupt openings in deliberative speeches and will note that the forensic style is often the more impetuous of the two, while in both cases the words are suited to the matter and forensic speeches are often shorter than deliberative. 69 Nor will he find in them those faults into which some of our declaimers fall, namely a coarse abuse of those who hold opposite opinions and a general tendency to speak in such a way as to make it seem that the speaker's views are in opposition to those of the persons who ask his advice. Consequently their aim seems to be invective rather than persuasion. 70 I would have my younger readers realise that these words are penned for their special benefit that they may not desire to adopt a different style in their exercises from that in which they will be required to speak, and may not be hampered by having to unlearn what they have acquired. For the rest if they are ever summoned to take part in the counsels of their friends, or to speak their opinions in the senate, or advise the emperor on some point on which he p515may consult them, they will learn from practice what they cannot perhaps put to the credit of the schools.

9 1 I now come to the forensic kind of oratory, which presents the utmost variety, but whose duties are no more than two, the bringing and rebutting of charges. Most authorities divide the forensic speech into five parts: the exordium, the statement of facts, the proof, the refutation, and the peroration. To these some have added the partition into heads, proposition and digression, the two first of which form part of the proof. 2 For it is obviously necessary to propound what you are going to prove as well as to conclude. Why then, if proposition is a part of a speech, should not conclusion be also? Partition on the other hand is merely one aspect of arrangement, and arrangement is a part of rhetoric itself, and is equally distributed through every theme of oratory and their whole body, just as are invention and style. 3 Consequently we must regard partition not as one part of a whole speech, but as a part of each individual question that may be involved. For what question is there in which an orator cannot set forth the order in which he is going to make his points? And this of course is the function of partition. But how ridiculous it is to make each question an aspect of proof, but partition which is an aspect of a question a part of the whole speech. 4 As for digression (egressio, now more usually styled excessus), if it lie outside the case, it is merely an accessory or ornament of that portion of the case from which digression is made. For if anything that lies within the case is to be called part of it, why not p517call argument, comparison, commonplace, pathos, illustration parts of the case? 5 On the other hand I disagree with those who, like Aristotle,138 would remove refutation from the list on the ground that it forms part of the proof: for the proof is constructive, and the refutation destructive. Aristotle139 also introduces another slight novelty in making proposition, not statement of facts, follow the exordium. This however he does because he regards proposition as the genus and statement of facts as the species, with the result that he holds that, whereas the former is always and everywhere necessary, the latter may sometimes be dispensed with.

6 It is however necessary to point out as regards these five parts which I have established, that that which has to be spoken first is not necessarily that which requires our first consideration. But above all we must consider the nature of the case, the question at issue and the arguments for and against. Next we must consider what points are to be made, and what refuted, and then how the facts are to be stated. 7 For the statement of facts is designed to prepare the way for the proofs and must needs be unprofitable, unless we have first determined what proofs are to be promised in the statement. Finally we must consider how best to win the judge to take our view. For we cannot be sure until we have subjected all the parts of the case to careful scrutiny, what sort of impression we wish to make upon the judge: are we to mollify him or increase his severity, to excite or relax his interest in the case, to render him susceptible to influence or the reverse?

8 I cannot however approve the view of those who p519think that the exordium should actually be written last. For though we must collect all our material and determine the proper place for each portion of it, before we begin to speak or write, we must commence with what naturally comes first. 9 No one begins a portrait by painting or modelling the feet, and no art finds its completion at the point where it should begin. Otherwise what will happen if we have not time to write our speech? Will not the result of such a reversal of the proper order of things be that we shall be caught napping? We must therefore review the subject-matter in the order laid down, but write our speech in the order in which we shall deliver it.

10 1 Every case in which one side attacks and the other defends consists either of one or more controversial questions. In the first case it is called simple, in the second complex. An example of the first is when the subject of enquiry is a theft or an adultery taken by itself. In complex cases the several questions may all be of the same kind, as in cases of extortion, or of different kinds, as when a man is accused at one and the same time of homicide and sacrilege. Such cases no longer arise in the public courts, since the praetor allots different charges to different courts in accordance with a definite rule; but they still are of frequent occurrence in the Imperial or Senatorial courts, and were frequent in the days when they came up for trial before the people.140 Private suits again are often tried by one judge, who have to determine many different points of law. 2 There are no other species of forensic causes, not even when one person brings the same suit on the same grounds against two different p521persons, or two persons bring the same suit against one, or several against several, as occasionally occurs in lawsuits about inheritances. Because although a number of parties may be involved, there is still only one suit, unless indeed the different circumstances of the various parties alter the questions at issue.

3 There is however said to be a third and different class, the comparative. Questions of comparison frequently require to be handled in portions of a cause, as for instance in the centumviral court,141 when after other questions have been raised the question is discussed as to which of two claimants is the more deserving of an inheritance. It is rare however for a case to be brought into court on such grounds alone, as in divinations142 which take place to determine who the accuser shall be, and occasionally when two informers dispute as to which has earned the reward. 4 Some again have added a fourth class, namely mutual accusation, which they call ἀντικατηγορία. Others, however, regard it as belonging to the comparative group, to which indeed the common case of reciprocal suits on different grounds bears a strong resemblance. If this latter case should also be called ἀντικατηγορία (for it has no special name of its own), we must divide mutual accusation into two classes, in one of which the parties bring the same charge against each other, while in the other they bring different charges. The same division will also apply to claims.

5 As soon as we are clear as to the kind of cause on which we are engaged, we must then consider whether the act that forms the basis of the charge is denied or defended, or given another name or excepted from that class of action. Thus we determine the basis of each case.

p523 11 1 As soon as these points are ascertained, the next step, according to Hermagoras, should be to consider what is the question at issue, the line of defence, the point for the judge's decision and the central point, or as others call it, the foundation of the case.143 The question in its more general sense is taken to mean everything on which two or more plausible opinions may be advanced. 2 In forensic subjects however it must be taken in two senses: first in the sense in which we say that a controversial matter involves many questions, thereby including all minor questions; secondly in the sense of the main question on which the case turns. It is of this, with which the basis originates, that I am now speaking. We ask whether a thing has been done, what it is that has been done, and whether it was rightly done. 3 To these Hermagoras and Apollodorus and many other writers have given the special name of questions; Theodorus on the other hand, as I have already said, calls them general heads, while he designates minor questions or questions dependent on these general heads as special heads. For it is agreed that question may spring from question, and species be subdivided into other species. 4 This main question, then, they call the ζήτημα. The line of defence is the method by which an admitted act is defended. I see no reason why I should not use the same example to illustrate this point that has been used by practically all my predecessors. Orestes has killed his mother: the fact is admitted. He pleads that he was justified in so doing: the basis will be one of quality, the question, whether he was justified in his action, the line of defence that Clytemnestra killed her husband, Orestes' father. This is called the αἴτιον or motive. p525The point for the decision of the judge is known as the κρινόμενον, and in this case is whether it was right that even a guilty mother should be killed by her son. 5 Some have drawn a distinction between αἴτιον and αἴτία, making αἴτιον mean the cause of the trial, namely the murder of Clytemnestra, αἴτία the motive urged in defence, namely the murder of Agamemnon. But there is such lack of agreement over these two words, that some make αἴτία the cause of the trial and αἴτιον the motive of the deed, while others reverse the meanings. If we turn to Latin writers we find that some have given these causes the names of initium, the beginning, and ratio, the reason, while others give the same name to both. 6 Moreover cause seems to spring from cause, or as the Greeks say αἴτιον ἐξ αἰτίου, as will be seen from the following:— Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon, because he had sacrificed their daughter and brought home a captive woman as his paramour. The same authors think that there may be several lines of defence to one question: for instance Orestes may urge that he killed his mother because driven to do so by oracles. But the number of points for the decision of the judge will be the same as the number of alleged motives for the deed: in this case it will be whether he ought to have obeyed the oracles. 7 But one alleged motive may also in my opinion involve several questions and several points for the decision of the judge, as for instance in the case when the husband caught his wife in adultery and slew her and later slew the adulterer, who had escaped, in the market place. The motive is but one: "he was an adulterer." But there arise as questions and points for decision by the judge, whether p527it was lawful to kill him at that time and at that place. 8 But just as, although there be several questions, each with its special basis, the basis of the case is but one, namely that to which all else is referred, even so the real point for the decision of the judge is, strictly speaking, that on which judgment is given. 9 As for the σύνεχον, the central argument, as I have mentioned it is called by some, or the foundation as it is called by others, or as Cicero144 styles it the strongest argument of the defender and the most relevant to the decision of the judge, some regard it as being the point after which all enquiry ceases, others as the main point for adjudication. 10 The motive of the deed does not arise in all controversial cases. For how can there be a motive for the deed, when the deed is denied? But when the motive for the deed does come up for discussion, they deny that the point for the decision of the judge rests on the same ground as the main question at issue, and this view is maintained by Cicero145 in his Rhetorica and Partitiones. 11 For when it has been asserted and denied that a deed was done, the question whether it was done is resolved by conjecture, and the decision of the judge and the main question rest on the same ground, since the first question and the final decision are concerned with the same point. But when it is stated and denied that Orestes was justified in killing his mother, considerations of quality are introduced: the question is whether he was justified in killing her, but this is not yet the point for the decision of the judge. When, then, does it become so? "She killed my father." "Yes, but that did not make it your duty to murder your mother." The point for the decision of the judge is whether it was his duty to kill her. 12 As regards the foundation, I will put p529it in the words of Cicero146 himself:— "The foundation is the strongest argument for the defence, as for instance, if Orestes were ready to say that the disposition of his mother towards his father, himself and his sisters, the kingdom, the reputation of the race and the family were such that it was the peculiar duty of her children to punish her." 13 Others again use illustrations such as the following:— "He who has spent his patrimony, is not allowed to address the people." "But he spent it on public works." The question is whether everyone that spends his patrimony is to be prohibited, while the point for decision is whether he who spent it in such a way is to be prohibited. 14 Or again take the case of the soldier Arruntius, who killed the tribune Lusius for assaulting his honour. The question is whether he was justified in so doing, the line of defence, that the murdered man made an assault upon his honour, the point for the decision of the judge, whether it was right that a man should be killed uncondemned or a tribune by a soldier. 15 Some even regard the basis of the question as being different from the basis of the decision. The question as to whether Milo was justified in killing Clodius, is one of quality. The point for the decision of the judge, namely whether Clodius lay in wait for Milo, is a matter for conjecture. 16 They also urge that a case is often diverted to the consideration of some matter irrelevant to the question, and that it is on this matter that judgment is given. I strongly disagree. Take the question whether all who have spent their patrimony are to be prohibited from addressing the people. This question must have its point for decision, and therefore the question and the point for decision are not different, but there are more p531than one question and more than one point for decision in the case. 17 Again, in the case of Milo, is not the question of fact ultimately referred to the question of quality? For if Clodius lay in wait for Milo, it follows that he was justifiably killed. But when the case is shifted to some other point far removed from the original question, even in this case the question will be found to reside in the point for decision.

18 As regards these questions Cicero is slightly inconsistent with himself. For in the Rhetorica, as I have already mentioned, he followed Hermagoras, while in the Topica147 he holds that the κρινόμενον or disputed point is originated by the basis, and in addressing the lawyer Trebatius on this subject he calls it the point at issue, and describes the elements in which it resides as central arguments or foundations of the defence which hold it together and the removal of which cause the whole defence to fall to the ground. 19 But in the Partitiones Oratoriae148 he gives the name of foundation to that which is advanced against the defence, on the ground that the central argument, as it logically comes first, is put forward by the accused, and the point for the decision of the judge arises from the question jointly raised by the central argument and the line of defence.

The view therefore of those who make the basis, the central argument, and the point for the decision of the judge identical, is at once more concise and nearer to the truth. The central argument, they point out, is that the removal of which makes the whole case fall to the ground. 20 In this central argument they seem to me to have included both the alleged causes, that p533Orestes killed his mother and that Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon. The same authorities have likewise always held that the basis and the point for the decision of the judge are in agreement; any other opinion would have been inconsistent with their general views.

21 But this affectation of subtlety in the invention of technical terms is mere laborious ostentation: I have undertaken the task of discussing them solely that I might not be regarded as having failed to make sufficient inquiry into the subject which I have chosen as my theme. But it is quite unnecessary for an instructor proceeding on less technical lines to destroy the coherence of his teaching by attention to such minute detail. 22 Many however suffer from this drawback, more especially Hermagoras who, although he labours these points with such anxious diligence, was a man of penetrating intellect and in most respects deserves our admiration, so that even where we must needs blame him, we cannot withhold a certain meed of praise. 23 But the shorter method, which for that very reason is also by far the most lucid, will not fatigue the learner by leading him through a maze of detail, nor destroy the coherence of his eloquence by breaking it up into a number of minute departments. For he who has a clear view of the main issue of a dispute, and divines the aims which his own side and his opponents intend to follow and the means they intend to employ (and it is to the intentions of his own side that he must pay special attention), will without a doubt be in possession of a knowledge of all the points which I have discussed above. 24 And there is hardly anyone, unless he be a born fool without the least acquaintance with the practice of speaking, who does p535not know what is the main issue of a dispute (or as they call it the cause or central argument) and what is the question between the parties and the point on which the judge has to decide, these three being identical. For the question is concerned with the matter in dispute and the decision of the judge is given on the point involved in the question. 25 Still we do not keep our attention rigidly fixed on such details, but the desire to win praise by any available means and the sheer delight in speaking make us wander away from the subject, since there is always richer material for eloquence outside the strict theme of the case, inasmuch as the points of any given dispute are always few, and there is all the world outside, and in the one case we speak according to our instructions, in the other on the subjects of our own choice. 26 We should teach not so much that it is our duty to discover the question, the central argument, and the point for the decision of the judge (an easy task), as that we should continually keep our attention on our subject, or if we digress, at least keep looking back to it, lest in our desire to win applause we should let our weapons drop from our grasp. 27 The school of Theodorus, as I have said, groups everything together under heads, by which they mean several things. First they mean the main question, which is to be identified with the basis; secondly they mean the other questions dependent on the main question, thirdly the proposition and the statement of the proofs. The word is used as we use it when we say "It is the head of the whole business," or, as Menander says, κεφάλαιον ἐστιν.149 But generally speaking, anything which has to be proved will be a head of varying degrees of importance.

p537 28 I have now set forth the principles laid down by the writers of text-books, though I have done so at a greater length than was necessary. I have also explained what are the various parts of forensic causes. My next book therefore shall deal with the exordium.


The Translator's Notes:

95 Rhet. 1358b.2.

96 sc. ἐπιδεικτική.

97 The speech was known as in Toga Candida. Only fragments survive.

98 The in Pisonem survives, the in Clodium et Curionem, to which he refers again (V.X.92), is lost.

99 III.V.3.

100 The quinquennial contest in honour of Jupiter Capitolinus, founded by Domitian in 86.

101 sc. by Domitian's deification of his father Vespasian and his brother Titus.

102 IliadII.477.

103 IliadII.180.

104 IliadV.801.

105 The handsomest warrior among the Greeks of Troy.

106 Son of Atreus: the allusion is not known.

107 Moses.

108 Rhet. I.9.

109 in Verr. II.1 sqq., IV.48.

110 Quality, conjecture, definition. See chap. vi for explanation of this term.

111 Top. XXV.94.

112 de Or. II.LXXXII.334.

113 Mancinus was surrounded on retreat from Numantia in 137 B.C., while the surrender at the Caudine Forks took place in 321 B.C. In both cases the Senate refused to ratify the humiliating treaties which had been made the price of the release of the Roman armies.

114 For conjecture see III.VI.30 sqq.

115 Halonnesus had belonged to Athens, but had been seized by pirates. Philip ejected the pirates. The Athenians asked him to restore it; he replied that it belonged to him and that there could be no question of restoration, but if they asked for it as a gift he promised to give it them.

116 VIII.I.2, where the question is discussed as to whether the war with Antony is bellum or tumultus, the latter being the technical name for any grave national emergency such as civil war or a Gallic invasion within the bounds of Italy.

117 Phil. IX.1.

118 Rhet. III.14.

119 The speech opends with a disquisition on the absurd and trivial nature of much that is contained in the speeches of sophists and rhetoricians.

120 de Orat. II.82.

121 The theme of a suasoria of the elder Seneca (Suas. I). "Alexander deliberates whether to sail forth into the ocean."

122 sc. at the Caudine Forks: see above, § 3.

123 See Livy, V.36.

124 See Caesar, Gallic WarI.39, where this detail is recorded, also 40 where the speech made to his troops is given.

125 In 218 B.C., when besieged by Hannibal. See Livy, XXI.14.

126 C. Antonius was blockaded in an island off the Dalmatian coast which he held for Caesar 49 B.C. Reinforcements on rafts were sent to his rescue. Most were captured; but in one case, of a raft carrying 1,000 men from Opitergium in (p491)Venetia, surrender was scorned and the men slew each other rather than yield. See Lucan, IV.462; Florus, II.33.

127 After the battle of Cannae: Livy, XXII.57.

128 After his defeat at Pharsalus.

129 The letter is lost. The argument of the quotation is as follows. The policy which I advise is honourable, but it would be wrong for me to urge Caesar to follow it, since it is contrary to his interests.

130 Chap. xii.

131 Cat. xx.

132 For examples of this theme see the elder Seneca (Suas. VI and VII).

133 Julius Caesar.

134 Nothing is known of these speeches.

135 xiv. sqq.

136 Rhet. III.12.

137 Part. or. XXVII.97.

138 Rhet. II.26.

139 Rhet. III.13.

140 In the permanent courts (quaestiones perpetuae). There were separate courts for different offences. In cases brought before the Senate or the Emperor a number of different charges might be dealt with at once.

141 A civil court specially concerned with questions of inheritance.

142 Divinatio is a trial to decide between the claims of two persons to appear as accuser, there being no public prosecutor at Rome. cp. Cicero's Divinatio in Caecilium.

143 This highly technical chapter will be largely unintelligible to those who have not read chapter vi. Those who have no stomach for such points would do well to skip §§ 1‑20; they will however find consolation in § 21 sqq., where Quintilian says what he really thinks of such technicalities.

144 De Inv. I.XIV.19.

145 De Inv. l.c.: Part. Or. XXX.104.

146 de Inv. l.c.

147 Top. XXV.95.

148 XXIX.103.

149 Perhaps a gloss referring to the late rhetorician Menander. If genuine, the words must refer to the comic poet.

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