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This webpage reproduces a section of
Institutio Oratoria


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

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. III) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria

 p375  Book IX

Chapter 2

2 1 The student who desires to give a wider consideration to figures of thought and speech will, therefore, have a guide to follow, and I would not venture to assert that he could have a better. But I would ask him to read these passages of Cicero with reference to my own views on this subject. For I intend to speak only of those figures of thought which depart from the direct method of statement, and I note that a similar procedure has been adopted by a number of learned scholars. 2 On the other hand, all those embellishments which differ in character from these are none the less virtues whose importance is such that without them all oratory will be little less than unintelligible. For how can the judge be adequately instructed unless lucidity characterise our performance of the following task: explanation, proposition, promise of proofs, definition, distinction, exposition of our own opinion, logical conclusion, defence by anticipation, introduction of comparisons or precedents, disposition and distribution, interruption, repression of those who interrupt us, antithesis, exculpation and personal attack? 3 Again, what would eloquence do if deprived of the artifices of amplification and its opposite? of which the first requires the gift of signifying more than we say, that is emphasis, together with exaggeration and overstatement of the truth, while the latter requires the power to diminish and palliate. What scope is there for the stronger emotions if the orator is not allowed to give free rein  p377 to his speech, to flame out in anger, to reproach, to wish or execrate? Or for the milder emotions without the assistance of commendation, conciliation and humour? 4 What pleasure can an orator hope to produce, or what impression even of the most moderate learning, unless he knows how to fix one point in the minds of the audience by repetition, and another by dwelling on it, how to digress from and return to his theme, to divert the blame from himself and transfer it to another, or to decide what points to omit and what to ignore as negligible? It is qualities such as these that give life and vigour to oratory; without them it lies torpid like a body lacking the breath to stir its limbs. 5 But more than the mere possession of these qualities is required; they must be deployed, each in their proper place and with such variety that every sound may bewitch the hearer with all the charm of music. But these qualities are as a rule open and direct, manifesting themselves without disguise. They do, however, as I have said, admit of figures, as the instances to which I shall proceed will show.

6 What is more common than to ask or enquire? For both terms are used indifferently, although the one seems to imply a desire for knowledge, and the other a desire to prove something. But whichever term we use, the thing which they represent admits a variety of figures. We will begin with those which serve to increase the force and cogency of proof to which I assign the first place. 7 A simple question may be illustrated by the line:18

"But who are ye and from what shores are come?"

On the other hand, a question involves a figure,  p379 whenever it is employed and to get information, but to emphasise our point, as in the following examples:19 "What was that sword of yours doing, Tubero, that was drawn on the field of Pharsalus?" and "How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?" and "Do you not see that your plots are all laid bare?" with the whole passage that follows. 8 How much greater is the fire of his words as they stand than if he had said, "You have abused our patience a long time," and "Your plots are all laid bare." We may also ask what cannot be denied, as "Was Gaius Ficiulanius Falcula, I ask you, brought to justice?"20 Or we may put a question to which it is difficult to reply, as in the common forms, "How is it possible?" "How can that be?" 9 Or we may ask a question with a view to throw odium on the person to whom it is addressed, as in the words placed by Seneca in the mouth of Medea:21

"What lands dost bid me seek?"

Or our aim may be to excite pity, as is the case with the question asked by Sinon in Virgil:22

"Alas, what lands, he cried,

What seas can now receive me?"

Or to embarrass our opponent and to deprive him of the power to feign ignorance of our meaning, as Asinius does in the following sentence: "Do you hear? The will which we impugn is the work of a madman, not of one who lacked natural affection." 10 In fact questions admit of infinite variety. They may serve our indignation, as in the line:

"Are any left

That still adore Juno's divinity?"23

 p381  Or they may still express wonder, as in:

"To what dost thou not drive the hearts of men,

Accursed greed of gold?"24

11 Again, at times they may express a sharp command, as in:

"Will they not rush to arms and follow forth

From all the city?"25

Or we may ask ourselves, as in the phrase of Terence, "What, then, shall I do?"26 12 A figure is also involved in a reply, when one question is asked and another is answered, because it suits the respondent's purpose better to do so, or because it aggravates the charge brought against the accused. For example, a witness for the prosecution was asked whether he had been cudgelled by the plaintiff, and replied, "And what is more, I had done him no harm." Or the purpose may be to elude a charge, a very common form of reply. The advocate says, "I ask if you killed the man?" The accused replies, "He was a robber." The advocate asks, "Have your occupied the farm?" The accused replies, "It was my own." 13 Again, the answer may be of such a kind as to make defence precede confession. For example, in the Eclogues27 of Virgil, when one shepherd asks:

"Did I not see you, villain, snare a goat

Of Damon's?:

the other replies:

"I vanquished him in song, and should he not

Pay me the prize, my due?"

14 Akin to this kind of answer is the dissimulatory  p383 reply, which is employed solely with the purpose of raising a laugh, and has therefore been treated in its appropriate place.28 If it were meant seriously, it would be tantamount to a confession. Further, there is the practice of putting the question and answering it oneself, which may have quite a pleasing effect. Take as an example the following passage from the pro Ligario,29 where Cicero says, "Before whom do I say this? Before one who, although he was aware of the facts, yet restored me to my country even before he had seen me." 15 A different form of fictitious question is to be found in the pro Caelio. "Some one will say, 'Is this your moral discipline? Is this the training you would give young men?' " with the whole passage that follows. Then comes his reply, "Gentlemen, if there were any man with such vigour of mind, with such innate virtue and self-control, etc."30 A different method is to ask a question and not to wait for a reply, but to subjoin the reply at once yourself. For example, "Had you no house? Yes, you had one. Had you money and to spare? No, you were in actual want."31 This is a figure which some call suggestion. 16 Again, a question may involve comparison, as, for instance, "Which of the two then could more easily assign a reason for his opinion?"32 There are other forms of question as well, some concise, some developed at greater length, some dealing with one thing only, others with several.

Anticipation, or, as the Greeks call it, πρόληψις, whereby we forestall objections, is of extraordinary value in pleading; it is frequently employed in all parts of a speech, but is especially useful in the exordium. 17 However, it forms a genus in itself, and  p385 has several different species. One of theses the defence by anticipation, such as Cicero employs against Quintus Caecilius,33 where he points out that though previously he himself has always appeared for the defence, he is now undertaking a prosecution. Another is a form of confession, such as he introduces in his defence of Rabirius Postumus,34 where he admits that he himself regards his client as worthy of censure for lending money to the king. Another takes the form of prediction, as in the phrase, "For I will say without any intention of aggravating the charge." Again, there is a form of self-correction, such as, "I beg you to pardon me, if I have been carried too far." And, most frequent of all, there is preparation, whereby we state fully why we are going to do something or have done it. 18 Anticipation may also be employed to establish the meaning or propriety of words, as in the following case, "Although that was not a punishment, but merely a prevention of crime,"35 while the same effect may be produced by qualification, as in the following sentence, "Citizens, I say, if I may call them by that name."36

19 Again, hesitation may lend an impression of truth to our statements, when, for example, we pretend to be at a loss, where to begin or end, or to decide what especially requires to be said or not to be said at all. All speeches are full of such instances, but for the present one will be enough. "As for myself, I know not where to turn. Shall I deny that there was a scandalous rumour that the jury had been bribed, etc.?"37 20 This device may also be employed to cover the past; for we may equally pretend that we had felt hesitation on the subject.

This figure is akin to that known as communication,  p387 when we actually take our opponents into consultation, as Domitius Afer does in his defence of Cloatilla. "She is so agitated that she does not know what is permitted to a woman or what becomes a wife. It may be that chance has brought you into contact with the unhappy woman in her helpless plight. What counsel do you give her, you her brother, and you, her father's friends?" 21 Or we may admit the judges to our deliberations, a device which is frequently called into play. We may say, "What do you advise?" or, "I ask you," or, "What, then, should have been done?" Cato, for example, says, "Come now, if you had been in his place, what else would you have done?" And in another passage, "Imagine this to be a matter which concerns us all, and assume you have been placed in charge of the whole affair." 22 Sometimes, however, in such forms of communication we may add something unexpected, a device which is in itself a figure, as Cicero does in the Verrines: What then? What think you? Perhaps you expect to hear of some theft or plunder."38 Then, after keeping the minds of the judges in suspense for a considerable time, he adds something much worse. This figure is termed suspension by Celsus. 23 It has two forms. For we may adopt exactly the opposite procedure to that just mentioned, and after raising expectation of a sequel of the most serious nature, we may drop to something which is of a trivial character, and may even imply no office at all. But since this does not necessarily involve any form of communication, some have given it the name of paradox or surprise. 24 I do not agree with those who extend the name of figure to a statement that something has happened unexpectedly to the  p389 speaker himself, like the following passage from Pollio: "Gentlemen, I never thought it would come to pass that, when Scaurus was the accused, I should have to entreat you not to allow influence to carry any weight on his behalf." 25 The figure known as concession springs from practically the same source as communication; it occurs when we leave some things to the judgment of the jury, or even in some cases of our opponents, as when Calvus says to Vatinius, "Summon all your assurance and assert that you have a better claim than Cato to be elected praetor."

26 The figures best adapted for intensifying emotion consist chiefly in simulation. For we may feign that we are angry, glad, afraid, filled with wonder, grief or indignation, or that we wish something, and so on. Hence we get passages like the following: "I am free, I breathe again,"39 or, "It is well," or, "What madness is this?"40 or, "Alas! for these degenerate days!"41 or, "Woe is me; for though all my tears are shed my grief still clings to me deep-rooted in my heart,"42 or,

"Gape now, wide earth."43

27 To this some give the name of exclamation, and include it among figures of speech. When, however, such exclamations are genuine, they do not come under the head of our present topic: it is only those which are simulated and artfully designed which can with any certainty be regarded as figures. The same is true of free speech, which Cornificius44 calls licence, and the Greeks παῤῥησία. For what has less of the figure about it than true freedom? On the other hand, freedom of speech may frequently be made a  p391 cloak for flattery. 28 For when Cicero in his defence for Ligarius says, "After war had begun, Caesar, and was well on its way to a conclusion, I deliberately, of my own free will and under no compulsion, joined the forces of your opponents,"45 he has in his mind something more than a desire to serve the interests of Ligarius, for there is no better way of praising the clemency of the victor. 29 On the other hand, in the sentence, "What else was our aim, Tubero, than that we might secure the power which he now holds?"46 he succeeds with admirable art in representing the cause of both parties as being good, and in so doing mollifies him whose cause was really bad.

A bolder form of figure, which in Cicero's opinion47 demands greater effort, is impersonation, or προσωποποιϊα. This is a device which lends wonderful variety and animation to oratory. 30 By this means we display the inner thoughts of our adversaries as though they were talking with themselves (but we shall only carry conviction if we represent them as uttering what they may reasonably be supposed to have had in their minds); or without sacrifice of credibility we may introduce conversations between ourselves and others, or of others among themselves, and put words of advice, reproach, complaint, praise or pity into the mouths of appropriate persons. 31 Nay, we are even allowed in this form of speech to bring down the gods from heaven and raise the dead, while cities also and peoples may find a voice. There are some authorities who restrict the term impersonation to cases where both persons and words are fictitious, and prefer to call imaginary conversations between men by the Greek name of dialogue, which some48 translate  p393 by the Latin sermocinatio. 32 For my own part, I have included both under the same generally accepted term, since we cannot imagine a speech without we also imagineº a person to utter it. But when we lend a voice to things to which nature has denied it, we may soften down the figure in the way illustrated by the following passage: "For if my country, which is far dearer to me than life itself, if all Italy, if the whole commonwealth were to address me thus, 'Marcus Tullius, what dost honour?' "49 A bolder figure of the same kind may be illustrated by the following: "Your country, Catiline, pleads with you thus, and though she utters never a word, cries to you, 'For not a few years past no crime has come to pass save through your doing!' "50 33 It is also convenient at times to pretend that we have before our eyes the images of things, persons or utterances, or to marvel that the same is not the case with our adversaries or the judges; it is with this design that we use phrases such as "It seems to me," or "Does it not seem to you?" But such devices make a great demand on our powers of eloquence. For with things which are false and incredible by nature there are but two alternatives: either they will move our hearers with exceptional force because they are beyond the truth, or they will be regarded as empty nothings because they are not the truth. 34 But we may introduce not only imaginary sayings, but imaginary writings as well, as is done by Asinius in his defence of Liburnia: "Let my mother, who was the object of my love and my delight, who lived for me and gave me life twice in one day51 (and so on) inherit nought of my property." This is in itself a figure, and is doubly so whenever, as in the present case,  p395 it imitates a document produced by the opposing party. 35 For a will had been read out by the prosecution, in the following form: "Let Publius Novanius gallio, to whom as my benefactor I will and owe all that is good, as a testimony to the great affection which he has borne me (then follow other details) be my heir." In this case the figure borders on parody, a name drawn from songs sung in imitation of others, but employed by an abuse of language to designate imitation in verse or prose. 36 Again, we often personify the abstract, as Virgil52 does with Fame, or as Xenophon53 records that Prodicus did with Virtue and Pleasure, or as Ennius does when, in one of his satires, he represents Life and Death contending with one another. We may also introduce some imaginary person without identifying him, as we do in the phrases, "At this point some one will interpose," or, "Some one will say." 37 Or speech may be inserted without any mention of the speaker, as in the line:54

"Here the Colopian host

Camped, here the fierce Achilles pitched his tent."

This involves a mixture of figures, since to impersonation we add the figure known as ellipse, which in this case consists in the omission of any indication as to who is speaking. At times impersonation takes the form of narrative. Tus we find indirect speeches in the historians, as at the opening of Livy's first book:55 "That cities, like other things, spring from the humblest origins, and that those who are helped by their own valour and the favour of heaven subsequently win great power and a great name for themselves."

 p397  38 Apostrophe also, which consists in the diversion of our address from the judge, is wonderfully stirring, whether we attack our adversary as in the passage, "What was that sword of yours doing, Tubero, in the field of Pharsalus?"56 or turn to make some invocation such as, "For I appeal to you, hills and groves of Alba,"57 or to entreaty that will bring odium on our opponents, as in the cry, "O Porcian and Sempronian laws."58 39 But the term apostrophe is also applied to utterances that divert the Athenian of the hearer from the question before them, as in the following passage:

"I swore not with the Greeks

At Aulis to uproot the race of Troy."59

There are a number of different figures by which this effect may be produced. We may, for instance, pretend that we expected something different or feared some greater disaster, or that the judges in their ignorance of the facts may regard some point as of more importance than it really is: an example of this latter device is to be found in the exordium to Cicero's defence of Caelius.

40 With regard to the figure which Cicero60 calls ocular demonstration, this comes into play when we do not restrict ourselves to mentioning that something was done, but proceed to show how it was done, and do so not merely on broad general lines, but in full detail. In the last book61 I classified this figure under the head of vivid illustration, while Celsus actually terms it by this name. Others give the name of ὑποτύποσις to any representation of facts which is made in such vivid language that they appeal to the eye rather than the ear. The following  p399 will show what I mean: "He came into the forum on fire with criminal madness: his eyes blazed and cruelty was written in every feature of his countenance."62 41 Nor is it only past or present actions which we may imagine: we may equally well present a picture of what is likely to happen or might have happened. This is done with extraordinary skill by Cicero in his defence of Milo,63 where he shows what Clodius would have done, had he succeeded in securing the praetorship. But this transference of time, which is technically called μετάστασις, was more modestly used in vivid description by the old orators. For they would preface it by words such as "Imagine that you see": take, for example, the words of Cicero:64 "Though you cannot see this with your bodily eyes, you can see it with the mind's eye." 42 Modern authors, however, more especially the declaimers, are bolder, indeed they show the utmost animation in giving rein to their imagination; witness the following passages from Seneca's treatment of the controversial theme in which a father, guided by one of his sons, finds another son in the act of adultery with his stepmother and kills both culprits. "Lead me, I follow, take this old hand of mine and direct it where you will." 43 And a little later, "See, he says, what for so long, you refused to believe. As for myself, I cannot see, night and thick darkness veil my eyes." This figure is too dramatic: for the story seems to be acted, not narrated. 44 Some include the clear and vivid description of places under the same heading, while others call it topography.

I have found some who speak of irony as dissimulation, but, in view of the fact that this latter name  p401 does not cover the whole range of this figure, I shall follow my general rule and rest content with the Greek term. Irony involving a figure does not differ from the irony which is a trope, as far as its genus is concerned, since in both cases we understand something which is the opposite of what is actually said; on the other hand, a careful consideration of the species of irony will soon reveal the fact that they differ. 45 In the first place, the trope is franker in its meaning, and, despite the fact that it implies something other than it says, makes no pretence about it. For the context as a rule is perfectly clear, as, for example, in the following passage from the Catilinarian orations.65 "Rejected by him, you migrated to your boon-companion, that excellent gentleman Metellus." In this case the irony lies in two words, and is therefore a specially concise form of trope. 46 But in the figurative form of irony the speaker disguises his entire meaning, the disguise being apparent rather than confessed. For in the trope the conflict is purely verbal, while in the figure the meaning, and sometimes the whole aspect of our case, conflicts with the language and the tone of voice adopted; nay, a man's whole life may be coloured with irony, as was the case with Socrates, who was called an ironist because he assumed the rôle of an ignorant man lost in wonder at the wisdom of others. Thus, as continued metaphor develops into allegory, so a sustained series of tropes develops into this figure. 47 There are, however, certain kinds of this figure which have no connexion with tropes. In the first place, there is the figure which derives its name from negation and is called by some ἀντίφρασις. Here is an example: "I will not plead against you according to the rigour  p403 of the law, I will not press the point which I should perhaps be able to make good";66 or again, "Why should I mention his decrees, his acts of plunder, his acquisition, whether by cession or by force, of certain inheritances?"67 or "I say nothing of the first wrong inflicted by his lust:' or "I do not even propose to produce the evidence given concerning the 600,000 sesterces"; or "I might say, etc."68 48 Such kinds of irony may even be sustained at times through whole sections of our argument, as, for instance, where Cicero69 says, "If I were to plead on this point as though there were some real charge to refute, I should speak at greater length." It is also irony when we assume the tone of command or concession, as in Virgil's70


Follow the winds to Italy;"

49 or when we concede to our opponents qualities which we are unwilling that they should seem to possess. This is specially effective when we possess these qualities and they do not, as in the following passage,71

" 'Twas I that led the Dardan gallant on

To storm the bridal bed of Sparta's queen!"72

50 Further, this device of saying the opposite of what  p405 we desire to imply is not merely restricted to persons, but may be extended to things, witness the whole of the exordium of the pro Ligario and disparaging phrases such as "Forsooth," "ye great gods!" or

"Fit task, I ween, for gods!"73

51 Another example is provided by the following passage from the pro Oppio, "What wondrous love! what extraordinary benevolence!" Akin to irony also are the following figures, which have a strong family resemblance: confession of a kind that can do our case no harm, such as the following:74 "You have now, Tubero, the advantage most desired by an accuser: the accused confesses his guilt"; secondly, concession, when we pretend to admit something actually unfavourable to ourselves by way of showing our confidence in our cause, as in the following passage:75 "The commander of a ship from a distinguished city paid down a sum of money to rid himself of the fear of a scourging which hung over his head; it shows Verres' humanity"; or again, in the pro Cluentio,76 where Cicero is speaking of the prejudice aroused by his client, "Let it prevail in the public assembly, but be silent in the courts of law"; thirdly, agreement, as when Cicero,77 in the same speech, agrees that the jury was bribed. 52 This last form of figure becomes more striking when we agree to something which is really likely to tell in our favour; but such an opportunity can only occur through weakness on the part of our opponent. Sometimes we may even praise some action of our opponent, as Cicero does in his prosecution of Verres78 when dealing with the charge in connexion with  p407 Apollonius of Drepanum: "Nay, it is a real pleasure to me to think that you took something from him, and I say that you never did a juster action in your life." 53 At times we may exaggerate charges against ourselves which we can easily refute or deny; this device is too common to require any illustration. At other times we may by this same method make the charges brought against us seem incredible just because of their gravity: thus Cicero in his defence of Roscius,79 by the sheer force of his eloquence, exaggerates the horror of parricide, despite the fact that it requires no demonstration.

54 Aposiopesis, which Cicero80 calls reticentia, Celsus obticentia, and some interruptio, is used to indicate passion or anger, as in the line:81

"Whom I —

But better first these billows to assuage."

Or it may serve to give an impression of anxiety or scruple, as in the following:82 "Would he have dared to mention this law of which Clodius boasts he was the author, while Milo was alive, I will not say was consul? For as regards all of us — I do not dare to complete the sentence." There is a similar instance in the exordium of Demosthenes' speech in defence of Ctesiphon.83 55 Again it may be employed as a means of transition, as, for example,84 "Cominus, however — nay, pardon me, gentlemen." This last instance also involves digression, if indeed digression is to be counted among figures, since some authorities regard it as forming one of the parts of a speech.85 For at  p409 this point the orator diverges to sing the praises of Gnaeus Pompeius, which he might have done without any recourse to aposiopesis. 56 For as Cicero86 says, the shorter form of digression made effected in a number of different ways. The following passages will, however, suffice as examples: "Then Gaius Varenus, that is, the Varenus who was killed by the slaves of Ancharius:— I beg you, gentlemen, to give careful attention to what I am about to say;"87 the second is from the pro Milone:88 "Then he turned on me that glance, which it was his wont to assume, when he threatened all the world with every kind of violence." 57 There is also another kind of figure, which is not aposiopesis, since that involves leaving a sentence unfinished, but consists in bringing our words to a close before the natural point for their conclusion. The following is an example:89 "I am pressing my point too far; the young man appears to be moved"; or90 "Why should I say more? you heard the young man tell the story himself."

58 The imitation of other persons' characteristics, which is styled ἠθοποιϊα or, as some prefer μίμησις, may be counted among the devices which serve to excite the gentler emotions. For it consists mainly in banter, though it may be concerned either with words or deeds. If concerned with the latter, it closely resembles ὑποτύποσις, while the following passage from Terence91 will illustrate it as applied to words: "I didn't see your drift. 'A little girl was stolen from this place; my mother brought her up as her own daughter. She was known as my sister. I want to get her away to restore her to her relations.' " 59 We may, however, imitate our own words and deeds in a similar fashion by relating some  p411 act or statement, though in such cases the speaker more frequently does so to assert his point than for the sake of banter, as, for example, in the following,92 "I said that they had Quintus Caecilius to conduct the prosecution." There are other devices also which are agreeable in themselves and serve not a little to commend our case both by the introduction of variety and by their intrinsic naturalness, since by giving our speech an appearance of simplicity and spontaneity they make the judges more ready to accept our statements without suspicion. 60 Thus we may feign repentance he says what we have said, as in the pro Caelio,93 where Cicero says, "But why did I introduce so respectable a character?" Or we may use some common phrase, such as, "I didn't mean to say that."94 Or we may pretend that we are searching for what we should say, as in the phrases, "What else is there?" or "Have I left anything out?" Or we may pretend to discover something suggested by the context, as when Cicero95 says, "One more charge, too, of this sort still remains for me to deal with," or "One thing suggests another." 61 Such methods will also provide us with elegant transitions, although transition is not itself to be ranked among figures: for example, Cicero,96 after telling the story of Piso, who ordered a goldsmith to make a ring before him in court, adds, as though this story had suggested it to him, "This ring of Piso's reminds me of something which had entirely slipped my memory. How many gold rings do you think Verres has stripped from the fingers of honourable men?" Or we may affect ignorance on certain points, as in the following passage:97 "But who was the sculptor who made those statues? Who  p413 was he? Thank you for prompting me, you are right; they said it was Polyclitus." 62 This device may serve for other purposes as well. For there are means of this kind whereby we may achieve an end quite other than that at which we appear to be aiming, as, for example, Cicero does in the passage just quoted. For while he taunts Verres with a morbid passion for acquiring statues and pictures, he succeeds in creating the impression that he personally has no interest in such subjects. So, too, when Demosthenes98 swears by those who fell at Marathon and Salamis, his object is to lessen the odium in which he was involved by the disaster at Chaeronea. 63 We may further lend charm to our speech by deferring the discussion of some points after just mentioning them, thus depositing them in the safe keeping of the judge's memory and afterwards reclaiming our deposit; or we may employ some figure to enable us to repeat certain points (for repetition is not in itself a figure) or may make especial mention of certain things and vary the aspect of our pleading. For eloquence delights in variety, and just as the eye is more strongly attracted by the sight of a number of different things, so oratory supplies a continuous series of novelties to rivet the attention of the mind.

64 Emphasis may be numbered among figures also, when some hidden meaning is extracted from some phrase, as in the following passage from Virgil:

"Might I not have lived,

From wedlock free, a life without a stain,

Happy as beasts are happy?"99

For although Dido complains of marriage, yet her  p415 passionate outburst shows that she regard life without wedlock as no life for man, but for the beasts of the field. A different kind of emphasis is found in Ovid, where Zmyrna confesses to her nurse her passion for her father in the following words:

"O Mother, happy in thy spouse!"100

65 Similar, if not identical with this figure is another, which is much in vogue at the present time. For I must now proceed to the discussion of a class of figure which is of the common est occurrence and on which I think I shall be expected to make some comment. It is one whereby we excite some suspicion to indicate that our meaning is other than our words would seem to imply; but our meaning is not in this case contrary to that which we express, as is the case in irony, but rather a hidden meaning which is left to the hearer to discover. As I have already pointed out,101 modern rhetoricians practically restrict the name of figure to this device, from the use of which figured controversial themes derive their name. 66 This class of figure may be employed under three conditions first, if it is unsafe to speak openly; secondly, if it is unseemly to speak openly; and thirdly, when it is employed solely with a view to the elegance of what we say, and gives greater pleasure by reason of the novelty and variety thus introduced than if our meaning had been expressed in straightforward language.

67 The first of the three is of common occurrence in the schools, where we imagine conditions laid down by tyrants on abdication and decrees passed by the senate after a civil war, and it is a capital offence to accuse a person with what is past, what is not  p417 expedient in the courts being actually prohibited in the schools. But the conditions governing the employment of figures differ in the two cases. For we may speak against the tyrants in question as openly as we please without loss of effect, provided always that what we say is susceptible of a different interpretation, since it is only danger to ourselves, and not offence to them, that we have to avoid. 68 And if the danger can be avoided by any ambiguity of expression, the speaker's cunning will meet with universal approbation. On the other hand, the actual business of the courts has never yet involved such necessity for silence, though at times they require something not unlike it, which is much more embarrassing for the speaker, as, for example, when he is hampered by the existence of powerful personages, whom he must censure if he is to prove his case. 69 Consequently he must proceed with greater wariness and circumspection; since the actual manner in which offence is given is a matter of indifference, and if a figure is perfectly obvious, it ceases to be a figure. Therefore such devices are absolutely repudiated by some authorities, whether the meaning of the figure be intelligible or not. But it is possible to employ such figures in moderation, the primary consideration being that they should not be too obvious. And this fault can be avoided, if the figure does not depend on the employment of words doubtful or double meaning, such, for instance, as those which occur in the theme of the suspected daughter-in‑law:102 "I married the wife who pleased my father." 70 It is important, too, that the figure should  p419 not depend on ambiguous collocations of words (a trick which is far more foolish than the last); an example of this is to be found in the controversial theme, where a father, accused of a criminal passion for his unmarried daughter, asks her for the name of her ravisher. "Who dishonoured you?" he says. 71 She replies: "My father, do you not know?"103 The facts themselves must be allowed to excite the suspicions of the judge, and we must clear away all other points, leaving nothing save what will suggest the truth. In doing this we shall find emotional appeals, hesitation and words broken by silences most effective. For thus the judge will be led to seek out the secret which he would not perhaps believe if he heard it openly stated, and to believe in that which he thinks he has found out for himself. 72 But however excellent our figures, they must not be too numerous. For overcrowding will make them obvious, and they will become ineffective without becoming inoffensive, while the fact that we make no open accusation will seem to be due not to modesty, but the lack of confidence in our own cause. In fact, we may sum up the position thus: our figures will have most effect upon the judge when he thinks that we use them with reluctance. 73 I myself have come across persons whom it was impossible to convince by other means: I have even come across a much rarer thing, namely, a case which could only be proved by recourse to such devices. I was defending a woman who was alleged to have forged her husband's will, and the heirs were stated to have given a bond104 to the husband on his deathbed, which latter assertion was true. 74 For since the wife could not legally be appointed  p421 his heir, this procedure was adopted to enable the property to be transferred to her by a secret conveyance in trust. Now it was easy for me to secure the woman's acquittal, by openly mentioning the existence of the bond; but this would have involved her loss of the inheritance. I had, therefore, to plead in such a way that the judges should understand that the bond had actually been given, but that informers might be unable to avail themselves of any statement of mine to that effect. And I was successful in both my aims. The fear of seeming to boast my own skill would have deterred me from mentioning the case, but for the fact that I wished to demonstrate that there was room for the employment of these figures even in the courts. 75 Some things, again, which cannot be proved, may, on the other hand, be suggested by the employment of some figure. For at times such hidden shafts will stick, and the fact that they are not noticed will prevent their being drawn out, whereas if the same point were stated openly, it would be denied by our opponents and would have to be proved.

76 When, however, it is respect for some person that hampers us (which I mentioned as the second condition105 under which such figures may be used), all the greater caution is required because the sense of shame is a stronger deterrent to all good men than fear. In such cases the judge must be impressed with the fact that we are hiding what we know and keeping back the words which our natural impulse to speak out the truth would cause to burst from our lips. For those against whom we are speaking, together with the judges and our audience, would  p423 assuredly be all the more incensed by such toying with detraction, if they thought that we were inspired by deliberate malice. 77 And what difference does it make how we express ourselves, when both the facts and our feelings are clearly understood? And what good shall we do by expressing ourselves thus except to make it clear that we are doing what we ourselves know ought not to be done? And yet in the days when I first began to teach rhetoric, this failing was only too common. For declaimers selected by preference those themes which attracted them by their apparent difficulty, although as a matter of fact they were much easier than many others. 78 For straightforward eloquence requires the highest gifts to commend itself owing to the audience, while these circuitous and indirect methods are merely the refuge of weakness, for those who use them are like men who, being unable to escape from their pursuers by speed, do so by doubling, since this method of expression, which is so much affected, is really not far removed jesting. Indeed it is positively assisted by the fact that the hearer takes pleasure in detecting the speaker's concealed meaning, applauds his own penetration and regards another man's eloquence as a compliment to himself. 79 Consequently it was not merely in cases where respect for persons prevented direct speaking (a circumstance which as a rule calls for caution rather than figures) that they would have recourse to figurative methods, but they made room for them even under circumstances where they were useless or morally inadmissible, as for example in a case where a father, who had secretly slain his son whom he suspected of incest with his mother,  p425 and was accused of ill-treating his wife, was made to bring indirect insinuations against his wife. 80 But what could be more discreditable to the accused than that he should have kept such a wife? What could be more damaging than that he who is accused because he appears to have harboured the darkest suspicions against his wife, should by his defence confirm the charge which he is required to refute? If such speakers had only placed themselves in the position of the judges, they would have realised how little disposed they would have been to put up with pleading on such lines, more especially in cases where the most abominable crimes were insinuated against parents.

81 However, since we have lighted on this topic, let us devote a little more time to considering the practice of the schools. For it is in the schools that the orator is trained, and the methods adopted in pleading ultimately depend on the methods employed in declamation. I must therefore say something of those numerous cases in which figures have been employed which were not merely harsh, but actually contrary to the interests of the case. "A man condemned for attempting to establish himself as tyrant shall be tortured to make him reveal the names of his accomplices. The accuser shall choose what reward he pleases. A certain man has secured the condemnation of his father and demands as his reward that he should not be tortured. The father opposes his choice." 82 Everyone who pleaded for the father indulged in figurative insinuations against the son, on the assumption that the father would, when tortured, be likely to name him as one of his accomplices. But what could be more foolish? For as  p427 soon as the gates grasp their point, they will either refuse to put him to the torture in view of his motive for desiring to be tortured, or will refuse to believe any confession he may make under torture. 83 But, it will be urged, it is possible that this was his motive. May be. But he should then disguise his motive, in order that he may effect his purpose. But what will it profit us (and by us I mean the declaimers) to have realised this motive, unless we declare it as well? Well, then, if the case were being actually pleaded in the courts, should we have disclosed this secret motive in such a way? Again, if this is not the real motive, the condemned man may have other reasons for opposing his son; he may think that the law should be carried out or be unwilling to accept such a kindness from the hands of his accuser, or (and this is the line on which I personally should insist) he may intend to persist in declaring his innocence even under torture. 84 Consequently the usual excuse advanced by such declaimers to the effect that the inventor of the theme meant the defence to proceed on these lines, will not always serve their purpose. It is possible that this was not the inventor's wish. However, let us assume that it was. Are we then to speak like fools merely because he thought like a fool? Personally I hold that, even in actual cases, we should often disregard the wishes of the litigant. 85 Further, in such cases speakers fall into the frequent error of assuming that certain persons say one thing and mean another: this is more especially the case where it is assumed that a man asks permission to die. Take, for example, the following controversial theme. "A man who had shown himself a heroic soldier in  p429 the past, on the occasion of a should be war demanded exemption from service in accordance with the law, on the ground that he was fifty years of age, but exemption being refused owing to the opposition of his son, he deserted on being compelled to go into the fight. The son, who had borne himself like a hero in the same battle, asks for his father's pardon as a reward. The father opposes his choice." "Yes," they say, "that is due not to his desire to die, but to bring odium on his son." 86 For my part, I laugh at the fears which they manifest on his behalf, as though they were in peril of death themselves, and at the way in which they allow their terror to influence their line of pleading; for they forget how many precedents there are for suicide and how many reasons there may be why a hero turned deserter should wish for death. 87 But it would be waste of time to expatiate on one controversial theme. I would lay it down as a general rule that an orator should never put forward a plea that is tantamount to collusion, and I cannot imagine a lawsuit arising in which both parties have the same design, nor conceive that any man who wishes to live could be such a fool as to put forward an absurd plea for death, when he might refrain from pleading for it at all.106 88 I do not, however, deny that there are controversial themes of this kind where figures may legitimately be employed, as, for example, the following: "A man was accused of unnatural murder on the ground that he had killed his brother, and it seemed probable that he would be condemned. His father gave evidence in his defence, stating that murder had been committed on his orders. The son was acquitted, but disinherited by the  p431 father." For in this case he does not pardon his son entirely, but cannot openly withdraw the evidence that he gave in the first trial, and while he does not inflict any worse penalty than disinheritance, he does not shrink from that. Further, the employment of the figure tells more heavily against the father than is fair and less against the son.107 89 But, while no one ever speaks against the view which he wishes to prevail, he may wish something of greater importance than what he actually says. Thus the disinherited son who asks his father to take back another son whom he had exposed, and who had been brought up by himself, on payment for his maintenance, while he may prefer that he himself should be reinstated, may all the same be perfectly sincere in his demand on behalf of his brother. 90 Again, a kind of tacit hint may be employed, which, while demanding the utmost rigour of the law from the judges, suggests a loophole for clemency, not openly, for that would imply a pledge on our part, but by giving a plausible suspicion of our meaning. This device is employed in a number of controversial themes, among them the following. "A ravisher, unless within thirty days he secure pardon both from his own father and the father of the ravished girl, shall be put to death. A man who has succeeded in securing pardon from the father of the girl, but not from his own, accuses the latter of madness." 91 Here if the father pledges himself to pardon him, the dispute falls to the ground. If, on the other hand, he holds out no hope of pardon, he will certainly give the impression of cruelty and will prejudice the judge against him. Latro therefore  p433 showed admirable skill when he made the son say, "You will kill me then?" and the father reply, "Yes, if I can."108 The elder Gallio treats the theme with greater tenderness, as was natural at once to a man of his disposition. He makes the father say, "Be firm, my heart, be firm. Yesterday you were made of sterner stuff." 92 Akin to this are those figures of which the Greeks are so fond, by means of which they give gentle expression to unpleasing facts. Themistocles, for example, is believed to have urged the Athenians to commit their city to the protection of heaven, because to urge them to abandon it would have been too brutal an expression. Again the statesman109 who advised that certain golden images of Victory should be melted down as a contribution to the war funds, modified his words by saying that they should make a proper use of their victories. But all such devices which consist in saying one thing, while intending something else to be understood, have a strong resemblance to allegory.

93 It has also been asked how figures may best be met. Some hold that they should always be exposed by the antagonist, just as hidden ulcers are laid open by the surgeon. It is true that this is often the right course, being the only means of refuting the charges which have been brought against us, and this is more especially the case when the question turns on the very point at which the figures are directed. But when the figures are merely employed as vehicles of abuse, it will sometimes even be wisest to show that we have a clear conscience by ignoring them. 94 Nay, even if too many figures have been used to permit us to take such a course, we may ask our opponents, if they  p435 have any confidence in the righteousness of their cause, to give frank and open expression to the charges which they have attempted to suggest by indirect hits, or at any rate to refrain from asking the judges not merely to usa, but even to believe things which they themselves are afraid to state in so many words. 95 It may even at times be found useful to pretend to misunderstand them; for which we may compare the well-known story of the man who, when his opponent cried, "Swear by the ashes of your father,"110 replied that he was ready to do so, whereupon the judge accepted the proposal, much to the indignation of the advocate, who protested that this would make the use of figures absolutely impossible; we may therefore lay it down as a general rule that such figures should only be used with the utmost caution.

96 There remains the third class of figure designed merely to enhance the elegance of our style, for which reason Cicero expresses the opinion that such figures are independent of the subject in dispute. As an illustration I may quote the figure which he uses in his speech111 against Clodius: "By these means he, being familiar with all our holy rites, thought that he might easily succeed in appeasing the gods." 97 Irony also is frequently employed in this connexion. But by far the most artistic device  p437 is to indicate one thing by allusion to another; take the case where a rival candidate speaks against an ex-tyrant who had abdicated on condition of his receiving an amnesty:112 "I am not permitted to speak against you. But a little while ago I wished to kill you." 98 Another common device is to introduce an oath, like the speaker who, in defending a dish inherited man, cried, "So may I die leaving a son to be my heir."113 But this is not a figure which is much to be recommended, for as a rule the introduction of an oath, unless it is absolutely necessary, is scarcely becoming to a self-surpassing man. Seneca made a neat comment to this effect when he said that oaths were for the witness and not for the advocate. Again, the advocate who drags in an oath merely for the sake of some trivial rhetorical effect, does not deserve much credit, unless he can do this with the masterly effect achieved by Demosthenes, which I mentioned above.114 99 But by far the most trivial form of figure is that which turns on a single word, although we find such a figure directed against Clodia by Cicero:115 "Especially when everybody thought her the friend of all men rather than the enemy of any."

100 I note that comparison is also regarded as a figure, although at times it is a form of proof,116 and at others the whole case may turn upon it,117 while its form may be illustrated by the following passage from  p439 the pro Murena:118 "You pass wakeful nights that you may be able to reply to your clients; he that he and his army may arrive betimes at their destination. You are roused by cockcrow, he by the bugle's reveillé," and so on. 101 I am not sure, however, whether it is so much a figure of thought as of speech. For the only difference lies in the fact that universals are not contrasted with universals, but particulars with particulars. Celsus, however, and that careful writer Visellius regard it as a figure of thought, while Rutilius Lupus regards it as belonging to both, and calls it antithesis.

102 To the figures placed by Cicero among the ornaments of thought Rutilius (following the views of Gorgias, a contemporary, whose four books he transferred to his own work, and who is not to be confused with Gorgiasº of Leontini) and Celsus (who follows Rutilius) would add a number of others, such as: 103 concentration, which the Greek calls διαλλαγή,119 a term employed when a number of different arguments are used to establish one point: consequence, which Gorgias calls ἐπακολούθησαις, and which I have already discussed under the head of argument:120 inference, which Gorgias terms συλλογισμός: threats, that is, κατάπληξις: exhortation, or παραινετικόν. But all of these are perfectly straightforward methods of speaking, unless combined with some one of the figures which I have discussed above. 104 Besides these, Celsus considers the following to be figures: exclusion, asseveration, refusal,121 excitement of the judge, the use of proverbs, the employment of quotations from poetry, jests, invidious remarks or invocation to intensify a charge (which is identical with δείνωσις), flattery,  p441 pardon, disdain, admonition, apology, entreaty and rebuke. 105 He even includes partition, proposition, division and affinity between two separate things, by which letter he means that two things apparently different signify there are: for example, not only the man who murders another by administering a deadly draught is to be regarded as a poisoner, but also the man who deprives another of his wits by giving him some drug, a point which depends on definition. 106 To these Rutilius or Gorgias add ἀναγκαῖον, that is, the representation of the necessity of a thing, ἀνάμνησις or reminding, ἀνθυποφορά, that is, replying to anticipated objection, ἀντίῤῥησις or refutation, παραύξησις or amplification, προέκθεσις, which means pointing out what ought to have been done, and then what actually has been done, ἐναντιότης, or arguments from opposites122 (whence we get enthymemes styled κατ’ ἐναντίωσιν), and even μετάληψις, which Hermagoras considers a basis.123 Visellius, although he makes the number of figures but small, includes among them the enthymeme, which he calls commentum, and the epicheireme, which he calls ratio.124 This view is also partially accepted by Celsus, who is in doubt whether consequence is not to be identified with the epicheireme. 107 Visellius also adds general reflexions to the list. I find others who would add to theseδιασκευή,125 or enhancement, ἀπαγορεύσις, or prohibition, and παραδιήγησις, or incidental narrative. But though these are not figures, there may be others which have slipped my notice, or are yet to be invented: still, they will be of the same nature as those of which I have spoken above.

The Translator's Notes:

18 Aen. I.369.

19 pro Lig. iii.9 and in Cat. i.1.

20 pro Cluent. xxxvii.103.

21 Med. 451.

22 Aen. II.69.

23 Aen. I.48.

24 Aen. III.56.

25 Aen. IV.592.

26 Eun. I.I.1.

27 Ecl. iii.17 and 21.

28 VI.III.68.

29 iii.7.

30 xvii.39 sqq. The passage concludes, "I should consider such an one the possessor of qualities which I can only call worthy of a god."

31 Orat. lxvii.223.

32 pro Cluent. xxxviii.106.

33 Div. in Caec. i.1.

34 Chs. i and ix.

35 From a lost work of Cicero.

36 pro Mur. xxxvii.80.

37 pro Cluent. i.4.

38 V.5.10.

39 pro Mil. xviii.47.

40 pro Muren. vi.14.

41 in Cat. 1.2.

42 Phil. II.XXVI.64.

43 Unknown.

44 The author of Auct. ad Herennium, IV.36.

45 iii.7.

46 iv.10. We = the Pompeian party. He = Caesar.

47 Orat. xxv.85.

48 Cornific. op. cit. iv.43 and 52.

49 in Cat. I.XI.27.

50 in Cat. I.VII.18.

51 The speech being lost, the allusion in bis — dedit is unintelligible.

52 Aen. IV.174.

53 Mem. ii.1.

54 Aen. II.29. The words represent what some Trojan said after the departure of the Greeks.

55 i.9. These words represent the argument of envoys sent out by Romulus to neighbouring cities.

56 pro Lig. iii.9.

57 pro Mil. xxxi.85.

58 Verr. V.LXIII.163. Laws protecting the person of a Roman citizen, and disregarded by Verres.

59 Aen. IV.425. Dido is urging Anna to approach Aeneas and induce Aeneas to postpone his departure. Dido is no enemy from whom he need fly.

60 de Or. III.LIII.202.

61 VIII.III.61 sqq.

62 Verr. V.LXII.161.

63 Ch. 32.

64 Not found in extant works of Cicero.

65 I.VIII.19.

66 Verr. V.II.4.

67 Phil. II.XXV.62.

68 pro Cael. xxii.53.

69 pro Cluent. lx.166.

70 Aen. IV.381. Dido to Aeneas. She continues by praying for his destruction.

71 Aen. XI.383. Turnus addresses Drances, who has been attacking him as the cause of the war and bidding him fight himself, if he would win Lavinia for his bride.

72 Aen. X.92. Juno ironically pretends to have brought about the rape of Helen, which was in reality the work of Venus.

73 Aen. IV.379. Dido mocks the excuse of Aeneas that he had received the direct command of heaven to leave Carthage.

74 pro Lig. i.2.

75 Verr. V.XLIV.117.

76 pro Cluent. ii.5.

77 pro Cluent. xxiii.63.

78 Verr. IV.XVII.37. i.e. Apollonius deserved it.

79 Roscius of Ameria was accused of parricide.

80 See quotation in IX.I.31.

81 Aen. I.135. Neptune rebukes the winds for raising a storm, but breaks off without actually saying what he would do to them.

82 Now frequently inserted in pro Mil. xii.33. But it is quite possible that the words formed part of the speech actually delivered, and do not belong to the existing speech, from the MSS. from which they are absent. The law proposed to give freedmen the right to vote in all thirty-five tribes and not as before in the four city-tribes only.

83 § 3. Ἀλλ’ ἐμοὶ μὲν — ὀυº βούλομαι δὲ δυσχερὲς εἰπεῖν ὀυδέν.º

84 From the pro Cornelio.

85 cp. IV.III.12.

86 From the passage quoteof IX.I.28.

87 From the lost pro Vareno.

88 xii.33.

89 pro Lig. iii.9.

90 A free quotation from Verr. V.XLIV.146.

91 Eun. I.II.75.

92 Div. in Caec. ii.4. Cicero ironically suggested to the Sicilians that Caecilius should undertake their case. He was a bogus accuser put forward by Verres himself, whose quaestor he had been in Sicily.

93 xv.35.

94 Verr. IV.XX.43.

95 pro Cluent. lxi.169.

96 Verr. IV.XXVI.57.

97 Verr. IV.III.5.

98 De Coron. 263. He argued that defeat in such a cause could bring no shame. Athens would have been unworthy of the heroes of old had she not fought for freedom.

99 Aen. IV.550.

100 Met. x.422.

101 IX.I.14.

102 i.e. suspected of an intrigue with her father-in‑law.

103 The sense of the words depends on the punctuation, according as we place a full-stop or a comma after My father.

104 The bond was to the effect that they would make over the property to the wife; the existence of such a bond proved the wife innocent, since it was a virtual confirmation of the will, of which it showed the husband to have cognisance. But the bond was not valid in the eye of the law and such tacita fideicommissa were illegal, since the wife could not inherit; consequently the admission of the existence of the bond would have involved the loss of the inheritance, which on information being laid (cp. delatores) would have lapsed to the state. Caput is the civil status of the wife. With regard to dicebantur, the writing is careless, as it suggests that the statement was made by the prosecution, which was, of course, not the case.

105 See § 66.

106 The father does not wish to die, but merely to bring odium on his son, i.e. he is saying one thing and meaning another, for his real desire is to save his life. Consequently, despite their quarrel, both parties are aiming at the same thing, the saving of the father, while the father's plea is practically tantamount to collusion (praevaricatio) with his opponent.

107 The sense is quite uncertain. The simplest interpretation is perhaps that the father's action and the figura by which he defends himself show that his evidence in the private trial was false. The son has been acquitted on the father's evidence, and the father by punishing him has put himself in a hopelessly false position.

108 Si potero is ambiguous. It might mean "If I have the right to do so." Here lies the loophole for clemency to which Quintilian has referred.

109 Unknown.

110 See V.VI.1. An oath might be taken by one of the parties as an alternative to violence. In court such an oath might be taken only on the proposal of the defendant. The taking of such a proffered oath meant victory for the swearer.

111 Lost. An allusion presumably to the occasion when Clodius was found disguised as a woman at the mysteries of the Bona Dea.

112 An example of this theme is preserved in the elder Seneca, Excerpt. controv. 5, 8. one candidate is permitted to speak against another. A tyrant has abdicated on condition of an amnesty and that any one who charged him with having been a tyrant should be liable to capital punishment. The ex-tyrant stands for a magistracy. The rival candidate speaks against him. The irony is in the last sentence.

113 By this wish he expresses his disapproval of such acts as the disinheritance of a son.

114 § 62.

115 pro Cael. xiii.32. The "word" is amica, which means either "mistress" or "friend."

116 See V.XI.32 (where for heredem read heredi with MSS.) "The man to whom the usufruct of a house has been left will not restore it in the interests of the heir if it collapses: just as he would not replace a slave if he should die."

117 E.g. when the accused admits that he is guilty of a crime, but seeks to show that his wrongdoing was the cause of greater good.

118 pro Muren. ix.22.

119 διαλλαγή is corrupt, but the correct term has not yet been discovered. MSS. ΔΙΑΜΑΤΝΗ, ΔΙΑΜΑΡΝΗ, etc.

120 See V.XIV.1.

121 The meaning of detrectare is uncertain. Itmay mean "refuse to deal with some topic," or simply "detract."

122 See IX.III.90. For enthymemes κατ' ἐναντίωσιν, see V.XIV.2, and note on ex pugnantibus, Vol. II p524.

123 See III.VI.46. The term is not used here in the same sense as in VIII.VI.37, but rather = translatio, see III.VI.23. Lit. translatio means "transference of the charge": the sense is virtually the same as that of exceptio (a plea made by defendant in bar of plaintiff's action). "Competence" is perhaps the least unsatisfactory rendering.

124 See note on V.XIV.5, Vol. II p524.

125 Apparently some form of exaggeration.

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