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This webpage reproduces a section of
Institutio Oratoria


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

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. II) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria

 p155  Book V

Chapter 10

10 1 I now turn to arguments, the name under which we comprise the ἐνθυμήματα, ἐπιχειρήματα, and ἀποδείξεις of the Greeks, terms which, in spite of their difference, have much the same meaning. For the enthymeme (which we translate by commentum or commentatio, there being no alternative, though we should be wiser to use the Greek name) has three meanings: firstly it means anything conceived in the mind (this is not however the sense of which I am now speaking); 2 secondly it signifies a proposition with a reason, and thirdly a conclusion of an argument drawn either from denial of consequents or from incompatibles;27 although there is some controversy on this point. For there are some who style a conclusion from consequents an epicheireme, while it will be found that the majority hold the view that an enthymeme is a conclusion from incompatibles:28 wherefore Cornificius styles it a contrarium or argument from contraries. 3 Some again call it a rhetorical syllogism, others an incomplete syllogism, because its parts are not so clearly defined or of the same number as those of the regular syllogism, since such  p205 precision is not specially required by the orator. 4 Valgius29 translates ἐπιχείρημα by aggressio, that is an attempt. It would however, in my opinion, be truer to say that it is not our handling of the subject, but the thing itself which we attempt which should be called an ἐπιχείρημα, that is to say the argument by which we try to prove something and which, even if it has not yet been stated in so many words, has been clearly conceived by the mind. 5 Others regard it not as an attempted or imperfect proof, but a complete proof, falling under the most special30 species of proof; consequently, according to its proper and most generally received appellation it must be understood in the sense of a definite conception of some thought consisting of at least three parts.31 6 Some call an ἐπιχείρημα a reason, but Cicero32 is more correct in calling it a reasoning, although he too seems to derive this name from the syllogism rather than anything else; for he calls the syllogistic basis33 a ratiocinative basis and quotes philosophers to support him. And since there is a certain kinship between a syllogism and an epicheireme, it may be thought that he was justified in his use of the latter term. 7 An ἀπόδειξις is a clear proof; hence the use of the term γραμμικαὶ ἀποξείξεις, "linear demonstrations"34 by the geometricians. Caecilius holds that it differs from the epicheireme solely in the kind of conclusion arrived at and that an apodeixis is simply an incomplete epicheireme for the same reason that we said an enthymeme differed from a syllogism. For an epicheireme is also part of a syllogism. Some think that an apodeixis is portion of an epicheireme,  p207 namely the part containing the proof. 8 But all authorities, however much they may differ on other points, define both in the same way, in so far as they call both a method of proving what is not certain by means of what is certain. Indeed this is the nature of all arguments, for what is certain cannot be proved by what is uncertain. To all this forms of argument the Greeks give the name of πίστεις, a term which, though the literal translation is fides "a warrant of credibility," is best translated by probatio "proof." 9 But argument has several other meanings. For the plots of plays composed for acting in the theatre are called arguments, while Pedianus, when explaining the themes of the speeches of Cicero, says The argument is as follows. Cicero35 himself in writing to Brutus says, Fearing that I might transfer something from that source to my Cato, although the argument is quite different. It is thus clear that all subjects for writing are so called. 10 Nor is this to be wondered at, since the term is also in common use among artists; hence the Vergilian phrase A mighty argument.36 Again a work which deals with a number of different themes is called "rich in argument." But the sense with which we are now concerned is that which provides proof. Celsus indeed treats the terms, proof, indication, credibility, attempt, simply as different names for the same things, in which, to my thinking, he betrays a certain confusion of thought. 11 For proof and credibility are not merely the result of logical processes, but may equally be secured by inartificial arguments. Now I have already37 distinguished signs or, as he prefers to call them, indications from arguments. Consequently, since an argument is a process of reasoning  p209 which provides proof and enables one thing to be inferred from another and confirms facts which are uncertain by reference to facts which are certain, there must needs be something in every case which requires no proof. 12 Otherwise there will be nothing by which we can prove anything; there must be something which either is or is believed to be true, by means of which doubtful things may be rendered credible. We may regard as certainties, first, those things which we perceive by the senses, things for instance that we hear or see, such as signs or indications; secondly, those things about which there is general agreement, such as the existence of the gods or the duty of loving one's parents; 13 thirdly, those things which are established by law or have passed into current usage, if not throughout the whole world, at any rate in the nation or state where the case is being pleaded — there are for instance many rights which rest not on law, but on custom; finally, there are the things which are admitted by either party, and whatever has already been proved or is not disputed by our adversary. 14 Thus for instance it may be argued that since the world is governed by providence, the state should similarly be governed by some controlling power: it follows that the state must be so governed, once it is clear that the world is governed by providence. 15 Further, the man who is to handle arguments correctly must know the nature and meaning of everything and their usual effects. For it is thus that we arrive at probable arguments or εἰκότα as the Greeks call them. 16 With regard to credibility there are three degrees. First, the highest, based on what usually happens, as for instance the assumption that children are loved by  p211 their parents. Secondly, there is the highly probable, as for instance the assumption that a man in the enjoyment of good health will probably live till to‑morrow. The third degree is found where there is nothing absolutely against an assumption, such as that a theft committed in a house was the work of one of the household. 17 Consequently Aristotle in the second book of his Rhetoric38 has made a careful examination of all that commonly happens to things or persons, as for instance, what is the natural result of wealth or ambition or superstition, what meets with the approval of good men, what is the object of a soldier's or a farmer's desires, and by what means everything is sought or shunned. 18 For my part I do not propose to pursue this subject. It is not merely a long, but an impossible or rather an infinite task; moreover it is within the compass of the common understanding of mankind. If, however, anyone wishes to pursue the subject, I have indicated where he may apply. 19 But all credibility, and it is with credibility that the great majority of arguments are concerned, turns on questions such as the following: whether it is credible that father has been killed by his son, or that a father has committed incest with his daughter, or to take questions of an opposite character, whether it is credible that a stepmother has poisoned her stepchild, or that a man of luxurious life has committed adultery; or again whether a crime has been openly committed, or false evidence given for a small bribe, since each of these crimes is the result of a special cast of character as a rule, though not always; if it were  p213 always so, there would be no room for doubt, and no argument.

20 Let us now turn to consider the "places" of arguments, although some hold that they are identical with the topics which I have already discussed above.39 But I do not use this term in its usual acceptance, namely, commonplaces40 directed against luxury, adultery, and the like, but in the sense of the secret places where arguments reside, and from which they must be drawn forth. 21 For just as all kinds of produce are not provided by every country, and as you will not succeed in finding a particular bird or beast, if you are ignorant of the localities where it has its usual haunts or birthplace, as even the various kinds of fish flourish in different surroundings, some preferring a smooth and others a rocky bottom, and are found on different shores and in divers regions (you will for instance never catch a sturgeon or wrasse in Italian waters), so not every kind of argument can be derived from every circumstance, and consequently our speech requires discrimination. 22 Otherwise we shall fall into serious error, and after wasting our labour through lack of method we shall fail to discover the argument which we desire, unless assisted by some happy chance. But if we know the circumstances which give rise to each kind of argument, we shall easily see, when we come to a particular "place," what arguments it contains.

23 Firstly, then, arguments may be drawn from persons; for, as I have already said,41 all arguments fall into two classes, those concerned with things and those concerned with persons, since causes, time, place, occasion, instruments, means and the like are  p215 all accidents of things. I have no intention of tracing all the accidents of persons, as many have done, but shall confine myself to those from which arguments may be drawn. 24 Such are birth, for persons are generally regarded as having some resemblance to their parents and ancestors, a resemblance which sometimes leads to their living disgracefully or honourably, as the case may be; then there is nationality, for races have their own character, and the same action is not probable in the case of a barbarian, a Roman and a Greek; 25 country is another, for there is a like diversity in the laws, institutions and opinions of different states; sex, since for example a man is more likely to commit a robbery, a woman to poison; age, since different actions suit different ages; education and training, since it makes a great difference who were the instructors and what the method of instruction in each individual case; 26 bodily constitution, for beauty is often introduced as an argument for lust, strength as an argument for insolence, and their opposites for opposite conduct; fortune, since the same acts are not to be expected from rich and poor, or from one who is surrounded by troops of relations, friends or clients and one who lacks all these advantages; condition, too, is important, for it makes a great difference whether a man be famous or obscure, a magistrate or a private individual, a father or a son, a citizen or a foreigner, a free man or a slave, married or unmarried, a father or childless. 27 Nor must we pass by natural disposition, for avarice, anger, pity, cruelty, severity and the like may often be adduced to prove the credibility or the reverse of a given act; it is for instance often asked whether a  p217 man's way of living be luxurious, frugal or parsimonious. Then there is occupation, since a rustic, a lawyer, a man of business, a soldier, a sailor, a doctor all perform very different actions. 28 We must also consider the personal ambitions of individuals, for instance whether they wish to be thought rich or eloquent, just or powerful. Past life and previous utterances are also a subject for investigation, since we are in the habit of inferring the present from the past. To these some add passion, by which they mean some temporary emotion such as anger or fear; 29 they also add design, which may refer to the past, present or future. These latter, however, although accidents of persons, should be referred to that class of arguments which we draw from causes, as also should certain dispositions of mind, for example when we inquire whether one man is the friend or enemy of another. 30 Names also are treated as accidents of persons; this is perfectly true, but names are rarely food for argument, unless they have been given for some special reasons, such as the titles of Wise, Great, Pious, or unless the name has suggested some special thought to the bearer. Lentulus42 for instance had the idea suggested to him by the fact that according to the Sibylline books and the responses of the soothsayers the tyranny was promised to three members of the Cornelian family, and he consider himself to be the third in succession to Sulla and Cinna, since he too bore the name Cornelius. 31 On the other hand the conceit employed by Euripides43 where he makes Eteocles taunt his brother Polynices on the ground that his name is evidence of character, is feeble in the extreme. Still a name will often provide the subject for a jest,44 witness the frequent jests of  p219 Cicero on the name of Verres. Such, then, and the like are the accidents of persons. It is impossible to deal with them all either here or in other portions of this work, and I must content myself with pointing out the lines on which further enquiry should proceed.

32 I now pass to things: of these actions are the most nearly connected with persons and must therefore be treated first. In regard to every action the question arises either Why or Where or When or How or By what means the action is performed. 33 Consequently arguments are drawn from the causes of past or future actions. The matter of these causes, by some called ὑλη, by others δύναμις, falls into two genera, which are each divided into four species. For the motive for any action is as a rule concerned with the acquisition, increase, preservation and use of things that are good or with the avoidance, diminution, endurance of things that are evil or with escape therefrom. All these considerations carry great weight in deliberative oratory as well. 34 But right actions have right motives, while evil actions are the result of false opinions, which originate in the things which men believe to be good or evil. Hence spring errors and evil passions such as anger, hatred, envy, desire, hope, ambition, audacity, fear and others of a similar kind. To these accidental circumstances may often be added, such as drunkenness or ignorance, which serve sometimes to excuse and sometimes to prove a charge, as for instance when a man is said to have killed one person while lying in wait for another. 35 Further, motives are often discussed not merely to convict the accused of the offence with which he is charged, but also to defend him when he contends  p221 that his action was right, that is to say proceeded from an honourable motive, a theme of which I have spoken more fully in the third book.45 36 Questions of definition are also at times intimately connected with motives. Is a man a tyrannicide if he kills a tyrant by whom he has been detected in the act of adultery? Or is he guilty of sacrilege who tore down arms dedicated in a temple to enable him to drive the enemy from the city? 37 Arguments are also drawn from place. With a view to proving our facts we consider such questions as whether a place is hilly or level, near the coast or inland, planted or uncultivated, crowded or deserted, near or far, suitable for carrying out a given design or the reverse. This is a topic which is treated most carefully by Cicero in his pro Milone.46 38 These points and the like generally refer to questions of fact, but occasionally to questions of law as well. For we may ask whether a place is public or private, sacred or profane, our own or another's, just as where persons are concerned we ask whether a man is a magistrate, a father, a foreigner. 39 Hence arise such questions as the following. "You have stolen private money, but since you stole it from a temple, it is not theft but sacrilege." "You have killed adulterers, an act permitted by law, but since the act was done in a brothel, it is murder." "You have committed an assault, but since the object of your assault was a magistrate, the crime is lèse-majesté. 40 Similarly it may be urged in defence, "The act was lawful, because I was a father, a magistrate." But such points afford matter for argument when there is a controversy as to the facts, and matter for enquiry when the dispute turns on a point of law. Place also frequently  p223 affects the quality of an action, for the same action is not always lawful or seemly under all circumstances, while it makes considerable difference in what state the enquiry is taking place, for they differ both in custom and law. 41 Further arguments drawn from place may serve to secure approval or the reverse. Ajax for example in Ovid47 says:—

"What! do we plead our cause before the ships?

And is Ulysses there preferred to me?"

Again one of the many charges brought against Milo was that he killed Clodius on the monument of his ancestors.48 42 Such arguments may also carry weight in deliberative oratory, as may those drawn from time, which I shall now proceed to discuss. Time may, as I have said elsewhere,49 be understood in two different senses, general and special. The first sense is seen in words and phrases such as "now," "formerly," "in the reign of Alexander," "in the days of the siege of Troy," and whenever we speak of past, present or future. The second sense occurs when we speak either of definite periods of time such as "in summer," "in winter," "by night," "by day," or of fortuitous periods such as "in time of pestilence," "in time of war," "during a banquet." 43 Certain Latin writers have thought it a sufficient distinction to call the general sense "time," and the special "times." In both sense time is of importance in advisory speeches and demonstrative oratory, but not so frequently as in forensic. 44 For questions of law turn on time, while it also determines the quality of actions and is of great importance in questions of fact; for instance, occasionally it provides irrefragable  p225 proofs, which may be illustrated by a case which I have already cited,50 when one of the signatories to a document has died before the day on which it was signed, or when a person is accused of the commission of some crime, although he was only an infant at the time or not yet born. 45 Further, all kinds of arguments may easily be drawn either from facts previous to a certain act, or contemporary or subsequent. As regards antecedent facts the following example will illustrate my meaning; "You threatened to kill him, you went out by night, you started before him." Motives of actions may also belong to past time. 46 Some writers have shown themselves over-subtle in their classification of the second class of circumstances, making "a sound was heard" an example of circumstances combined with an act and "a shout was raised" an instance of circumstances attached to an act. As regards subsequent circumstances I may cite accusations such as "You hid yourself, you fled, livid spots and swellings appeared on the corpse." The counsel for the defence will employ the same divisions of time to discredit the charge which is brought against him. 47 In these considerations are included everything in connexion with words and deeds, but in two distinct ways. For some things are done because something else is like to follow, and others because something else has previously been done, as for instance, when the husband of a beautiful woman is accused of having acted as a procurer on the ground that he bought her after she was found guilty of adultery, or when a debauched character is accused of parricide on the ground that he said to his father "You have rebuked me for the last time."51 For  p227 in the former case the accused is not a procurer because he bought the woman, but bought her because he was a procurer, while in the latter the accused is not a parricide because he used these words, but used them because he intended to kill his father. 48 With regard to accidental circumstances, which also provide matter for arguments, these clearly belong to subsequent time, but are distinguished by a certain special quality, as for instance if I should say, "Scipio was a better general than Hannibal, for he conquered Hannibal"; "He was a good pilot, for he was never shipwrecked"; "He was a good farmer, for he gathered in huge harvests"; or referring to bad qualities, "He was a prodigal, for he squandered his patrimony"; "His life was disgraceful, for he was hated by all." 49 We must also consider the resources possessed by the parties concerned, more especially when dealing with questions of fact; for it is more credible that a smaller number of persons were killed by a larger, a weaker party by a stronger, sleepers by men that were wide awake, the unsuspecting by the well-prepared, while the converse arguments may be used to prove the opposite. 50 Such considerations arise both in deliberative and forensic oratory: in the latter they occur in relation to two questions, namely, whether some given person had the will, and whether he had the power to do the deed; for hope will often create the will to act. Hence the well-known inference in Cicero:52 "Clodius lay in wait for Milo, not Milo for Clodius, for Clodius had a retinue of sturdy slaves, while Milo was with a party of women; Clodius was mounted, Milo in a carriage, Clodius lightly clad, Milo hampered by a cloak." 51 With resources we may  p229 couple instruments, which form part of resources and means. But sometimes instruments will provide us with indications as well, as for instance if we find a javelin sticking in a dead body. 52 To these we may add manner, the Greek τρόπος, in regard to which we ask how a thing was done. Manner is concerned sometimes with quality and the letter of the law53 (we may for instance argue that it was unlawful to kill an adulterer by poison), sometimes with questions of fact, as for example if I argue that an act was committed with a good intent and therefore openly, or with a bad intent and therefore treacherously, by night, in a lonely place.

53 In all cases, however, in which we enquire into the nature and meaning of an act, and which can be considered by themselves apart from all considerations of persons and all else that gives rise to the actual cause, there are clearly three points to which we must give attention, namely Whether it is, What it is and Of what kind it is. But as there are certain "places"54 of argument which are common to all three questions, this triple division is impracticable and we must therefore consider these questions rather in connexion with those "places" in which they most naturally arise. 54 Arguments, then, may be drawn from definition, sometimes called finitio and sometimes finis. Definition is of two kinds. We may ask whether a particular quality is a virtue or make a definition precede and ask what is the nature of a virtue. Such a definition is either stated in general terms, such as Rhetoric is the science of speaking well, or in detail, such as Rhetoric is the science of correct conception, arrangement and utterance, coupled with a retentive memory and a dignified delivery.  p231 55 Further, we may define a word by giving its content as in the preceding instances, or by etymology: we may for instance explain assiduus55 by deriving it from as and do, locuples56 by deriving it from copia locorum, pecuniosus57 from copia pecorum. Genus, species, difference and property seem more especially to afford scope for definition, for we derive arguments from all of these. 56 Genus is of little use when we desire to prove a species, but of great value for its elimination. A tree is not necessarily a plane tree, but that which is not a tree is certainly not a plane tree; again, virtue is not necessarily the virtue of justice, but that which is not a virtue is certainly not justice. We must proceed from the genus to the ultimate species;58 for example, to say that man is an animal will not suffice; for animal merely gives us the genus: nor yet will the addition of the words "subject to death" be adequate; for although this epithet gives us a species, it is common to other animals as well. If, however, we define man as a rational animal, we need nothing further to make our mention clear. 57 On the other hand species will give us clear proof of genus, but is of little service for its elimination. For example, justice is always a virtue, but that which is not justice may still be a virtue, such as fortitude, constancy or self-control. Genus therefore cannot be eliminated by species unless all the species included in the genus be eliminated, as for instance in the following sentence: That which is neither rational  p233 nor mortal nor an animal is not a man. 58 To these they add property and difference. Properties serve to establish definitions, differences to overthrow them. A property is that which happens to one particular object and that alone; speech and laughter for instance are properties of man. Or it may be something specially belonging to an object, but not to it alone; heating for instance is a property of fire. The same thing may also have a number of properties: light and heat are both properties of fire. Consequently, the omission of any property in a definition will impair it, but the introduction of a property, whatever it may be, will not necessarily establish a definition. 59 We have, however, often to consider what is a property of some given object; for example, if it should be asserted, on the ground of etymology, that the peculiar property of a tyrannicide is to kill tyrants, we should deny it: for an executioner is not ipso facto a tyrannicide, if he executes a tyrant who has been delivered to him for the purpose, nor again is he a tyrannicide who kills a tyrant unwittingly or against his will. 60 What is not a property will be a difference: it is, for instance, one thing to be a slave, and another to be in a state of servitude; hence the distinction raised in connexion with persons assigned to their creditors for debt: A slave, if he is manumitted becomes a freedman, but this is not the case with one who is assigned. There are also other points of difference which are dealt with elsewhere.59 61 Again, the term difference is applied in cases when the genus is divided into species and one species is subdivided. Animal, for instance, is a genus, mortal a species, while terrestrial or biped is a difference: for they are not actually properties, but serve to show  p235 the difference between such animals and quadrupeds or creatures of the sea. This distinction, however, comes under the province not so much of argument as of exact definition. 62 Cicero60 separates genus and species, which latter he calls form, from definition and includes them under relation. For example, if a person to whom another man has left all his silver should claim all his silver money as well, he would base his claim upon genus; on the other hand if when a legacy has been left to a married woman holding the position of materfamilias, it should be maintained that the legacy is not due to a woman who never came into the power of her husband, the argument is based on species, since there are two kinds of marriage.61 63 Cicero62 further shows that definition is assisted by division, which he distinguishes from partition, making the latter the dissection of a whole into its parts and the former the division of a genus into its forms or species. The number of parts he regards as being uncertain, as for instance the elements of which a state consists; the forms or species are, however, certain, as for instance the number of forms of government, which we are told are three, democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy. 64 It is true that he does not use these illustrations, since, as he was writing to Trebatius,63 he preferred to draw his examples from law. I have chosen my illustrations as being more obvious. Properties have relation to questions of fact as well; for instance, it is the property of a good man to act rightly, of an angry man to be violent in speech or action, and consequently we believe that such acts are committed by persons of the appropriate character, or  p237 not committed by persons of inappropriate character. For just as certain persons possess certain qualities, so certain others do not possess certain qualities, and the argument is of precisely the same nature, though from opposite premises.

65 In a similar way division is valuable both for proof and refutation. For proof, it is sometimes enough to establish one thing. "To be a citizen, a man must either have been born or made such." For refutation, both points must be disproved: "he was neither born nor made a citizen." 66 This may be done in many ways, and constitutes a form of argument by elimination, whereby we show sometimes that the whole is false, sometimes that only that which remains after the process of elimination is true. An example of the first of these two cases would be: "You say that you lent him money. Either you possessed it yourself, received it from another, found it or stole it. If you did not possess it, receive it from another, find or steal it, you did not lend it to him." 67 The residue after elimination is shown to be true as follows: "This slave whom you claim was either born in your house or bought or given you or left you by will or captured from the enemy or belongs to another." By the elimination of the previous suppositions he is shown to belong to another. This form of argument is risky and must be employed with care; for if, in setting forth the alternatives, we chance to omit one, our whole case, and our audience will be moved to laughter. 68 It is safer to do what Cicero64 does in the pro Caecina, when he asks, "If this is not the point at issue, what is?" For thus all other points are eliminated at one swoop. Or again two contrary propositions may be advanced, either of which if established would suffice  p239 to prove the case. Take the following example from Cicero:65 "There can be no one so hostile to Cluentius as not to grant me one thing: if it be a fact that the verdict then given was the result of bribery, the bribes must have proceeded either from Habitus or Oppianicus: if I show that they did not proceed from Habitus I prove that they proceeded from Oppianicus: if I demonstrate that they were given by Oppianicus, I clear Habitus." 69 Or we may give our opponent the choice between two alternatives of which one must necessarily be true, and as a result, whichever he chooses, he will damage his case. Cicero does this in the pro Oppio:66 "Was the weapon snatched from his hands when he had attacked Cotta, or when he was trying to commit suicide?" and in the pro Vareno:67 "You have a choice between two alternatives: either you must show that the choice of this route by Varenus was due to chance or that it was the result of this man's persuasion and inducement." He then shows that either admission tells against his opponent. 70 Sometimes again, two propositions are stated of such a character that the admission of either involves the same conclusion, as in the sentence, "We must philosophise, even though we ought not," or as in the common dilemma, "What is the use of a figure,68 if its meaning is clear? And what is its use, if it is unintelligible?" or, "He who is capable of enduring pain will lie if tortured, and so will he who cannot endure pain."

71 As there are three divisions of time, so the order of events falls into three stages. For everything has a beginning, growth and consummation, as for instance  p241 a quarrel, blows, murder. Thus arise arguments which lend each other mutual support; for the conclusion is inferred from the beginnings, as in the following case: "I cannot expect a purple-striped toga, when I see that the beginning of the web is black" or the beginning may be inferred from the conclusion: for instance the fact that Sulla resigned the dictatorship is an argument that Sulla did not take up arms with the intention of establishing a tyranny. 72 Similarly from the growth of a situation we may infer either its beginning or its end, not only in questions of fact but as regards points of equity, such as whether the conclusion is referable to the beginning, that is, "Should the man that began the quarrel be regarded as guilty of the bloodshed with which it ended?"

73 Arguments are also drawn from similarities: "If self-control is a virtue, abstinence is also a virtue." "If a guardian should be required to be faithful to his trust, so should an agent." To this class belongs the type of argument called ἐπαγωγῆ by the Greeks, induction by Cicero.69 Or arguments may be drawn from unlikes: "It does not follow that if joy is a good thing, pleasure also is a good thing": "It does not follow that what applies to the case of a woman applies also to the case of a ward." Or from contraries: "Frugality is a good thing, since luxury is an evil thing": "If he who does harm unwittingly deserves pardon, he who does good unwittingly does not deserve a reward." 74 Or from contradictions: "He who is wise is not a fool." Or from consequences necessary or probable:70 "If justice is a good thing, we must give  p243 right judgment": "If breach of faith is a bad thing, we must not deceive." And such arguments may also be reversed. Similar to these are the following arguments, which must therefore be classed under this same head, since it is to this that they naturally belong: "A man has not lost what he never had": "A man does not wittingly injure him whom he loves": "If one man has appointed another as his heir, he regarded, still regards and will continue to regard him with affection." However, such arguments, being incontrovertible, are of the nature of absolute indications.71 75 These, however, I call consequent or ἀκόλουθα; goodness, for instance, is consequent on wisdom: while in regard to things which merely have taken place afterwards or will take place I use the term insequent or παρεπόμενα, though I do not regard the question of terminology as important. Give them any name you please, as long as the meaning is clear and it is shown that the one depends on time, the other on the nature of things. 76 I have therefore no hesitation in calling the following forms of argument also consequential, although they argue from the past to the future: some however divide them into two classes, those concerned with action, as in the pro Oppio, "How could he detain against their will those whom he was unable to take to the province against their will?" and those concerned with time, as in the Verrines,72 "If the first of January puts an end to the authority of the praetor's edict, why should the commencement of its authority not likewise date from the first of January?" 77 Both these instances  p245 are of such a nature that the argument is reversible. For it is a necessary consequence that those who could not be taken to the province against their will could not be retained against their will. 78 So too I feel clear that we should rank as consequential arguments those derived from facts which lend each other mutual support and are by some regarded as forming a separate kind of argument, which they73 call ἐκ τῶν πρὸς ἄλληλα, arguments from things mutually related, while Cicero74 styles them arguments drawn from things to which the same line of reasoning applies; take the following example:75 "If it is honourable for the Rhodians to let out their harbour dues, it is honourable likewise for Hermocreon to take the contract," or "What it is honourable to learn, it is also honourable to teach." 79 Such also is the fine sentence of Domitius Afer, which has the same effect, though it is not identical in form: "I accused, you condemned." Arguments which prove the same thing from opposites are also mutually consequential; for instance, we may argue that he who says that the world was created thereby implies that it is suffering decay, since this is the property of all created things.

80 There is another very similar form of argument, which consists in the inference of facts from their efficient causes or the reverse, a process known as argument from causes. The conclusion is sometimes necessary, sometimes generally without being necessarily true. For instance, a body casts a shadow in the light, and the shadow wherever it falls indicates the presence of a body. 81 There are other conclusions which, as I have said, are not necessary, whether as regards both cause and effect or only one of the two. For instance, "the sun colours the skin, but not  p247 everyone that is coloured receives that colour from the sun; a journey makes the traveller dusty, but every journey does not produce dust, nor is everyone that is dusty just come from a journey." 82 As examples of necessary conclusions on the other hand I may cite the following: "If wisdom makes a man good, a good man must needs be wise"; and again, "It is the part of a good man to act honourably, of a bad man to act dishonourably," or "Those who act honourably are considered good, those who act dishonourably are considered bad men." In these cases the conclusion is correct. On the other hand, "though exercise generally makes the body robust, not everyone who is robust is given to exercise, nor is everyone that is addicted to exercisea robust. Nor again, because courage prevents our fearing death, is every man who has no fear of death to be regarded as a brave man; nor is the sun useless to man because it sometimes gives him a headache." 83 Arguments such as the following belong in the main to the hortative department of oratory:— "Virtue brings renown, therefore it should be pursued; but the pursuit of pleasure brings ill-repute, therefore it should be shunned." But the warning that we should not necessarily search for the originating cause is just: an example of such error is provided by the speech of Medea76 beginning

"Ah! would that never there in Pelion's grove,"

84 as though her misery or guilt were due to the fact that there

"The beams of fir had fallen to the ground";

or I might cite the words addressed by Philoctetes to Paris,77

"Hadst thou been other than thou art, then I

Had ne'er been plunged in woe."

 p249  By tracing back causes on lines such as these we may arrive anywhere. 85 But for the fact that Cicero78 has done so, I should regard it as absurd to add to these what is styled the conjugate argument, such as "Those who perform a just act, act justly," a self-evident fact requiring no proof; or again, "Every man has a common right to send his cattle to graze in a common pasture." 86 Some call these arguments derived from causes or efficients by the Greek name ἐκβάσεις, that is, results; for in such cases the only point considered is how one thing results from another.

Those arguments which prove the lesser from the greater from the less or equals from equals are styled apposite or comparative. 87 A conjecture as to a fact is confirmed by argument from something greater in the following sentence: "If a man commit sacrilege, he will also commit theft"; from something less, in a sentence such as "He who lies easily and openly will commit perjury"; from something equal in a sentence such as "He who has taken a bribe to give a false verdict will take a bribe to give false witness." 88 Points of law may be proved in a similar manner; from something greater, as in the sentence "If it is lawful to kill an adulterer, it is lawful to scourge him"; from something less, "If it is lawful to kill a man attempting theft by night, how much more lawful it is to kill one who attempts robbery with violence"; from something equal, "The penalty which is just in the case of parricide is also just in the case of matricide." In all these cases we follow the syllogistic method.79 89 The following type of argument on the other hand is more serviceable in questions turning  p251 on definition or quality.80 "If strength is good for the body, health is no less good." "If theft is a crime, sacrilege is a greater crime." "If abstinence is a virtue, so is self-control." "If the world is governed by providence, the state also requires a government." "If a house cannot be built without a plan, what of a whole city?" "If naval stores require careful supervision, so also do arms." 90 I am content to treat this type of argument as a genus without going further; others however divide it into species. For we may argue from several things to one or from one thing to several; hence arguments such as "What has happened once may happen often." We may also argue from a part to the whole, from genus to species, from that which contains to that which is contained, from the difficult to the easy, from the remote to the near, and similarly from the opposites of all these to their opposites. 91 Now all these arguments deal with the greater or the less or else with things that are equal, and if we follow up such fine distinctions, there will be no limit to our division into species. For the comparison of things is infinite; things may be more pleasant, more serious, more necessary, more honourable, more useful. I say no more for fear of falling into that very garrulity which I deprecate. 92 The number of examples of these arguments which I might quote is likewise infinite, but I will only deal with a very few. As an example of argument from something greater take the following example from the pro Caecina:81 "Shall we suppose that that which alarms whole armies caused no alarm to a peaceful company of lawyers?" As an instance of argument from something easier, take this passage  p253 from the speech against Clodius and Curio:82 "Consider whether it would have been easy for you to secure the praetorship, when he in whose favour you withdrew failed to secure election?" 93 The following83 provides an example of argument from something more difficult: "I beg you, Tubero, to remark that I, who do not hesitate to speak of my own deed, venture to speak of that performed by Ligarius"; and again, "Has not Ligarius reason for hope, when I am permitted to intercede with you for another?" For an argument drawn from something less take this passage from the pro Caecina:84 "Really! Is the knowledge that the men were armed sufficient to prove that violence was offered, and the fact that he fell into their hands insufficient?" 94 Well, then, to give a brief summary of the whole question, arguments are drawn from persons, causes, place and time (which latter we have divided into preceding, contemporary and subsequent), from resources (under which we include instruments), from manner (that is, how a thing has been done), from definition, genus, species, difference, property, elimination, division, beginnings, increase, consummation, likes, unlikes, contradictions, consequents, efficients, effects, results, and comparison, which is subdivided into several species.

95 I think I should also add that arguments are drawn not merely from admitted facts, but from fictitious suppositions, which the Greeks style καθ’ ὑπόθεσιν, and that this latter type of argument falls into all the same divisions as those which I have  p255 mentioned above, since there may be as many species of fictitious arguments as there are of true arguments. 96 When I speak of fictitious arguments I mean the proposition of something which, if true, would either solve a problem or contribute to its solution, and secondly the demonstration of the similarity of our hypothesis to the case under consideration. To make this the more readily intelligible to youths who have not yet left school, I will first of all illustrate it by examples of a kind familiar to the young. 97 There is a law to the effect that "the man who refuses to support his parents is liable to imprisonment." A certain man fails to support his parents and none the less objects to going to prison. He advances the hypothesis that he would be exempt from such a penalty if he were a soldier, an infant, or if he were absent from home on the service of the state. Again in the case of where a hero is allowed to choose his reward85 we might introduce the hypotheses of his desiring to make himself a tyrant or to overthrow the temples of the gods. 98 Such arguments are specially useful when we are arguing against the letter of the law, and are thus employed by Cicero in the pro Caecina:86 "[The interdict contains the words,] 'whence you or your household or your agent had driven him.' If your steward alone had driven me out, [it would not, I suppose, be your household but a member of your household that had driven me out]. . . . If indeed you owned no slave except the one who drove me out, [you would cry, 'If I possess a household at all, I admit that my household drove you out']." Many other examples might be quoted from the same work. 99 But fictitious suppositions are also exceedingly useful when we are concerned with the quality of an act:87 "If  p257 Catiline should try this case assisted by a jury composed of those scoundrels whom he led out with him he would condemn Lucius Murena." It is useful also for amplification:88 "If this had happened to you during dinner in the midst of your deep potations"; or again,89 "If the state could speak."

100 Such in the main are the usual topics of proof as specified by teachers of rhetoric, but it is not sufficient to classify them generically in our instructions, since from each of them there arises an infinite number of arguments, while it is in the very nature of things impossible to deal with all their individual species. Those who have attempted to perform this latter task have exposed themselves in equal degree to two disadvantages, saying too much and yet failing to cover the whole ground. 101 Consequently the majority of students, finding themselves lost in an inextricable maze, have abandoned all individual effort, including even that which their own wits might have placed within their power, as though they were fettered by certain rigid laws, and keeping their eyes fixed upon their master have ceased to follow the guidance of nature. 102 But as it is not in itself sufficient to know that all proofs are drawn either from persons or things, because each of these groups is subdivided into a number of different heads so he who has learned that arguments must be drawn from antecedent, contemporary or subsequent facts will not be sufficiently instructed in the knowledge of the method of handling arguments to understand what arguments are to be drawn from the circumstances of each particular case; 103 especially as the majority of proofs are to be found in the special circumstances of individual cases and have  p259 no connexion with any other dispute, and therefore while they are the strongest, are also the least obvious, since, whereas we derive what is common to all cases from general rules, we have to discover for ourselves whatever is peculiar to the case which we have in hand. 104 This type of argument may reasonably be described as drawn from circumstances, there being no other word to express the Greek περίστασις, or from those things which are peculiar to any given case. For instance, in the case of the priest who having committed adultery desired to save his own life by means of the law90 which gave him the power of saving one life, the appropriate argument to employ against him would run as follows: "You would save more than one guilty person, since, if you were discharged, it would not be lawful to put the adulteress to death." For such an argument follows from the law forbidding the execution of the adulteress apart from the adulterer. 105 Again, take the case falling under the law which lays down that bankers may pay only half of what they owe, while permitted to recover the whole of what they are owed. One banker requires payment of the whole sum owed him by another banker. The appropriate argument supplied by the subject to the creditor is that there was special reason for the insertion of the clause91 sanctioning the recovery of the whole of a debt by a banker, since there was no need of such a law as against others, inasmuch as all have the right to recover the whole of a debt from any save a banker. 106 But while some fresh considerations are bound to present themselves in every kind of subject, this is more especially the case in questions turning on  p261 the letter of the law, since not merely individual words, but still more whole phrases are frequently ambiguous. 107 And these considerations must vary according to the complexity of laws and other documents, whether they are in agreement or contradictory, since fact throws light on fact and law on law as in the following argument: "I owed you no money: you never summoned me for debt, you took no interest from me, nay, you actually borrowed money from me." It is laid down by law that he who refuses to defend his father when accused of treason thereby loses his right to inherit. A son denies that he is liable to this penalty unless his father is acquitted. How does he support this contention? There is another law to the effect that a man found guilty of treason shall be banished and his advocate with him. 108 Cicero in the pro Cluentio92 says that Publius Popilius and Tiberius Gutta were not condemned for receiving bribes to give a false verdict, but for attempting to bribe a jury. What is his argument in support of this view? That their accusers, who were themselves found guilty of bribing the jury, were restored in accordance with law after winning their case. 109 But the consideration as to what argument should be put forward requires no less care than the consideration of the manner in which we are to prove that which we have put forward. Indeed in this connexion invention, if not the most important, is certainly the first consideration. For, just as weapons are superfluous for one who does not know what his target is, so too arguments are useless, unless you see in advance to what they are to be applied. This is a task for which no formal rules can be laid down. 110 Consequently,  p263 though a number of orators, who have studied the same rules, will use similar kinds of arguments, one will discover a greater number of arguments to suit his case than another. Let us take as an example a controversial theme involving problems that have little in common with other cases. 111 "When Alexander destroyed Thebes, he found documents showing that the Thebans had lent a hundred talents to the Thessalians. These documents he presented to the Thessalians as a reward for the assistance they had given him in the campaign. Subsequently the Thebans, after the restoration of their city by Cassander, demanded that the Thessalians should repay the money." The case is tried before the Amphictyonic council. It is admitted that the Thebans lent the money and were not repaid. 112 The whole dispute turns on the allegation that Alexander had excused the Thessalians from payment of the debt. It is also admitted that the Thessalians had received no money from Alexander. The question is therefore whether this gift is equivalent to his having given them money. 113 What use will formal topics of argument be in such a case, unless I first convince myself that the gift of Alexander made no difference, that he had not the power to make it and that he did not make it? The opening of the Thebans' plea presents no difficulty and is likely to win the approval of the judges, since they are seeking to recover by right what was taken from them by force. But out of this point arises a violent controversy as to the right of war, since the Thessalians urge that kingdoms and peoples and the frontiers of nations and cities depend upon these rights. 114 To meet this argument  p265 it is necessary to discover in what respect this case differs from others which are concerned with property that has fallen into the hands of the victor: the difficulty moreover lies not so much in the proof as in the way it should be put forward. We may begin by stating that the rights of war do not hold good in any matter which can be brought before a court of justice, and that what is taken by force of arms can only be retained by force of arms, and consequently, wherever the rights of war hold good, there is no room for the functions of a judge, while on the contrary where the functions of the judge come into play, the rights of war cease to have any force. 115 The reason why it is necessary to discover this principle is to enable us to bring the following argument into play: that prisoners of war are free on returning to their native land just because the gains of war cannot be retained except by the exercise of the same violence by which they were acquired. Another peculiar feature of the case is that it is tried before the Amphictyonic council,93 and you will remember that we have to employ different methods in pleading a case before the centumviral court and before an arbitrator, though the problems of the cases may be identical. 116 Secondly we may urge that the right to refuse payment could not have been conferred by the victor because he possesses only what he holds, but a right, being incorporeal, cannot be grasped by the hand.94 It is more difficult to discover this principle than, once discovered, to defend it with arguments such as that the position of an heir and a conqueror are fundamentally different, since right passes to the one and property to the other. 117 It is further an  p267 argument peculiar to the subject matter of the case that the right over a public debt could not have passed to the victor, because the repayment of a sum of money lent by a whole people is due to them all, and as long as any single one of them survives, he is creditor for the whole amount: but the Thebans were never all of them to a man in Alexander's power. 118 The force of this argument resides in the fact that it is not based on any external support, but holds good in itself. Proceeding to the third line of argument we may note that the first portion of it is of a more ordinary type, namely that the right to repayment is not based on the actual document, a plea which can be supported by many arguments. Doubt may also be thrown on Alexander's purpose: did he intend to honour them or to trick them? Another argument peculiar to the subject (indeed it practically introduces a new discussion) is that the Thebans may be regarded as having in virtue of their restoration recovered the right even though it be admitted that they had lost it. Again Cassander's purpose may be discussed, but, as the case is being pleaded before the Amphictyonic council, we shall find that the most powerful plea that can be urge is that of equity.

119 I make these remarks, not because I think that a knowledge of the "places"95 from which arguments may be derived is useless (had I thought so, I should have passed them by) but to prevent those who have learnt these rules from neglecting other considerations and regarding themselves as having a perfect and absolute knowledge of the whole subject, and to make them realise that, unless they acquire a thorough knowledge of the  p269 remaining points which I am about to discuss, they will be the possessors of what I can only call a dumb science. 120 For the discovery of arguments was not the result of the publication of text-books, but every kind of argument was put forward before any rules were laid down, and it was only later that writers of rhetoric noted them and collected them for publication. A proof of this is the fact that the examples which they use are old and quoted from the orators, while they themselves discover nothing new or that has not been said before. 121 The creators of the art were therefore the orators, though we owe a debt of gratitude also to those who have given us a short cut to knowledge. For thanks to them the arguments discovered by the genius of earlier orators have not got to be hunted down and noted in detail. But this does not suffice to make an orator any more than it suffices to learn the art of gymnastic in school: the body must be assisted by continual practice, self-control, diet and above all by nature; on the other hand none of these are sufficient in themselves without the aid of art. 122 I would also have students of oratory consider that all the forms of argument which I have just set forth cannot be found in every case, and that when the subject on which we have to speak has been propounded, it is no use considering each separate type of argument and knocking at the door of each with a view to discovering whether they may chance to serve to prove our point, except while we are in the position of mere learners without any knowledge of actual practice. 123 Such a process merely retards the process of speaking to an incalculable extent, if it is always necessary for us to try each single  p271 argument and thus learn by experiment what is apt and suitable to our case. In fact I am not sure that it will not be an actual obstacle to progress unless a certain innate penetration and a power of rapid divination seconded by study lead us straight to the arguments which suit our case. 124 For just as the melody of the voice is most pleasing when accompanied by the lyre, yet if the musician's hand be slow and, unless he first look at the strings and take their measure, hesitate as to which strings match the several notes of the voice, it would be better that he should content himself with the natural music of the voice unaccompanied by any instrument; even so our theory of speaking must be adapted and, like the lyre, attuned to such rules as these. 125 But it is only by constant practice that we can secure that, just as the hands of the musician, even though his eyes be turned elsewhere, produce bass, treble or intermediate tones by force of habit, so the thought of the orator should suffer no delay owing to the variety and number of possible arguments, but that the latter should present themselves uncalled and, just as letters and syllables require no thought on the part of a writer, so arguments should spontaneously follow the thought of the orator.

The Translator's Notes:

27 V.viii.5; xiv.2 n.

28 See V.XIV.2, VIII.V.9.

29 See III.I.18. A rhetorician of the reign of Augustus.

30 The last or lowest species. cp. § 56 and VII.I.23.

31 i.e. the major and minor premisses and the conclusion. See V.XIV.6 sqq.

32 de Inv. I.XXXI.34.

33 See III.VI.43, 46, 51.

34 See I.X.38.

35 In some letter now lost.

36 Aen. VII.791, with reference to the design on the shield of Turnus.

37 V.IX.2.

38 1‑17.

39 In previous chapter.

40 See II.IV.22, V.XII.6 and xiii.57.

41 V.VIII.4.

42 Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, Catilinarian conspirator. cp. Sall. Cat. c 46.

43 Phoeniss. 636. ἀληθῶς δ’ ὄνομα Πολυνείκη πατὴρ ἔθετό σοι θείᾳ προνοίᾲ νεικέων ἐπώνυμον, "with truth did our father call thee Polynices with divine foreknowledge naming thee after 'strife.' "

44 See VI.III.53.

45 III.XI.4‑9.

46 pro Mil. xx.

47 Met. xiii.5. Ajax had saved the ships from being burned by the Trojans. The dispute as to whether the arms of Achilles should be awarded to him or to Ulysses is being tried there. Ajax's argument is, "Can you refuse me my due reward on the very spot where I saved you from disaster?"

48 pro Mil. vii.17. i.e. on the Appian Way constructed by one of Clodius' ancestors.

49 III.VI.25.

50 V.V.2.

51 Both cases are clearly themes from the schools of rhetoric.

52 pro Mil. x.29.

53 See § 40. Also III.V.4, III.VI.55 and 66.

54 See above § 20.

55 Paulus (exc. Fest.) gives the following explanation of this absurd derivation, for which Cicero tells that Aelius Stilo was responsible: "Some think that assiduus was originally (p231)the epithet applied to one who served in the army at his own expense, contributing an as (i.e. instead of receiving it)!

56 locuples ("wealthy") is derived from locus = the possessors of many places.

57 pecuniosus ("moneyed") is derived from pecus = "rich in herds."

58 cp. § 5.

59 VII.III.26. Also III.VI.25.

60 Cic. Top. iii.13.

61 There was the formal marriage per coemptionem, bringing the woman under the power (in manum) of her husband and giving her the title of materfamilias, and the informal marriage based on cohabitation without involving the wife's coming in manum mariti.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Matrimonium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

62 Cic. Top. v.17.

63 A famous lawyer, cp. III.XI.18.

64 pro Caec. xiii.37.

65 pro Cluent. xxiii.64.

66 Oppius was accused of embezzling public money and plotting against the life of M. Aurelius Cotta, governor of Bithynia, where Oppius was serving as quaestor. Cicero's defence of him is lost.

67 See IV.II.26.

68 See VII.IV.28, IX.I.14, IX.II.65.

69 de Inv. i.31.

70 It is possible that Quintilian regards adiuncta as = consequentia. The distinction made above is that made by Cicero, Top. xii.

71 See ch. ix.

72 Verr. I.XLII.109. The praetor on entering office on Jan. 1 issued an edict announcing the principles on which his rulings would be given. This edict was an interpretation of (p243)the law of Rome, and held good only during the praetor's year of office.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Edictum in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

73 Ar. Rhet. II.XXIII.3.

74 de Inv. I.XXX.46.

75 ib. 47.

76 The opening of Ennius' translation of the Medea of Euripides.

77 From the Philoctetus of Accius, Ribbeck fr. 178.

78 Top. iii.12.

79 See III.VI.15, 43, 88.

80 See iii.6 passim.

81 xv.43.

82 A lost speech of Cicero, to which reference is made in III.VII.2.

83 pro Lig. iii.8 and x.31. Cicero's point is that he has been a much more bitter opponent of Caesar than Ligarius, and yet he has been pardoned while Ligarius has not.

84 xvi.45. Caecina had attempted to take possession of lands left him by will, but was driven off by armed force. Cicero has just pointed out that there were precedents for (p253)regarding the mere sight of armed men in occupation of the property claimed as sufficient proof of violence.

85 cp. VII.V.4.

86 xix.55. Quintilian merely quotes fragments of Cicero's arguments. The sense of the passages omitted is supplied in brackets. The interdict of the praetor had ordered Caecina's restoration. His adversary is represented by Cicero as attempting to evade compliance by verbal quibbles.

87 pro Mur. xxxix.83. Cicero argues that Murena's election as consul is necessary to save the state from Catiline. If the jury now condemn him, they will be doing exactly what Catiline and his accomplices, now in arms in Etruria, would do if they could try him.

88 Phil. II.XXV.63. "This" = vomiting. Cicero continues "who would not have thought it disgraceful."

89 Probably an allusion to Cat. i.7, where Cicero makes the state reproach Catiline for his conduct.

90 This law and those which follow are imaginary laws invented for the purposes of the schools of rhetoric.

91 The argument is far from clear. The case assumes that by a species of moratorium a banker may be released from payment of his debts in full to ordinary creditors. This moratorium does not however apparently apply to debts contracted between banker and banker.

92 xxxvi.98. The lex Iulia de ambitu contained a provision that the penalty (loss of civil rights) incurred by conviction for ambitus should be annulled if the condemned man could secure the conviction of another person for the same offence.

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources, see the article Ambitus in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

93 cp. § 118. The Amphictyonic Council of Delphi in the fourth century B.C. had come to be an international council, in which the great majority of the states of Greece were represented.

94 i.e. a right can only be transferred by the possessor, not by force or seizure.

95 See V.X.20.

Thayer's Note:

a addicted to exercise: the Latin (sed non quisquis est robustus exercitatus, nec quisquis exercitatus robustus) merely has "everyone who is given to exercise", exactly parallel.

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