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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of the
Institutio Oratoria


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

The text is in the public domain.

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

(Vol. I) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria




Ed. princeps, Campano, Rome, 1470.
Gronov, Leyden, 1665.
Gibson, Oxford, 1693.
Obrecht, Strassburg, 1698.
Burmann, Leyden, 1720.
Capperonnier, Paris, 1725.
Gesner, Göttingen, 1738.
Spalding, Lepizig, 1798‑1816, with supplementary volume of notes by Zumpt, 1829, and another by Bonnell, 1834.



Zumpt, Leipzig, 1831.
Bonnell, Teubner texts, 1854.
Halm, Leipzig, 1868.
Meister, Leipzig, 1886‑7.
Radermacher, Teubner texts, 1907 (Bks. 1‑6). Second edition by V. Buchheit, 2 vols., 1959.
D. M. Gaunt, M. Fabii Quintiliani Institutio Oratoria. Selections with commentary and summaries of the intervening material. London, W. Heinemann, 1952.


Editions of Single Books

Bk. 1, Fierville, Paris, 1830: F. Colson, Cambridge, 1924.
Bk. 10, Peterson, Oxford, 1891.
Bk. 10 and 12, Frieze, New York; Bk. 12, R. G. Austin, Oxford, 1948.

Of the above the commentary of Spalding and the texts of Halm, Meister and Radermacher are by far the most important. Peterson's edition of Bk. 10 contains an admirable introduction dealing with the life of Quintilian, his gifts as a critic, his style and language and the MSS.

In connection with the history of rhetorical theory and practice at Rome, the following works are of special importance:—

Cicero, de Oratore (Ed. Wilkins, Oxford, 1892).
Cicero, Orator (Ed. Sandys, Cambridge, 1889).
Cicero, Brutus (Ed. Kellogg, Boston, 1889).
Tacitus, Dialogus de claris oratoribus (Ed. Peterson, Oxford, 1893).

For the history of Latin rhetoric and education the following works may be consulted:—

Norden, Die Antike Kunstprosa, Leipzig, 1898.
Volkmann, Die Rhetorik der Griechen und Römer, Leipzig, 1885 
Marquardt, Das Privatleben der Römer, pp80‑126, ed. 2, Leipzig, 1886.
Wilkins, Roman Education, Cambridge, 1905.


English Translations of Quintilian

Guthrie, London, 1805.
Watson, in Bohn's series, reprinted 1903.


The Manuscripts

The MSS. of the Institutio Oratoria fall into three groups:— (1) The Codex Ambrosianus (E153), an eleventh-century MS. now at Milan. Chs. IX.IV.135 to XII.XI.22 are missing.

(2) The Codex Bernensis (351) of the 10th century.
The Codex Bambergensis (M. 4, 14) of the 10th century.
The Codex Nostradamensis (Paris, Lat. 18527) of the 10th (?) century.

This group has the following lacunae: I to i.7; V.XIV.12 to VIII.III.64; VIII.VI.17 to 67; IX.III.2 to X.I.107; XI.I.71 to ii.23; XII.X.43 to end. The gaps are to be supplied from the Codex Bambergensis, in which they have been filled in by a later hand from a MS. resembling the Ambrosianus.

(3) A number of late MSS. of the 15th century of the usual type.

Occasional assistance may be obtained from the Ars Rhetorica of Julius Victor (Halm, Rhet. Lat. minores, II. pp373 sqq.), which is based on Quintilian and often transcribes whole passages: the Rhetorical treatise attributed to Cassiodorus (Halm, op. cit. p501) is also sometimes useful.

The text in this volume is that of Halm, with a few alterations in reading, and a considerable number in punctuation. The first family is indicated by A in critical notes, the second by B. Where particular MSS. are mentioned they are indicated by their name.a

A =
Codex Ambrosianus I, 11th century.
B =
Agreement of Codex Bernensis, Bambergensis and Nostradamensis, 10th century.
G =
Codex Bambergensis in those passages where gaps have been supplied by a later 11th‑century hand.

Thayer's Note:

a addendum: The careful reader will have noticed that two or three of the references listed above postdate the Loeb edition, and must therefore have been added to one of the reprintings. In addition, my copy of the Loeb volumes includes a "Bibliographical Addendum (1980)", comprising 10 items. Short as it is, it remains under copyright, and is not quite short enough to fall under fair use, so I didn't feel I could properly include it here; if you think it might be of use to you, drop me an e‑mail.

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Page updated: 25 Jan 04