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E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a., f.e.hist.soo. 


tT. E. PAGE, C.H., LiTT.D. tE. CAPPS, ph.d., ll.d. 

tW. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. L. A. POST, l.h.d. 












E. W. SUTTON, B.C.L., M.A. 











PritUed in Oreat Brilain 




Preface vii 

Introduction ix 


Text and Translation — 

Book I 2 

— Book II 196 

Appendix 480 


Thougb his name does not appear on the title-page, 
any merit discoverable in the translation of De 
Oratore, Book I is largely due to my friend Mr. 
Charles Stuttaford, sometime of Amersham Hall 
School. Originally entrusted with the execution of 
both these volumes, he had done much preliminary 
work on the text and translation of Book I, when 
reasons of health compelled him to rehnquish his 
task. I most gratefully acknowledge my heavy 
indebtedness to his labours. 

E. W. S. 

25th February 1939 

The late Mr. E. W. Sutton left at his death only 
the MS. and proof of his translation of De Oratore, 
Book I, and three-quarters of Book II, at various 
stages of correction. I have completed the volume. 
An index will be found in Volume Two, which 
contains De Oratore, Book III, De Fato, Paradoxa 
Stoicorum, and De Partitione Oraioria. 

H. R. 

January 1949 



Date and Purpose of the Work 

The circumstances in which Cicero wrote his essay 
On the Orator and the object that he had in view can 
be inferred from the following three passages in his 
letters : 

Ad Atticum iv. 13. 2 (November 55 b.c). De Jibris 
oratoriis factum est a me diligenter : diu multumque in 
manibus fuerunt. 

Ad Fam. i. 9. 23 (September 54 b.c). Scripsi etiam — 
nam ab orationibus diiungo me referoque ad mansuetiores 
Musas, quae me nunc maxime sicut iam a prima adu- 
lescentia delectarunt — scripsi igitur Aristotelio more, 
quemadmodum quidem volui, tres libros in disputatione 
ac dialogo de oratore, quos arbitror Lentulo tuo non fore 
inutiles ; abhorrent enim a communibus praeceptis atque 
omnium antiquorum, et Aristoteliam et Isocratiam, 
rationem oratoriam complectuntur. 

Ad Atticum xiii. 19. 4 (45 b.c). Sunt etiam de oratore 
nostri tres (libri), mihi vehementer probati. In eis quoque 
eae personae sunt ut mihi tacendum fuerit, Crassus enim 
loquitur, Antonius, Catulus senex, C. lulius frater Catuli, 
Cotta, Sulpicius. Puero me hic sermo inducitur, ut nullae 
esse possent partes meae. Quae autem his temporibus 
[i.e. 45 B.c] scripsi Aristotelium morem habent, in quo 
sermo ita inducitur ceterorum ut penes ipsum sit princi- 

We thus lean>4h|it Cicero finished the book in the 
early winter oi 55 B.c.,.when he had been working on <^ 



it for some time ; and we infer that he published it 
soon afterwards, since in the following September 
he promises to send a copy to his friend Lentulus for 
the use of his son. He remarks to Lentulus that he 
has now almost entirely given up composing speeches, 
and has returned to his youthful love, the humane 

He had indeed for some time lived entirely with- 
drawn from public life, where even previously he had 
lost all power of influencing the course of afFairs. In 
63 B.c. the oligarchical party had been glad to make 
use of his legal and oratorical talents in the suppres- 
sion of the conspiracy of Catiline ; but they were not 
willing to make any sacrifices in order to repay him 
for his services, and in 58 b.c. they allowed Clodius 
to procure his banishment in punishment for the 
alleged illegality of his procedure in the Catilinarian 
affair. A year later Pompeius, finding Clodius more 
dangerous, again required Cicero's assistance, and 
procured his recall from exile. He was warmly wel- 
comed back by the pubHc, but he was no longer of 
any political importance, although he still appeared 
in the law-courts, where he delivered some consider- 
able speeches. In 55 b.c. however, when the im- 
perium of the triumvirs was prolonged for five 
years, he withdrew from the courts as well as from 
the senate, and devoted his leisure to study, the first 
fruits being the present treatise. 

Of its merits he himself took a high view ; the 
tone in which he wites of it to Atticus (in the third 
extract above) is very different from the apologetic 
way in which ten years later he spoke about his philo- 
sophical works : these he referred to as d7r6ypa(}>a, 
mere transcripts from Greek originals, that cost him 


little labour. The present work is indeed worthy 
of the greatest of Roman orators, who regards ora- 
tory as of supreme practical importance in the guid- 
ance of affairs, and who resolves, while his mindis still 
vigorous and powerful, to devote his enforced leisure 
to placing on record the fruits of his experience, for 
the instruction of future statesmen. 
- The treatise is composed in the form of a conversa- 
tion, though its method is very different from that 
of the dialogues of Plato. In those the conversational 
form is employed to convey the feeling of corporate 
research into complicated abstract questions, pro- 
gressing towards the truth but not attaining it with 
sufficient certainty and completeness to justify its 
being expounded dogmatically ; the positive results, 
so far as any can be ehcited, are merely tentative. 
In Cicero's dialogues on the contrary the facts in 
respect to the matter under consideration are re- 
garded as already ascertained ; doctrines are ex- 
pounded as dogmatic truths, the dialogue form being 
adopted as a vivid method of exhibiting the many- 
sided nature of the subject and the departments into 
which a systematic treatment of it falls. If differing 
opinions about it are introduced, the parts of them 
that are valid are accepted and put together in a 
single system. 

> In the second of the passages quoted above Cicero 
^escribes the work as written * in the Aristotehan 
\manner.' Its manner is extremely unhke jthat of 
the works oF Arfstotle that have cottie 3own to us, 
which are rigidly scientific expositions, in jjlaces 
hardly more than outlines and enumerations of 
arguments, and which have been conjectured to be 
the Master's actual notes for his lectures. We^now 



however that Aristotle also wrote dialogues, in which 
he published his doctrines in a more popular form, 
but all of them have now been lost." It is this group 
of Aristotle's works the method of which, disputatio et 
dialogus, Cicero claims to have adopted in the present 
treatise, as a vehicle by which to convey the oratorical 

\system of Aristotle himself and that of IsOcrates. 

1 Some difficulty has been felt to be raised by the third 
passage quoted, which is ten years later in date ; in 
it Cicero contrasts De Oratore with his later philo- 
sophical dialogues, on the ground that in the former 
he is not himself one of the party, the scene being 
laid in the time of his boyhood, whereas in the latter 
he follows the Aristotehan plan of assigning the 
principal part in the discussion to himself (a feature 
in Aristotle's dialogues of which we have no other 
evidence, but which we must accept on Cicero's 
authority). But in point of fact there is no dis- 
crepancy. The comparison with Aristotle in the 
latter passage relates to the assignment of the parts : 
that in the former refers to the dialogue form. Also 
it must be noticed that in the former passage Cicero 
claims to have adopted the Aristotehan method ' at 
all events as far as I thought fit ' : this qualification 
may well hint at the difFerence from Aristotle con- 
sisting in the author's taking no part in the dialogue 


Details are given by the author in the intro- 
ductory passages at the beginning of each of the 

" The recently recovered Athenian Constitution does not 
fall exactly into either class ; it is not a dialogue, but a 
straightforward exposition in a fully finished form. 



three Books ; they will be found in the outline 
below, pp. XV, xix, xxi. 

Persons of the Dialooue 

LJ^icinius Crassus was born in 140 b.c, and was 
therefofefor^y^inFyears old at the date when the 
discussion is supposed to take place, September 91 b.c. 
He died only a few days after that date. He was 
a leading figure among the moderate and judicious 
optimates, though it is true that he gave his name to 
an unwise law checking the movement to strengthen 
Rome by extending the citizenship to the Latins. 
He passed through the cursus honorum, becoming 
consul in 95 b.c. He was the mostiUiistrisius^Roman 
orator before Cicerorandj^HerrXicerowas a boy he 
act^T^^Tus^Tutof in rheto ric. Ih" the^^present dia- 
logue he is the moiitHpiece of Cicero's own opinions. 

M. Antonius, the grandfather of the triumvir, was 
Crassus's senior by three years.** As praetor 103 b.c. 
he put down piracy in Cilicia and was awarded a 
triumph. Six years later he was a vigorous censor. 
Four years after the supposed date of the dialogue 
he fell a victim to Marius, whose minions murdered 
him when at supper at a friend's house. 

In coUoquy with these two great orators Cicero 
introduces two of the most distinguished of their 
younger foUowers. 

P. Sulpicius Rufus was now thirty-three years old. 
He was one^FtHe^chief hopes of the optimate party, 
being a moderate conservative and foUowing Drusus 
in his movement for limited reform. Later however 
he swung over to Marius and the extremists, and 
when (ten years after the date of the dialogue) SuUa 
' Cic. Brutua 161 triennio. 



made himself master of Rome, he with Marius was 
proscribed, and soon after murdered. 

C. Aurelius Cotta, a young man of less vigorous 
character, of the "sarile age as Sulpicius, attached 
himself in a similar manner to Antonius. He also 
belonged to the party of conservative reform, but 
unhke Sulpicius he remained a moderate and never 
joined the extreme reformers. Sulla therefore 
allowed him to return from exile in 82 b.c. and resume 
his career. He rose to be consul in 75 b.c, and died 
the next year, after achieving some minor miUtary 
successes as proconsul in Gaul. 
^ / 5" These four characters take part in the whole of 
^Cj. <T;he dialogue. Q. Mucius Q. F. Scaevola the Augur 
figures in Book I only. He was nearly or quite 
seventy years old at the time, having been consul 
117 B.c. He was a learned lawyer, and an adherent 
of the Stoic philosophy, being a member of the 
Hellenizing ' Scipionic circle.' In extreme old age 
he refused to figure as an adherent of SuUa. Cicero 
tells Atticus {ad Att. iv. 16. 3) that he thought it suit- 
able to his character and interests to introduce him 
at the beginning of the discussion, but due to his 
years to spare him the rcxi^oAoyia of the later part. 
He is represented as displaying great legal know- 
ledge and experience of the world ; he somewhat 
disparages the value of rhetoric, and questions the 
need of a wide Uterary and philosophic education 
for an orator. 
■ — Books II and III introduce two others, Q^^Lutatius 
Catulus and his half-brother C. Juhus Caes^^^trabo 
Vopiscus. Catulus first appears in history as col- 
leagiie of Marius in the consulship, 102 b.c. In the 
next year as proconsul he failed to check the Cim- 


brians from invading Gallia Transpadana, but with 
Marius defeated them at Vercellae : according to 
Plutarch the greater part of the credit was due 
to Catulus. They celebrated a triumph together. 
Fourteen years later on Marius's return to Rome he 
made Catulus one of his victims : * moriatur ' was 
his instruction. Catulus was an officer and gentle- 
man of spotless integrity ; he also had considerable 
Uterary gifts. 

Vopiscus early won a position at the bar, and was 
aedile in the year after the date of the dialogue. 
He too fell a victim to Marius. 


Book I (§§ 1-23) Introduction : (§§ 1-5) Cicero sub- 
stitutes this essay for his earUer writings on rhetoric, 
in order to satisfy his brother Quintus's desire for 
a discussion of the functions of the orator, and to 
justify his own view that the orator requires a vdde 
liberal education. (§§ 6-15) Great orators are rare, 
not owing to dearth of abiUty, but because of the 
difficulty of the art, and in spite of its attractions. 
(§§ 16-23) It calls for wide knowledge, command of 
language, psychological insight, wit and humour, a 
good deUvery and a good memory — even if we only 
aim at the eloquence requisite for pubUc Ufe, and 
consider it not theoreticaUy but in the Ught of 
practical experience. 

(§§ 24-29) Scene of the dialogue. The treatise gives 
an account of a discussion held. in September 91 b.c. 
at the Tusculan viUa of Anjf6niufe, t)etween him and 
Cra«sus"^"*a minor share being taken by Scaevola, 
Sulpicius and Cotta. The discussion was as foUows : 



(§§ 30-95) Oratory, its nature and range. 

(§§ 30-34) Crassus praises oratory as of primary 
importance to society and the state : the orator's 
position is eminent, gratifying and powerful for 
good ; he excels in the very gift wherein man is 
superior to animals, * discourse of reason.' 

(§§ 35-44) Scaevola objects that Crassus Overrates 
the political influence of orators and exaggerates the 
range of their powers : they are often incapable of 
dealing with questions of law, philosophy and science. 
Their proper sphere is the law-courts and political 

(§§ 45-57) Crassus replies that this is indeed the 
Greek view, but it puts the function of oratory too 
low. Yet even if thus limited to politics it calls for 
wide knowledge, and on the other hand men of 
science and philosophers borrow style from oratory, 
although style is not as essential for them as a com- 
mand of matter is essential for the orator, especially 
in order to control the emotions of the audience. 
(§§ 58-68) Eloquence does not itself bestow political 
knowledge, but the orator must be well versed in 
pohtical and also moral science. (§§ 69-73) In power 
of expression and range of subject he compares with 
the poet; and his style will reveal whether he has 
had a wide education. 

(§§ 74-79) Scaevola repeats that such a range of 
knowledge is beyond the reach of most orators. 
Crassus disclaims it himself, but maintains it as the 

(§§ 80-95) Antonius thinks that so much knowledge 
is unattainable in a practical career, and also likely 
to form a style too abstract to be useful. He reports 
a debate at Athens between a Stoic, Menedemus, 


who disparaged rhetoric altogether, and an Academic, 
Charmadas, who held that it should be based on 
philosophy, giving examples ; Charmadas denied 
any science of rhetoric, saying that oratory depends 
merely on natural aptitude and practice, and has 
to go to philosophy for matter. Antonius says that 
he has never heard real eloquence, though it may 
be a possibihty. 

(§§ 96-112) Crassus is urged to expound his views 
more fully, and with reluctance consents to do so. 
(§§ 102-109) He asks, is there an art " of rhetoric ? 
This is a question rather for a Greek. But when 
pressed he says that there is none, in the strict sense, 
although if one reduces the results of observation and 
experience to a system one may produce a sort of 
art. He is urged to give the results of his own 

(§§ 113-262) The requirements of the orator. 

(§§ 113-128) Natural gifts are essential for high 
success, although the ideal is hard to attain. Antonius 
agrees : orators are more exposed to criticism than 
even actors. (§§ 129-136) Crassus concurs, as every 
defect is noticed at once. He praises the natural 
gifts of Sulpicius and the zeal of Cotta ; they only 
need training, so he will describe his own method. 

(§§ 137-147) He began by taking the school course 
in rhetoric, treating (1) the purpose of oratory, (2) 
the classification of subjects, (3) the determination 
of the point at issue, (4) the three kinds of oratory, 
forensic, dehberative and panegyric ; (5) its five 
divisions, invention, arrangement, style, memory 

" It must be remembered that ars means a systematio 
treatment of a subject and conveys the sense that we attach 
rather to the word ' science.' Cf. Book II, § 30. 



and delivery ; (6) the division of a speech into the 
proper parts ; (7) rules of diction. Such a system 
though useful has not in fact been the guide of the 
ablest orators. Practice is all-important ; it includes 
(§§ 148-159) speaking on cases taken from real 
iLfe, occasionally impromptu ; writing compositions, 
for training both in style and in matter ; making 
paraphrases of poetry, especially Greek poetry, and 
prose, from memory ; training voice and gesture ; 
memoria technica ; speaking in pubhc ; critical reading 
of literature ; debating pro and contra ; study of 
history, law and politics ; coUecting notes. Wide 
knowledge is essential. The true orator possesses 
dignity and force (160-204). 

(§§ 205-209) Sulpicius asks for further detail, and 
Antonius consents to give his own views. (§§ 209-218) 
He challenges Crassus's definition : an orator must 
be able to speak agreeably and convincingly on public 
questions, but does not require wide general culture : 
that is a matter belonging to some other art. (§§ 219- 
233) In order to work on the emotions he needs 
shrewdness, experience and knowledge of the world, 
but not philosophy — some effective hnes of pleading 
might be disapproved of by philosophers. (§§ 234- 
239) Wide knowledge of law is also unnecessary : it 
is eloquence that wins cases, and on hard points of 
law even the experts disagree. (§§ 240-250) Nor is 
law an easy or attractive study. A general acquaint- 
ance with its principles is all that a busy man can or 
need attain ; details should be got up for the occasion. 
(§§ 251-262) Similarly voice-control, history, antiquities 
must be studied to some extent, but not so far as to 
encroach on the time needed for practice in speaking 
— practice is the important tliing. 


(§§ 263-265) Crassus hints that Antonius has only 
been displaying his skill in refutation, and requests 
him to set out his own view of the matter in the next 
day's debate. 
— ' Book II (§§1-11) Introduction : Crassus and 
Antonius were not unlearned, as is usually supposed ; 
such eloquence as theirs must have been based on 
wide study. The dialogue following will constitute 
a treatise on rhetoric based on more practical experi- 
ence than that possessed by previous authors. 

(§§ 12-27) The second day's debate. Catulus and 

Caesar arrive, and after some conversation about the 

employment of leisure, Antonius begins to state his 

own case. (§§ 28-38) He says that oratory cannot be 

^made into a science, but some rules for speakers can 

) be derived from observation and experience ; oratory 

\covers all good speaking and all subjects. (§§ 39-73) 

He proceeds to consider the proper sphere of rhetoric. 

Demonstratipn^needs no special_rules ; nor does 

history^he gives a survey orthe chief Greek his- 

torians. The rhetoricians formulate no rules for 

writing history, nor for the other forms of literature 

that require eloquence. The same is true of the 

discussion of abstract subjects, for which no rules of 

style are needed. Any student who has mastered 

the more difficult problems will need no directions as 

to the easier ones. Forensic oratory is really the 

most difficult kind of oratory. 

\ )) (§§ 74-89) Catulus tells a story illustrating the 

^ Muselessness of theory without practical experience. 

Antonius criticizes some superfluous or misleading 

rules of rhetoric. The first requisite is natural endow- 

ment, as the instance of Sulpicius shows. (§§ 90-98) 

There must be constant practice, largely in writing, 



a good model being chosen to copy — the Greek schools 
of oratory are enumerated. But men of originality 
can dispense with a model. (§§ 99-113) To master 
first of all the facts of the case will at once make clear 
the point at issue, which will be either one of fact or 
of nature or of definition. (§§ 114-151) The facts are 
estabhshed by evidence or by argument. The hand- 
ling of these methods needs practice. Antonius 
ofFers to treat of the invention of arguments, but on 
request consents to deal with the method of stating 
them. The case should be considered under some 
general proposition (locus) ; it is a mistake to labour 
the distinction between general propositions and 
particular instances, since the vast majority of 
cases can all be brought under a few general heads. 
The sources of arguments for deahng with these 
should be famiUar by nature, theory and particularly 

(§§ 152-161) Catulus says that this agrees largely 
with Aristotle. He develops the Roman attitude 
to philosophy. Antonius holds that the Stoic system 
is of no use to the orator, but he praises the acuteness 
of Aristotle and the dialectic of Carneades. 

(§§ 162-177) The doctrine of ' topics '— but for 
this purpose attention and natural acumen, together 
with care for variety, will nearly suffice. (§§ 178-184) 
It is important to win the favour of the audience ; 
modes of doing this. (§§ 185-216) It is also important 
to inspire them with suitable emotions ; these the 
speaker must himself feel — instances from Antonius's 
own career. But in some cases to excite emotion 
is a mistake ; and when done it must be done in the 
proper manner, and without exaggeration or hurry, 
and interspersed with conciliatory passages. Argu- 


ments must be met by argument, and appeals to 
emotion by exciting the opposite emotion. 

(§§ 217-234) Caesar discusses wit. It is of two 
kinds ; it cannot be taught ; its efFectiveness illus- 
trated from speeches of Crassus ; rules for its 
criticism. (§§ 235-247) The laughable — its nature ; 
its origin the unseemly, treated in a neat style ; 
where apphcable and where not ; (a) wit of form and 
(6) wit of matter — illustrations of the latter. (§§ 248- 
263) (a) Seven kinds of verbal wit, defined and illus- 
trated. (§§ 264-290) (6) Nine kinds of wit of thought, 
subdivided and illustrated. (§§ 291-332) Antonius 
resumes from § 216, and discusses his own and his 
//opponent's case. Arrangement : put your strongest 
s^argument at the beginning or at the end. Rules for 
the various parts of a speech. (§§ 333-340) Speeches 
of advice derive effect from the character of the 
speaker and his political experience ; errors to avoid. 
(§§ 341-349) Panegyric, Greek masters of ; praise 
should be given to the subject's character as displayed 
in his attitude towards circumstances ; compare him 
with illustrious examples. 

(§§ 350-367) Antonius sketches a memoria iechnicaf 
originating from observations made by Simonides. 

■The debate is adjourned to the afternoon. 

Book III (§§ 1-10) Death of Crassus soon after 
he had deUvered an important speech. Fate of the 
other characters in this dialogue. 

(§§ 17-24) The discussion resumed : Crassus begins 
his exposition of style. Style is not really separable 
from matter. (§§ 25-37) Our senses differ, but each 
gives pleasure ; and the same is the case with works 
of art. Similarly various styles of oratory are all 



(§§ 38-52) The first requisite is pure and clear 
diction. (§§ 53-96) Ornate style, its true conception 
and proper compass. (§§ 56-73) The relation of 
eloquence to philosophy, especially in the post- 
Socratic schools. (§§ 97-148) Embellishment should 
be produced by continuous grace, avoiding extra- 
vagance, studying light and shade, and based on 
general culture. (§§ 149-208) Detailed theory of the 
omate style : choice of words ; their combination, 
in point of order and rhythm ; figures of speech. 

(§§ 208-227) Oratory must be adapted to the occa- 
sion. Delivery (actio), including gesture and voice. 

Conclusion : Hortensius complimented. 


De Oratore was first printed at Subiaco about 1465, 
(in fact it was the very first book printed in Italy) and 
three other Italian editions followed in fifteen years. 

All subsequent editions have been supplanted by 
that of A. S. Wilkins, Oxford, 1892, the earhest con- 
taining a commentary in Enghsh. Its introduction 
is a mine of information on the text and contents of 
the book and the earlier history of rhetoric in Greece 
and Rome. 


The present edition has been printed from the text 
of V. Betolaud, Paris, no date. A few corrections 
have been introduced from the text and notes of 
Wilkins, and a few variants are noted at the foot 
of the page. 

For an exhaustive account of the mss. the student 


can refer to Wilkins. It may be noted here that the 
accepted text is based on two primary mss. of the 
ninth century and one of the tenth, which clearly 
come from a single not very much older copy. Though 
fuU of obvious errors in copying, they are free from 
dehberate corrections ; all three however are muti- 
lated, and they leave considerable gaps in the text 
unattested. The same is the case with a more 
numerous second set, of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, which are manifestly based on one or other 
of the above or on their common source, A third set, 
all of a later date, give a complete text ; but they 
do not show the same amount of agreement as the 
two earlier groups, and also their value is even more 
reduced by the probabihty that they have been 
largely corrupted by conjectural emendation. 







A. Rhetorical Treatises. 5 Volumes 
I. [Cicero], Rhetorica ad Herennimn 

II. De Inventione 

De Optiino Genere Oratorum 

III. De Oratore, Books I-II 

IV. De Oratore, Book III 
De Fato 

Paradoxa Stoicorum 
De Partitione Oratoria 

V. Brutus 





VI. Pro Quinctio 

Pro Roscio Amerino 
Pro Roscio Comoedo 
De Lege Agraria Contra RuUum I-III 

VII. The Verrine Orations I ; 
In Q. Caecilium 
In C. Verrem Actio I 
In C. Verrem Actio II, Books I-II 

VIII. The Verrine Orations II : 

In C. Verrem Actio II, Books III-V 

IX. De Imperio Cn. Pompei (Pro Lege Manilia) 
Pro Caecina 
Pro Cluentio 
Pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo 

X. In Catilinam I-IV 
Pro Murena 
Pro SuUa 
Pro Flacco 

XI. Pro Archia 

Post Reditum in Senatu 
Post Reditum ad Quirites 



De Domo Sua 

De Haruspicum Responsis 

Pro Cn. Plancio 

XII ProSestio 
In Vatinium 

XIII. Pro CaeUo 

De Provinciis Consularibus 
Pro Balbo 

XIV. Pro Milone 
In Pisonem 
Pro Scauro 
Pro Fonteio 

Pro Rabirio Postumo 

Pro Marcello 

Pro Ligario 

Pro Rege Deiotaro 

XV. Philippics I-XIV 

C. Philosophical Treatises. 6 Volumes 

XVI. De Re Publica 
De Legibus 

XVII. De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum 




XVIII. Tusculan Disputations 

XIX. De Natura Deorum 
Academica I and II 

XX. Cato Maior de Senectute 
Laelius de Amicitia 
De Divinatione 

XXI. De Officiis 


XXII. Letters to Atticus, Books I-VI 

XXIII. Letters to Atticus, Books VII-XI 

XXIV. Letters to Atticus, Books XII-XVI 
XXV. Letters to His Friends, Books I-VI 

XXVI. Letters to His Friends, Books VII-XII 

XXVII. Letters to His Friends, Books XIII-XVI 

XXVIII. Letters to His Brother Quintus 
Letters to Brutus 
Commentariolum Petitionis 
Epistula ad Octavianum 








1 I. Cogitanti mihi saepenumero, et memoria vetera 
repetenti, perbeati fuisse, Quinte frater, illi videri 
solent, qui in optima republica, cum et honoribus, et 
rerum gestarum gloria florerent, eum vitae cursxmi 
tenere potuerunt, ut vel in negotio sine periculo, vel 
in otio cum dignitate esse possent. Ac fuit quidem, 
cum mihi quoque initium requiescendi, atque ani- 
mum ad utriusque nostrum praeclara studia re- 
ferendi, fore iustum et prope ab omnibus con- 
cessum arbitrarer, si infinitus forensium rerum 
labor, et ambitionis occupatio, decursu honorum, 

2 etiam aetatis flexu, constitisset. Quam spem cogi- 
tationum et consiliorum meorum, cum graves com- 
munium temporum, tum varii nostri casus fefellerunt. 

*• The metaphors are borrowed from the Circus. Decurau 
honorum = decursis honoribus : Cicero had been successively 
augur, quaestor, aedile, praetor, consul and proconsul. 







1 I. When, as often happens, brother Quintus, I introduo- 
think over and recall the days of old, those men tion. The 
always seem to me to have been singularly happy cumstances. 
who, with the State at her best, and while enjoying 

high distinctions and the fame of their achievements, 
were able to maintain such a course of life that they 
could either engage in activity that involved no risk 
or enjoy a dignified repose. And time was when I 
used to imagine that I too should become entitled, 
with wellnigh universal approval, to some oppor- 
tunity of leisure and of again directing my mind to 
the sublime pursuits beloved of us both, when once, 
the career of office complete and life too taking the 
turn towards its close," the endless toil of pubHc speak- 
ing and the business of canvassing should have come 

2 to a standstill. The hopes so born of my thoughts 
and plans have been cheated, ahke by the disastrous 
times of public peril and by my manifold personal 


Nam qui locus quietis et tranquillitatis plenis- 
simus fore videbatur, in eo maximae moles molestia- 
rum, et turbulentissimae tempestates exstiterunt. 
Neque vero nobis cupientibus atque exoptantibus 
fructus otii datus est ad eas artes, quibus a 
pueris dediti fuimus, celebrandas, inter nosque 

3 recolendas. Nam prima aetate incidimus in ipsam 
perturbationem disciplinae veteris ; et consulatu 
devenimus in medium rerum omnium certamen 
atque discrimen ; et hoc tempus omne post consula- 
tum obiecimus eis fluctibus, qui, per nos a communi 
peste depulsi, in nosmet ipsos redundarunt. Sed 
tamen in his vel asperitatibus rerum, vel angustiis 
temporis, obsequar studiis nostris ; et, quantum mihi 
vel fraus inimicorum, vel causae amicorum, vel 
respublica tribuet otii, ad scribendum potissimum 

4 conferam. Tibi vero, frater, neque hortanti deero, 
neque roganti, nam neque auctoritate quisquam 
apud me plus valere te potest, neque voluntate. 

II. Ac mihi repetenda est veteris cuiusdam 
memoriae non sane satis explicata recordatio, sed, 
ut arbitror, apta ad id, quod requiris, ut cognoscas 
quae viri omnium eloquentissimi clarissimique sen- 
6 serint de omni ratione dicendi. Vis enim, ut mihi 
saepe dixisti, quoniam quae pueris aut adolescentulis 
nobis ex commentariolis nostris inchoata ac rudia 
exciderunt, vix hac aetate digna, et hoc usu, quem 

" Cicero was about eightecn years old at the outbreak of 
the civll strife between Marius and Sulla. 

' The reference is to the juvenile De InventioM of Cicero, 
in two books. 

DE ORATORE, I. i. 2— ii. 5 

misfortunes. For the time of life which promised 
to be fullest of quiet and peace proved to be that 
during which the greatest volume of vexations and the 
most turbulent tempests arose. And notwithstand- 
ing my desire, and indeed my profound longing, no 
enjoyment of leisure was granted me, for the cultiva- 
tion and renewed pursuit, in your company, of those 
arts to which from boyhood you and I have been 

3 devoted. For in my early years" I came just upon 
the days when the old order was overthrown ; then 
by my consulship I was drawn into the midst of 
a universal struggle and crisis, and my whole time 
ever since that consulship I have spent in stemming 
those billows which, stayed by my efForts from ruining 
the nation, rolled in a flood upon myself. But none 
the less, though events are thus harassing and my 
time so restricted, I will hearken to the call of our 
studies, and every moment of leisure allowed me by 
the perfidy of my enemies, the advocacy of my friends 
and my political duties, I vdll dedicate first and fore- 

4 most to writing. And when you, brother, exhort 
and request me, I will not fail you, for no man's 
authority or wish can have greater weight with me 
than yours. 

II. And now I must bring back to mind the recol- Educationof 
lection of an old story, not, I admit, as clear in detail *^® »»tor. 
as it might be, but, to my thinking, suited to what 
you ask ; so that you may learn what men renowned 
above all others for eloquence have thought about 

5 the whole subject of oratory, For it is your wish, as 
you have often told me, that — since the unfinished 
and crude essays,^ which shpped out of the notebooks 
of my boyhood, or rather of my youth, are hardly 
worthy of my present time of Ufe and of my experi- 



ex causis, quas diximus, tot tantisque consecuti 
sumus, aliquid eisdem de rebus politius a nobis per- 
fectiusque proferri : solesque nonnunquam hac de re 
a me in disputationibus nostris dissentire, quod ego 
prudentissimorum hominum artibus eloquentiam 
contineri statuam ; tu autem illam ab elegantia 
doctrinae segregandam putes, et in quodam ingenii 
atque exercitationis genere ponendam. 

6 Ac mihi quidem saepenumero in summos homines, 
ac summis ingeniis praeditos intuenti, quaerendum 
esse visiun est, quid esset, cur plures in omnibus 
artibus, quam in dicendo admirabiles exstitissent. 
Nam, quocumque te animo et cogitatione converteris, 
permultos excellentes in quoque genere videbis, non 

7 mediocrium artiimi, sed prope maximarum. Quis 
enim est, qui, si clarorimi hominum scientiam rerum 
gestarum vel utilitate vel magnitudine metiri velit, 
non anteponat oratori imperatorem ? Quis autem 
dubitet, quin belli duces praestantissimos ex hac una 
civitate paene innmnerabiles, in dicendo autem ex- 

8 cellentes vix paucos proferre possimus ? lam vero, 
consilio ac sapientia qui regere ac gubernare rem- 
publicam possent, multi nostra, plures patrum me- 
moria, atque etiam maiorum exstiterunt, cum boni 
perdiu nulli, vix autem singulis aetatibus singuli 

orators — 

DE ORATORE, I. ii. 5-8 

ence gained from the numerous and grave causes in 
which I have been engaged — I should pubhsh some- 
thing more polished and complete on these same 
topics ; and generally you disagree with me, in our 
occasional discussions of this subject, because I hold 
that eloquence is dependent upon the trained skill 
of highly educated men, while you consider that it 
must be separated from the refinements of learning 
and made to depend on a sort of natural talent and 
on practice. 

And for my own part, when, as has often happened, Great 
I have been contemplating men of the highest emin- °™^ 
ence and endowed with the highest abilities, it has 
seemed to me to be a matter for inquiry, why it was 
that more of them should have gained outstanding 
renown in all other pursuits, than have done so in 
oratory. For in whatever direction you turn your 
mind and thoughts, you will find very many excelling 
in every kind, not merely of ordinary arts, but of such 

7 as are aknost the greatest. Who, for instance, in 
seeking to measure the understanding possessed by 
illustrious men, whether by the usefulness or the 
grandeur of their achievements, would not place the 
general above the orator ? Yet who could doubt 
that, from this country alone, we could cite almost 
innumerable examples of leaders in war of the 
greatest distinction, but of men excelhng in oratory 

8 a mere handful ? Nay further, among the men who 
by their counsel and wisdom could control and direct 
the hehn of state, many have stood out in our o^vn 
day, and still more in the history of our fathers and 
even of our remoter ancestors, and yet through 
lengthy ages no good orator is to be found, and in 
each successive generation hardly a single tolerable 



tolerabiles oratores invenirentur. Ac, ne quis forte 
cum aliis studiis, quae reconditis in artibus, atque in 
quadam varietate litterarum versentur, magis hanc 
dicendi rationem, quam cum imperatoris laude, aut 
cum boni senatoris prudentia comparandam putet, 
convertat animmn ad ea ipsa artium genera, circum- 
spiciatque, qui in eis floruerint, quamque multi : sic 
facillime, quanta oratorum sit semperque fuerit 
paucitas, iudicabit. 
9 III. Neque enim te fugit, artium omnium lauda- 
tarum procreatricem quamdam, et quasi parentem 
eam, quam <^iXo(ro<^iav Graeci vocant, ab hominibus 
doctissimis iudicari ; in qua difficile est enumerare, 
quot viri, quanta scientia, quantaque in suis studiis 
varietate et copia fuerint, qui non una aliqua in 
re separatim elaborarint, sed omnia, quaecumque 
possent, vel scientiae pervestigatione, vel disserendi 

10 ratione, comprehenderint. Quis ignorat, ei, qui 
mathematici vocantur, quanta in obscuritate rerum, 
et quam recondita in arte, et multiplici subtihque 
versentur ? quo tamen in genere ita multi perfecti 
homines exstiterunt, ut nemo fere studuisse ei 
scientiae vehementius videatur, quin, quod voluerit, 
consecutus sit. Quis musicis, quis huic studio htte- 
rarum, quod profitentur ei, qui granunatici vocantur, 
penitus se dedidit, quin omnem illarum artium paene 
infinitam vim et materiam scientiae cogitatione 
comprehenderit ? 

11 Vere mihi hoc videor esse dicturus, ex omnibus eis, 


DE ORATORE, I. ii. 8— iii. 11 

one. And that no one may think that other pursuits, 
which have to do with abstruse branches of study, 
and what I may call the varied field of learning, 
should be compared with this art of oratory, rather 
than the merits of a commander or the wisdom of 
a statesman-hke senator, let him turn his attention 
to these very kinds of art, and look around to see 
who, and how many, have been distinguished therein ; 
in this way he will most readily judge how scarce 
orators are now, and ever have been. 
9 III. For indeed you cannot fail to remember that Bminencein 
the most learned men hold what the Greeks call rare.^'*^^ 
* philosophy ' to be the creator and mother, as it 
were, of all the reputable arts, and yet in this 
field of philosophy it is difficult to count how many 
men there have been, eminent for their learning and 
for the variety and extent of their studies, men whose 
efforts were devoted, not to one separate branch of 
study, but who have mastered everything they could • 
whether by scientific investigation or by the methods 

10 of dialectic. Who does not know, as regards the 
so-called mathematicians, what very obscure sub- 
jects, and how abstruse, manifold, and exact an art 
they are engaged in ? Yet in this pursuit so many 
men have displayed outstanding excellence, that 
hardly one seems to have worked in real earnest at 
this branch of knowledge without attaining the object 
of his desire. Who has devoted himself wholly to 
the cult of the Muses, or to this study of literature, 
which is professed by those who are known as men of 
letters, without bringing within the compass of his 
knowledge and observation the almost boundless 
range and subject-matter of those arts ? 

11 I think I shall be right in affirming this, that out of 

B 9 


qui in harum artium studiis liberalissimis sint doctri- 
nisque versati,minimam copiam poetarum et oratorum 
egregiorum exstitisse, atque in hoc ipso numero, in 
quo perraro exoritur aliquis excellens, si diligenter, et 
ex nostrorum, et ex Graecorum copia comparare voles, 
multo tamen pauciores oratores, quam poetae boni 

12 reperientur. Quod hoc etiam mirabilius debet videri, 
quia ceterarum artium studia fere reconditis atque 
abditis e fontibus hauriuntur ; dicendi autem omnis 
ratio in medio posita, conmiuni quodam in usu, atque 
in hominum more et sermone versatur : ut in ceteris 
id maxime excellat, quod longissime sit ab imperi- 
torum intellegentia sensuque disiunctum, in dicendo 
autem vitium vel maximum sit a vulgari genere 
orationis, atque a consuetudine communis sensus 

13 IV. Ac ne illud quidem vere dici potest, aut plures 
ceteris artibus inservire, aut maiore delectatione, 
aut spe uberiore, aut praemiis ad perdiscendum 
ampUoribus commoveri. Atque ut omittam Grae- 
ciam, quae semper eloquentiae princeps esse voluit, 
atque illas omnium doctrinarum inventrices Athenas, 
in quibus simima dicendi vis et inventa est et per- 
fecta : in hac ipsa civitate profecto nulla unquam 
vehementius, quam eloquentiae studia viguerunt. 

14 Nam posteaquam, imperio omnium gentium con- 
stituto, diuturnitas pacis otium confirmavit, nemo 
fere laudis cupidus adolescens non sibi ad dicendum 

" The traditional reading omits the words et oratorum, but 
their insertion seems necessary to the sense, and is supported 
by O. Hense, Hamecker, Wilkins and Stangl. 


DE ORATORE, I. iii. 11— iv. 14 

all those who have been engaged in the infinitely 
copious studies and learning pertaining to these arts, 
the smallest number of distinguished men is found 
among poets and orators " ; and even in this small 
number — within which a man of excellence very 
rarely emerges — if you will make a careful compari- 
son of our own national supply and that of Greece, 
far fewer good orators will be found even than 

12 good poets. And this should seem even more mar- 
vellous because the subjects of the other arts are 
derived as a rule from hidden and remote sources, 
while the whole art of oratory hes open to the 
view, and is concerned in some measure with the 
common practice, custom, and speech of mankind, 
so that, whereas in all other arts that is most 
excellent which is farthest removed from the under- 
standing and mental capacity of the untrained, in 
oratory the very cardinal sin is to depart from the 
language of everyday hfe, and the usage approved 
by the sense of the community. 

13 IV. And yet it cannot truly be said either that oratory an 
more men devote themselves to the other arts, or ^**™^*'^^ ,. 
that those who do so are stimulated to close study study. 

by greater pleasure, higher hopes, or more splendid 
rewards. In fact, to say nothing of Greece, which 
has ever claimed the leading part in eloquence, and 
of Athens, that discoverer of all learning, where 
the supreme power of oratory was both invented 
and perfected, in this city of our own assuredly no 
studies have ever had a more vigorous hfe than 
those having to do with the art of speaking. 

14 For as soon as our world-empire had been estab- 
hshed, and an enduring peace had assured us leisure, 
there was hardly a youth, athirst for fame, who did 



studio omni enitendum putavit. Ac primo quidem 
totius rationis ignari, qui neque exercitationis ullam 
viam, neque aliquod praeceptum artis esse arbitra- 
rentur, tantum, quantum ingenio et cogitatione 
poterant, consequebantur. Post autem, auditis 
oratoribus Graecis, cognitisque eorum litteris, ad- 
hibitisque doctoribus, incredibili quodam nostri 

15 homines dicendi studio flagraverunt. Excitabat eos 
magnitudo et varietas, multitudoque in omni genere 
causarum, ut ad eam doctrinam, quam suo quisque 
studio assecutus esset, adiungeretur usus frequens, 
qui omnium magistrorum praecepta superaret. Erant 
autem huic studio maxima, quae nunc quoque sunt, 
exposita praemia, vel ad gratiam, vel ad opes, vel 
ad dignitatem. Ingenia vero (ut multis rebus possu- 
mus iudicare) nostronmi hominum multum ceteris 

16 hominibus omnium gentium praestiterunt. Quibus 
de causis, quis non iure miretur, ex omni memoria 
aetatum, temporum, civitatum, tam exiguum orato- 
rum numerum inveniri ? 

Sed nimirum maius est hoc quiddam, quam ho- 
mines opinantur, et pluribus ex artibus studiisque 

V. Quis enim aliud, in maxima discentium multi- 
tudine, summa magistrorum copia, praestantissimis 
hominum ingeniis, infinita causarum varietate, am- 
plissimis eloquentiae propositis praemiis, esse causae 
putet, nisi rei quamdam incredibilem magnitudinem, 

17 ac difficultatem ? Est enim et scientia comprehen- 


DE ORATORE, I. iv. 14— v. 17 

not deem it his duty to strive with might and main 
after eloquence. At first indeed, in their complete 
ignorance of method, since they thought there was no 
definite course of training or any rules of art, they 
used to attain what skill they could by means of their 
natural abiUty and of reflection. But later, having 
heard the Greek orators, gained acquaintance with 
their literature and called in Greek teachers, our 
people were fired with a really incredible enthusi- 
1.5 asm for eloquence. The importance, variety, and 
frequency of current suits of all sorts aroused them 
so effectually, that, to the learning which each man 
had acquired by his own efforts, plenty of practice was 
added, as being better than the maxims of all the 
masters. In those days too, as at present, the prizes 
open to this study were supreme, in the way of 
popularity, wealth, and reputation ahke. As for 
ability again — there are many things to show it — 
our fellow-countrymen have far excelled the men of 

16 every other race. And considering all this, who 
would not rightly marvel that, in all the long record 
of ages, times, and states, so small a number of 
orators is to be found ? 

But the truth is that this oratory is a greater thing, 
and has its sources in more arts and branches of study, 
than people suppose. 

V. For,where the number of students is verygreat, its wide 
the supply of masters of the very best, the quahty of thrstudent'- 
natural ability outstanding, the variety of issues un- 
hmited, the prizes open to eloquence exceedingly 
splendid, what else could anyone think to be the cause, 
unless it be the really incredible vastness and diffi- 

17 culty of the subject ? To begin with, a knowledge of 
very many matters must be grasped, without which 



denda rerum plurimarum, sine qua verborum volu- 
bilitas inanis atque irridenda est ; et ipsa oratio 
conformanda, non solum electione, sed etiam con- 
structione verborum ; et omnes animorum motus, 
quos hominum generi rerum natura tribuit, penitus 
pernoscendi ; quod omnis vis ratioque dicendi in 
eorum, qui audiunt, mentibus, aut sedandis, aut 
excitandis expromenda est. Accedat eodem oportet 
lepos quidam facetiaeque, et eruditio libero digna, 
celeritasque et brevitas et respondendi, et laces- 
sendi, subtili venustate, atque urbanitate coniuncta. 

18 Tenenda praeterea est omnis antiquitas, exemplo- 
rumque vis ; neque legum, aut iuris civilis scientia 
neglegenda est. Nam quid ego de actione ipsa plura 
dicam ? quae motu corporis, quae gestu, quae vultu, 
quae vocis conformatione ac varietate moderanda 
est ; quae sola per se ipsa quanta sit, histrionum 
levis ars et scena declarat : in qua cum omnes in 
oris, et vocis, et motus moderatione elaborent, quis 
ignorat, quam pauci sint, fuerintque, quos animo 
aequo spectare possimus ? Quid dicam de thesauro 
rerum omnium, memoria ? quae nisi custos inventis 
cogitatisque rebus et verbis adhibeatur, intellegimus, 
omnia, etiam si praeclarissima fuerint in oratore, 

19 Quam ob rem mirari desinamus, quae causa sit 
eloquentium paucitatis, cum ex eis rebus universis 
eloquentia constet, quibus in singulis elaborare per- 


DE ORATORE, I. v. 17-19 

oratory is but an empty and ridiculous swirl of ver- 
biage : and the distinctive style has to be formed, not 
only by the choice of words, but also by the arrange- 
ment of the same ; and all the mental emotions, with 
which nature has endowed the human race, are to be 
intimately understood, because it is in calming or kin- 
dhng the feehngs of the audience that the full power 
and science of oratory are to be brought into play. To 
this there should be added a certain humour, flashes 
of wit, the culture befitting a gentleman, and readi- 
ness and terseness ahke in repelhng and in deUvering 
the attack, the whole being combined with a dehcate 

18 charm and urbanity. Further, the complete history 
of the past and a store of precedents must be retained 
in the memory, nor may a knowledge of statute law 
and our national law in general be omitted. And 
why should I go on to describe the speaker's dehvery ? 
That needs to be controlled by bodily carriage, 
gesture, play of features and changing intonation of 
voice ; and how important that is wholly by itself, 
the actor's trivial art and the stage proclaim ; for 
there, although all are labouring to regulate the 
expression, the voice, and the movements of the 
body, everyone knows how few actors there are, or 
ever have been, whom we could bear to watch ! 
What need to speak of that universal treasure-house 
the memory ? Unless this faculty be placed in charge 
of the ideas and phrases which have been thought out 
and well weighed, even though as conceived by the 
orator they were of the highest excellence, we know 
that they will all be wasted. 

19 Let us therefore cease to wonder what may be the 
cause of the rarity of orators, since oratory is the 
result of a whole number of things, in any one of which 



magnum est ; hortemurque potius liberos nostros, 
ceterosque, quorum gloria nobis et dignitas cara est, 
ut animo rei magnitudinem complectantur, neque eis 
aut praeceptis, aut magistris, aut exercitationibus, 
quibus utuntur omnes, sed aliis quibusdam, se id, 
quod expetunt, consequi posse confidant. 

20 VI. Ac, mea quidem sententia, nemo poterit esse 
omni laude cumulatus orator, nisi erit omnium rerum 
magnarum atque artium scientiam consecutus. 
Etenim ex rerum cognitione efflorescat et redundet 
oportet oratio ; quae, nisi subest res ab oratore 
percepta et cognita, inanem quamdam habet elocu- 

21 tionem, et paene puerilem. Neque vero ego hoc 
tantum oneris imponam nostris praesertim oratoribus, 
in hac tanta occupatione urbis ac vitae, nihil ut eis 
putem Hcere nescire : quanquam vis oratoris pro- 
fessioque ipsa bene dicendi, hoc suscipere ac poUiceri 
videtur, ut omni de re, quaecumque sit proposita, ab 

22 eo ornate copioseque dicatur. Sed quia non dubito, 
quin hoc plerisque immensum infinitumque videatur, 
et quod Graecos homines non solum ingenio et 
doctrina, sed etiam otio studioque abundantes, 
partitionem quamdam artium fecisse video, neque in 
universo genere singulos elaborasse, sed seposuisse 
a ceteris dictionibus eam partem dicendi, quae in 
forensibus disceptationibus iudiciorum, aut deUbera- 

DE ORATORE, I. v. 19— vi. 22 

to succeed is a great achievement, and let us rather 
exhort our children, and the others whose fame and 
repute are dear to us, to form a true understanding 
of the greatness of their task, and not to beheve that 
they can gain their coveted object by rehance on the 
rules or teachers or methods of practice employed by 
everybody, but to rest assured that they can do this 
by the help of certain other means. 

20 VI. And indeed in my opinion, no man can be an even if oniy 
orator complete in all points of merit, who has not prlcti^t/"'^ 
attained a knowledge of all important subjects and ptirposes, as 
arts. For it is from knowledge that oratory must ^ °™ ' 
derive its beauty and fullness, and unless there is such 
knowledge, well-grasped and comprehended by the 
speaker, there must be something empty and ahnost 

21 childish in the utterance. Not that I am going to 
lay so heavy a burden upon orators — least of all upon 
our own, amid all the distractions of hfe in Rome — 
as to hold that there is nothing of which it is per- 
missible for them to be ignorant, although the 
significance of the term " orator," and the mere act 
of professing eloquence, seem to undertake and to 
promise that every subject whatsoever, proposed to 
an orator, will be treated by him with both distinc- 

22 tion and knowledge. But being assured that to most 
men this appears a vast and indeed hmitless enter- 
prise, and perceiving that the Greeks, men not only 
abounding in genius and learning, but also amply 
endowed with leisure and the love of study, have 
aheady made a sort of division of the arts, — nor did 
every student of theirs work over the whole field 
by himself, but they separated from other uses of 
speech that portion of oratory which is concerned 
with the public discussions of the law-courts and of 



tionum versaretur, et id unum genus oratorireliquisse ; 
non complectar in his libris amplius, quam quod huic 
generi, re quaesita et multum disputata, summorum 

23 hominum prope consensu est tributum ; repetamque, 
non ab incunabulis nostrae veteris puerilisque 
doctrinae quemdam ordinem praeceptorum, sed ea, 
quae quondam accepi in nostrorum hominum elo- 
quentissimorum et omni dignitate principum, dis- 
putatione esse versata. Non quod illa contemnam, 
quae Graeci, dicendi artifices et doctores, reliquerunt; 
sed, cum illa pateant in promptuque sint omnibus, 
neque ea interpretatione mea aut ornatius explicari, 
aut planius exprimi possint, dabis hanc veniam, mi 
frater, ut opinor, ut eorum, quibus summa dicendi 
laus a nostris hominibus concessa est, auctoritatem 
Graecis anteponam. 

24 VII. Cum igitur vehementius inveheretur in 
causam principum consul Philippus, Drusique tri- 
bunatus, pro Senatus auctoritate susceptus, infringi 
iam debilitarique videretur ; dici mihi memini, 
ludorum Romanorum diebus, L. Crassum, quasi 
coUigendi sui causa, se in Tusculaniun contulisse ; 
venisse eodem, socer eius qui fuerat, Q. Mucius 
dicebatur, et M. Antonius, homo et consiliorum in 
republica socius, et summa cum Crasso familiaritate 

26 coniunctus. Exierant autem cum ipso Crasso adole- 

" For Philippus and Drusus see Index, and for the other 
names referred to in this chapter see Introduction. 


DE ORATORE, I. vi. 22— vii. 25 

debate, and left that branch only to the orator — I 
shall not include in this work more than has been 
assigned to this type of oratory by the all but unani- 
mous judgement of the most eminent men, after 

23 investigation and long argument of the matter ; nor Diaiogno 
shall I recall, from the cradle of our boyish learn- pS^fOT"^ 
ing of days gone by, a long string of precepts, the present 
but I shall repeat the things I heard of as once ^*^ ■'*" 
handled in a discussion between men who were the 

most eloquent of our nation, and of the highest rank 
in distinction of every kind. Not that I despise what 
the Greek craftsmen and teachers of oratory have 
left us ; but that is open to the view and ready to the 
hand of every man, nor could it be more happily 
set forth or more clearly expounded by any inter- 
pretations of my own, so that you will forgive me, 
brother mine, I do beheve, if I prefer to Greek in- 
struction the authoritative judgement of those to 
whom the highest honours in eloquence have been 
awarded by our own fellow-countrymen. 

24 VII. I remember then being told how, at the time Date, Bceno, 
when Philippus," though consul, was furiously assail- ^^^ persons. 
ing the policy of the leading men, and the tribune- 

ship of Drusus, undertaken in support of the 
power of the Senate, had begun to show symptoms 
of shock and weakness, Lucius Crassus, on the plea 
of recruiting his energies, betook himself during 
the days of the Roman Games to his seat at 
Tusculum, whither (as the story went) there came 
Quintus Mucius, once his father-in-law, and Marcus 
Antonius, a partner in the poUtical designs of 
Crassus, and a man united with him in the closest 

25 intimacy. There had also gone out of town, in the 
company of Crassus, two young men who were very 



scentes duo, Drusi maxime familiares, et in quibus 
magnam tum spem maiores natu dignitatis suae 
collocarant, C. Cotta, qui tum tribunatum plebis 
petebat, et P. Sulpicius, qui deinceps eum magistra- 

26 tum petiturus putabatur. Hi primo die de tempori- 
bus illis, deque universa republica, quam ob causam 
venerant, multum inter se usque ad extremum 
tempus diei collocuti sunt. Quo quidem in sermone 
multa divinitus a tribus illis consularibus Cotta 
deplorata et commemorata narrabat ; ut nihil in- 
cidisset postea civitati mali, quod non impendere illi 

27 tanto ante vidissent ; eo autem omni sermone con- 
fecto, tantam in Crasso humanitatem fuisse, ut, cum 
lauti accubuissent, toUeretur omnis illa superioris 
tristitia sermonis ; eaque esset in homine iucunditas, 
et tantus in iocando lepos, ut dies inter eos Curiae 
fuisse videretur, convivium Tusculani. 

28 Postero autem die, cum illi maiores natu satis 
quiessent, et in ambulationem ventum esset : dicebat 
tum Scaevolam, duobus spatiis tribusve factis, dixisse : 
Cur non imitamur, Crasse, Socratem lUum, qui est 
in Phaedro Platonis ? Nam me haec tua platanus 
admonuit, quae non minus ad opacandum hunc locum 
patulis est difFusa ramis, quam illa, cuius umbram 
secutus est Socrates, quae mihi videtur non tam 

" Phaedrus 229 a, 230 b. 

DE ORATORE, I. vii. 25-28 

great friends of Drusus, and in whom the older 
generation at that time reposed high hopes of their 
maintaining the traditions of their order : they were 
Gaius Cotta, just then seeking the tribuneship of the 
commons, and PubHus Sulpicius, who was thought 
hkely to become a candidate for that magistracy in 

26 succession to him. This party, on the first day and 
up to a very late hour, held long debate together, 
concerning the crisis and the state of pohtics gener- 
ally, which in fact had been the occasion of their 
meeting. And Cotta recounted many things which 
were spoken of in that discussion with deep regret by 
the three speakers of consular rank, in such inspired 
fashion that (in his words) no evil had since befallen 
the community which those men, so long before, had 

27 not seen to be hanging over it ; but (he would add) 
when the colloquy was completely finished, so ex- 
quisite was the urbanity displayed by Crassus, that, 
as soon as they had bathed and settled down to table, 
the melancholy turn taken by the earher discussion 
was wholly banished, and such was the man's pleasant- 
ness and so great the charm of his humour that it 
seemed as though a day in the Senate-house was 
closing with supper at Tusculum. 

28 Then Cotta went on to say how on the morrow, when 
those older men had rested sufficiently and everyone 
had come into the garden-walk, Scaevola, after taking 
two or three turns, observed, " Crassus, why do we 
not imitate Socrates as he appears in the Phaedrus 
of Plato ? For your plane-tree has suggested this 
comparison to my mind, casting as it does, with its 
spreading branches, as deep a shade over this spot, 
as that one cast whose shelter Socrates sought*» — 
which to me seems to owe its eminence less to ' the 



* ipsa acula/ quae describitur, quam Platonis oratione 
crevisse : et, quod ille durissimis pedibus fecit, ut se 
abiceret in herbam, atque ita illa, quae philosophi 
divinitus ferunt esse dicta, loqueretur, id meis pedibus 

29 certe concedi est aequius. Tum Crassum : Immo 
vero commodius etiam ; pulvinosque poposcisse, et 
omnes in eis sedibus, quae erant sub platano, con- 
sedisse dicebat. 

VIII. Ibi, ut ex pristino sermone relaxarentur 
animi omnium, solebat Cotta narrare, Crassum ser- 

30 monem quemdam de studio dicendi intulisse. Qui 
cum ita esset exorsus, non sibi cohortandum Sul- 
picium et Cottam, sed magis utrumque coUaudandum 
videri, quod tantam iam essent facultatem adepti, 
ut non aequaUbus suis solum anteponerentur, sed 
cum maioribus natu compararentur. Neque vero 
mihi quidquam, inquit, praestabiHus videtur, quam 
posse dicendo tenere hominum coetus, mentes 
allicere, voluntates impellere quo velit ; unde autem 
velit, deducere. Haec una res in omni hbero populo, 
maximeque in pacatis tranquillisque civitatibus, 
praecipue semper floruit, semperque dominata est. 

31 Quid enim est aut tam admirabile, quam ex infinita 
multitudine hominum exsistere unum, qui id, quod 
omnibus natura sit datum, vel solus, vel cum paucis 
facere possit ? Aut tam iucundum cognitu atque 
auditu, quam sapientibus sententiis gravibusque 
verbis ornata oratio et poHta ? Aut tam potens, 

DE ORATORE, I. vii. 28— viii. 31 

little rivulet ' described by Plato than to the language 
of his dialogue — and what Socrates did, whose feet 
were thoroughly hardened, when he threw himself 
down on the grass and so began the talk which philo- 
sophers say was divine, — such ease surely may more 

29 reasonably be conceded to my own feet." " Nay," 
answered Crassus, " but we will make things more 
comfortable still," whereupon, according to Cotta, he 
called for cushions, and they all sat down together 
on the benches that were under the plane-tree. 

VIII. In that place, as Cotta was fond of relating, xiiesfa: the 
Crassus introduced a conversation on the pursuit of o7or°Ito^°to 
oratory, with a view to reheving all minds from the society and 

30 discourse of the day before. He began by saying *''^ ^***®* 
that Sulpicius and Cotta seemed not to need exhorta- 

tion from him but rather commendation, seeing that 
thus early they had acquired such skill as not merely 
to be ranked above their equals in age, but to be com- 
parable with their elders. " Moreover," he con- 
tinued, " there is to my mind no more excellent thing 
than the power, by means of oratory, to get a hold 
on assemblies of men, win their good will, direct their 
inclinations wherever the speaker wishes, or divert 
them from whatever he wishes. In every free nation, 
and most of all in communities which have attained 
the enjoyment of peace and tranquiUity, this one art 
has always flourished above the rest and ever reigned 

31 supreme. For what is so marvellous as that, out of 
the innumerable company of mankind, a single being 
should arise, who either alone or with a few others 
can make effective a faculty bestowed by nature 
upon every man ? Or what so pleasing to the under- 
standing and the ear as a speech adorned and polished 
with wise reflections and dignified language ? Or 



tamque magnificum, quam populi motus, iudicum 
religiones, Senatus gravitatem, unius oratione con- 

32 verti ? Quid tam porro regium, tam liberale, tam 
munificum, quam opem ferre supplicibus, excitare 
afilictos, dare salutem, liberare periculis, retinere 
homines in civitate ? Quid autem tam necessarium, 
quam tenere semper arma, quibus vel tectus ipse 
esse possis, vel provocare improbos,^ vel te ulcisci 
lacessitus ? 

Age vero, ne semper forum, subsellia, rostra, 
Curiamque meditere, quid esse potest in otio aut 
iucundius, aut magis proprium humanitatis, quam 
sermo facetus ac nuUa in re rudis ? Hoc enim uno 
praestamus vel maxime feris, quod coUoquimur inter 
nos, et quod exprimere dicendo sensa possumus. 

33 Quam ob rem quis hoc non iure miretur, summeque 
in eo elaborandum esse arbitretur, ut, quo uno 
homines maxime bestiis praestent, in hoc hominibus 
ipsis antecellat ? Ut vero iam ad illa summa venia- 
mus ; quae vis aHa potuit aut dispersos homines unum 
in locum congregare, aut a fera agrestique vita ad 
hunc humanum cultum civilemque deducere, aut, 
iam constitutis civitatibus, leges, iudicia, iura de- 

34 scribere ? Ac, ne plura, quae sunt paene innumera- 

* improbos is the reading of Friedrich /or the unintelligibU 
integros o/ the better usa, 


DE ORATORE, I. viii. 31-34 

what achievement so mighty and glorious as that the 
impulses of the crowd, the consciences of the judges, 
the austerity of the Senate, should sufFer transforma- 

32 tion through the eloquence of one man ? What 
function again is so kingly, so worthy of the free, so 
generous, as to bring help to the supphant, to raise 
up those that are cast down, to bestow security, to 
set free from peril, to maintain men in their civil 
rights ? What too is so indispensable as to have 
always in your grasp weapons wherewith you can 
defend yourself, or challenge the wicked man, or 
when provoked take your revenge ? 

" Nay more (not to have you for ever contemplating 
public afFairs, the bench, the platform, and the Senate- 
house), what in hours of ease can be a pleasanter thing 
or one more characteristic of culture, than discourse 
that is graceful and nowhere uninstructed ? For the 
one point in which we have our very greatest advan- 
tage over the brute creation is that we hold converse 
one with another, and can reproduce our thought in 

33 word. Who therefore would not rightly admire this 
faculty, and deem it his duty to exert himself to the 
utmost in this field, that by so doing he may surpass 
men themselves in that particular respect wherein 
chiefly men are superior to animals ? To come, how- 
ever, at length to the highest achievements of elo- 
quence, what other power could have been strong 
enough either to gather scattered humanity into one 
place, or to lead it out of its brutish existence in the 
wilderness up to our present condition of civilization 
as men and as citizens, or, after the establishment of 
social coramunities, to give shape to laws, tribunals, 

34 and civic rights ? And not to pursue any further 
instances — wellnigh countless as they are — I will 



bilia, consecter, comprehendam brevi ; sic enim 
statuo, perfecti oratoris moderatione et sapientia non 
solimi ipsius dignitatem, sed et privatorum pluri- 
morum, et universae reipublicae salutem maxime 
contineri. Quam ob rem pergite, ut facitis, adole- 
scentes, atque in id studium, in quo estis, in- 
cumbite, ut et vobis honori, et amicis utilitati, et 
reipublicae emolumento esse possitis. 

35 IX. Tum Scaevola comiter, ut solebat : Cetera, 
inquit, assentior Crasso, ne aut de C. Laelii, soceri 
mei, aut de huius, generi, aut arte, aut gloria de- 
traham ; sed illa duo, Crasse, vereor, ut tibi possim 
concedere : unum, quod ab oratoribus civitates et 
ab initio constitutas et saepe conservatas esse dixisti ; 
alterum, quod, remoto foro, concione, iudiciis, Senatu, 
statuisti, oratorem in omni genere sermonis et hu- 

36 manitatis esse perfectum. Quis enim tibi hoc con- 
cesserit, aut initio genus hominum in montibus ac 
silvis dissipatum, non prudentium consiliis com- 
pulsum potius, quam disertorum oratione delinitum, 
se oppidis moenibusque sepsisse, aut vero rehquas 
utilitates, aut in constituendis, aut in conservandis 
civitatibus, non a sapientibus et fortibus viris, sed 

37 a disertis, et ornate dicentibus esse constitutas ? An 
vero tibi Romulus ille aut pastores et convenas con- 

DE ORATORE, I. viii. 34— ix. 37 

conclude the whole matter in a few words, for my 
assertion is this : that the wise control of the com- 
plete orator is that which chiefly upholds not only 
his own dignity, but the safety of countless in- 
dividuals and of the entire State. Go forward 
therefore, my young friends, in your present course, 
and bend your energies to that study which engages 
you, that so it may be in your power to become a 
glory to yourselves, a source of service to your 
friends, and profitable members of the Republic." 

35 IX. Thereupon Scaevola observed, in his courteous Thesis chai- 
way, " On his other points I am in agreement with th°e^achiivl. 
Crassus (that I may not disparage the art or the ment of 
renown of my father-in-law Gaius Laehus, or of my q^estioned ^ 
son-in-law here), but the two following, Crassus, I am 

afraid I cannot grant you : first your statement that 
the oratorswere they who in the beginning established 
social communities, and who not seldom have pre- 
served the same intact, secondly your pronouncement 
that, even if we take no account of the forum, of 
popular assembhes, of the courts of justice, or of the 
Senate-house, the orator is still complete over the 

36 whole range of speech and culture. For who is going 
to grant you, that in shutting themselves up in walled 
cities, human beings, who had been scattered origin- 
ally over mountain and forest, were not so much con- 
vinced by the reasoning of the wise as snared by the 
speeches of the eloquent, or again that the other 
beneficial arrangements involved in the establishment 
or the preservation of States were not shaped by the 
wise and valiant but by men of eloquence and fine 

37 diction ? Or do you perhaps think that it was by 
eloquence, and not rather by good counsel and 
singular wisdom, that the great Romulus gathered 



gregasse, aut Sabinorum connubia coniunxisse, aut 
finitimorum vim repressisse eloquentia videtur, non 
consilio et sapientia singulari ? Quid enim ? in Numa 
Pompilio, quid ? in Ser. Tullio, quid ? in ceteris regibus, 
quorum multa sunt eximia ad constituendam rem- 
publicam, rium quod eloquentiae vestigium apparet ? 
Quid ? exactis regibus (tametsi ipsam exactionem 
mente, non lingua, perfectam L. Bruti esse cernimus), 
sed deinceps omnia, nonne plena consiliorum, inania 
38 verborum videmus ? Ego vero si velim et nostrae 
civitatis exemplis uti, et aliarum, plura proferre 
possim detrimenta publicis rebus, quam adiumenta, 
per homines eloquentissimos importata : sed, ut 
reliqua praetermittam, omnium mihi videor, exceptis, 
Crasse, vobis duobus, eloquentissimos audisse Tib. 
et C. Sempronios, quorum pater, homo prudens et 
gravis, haudquaquam eloquens, et saepe aUas, et 
maxime censor, saluti reipublicae fuit. Atque is non 
accurata quadam orationis copia, sed nutu atque verbo 
libertinos in urbanas tribus transtulit ; quod nisi 
fecisset, rempubHcam, quam nunc vix tenemus, 
iamdiu nullam haberemus. At vero eius fiUi diserti, 
et omnibus vel naturae, vel doctrinae praesidiis 
ad dicendum parati, cum civitatem vel paterno 
consilio, vel avitis armis florentissimam accepissent, 

" Ti. Sempronius Gracchus, censor 169 b.c, enforced an 
existing rule. Freedmen not owning land worth at least 
30,000 HS. were limited to the four city tribes. The restric- 
tion was removed, probably in 304, but was restored in 220. 

DE ORATORE, I. ix. 37-38 

together his shepherds and refugees, or brought 
about marriages with the Sabines, or curbed the 
might of the neighbouring tribes ? Is there a trace 
of eloquence to be discerned in Numa PompiUus ? 
Is there a trace in Servius Tulhus ? Or in the other 
kings who have contributed so much that is excellent 
to the building-up of the State ? Then even after 
the kings had been driven forth (and we note that 
such expulsion had itself been accomphshed by the 
mind of Lucius Brutus and not by his tongue), do we 
not see how all that foUowed was full of planning 
38 and empty of talking ? For my part, indeed, should 
I care to use examples from our own and other 
communities, I could cite more instances of damage 
done, than of aid given to the cause of the State 
by men of first-rate eloquence, but putting all else 
aside, of all men to whom I have hstened except 
you two, Crassus, it seems to me that the most 
eloquent were Tiberius and Gaius Sempronius, whose 
father, a man of discretion and character, but no 
speaker whatever, was many a time and most particu- 
larly when Censor the salvation of the common- 
wealth. Yet it was not any studied flow of speech, 
but a nod and a word of his that transferred the 
freedmen into the city tribes * ; and had he not done 
so, we should long ago have lost the constitution 
which, as it is, we preserve only with difficulty. His 
sons, on the other hand, who were accompHshed 
speakers and equipped for oratory with every ad- 
vantage of nature or training, after they had taken 
over a State that was flourishing exceedingly be- 
cause of their father's counsels and their ancestors' 
miUtary achievements, wrecked the commonwealth 
by the use of this eloquence to which, according 



ista praeclara gubernatrice, ut ais, civitatum, elo- 
quentia, rempublicam dissipaverunt. 

39 X, Quid ? leges veteres, moresque maiorum ; 
quid ? auspicia, quibus et ego, et tu, Crasse, cum 
magna reipublicae salute praesumus ; quid ? re- 
ligiones et caerimoniae ; quid ? haec iura civilia, 
quae iampridem in nostra familia sine uUa eloquentiae 
laude versantur ; num aut inventa sunt, aut cognita, 

40 aut omnino ab oratorum genere tractata ? Equidem 
et Ser. Galbam, memoria teneo, divinum hominem 
in dicendo, et M. Aemilium Porcinam, et C. ipsmn 
Carbonem, quem tu adolescentulus perculisti, ig- 
narum legum, haesitantem in maiorum institutis, 
rudem in iure civili ; et haec aetas nostra, praeter te, 
Crasse, qui tuo magis studio, quam proprio munere 
aliquo disertorum, ius a nobis civile didicisti, quod 
interdum pudeat, iuris ignara est. 

41 Quod vero in extrema oratione, quasi tuo iure 
sumpsisti, oratorem in omnis sermonis disputatione 
copiosissime posse versari, id, nisi hic in tuo regno 
essemus, non tulissem, multisque praeessem, qui aut 
interdicto tecum contenderent, aut te ex iure manu 
consertum vocarent, quod in alienas possessiones tam 
temere irruisses. 

42 Agerent enim tecum lege primum Pythagorei 
omnes, atque Democritici, ceterique in iure physici 

" See Appendix p. 480. * See Appendix p. 480» 

* See Appendix p. 480. 


DE ORATORE, I. ix. 38— x. 42 

to you, civil communities still look for their chief 

39 X. " What of our ancient ordinances and the cus- (2)otiier 
toms of our forefathers ? What of augury, over which cl^izltlon 
you and I, Crassus, preside, greatly to the welfare ™°5?i™; 
of the RepubUc ? What of our religious rites and ^° 
ceremonies ? What of those rules of private law, 

which have long made their home in our family, 
though we have no reputation for eloquence ? Were 
these things contrived or investigated or in any way 

40 taken in hand by the tribe of orators ? Indeed I 
remember that Servius Galba, a man who spoke as a 
god, and Marcus AemiUus Porcina and Gaius Carbo 
himself, whom you crushed in your early manhood, 
were all of them ignorant of the statutes, all at a 
complete loss among the institutions of our ancestors, 
all uninstructed in the law of the Romans ; and 
except yourself, Crassus, who rather from your own 
love of study, than because to do so was any pecuhar 
duty of the eloquent, have learned the Roman system 
from our family, this generation of ours is unversed 
in law to a degree that sometimes makes one blush. 

41 " But as for the claim you made at the close of your (3) the oniy 
speech, and made as though in your own right — that oratory 
whatever the topic under discussion, the orator could the law 
deal with it in complete fuUness — this, had we not pariiament. 
been here in your own domain, I would not have borne 

with, and I should be at the head of a multitude who 
would either fight you by injunction," or summon you 
to make joint seizure by rule of court,'' for so wantonly 
making forcible entry upon other people's possessions. 

42 " For, to begin with, all the disciples of Pythagoras 
and Democritus would bring statutory process " 
against you, and the rest of the phvsicists would assert 



vindicarent, omati homines in dicendo et graves, 
quibuscum tibi iusto sacramento contendere non 
liceret. Urgerent praeterea philosophorum greges, 
iam ab illo fonte et capite Socrate ; nihil te de bonis 
rebus in vita, nihil de malis, nihil de animi per- 
motionibus, nihil de hominum moribus, nihil de 
ratione vitae didicisse, nihil omnino quaesisse, nihil 
scire convincerent ; et, cum universi in te impetum 
fecissent, tum singulae familiae Utem tibi intenderent. 

43 Instaret Academia, quae, quidquid dixisses, id te 
ipsum negare cogeret. Stoici vero nostri disputa- 
tionum suarum atque interrogationum laqueis te 
irretitum tenerent. Peripatetici autem etiam haec 
ipsa, quae propria oratorum putas esse adiumenta, 
atque ornamenta dicendi, ab se peti vincerent 
oportere ; ac non solum mehora, sed etiam multo 
plura Aristotelem Theophrastumque de his rebus, 
quam omnes dicendi magistros, scripsisse ostenderent. 

44 Missos facio mathematicos, grammaticos, musicos, 
quorum artibus vestra ista dicendi vis ne minima 
quidem societate contingitur. Quam ob rem ista 
tanta, tamque multa profitenda, Crasse, non censeo. 
Satis id est magnum, quod potes praestare, ut in 
iudiciis ea causa, quamcumque tu dicis, melior et 
probabilior esse videatur ; ut in concionibus et 
sententiis dicendis ad persuadendum tua plurimum 
valeat oratio ; denique ut prudentibus diserte stultis 

" See Appendix p. 480. 

DE ORATORE, I. x. 42-44 

their claims in court, elegant and impressive speakers 
with whom you could not strive and save your stake.'* 
Besides this, schools of philosophers, back to great 
Socrates their fountain-head, would beset you : they 
would demonstrate that you have learned nothing 
concerning the good in Hfe, or of the evil, nothing as 
to the emotions of the mind or of human conduct, 
nothing of the true theory of hving, that you have 
made no research at all and are wholly without under- 
standing respecting these things ; and after this 
general assault upon you each sect would launch its 

43 particular action against you in detail. The Academy 
would be at your heels, compelHng you to deny in 
terms your own allegation, whatever it might have 
been. Then our own friends the Stoics would hold 
you entangled in the toils of their wranghngs and 
questionings. The Peripatetics again would prove 
that it is to them that men should resort for even 
those very aids and trappings of eloquence which you 
deem to be the special aids of orators, and would show 
you that on these subjects of yours Aristotle and 
Theophrastus wrote not only better but also much 
more than all the teachers of rhetoric put together. 

44 I say nothing of the mathematicians, men of letters 
or devotees of the Muses, with whose arts this 
rhetorical faculty of yours is not in the remotest 
degree alhed. And so, Crassus, I do not think you 
shouldmake professions so extensiveand so numerous. 
What you are able to guarantee is a thing great 
enough, namely, that in the courts whatever case you 
present should appear to be the better and more 
plausible, that in assemblies and in the Senate your 
oratory should have most weight in carrying the vote, 
and lastly, that to the intelhgent you should seem to 



etiam vere dicere videaris. Hoc amplius si quid 
poteris, non id mihi videbitur orator, sed Crassus sua 
quadam propria, non communi oratorum facultate, 

45 XI. Tum ille : Non sum, inquit, nescius, Scaevola, 
ista inter Graecos dici et disceptari solere. Audivi 
enim summos homines, cum quaestor ex Macedonia 
venissem Athenas, florente Academia, ut temporibus 
illis ferebatur, quod eam Charmadas, et Chtomachus, 
et Aeschines obtinebant. Erat etiam Metrodorus, 
qui cum illis una ipsum illum Carneadem diligentius 
audierat, hominem omnium in dicendo, ut ferebant, 
acerrimum et copiosissimum. Vigebat auditor Pan- 
aetii illius tui Mnesarchus ; et Peripatetici Critolai 

46 Diodorus. Multi erant praeterea clari in philosophia 
et nobiles, a quibus omnibus una paene voce repelli 
oratorem a gubernaculis civitatum, excludi ab omni 
doctrina rerumque maiorum scientia, ac tantum in 
iudicia et conciunculas, tanquam in aliquod pistri- 

47 num, detrudi et compingi videbam. Sed ego neque 
illis assentiebar, neque harum disputationum in- 
ventori et principi longe omnium in dicendo gravis- 
simo et eloquentissimo, Platoni, cuius tum Athenis 
cum Charmada diligentius legi Gorgiam : quo in 
libro in hoc maxime admirabar Platonem, quod mihi 

DE ORATORE, I. x. 44— xi. 47 

speak eloquently and to the ignorant truthfuUy as 
well. If you can achieve anything more than this, 
therein you will seem to me not an orator but a 
Crassus, who is making use of some talent that is 
pecuharly his own and not common to orators in 

45 XI. Then Crassus rephed, " I know very well, Scae- Repiy to 
vola, that these views of yours are often put forward funct^i"^*j, 
and discussed among the Greeks. For I hstened to oratoiy 
their most eminent men, on my arrival in Athens ^quf^s*^ 
as a quaestor from Macedonia, at a time when science, 
the Academy was at its best, as was then asserted, requires 
with Charmadas, Chtomachus and Aeschines to up- «'yie. 
hold it. There was also Metrodorus, who, together 

with the others, had been a really dihgent disciple 
of the illustrious Carneades himself, a speaker who, 
for spirited and copious oratory, surpassed, it was 
said, all other men. Mnesarchus too was in his 
prime, a pupil of your great Panaetius, and Diodorus, 

46 who studied under Critolaus the Peripatetic. There 
were many others besides, of distinguished fame as 
philosophers, by all of whom, with one voice as it 
were, I perceived that the orator was driven from 
the helm of State, shut out from all learning and 
knowledge of more important things, and thrust 
down and locked up exclusively in law-courts and 
petty httle assembhes, as if in a pounding-mill. 

47 But I was neither in agreement with these men, nor 
with the author and originator of such discussions, 
who spoke with far more weight and eloquence than 
all of them — I mean Plato — whose Gorgias I read 
with close attention under Charmadas during those 
days at Athens, and what impressed me most deeply 
about Plato in that book was, that it was when making 



in oratoribus irridendis ipse esse orator summus vide- 
batur. Verbi enim controversia iamdiu torquet 
Graeculos homines, contentionis cupidiores quam 

48 veritatis. Nam si quis hunc statuit esse oratorem, 
qui tantummodo in iure, aut in iudiciis possit, aut 
apud populum, aut in senatu copiose loqui, tamen 
huic ipsi multa tribuat et concedat necesse est, neque 
enim sine multa pertractatione omnium rerum 
publicarum, neque sine legum, morum, iuris scientia, 
neque natura hominum incognita, ac moribus, in his 
ipsis rebus satis callide versari et perite potest. Qui 
autem haec cognoverit, sine quibus ne illa quidem 
minima in causis quisquam recte tueri potest, quid 
huic abesse poterit de maximarum rerum scientia ? 
Sin oratoris nihil vis esse, nisi composite, ornate, 
copiose eloqui : quaero, id ipsum qui possit assequi 
sine ea scientia, quam ei non conceditis ? Dicendi 
enim virtus, nisi ei, qui dicit, ea, de quibus dicit, 

49 percepta sint, exstare non potest. Quam ob rem, si 
ornate locutus est, sicut fertur, et mihi videtur, 
physicus ille Democritus : materies illa fuit physici, 
de qua dixit ; ornatus vero ipse verborum, oratoris 
putandus est. Et, si Plato de rebus a civiUbus con- 
troversiis remotissimis divinitus est locutus, quod ego 
concedo ; si item Aristoteles, si Theophrastus, si 

DE ORATORE, I. xi. 47-49 

fun of orators that he himself seemed to me to be 
the consummate orator. In fact controversy about a 
word has long tormented those Greeklings, fonder as 

48 they are of argument than of truth, For, if anyone 
lays it down that an orator is a man whose sole power 
is that of speaking copiously before the Praetor or 
at a trial, or in the pubhc assembly or the Senate- 
house, none the less even to an orator thus Umited 
such critic must grant and allow a number of attri- 
butes, inasmuch as without extensive handUng of all 
pubhc business, without a mastery of ordinances, 
customs and general law, without a knowledge of 
human nature and character, he cannot engage, with 
the requisite cleverness and skill, even in these re- 
stricted activities. But to a man who has learned 
these things, without which no one can properly 
ensure even those primary essentials of advocacy, 
can there be anything lacking that belongs to the 
knowledge of the highest matters ? If, on the other 
hand, you would narrow the idea of oratory to nothing 
but the speaking in ordered fashion, gracefuUy and 
copiously, how, I ask, could your orator attain even 
so much, if he were to lack that knowledge whereof 
you people deny him the possession ? For excellence in 
speaking cannot be made manifest unless the speaker 
fuUy comprehends the matter he speaks about. 

49 It foUows that, if the famous natural philosopher 
Democritus spoke with elegance, as he is reported 
and appears to me to have spoken, those notable 
subjects of his discourse belonged to the natural 
philosopher, but his actual elegance of diction must be 
put down to the orator. And if Plato spoke with the 
voice of a god of things very far away from pohtical 
debate, as I allow that he did, if again Aristotle and 



Carneades in rebus eis, de quibus disputaverunt, 
eloquentes, et in dicendo suaves, atque ornati 
fuerunt : sint hae res, de quibus disputant, in aliis 
quibusdam studiis ; oratio quidem ipsa propria est 
huius unius rationis, de qua loquimur et quaerimus. 
50 Etenim videmus, eisdem de rebus ieiune quosdam et 
exiliter, ut eum, quem acutissimum ferunt, Chrys- 
ippum, disputavisse, neque ob eam rem philosophiae 
non satisfecisse, quod non habuerit hanc dicendi ex 
arte ahena facultatem. 

XII. Quid ergo interest ? aut qui discernes eorum, 
quos nominavi, ubertatem in dicendo et copiam ab 
eorum exihtate, qui hac dicendi varietate et elegantia 
non utuntur ? Unum erit profecto, quod ei, qui bene 
dicunt, afferant proprium : compositam orationem, 
et ornatam, et artificio quodam et expohtione dis- 
tinctam. Haec autem oratio, si res non subest ab 
oratore percepta et cognita, aut nulla sit necesse est, 

61 aut omnium irrisione ludatur. Quid est enim tam 
furiosum, quam verborimi, vel optimorum atque 
ornatissimorum, sonitus inanis, nulla subiecta sen- 
tentia, nec scientia ? Quidquid erit igitur qua- 
cumque ex arte, quocumque de genere, id orator, si, 
tanquam cHentis causam, didicerit, dicet melius et 
ornatius, quam ille ipse eius rei inventor atque artifex. 

62 Nam si quis erit, qui hoc dicat, esse quasdam ora- 

DE ORATORE, I. xi. 49— xii. 52 

Theophrastus and Carneades, on the themes which 
they treated, were eloquent and displayed charm of 
style and Uterary form, then, granting that the topics 
of their discourse may be found in certain other fields 
of research, yet their actual style is the pecuhar pro- 
duct of this pursuit which we are now discussing and 
50 investigating, and of no other, For we see that 
sundry authorities dealt with these same subjects 
in spiritless and feeble fashion, Chrysippus for in- 
stance, reputed as he is to have been the most acute 
of disputants, and not to have failed to meet the 
requirements of philosophy just because he had not 
acquired this gift of eloquence from an aUen art. 

XII. " What then is the difference, or by what 
means will youdiscriminate between the rich and copi- 
ous diction of those speakers whom I have mentioned, 
and the feebleness of such as do not adopt this variety 
and elegance of language ? The sole distinction will 
surely be that the good speakers bring, as their 
peculiar possession, a style that is harmonious, grace- 
ful, and marked by a certain artistry and pohsh. Yet 
this style, if the underlying subject-matter be not 
comprehended and mastered by the speaker, must 
inevitably be of no account or even become the sport 

61 of universal derision. For what so efFectually pro- 
claims the madman as the hollow thundering of words 
— be they never so choice and resplendent — which 
have no thought or knowledge behind them ? There- 
fore whatever the theme, from whatever art or what- 
ever branch of knowledge it be taken, the orator, just 
as if he had got up the case for a client, will state it 
better and more gracefully than the actual discoverer 

62 and the speciahst. For if anyone is going to affirm 
that there are certain ideas and subjects which speci- 



torum proprias sententias atque causas, et certarum 
rerum forensibus cancellis circumscriptam scientiam : 
fatebor equidem in his magis assidue versari hanc 
nostram dictionem ; sed tamen in his ipsis rebus 
permulta sunt, quae isti magistri, qui rhetorici vocan- 

63 tur, nec tradunt, nec tenent. Quis enim nescit, 
maximam vim exsistere oratoris in hominum men- 
tibus vel ad iram, aut ad odium, aut ad dolorem 
incitandis, vel ab hisce eisdem permotionibus ad 
lenitatem misericordiamque revocandis ? Quare, nisi 
qui naturas hominum, vimque omnem humanitatis, 
causasque eas, quibus mentes aut incitantur, aut 
reflectuntur, penitus perspexerit, dicendo, quod 

54 volet, perficere non poterit. Atqui totus hic locus 
philosophorum proprius videtur ; neque orator, me 
auctore, unquam repugnabit : sed, cimi illis cogni- 
tionem rerum concesserit, quod in ea solum ilH 
voluerint elaborare ; tractationem orationis, quae 
sine illa scientia nulla est, sibi assumet. Hoc enim 
est proprium oratoris, quod saepe iam dixi, oratio 
gravis, et ornata, et hominum sensibus ac mentibus 

65 XIII. Quibus de rebus Aristotelem et Theo- 
phrastum scripsisse fateor : sed vide, ne hoc, Scae- 
vola, totum sit a me ; nam ego, quae sunt oratori cum 
ilUs communia, non mutuor ab ilUs ; isti, quae de his 
rebus disputant, oratorum esse concedunt, itaque 


DE ORATORE, I. xii. 52— xiii. 55 

ally belong to orators, and certain matters whereof 
the knowledge is railed-off behind the barriers of 
the Courts, while I will admit that these oratorical 
activities of ours are exercised within this area with 
less intermission than elsewhere, nevertheless among 
these very topics there are points in abundance which 
even the so-called professors of rhetoric neither teach 
63 nor understand. Who indeed does not know that the 
orator's virtue is pre-eminently manifested either in 
rousing men's hearts to anger, hatred, or indignation, 
or in recaUing them from these same passions to mild- 
ness and mercy ? Wherefore the speaker will not be 
able to achieve what he wants by his words, unless 
he has gained profound insight into the characters of 
men, and the whole range of human nature, and 
those motives whereby our souls are spurred on or 

54 turned back. And all this is considered to be the 
special province of philosophers, nor will the orator, if 
he take my advice, resist their claim ; but when he 
has granted their knowledge of these things, since 
they have devoted all their labour to that alone, still 
he will assert his own claim to the oratorical treat- 
ment of them, which without that knowledge of theirs 
is nothing at all. For this is the essential concern of 
the orator, as I have often said before, — a style that 
is dignified and graceful and in conformity with the 
general modes of thought and judgement. 

55 XIII. " And while I acknowledge that Aristotle and Rtefcoric la 
Theophrastus have written about all these things, ^ ^*''®"'*®' 
yet consider, Scaevola, whether it is not wholly in 

my favour, that, whereas I do not borrow from them 
the things that they share with the orator, they on 
their part grant that their discussions on these sub- 
jects are the orator's own, and accordingly they 
r 41 


ceteros libros artis isti suae nomine, hos Rhetoricos 
C6 et inscribunt, et appellant. Etenim cum illi in 
dicendo inciderint loci (quod persaepe evenit), ut 
de diis immortalibus, de pietate, de concordia, de 
amicitia, de communi civium, de hominum, de gen- 
tium iure, de aequitate, de temperantia, de magni- 
tudine animi, de omni virtutis genere sit dicendum, 
clamabunt, credo, omnia gymnasia, atque omnes 
philosophorum scholae, sua haec esse omnia propria ; 
nihil omnino ad oratorem pertinere. Quibus ego, 
ut de his rebus omnibus in angulis, consumendi 
otii causa, disserant, cum concessero, illud tamen 
oratori tribuam et dabo, ut eadem, de quibus illi 
tenui quodam exsanguique sermone disputant, hic 
57 cum omni gravitate et iucunditate explicet. Haec 
ego cum ipsis philosophis tum Athenis disserebam, 
cogebat enim me M. Marcellus hic noster, qui nunc 
aedilis curulis est ; et profecto, nisi ludos nunc 
faceret, huic nostro sermoni interesset ; ac iam tvun 
erat adolescentulus his studiis mirifice deditus. 
68 lam vero de legibus instituendis, de bello, de pace, 
de sociis, de vectigahbus, de iure civiU generatim 
in ordines aetatesque descripto, dicant vel Graeci, 
si volunt, Lycurgum, aut Solonem (quanquam illos 
quidem censemus in numero eloquentium reponendos) 
scisse melius, quam Hyperidem, aut Demosthenem, 
perfectos iam homines in dicendo, et perpolitos ; 

" The ' curule ' aediles were distinguished from the aediles 
plebis by their right to use the aella curulis and the toga 


DE ORATORE, I. xiii. 55-58 

entitle and designate all their other treatises by 
some name taken from their distinctive art, but these 

66 particular books as dealing with Rhetoric. And in- 
deed when, while a man is speaking — as often happens 
— such commonplaces have cropped up as demand 
some mention of the immortal gods, of dutifulness, 
harmony, or friendship, of the rights shared by citi- 
zens, by men in general, and by nations, of fair-deal- 
ing, moderation or greatness of soul, or virtue of any 
and every kind, all the academies and schools of 
philosophy will, I do beheve, raise the cry that all 
these matters are their exclusive province, and in no 
way whatever the concem of the orator. But when 
I have allowed that they may debate these subjects 
in their holes and corners, to pass an idle hour, it is 
to the orator none the less that I shall entrust and 
assign the task of developing with complete charm 
and cogency the same themes which they discuss in a 

67 sort of thin and bloodless style. These points I used 
to argue at Athens ynth. the philosophers in person, 
under pressure from our friend Marcus Marcellus, 
who is now Aedile of the Chair," and assuredly, if he 
were not at this moment producing the Games, would 
be taking part in our present colloquy ; indeed even 
in those days of his early youth his devotion to these 
studies was marvellous. 

68 " But now as regards the institution of laws, as Exposition 
regards war and peace, allies and public dues, and ^^**^*^^ 
the legal rights assigned to classes of citizens accord- knowiedge 
ing to variations of rank and age, let the Greeks say, ^^^ ^*^^®* 
if they please, that Lycurgus and Solon (although I 

hold that they should be rated as eloquent) were 
better informed than Hyperides or Demosthenes, 
who were really accomplished and highly pohshed 



vel nostri decemviros, qui Duodecim Tabulas per- 
scripserunt, quos necesse est fuisse prudentes, ante- 
ponant in hoc genere et Ser. Galbae, et socero tuo 
C. Laelio, quos constat dicendi gloria praestitisse. 

59 Nunquam enim negabo, esse quasdam artes proprias 
eorum, qui in his cognoscendis atque tractandis 
studium suum omne posuerunt ; sed oratorem 
plenum atque perfectum esse eum dicam, qui de 
omnibus rebus possit varie copioseque dicere. 

XIV. Etenim saepe in eis causis, quas omnes pro- 
prias esse oratorum confitentur, est aliquid, quod non 
ex usu forensi, quem solum oratoribus conceditis, sed 
ex obscuriore aliqua scientia sit promendum atque 

60 sumendum. Quaero enim, num possit aut contra 
irnperatorem, aut pro imperatore dici sine rei mili- 
taris usu, aut saepe etiam sine regionum terrestrium 
aut maritimarum scientia ; num apud populum de 
legibus iubendis, aut vetandis ; num in Senatu de 
omni reipubhcae genere dici sine summa rerum 
civilium cognitione, et prudentia ; num admoveri 
possit oratio ad sensus animorum atque motus vel 
inflammandos, vel etiam exstinguendos (quod unum 
in oratore dominatur), sine diligentissima pervestiga- 
tione earum omnium rationum, quae de naturis hu- 
mani generis ac moribus a philosophis explicantur. 

61 Atque haud scio, an minus hoc vobis sim proba- 

DE ORATORE, I. xiii. 58— xiv. 61 

orators ; or let our own folk prefer in this regard 
the Ten Commissioners — who wrote out the Twelve 
Tables and were necessarily men of practical wisdom 
— to Servius Galba and your father-in-law Gaius 
LaeHus, whose outstanding renown for eloquence is 
69 estabhshed. For never will I say that there are not 
certain arts belonging exclusively to those who have 
employed all their energies in the mastery and exer- 
cise thereof, but my assertion will be that the com- 
plete and finished orator is he who on any matter 
whatever can speak with fullness and variety. 

XIV. " Indeed in handUng those causes which xhe orator 
everybody acknowledges to be within the exclusive ^^^ ^^^"^ 
sphere of oratory, there is not seldom something to 
be brought forth and employed, not from practice in 
public speaking — the only thing you allow the orator 
— but from some more abstruse branch of knowledge. 

60 I ask, for instance, whether an advocate can either 
assail or defend a commander-in-chief without ex- 
perience of the art of war, or sometimes too without 
knowledge of the various regions of land or sea ? 
Whether he can address the popular assembly in 
favour of the passing or rejection of legislative pro- 
posals, or the Senate concerning any of the depart- 
ments of State administration, if he lack consummate 
knowledge — practical as well as theoretical — of 
political science ? Whether a speech can be directed 
to inflaming or even repressing feeUng and passion 
— a faculty of the first importance to the orator — 
unless the speaker has made a most careful search 
into all those theories respecting the natural char- 
acters and the habits of conduct of mankind, which 
are unfolded by the philosophers ? 

61 " And I rather think I shaU come short of convincing 



turus ; equidem non dubitabo, quod sentio, dicere : 
physica ista ipsa, et mathematica, et quae paulo ante 
ceterarum artium propria posuisti, scientiae sunt 
eorum, qui illa profitentur, illustrare autem ora- 
tione si quis istas ipsas artes velit, ad oratoris ei 

62 confugiendum est facultatem. Neque enim, si Phi- 
lonem illimi architectum, qui Atheniensibus arma- 
mentarium fecit, constat, perdiserte populo rationem 
operis sui reddidisse, existimandum est, architecti 
potius artificio disertum, quam oratoris, fuisse. Nec, 
si huic M. Antonio pro Hermodoro fuisset de navalium 
opere dicendum, non, cum ab illo causam didicisset, 
ipse ornate de alieno artificio copioseque dixisset. 
Neque vero Asclepiades is, quo nos medico amicoque 
usi sumus, tum, cum eloquentia vincebat ceteros 
medicos, in eo ipso, quod ornate dicebat, medicinae 

63 facultate utebatur, non eloquentiae. Atque illud 
est probabilius, neque tamen verum, quod Socrates 
dicere solebat, omnes in eo, quod scirent, satis esse 
eloquentes ; illud verius, neque quemquam in eo 
disertiun esse posse, quod nesciat ; neque, si id 
optime sciat, ignarusque sit faciundae ac pohendae 
orationis, diserte id ipsum posse, de quo sciat, dicere. 

64 XV. Quam ob rem, si quis universam et propriam 
oratoris vim definire complectique vult, is orator erit, 
mea sententia, hoc tam gravi dignus nomine, qui, 

DE ORATORE, I. xiv. 61— xv. 64 

you on my next point — at all events I will not hesitate science and 
to speak my mind : your natural science itself, your phWosophy 
mathematics, and other studies which just now you to oratory 
reckoned as belonging peculiarly to the rest of the ^°^ ^^^'^* • 
arts, do indeed pertain to the knowledge of their 
professors, yet if anyone should wish by speaking to 
put these same arts in their fuU Hght, it is to oratorical 

62 skill that he must run for help. If, again, it is estab- 
lished that Philo, that master-builder who constructed 
an arsenal for the Athenians, described the plan of 
his work very eloquently to the people, his eloquence 
must be ascribed not to his architectural, but rather 
to his oratorical ability. So too, if Marcus Antonius 
here had had to speak on behalf of Hermodorus upon 
the construction of dockyards, having got up his case 
from his client, he would then have discoursed grace- 
fully and copiously of an art to which he was not a 
stranger. Asclepiades also, he with whom we have 
been famiUar both as physician and as friend, at the 
time when he was surpassing the rest of his profession 
in eloquence, was exhibiting, in such graceful speak- 

63 ing, the skill of an orator, not that of a physician. In 
fact that favourite assertion of Socrates — that every 
man was eloquent enough upon a subject that he 
knew — has in it some plausibiHty but no truth : it 
is nearer the truth to say that neither can anyone be 
eloquent upon a subject that is unknown to him, nor, 
if he knows it perfectly and yet does not know how 
to shape and pohsh his style, can he speak fluently 
even upon that which he does know. 

64 XV. " Accordingly, should anyone wish to define in xhe orator 
a comprehensive manner the complete and special ?*° ^et up 
meaning of the word, he will be an orator, in my caiities, but 
opinion worthy of so dignified a title, who, whatever ^® ™*"* ^ 



quaecumque res inciderit, quae sit dictione expli- 
canda, prudenter, et composite, et ornate, et me- 
moriter dicat, cum quadam etiam actionis dignitate. 

65 Sin cuipiam nimis infinitum videtur quod ita posui, 
' quacumque de re,' licet hinc, quantum cuique vi- 
debitur, circumcidat atque amputet : tamen illud te- 
nebo, si, quae ceteris in artibus aut studiis sita sunt, 
orator ignoret, tantumque ea teneat, quae sint in 
disceptationibus, atque in usu forensi ; tamen his de 
rebus ipsis si sit ei dicendum, cum cognoverit ab eis, 
qui tenent, quae sint in quaque re, multo oratorem 
melius, quam ipsos illos, quorum eae sunt artes, esse 

gg dicturum. Ita si de re militari dicendum huic erit 
Sulpicio, quaeret a C. Mario affini nostro, et, cum 
acceperit, ita pronuntiabit, ut ipsi C. Mario paene 
hic melius, quam ipse, illa scire videatur ; sin de iure 
civili, tecum communicabit, teque hominem pru- 
dentissimum et peritissimum in eis ipsis rebus, quas 

g7 abs te didicerit, dicendi arte superabit. Sin quae 
res inciderit, in qua de natura, de vitiis hominum, 
de cupiditatibus, de modo, de continentia, de dolore, 
de morte dicendum sit ; forsitan, si ei sit visum (etsi 
haec quidem nosse debet orator), cum Sex. Pompeio, 
erudito homine in philosophia, communicarit ; hoc 
profecto efficiet, ut, quamcumque rem a quoque 


DE ORATORE, I. xv. 64-67 

the topic that crops up to be unfolded in discourse, vorsed in 
will speak thereon with knowledge, method, charm ^nd morai 
and retentive memory,combiningwith these qualifica- science. 

65 tions a certain distinction of bearing. If however 
someone considers my expression ' whatever the 
topic ' to be altogether too extensive, he may clip 
and prune it to his individual taste, but to this much 
I shall hold fast — though the orator be ignorant of 
what is to be found in all the other arts and branches 
of study, and know only what is dealt with in debate 
and the practice of pubhc-speaking ; none the less, 
if he should have to discourse even on these other 
subjects, then after learning the technicalities of each 
from those who know the same, the orator will speak 
about them far better than even the men who are 

66 masters of these arts. For example, should our 
friend Sulpicius here have to speak upon the art of 
war, he will inquire of our relative Gaius Marius, and 
when he has received his teachings, will dehver him- 
self in such fashion as to seem even to Gaius Marius 
to be almost better informed on the subject than 
Gaius Marius himself ; while if his topic is to be the 
law of private rights, he will consult yourself and, 
notwithstanding your consummate learning and 
skill in these very things which you have taught him, 

67 he will surpass you in the art of exposition. If again 
some matter should confront him wherein he must 
speak of human nature, human vices or the passions, 
of moderation or self-control, of sorrow or death, then 
perhaps if he thinks fit — although an orator must have 
knowledge of such things — he will have taken counsel 
with Sextus Pompeius, a man accomphshed in moral 
science ; so much he will assuredly achieve, that 
whatever his subject and whoever his instructor, on 



cognorit, de ea multo dicat ornatius, quam ille ipse, 
"^ unde cognorit. Sed si me audierit, quoniam philo- 
sophia in tres partes est tributa, in naturae obscuri- 
tatem, in disserendi subtilitatem, in vitam atque 
mores ; duo illa relinquamus, idque largiamur in- 
ertiae nostrae : tertium vero, quod semper oratoris 
fuit, nisi tenebimus, nihil oratori, in quo magnus esse 

69 possit, rehnquemus. Quare hic locus de vita et 
moribus totus est oratori perdiscendus : cetera si non 
didicerit, tamen poterit, si quando opus erit, ornare 
dicendo, si modo erunt ad eum delata, et tradita. 

XVI. Etenim si constat inter doctos, hominem 
ignarum astrologiae, Aratum omatissimis atque op- 
timis versibus, de coelo stellisque dixisse ; si de rebus 
rusticis hominem ab agro remotissimum, Nicandrum 
Colophonium, poetica quadam facultate, non rustica, 
scripsisse praeclare : quid est, cur non orator de 
rebus eis eloquentissime dicat, quas ad certam 

70 causam tempusque cognorit ? Est enim finitimus 
oratori poeta, numeris astrictior paulo, verborum 
autem Hcentia Uberior, multis vero ornandi generibus 
socius, ac paene par ; in hoc quidem certe prope 
idem, nuUis ut terminis circumscribat aut definiat 


DE ORATORE, I. xv. 67— xvi. 70 

that subject he will express himself far more graee- 

68 fully than his master himself. Nevertheless, if he 
will listen to me, since philosophy is divided into 
three branches, which respectively deal with the 
mysteries of nature, with the subtleties of dialectic, 
and with human hfe and conduct, let us quit claim 
to the first two, by way of concession to our indolence, 
but unless we keep our hold on the third, which has 
ever been the orator's province, we shall leave the 

69 orator no sphere wherein to attain greatness. For 
which reason this division of philosophy, concerned 
with human Ufe and manners, must all of it be 
mastered by the orator ; as for the other matters, 
even though he has not studied them, he will still be 
able, whenever the necessity arises, to beautify them 
by his eloquence, if only they are brought to his 
notice and described to him. 

XVI. " Indeed if it is agreed in learned circles that The orator, 
a man who knew no astronomy — Aratus to wit — has pggt ^gg^g 
sung of the heavenly spaces and the stars in verse of ^T'^^^.. 
consummate finish and excellence, and that another 
who was a complete stranger to country Hfe, Nicander 
of Colophon, has written with distinction on rural 
affairs, using something of a poet's skill and not that 
of a farmer, what reason is there why an orator 
should not discourse most eloquently conceming 
those subjects which he has conned for a specific 

70 argument and occasion ? The truth is that the poet 
is a very near kinsman of the orator, rather more 
heavily fettered as regards rh^rthm, but with ampler 
freedom in his choice of words, while in the use of 
many sorts of ornament he is his ally and ahnost his 
counterpart ; in one respect at all events something 
like identity exists, since he sets no boundaries or 



ius suum, quo minus ei liceat eadem illa facultate et 
71 copia vagari, qiia velit. Namque quod illud, Scae- 
vola, negasti te fuisse laturum, nisi in meo regno 
esses, quod in omni genere sermonis, in omni parte 
humanitatis dixerim oratorem perfectum esse debere, 
nunquam mehercule hoc dicerem, si eum, quem fin- 
.72 go, me ipsum esse arbitrarer. Sed, ut solebat C. Lu- 
cilius saepe dicere, homo tibi subiratus, mihi propter 
eam ipsam causam minus, quam volebat, familiaris, 
sed tamen et doctus, et perurbanus, sic sentio, nemi- 
nem esse in oratorum numero habendum, qui non 
sit omnibus eis artibus, quae sunt Ubero dignae, per- 
politus ; quibus ipsis, si in dicendo non utimur, 
tamen apparet atque exstat, utrum simus earum 
73 rudes, an didicerimus. Ut, qui pila ludunt, non 
utuntur in ipsa lusione artificio proprio palaestrae, 
sed indicat ipse motus, didicerintne palaestram, an 
nesciant ; et qui aliquid fingunt, et si tum pictura 
nihil utuntur, tamen, utrum sciant pingere, an 
nesciant, non obscurum est : sic in orationibus hisce 
ipsis iudiciorum, concionum, Senatus, etiamsi proprie 
ceterae non adhibentur artes, tamen facile declaratur, 
utrvun is, qui dicat, tantummodo in hoc declamatorio 


DE ORATORE, I. xvi. 70-73 

limits to his claims, such as would prevent him 
from ranging whither he will with the same free- 

71 dom and hcence as the other. For with regard 
to your remark, Scaevola, that, had you not been 
in my domain, you would not have endured my 
assertion that the orator must be accompHshed 
in every kind of discourse and in every depart- 
ment of culture, I should certainly never have 
made that assertion, did I consider myself to be 

72 the man I am endeavouring to portray. But, as 
was often said by Gaius Lucihus — who was not 
altogether pleased with you, and for that very reason 
less intimate with myself than he wished, but for ali 
that an instructed critic and thorough gentleman of 
the city — my opinion is this, that no one should be 
numbered with the orators who is not accompHshed 
in all those arts that befit the well-bred ; for though 
we do not actually parade these in our discourse, it 
is none the less made clear to demonstration whether 
we are strangers to them or have learned to know 

73 them. Just as ball-players do not in their game 
itself employ the characteristic dexterity of the 
gymnasium, and yet their very movements show 
whether they have had such training or know nothing 
of that art ; and, just as, in the case of those who are 
portraying anything, even though at the moment 
they are making no use of the painter's art, there is 
none the less no difficulty in seeing whether or not 
they know how to paint ; even so is it with these 
same speeches in the Courts, the popular assembly 
and the Senate-house — granting that the other arts 
may not be specially brought into play, still it is made 
easily discernible whether the speaker has merely 
floundered about in this declamatory business or 



sit opere iactatus, an ad dicendum omnibus ingenuis 
artibus instructus accesserit. 

74 XVII. Tum ridens Scaevola : Non luctabor, inquit, 
tecum, Crasse, amplius. Id enim ipsum, quod contra 
me locutus es, artificio quodam es consecutus, ut et 
mihi, quae ego vellem non esse oratoris, concederes ; 
et ea ipsa, nescio quomodo, rursus detorqueres, atque 

75 oratori propria traderes. Haec, cum ego praetor 
Rhodum venissem, et cum summo illo doctore istius 
disciplinae Apollonio, ea, quae a Panaetio acceperam, 
contulissem : irrisit ille quidem, ut solebat, philoso- 
phiam, atque contempsit, multaque non tam graviter 
dixit, quam facete, tua autem fuit oratio eiusmodi, 
non ut uUam artem doctrinamve contemneres, sed 
ut omnes comites ac ministras oratoris esse diceres. 

76 Quas ego, si quis sit unus complexus omnes, idemque 
si ad eas facultatem istam ornatissimae orationis 
adiunxerit ; non possum dicere, eum non egregium 
quemdam hominem atque admirandum fore, sed is, 
si quis esset, aut si etiam unquam fuisset, aut vero 
si esse posset, tu esses unus profecto ; qui et meo 
iudicio, et omnium, vix ullam ceteris oratoribus 

77 (pace horum dixerim) laudem reliquisti. Verum si 
tibi ipsi nihil deest, quod in forensibus rebus, civi- 
libusque versetur, quin scias, neque eam tamen 
scientiam, quam adiungis oratori, complexus es ; 

DE ORATORE, I. xvi. 73— xvii. 77 

whether, before approaching his task of oratory, 
he has been trained in all the hberal arts." 

74 XVII. At this point Scaevola smiUngly declared : The 

" Crassus, I will strive with you no longer. For, in chalienged* 
this very speech you have made against me, you have 
by some trick so managed matters as both to grant 
me what I said did not belong to the orator, and then 
somehow or another to wrest away these things again 
and hand them over to the orator as his absolute 

75 property. And as regards these subjects, when on 
my arrival in Rhodes as praetor I discussed with 
Apollonius, that supreme master of this science of 
rhetoric, the things that I had learned from Panaetius, 
he as usual jeered at philosophy and expressed con- 
tempt for it and talked at large in a vein more grace- 
ful than serious ; whereas your argument has been 
of such a kind that you not only refrained from 
despising any of the arts or sciences, but described 
them all as the attendants and handmaids of oratory. 

76 And for my own part, if ever any one man should have 
mastered all of them, and that same man should have 
united with them this added power of perfectly grace- 
ful expression, I cannot deny that he would be a 
remarkable kind of man and worthy of admiration ; 
but if such a one there should be, or indeed ever 
has been, or really ever could be, assuredly you 
would be that one man, who both in my opinion and 
in that of everyone else, have left all other orators — 
if they will pardon my saying so — almost without 

77 glory. But if you yourself, while lacking nothing of 
the knowledge that has to do with law-court speak- 
ing and pohtics, have nevertheless not mastered 
the further learning which you associate with 
the orator, let us see whether you may not be 



videamus, ne plus ei tribuas, quam res et veritas ipsa 

78 Hic Crassus : Memento, inquit, me non de mea, 
sed de oratoris facultate dixisse. Quid enim nos aut 
didicimus, aut scire potuimus, qui ante ad agendum, 
quam ad cognoscendum venimus ; quos in foro, quos 
in ambitione, quos in republica, quos in amicorum 
negotiis, res ipsa ante confecit, quam possemus aliquid 

79 de rebus tantis suspicari ? Quod si tibi tantum in 
nobis videtur esse, quibus etiamsi ingenium, ut tu 
putas, non maxime defuit, doctrina certe, et otium, 
et hercule etiam studium illud discendi acerrimum 
defuit : quid censes, si ad alicuius ingenium vel 
maius illa, quae ego non attigi, accesserint .'' qualem 
illum, et quantum oratorem futurum ? 

80 XVIII. Tum Antonius : Probas mihi, inquit, ista, 
Crasse, quae dicis ; nec dubito, quin multo locupletior 
in dicendo futurus sit, si quis omnium rerum atque 

81 artium rationem naturamque comprehenderit. Sed 
primum id difficile est factu, praesertim in hac nostra 
vita, nostrisque occupationibus ; deinde illud etiam 
verendum est, ne abstrahamur ab hac exercitatione, 
et consuetudine dicendi populari, et forensi. Aliud 
enim mihi quoddam genus orationis esse videtur 
eorum hominum, de quibus paulo ante dixisti, quamvis 
illi ornate et graviter, aut de natura rerum, aut de 
humanis rebus loquantur : nitidum quoddam genus 


DE ORATORE, I. xvii. 77— xviii. 81 

attributing to him more than the real facts of the 
case allow." 

78 Here Crassus interposed : " Remember that I have but 

not been speaking of my own skill, but of that of fg ^ ""l^gai, 
an orator. For what have men Uke myself either 
learned or had any chance of knowing, who entered 
upon practice before ever we reached the study of 
theory, whom our professional activities in pubhc 
speaking, in the pursuit of ofRce, in pohtics, and 
about the afFairs of our friends, wore out ere we 
could form any conception of the importance of these 

79 other matters ? But if you find such excellence in 
me who, if perhaps — as you hold — I have not been 
completely wanting in abihty, have assuredly been 
wanting in learning and leisure and (to tell the truth) 
in the requisite enthusiasm for instruction as well, 
what think you would be the quaUty and stature of 
an orator in whom all that I have not attained should 
be combined with abihty such asmy own or greater ? " 

80 XVIII. Thereupon Antonius observed : " Crassus, This ideai 
to my mind you establish your case, and I do not chaUenged 
doubt that, if a man has grasped the principles and as un- 
nature of every subject and of every art, he will in and^un^^ 
consequence be far better equipped as a speaker. attainabie. 

81 But in the first place such knowledge is hard to win, 
especially in the life we lead, and amid the engage- 
ments that are ours, and then again there is the 
danger of our being led away from our traditional 
practice of speaking in a style acceptable to the 
commonalty and suited to advocacy. For it seems 
to me that the eloquence of these men, to whom you 
referred just now, is of an entirely difFerent kind, 
albeit they speak gracefully and cogently, either upon 
natural philosophy or upon the affairs of mankind : 



est verborum et laetum, sed palaestrae magis et olei, 

82 quam huius civilis turbae ac fori, Namque egomet, 
qui sero, ac leviter Graecas litteras attigissem, tamen 
cum pro consule in Ciliciam proficiscens Athenas 
venissem, complures tum ibi dies sum propter navi- 
gandi difficultatem commoratus : sed, cum quotidie 
mecum haberem homines doctissimos, eos fere ipsos, 
qui abs te modo sunt nominati, cumque hoc, nescio 
quomodo, apud eos increbruisset, me in causis ma- 
ioribus, sicuti te, solere versari, pro se quisque ut 
poterat, de officio et ratione oratoris disputabat. 

83 Horum alii, sicut iste ipse Mnesarchus, hos, quos 
nos oratores vocaremus, nihil esse dicebat, nisi 
quosdam operarios, lingua celeri et exercitata ; 
oratorem autem, nisi qui sapiens esset, esse neminem ; 
atque ipsam eloquentiam, quod ex bene dicendi 
scientia constaret, unam quamdam esse virtutem, et 
qui unam virtutem haberet, omnes habere, easque 
esse inter se aequales et pares : ita, qui esset 
eloquens, eum virtutes omnes habere, atque esse 
sapientem. Sed haec erat spinosa quaedam et exilis 
oratio, longeque a nostris sensibus abhorrebat. 

84 Charmadas vero multo uberius eisdem de rebus 
loquebatur : non quo aperiret sententiam suam ; hic 
enim mos erat patrius Academiae, adversari semper 
omnibus in disputando ; sed cum maxime tamen 
hoc significabat, eos, qui rhetores nominarentur, et 

" Mnesarchus represents the Stoics, whose fundamental 
doctrine of the unity and coequality of all virtues implies 
that the philosopher alone can be an orator. 


DE ORATORE, I. xviii. 81-84 

theirs is a polishedand flowery sort of diction,redolent 
rather of the training-school and its suppHng-oil 

82 than of our poHtical hurly-burly and of the Bar. For 
— when I think of it — although it was late in hfe and 
only hghtly that I came into touch with Greek htera- 
ture, still, when on my journey to Cihcia as proconsul 
I reached Athens, I tarried there for several days by 
reason of the difficulty in putting to sea : at any rate, 
as I had about me daily the most learned men, pretty 
nearly the same as those whom you have lately men- 
tioned, a rumour having somehow spread among 
them that I, just hke yourself, was usually engaged 
in the more important causes, every one of them in 
his turn contributed what he could to a discussion 
on the function and method of an orator. 

83 " Some of them were for maintaining, as did your 
authority Mnesarchus" himself, that those whom we 
called orators were nothing but a sort of artisans with 
ready and practised tongues, whereas no one was an 
orator save the wise man only, and that eloquence 
itself, being, as it was, the science of speaking well, 
was one type of virtue, and he who possessed a single 
virtue possessed all of them, and the virtues were of 
the same rank and equal one with another, from which 
it followed that the man of eloquence had every 
virtue and was a wise man. But this was a thorny 
and dry sort of language, and entirely out of harmony 

84 with anything we thought. Charmadas, however, 
would speak far more copiously upon the same topics, 
not that heintended thereby to reveal his ownopinion, 
— it being an accepted tradition of the Academy 
always and against all comers to be of the opposition 
in debate — just then, however, he was pointing out 
that those who were styled rhetoricians and pro- 



qui dicendi praecepta traderent, nihil plane tenere, 
neque posse quemquam facultatem assequi dicendi, 
nisi qui philosophorum inventa didicisset. 

85 XIX. Disputabant contra diserti homines, Atheni- 
enses, et in repubhca causisque versati, in quis erat 
etiam is, qui nuper Romae fuit, Menedemus, hospes 
meus ; qui cum diceret esse quamdam prudentiam, 
quae versaretur in perspiciendis rationibus constituen- 
darum et regendarum rerum pubhcarum, excitabatur 
homo promptus atque omni abundans doctrina, et 
quadam incredibili varietate rerum et copia. Omnes 
enim partes ilUus ipsius prudentiae petendas esse a 
philosophia dicebat, neque ea, quae statuerentur in 
repubhca de diis immortaUbus, de disciplina iuven- 
tutis, de iustitia, de patientia, de temperantia, de 
modo rerum omnium, ceteraque, sine quibus civitates 
aut esse, aut bene moratae esse non possent, usquam 

86 in eorum inveniri UbelUs. Quod si tantam vim rerum 
maximarum arte sua rhetorici iUi doctores complecte- 
rentur, quaerebat, cur de prooemiis, et de epilogis, et 
de huiusmodi nugis (sic enim appellabat) referti 
essent eorum Ubri ; de civitatibus instituendis, de 
scribendis legibus, de aequitate, de iustitia, de fide, 
de frangendis cupiditatibus, de conformandis ho- 
minum moribus, Uttera in eorum Ubris nuUa inveni- 

87 retur .'' Ipsa vero praecepta sic iUudere solebat, ut 
ostenderet, non modo eos ilUus expertes esse pru- 

■ Charmadas of the Academy, 

DE ORATORE, I. xviii. 84— xix. 87 

pounded rules of eloquence, had no clear compre- 
hension of anything, and that no man could attain 
skill in speaking unless he had studied the discoveries 
of the philosophers. 

85 XIX. " Certain Athenians, accomplished speakers Reportof 
and experienced in politics and at the Bar, argued on ^^^^^^} 
the other side, among them too being that Mene- is therea 
demus, who was lately in Rome as my guest ; and thetodc"^ 
when he asserted that there was a special sort of or does 
wisdom, which had to do with investigating the prin- depe^nd on 
ciples of founding and governing pohtical communities, aptitude 
this roused up a man of quick temper " and full to over- practicet 
flowing of learning of every kind and a really in- 
credible diversity and multiplicity of facts. For he 
proceeded to inform us that every part of this same 
wisdom had to be sought from philosophy, nor were 

those institutions in a State which dealt with the im- 
mortal gods, the training of youth, justice, endurance, 
self-control, or moderation in all things, or the other 
principles without which States could not exist or at 
any rate be well-conditioned, to be met with any- 

86 where in the paltry treatises of rhetoricians, Where- 
as, if those teachers of rhetoric embraced within their 
art so vast a multitude of the noblest themes, how 
was it, he inquired, that their books were stuffed full 
of maxims relating to prefaces, perorations and similar 
trumpery — for so did he describe them — while con- 
cerning the organization of States, or the drafting of 
laws, or on the topics of fair-deahng, justice, loyalty, 
or the subduing of the passions or the building of 
human character, not a syllable was to be found in 

87 their pages ? But as for their actual rules he would 
scofF at them by showing that not only were their 
authors devoid of that wisdom which they arrogated 



dentiae, quam sibi adsciscerent, sed ne hanc quidem 
ipsam dicendi rationem ac viam nosse. Caput enim 
esse arbitrabatur oratoris, ut et ipsis, apud quos 
ageret, talis, qualem se ipse optaret, videretur ; id 
fieri vitae dignitate, de qua nihil rhetorici isti doctores 
in praeceptis suis reliquissent : et uti eorum, qui 
audirent, sic afficerentur animi, ut eos affici vellet 
orator ; quod item fieri nullo modo posse, nisi 
cognosceret is, qui diceret, quot modis hominum 
mentes, et quibus rebus, et quo genere orationis in 
quamque partem moverentur ; haec autem esse 
penitus in media philosophia retrusa atque abdita ; 
quae isti rhetores ne primoribus quidem labris at- 

88 tigissent. Ea Menedemus exemplis magis, quam 
argvunentis, conabatur refellere : memoriter enim 
multa ex orationibus Demosthenis praeclare scripta 
pronuntians, docebat, illum in animis vel iudicum, 
vel popuh, in omnem partem dicendo permovendis, 
non fuisse ignarum, quibus ea rebus consequeretur, 
quae negaret ille sine philosophia quemquam scire 

89 XX. Huic ille respondebat, non se negare, Demo- 
sthenem summam prudentiam summamque vim 
habuisse dicendi ; sed sive ille hoc ingenio potuisset, 
sive, id quod constaret, Platonis studiosus audiendi 
fuisset ; non, quid ille potuisset, sed quid isti 

DE ORATORE, I. xix. 87— xx. 89 

to themselves, but they were ignorant even of the 
true principles and methods of eloquence. For he 
was of opinion that the main object of the orator was 
that he should both appear himself, to those before 
whom he was pleading, to be such a man as he would 
desire to seem (an end to be attained by a reputable 
mode of Ufe, as to which those teachers of rhetoric 
had left no hint among their instructions), and that 
the hearts of his hearers should be touched in such 
fashion as the orator would have them touched (an- 
other purpose only to be achieved by a speaker who 
had investigated all the ways wherein, and all the 
allurements and kind of diction whereby, the judge- 
ment of men might be inclined to this side or to that) ; 
but according to him such knowledge lay thrust away 
and buried deep in the very heart of philosophy, and 
those rhetoricians had not so much as tasted it with the 

88 tip of the tongue. These assertions Menedemus would 
strive to disprove by quoting instances rather than by 
arguments, for, while reciting from his ready recoUec- 
tion many magnificent passages from the speeches of 
Demosthenes, he would demonstrate how that orator, 
when by his eloquence he was compelling the passions 
of the judges or of the people to take any direction 
he chose, knew well enough by what means to attain 
results which Charmadas would say that no one could 
compass without the aid of philosophy. 

89 XX. " To this Charmadas replied that he did not 
deny to Demosthenes the possession of consummate 
wisdom and the highest power of eloquence, but 
whether Demosthenes owed this ability to natural 
talent or, as was generally agreed, had been a 
devoted disciple of Plato, the present question was 
not what Demosthenes could do, but what those 



90 docerent, esse quaerendum. Saepe etiam in eam 
partem ferebatur oratione, ut omnino disputaret, 
nullam artem esse dicendi : idque cum argumentis 
docuerat, quod ita nati essemus, ut et blandiri, et 
suppliciter insinuare eis, a quibus esset petendum, 
et adversarios minaciter terrere possemus, et rem 
gestam exponere, et id, quod intenderemus, con- 
firmare, et id, quod contra diceretur, refellere, et ad 
extremum deprecari aliquid, et conqueri ; quibus in 
rebus omnis oratorum versaretur facultas ; et quod 
consuetudo exercitatioque et intellegendi prudentiam 
acueret, et eloquendi celeritatem incitaret : tum 

91 etiam exemplorum copia nitebatur. Nam primum, 
quasi dedita opera, neminem scriptorem artis ne 
mediocriter quidem disertum fuisse dicebat, cum 
repeteret usque a Corace nescio quo, et Tisia, quos 
artis illius inventores et principes fuisse constaret ; 
eloquentissimos autem homines, qui ista nec didi- 
cissent, nec omnino scire curassent, innumerabiles 
quosdam nominabat ; in quibus etiam (sive ille 
irridens, sive quod ita putaret, atque ita audisset), 
me in illo numero, qui illa non didicissem, et tamen 
(ut ipse dicebat) possem aliquid in dicendo, profere- 
bat. Quorum illi alterum facile assentiebar, nihil 
me didicisse ; in altero autem me illudi ab eo, aut 

' For Corax and Tisias see Index. By using the words 
nescio quo Antonius affects ignorance of literary hibtory. 


DE ORATORE, I. xx. 90-91 

90 rhetoricians were teaching. More than once too he 
was carried so far away by his discourse as to argue 
that there was no such thing as an art of eloquence ; 
and after showing this by arguments — because, as 
he said, we were born with an aptitude ahke for 
coaxing and unctuously steahng into favour with 
those from whom a boon had to be sought, and for 
daunting our antagonists by threats, for setting forth 
how a deed was done, and estabHshing our own 
charges and disproving the allegations of the other 
side, and for making, in the closing words of a 
speech, some use of protest and lamentation (in 
which operations he declared that every resource of 
the orator was brought into play), and because habit 
and practice sharpened the edge of discernment and 
quickened the fluency of dehvery, then he would also 

91 support his case by an abundance of instances. For 
in the first place (he would say) not a single writer on 
rhetoric — it looked as if of set purpose — had been 
even moderately eloquent, and he searched all the 
way back to the days of one Corax <* and a certain 
Tisias who, he stated, were acknowledged to have 
been the founders and first practitioners of this 
art, while on the other hand he would cite a 
countless host of very eloquent men who had never 
learned these rules or been at all anxious to make 
their acquaintance ; and among these — whether in 
jest or because he thought so and had even so heard 
— he went on to mention me in the hst, as one who 
had never studied those matters and yet (according 
to him) had some ability in oratory. To one of these 
points of his — that I had never learned anything — I 
readily agreed, but as to the other I considered that 
he was either making game of me or was even himself 



92 etiam ipsum errare arbitrabar. Artem vero negabat 
esse ullam, nisi quae cognitis, penitusque perspectis, 
et in uniun exitum spectantibus, et nunquam 
fallentibus rebus contineretur ; haec autem omnia, 
quae tractarentur ab oratoribus, dubia esse et 
incerta ; cum et dicerentur ab eis, qui ea omnia 
non plane tenerent, et audirentur ab eis, quibus non 
scientia esset tradenda, sed exigui temporis aut falsa, 

93 aut certe obscura opinio. Quid multa ? sic mihi 
tum persuadere videbatur, neque artificium ullum 
esse dicendi, neque quemquam posse, nisi qui illa, 
quae a doctissimis hominibus in philosophia dice- 
rentur, cognosset, aut caUide aut copiose dicere. In 
quibus dicere Charmadas solebat, ingenium tuum, 
Crasse, vehementer admirans, me sibi perfacilem in 
audiendo, te perpugnacem in disputando esse visum. 

94 XXI. Tumque ego, hac eadem opinione adductus, 
scripsi etiam illud quodam in hbello, qui me im- 
prudente et invito excidit, et pervenit in manus 
hominum, disertos me cognosse nonnuUos, eloquen- 
tem adhuc neminem : quod eum statuebam disertum, 
qui posset satis acute, atque dilucide, apud mediocres 
homines ex communi quadam opinione dicere ; elo- 
quentem vero, qui mirabiUus et magnificentius augere 
posset atque ornare, quae veUet, omnesque omnium 
rerum, quae ad dicendum pertinerent, fontes animo 
ac memoria contineret. Id si est difficile nobis, qui 


DE ORATORE, I. xx. 92— xxi. 94, 

92 mistaken. He said, however, that there was no 
' art ' which did not consist in the knowledge and 
clear perception of facts, all tending to a single con- 
clusion and incapable of misleading ; but everything 
with which orators dealt was doubtful and uncertain, 
since all the talking was done by men who had no real 
grasp of their subject, and all the hstening by hearers 
who were not to have knowledge conveyed to them, 
but some short-Uved opinion that was either untrue 

93 or at least not clear. In a word, he then looked hke 
persuading me that no craft of oratory existed, and 
that no one could speak with address or copiously 
unless he had mastered the philosophical teachings 
of the most learned men. And in these discussions 
Charmadas was wont to speak with warm admiration 
of your talents, Crassus, explaining that he found in 
me a very ready Ustener, in yourself a most doughty 

94 XXI. " And so, won over by these same views, I Reai 
actually wrote down in a little pamphlet — which u^qowiT 
slipped abroad without my knowledge or consent and 

got into the hands of the pubhc — the statement that 
I had known sundry accomphshed speakers, but no 
one so far who was eloquent, inasmuch as I held any- 
one to be an accompHshed speaker who could deUver 
his thought with the necessary point and clearness 
before an everyday audience, and in accord with what 
I might call the mental outlook of the average human 
being, whereas I allowed the possession of eloquence 
to that man only who was able, in a style more 
admirable and more splendid, to amphfy and adom 
any subject he chose, and whose mind and memory 
encompassed all the sources of everything that con- 
cerned oratory. If this is a hard matter for ourselves, 



ante quam ad discendum ingressi sumus, obruimur 
ambitione et foro ; sit tamen in re positum atque 

95 natura. Ego enim, quantum auguror coniectura, 
quantaque ingenia in nostris hominibus esse video, 
non despero fore aliquem aliquando, qui et studio 
acriore, quam nos sumus atque fuimus, et otio ac 
facultate discendi maiore ac maturiore, et labore 
atque industria superiore, cum se ad audiendum, 
legendum, scribendumque dediderit, exsistat talis 
orator, qualem quaerimus ; qui iure non solum 
disertus, sed etiam eloquens dici possit : qui tamen, 
mea sententia, aut hic est iam Crassus, aut, si quis 
pari fuerit ingenio pluraque quam hic et audierit 
et lectitarit et scripserit, paulum huic aliquid poterit 

96 Hoc loco Sulpicius : Insperanti mihi, inquit, et 
Cottae, sed valde optanti utrique nostrum, cecidit, 
ut in istum sermonem, Crasse, delaberemini. Nobis 
enim huc venientibus iucundum satis fore videbatur, 
si, cum vos de rebus aUis loqueremini, tamen nos 
aliquid ex sermone vestro memoria dignum excipere 
possemus : ut vero penitus in eam ipsam totius huius 
vel studii, vel artificii, vel facultatis disputationem 
paene intimam perveniretis, vix optandum nobis 

97 videbatur. Ego enim, qui ab ineunte aetate in- 
census essem studio utriusque vestrum, Crassi vero 

DE ORATORE, I. xxi. 94^97 

because, before we have entered on the required study, 
we are overwhelmed by the hunt for office and the 
business of the Bar, none the less let it be accepted 

95 as attainable in fact and in the nature of things. For 
personally, so far as I can form a prediction, and 
judging from the vast supply of talent which I see 
existent among our fellow-citizens, I do not despair 
of its coming to pass that some day some one, keener 
in study than we are or ever have been, endowed with 
ampler leisure and earlier opportunity for learning, 
and exhibiting closer apphcation and more intensive 
industry, who shall have given himself up to hstening, 
reading and writing, will stand forth as an orator such 
as we are seeking, who may rightly be called not 
merely accomphshed but actually eloquent ; and 
after all, to my mind either Crassus is such a man 
ah'eady, or, should some one of equal natural abihty 
have heard, read and written more than Crassus, he 
will only be able to improve to some slight extent 
upon him." 

96 At this point, " We never looked for it," ex- Crassus 
claimed Sulpicius, " but it has fallen out, Crassus, coMents^to 
just as both I and Cotta earnestly hoped, I mean that gi^e his 
you two should shp into this particular conversation. 

For on our way hither we were thinking that it would 
be dehghtful enough if, while you and Antonius were 
talking about anything else, we might still manage 
to catch from your discourse something worth remem- 
bering ; but that you should enter at large upon so 
real and wellnigh exhaustive a discussion of this 
whole matter — be it practice, art or natural talent — • 

97 seemed to us a thing we could hardly hope for. The 
fact is that I, who from my earhest manhood was 
aglow with enthusiasm for you both, and a positive 



etiam amore, cum ab eo nusquam discederem, 
verbum ex eo nunquam elicere potui de vi ac ratione 
dicendi, cum et per memet ipsum egissem, et per 
Drusum saepe tentassem : quo in genere tu, Antoni, 
(vere loquar) nunquam mihi percunctanti, aut quae- 
renti aliquid, defuisti, et persaepe me, quae soleres 

98 In dicendo observare, docuisti. Nunc quoniam 
uterque vestrum patefecit earum rerum ipsarum 
aditum, quas quaerimus, et quoniam princeps Crassus 
eius sermonis ordiendi fuit, date nobis hanc veniam, 
ut ea, quae sentitis de omni genere dicendi, subtiliter 
persequamini. Quod quidem si erit a vobis impetra- 
tum, magnam habebo, Crasse, huic palaestrae et 
Tusculano tuo gratiam, et longe Academiae illi ac 
Lycio tuum hoc suburbanum gymnasium ante- 

99 XXII. Tum ille : Immo vero, inquit, Sulpici, roge- 
mus Antonium, qui et potest facere id, quod requiris, 
et consuevit, ut te audio dicere. Nam me quidem 
fateor semper a genere hoc toto sermonis refugisse, 
et tibi cupienti atque instanti saepissime negasse, ut 
tute paulo ante dixisti. Quod ego non superbia, 
neque inhumanitate faciebam, neque quo tuo studio 
rectissimo atque optimo non obsequi vellem, prae- 
sertim cum te unum ex omnibus ad dicendum 
maxime natum, aptumque cognossem, sed mehercule 

DE ORATORE, I. xxi. 97— xxii. 99 

devotion to Crassus — seeing that on no occasion did 
I leave his side — could never get a word out of him 
respecting the nature and theory of eloquence, 
although I pleaded in person, besides making fre- 
quent trial of him through the agency of Drusus, 
whereas on this subject you, Antonius, — and what I 
shall say is true — have never failed me at all in my 
probings or interrogatories, and have many a time 
explained to me what rules you were wont to 

98 observe in practical oratory. Now then that each 
of you has opened up a way of reaching these 
very objects of our quest, and since it was Crassus 
who led ofF in this discussion, grant us the favour 
of recounting with exactness of detail, your re- 
spective opinions upon every branch of oratory. 
If we do win this boon from you both, I shall be 
deeply grateful, Crassus, to this school in your 
Tusculan villa, and shall rank these semi-rural 
training-quarters of yours far above the illustrious 
Academy and the Lyceum." 

99 XXII. Thereupon the other rejoined, " Nay, 
Sulpicius, but let us rather ask Antonius, who both 
has the abihty to do what you demand, and, as I 
understand you to say, has been in the habit of so 
doing. For as for me, you yourself have just told us 
how I have invariably run away from all discussions 
of this sort, and time and again have refused com- 
pliance with your desire and indeed your importunity, 
This I used to do, not from arrogance or churlishness, 
nor because I was unwiUing to gratify your entirely 
legitimate and admirable keenness — the more so as 
I had recognized that you were above all other men 
eminently endowed by nature and adapted for oratory 
— but in solemn truth it was from want of familiarity 



istius disputationis insolentia, atque earum rerum, 
quae quasi in arte traduntur, inscitia. 

100 Tum Cotta : Quoniam id, quod difficillimum 
nobis videbatur, ut omnino de his rebus, Crasse, 
loquerere, assecuti sumus ; de reliquo iam nostra 
culpa fuerit, si te, nisi omnia, quae percunctati 

101 erimus, explicaris, dimiserimus. De his, credo, 
rebus, inquit Crassus, ut in cretionibus scribi solet, 
QuiBUS sciAM, POTEROQUE. Tum illc : Namque quod 
tu non poteris, aut nescies, quis nostrum tam im- 
pudens est, qui se scire aut posse postulet ? lam 
vero, ista conditione, dum mihi liceat negare posse, 
quod non potero, et fateri nescire quod nesciam, licet, 
inquit Crassus, vestro arbitratu percunctemini. 

102 Atque, inquit Sulpicius, hoc primum ex te, de quo 
modo Antonius exposuit, quid sentias, quaerimus : 
existimesne artem aliquam esse dicendi ? Quid ? 
mihi nunc vos, inquit Crassus, tanquam aUcui Grae- 
culo otioso et loquaci, et fortasse docto atque erudito, 
quaestiunculam, de qua meo arbitratu loquar, 
ponitis ? Quando enim me ista curasse aut cogitasse 
arbitramini, et non semper irrisisse potius eorum 
hominum impudentiam, qui cum in schola assedis- 
sent, ex magna hominum frequentia dicere iuberent, 

103 S) quis quid quaereret ? Quod primum ferunt 
Leontinum fecisse Gorgiam : qui permagnum quid- 

" For the use of the diminutive to indicate the contempt 
felt at Rome for the degenerate Greek of the day c/. §§ 47, 
221, and Juvenal iii. 78 Graeculus esurieru. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxii. 99-103 

with arguments of that kind, and awkwardness in 
handling those theories set forth in what claims to be 
an art." 

30 Cotta then observed, " Since we have secured what 
seemed most difficult — that you, Crassus, should say 
anything at all about these matters — as for what 
remains, it will now be our own fault if we let you go 
without explaining to us all that we have been in- 

31 quiring about." " Limiting the inquiry, I imagine," 
answered Crassus, " to those subjects which, as the 
phrase goes in accepting an inheritance, are within 
my knowledge and power." " By all means," re- 
turned Cotta, " for what is beyond your own power 
or knowledge, who among us is so shameless as to 
claim to be within his own ? " " In that case," 
rephed Crassus, " provided that I may disclaim 
powers which I do not possess, and admit ignorance 
of what I do not know, — put what questions to me 

32 you please." ' Well then," said Sulpicius, " what is there a 
we ask you to tell us first is your opinion of the view rhetoricf 
Antonius advanced just now — whether you hold that 
there is any such thing as an ' art ' of oratory ? " 

" How now ? " exclaimed Crassus, " Do you think 
I am some idle talkative Greekhng," who is also 
perhaps full of learning and erudition, that you 
propound me a petty question on which to talk as I 
will ? For when was it, think you, that I troubled 
myself about these matters or reflected upon them, 
and did not rather always laugh to scorn the effrontery 
of those persons who, from their chairs in the schools, 
would call upon any man in the crowded assemblage 
to propound any question that he might have to put ? 
03 It is related that Gorgias of Leontini was the author 
of this practice, who was thought to be undertaking 

n 73 


dam suscipere ac profiteri videbatur, cum se ad 
omnia, de quibus quisque audire vellet, esse paratum 
denuntiaret. Postea vero vulgo hoc facere coeperunt, 
hodieque faciunt ; ut nuUa sit res, neque tanta, neque 
tam improvisa, neque tam nova, de qua se non omnia, 

104 quae dici possunt, profiteantur esse dicturos. Quod 
si te, Cotta, arbitrarer, aut te, Sulpici, de eis rebus 
audire velle, adduxissem huc Graecum aUquem, qui 
vos istiusmodi disputationibus delectaret : quod ne 
nunc quidem difficile factu est. Est enim apud 
M. Pisonem, adolescentem iam huic studio deditum, 
summo hominem ingenio, nostrique cupidissimum, 
Peripateticus Staseas, homo nobis sane familiaris, 
et, ut inter homines peritos constare video, in illo 
suo genere omnium princeps. 

105 XXIII. Quem tu, inquit, mihi, Mucius, Staseam, 
quem Peripateticum narras ? Gerendus est tibi mos 
adolescentibus, Crasse : qui non Graeci ahcuius quoti- 
dianam loquacitatem sine usu, neque ex scholis 
cantilenam requirunt, sed ex homine omnium sapien- 
tissimo atque eloquentissimo, atque ex eo, qui non in 
Ubellis, sed in maximis causis, et in hoc domicilio 
imperii et gloriae, sit consilio hnguaque princeps ; 
cuius vestigia persequi cupiunt, eius sententiam sci- 

106 scitantur. Equidem te cum in dicendo semper 
putavi deum, tum vero tibi nunquam eloquentiae 
maiorem tribui laudem, quam humanitatis : qua 
nunc te uti vel maxime decet, neque defugere eam 


DE ORATORE, I. xxii. 103— xxiii. 106 

and professing something very magnificent when he 
advertised himself as ready for any topic whatever 
on which anyone might have a fancy to hear him. 
Later, however, they began to do this everywhere, 
and are doing it to this day, with the result of there 
being no theme so vast, so unforeseen, or so novel, 
that they do not claim to be prepared to say about it 

104 all that there is to be said. But had I supposed that 
you, Cotta, or you, Sulpicius, wished to Usten to any- 
thing of the kind, I would have brought some Greek 
or other here to amuse you with discussions of that 
sort ; and even now this can easily be managed. For 
staying with Marcus Piso (a young man, but already 
given up to this pursuit, possessing talent of the highest 
order and deeply devoted to myself) there is Staseas 
the Peripatetic, a man whom I know well enough, and 
who, as I understand to be agreed among experts, is 
quite supreme in that department of his." 

105 XXIII. " Staseas ! what Staseas ? what Peripatetic 
are you talking to me about ? " said Mucius. " It is 
for you, Crassus, to comply with the wishes of young 
men, who do not want the everyday chatter of some 
unpractised Greek,or old sing-songs outof the schools, 
but something from the wisest and most eloquent 
man in the world, and one who, not in the pages of 
pamphlets, but in the most momentous causes, and 
that too in this seat of imperial power and splendour, 
holds the first place for judgement and eloquence ; 
they are anxious to learn the opinion of the man whose 

106 footsteps they long to follow. Moreover, just as I have 
always accounted you the ideal orator, even so I have 
never ascribed to you higher praise for eloquence 
than for kindUness, which quality it becomes you on 
the present occasion to exercise to the very utmost, 



disputationem, ad quam te duo excellentis ingenii 
adolescentes cupiunt accedere. 

107 Ego vero, inquit, istis obsequi studeo, neque 
gravabor breviter meo more, quid quaque de re 
sentiam, dicere. Ac primum illud — quoniam auctori- 
tatem tuam neglegere, Scaevola, fas mihi esse non 
puto — respondeo, mihi dicendi aut nullam artem, aut 
pertenuem videri, sed omnem esse contentionem 
inter homines doctos in verbi controversia positam. 

108 Nam si ars ita definitur, ut paulo ante exposuit 
Antonius, ex rebus penitus perspectis planeque cog- 
nitis, atque ab opinionis arbitrio seiunctis, scientiaque 
comprehensis, non mihi videtur ars oratoris esse 
uUa. Sunt enim varia, et ad vulgarem popularemque 
sensum accommodata omnia genera huius forensis 

109 nostrae dictionis. Sin autem ea, quae observata sunt 
in usu ac ratione dicendi, haec ab hominibus callidis 
ac peritis animadversa ac notata, verbis designata, 
generibus illustrata, partibus distributa sunt — id quod 
fieri potuisse video — : non intellego, quam ob rem 
non, si minus illa subtili definitione, at hac vulgari 
opinione, ars esse videatur. Sed sive est ars, sive 
artis quaedam simihtudo, non est quidem ea negle- 
genda ; verum intellegendum est, alia quaedam ad 
consequendam eloquentiam esse maiora. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxiii. 106-109 

and not to run away from the discussion into which 
two young men of eminent ability are desirous of 
your entering." 

107 " For my part," answered the other, "I amNo, thereis 
anxious to humour your friends, and I shall make no •„ thrstrict 
difficulty about saying, in my brief fashion, what I sense,but 
think upon each point. And to that first question — gan tonfs^h 
since I do not think it dutiful, Scaevola, for me to a system of 
disregard your claims — I answer, ' I think there is ™^®*' 
either no art of speaking at all or a very thin 

one,' all the quarrelling in learned circles being 

108 really based upon a dispute about a word. For if, as 
Antonius just now explained, an art is defined as 
consisting in things thoroughly examined and clearly 
apprehended, and which are also outside the control 
of mere opinion, and within the grasp of exact 
knowledge, then to me there seems to be no such 
thing as an art of oratory. For all the kinds of 
language we ourselves use in public speaking are 
changeable matter, and adapted to the general 

109 understanding of the crowd. If however the actual 
things noticed in the practice and conduct of speaking 
have been heeded and recorded by men of sldll 
and experience, if they have been defined in terms, 
illuminated by classification, and distributed under 
subdivisions — and I see that it has been possible to 
do this — I do not understand why this should not be 
regarded as an art, perhaps not in that precise sense 
of the term, but at any rate according to the other 
and popular estimate. But whether this be an art, 
or only something hke an art, assuredly it is not to 
be disdained ; we must however understand that 
certain other qualifications are of greater conse- 
quence for the attainment of eloquence." 



110 XXIV. Tum Antonius vehementer se assentire 
Crasso dixit, quod neque ita amplecteretur artem ut 
ei solerent qui omnem vim dicendi in arte ponerent, 
neque rursum eam totam, sicut plerique philosophi 
facerent, repudiaret. Sed existimo, inquit, gratum 
te his, Crasse, facturum, si ista exposueris, quae putas 
ad dicendum plus, quam ipsam artem, posse prodesse. 

111 Dicam equidem, quoniam institui, petamque a 
vobis, inquit, ne has meas ineptias efferatis : quan- 
quam moderabor ipse, ne, ut quidam magister atque 
artifex, sed quasi unus e togatorum numero, atque 
ex forensi usu homo mediocris, neque omnino rudis, 
videar, non ipse aliquid a me prompsisse, sed fortuito 

112 in sermonem vestrum incidisse. Equidem, cum 
peterem magistratum, solebam in prensando dimit- 
tere a me Scaevolam, cum ei ita dicerem, me velle 
esse ineptum : id erat petere blandius ; quod nisi 
inepte fieret, bene non posset fieri. Hunc autem esse 
unum hominem ex omnibus, quo praesente ego inep- 
tus esse minime vellem : quem quidem nunc mearum 
ineptiarum testem et spectatorem fortuna constituit. 
Nam quid est ineptius, quam de dicendo dicere, cum 
ipsum dicere nunquam sit non ineptum, nisi cum est 
necessarium ? 

113 Perge vero, Crasse, inquit Mucius. Istam enim 
culpam, quam vereris, ego praestabo. 

" Ineptus, generally equivalent to ' unhappy ' or ' incon- 
gruous,' is here used loosely as meaning ' silly,' Crassus felt 
that his talking about oratory was as silly a business as was 
shaking hands with everybody when canvassing. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxiv. 110-113 

110 XXIV. Thereupon Antonius observed that he Ch^ssus 
heartily agreed with Crassus, in that he was neither ff^hfs^own*^ 
wedded to Art with the devotion of those for whom expenence. 
the whole virtue of oratory resided in an art, nor on 

the other hand did he put her away altogether, as 
didmost of the philosophers. " But I think, Crassus," 
he continued, " that you will be doing these two a 
favour, if you will set forth those things which in your 
opinion may be more profitable to oratory than even 
Art herself." 

111 " I will certainly name them," replied Crassus, 
" as I have once begun, beseeching you however 
not to publish abroad these trifles of mine ; although 
I too will restrain myself, so as not to seem a sort of 
master and professional, volunteering some observa- 
tions of my own, but just one of all the many Roman 
citizens, a man modestly quaUfied through experience 
of public afFairs, and not altogether untrained, who 

112 has stumbled by chance upon your discussion. The 
truth is that, when in quest of an office, I used in 
canvassing to send Scaevola away from me, explaining 
to him that I proposed to be silly," that is, to make 
myself winsome in my wooing, and this required 
some siUiness if it was to be well done, whereas our 
friend here was of all men the one in whose presence 
I was least willing to appear silly. Yet he it is whom 
on the present occasion Fate has appointed to be an 
eye-witness and observer of my silliness. For what 
is sillier than to talk about talking, since talking 
in itself is ever a silly business, except when it is 
indispensable ? " 

113 " Proceed none the less, Crassus," said Mucius, 
" for I will take upon myself that reproach you are 



XXV. Sic igitur, inquit Crassus, sentio naturam 
primum, atque ingenium ad dicendum vim afFerre 
maximam ; neque vero istis, de quibus paulo ante 
dixit Antonius scriptoribus artis, rationem dicendi et 
viam, sed naturam defuisse. Nam et animi atque 
ingenii celeres quidam motus esse debent, qui et ad 
excogitandum acuti, et ad explicandum ornandumque 

114 sint uberes, et ad memoriam firmi atque diuturni. Et 
si quis est, qui haec putet arte accipi posse, quod 
falsum est — praeclare enim se res habeat, si haec 
accendi, aut commoveri arte possint : inseri quidem, 
et donari ab arte non possunt omnia ; sunt enim illa 
dona naturae — : quid de illis dicet, quae certe cum 
ipso homine nascuntur ? hnguae solutio, vocis sonus, 
latera, vires, conformatio quaedam et figura totius 

115 oris et corporis ? Neque haec ita dico, ut ars ahquid 
limare non possit — neque enim ignoro, et quae bona 
sint, fieri meUora posse doctrina, et quae non optima, 
ahquo modo acui tamen et corrigi posse — sed sunt 
quidam aut ita Hngua haesitantes, aut ita voce absoni, 
aut ita vultu, motuque corporis vasti atque agrestes, 
ut, etiamsi ingeniis atque arte valeant, tamen in 
oratorum numerum venire non possint. Sunt autem 
quidam ita in eisdem rebus habiles, ita naturae 
muneribus ornati, ut non nati, sed ab aliquo deo 
ficti esse videantur. 

116 Magnum quoddam est onus atque munus, sus- 


DE ORATORE, I. xxv. 113-116 

XXV. " This then is my opinion," resumed Crassus, The require- 
"that in the first place natural talent is the chief ^^^^^^ P"^" 
contributor to the virtue of oratory ; and indeed in naturai gifts 
those writers on the art, of whom Antonius spoke essential; 
just now, it was not the principles and method of 
oratory that were wanting, but inborn capacity. 
For certain Hvely activities of the intelligence and 
the talents ahke should be present, such as to be 
at once swift in invention, copious in exposition 
and embelHshment, and steadfast and enduring in 

114 recollection ; and if there be anyone disposed to 
think that these powers can be derived from art, a 
false behef — for it would be a glorious state of things 
if art could even kindle or waken them into Hfe ; 
engrafted and bestowed by art of a certainty they 
cannot be, for they are all the gifts of nature, — 
what will he say of those other attributes which 
undoubtedly are innate in the man himself : the 
ready tongue, the ringing tones, strong lungs, vigour, 
suitable build and shape of the face and body as 

115 a whole ? And, in saying this, I do not mean that 
art cannot in some cases give pohsh, — for well I 
know that good abihties may through instruction 
become better, and that such as are not of the best 
can nevertheless be, in some measure, quickened and 
amended — , but there are some men either so tongue- 
tied, or so discordant in tone, or so wild and boorish 
in feature and gesture, that, even though sound in 
talent and in art, they yet cannot enter the ranks 
of the orators. While others there are, so apt in 
these same respects, so completely furnished with 
the bounty of nature, as to seem of more than human 
birth, and to have been shaped by some divinity. 

116 " Great indeed are the burden and the task that 



cipere, atque profiteri, se esse, omnibus silentibus, 
unum maximis de rebus, magno in conventu homi- 
num, audiendum. Adest enim fere nemo, quin 
acutius atque acrius vitia in dicente, quam recta 
videat : ita, quidquid est, in quo ofFenditur, id etiam 

117 illa, quae laudanda sunt, obruit. Neque haec in eam 
sententiam disputo, ut homines adolescentes, si quid 
naturale forte non habeant, omnino a dicendi studio 
deterream. Quis enim non videt, C. Coelio, aequali 
meo, magno honori fuisse, homini novo, illam ipsam, 
quamcumque assequi poterit, in dicendo medio- 
critatem .'' Quis vestrum aequalem, Q. Varium, 
vastum hominem atque foedum, non intellegit illa 
ipsa facultate, quamcumque habet, magnam esse in 
civitate gratiam consecutum ? 

118 XXVI. Sed quia de oratore quaerimus, fingendus 
est nobis oratione nostra, detractis omnibus vitiis, 
orator, atque omni laude cumulatus. Neque enim, 
si multitudo litium, si varietas causarum, si haec 
turba et barbaria forensis dat locum vel vitiosissimis 
oratoribus, Idcirco nos hoc, quod quaerimus, omit- 
temus. Itaque in eis artibus, in quibus non utiHtas 
quaeritur necessaria, sed animi libera quaedam ob- 
lectatio, quam diUgenter, et quam prope fastidiose 
iudicamus ! NuUae enim lites, neque controversiae 

DE ORATORE, I. xxv. 116— xxvi. 118 

he undertakes, who puts himself forward, when all 
are silent, as the one man to be heard concerning 
the weightiest matters, before a vast assembly of 
his fellows. For there is hardly a soul present but 
will turn a keener and more penetrating eye upon 
defects in the speaker than upon his good points. 
Thus any blunder that may be committed ecUpses 

117 even those other things that are praiseworthy. Not 
that I am pressing these considerations with the idea 
of frightening young men away altogether from the 
pursuit of oratory, should they possibly lack some 
natural endowment. For who does not observe that 
Gaius Coelius, a man of my own time and of new 
family , reached high renown as the result of that very 
modest degree of eloquence which — such as it was — 
he had succeeded in attaining .'' Who again does not 
know that Quintus Varius, your own contemporary, 
a man of wild and repellent aspect, has attained great 
popularity in public life, through whatever practical 
ability of that kind he has possessed ? 

118 XXVI. " But since it is ' The Orator ' we are though the 
seeking, we have to picture to ourselves in our dis- {jarf to 
course an orator from whom every blemish has been attain. 
taken away, and one who moreover is rich in every 
merit. For even though the multipUcity of litigation, 

the diversity of issues, and the rabble of rusticity 
thronging our public places, give opportunity even 
to the most faulty speakers, we shall not for that 
reason lose sight of this our objective. In those arts 
then, in which we are looking, not for any necessary 
utility, but some method of freely bringing deUght 
to the intellect, how critical — I had ahnost said how 
disdainful — are our judgements ! For there are no 
lawsuits or contentions to compel mankind to sit 



sunt, quae cogant homines, sicut in foro non bonos 

119 oratores, item in theatro actores malos perpeti. Est 
igitur oratori diligenter providendum, non uti illis 
satisfaciat, quibus necesse est ; sed ut eis admirabilis 
esse videatur, quibus libere liceat iudicare. Ac, si 
quaeritis, plane, quid sentiam, enuntiabo apud ho- 
mines familiarissimos, quod adhuc semper tacui, et 
tacendum putavi, Mihi etiam, quique optime dicunt, 
quique id facillime atque ornatissime facere possunt, 
tamen, nisi timide ad dicendum accedunt, et in ex- 
ordienda oratione perturbantur, paene impudentes 

120 videntur : tametsi id accidere non potest. Ut enim 
quisque optime dicit, ita maxime dicendi difficul- 
tatem, variosque eventus orationis, exspectationem- 
que hominum pertimescit. Qui vero nihil potest 
dignum re, dignum nomine oratoris, dignum homi- 
num auribus efficere atque edere, is mihi, etiamsi 
commovetur in dicendo, tamen impudens videtur. 
Non enim pudendo, sed non faciendo id quod non 

121 decet, impudentiae nomen efFugere debemus. Quem 
vero non pudet — id quod in plerisque video — , hunc 
ego non reprehensione solum,sed etiam poenadignum 
puto. Equidem et in vobis animadvertere soleo, et 
in me ipso saepissime experior, ut exalbescam in 
principiis dicendi, et tota mente, atque omnibus 
artubus contremiscam ; adolescentulus vero sic initio 

DE ORATORE, I. xxvi. 118-121 

through bad acting on the stage, as they would bear 

119 with indifFerent oratory in Court. Therefore our 
orator must carefully see to it, that he not only 
contents those whom it is necessary to satisfy, but 
is wonderful as well in the eyes of such as have the 
right to judge freely. And now, if you would know 
it, among my most famihar friends I will publish in 
simple language what I think, on which I have 
hitherto always kept silence and deemed silence 
fitting. In my view, even the best orators, those 
who can speak with the utmost ease and elegance, 
unless they are diffident in approaching a discourse 
and diffident in beginning it, seem to border on the 
shameless, although that can never come to pass. 

120 For the better the orator, the more profoundly is 
he frightened of the difficulty of speaking, and of 
the doubtful fate of a speech, and of the anticipa- 
tions of an audience. On the other hand, the 
man who can do nothing in composition and 
deUvery that is worthy of the occasion, worthy 
of the name of an orator, or of the ear of the 
hstener, still seems to me to be without shame, 
be he never so agitated in his speaking ; for it is 
not by feehng shame at what is unbecoming, but 
in not doing it, that we must escape the reproach 

121 of shamelessness. While as for him who is un- 
ashamed — as I see is the case with most speakers, — 
I hold him deserving not merely of reprimand, 
but of punishment as well. Assuredly, just as I 
generally perceive it to happen to yourselves, so 
I very often prove it in my own experience, that I 
turn pale at the outset of a speech, and quake in 
every Umb and in aU my soul ; in fact, as a very 
young man, I once so utterly lost heart in opening 



accusationis exanimatus sum, ut hoc summum bene- 
ficium Q. Maximo debuerim, quod continuo consilium 
dimiserit, simul ac me fractum ac debilitatum metu 

122 Hic omnes assensi, significare inter sese, et coUoqui 
coeperunt. Fuit enim mirificus quidam in Crasso 
pudor, qui tamen non modo non obesset eius orationi, 
sed etiam probitatis commendatione prodesset. 

XXVII. Tum Antonius : Saepe, ut dicis, inquit, 
animadvertijCrasse, et te,et ceteros summos oratores, 
quanquam tibi par, mea sententia, nemo unquam fuit, 

123 in dicendi exordio permoveri. Cuius quidem rei 
cum causam quaererem, quidnam esset cur, ut in 
quoque oratore plurimum esset, ita maxime is perti- 
mesceret, has causas inveniebam duas : unam, quod 
intellegerent ei, quos usus ac natura docuisset, non- 
nunquam summis oratoribus non satis ex sententia 
eventum dicendi procedere ; ita non iniuria, quoties- 
cumque dicerent, id, quod aliquando posset accidere, 

124 ne tvun accideret, timere. Altera est haec, de qua 
queri saepe soleo : ceterarum homines artium spec- 
tati et probati, si quando aliquid minus bene fecerunt, 
quam solent, aut noluisse,aut valetudine impediti non 
potuisse consequi, id quod scirent, putantur : ' No- 
luit,' inquiunt, * hodie agere Roscius ' ; aut, ' Crudior 


DE ORATORE, I. xxvi. 121— xxvii. 124 

an indictment, that I had to thank Quintus Maximus 
for doing me the supreme service of promptly 
adjourning the hearing, the moment he saw that I 
was broken-down and unnerved by fear." 

122 At this point the whole company began to nod 
approval one to another, and to talk together. For 
there was a marvellous kind of modesty about 
Crassus, though this was so far from being any 
disadvantage to his oratory, as positively to help it, 
by bearing witness to his integrity. 

XXVII. Presently Antonius observed : " I have Orators 
often noticed, Crassus, that, as you say, both you jgniln^^t/^^^ 
and the other orators of the first rank — although in than actor» 
my opinion no one has ever been your peer — are 
deeply disturbed when you are beginning a speech. 

123 Now on investigating the reason of this — how it 
was that, the greater an orator's capacity, the 
more profoundly nervous he was — I discovered 
this twofold explanation : first, that those who had 
learned from experience and knowledge of human 
nature understood that, even with the most emi- 
nent orators, the fate of a speech was sometimes 
not sufficiently in accordance with their wish ; where- 
fore, as often as they spoke, they were justifiably 
fearful, lest what could possibly happen sometime 

124 should actually happen then. Secondly there is 
something of which I often have to complain, that, 
whenever tried and approved exponents of the 
other arts have done some work with less than their 
wonted success, their inability to perform what they 
knew how to perform is explained by their being out 
of the humour or hindered by indisposition (people 
say, ' Roscius was not in the mood for acting to-day,* 
or ' He was a Uttle out of sorts ') ; whereas, if it 



fuit ' ; oratoris peccatum, si quod est animadversum, 

125 stultitiae peccatum videtur. Stultitia autem excusa- 
tionem non habet : quia nemo videtur, aut quia 
crudus fuerit, aut quod ita maluerit, stultus fuisse. 
Quo etiam gravius iudicium in dicendo subimus. 
Quoties enim dicimus, toties de nobis iudicatur : et, 
qui semel in gestu peccavit, non continuo existimatur 
nescire gestum ; cuius autem in dicendo aliquid 
reprehensum est, aut aeterna in eo, aut certe diuturna 
valet opinio tarditatis. 

126 XXVIII. IUud vero, quod a te dictum est, esse 
permulta, quae orator nisi a natura haberet, non 
multum a magistro adiuvaretur : valde tibi assentior, 
inque eo vel maxime probavi summum illum doc- 
torem, Alabandensem Apollonium, qui, cum mer- 
cede doceret, tamen non patiebatur, eos, quos 
iudicabat non posse oratores evadere, operam apud 
sese perdere, dimittebatque ; et ad quam quemque 
artem putabat esse aptum, ad eam impellere atque 

127 hortari solebat. Satis est enim ceteris artificiis per- 
cipiendis, tantummodo similem esse hominis ; et id, 
quod tradatur, vel etiam inculcetur, si quis forte sit 
tardior, posse percipere animo, et memoria custodire. 
Non quaeritur mobiUtas linguae, non celeritas verbo- 
rum, non denique ea, quae nobis non possumus fin- 

128 S^^^' facies, vultus, sonus. In oratore autem acumen 
dialecticorum, sententiae philosophorum, verba prope 


DE ORATORE, I. xxvii. 124— xxviii. 128 

is an orator's shortcoming that is being criticized 

25 the same is thought due to stupidity. But stupidity 
finds no apology, since no man's stupidity is set down 
to his having been ' out of sorts ' or ' that way 
incUned.' And so in oratory we confront a sterner 
judgement. For judgement is passing upon us as 
often as we speak ; moreover one mistake in act- 
ing does not instantly convict a player of ignorance 
of acting, but an orator, censured on some point 
of speaking, is under an established suspicion of 
duUness once for all, or at any rate for many a 

26 XXVIII. " Now as for that remark of yours that Varietyof 
there were very many quahfications which an orator pected''^"^ 
must derive from nature, or he would not be greatly theorator 
aided by tuition, I thoroughly agree with you ; and 

in this respect I most particularly approved of that 
very eminent instructor Apollonius of Alabanda, 
who, though teaching for hire, would not for all that 
sufFer such pupils as, in his judgement, could never 
turn out to be orators, to waste their labour with him, 
but would send them on their ways, and urge and 
exhort them to pursue those arts for which he 

[27 thought them respectively fitted, It is enough, in- 
deed, for acquiring all other crafts, just to be a man 
like other men, and able to apprehend mentally and 
to preserve in the memory what is taught, or even 
crammed into the learner, should he chance to be 
dull beyond the ordinary. No readiness of tongue 
is needed, no fluency of language, in short none 
of those things — natural state of looks, expression, 
and voice — which we cannot mould for ourselves. 

128 But in an orator we must demand the subtlety of 
the logician, the thoughts of the philosopher, a 



poetarum, memoria iurisconsultorum, vox tragoe- 
dorum, gestus paene summorum actorum est re- 
quirendus. Quam ob rem nihil in hominum genere 
rarius perfecto oratore inveniri potest. Quae enim 
singularum rerum artifices singula si mediocriter 
adepti sunt, probantur, ea, nisi omnia siunma sunt 
in oratore, probari non possunt. 

129 Tum Crassus : Atqui vide, inquit, in artificio per- 
quam tenui et levi, quanto plus adhibeatur dili- 
gentiae, quam in hac re, quam constat esse maximam. 
Saepe enim soleo audire Roscium, cum ita dicat, se 
adhuc reperire discipulum, quem quidem probaret, 
potuisse neminem : non quo non essent quidam pro- 
babiles, sed quia, si aliquid modo esset vitii, id ferre 
ipse non posset. Nihil est enim tam insigne, nec tam 
ad diuturnitatem memoriae stabile, quam id, in quo 

130 aliquid ofFenderis. Itaque ut ad hanc similitudinem 
huius histrionis oratoriam laudem dirigamus, vide- 
tisne, quam nihil ab eo, nisi perfecte, nihil nisi cum 
summa venustate fiat, nihil nisi ita, ut deceat, et uti 
omnes moveat atque delectet ? Itaque hoc iamdiu 
est consecutus, ut, in quo quisque artificio excelleret, 
is in suo genere Roscius diceretur. Hanc ego absolu- 
tionem perfectionemque in oratore desiderans, a qua 
ipse longe absum, facio impudenter : mihi enim volo 
ignosci, ceteris ipse non ignosco. Nam qui non potest, 
qui vitiose facit, quem denique non decet, hunc — ut 


DE ORATORE, I. xxviii. 128-130 

diction almost poetic, a lawyer's memory, a trage- 
dian's voice, and the bearing almost of the consum- 
mate actor, Accordingly no rarer thing than a 
finished orator can be discovered among the sons of 
men. For attributes which are commended when 
acquired one apiece, and that in but modest degree, 
by other craftsmen in their respective vocations, 
cannot win approval when embodied in an orator, 
unless in him they are all assembled in perfection." 

129 " And yet observe," said Crassus at this point, Defectsar» 
" how much more care is exercised in an extremelv "°*'''=®"^ ** 
mean and trivial crait than m this art, which is 
admittedly the greatest. For again and again do 

I hear Roscius declaring that so far he has never 
succeeded in finding a single pupil of whom he really 
approved ; not that there were not some who were 
acceptable, but because, if there was any blemish 
whatever in them, he himself could not endure it. 
For nothing stands out so conspicuously, or remains 
so firmly fixed in the memory, as something in which 

130 you have blundered. And so, to take this com- 
parison with this player as our standard of an orator's 
merit, do you not see how he does nothing other- 
wise than perfectly, nothing without consummate 
charm, nothing save in the manner befitting the 
occasion, and so as to move and enchant everybody ? 
Accordingly he has long ago brought it about that, 
in whatsoever craft a man excelled, the same was 
called a Roscius in his own line. For myself, in 
demanding in an orator this absolute perfection, 
from which I myself am far removed, I am behaving 
shamelessly, since I want forgiveness for myself, but 
I do not forgive the others. For the man who is 
without ability, who makes mistakes, whose claim — 



ApoUonius iubebat — ad id, quod facere possit, detru- 
dendum puto. 

131 XXIX. Num tu igitur, inquit Sulpicius, me, aut 
hunc Cottam, ius civile, aut rem militarem iubes 
discere ? Nam quis ad ista summa atque in omni 
genere perfecta, potest pervenire ? Tum ille : Ego 
vero, inquit, quod in vobis egregiam quamdam 
ac praeclaram indolem ad dicendum esse cognovi, 
idcirco haec exposui omnia ; nec magis ad eos deter- 
rendos, qui non possent, quam ad vos, qui possetis, 
exacuendos accommodavi orationem meam ; et 
quanquam in utroque vestrum summum esse in- 
genium studiumque perspexi, tamen haec, quae sunt 
in specie posita, de quibus plura fortasse dixi, quam 

132 solent Graeci dicere, in te, Sulpici, divina sunt. Ego 
enim neminem, nec motu corporis, neque ipso habitu 
atque forma aptiorem, nec voce pleniorem, aut sua- 
viorem mihi videor audisse ; quae quibus a natura 
minora data sunt, tamen illud assequi possunt, ut eis, 
quae habeant, modice et scienter utantur, et ut ne 
dedeceat. Id enim est maxime vitandum, et de hoc 
uno minime est facile praecipere, non mihi modo, qui 
sicut unus paterfamihas his de rebus loquor, sed etiam 
ipsi iUi Roscio ; quem saepe audio dicere, caput esse 
artis, decere : quod tamen unum id esse, quod tradi 

133 arte non possit. Sed, si placet, sermonem alio trans- 

DE ORATORE, I. xxviii. 130— xxix. 133 

in a word — does him discredit, should in my judge- 
ment, as Apollonius directed, be thrust down to such 
work as he can perform." 

131 XXIX. " Would you then," said Sulpicius, " direct xhenaturai 
Cotta here, or myself, to be studying the common law sJ[*pj°fu3 
or the soldier's art ? For who can attain to that and Cotta : 
sublime and universal perfection which you demand ? " 
And the other answered : " For my part, it is 
precisely because I recognized in you two a really 
remarkable and indeed splendid genius for oratory, 
that I have set forth all these considerations, while 
to stimulate you men of ability no less than 
to discourage the inefficient is the object of my 
discourse ; and although I have noted in both of 
you talent and industry of the highest order, still 
as regards these advantages which depend upon the 
outer man, concerning which I have perhaps said 
more than the Greeks are wont to do, as manifested 

1.32 in yourself, Sulpicius, they are divine. For never, I 
think, did I listen to a speaker better qualified in 
respect of gesture, and by his very bearing and 
presence, or to one with a voice more resonant and 
pleasing ; while those on whom these gifts have been 
bestowed by nature in smaller measure, can none the 
less acquire the power to use what they have with 
propriety and discernment, and so as to show no lack 
of good taste. For lack of that is above all else to be 
avoided, and as to this particular failing it is especially 
difficult to lay down rules, difficult not only for me, who 
talk of these matters hke papa laying down the law, 
but even for the great Roscius himself ; whom I often 
hear affirming that the chief thing in art is to observe 
good taste, though how to do this is the one thing 

133 that cannot be taught by art. But, by your leave, 



feramus, et nostro more aliquando, non rhetorico, 

Minime vero, inquit Cotta : nunc enim te iam 
exoremus necesse est, quoniam retines nos in hoc 
studio, nec ad aliam dimittis artem, ut nobis explices, 
quidquid est istud, quod tu in dicendo potes ; neque 
enim sumus nimis avidi : ista tua mediocri eloquentia 
contenti sumus, idque ex te quaerimus — ut ne plus 
nos assequamur, quam quantulum tu in dicendo as- 
secutus es — , quoniam, quae a natura expetenda sunt, 
ea dicis non nimis deesse nobis, quid praeterea esse 
assumendum putes. 

134 XXX. Tum Crassus arridens : Quid censes, inquit, 
Cotta, nisi studium, et ardorem quemdam amoris .'' 
sine quo cum in vita nihil quidquam egregium, 
tum certe hoc, quod tu expetis, nemo unquam as- 
sequetur. Neque vero vos ad eam rem video esse 
cohortandos ; quos, cum mihi quoque sitis molesti, 

135 nimis etiam flagrare intellego cupiditate. Sed pro- 
fecto studia nihil prosunt perveniendi aliquo, nisi 
illud, quod eo, quo intendas, ferat deducatque, 
cognoris. Quare, quoniam mihi levius quoddam onus 
imponitis, neque ex me de oratoris arte, sed de hac 
mea, quantulacumque est, facultate quaeritis, ex- 
ponam vobis quamdam, non aut perreconditam, aut 
valde difficilem, aut magnificam, aut gravem ra- 
tionem consuetudinis meae, qua quondam solitus sum 


DE ORATORE, I. xxix. 133— xxx. 135 

let us shift our conversation to other subjects, and 
chat at last in our own fashion, and not as 

" On no account whatever," returned Cotta : 
" for since you keep us in this pursuit and do not 
send us away to some other art, we must now further 
beseech you to explain to us your own power in 
oratory, however much you make it out to be ; — for 
we are not too greedy : we are quite content with 
what you call your ' ordinary eloquence ' — and (so 
as not to outstrip that small degree of skill you have 
attained as a speaker), since you tell us that the 
qualities to be sought from nature are not excessively 
deficient in ourselves, the thing we ynsh to know from 
you is what further requisite you consider should be 

134 XXX. Crassus smiled at this and replied : " What their need 
else do you suppose, Cotta, but enthusiasm and some- °^ trammg 
thing hke the passion of love ? without which no man 

will ever attain anything in Ufe that is out of the 
common, least of all this success which you covet. 
Not that I look upon you two as needing incitement 
in that direction, perceiving as I do, from the trouble 
you are giving even to myself, that you are aflame 

135 with only too fervent a desire. Yet assuredly 
endeavours to reach any goal avail nothing unless 
you have learned what it is which leads you to the 
end at which you aim. And so, since the burden you 
lay upon me is a Ughter one, and you are not examin- 
ing me in the art of oratory, but as to this abiUty of 
my own, however insignificant it is, I will explain 
to you my habitual method, nothing particularly 
mysterious or exceedingly difficult, nothing grand 
or imposing, just the plan I used to follow in bygone 



uti, cum mihi in isto studio versari adolescenti 

136 Tum Sulpicius : O diem, Cotta, nobis, inquit, op- 
tatum ! quod enim neque precibus unquam, nec 
insidiando, nec speculando assequi potui, ut, quid 
Crassus ageret, meditandi aut dicendi causa, non 
modo videre mihi, sed ex eius scriptore et lectore 
Diphilo suspicari liceret ; id spero nos esse adeptos, 
omniaque iam ex ipso, quae diu cupimus, cognituros. 

137 XXXI. Tum Crassus : Atqui arbitror, Sulpici, cum 
audieris, non tam te haec admiraturum, quae dixero, 
quam existimaturum, tum, cum ea audire cupiebas, 
causam cur cuperes, non fuisse. Nihil enim dicam 
reconditum, nihil exspectatione vestra dignum, nihil 
aut inauditum vobis, aut cuiquam novum. Nam 
principio illud, quod est homine ingenuo Hberali- 
terque educato dignum, non negabo me ista omnium 

138 communia et contrita praecepta didicisse : primum 
oratoris officium esse, dicere ad persuadendum ac- 
commodate ; deinde, esse omnem orationem aut de 
infinitae rei quaestione, sine designatione personarum 
et temporum, aut de re certis in personis ac tem- 

139 poribus locata ; in utraque autem re quidquid in 
controversiam veniat, in eo quaeri solere, aut fac- 
tumne sit, aut, si est factum, quale sit, aut etiam quo 
nomine vocetur, aut, quod nonnulH addunt, rectene 

140 factum esse videatur ; exsistere autem controversias 


DE ORATORE, I. xxx. 135— xxxi. 139 

times, when I was a young man, with liberty to busy 
myself in that pursuit of yours." 

At these words Sulpicius exclaimed : " Cotta, 
behold our longed-for day ! For the thing that by 
entreaties, or lying in wait, or spying, I could never 
secure, — I mean a chance of observing what Crassus 
was doing for the purposes of training or rehearsal, 
I do not say at first-hand, but at least by getting 
some hint from Diphilus, his secretary and reader, — 
this I hope you and I have gained, and we are now 
to learn from his own Hps everything that we have 
long been desiring." 

XXXI. " And yet I think, Sulpicius," continued The school 
Crassus, " that after hearing them you will be less rhetoric. 
hkely to wonder at my observations than to decide 
that, when you were longing to hear them, there 
was no ground for your longing. For I shall tell 
no mystery, nothing worthy of your waiting, 
nothing that you have not heard already, or that is 
new to anyone. For to begin with, in regard to 
what befits a free-born man of hberal education, I 
will not deny that I learned those commonplace and 
well-worn maxims of teachers in general : first, that 
the duty of an orator is to speak in a style fitted to 
convince ; next, that every speech has to do either 
with the investigation of a general question, wherein 
no persons or occasions are indicated, or with a 
problem that is concerned with specific individuals 
and times ; moreover that in both cases, whatever 
the subject for debate, it is usual for inquiry to be 
made in respect thereof, either whether a deed was 
done or, if it was done, what is its character, or 
again by what name is it known or, as some add, 
whether it appears to have been done lawfully ; 



etiam ex scripti interpretatione, in quo aut ambigue 
quid sit scriptum, aut contrarie, aut ita, ut a sententia 
scriptum dissideat : his autem omnibus partibus 

141 subiecta quaedam esse argumenta propria. Sed 
causarum, quae sint a communi quaestione seiunctae, 
partim in iudiciis versari, partim in deliberationibus ; 
esse etiam genus tertium, quod in laudandis aut 
vituperandis hominibus poneretur ; certosque esse 
locos, quibus in iudiciis uteremur, in quibus aequitas 
quaereretur ; alios in deliberationibus, qui omnes ad 
utilitatem dirigerentur eorum, quibus consilium dare- 
mus : alios item in laudationibus, in quibus ad per- 

142 sonarum dignitatem omnia referrentur. Cumque 
esset omnis oratoris vis ac facultas in quinque partes 
distributa ; ut deberet reperire primum, quid diceret; 
deinde inventa non solum ordine, sed etiam momento 
quodam atque iudicio dispensare atque componere ; 
tum ea denique vestire atque ornare oratione ; post 
memoria saepire ; ad extremum agere cum dignitate 

143 ac venustate : etiam illa cognoram, et acceperam, 
antequam de re diceremus, initio conciliandos eorum 
esse animos, qui audirent ; deinde rem demonstran- 
dam ; postea controversiam constituendam ; tum id, 
quod nos intenderemus, confirmandum ; post, quae 
contra dicerentur, refellenda ; extrema autem ora- 
tione, ea, quae pro nobis essent, amplificanda et 
augenda ; quaeque essent pro adversariis, infirmanda 
atque frangenda. 

" These loci communes are the *stock' arguments and 
general reflexions referred to in § 56 supra. 

DE ORATORE, I. xxxi. 140-143 

140 further that contentions also arise out of the con- 
struction of a document, wherein there is some 
ambiguity or contradiction, or something is so 
expressed that the written word is at variance with 
the intention ; and again that to all these kinds 
certain modes of proof are assigned as appropriate. 

141 Again I heard that, of such questions as are distinct 
from general issues, some have their place in courts 
of justice, others in deliberations ; while there was 
yet a third kind, which had to do with the extolUng 
or reviling of particular persons ; and that there were 
prescribed commonplaces " which we were to employ 
in the law-courts where equity was our aim ; others 
for use in dehberations, all of which were arranged 
for the benefit of those to whom we might be giving 
counsel ; and others again in panegyric, wherein 
the sole consideration was the greatness of the 

142 individuals concerned. And, since all the activity 
and ability of an orator falls into five divisions, I 
learned that he must first hit upon what to say ; 
then manage and marshal his discoveries, not merely 
in orderly fashion, but with a discriminating eye for 
the exact weight as it were of each argument ; next 
go on to array them in the adornments of style ; after 
that keep them guarded in his memory ; and in the 

143 end deliver them with effect and charm : I had also 
been taught that, before speaking on the issue, we 
must first secure the goodwill of our audience ; that 
next we must state our case ; afterwards define the 
dispute ; then establish our own allegations ; sub- 
sequently disprove those. of the other side ; and in 
our peroration expand and reinforce all that was 
in our favour, while we weakened and demolished 
whatever went to support our opponents. 



144 XXXII. Audieram etiam, quae de orationis ipsius 
ornamentis traderentur : in qua praecipitur primum, 
ut pure et latine loquamur ; deinde ut plane et 
dilucide ; tum ut ornate ; post ad rerum dignitatem 
apte et quasi decore : singularumque rerum prae- 

145 cepta cognoram. Quin etiam, quae maxime propria 
essent naturae, tamen his ipsis artem adhiberi vide- 
ram : nam de actione et de memoria quaedam brevia, 
sed magna cum exercitatione praecepta gustaram. 

In his enim fere rebus omnis istorum artificum doc- 
trina versatur, quam ego si nihil dicam adiuvare, 
mentiar. Habet enim quaedam quasi ad commonen- 
dum oratorem, quo quidque referat, et quo intuens, 
ab eo, quodcumque sibi proposuerit, minus aberret. 

146 Verum ego hanc vim intellego esse in praeceptis 
omnibus, non ut ea secuti oratores, eloquentiae 
laudem sint adepti, sed, quae sua sponte homines 
eloquentes facerent, ea quosdam observasse atque 
collegisse ; sic esse non eloquentiam ex artificio, sed 
artificium ex eloquentia natum : quod tamen, ut 
ante dixi, non eiicio : est enim, etiamsi minus neces- 
sarium ad bene dicendum, tamen ad cognoscendum 

J47 non ilUberale. Et exercitatio quaedam suscipienda 
vobis est : quanquam vos quidem iampridem estis in 
cursu ; sed eis, qui ingrediuntur in stadium, quique 
ea, quae agenda sunt in foro, tanquam in acie, pos- 
sunt etiam nunc exercitatione quasi ludicra prae- 
discere ac meditari. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxii. 144-147 

144 XXXII. "I had listened also to the traditional Raies of 
precepts tor the embellishment of discourse itself : 

that we must speak, in the first place, pure and 
correct Latin, secondly with simple lucidity, thirdly 
with elegance, lastly in a manner befitting the 
dignity of our topics and with a certain grace ; and 
on these several points I had learnt particular 

145 maxims. Moreover I had seen art called in to aid 
even those qualities which are peculiarly the endow- 
ment of nature : for example, concerning deUvery 
and the memory, I had taken a taste of certain rules 
which, though concise, involved much practice. 

" For it is matters like these that employ nearly Practice 
all the learning of your professors ; and if I were essentiai. 
to call this learning useless, I should be lying. 
For in fact it contains certain reminders, as it were, 
for the orator, as to the standard he must apply on 
each occasion, and must keep in mind, if he is not 
to wander from whatever course he has set himself. 

146 But to my thinking the virtue in all the rules is, not 
that orators by follovidng them have won a reputation 
for eloquence, but that certain persons have noted 
and collected the doings of men who were naturally 
eloquent : thus eloquence is not the ofFspring of the 
art, but the art of eloquence : even so, as I said before, 
I do not reject art, for though perhaps hardly essential 
to right speaking, still it is no ignoble help towards 

147 right knowledge. There is also a certain practical 
training that you must undergo — though indeed you 
two are already in full career, — I mean it is for those 
who are at the start of their race, and can even thus 
early learn beforehand and practise, by a training 
Uke that for the games, what will have to be done in 
the fighting-line, so to speak, of the Courts." 



148 Hanc ipsam, inquit Sulpicius, nosse volumus : 
attamen ista, quae abs te breviter de arte decursa 
sunt, audire cupimus, quanquam sunt nobis quoque 
non inaudita. Verum illa mox : nunc, de ipsa exerci- 
tatione quid sentias, quaerimus. 

149 XXXIII. Equidem probo ista, Crassus inquit, 
quae vos facere soletis, ut, causa aliqua posita con- 
simili causarum earum, quae in forum deferuntur, 
dicatis quam maxime ad veritatem accommodate. 
Sed plerique in hoc vocem modo, neque eam scienter, 
et vires exercent suas, et linguae celeritatem incitant, 
verborumque frequentia delectantur. In quo fallit 
eos, quod audierunt, dicendo homines, ut dicant, 

150 efficere solere. Vere enim etiam illud dicitur, per- 
verse dicere, homines, perverse dicendo, facillime 
consequi. Quam ob rem in istis ipsis exercitationibus, 
etsi utile est, etiam subito saepe dicere, tamen illud 
utilius, sumpto spatio ad cogitandum, paratius atque 
accuratius dicere. Caput autem est, quod, ut vere 
dicam,minime facimus — est enim magni laboris,quem 
plerique fugimus — , quam plurimum scribere. Stilus 
optimus et praestantissimus dicendi effector ac ma- 
gister : neque iniuria. Nam si subitam et fortuitam 
orationem commentatio et cogitatio facile vincit ; 
hanc ipsam profecto assidua ac diligens scriptura 

151 superabit. Omnes enim, sive artis sunt loci, sive 
ingenii cuiusdam atque prudentiae, qui modo insunt 
in ea re, de qua scribimus, anquirentibus nobis, 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxii. 148— xxxiii. 151 

148 " This training," said Sulpicius, " is the very thing 
we wish to understand : and none the less we are 
longing to hear you on those precepts of the art over 
which you have briefly run, although those too are 
not unknown to us. But of them presently ; for the 
moment we want your opinion on the training itself." 

149 XXXIII. " I certainly approve," replied Crassus, Ruiesfor 

" of what you yourselves are in the habit of doing, l^^^^^ 
when you propound some case, closely resembling 
such as are brought into Court, and argue it in a 
fashion adapted as nearly as possible to real Ufe. 
Most students however, in so doing, merely exercise 
their voices (and that in the wrong way), and their 
physical strength, and whip up their rate of utterance, 
and revel in a flood of verbiage. This mistake is due 
to their having heard it said that it is by speaking 

150 that men as a rule become speakers. But that other 
adage is just as true, — that by speaking badly men 
very easily succeed in becoming bad speakers. This 
is why, in those exercises of your own, though there 
is a value in plenty of extempore speaking, it is still 
more serviceable to take time for consideration, and 
to speak better prepared and more carefully. But 
the chief thing is what, to tell the truth, we do least 
(for it needs great pains which most of us shirk), — 
to write as much as possible. The pen is the best and 
most eminent author and teacher of eloquence, and 
rightly so. For if an extempore and casual speech is 
easily beaten by one prepared and thought-out, this 
latter in turn will assuredly be surpassed by what has 

161 been ^vritten with care and diligence. The truth is 
that all the commonplaces, whether furnished by art 
or by individual talent and wisdom, at any rate such 
as appertain to the subject of our writing, appear 



omnique acie ingenii contemplantibus ostendunt se 
et occurrunt ; omnesque sententiae, verbaque omnia, 
quae sunt cuiusque generis maxime illustria, sub 
acumen stili subeant et succedant necesse est ; tum 
ipsa collocatio conformatioque verborum perficitur in 
scribendo, non poetico, sed quodam oratorio numero 
et modo. 
162 Haec sunt, quae clamores et admirationes in bonis 
oratoribus efficiunt ; neque ea quisquam, nisi diu 
multumque scriptitarit, etiamsi vehementissime se in 
his subitis dictionibus exercuerit, consequetur ; et 
qui a scribendi consuetudine ad dicendum venit, hanc 
afFert facultatem, ut, etiam subito si dicat, tamen illa, 
quae dicantur, similia scriptorum esse videantur ; 
atque etiam, si quando in dicendo scriptum attulerit 
aliquid, cum ab eo discesserit, reliqua similis oratio 

153 consequetur. Ut concitato navigio, cum remiges 
inhibuerunt, retinet tamen ipsa navis motum et cur- 
sum suum, intermisso impetu pulsuque remorum : 
sic in oratione perpetua, cum scripta deficiunt, 
parem tamen obtinet oratio reliqua cursum, scrip- 
torum similitudine et vi concitata. 

154 XXXIV. In quotidianis autem commentationibus 
equidem mihi adolescentulus proponere solebam 
illam exercitationem maxime, qua C. Carbonem, 
nostrum illum inimicum, sohtum esse uti sciebam, ut 
aut versibus propositis quam maxime gravibus, aut 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxiii. 151— xxxiv. 154 

and rush forward as we are searching out and 
surveying the matter with all our natural acute- 
ness ; and all the thoughts and expressions, which 
are the most brilliant in their several kinds, must 
needs flow up in succession to the point of our pen ; 
then too the actual marshalling and arrangement 
of words is made perfect in the course of writing, in 
a rhythm and measure proper to oratory as distinct 
from poetry. 

152 " These are the things which in good orators pro- 
duce applause and admiration ; and no man will 
attain these except by long and large practice in 
writing, however ardently he may have trained 
himself in those ofF-hand declamations ; he too 
who approaches oratory by way of long practice in 
writing, brings this advantage to his task, that even 
if he is extemporizing, whatever he may say bears a 
likeness to the written word ; and moreover if ever, 
during a speech, he has introduced a written note, 
the rest of his discourse, when he turns away from 

153 tJie writing, will proceed in unchanging style. Just 
as when a boat is moving at high speed, if the crew 
rest upon their oars, the craft iherself still keeps her 
way and her run, though the driving force of the 
oars has ceased, so in an unbroken discourse, when 
written notes are exhausted, the rest of the speech 
still maintains a like progress, under the impulse 
given by the similarity and energy of the written 

164 XXXIV. " For my part, in the daily exercises of 
youth, I used chiefly to set myself that task which 
I knew Gaius Carbo, my old enemy, was wont to 
practise : this was to set myself some poetry, the 
most impressive to be found, or to read as much of 
E 105 


oratione aliqua lecta ad eum finem, quem memoria 
possem comprehendere, eam rem ipsam, quam legis- 
sem, verbis aliis quam maxime possem lectis, pro- 
nuntiarem. Sed post animadverti, hoc esse in hoc 
vitii, quod ea verba, quae maxime cuiusque rei pro- 
pria, quaeque essent ornatissima atque optima, 
occupasset aut Ennius, si ad eius versus me exer- 
cerem, aut Gracchus, si eius orationem mihi forte 
proposuissem. Ita, si eisdem verbis uterer, nihil 
prodesse ; si aliis, etiam obesse, cum minus idoneis 

155 uti consuescerem. Postea mihi placuit, eoque sum 
usus adolescens, ut summorum oratorum graecas 
orationes explicarem. Quibus lectis hoc assequebar, 
ut, cum ea, quae legerem graece, latine redderem, 
non solum optimis verbis uterer, et tamen usitatis, 
sed etiam exprimerem quaedam verba imitando, quae 
nova nostris essent, dummodo essent idonea. 

156 lam vocis, et spiritus, et totius corporis, et ipsius 
Unguae motus et exercitationes, non tam artis in- 
digent, quam laboris ; quibus in rebus habenda est 
ratio diligenter, quos imitemur, quorum similes veli- 
mus esse. Intuendi nobis sunt non solum oratores, 
sed etiam actores, ne mala consuetudine ad aliquam 

257 deformitatem pravitatemque veniamus. Exercenda 
est etiam memoria, ediscendis ad verbum quam 
plurimis et nostris scriptis, et alienis. Atque in ea 
exercitatione non sane mihi disphcet adhibere, si 
consueris, etiam istam locorum simulacrorumque 

" The speeches of C. Gracchus (see Index) were studied 
as models in the rhetorical schools of the Empire. 

' Crassus is speaking of some system of mnemonics, such 
as Antonius discusses in Book II, ixxxvi.-lxjucviii. 

DE ORATORE, I. xxxiv. 154-157 

some speech as I could keep in my memory, and then 
to declaim upon the actual subject-matter of my 
reading, choosing as far as possible different words. 
But later I noticed this defect in my method, 
that those words which best befitted each subject, 
and were the most elegant and in fact the best, had 
been already seized upon by Ennius, if it was on 
his poetry that I was practising, or by Gracchus," if 
I chanced to have set myself a speech of his. Thus 
I saw that to employ the same expressions profited 
me nothing, while to employ others was a positive 
hindrance, in that I was forming the habit of using 

155 the less appropriate. Afterwards I resolved, — and 
this practice I followed when somewhat older, — to 
translate freely Greek speeches of the most eminent 
orators. The result of reading these was that, in 
rendering into Latin what I had read in Greek, 
I not only found myself using the best words — and 
yet quite famiUar ones — but also coining by analogy 
certain words such as would be new to our people, 
provided only they were appropriate. 

156 " To proceed, the control and training of voice, 
breathing, gestures and the tongue itself, call for 
exertion rather than art ; and in these matters we 
must carefully consider whom we are to take as 
patterns, whom we should wish to be like. We have 
to study actors as well as orators, that bad practice 
may not lead us into some inelegant or ugly habit. 

157 The memory too must be trained by carefully 
learning by heart as many pieces as possible both 
from our Latin writers and the foreigner. Moreover 
in this work I do not altogether dislike the use as 
well, if you are accustomed to it, of that system of 
associating commonplaces with symbols * which is 



rationem, quae in arte traditur. Educenda deinde 
dictio est ex hac domestica exercitatione et umbratili 
medium in agmen, in pulverem, in clamorem, in 
castra, atque in aciem forensem ; subeundus usus 
omnium, et periclitandae vires ingenii ; et illa com- 
mentatio inclusa in veritatis lucem proferenda est. 

158 Legendi etiam poetae, cognoscenda historia, omnium 
bonarum artium scriptores ac doctores et legendi, et 
pervolutandi, et exercitationis causa laudandi, inter- 
pretandi, corrigendi, vituperandi, refellendi ; dis- 
putandumque de omni re in contrarias partes, et, 
quidquid erit in quaque re, quod probabile videri 

159 possit, eliciendum atque dicendum ; perdiscendum 
ius civile, cognoscendae leges, percipienda om- 
nis antiquitas, senatoria consuetudo, disciplina rei- 
publicae, iura sociorum, foedera, pactiones, causa 
imperii cognoscenda est : libandus est etiam ex 
omni genere urbanitatis facetiarum quidam lepos ; 
quo, tanquam sale, perspergatur omnis oratio. 

EfFudi vobis omnia, quae sentiebam, quae fortasse, 
quemcumque patremfamilias arripuissetis ex aliquo 
circulo, eadem vobis percunctantibus respondisset. 

160 XXXV. Haec cum Crassus dixisset, silentium est 
consecutum. Sed quanquam satis eis, qui aderant, 
ad id, quod erat propositum, dictum videbatur, tamen 
sentiebant celerius esse multo, quam ipsi vellent, ab 
eo peroratum. Tum Scaevola : Quid est, Cotta ? 
inquit, quid tacetis ? Nihilne vobis in mentem venit, 
quod praeterea a Crasso requiratis ? 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxiv. 157— xxxv. 160 

taught in the profession. Then at last must our 
Oratory be conducted out of this sheltered training- 
ground at home, right into action, into the dust and 
uproar, into the camp and the fighting-line of public 
debate ; she must face putting everything to the 
proof and test the strength of her talent, and her 
secluded preparation must be brought forth into the 

158 daylight of reality. We must also read the poets, 
acquaint ourselves with histories, study and peruse 
the masters and authors in every excellent art, and 
by way of practice praise, expound, emend, criticize 
and confute them ; we must argue every question on 
both sides, and bring out on every topic whatever 

159 points can be deemed plausible ; besides this we 
must become learned in the common law and familiar 
with the statutes, and must contemplate all the olden 
time, and investigate the ways of the senate, political 
philosophy, the rights of allies, the treaties and 
conventions, and the policy of empire ; and lastly 
we have to cull, from all the forms of pleasantry, 
a certain charm of humour, with which to give a 
sprinkle of salt, as it were, to all of our discourse. 

" Well, I have poured out for you all my ideas, and 
perhaps any chance patriarch, upon whom you had 
fastened at some party or other, would have given 
the same replies to your interrogatories." 

160 XXXV. When Crassus had finished these observa- Further 
tions, a general silence ensued. But though the re^ested. 
company held that he had said enough on the topic 
propounded to him, yet they felt that he had ended 

far more speedily than they could have wished. Then 
Scaevola inquired, " Well, Cotta, why are you two 
silent ? Does nothing come to mind on which you 
would like to question Crassus further ? " 



161 Immo id mehercule, inquit, ipsum attendo. Tantus 
enim cursus verborum fuit, et sic evolavit oratio, ut 
eius vim atque incitationem aspexerim, vestigia 
ingressumque vix viderim ; et tanquam in aliquam 
locupletem ac refertam domum venerim, non ex- 
plicata veste, neque proposito argento, neque tabulis 
et signis propalam collocatis, sed his omnibus mul- 
tis magnificisque rebus constructis ac reconditis : sic 
modo in oratione Crassi divitias atque ornamenta eius 
ingenii per quaedam involucra atque integumenta 
perspexi ; sed ea cum contemplari cuperem, vix 
aspiciendi potestas fuit. Ita neque hoc possum 
dicere, me omnino ignorare, quid possideat, neque 
plane nosse, ac vidisse. 

162 Quin tu igitur facis idem, inquit Scaevola, quod 
faceres, si in aliquam domum, plenam ornamentorum, 
villamve venisses ? Si ea seposita, ut dicis, essent, tu 
valde spectandi cupidus esses ; non dubitares rogare 
dominum, ut proferri iuberet, praesertim si esses 
familiaris. Simihter nunc petes a Crasso, ut eam 
copiam omamentorum suorum, quam constructam 
uno in loco, quasi per transennam praetereuntes 
strictim aspeximus, in lucem proferat, et suo quid- 
que in loco collocet ? 

163 Ego vero, inquit Cotta, a te peto, Scaevola — me 
enim, et hunc Sulpicium impedit pudor ab homine 
omnium gravissimo, qui genus huiusmodi disputa- 
tionis semper contempserit, haec, quae isti forsitan 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxv. 161-16S 

161 " In truth," replied the other, " that is just what 
I am considering. For so great was the speed of 
his words, and so swiftly ^vinged his discourse that, 
while reahzing its rushing energy, I could hardly 
foUow the traces of its advance ; and just as though I 
had entered some richly stored mansion, wherein the 
draperies were not unrolled, nor the plate set forth, 
nor the pictures and statuary displayed to view, but 
all these many and splendid things were piled to- 
gether and hidden away : even so just now, during 
this discourse of Crassus, I discerned the wealth and 
magnificence of his talent as through some wTappings 
and coverings, but though I was longing to scrutinize 
them, I had hardly the chance of a peep. And so I 
cannot say either that I know nothing at all of the 
extent of his possessions, or that I know and have 
seen them clearly." 

162 " Why not do then," said Scaevola, " as you would 
do, if you had come to some mansion or country- 
house that was full of objects of art ? If these were 
laid aside, as you describe, and you had a strong 
desire to behold them, you would not hesitate to ask 
the master of the house to order them to be brought 
out, especially if you were his familiar friend. So 
too now will you beg Crassus to bring out into the 
dayhght that abundance of his treasures, of which, 
piled together in one place, we in passing have caught 
just a gHmpse, as through a lattice, and also to set up 
every piece in its proper position ? " 

163 " Nay," rephed Cotta, " I beg you, Scaevola, to 
do so (for modesty hinders myself and Sulpicius here 
from asking the most eminent of men, and one who 
has always despised this kind of debate, about things 
which to him may well seem the elementary con- 



puerorum elementa videantur, exquirere — : sed tu 
hoc nobis da, Scaevola, et perfice, ut Crassus haec, 
quae coarctavit, et peranguste refersit in oratione 
sua, dilatet nobis atque explicet. 

164 Ego mehercule, inquit Mucius, antea vestra 
magis hoc causa volebam, quam mea : neque enim 
tantopere hanc a Crasso disputationem desiderabam, 
quantopere eius in causis oratione delector. Nunc 
vero, Crasse, mea quoque etiam causa rogo, ut, 
quoniam tantum habemus otii, quantum iamdiu nobis 
non contigit, ne graveris exaedificare id opus, quod 
instituisti. Formam enim totius negotii opinione 
maiorem melioremque video ; quam vehementer 

165 XXXVI. Enimvero, inquit Crassus, mirari satis 
non queo, etiam te haec, Scaevola, desiderare, quae 
neque ego teneo, uti ei qui docent ; neque sunt eius 
generis, ut, si optime tenerem, digna essent ista 
sapientia ac tuis auribus. Ain' tu ? inquit ille. Si 
de istis communibus et pervagatis vix huic aetati 
audiendum putas, etiamne illa neglegere possumus, 
quae tu oratori cognoscenda esse dixisti, de naturis 
hominum, de moribus, de rationibus eis, quibus 
hominum mentes et incitarentur et reprimerentur, 
de historia, de antiquitate, de administratione rei- 
pubhcae, denique de nostro ipso iure civiU .'' Hanc 
enim ego omnem scientiam, et copiam rerum in 
tua prudentia sciebam inesse ; in oratoris vero 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxv. 163— xxxvi. 165 

cerns of schoolboys) : but do us this favour yourself, 
Scaevola, and persuade Crassus to enlarge upon and 
develop for us everything that in his discourse he 
has compressed and stufFed into the narrowest of 

164 " Truly for my part," said Mucius, " at first it was 
more for your sake than my own that I desired this : 
for my anxiety to hear this discourse from Crassus 
was not commensurate with the delight aiforded me 
by his speeches in Court. But now, Crassus, for my 
own sake as well I ask you, since we are enjoying 
leisure more ample than has been allotted to us 
for a long time, not to find it a trouble to complete 
the structure you have begun. For I perceive the 
design of the undertaking as a whole to be better 
and more comprehensive than I looked for ; and one 
of which I heartily approve." 

165 XXXVI. " Well to be sure," said Crassus, " I instances of 
cannot feel surprised enough, Scaevola, that you ™fe°g^°°* 
too should ask for these things, which I do not under- knowiedge. 
stand as do those who teach them, and which are not 

of such a nature that, even if I understood them 
perfectly, they would be worthy of your wisdom and 
your ear." " You don't say so ! " answered the 
other. " Even if you think these everyday and 
hackneyed maxims hardly deserving of the attention 
of a man of my years, can we for all that neglect the 
truths which, you have told us, the orator must know, 
concerning varieties of human nature, ethics, the 
methods of kindUng and calming the minds of men, 
history, ancient times, the government of the State, 
and lastly our own science of common law ? For I 
knew that all this knowledge and this multitude of 
things were to be found in your wisdom ; but I had 



instrumento tam lautam supellectilem nunquam 

166 Potes igitur, inquit Crassus — ut alia omittam 
innumerabilia et immensa, et ad ipsum tuum ius 
civile veniam — , oratores putare eos, quos multas 
horas exspectavit, cum in campum properaret, et 
ridens et stomachans Scaevola, cum Hypsaeus ma- 
xima voce, plurimis verbis, a M. Crasso praetore 
contenderet, ut ei, quem defendebat, causa cadere 
hceret, Cn. autem Octavius, homo consularis, non 
minus longa oratione recusaret, ne adversarius causa 
caderet, ac ne is, pro quo ipse diceret, turpi tutelae 
iudicio, atque omni molestia, stultitia adversarii, 

167 hberaretur ? Ego vero istos, inquit — memini enim 
mihi narrare Mucium — , non modo oratoris nomine, 
sed ne foro quidem dignos putarim. Atqui non de- 
fuit illis patronis, inquit Crassus, eloquentia, neque 
dicendi ratio aut copia, sed iuris civilis prudentia : 
quod alter plus, lege agendo, petebat, quam quan- 
tum lex in Duodecim Tabuhs permiserat ; quod cum 
impetrasset, causa caderet : alter iniqumn putabat 
plus secum agi, quam quod erat in actione ; neque 
intellegebat, si ita esset actum, litem adversarium 

168 XXXVII. Quid ? his paucis diebus, nonne, nobis 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxvi. 165— xxxvii. 168 

never observed furniture so sumptuous in the outfit 
of an orator." 

166 " Can you then," said Crassus " (to pass over 
other matters innumerable and of vast importance, 
and come to your favourite common law itself), can 
you consider those men to be orators, for whom 
Scaevola, half laughing and half enraged, waited 
many hours, though in a hurry to start for the 
Playing Field, while Hypsaeus, at the top of his voice 
and with most exuberant verbosity, was strugghng 
to procure from Marcus Crassus the praetor the 
non-suiting of the party for whom he himself was 
appearing, and Gnaeus Octavius, though a man of 
consular rank, was objecting, in a speech every bit 
as long, to having his opponent cast in his suit, and 
his own chent reheved, by the folly of the other side, 
from a degrading verdict of dishonest guardianship 

167 and from all trouble whatever ? " " No," returned 
Scaevola, " as for such men (for I remember having 
the story from Mucius), I should not hold them fit 
even to appear in Court, much less to bear the title of 
orators." " And yet," Crassus went on, " it was not 
eloquence, or the art of speaking, or copiousness that 
was wanting in those counsel, but knowledge of the 
common law : for the one was claiming, by action 
on the statute, more than the provision in the 
Twelve Tables permitted and, had he carried his 
point, his action must fail : the other thought it 
unjust that the claim against him should be for more 
than the amount in suit ; not obperving that, if the 
issue had been defined in that way, his opponent 
would lose his case. 

168 XXXVII. " Again, within these last few days, 
when we were sitting as assessors on the Bench of 



in tribunali Q. Pompeii, praetoris urbani, familiaris 
nostri, sedentibus, homo ex numero disertorum pos- 
tulabat, ut illi, unde peteretur, vetus atque usitata 
exceptio daretur, Cuius pecuniae dies fuisset ? quod 
petitoris causa comparatum esse, non intellegebat : 
ut, si ille infitiator probasset iudici ante petitam esse 
pecuniam quam esset coepta deberi, petitor, rursus 
cum peteret, ne exceptione excluderetur, quod ea res 

169 iN lUDiciUM antea venisset. Quid ergo hoc fieri 
turpius, aut dici potest, quam eum, qui hanc per- 
sonam susceperit, ut amicorum controversias causas- 
que tueatur, laborantibus succurrat, aegris medeatur, 
afflictos excitet, hunc in minimis tenuissimisque rebus 
ita labi, ut aliis miserandus, aliis irridendus esse 
videatur ? 

170 Equidem propinquum nostrum, P. Crassum, illum 
Divitem, cum multis ahis rebus elegantem hominem 
et ornatum, tum praecipue in hoc efFerendum et 
laudandum puto, quod, cum P. Scaevola frater 
esset, sohtus est ei persaepe dicere, neque illum in 
iure civili satis illi arti facere posse, nisi dicendi 
copiam assumpsisset — quod quidem hic, qui mecum 
consul fuit, filius eius, est consecutus — ; neque se 
ante causas amicorum tractare atque agere coepisse, 
quam ius civile didicisset. 

171 Quid vero ille M. Cato ? Nonne et eloquentia 
tanta fuit, quantam illa tempora, atque illa aetas in 
hac civitate ferre maximam potuit, et iuris civilis 

• 95 B.c. 

DE ORATORE, I. xxxvii. 168-171 

our friend Quintus Pompeius, the City praetor, did 
not one of our accomplished advocates apply, on 
behalf of the defendant in an action of debt, for the 
insertion of the ancient and familiar restriction, ' As 
regards such moneys as have already accrued due,' not 
understanding that this clause had been ordained 
for the benefit of a plaintifF, to the end that, if a 
repudiating defendant should satisfy the judge that 
money had been claimed before it had become 
payable, the plaintifF should not be barred, on 
bringing a fresh action, by the special plea * That this 

169 matter has already been litigated ' ? Can anything 
then more unseemly be done or suggested than this, 
that the very man who has undertaken the part of 
the champion of the quarrels and interests of his 
friends, of their helper in trouble, the healer of their 
sufferings, and their upholder when they have fallen, 
should blunder so grossly in the most trifling and 
insignificant technicalities, as to arouse the pity of 
some, and the ridicule of others ? 

170 " Assuredly I think that our relative Publius 
Crassus, surnamed Dives, while in many other ways 
a man of taste and accomphshment, was particularly 
to be extolled and eulogized for this that, being the 
brother of Publius Scaevola, he used continually to 
tell him that in common law he could never do justice 
to his art, without acquiring as well a copious diction 
(advice certainly followed by this son of his, who was 
my colleague in the consulship "), and that he himself 
had learned the common law, before he began to 
handle and conduct the causes of his friends. 

171 " And what of the eminent Marcus Cato ? Did he 
not combine eloquence as grand as those times and 
that epoch could produce in this State, with an un- 



omnium peritissimus ? Verecundius hac de re iam- 
dudum loquor, quod adest vir in dicendo summus, 
quem ego unum oratorem maxime admiror ; sed 

172 tamen idem hoc semper ius civile contempsit. Verum, 
quoniam sententiae atque opinionis meae voluistis 
esse participes, nihil occultabo ; et, quoad potero, 
vobis exponam quid de quaque re sentiam. 

XXXVIII. Antonii incredibilis quaedam, et prope 
singularis et divina vis ingenii videtur, etiamsi hac 
scientia iuris nudata sit, posse se facile ceteris armis 
prudentiae tueri atque defendere. Quam ob rem hic 
nobis sit exceptus ; ceteros vero non dubitabo pri- 
mum inertiae condemnare sententia mea, post etiam 

173 impudentiae. Nam volitare in foro, haerere in iure 
ac praetorum tribunalibus, iudicia privata magnariun 
rerum obire, in quibus saepe non de facto, sed de 
aequitate ac iure certetur, iactare se in causis 
centumvirahbus, in quibus usucapionum, tutelarum, 
gentilitatum, agnationum, alluvionum, circumluvi- 
onum, nexorum, mancipiorum, parietum, luminum, 
stillicidiorum, testamentorum ruptorum aut ratorum, 
ceterarumque rerum innumerabilium iura versentur, 
cum omnino, quid suum, quid alienum, quare deni- 
que civis aut peregrinus, servus aut liber quispiam sit, 
ignoret, insignis est impudentiae. 

" A bench of iudges appointed yearly for civil suits, 
especially those relating to inheritance. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxvii. 171— xxxviii. 173 

equalled knowledge of the common law ? It is with 
some diffidence that I have been so long discussing 
this topic, when we have with us the greatest of 
speakers, a man whom I admire above all others as 
an unique orator, but who nevertheless has always 

172 despised this common law. Since however you have 
sought to be partakers of my view and my judgement, 
I will suppress nothing but, so far as lies in my power, 
will lay before you what I think upon every point. 

XXXVIII. " In Antonius what I may call aoniygenius 
marvellous and almost unrivalled and godhke power can dispensa 

j, . .1 1 ° . /. , . with study. 

oi genius seems, even without the protection oi tnis 
legal knowledge, to be able easily to guard and 
defend itself with the rest of the armoury of 
practical wisdom. Let him then be left out of our 
indictment but, as for the rest, I shall not hesitate 
to give my vote for a verdict of ' Guilty,' first of 

173 laziness and secondly of effrontery as well. For to 
flit around the Courts, to loiter about the Bench and 
judgement-seats of the praetors, to engage in civil 
proceedings involving weighty interests, in which 
the dispute is often not as to facts but as to equity 
and law, to vaunt oneself in cases before the Hundred 
Commissioners,'* where are debated the rights con- 
cerning long user, guardianship, clanship, relation- 
ship through males, alluvial accessions, the formation 
of islands, obligations, sales, party-walls, ancient 
lights, rain-drip from the eaves, the revocation or 
establishment of wills, and all those other matters 
innumerable, when a man is wholly ignorant as to 
what is his own and what another's, and even of the 
essential difference between citizen and foreigner, 
or between bond and free, this is the mark of no 
ordinary effrontery. 



174 Illa vero deridenda arrogantia est, in minoribus 
navigiis rudem esse se confiteri ; quinqueremes, aut 
etiam maiores, gubernare didicisse. Tu mihi cum 
in circulo decipiare adversarii stipulatiuncula, et 
cum obsignes tabellas clientis tui, quibus in tabellis 
id sit scriptum, quo ille capiatur ; ego tibi uUam 
causam maiorem committendam putem? Citius 
hercule is, qui duorum scalmorum naviculam in portu 
everterit, in Euxino ponto Argonautarum navem 

175 gubernarit ! Quid, si ne parvae quidem causae sunt, 
sed saepe maximae, In quibus certatur de iure civili ; 
quod tandem os est illius patroni, qui ad eas causas 
sine ulla scientia iuris audet accedere ? Quae potuit 
igitur esse causa maior, quam ilUus miUtis, de cuius 
morte cum domum falsus ab exercitu nuntius venis- 
set, et pater eius, re credita, testamentum mutasset, 
et, quem ei visum esset, fecisset heredem, essetque 
ipse mortuus : res delata est ad centmnviros, cum 
miles domum revenisset, egissetque lege in heredi- 
tatem paternam, testamento exheres filius ? Nempe 
in ea causa quaesitum est de iure civili, possetne 
paternorum bonorum exheres esse fihus, quem pater 
testamento neque heredem, neque exheredem 
scripsisset nominatim. 

176 XXXIX. Quid ? qua de re inter Marcellos et 
Claudios patricios centumviri iudicarunt, cum Mar- 

DE ORATORE, I. xxxviii. 174— xxxix. 176 

174 " Derision surely befits his presumption, who owns 
himself a raw hand in managing smaller barks, while 
claiming to have learned the piloting of five-banked 
galleys or vessels larger still. When I see you 
trapped in a private conference by a quibble of your 
opponent's, and seahng up your client's deed, such 
deed containing the words by which he is defeated, 
can I think that any case of real importance ought to 
be entrusted to you ? Sooner, I vow, shall he who 
has upset a pair-oared skifF in harbour navigate the 

175 ship of the Argonauts upon the Euxine Sea ! Suppose 
however that the cases are not even trifling, but 
often of the greatest moment, involving a dispute 
about the common law : what cheek, I ask you, 
has that advocate who, without any legal knowledge, 
ventures to undertake the conduct of these pro- 
ceedings ? What case, for example, could be more 
important than that of the well-knovra soldier, of 
whose death false news had arrived home from the 
army, and whose father, beUeving the tale, had 
altered his will, and instituted an heir of his own 
choosing, and then died himself : the matter came 
before the Hundred Commissioners, upon the soldier 
returning home and starting an action on the 
statute for the recovery of his paternal inheritance, 
as a son disinherited by will ? Certainly in this case 
the issue was one of common law, that is to say, 
whether or not a son could be disinherited in respect 
of his father's estate, when such father in his will had 
neither in stituted him heir jior disinherited him by 
name . 

176 XXXIX. " What again of the dispute between Need of 
the Marcellans and the patrician Claudians, deter- p™^e*^°by 
mined by the Hundred Commissioners, the Marcellans instances. 



celli ab liberti filio stirpe, Claudii patricii eiusdem 
hominis hereditatem, gente ad se rediisse dicerent ; 
nonne in ea causa fuit oratoribus de toto stirpis ac 

177 gentilitatis iure dicendum ? Quid ? quod item in 
centumvirali iudicio certatum esse accepimus, qui 
Romam in exsilium venisset, cui Romae exsulare ius 
esset, si se ad aliquem quasi patronum appHcuisset, 
intestatoque esset mortuus : nonne in ea causa ius 
applicationis, obscurum sane et ignotum, patefactum 

178 in iudicio atque illustratum est a patrono ? Quid ? 
nuper, cum ego C. Sergii Oratae contra hunc nos- 
trum Antonium iudicio privato causam defenderem ; 
nonne omnis nostra in iure versata defensio est ? 
Cum enim Marius Gratidianus aedes Oratae ven- 
didisset, neque, servire quamdam earum aedium 
partem, in mancipii lege dixisset ; defendebamus, 
quidquid fuisset incommodi in mancipio, id si vendi- 
tor scisset, neque declarasset, praestare debere. 

179 Quo quidem in genere familiaris noster M. Buc- 
culeius, homo neque meo iudicio stultus, et suo valde 
sapiens, et a iuris studio non abhorrens, simiH in re 
quodam modo nuper erravit. Nam cum aedes L. 
Fufio venderet, in mancipio lumina, uti tum essent, 
ita recepit. Fufius autem, simul atque aedificari 
coeptum est in quadam parte urbis quae modo ex 
illis aedibus conspici posset, egit statim cimi Buc- 

" For this point of law see Appendix p. 480. 

' Some ambiguity in the conveyancing terms used by 
Bucculeius in reserving his ' ancient lights ' enabled Fufius 
to interpret the reservation as a grant ot an absolute right to 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxix. 176-179 

alleging that an inheritance had devolved on them 
from a freedman's son by lineal descent, while the 
patrician Claudians claimed it as theirs by reverter 
through clanship ; did not both counsel in that case 
have to discuss the entire law of lineal descent and 

177 of clanship ? And what of that other contention 
which we have heard was raised in the Court of the 
Hundred Commissioners, where a foreigner had come 
into exile at Rome, having a legal right to dwell 
there, provided that he had attached himself to 
someone as a kind of protector, and such foreigner 
had died intestate : in that case was not the law of 
vassalage, a truly mysterious and unfamiUar thing, 

178 revealed and elucidated by counsel in Court ? Then 
too, when recently I appeared, in a civil action, on 
behalf of Gaius Sergius Orata, with our friend here 
Antonius on the other side, was not our defence 
concerned solely with matter of law ? For Marius 
Gratidianus had sold a house to Orata, without 
stating in the conditions of sale that a certain part 
of the building was subject to an easement, and we 
were urging that the vendor must allow compensa- 
tion for any defect in the property sold, if he had 
known of its existence and had not disclosed it.<* 

179 " In that kind ctf action too our friend Marcus 
Bucculeius, no fool in my opinion, and mightily wise 
in his own, and a man with no distaste for legal 
studies, somehow went wrong lately on a similar 
point. For, on the sale of a house to Lucius Fufius, 
he made a reservation in his conveyance of all rights 
to hght ' as then enjoyed.''' Fufius however, the 
moment that any building began in some part of the 
city of which as much as a glimpse could be caught 
from that house of his, immediately launched an 



culeio, quod, cuicumque particulae coeli officeretur, 
quamvis esset procul, mutari lumina putabat. 

180 Quid vero ? clarissima M'. Curii causa Marcique 
Coponii nuper apud centumviros, quo concursu 
hominum, qua exspectatione defensa est ! cum 
Q. Scaevola, aequalis et collega meus, homo omnium 
et disciplina iuris civihs eruditissimus, et ingenio pru- 
dentiaque acutissimus, et oratione maxime Umatus 
atque subtilis, atque, ut ego soleo dicere, iuris peri- 
torum eloquentissimus, eloquentium iuris peritis- 
simus, ex scripto testamentorum iura defenderet, 
negaretque, nisi postumus et natus, et, antequam in 
suam tutelam venisset, mortuus esset, heredem eum 
esse posse, qui esset secundum postumum, et natum, 
et mortuum, heres institutus : ego autem defen- 
derem, hac eum tum mente fuisse, qui testamentura 
fecisset, ut, si filius non esset, qui in tutelam veniret, 
M'. Curius esset heres. Num destitit uterque no- 
strum in ea causa, in auctoritatibus, in exemphs, in 
testamentorum formuhs, hoc est, in medio iure civiU, 
versari ? 

181 XL. Omitto iam plura exempla causarum ampHs- 
simarum, quae sunt innumerabiUa : capitis nostri 
saepe potest accidere ut causae versentur in iure. 
Etenim sic C. Mancinum, nobiUssimum atque opti- 
mum virum, ac consularem, cum eum propter in- 
vidiam Numantini foederis pater patratus ex S. C. 

• See Book II, §§ 140, 221. 

* See Appendix p. 480. « In 137 b.c. 

^ One of the twenty fetiales appointed (patratus) with 
patria potestas over citizens whom he was delegated to hand 
over to the enemy. 


DE ORATORE, I. xxxix. 179— xl. 181 

action against Bucculeius, because he conceived that 
his rights to light were afFected, if any scrap of his 
view was blocked, however far away. 

IgO " Finally, remember the conduct of the famous 
case " of Manius Curius against Marcus Coponius, not 
long ago before the Hundred Commissioners — the 
crowd that coUected, the anticipations aroused ! 
There was Quintus Scaevola, my contemporary 
and colleague, of all men the most learned in the 
science of the common law, the most sagacious by 
talent and experience, the most highly polished and 
exquisite in diction, and indeed, as I always say, 
among lawyers the best orator, among orators the 
best lawyei : he was arguing the rights of the case 
on the hteral terms of the will, and contending that 
the person who had been nominated heir in the 
second grade, as substitute for a posthumous son, 
who should be born and die, could never inherit, 
unless such posthumous son had in fact been born 
and died before becoming his own master ^ : on the 
other side I was afRrming the true intention of the 
testator to have been that Manius Curius should be 
heir in the event of no son coming of age. In these 
proceedings were not both of us unceasingly occupied 
with decisions, with precedents, with forms of wills, 
with questions, in fact, of common law all around us ? 

18] XL. " I pass over yet further examples of most 
important cases, countless as they are : it may Cases 
often happen that actions involving our civil rights dtizeiMhip. 
turn upon points of law. For in truth such was 
the experience of Gaius Mancinus, a man of the 
highest rank and character and a past consul, who 
under a decree of the Senate had been deUvered up " 
to the Numantines by the Priestly Envoy,"^ for con- 



Numantinis dedidisset, eumque illi non recepissent, 
posteaque Mancinus domum revenisset, neque in 
senatum introire dubitasset ; P. Rutilius, M. filius, 
tribunus plebis, de senatu iussit educi, quod eum 
civem negaret esse ; quia memoria sic esset proditum, 
quem pater suus, aut populus vendidisset, aut pater 
patratus dedidisset, ei nullum esse postliminium. 

182 Quam possumus reperire ex omnibus rebus civilibus 
causam contentionemque maiorem, quam de ordine, 
de civitate, de libertate, de capite hominis consularis ; 
praesertim cum haec non in crimine aliquo, quod 
ille posset infitiari, sed in civili iure consisteret ? 
Similique in genere, inferiore ordine, si quis apud 
nos servisset ex populo foederato, seseque liberasset, 
ac postea domum revenisset ; quaesitum est apud 
maiores nostros, num is ad suos postliminio rediisset, 

183 et amisisset hanc civitatem. Quid ? de libertate, quo 
iudicium gravius esse nullum potest, nonne ex iure 
civili potest esse contentio, cum quaeritur, is, qui 
domini voluntate census sit, continuone, an ubi lus- 
trum conditum, liber sit ? Quid, quod usu, memoria 
patrum, venit, ut paterfamihas, qui ex Hispania 
Romam venisset, cum uxorem praegnantem in pro- 
vincia reliquisset, Romaeque alteram duxisset, neque 

" ' Return behind one's threshold,' return home and re- 
sumption of former status and privileges, 

* The lustrum was the sacrifujc of purification, which con- 

DE ORATORE, I. xl. 181-183 

cluding an unpopular treaty with their nation, and 
whose surrender they had refused to accept, where- 
upon he returned home and unhesitatingly came 
into the Senate-house : Publius Rutilius, son of 
Marcus and tribune of the commons, ordered him 
to be removed, affirming that he was no citizen, 
in view of the traditional rule that a man sold by 
his father or by the people, or dehvered up by the 
Priestly Envoy, had no right of restoration.* 

" What judicial controversy can we discover, with- 

182 in the whole range of public hfe, more important 
than one touching the rank, state-membership, free- 
dom and entire civil rights of a past consul, especially 
as this issue did not depend upon some accusation of 
fact, which the defendant might be able to disprove, 
but upon a point of common law ? And in a simi- 
lar case, afFecting humbler folk, if a member of an 
allied people, after being a slave in Rome, had ac- 
quired his freedom and subsequently retumed home ; 
it was a moot point with our forefathers whether by 
process of restoration he had not reverted to his 
former nationaUty and lost his Roman citizenship. 

183 Then as to freedom, the most serious issue there 
can be, may not controversy arise out of the 
common law, on the question whether a slave, en- 
rolled with his master's consent on the censor's Ust, 
is to date his enfranchisement from that moment, 
or from completion of the lustrum ? * And what of 
a case that reaUy happened, within our fathers' 
recoUection, of the head of a family coming from 
Spain to Rome, and leaving in the province his wife 
with child : at Rome he married another wife, 

cluded the proceedings of the census and brought the new re- 
gister of citizens into operation for the ensuing five years. 



nuntium priori remisisset, mortuusque esset intestato, 
et ex utraque filius natus esset ; mediocrisne res 
in controversiam adducta est, cum quaereretur de 
duobus civium capitibus, et de puero, qui ex pos- 
teriore natus erat, et de eius matre ? Quae, si iudi- 
caretur, certis quibusdam verbis, non novis nuptiis, 
fieri cum superiore divortium, in concubinae locum 

184 Haec igitur, et horum similia iura suae civitatis 
ignorantem, erectum et celsum, alacri et prompto ore 
ac vultu, huc atque illuc intuentem, vagari magna 
cum caterva toto foro, praesidium clientibus, atque 
opem amicis, et prope cunctis civibus lucem ingenii 
et consilii sui porrigentem atque tendentem, nonne in 
primis flagitiosum putandum est ? 

185 XLI. Et quoniam de impudentia dixi, castigemus 
etiam segnitiem hominum atque inertiam. Nam si 
esset ista cognitio iuris magna ac difficilis, tamen 
utilitatis magnitudo deberet homines ad suscipiendum 
discendi laborem impellere. Sed, o dii immortales ! 
non dicerem hoc, audiente Scaevola, nisi ipse dicere 
soleret, nullius artis faciliorem sibi cognitionem videri. 

186 Quod quidem certis de causis a plerisque aliter existi- 
matur : primum, quia veteres ilh, qui huic scientiae 
praefuerunt, obtinendae atque augendae potentiae 
suae causa, pervulgari artem suam noluerunt, deinde, 
posteaquam est editum, expositis a Cn. Flavio pri- 
mum actionibus, nulH fuerunt, qui illa artificiose 

DE ORATORE, I. xl. 183— xli. 186 

without having sent notice of divoree to the first, 
and afterwards died intestate, when each woman had 
borne a son ; was it but an ordinary dispute that 
thereupon arose, involving as it did the civil rights 
of two citizens, the boy born of the second consort, 
and his mother ? She, if it were held that the first 
wife could be divorced only by using some specific 
formula, and not by marrying again, would be 
regarded as being in the position of a concubine. 

184 " Accordingly, that a man, ignorant of these and 
similar laws of his own community, should roam with 
a large following from court to court, haughtily and 
with head upraised, eager and assured in mien and 
countenance, directing his gaze hither and thither, 
and holding out and tendering protection to clients, 
aid to friends, and the illumination of his talent and 
advice to wellnigh every citizen, is not all this to be 
considered something supremely scandalous ? 

185 XLI. " And since I have spoken of the effrontery Lawnota 
of men, let us go on to chastise their slackness and ^?lfiflly 
lazmess. ror even ii this legal study were a matter study, 
of great difficulty, yet its great utility should urge men 

to undergo the toil of learning. But, by Heaven, I 
should not say this with Scaevola listening, were he 
not himself in the habit of affirming that he thinks 

186 no art easier of attainment. As to this indeed most 
people, for definite reasons, think otherwise : first be- 
cause those men of old time who presided over this 
study, in their anxiety to maintain and increase their 
own authority, would not have their art made common 
property, and secondly, after the law had been 
published, and the forms of pleading first set forth 
by Gnaeus Flavius, there were none able to distribute 
these matters into their kinds and arrange them 



digesta generatim componerent. Nihil est enim, 
quod ad artem redigi possit, nisi ille prius, qui illa 
tenet, quorum artem instituere vult, habeat illam 
scientiam, ut ex eis rebus, quarum ars nondum sit, 

187 artem efficere possit. Hoc video, dum breviter 
voluerim dicere, dictum a me esse paulo obscurius ; 
sed experiar, et dicam, si potero, planius. 

XLII. Omnia fere, quae sunt conclusa nunc artibus, 
dispersa et dissipata quondam fuerunt : ut in musicis, 
numeri, et voces, et modi ; in geometria, lineamenta, 
formae, intervalla, magnitudines ; in astrologia, caeli 
conversio, ortus, obitus motusque siderum ; in gram- 
maticis, poetarum pertractatio, historiarum cognitio, 
verborum interpretatio, pronuntiandi quidam sonus ; 
in hac denique ipsa ratione dicendi, excogitare, or- 
nare, disponere, meminisse, agere ; ignota quondam 

188 omnibus, et difFusa late videbantur. Adhibita est 
igitur ars quaedam extrinsecus ex alio genere quo- 
dam, quod sibi totum philosophi assumunt, quae rem 
dissolutam divulsamque conglutinaret, et ratione 
quadam constringeret. Sit ergo in iure civiU finis 
hic, legitimae atque usitatae in rebus causisque ci- 

Igg vium aequabilitatis conservatio. Tum sunt notanda 
genera, et ad certum numerum paucitatemque re- 
vocanda. Genus autem est id, quod sui similes 
communione quadam, specie autem difFerentes, duas 
aut plures complectitur partes. Partes autem sunt, 


DE ORATORE, I. xli. 186— xlii. 189 

artistically. For nothing can be reduced to an art 
unless the man who has mastered the subject, of 
which he would organize an art, already possesses 
the special knowledge requisite to enable him, out 
of particulars not yet embodied in an art, to con- 

187 struct one. I see that, in my desire to be brief, I 
have spoken a httle obscurely, but I will try to 
express myself, if I can, in clearer terms. 

XLII. " Nearly all elements, now forming the con- xhe nature 
tent of arts, were once without order or correla- of.i^gai 
tion : in music, for example, rhythms, sounds and 
measures ; in geometry, Hnes, figures, dimensions 
and magnitudes ; in astronomy, the revolution of 
the sky , the rising, setting and movement of heavenly 
bodies ; in Uterature, the study of poets, the learning 
of histories, the explanation of words and proper 
intonation in speaking them ; and lastly in this very 
theory of oratory, invention, style, arrangement, 
memory and dehvery, once seemed to all men things 
unknown and widely separate one from another. 

188 And so a certain art was called in from outside, 
derived from another definite sphere, which philo- 
sophers arrogate wholly to themselves, in order that 
it might give coherence to things so far disconnected 
and sundered, and bind them in some sort of scheme. 
Let the goal then of the common law be defined as 
the preservation, in the concerns and disputes of 
citizens, of an impartiaHty founded on statute and 

189 custom. We must next designate the general 
classes of cases, restricting these to a smaH fixed 
number. Now a general class is that which em- 
braces two or more species, resembHng one another 
in some common property while difFering in some 
pecuHarity. And species are subdivisions, ranged 



quae generibus eis, ex quibus emanant, subiciuntur ; 
omniaque, quae sunt vel generum vel partiumnomina, 
definitionibus, quam vim habeant, est exprimendum. 
Est enim definitio, earum rerum, quae sunt eius rei 
propriae, quam definire volumus, brevis et circum- 
scripta quaedam explicatio. 

190 Hisce ergo rebus exempla adiungerem, nisi, apud 
quos haec habetur oratio, cernerem : nunc com- 
plectar quod proposui, brevi. Si enim aut mihi facere 
licuerit, quod iamdiu cogito, aut aUus quispiam, aut, 
me impedito, occuparit, aut mortuo efFecerit, ut 
primum omne ius civile in genera digerat, quae per- 
pauca sunt ; deinde eorum generum quasi quaedam 
membra dispertiat ; tum propriam cuiusque vim 
definitione declaret ; perfectam artem iuris civilis 
habebitis, magis magnam atque uberem, quam dif- 

191 ficilem atque obscuram. Atque interea tamen, dum 
haec, quae dispersa sunt, coguntur, vel passim licet 
carpentem, et coUigentem undique, repleri iusta iuris 
civilis scientia. 

XLIII. Nonne videtis, equitem Romanum, ho- 
minem acutissimo omnium ingenio, sed minime 
ceteris artibus eruditum, C. Aculeonem, qui mecum 
vlvit, semperque vixit, ita tenere ius civile, ut ei, 
cum ab hoc discesseritis, nemo de eis, qui peritissimi 

192 sunt, anteponatur ,'' Omnia enim sunt posita ante 
oculos, collocata in usu quotidiano, in congressione 
hominum atque in foro ; neque ita multis Htteris aut 

DE ORATORE, I. xlii. 189— xliii. 192 

under those general classes from which they spring ; 
while all names, whether of general classes or species, 
iq^ must be so defined as to show the significance of 
each. A definition of course I may describe as a 
concise and accurate statement of the attributes 
belonging to the thing we would define. 

" I would therefore append illustrations to what I Projectfor 
have said, were I not mindful of the quahty of the * ^"^®**-'*®- 
hearers of this discourse : as it is, I will briefly 
summarize my plan. For if I am permitted to do 
what I have long been projecting, or if someone 
else anticipates me, preoccupied as I am, or does 
the work when I am dead, first dividing the entire 
common law into its general classes, which are very 
few, and next distributing what I may call the sub- 
divisions of those classes, and after that making plain 
by definition the proper significance of each, then 
you will have a complete art of the common law, 
magnificent and copious but neither inaccessible nor 

191 mysterious. And yet in the meantime, while these 
disconnected materials are being assembled, a man 
may, by culhng even at random and gathering from 
every quarter, become filled with a tolerable know- 
ledge of the common law. 

XLIII. " Do you not notice that Gaius Aculeo, Sources 
Roman knight, a man of the keenest intelUgence, *^*' *" 
but of slender accomplishment in any other art, 
who dwells and has always dwelt with me, is so 
complete a master of the common law, that if you 
except our friend here, not one of the most learned 

192 is to be placed before him .'' The reason is that all 
its materials He open to view, having their setting 
in everyday custom, in the intercourse of men, and 
in pubUc scenes : and they are not enclosed in so 



voluminibus magnis continentur : eadem enim sunt 
elata primum a pluribus ; deinde, paucis verbis com- 
mutatis, etiam ab eisdem scriptoribus, scripta sunt 

193 saepius. Accedit vero, quo facilius percipi cognosci- 
que ius civile possit (quod minime plerique arbi- 
trantur), mira quaedam in cognoscendo suavitas et 
delectatio. Nam, sive quem haec Aeliana studia 
delectant ; plurima est, et in omni iure civili, et in 
pontificum libris, et in Duodecim Tabulis, antiquitatis 
effigies, quod et verborum prisca vetustas cognoscitur, 
et actionum genera quaedam maiorum consuetu- 
dinem vitamque declarant : sive quis civilem scien- 
tiam contempletur, quam Scaevola non putat oratoris 
esse propriam, sed cuiusdam ex alio genere pru- 
dentiae ; totam hanc, descriptis omnibus civitatis 
utihtatibus ac partibus, Duodecim Tabuhs contineri 
videbit ; sive quem ista praepotens et gloriosa philo- 
sophia delectat, dicam audacius, hosce habebit fontes 
omnium disputationum suarum, qui iure civili et legi- 

194 bus continentur. Ex his enim et dignitatem maxime 
expetendam videmus, cum verus, iustus, atque ho- 
nestus labor honoribus, praemiis, splendore decora- 
tur ; vitia autem hominum, atque fraudes, damnis, 
ignominiis, vinculis, verberibus, exsiliis, morte mul- 
tantur; et docemur non infinitis, concertationum- 
que plenis disputationibus, sed auctoritate, nutuque 
legum, domitas habere libidines, coercere omnes 

" Philosophia means here moral philosophy or ethics. 

DE ORATORE, I. xliii. 192-194 

very many records or in books so very big : for 
identical matters were originally published by 
numerous authors, and afterwards, with slight 
variations in terms, were set down time and again 

193 even by the same wTiters. Another help in faciU- 
tating the learning and understanding of the common 
law (though most people hardly credit this), is the 
peculiarly wonderful charm and dehght of that study. 
For if these pursuits associated with Aelius attract 
a man, he has throughout the common law, and in 
the priestly books and the Twelve Tables, a complete 
picture of the olden time, since a primitive antiquity 
of language can be studied there, and certain forms 
of pleading reveal the manners and the way of Ufe 
of our forerunners ; if he is studying political science, 
which Scaevola does not regard as the business of 
an orator, but of someone belonging to a different 
department of learning, he will find the whole of 
this subject dependent upon the Twelve Tables, 
wherein are described all the interests and the 
entire organization of the State ; if he is a lover of 
your most mighty and arrogant philosophy "• — I shall 
speak rather boldly — , he will have here the sources 
of all his discussions, since these sources derive frora 

194 common law and statutes. For from these we both 
see that merit is above all else to be coveted, 
since true, fitting and reputable exertion wins the 
adornment of high office, rewards and honour, 
while the misdeeds and knaveries of mankind are 
visited with fines, degradation, chains, scourgings, 
banishment and death ; and we learn too, not by 
debates without end and fuU of recriminations, but 
by the authoritative decision of the laws, to have 
our passions in subjection, bridle every lust, hold 



cupiditates, nostra tueri, ab alienis mentes, oculos, 
manus abstinere. 

195 XLIV. Fremant omnes licet ; dicam quod sentio : 
bibliothecas mehercule omnium philosophorum unus 
mihi videtur Duodecim Tabularum hbellus, si quis 
legum fontes et capita viderit,et auctoritatis pondere, 

196 et utihtatis ubertate superare. Ac, si nos, id quod 
maxime debet, nostra patria delectat ; cuius rei 
tanta est vis, ac tanta natura, ut ' Ithacam illam in 
asperrimis saxuhs, tanquam nidulum, affixam,' sapi- 
entissimus vir immortahtati anteponeret ; quo amore 
tandem inflammati esse debemus in eiusmodi patriam, 
quae una in omnibus terris domus est virtutis, imperii, 
dignitatis ! Cuius primum nobis mens, mos, disciphna, 
nota esse debet ; vel quia est patria, parens omnium 
nostrum, vel quia tanta sapientia fuisse in iure con- 
stituendo putanda est, quanta fuit in his tantis 
opibus imperii comparandis. 

197 Percipietis etiam illam ex cognitione iuris laetitiam 
et voluptatem, quod, quantum praestiterint nostri 
maiores prudentia ceteris gentibus, tum facilHme 
intehegetis, si cum illorum Lycurgo, et Dracone, et 
Solone nostras leges conferre volueritis. Incredibile 
est enim, quam sit omne ius civile, praeter hoc 
nostrum, inconditum, ac paene ridiculum : de quo 
multa soleo in sermonibus quotidianis dicere, 
cum hominum nostrorum prudentiam ceteris homini- 
bus, et maxime Graecis, antepono. His ego de 
causis dixeram, Scaevola, eis, qui perfecti oratores 

" For Calypso's offer of immortality to Odysseus see Od. 
V. 135 ; for the hero's nostalgia, Od. 1. SS-59, v. 151-158, and 
ix. 27-28. 


DE ORATORE, I. xliii. 194— xliv. 197 

what we have, and keep our thoughts, eyes and 
hands from what is our neighbour's. 

195 XLIV. " Though the whole world grumble, I will 
speak my mind : it seems to me, I solemnly declare, 
that, if anyone looks to the origins and sources of 
the laws, the small manual of the Twelve Tables by 
itself surpasses the hbraries of all the philosophers, 
in weight of authority and wealth of usefulness ahke. 

196 And if our own native land is our joy, as to the 
uttermost it ought to be, — a sentiment of such 
strength and quality that a hero of consummate 
prudence gave preference over immortahty'' to 
' that Ithaca of his, lodged hke a tiny nest upon the 
roughest of small crags,' — with love how ardent must 
we surely be fired for a country such as ours, standing 
alone among all lands as the home of excellence, 
imperial power and good report ! It is her spirit, 
customs and constitution that we are bound first to 
learn, both because she is the motherland of all of 
us, and because we must needs hold that wisdom as 
perfect went to the estabUshment of her laws, as 
to the acquisition of the vast might of her empire. 

197 " You will win from legal studies this further joy interestand 
and dehght, that you will most readily understand H^^^'^^ °' 
how far our ancestors surpassed in practical wisdom studies. 
the men of other nations, if you will compare our 

ovm laws with those of Lycurgus, Draco and Solon, 
among the foreigners. For it is incredible how 
disordered, and wellnigh absurd, is all national law 
other than our own ; on which subject it is my habit 
to say a great deal in everyday talk, when upholding 
the wisdom of our own folk against that of all others, 
the Greeks in particular. On these grounds, Scae- 
vola, did I declare a knowledge of the common law 
- 137 


esse vellent, iuris civilis cognitionem esse neces- 

198 XLV. lam vero ipsa per sese quantum afferat eis, 
qui ei praesunt, honoris, gratiae, dignitatis, quis 
ignorat ? Itaque, non, ut apud Graecos infimi ho- 
mines, mercedula adducti, ministros se praebent in 
iudiciis oratoribus, ei, qui apud illos Trpayixa-iKol 
vocantur, sic in nostra civitate ; contra amphssimus 
quisque et clarissimus vir ; ut ille, qui propter hanc 
iuris civihs scientiam sic appellatus a summo poeta 

Egregie cordatus homo, catus Aeliu' Sextus, 

multique praeterea, qui, cum ingenio sibi auctore 
dignitatem reperissent, perfecerunt, ut in respon- 
dendo iure, auctoritate plus etiam, quam ipso ingenio, 

199 Senectuti vero celebrandae et ornandae quod 
honestius potest esse perfugium, quam iuris inter- 
pretatio .'' Equidem mihi hoc subsidium iam ab 
adolescentia comparavi, non solum ad causarum usum 
forensium, sed etiam ad decus atque ornamentum 
senectutis ; ut, cum me vires (quod fere iam tem- 
pus adventat) deficere coepissent, ista ab sohtudine 
domum meam vindicarem. Quid est enim prae- 
clarius, quam honoribus et reipubhcae muneribus 
perfunctum senem posse suo iure dicere idem, quod 
apud Ennium dicat ille Pythius ApoUo, se esse eum, 

" Similar practitioners appeared at Rome under the 
Empire, but in Cicero's time the great advocates got their 
law from the most eminent jurists. 

' i.e. Ennius, Ann. x. 326, Remaint of Old Latin (L.C.L.), 
L 120, 121. 


DE ORATORE, I. xliv. 197— xlv. 199 

to be indispensable to such as sought to become 
complete orators. 

198 XLV. " Who again does not know how much pre- 
ferment, credit and authority this study of itself 
secures for its leaders ? Thus, while among the 
Greeks the humblest persons, ' attorneys ' * as they 
are called in that country, are induced for a mere 
pittance to profFer their assistance to advocates in 
Court, in our own comjnunity, on the contrary, all 
the most honourable and illustrious men have done 
this work, he for example who, for his knowledge of 
this common law, was described by the greatest of 
poets ^ as follows : 

Notably wise and shrewd among men there was Aelius Sextus, 

and many besides him who, after gaining eminence 
on the strength of their talent, brought it about 
that, in advising on law, their strength lay less 
even in their unaided talent than in their reputa- 

199 " Then too, for giving to old age companionship 
and grace, what worthier resource can there be than 
the interpretation of law ? For my part, even from 
earliest manhood, I laid up for myself this provision, 
not only with a view to my actual practice in the 
Courts, but also to be the glory and distinction of my 
age, to the end that, when my bodily powers should 
have begun to fail (a time already almost upon me), 
I might preserve my home from loneliness at the last. 
For what is there grander than for an old man, who 
has discharged the high offices and functions of the 
State, to be able to say as of right, with the great 
Pythian ApoUo in Ennius," that he is the one from 

« In Eummides, ibid. 270, 271. 



unde sibi, si non ' populi et reges/ at omnes sui 
cives consilium expetant, 

Suarum rerum incerti ; quos ego mea ope ex 
Incertis certos, compotesque consili 
Dimitto, ut ne res temere tractent turbidas. 

200 Est enim sine dubio domus iurisconsulti totius 
oraculum civitatis. Testis est huiusce Q. Mucii ianua 
et vestibulum, quod in eius infirmissima valetudine, 
affectaque iam aetate, maxima quotidie frequentia 
civium, ac summorum hominum splendore celebratur. 

201 XLVI. lam vero illa non longam orationem de- 
siderant, quam ob rem existimem publica quoque 
iura, quae sunt propria civitatis atque imperii, tum 
monumenta rerum gestarum, et vetustatis exempla, 
oratori nota esse debere. Nam ut in rerum priva- 
tarum causis atque iudiciis depromenda saepe oratio 
est ex iure civili, et idcirco, ut ante diximus, oratori 
iuris civiHs scientia necessaria est : sic in causis pub- 
licis iudiciorum, concionum, Senatus, omnis haec et 
antiquitatis memoria, et publici iuris auctoritas, 
et regendae reipublicae ratio ac scientia, tanquam 
aliqua materies, eis oratoribus, qui versantur in re- 
pubUca, subiecta esse debent. 

202 Non enim causidicum nescio quem, neque pro- 
clamatorem, aut rabulam, hoc sermone nostro con- 
quirimus, sed eum virum, qui primum sit eius artis 
antistes, cuius cum ipsa natura magnam homini 
facultatem daret, tamen dedisse deus putabatur ; ut 
et ipsum, quod erat hominis proprium, non partum 

DE ORATORE, I. xlv. 199-~-xlvi. 202 

whom all his fellow-citizens at any rate, if not ' the 
peoples and the kings,' seek counsel for themselves, 

Men doubtful of their good, whom by my help, 
Their doubts dispelled, confirmed in their designs, 
I send away, no troubled track to thread. 

For the house of a great lawyer is assuredly 
the oracular seat of the whole community. This is 
attested by the gateway and forecourt of our friend 
here, Quintus Mucius, thronged as they are daily, 
notvdthstanding his very poor health and now ad- 
vanced age, by a huge concourse of citizens, among 
whom are personages of the highest distinction. 

XLVI. " Moreover no long discussion is needed The orator 
to explain why I think that the orator must also feanfing. 
be acquainted with pubUc law, which is exclusively 
concerned with the State and Empire, and also the 
records of past events and the precedents of antiquity. 
For as, in cases and proceedings relating to private 
interests, his language must often be borrowed from 
common law, so that, as we have said already, a 
knowledge of common law is indispensable to the 
orator ; just so, in pubUc causes, ahke in the law- 
courts, in popular assembUes and in the Senate, all 
this story of old times, the precedents of pubUc law, 
and the method and science of State administration 
should be material, as it were, at the disposal of those 
orators who occupy themselves ynth politics. 

" For in this talk of ours we are not seeking some 
pettifogger, declaimer or ranter, but that man who, 
to begin with, is high-priest of that art which, though 
unaided nature bestowed on mankind a great capacity 
for it, was yet deemed to have been the gift of a 
divinity, so that a property pecuUar to humanity 
might seem no ofFspring of ourselves, but to be 



per nos, sed divinitus ad nos delatum videretur ; 
deinde, qui possit, non tam caduceo, quam nomine 
oratoris ornatus, incolumis, vel inter hostium tela, 
versari ; tum, qui scelus fraudemque nocentis possit 
dicendo subicere odio civium, supplicioque con- 
stringere ; idemque ingenii praesidio innocentiam 
iudiciorum poena liberare ; idemque languentem 
labentemque populum aut ad decus excitare, aut ab 
errore deducere, aut inflammare in improbos, aut 
incitatum in bonos, mitigare ; qui denique, quem- 
cumque in animis hominum motum res et causa 
postulet, eum dicendo vel excitare possit, vel sedare. 

203 Hanc vim si quis existimat, aut ab eis, qui de dicendi 
ratione scripserunt, expositam esse, aut a me posse 
exponi tam brevi, vehementer errat ; neque solum 
inscientiam meam, sed ne rerum quidem magni- 
tudinem perspicit. Equidem vobis, quoniam ita 
voluistis, fontes, unde hauriretis, atque itinera ipsa, 
ita putavi esse demonstranda, non ut ipse dux essem 
- — quod et infinitum est, et non necessarium — sed 
ut commonstrarem tantum viam, et, ut fieri solet, 
digitum ad fontes intenderem. 

204 XLVII. Mihi vero, inquit Mucius, satis superque 
abs te videtur istorum studiis, si modo sunt studiosi, 
esse factum. Nam, ut Socratem illum soHtum aiunt 
dicere, perfectum sibi opus esse, si quis satis esset 
concitatus cohortatione sua ad studium cognoscendae 


DE ORATORE, I. xlvi. 202— xlvii. 204 

sent down upon us from heaven ; who secondly can 
abide unharmed even on the field of battle, through 
the respect felt for his title of orator rather than 
any heraldic staff; who furthermore can by his 
eloquence expose to the indignation of fellow- 
citizens, and restrain by punishment, the crimes 
and iniquities of the guilty ; who also, by the shield 
of his talent, can dehver innocence from legal 
penalties ; who again can either inspire a lukewarm 
and erring nation to a sense of the fitting, or lead 
them away from their blundering, or kindle their 
wrath against the wicked, or soothe them when they 
are excited against good men ; who lastly can by his 
eloquence either arouse or calm, within the souls of 
men, whatever passion the circumstances and occasion 
may demand. 

203 " If any man imagines that this power has been 
explained by the writers on the theory of speaking, 
or that I can explain it in so short a span, he is very 
greatly mistaken, not even perceiving the vastness 
of the subject, much less my own ignorance. For 
myself indeed, as such was your wish, I have thought 
fit to reveal to you the springs from which to drink, 
and the approaches to them, not as one seeking 
to be myself your guide (an endless and superfluous 
task), but just indicating the road, and, in the usual 

2Q4 way, pointing with my finger to the fountains." 

XLVII. " To me indeed," observed Mucius, " you Acknow- 
seem to have done enough and to spare for the requeTt^for' 
enthusiasms of your friends, if only they are real further 
enthusiasts. For, just as great Socrates is said to * ^'°** 
have been fond of describing his work as accomplished, 
once some man had been so far stimulated by his 
encouragement as to pursue the knowledge and 



percipiendaeque virtutis — quibus enim id persuasum 
esset, ut nihil mallent se esse, quam bonos viros, eis 
reliquam facilem esse doctrinam — : sic ego intellego, 
si in haec, quae patefecit oratione sua Crassus, in- 
trare volueritis ; facillime vos ad ea, quae cupitis, 
perventuros ab hoc aditu, ianuaque patefacta. 

205 Nobis vero, inquit Sulpicius, ista sunt pergrata 
perque iucunda : sed pauca etiam requirimus, in- 
primisque ea, quae valde breviter a te, Crasse, de 
ipsa arte percursa sunt, cum illa te et non con- 
temnere, et didicisse confiterere. Ea si paulo latius 
dixeris, expleris omnem exspectationem diuturni 
desiderii nostri. Nam nunc, quibus studendum rebus 
esset, accepimus, quod ipsum est tamen magnum ; 
sed vias earum rerum rationemque cupimus cog- 

206 Quid si, inquit Crassus, quoniam ego, quo faciHus 
vos apud me tenerem, vestrae potius obsecutus sum 
voluntati, quam aut consuetudini, aut naturae meae, 
petimus ab Antonio, ut ea, quae continet, neque 
adhuc protuht, ex quibus unum libellum sibi excidisse 
iamdudum questus est, exphcet nobis, et illa dicendi 
mysteria enuntiet .'' Ut videtur, inquit Sulpicius. 
Nam Antonio dicente, etiam quid tu intellegas, sen- 

207 tiemus. Peto igitur, inquit Crassus, a te, quoniam id 
nobis, Antoni, hominibus id aetatis, oneris ab horum 
adolescentium studiis imponitur, ut exponas, quid eis 
de rebus, quas a te quaeri vides, sentias. 


DE ORATORE, I, xlvii. 204-207 

apprehension of excellence (since further instruction 
came easily to such as had been persuaded to set 
the attainment of virtue above all else), so I see that, 
if you two will consent to enter upon these courses 
revealed by Crassus in what he says, you will most 
readily reach the end of your desires by this Way 
and through this Door which he has opened." 

205 " We," added Sulpicius, " are indeed most grateful 
for your statement and highly delighted with it, 
but we ask for a little more, and especially for those 
particulars concerning the art itself, which you, 
Crassus, ran over very briefly, though owning that, 
so far from despising, you had even learned them. 
If you will state these rather more at large, you will 
satisfy every hope of our continual longing. For so 
far we have heard what objects we must pursue, 
which anyhow is a great thing in itself ; but we are 
yearning to know the methods and the theory of 
these studies." 

£06 " Well," said Crassus, " since, to keep you with 
me more easily, I have followed your wishes rather 
than my own practice or natural bent, what if we 
ask Antonius to unfold to us all that he is keeping 
to himself and has not yet pubhshed abroad, of 
which he complained just now that a single httle 
book had already shpped out of his hands, and 
to disclose those secrets of oratory ? " " As you 
please," replied Sulpicius. " For from the Ups of 
Antonius we shall be learning your own views also." 

207 " I ask you then, Antonius," went on Crassus, " as 
this burden is laid upon people of our years by the 
eagerness of these young men, to express your 
sentiments upon these matters which you see are 
required of you." 



XLVIII. Deprehensum equidem me, inquit 
Antonius, plane video atque sentio, non solum quod 
ea requiruntur a me, quorum sum ignarus atque 
insolens, sed quia, quod in causis valde fugere soleo, 
ne tibi, Crasse, succedam, id me nunc isti vitare non 

208 sinunt. Verum hoc ingrediar ad ea, quae vultis, 
audacius, quod idem mihi spero usu esse venturum 
in hac disputatione, quod in dicendo solet, ut nulla 
exspectetur ornata oratio. Neque enim sum de arte 
dicturus, quam nunquam didici, sed de mea con- 
suetudine ; ipsaque illa, quae in commentarium 
meum rettuli, sunt eiusmodi, non aliqua mihi doctrina 
tradita, sed in rerum usu causisque tractata : quae 
si vobis, hominibus eruditissimis, non probabuntur, 
vestram iniquitatem accusatote, qui ex me ea quae- 
sieritis, quae ego nescirem ; meam facilitatem lauda- 
tote, cum vobis, non meo iudicio, sed vestro studio 
inductus, non gravate respondero. 

209 Tum Crassus : Perge modo, inquit, Antoni. Nul- 
lum est enim periculum, ne quid tu eloquare, nisi 
ita prudenter, ut neminem nostrum poeniteat ad 
hunc te sermonem impulisse. 

Ego vero, inquit, pergam : et id faciam, quod in 
principio fieri in omnibus disputationibus oportere 
censeo : ut, quid illud sit, de quo disputetur, ex- 
planetur, ne vagari et errare cogatur oratio, si ei, 
qui inter se dissenserint, non idem esse illud, quo 
de agitur, intellegant. 


DE ORATORE, I. xlviii. 207-209 

XLVIII. " For my part," answered Antonius, " I viewsof 
see and feel myself in evident straits, not only in ^°ned from 
being questioned as to things beyond my knowledge his experi- 
and experience, but also because this time your ^°^' 
friends do not let me shirk a situation from which 
in Court I always do my best to run away, I mean 

208 that of speaking next after yourself, Crassus. But 
I shall the more courageously approach this under- 
taking of your choice, in that I hope for the same 
fortune in this discussion which generally befalls 
my speeches, namely, that no elegance of diction 
will be expected of me. For I am not going to 
speak of an art which I never learned, but of my own 
practice ; and those very commonplaces, which I 
have set dovm in my note-book, are no traditions 
taught to me by some one or other, but such as have 
been used in actual afFairs and at the Bar : and if 
they do not commend themselves to men of your 
consummate accomplishment, pray blame your own 
unfairness in seeking to learn of me things I did not 
know ; and extol my good nature in answering you 
with a good grace, won over by your enthusiasm, 
not my own discretion." 

209 " Just go on, Antonius," retumed Crassus. " For 
there is no danger of your delivering yourself without 
such practical wisdom that not a man of us will 
repent of having urged you on to this discussion." 

" Yes, I will go on," said the other : " and I will 
do what I think should be the first thing done in 
every debate, which is that the subject for discussion 
should be clearly ascertained, so that a discourse may 
not have to ramble and lose itself, if perhaps the 
disputants do not understand the issue in one and 
the same sense. 



210 Nam, si forte quaereretur, quae esset ars impera- 
toris, constituendum putarem principio, quis esset 
imperator : qui cum esset constitutus administrator 
quidam belli gerendi, tum adiungeremus de exercitu, 
de castris, de agminibus, de signorum collationibus, 
de oppidorum oppugnationibus, de commeatu, de 
insidiis faciendis atque vitandis, de reliquis rebus, 
quae essent propriae belli administrandi ; quarum 
qui essent animo et scientia compotes, eos esse im- 
peratores dicerem ; utererque exemplis Africanorum 
et Maximorum ; Epaminondam atque Hannibalem, 
atque eius generis homines nominarem. 

211 Sin autem quaereremus quis esset is, qui ad rem- 
publicam moderandam usum, et scientiam, et studium 
suum contulisset, definirem hoc modo : Qui, quibus 
rebus utiUtas reipublicae pararetur augereturque, 
teneret, eisque uteretur ; hunc reipublicae rectorem, 
et consilii publici auctorem esse habendum ; praedi- 
caremque P. Lentulum, principem illum, et Tib. 
Gracchum patrem, et Q. Metellum, et P. Africanum, 
et C. Laelium, et innumerabiles ahos cum ex nostra 

212 civitate, tum ex ceteris. Sin autem quaereretur, 
quisnam iurisconsultus vere nominaretur ; eum dice- 
rem, qui legum, et consuetudinis eius, qua privati 
in civitate uterentur, et ad respondendum, et ad 
agendum, et ad cavendum, peritus esset ; et ex eo 
genere Sext. Aehum, M'. Manilium, P. Mucium 

XLIX. Atque, ut iam ad leviora artium studia 


DE ORATORE, I. xlviii. 210— xlix. 212 

210 " For, if the question chanced to be as to the nature The orator, 
of the generars art, I should think it proper to settle so^dier^the 
at the outset, who is a general : and, having defined statesman 
him as a man in charge of the conduct of war, we phiiosopher 
should then add some particulars of troops, encamp- !* * speciai. 
ment, marching formation, close fighting, invest- 

ment of towns, food-supply, laying and avoidance 
of ambuscades, and all else pertaining to the manage- 
ment of warfare ; and those men who are intellectu- 
ally and theoretically masters of these subjects I 
should call generals, citing as examples men like 
Scipio and Fabius Maximus, and making mention of 
Epaminondas and Hannibal and persons of that type. 

211 " But if we were inquiring who is he that has 
devoted his experience, knowledge and enthusiasm 
to the guidance of the State, I should define him 
thus : ' Whoever knows and uses everything by 
which the advantage of a State is secured and 
developed, is the man to be deemed the helmsman 
of the State, and the originator of national policy,' 
and I should tell of Publius Lentulus that illustrious 
leader, of Tiberius Gracchus the elder, Quintus 
Metellus, Publius Africanus, Gaius LaeUus, and 
countless others, some from our own community 

212 and some from abroad. If again the question were, 
who is rightly described as learned in the law, I should 
say it is the man who is an expert in the statuteis, 
and in the customary law observed by individuals 
as members of the community, and who is quaUfied 
to advise, direct the course of a lawsuit, and safe- 
guard a client, and in this class I should refer to 
Sextus Aelius, Manius Manilius and Pubhus Mucius. 

XLIX. " And, to come now to the pursuits of 
the more trivial arts, if the devotee of music, the 



veniam, si musicus, si grammaticus, si poeta quae- 
ratur, possim similiter explicare, quid eorum quisque 
profiteatur, et quo non amplius ab quoque sit postu- 
landum. Philosophi denique ipsius, qui de sua vi ac 
sapientia unus omnia paene profitetur, est tamen 
quaedam descriptio, ut is, qui studeat omnium rerum 
divinarum atque humanarum vim, naturam causasque 
nosse, et omnem bene vivendi rationem tenere et 

213 persequi, nomine hoc appelletur. Oratorem autem, 
quoniam de eo quaerimus, equidem non facio eum- 
dem, quem Crassus ; qui mihi visus est omnem 
omnium rerum atque artium scientiam comprehen- 
dere uno oratoris officio ac nomine : atque eura puto 
esse, qui verbis ad audiendum iucundis, et sententiis 
ad probandum accommodatis uti possit in causis 
forensibus atque communibus. Hunc ego appello 
oratorem, eumque esse praeterea instructum voce, 
et actione, et lepore quodam volo. 

214 Crassus vero mihi noster visus est oratoris facul- 
tatem non illius artis terminis, sed ingenii sui finibus, 
immensis paene, describere. Nam et civitatum re- 
gendarum oratori gubemacula sententia sua tradidit : 
in quo per mihi mirum visum est, Scaevola, te hoc 
ilU concedere ; cum saepissime tibi Senatus, brevi- 
ter impohteque dicenti, maximis sit de rebus assensus. 
M. vero Scaurus, quem non longe, ruri, apud se esse 
audio, vir regendae reipubhcae scientissimus, si 


DE ORATORE, I. xlix. 212-214 

philologist, or the poet should be under examina- 
tion, I could explain in Uke fashion their several 
claims, and the most that ought to be required of 
each. Lastly, of the philosopher himself, who by 
virtue of his special faculty and wisdom stands alone 
in claiming something like omniscience, there is 
after all a kind of definition, to the effect that he 
who strives to know the significance, nature and 
causes of everything divine or human, and to master 
and follow out as a whole the theory of right hving, 

213 is to be thus denominated. But the orator, since 
it is he whom we are studying, I myself do not 
picture as Crassus did, who I thought included, 
under the single vocation and title of orator, omni- 
science in every topic and every art : in fact I take 
him to be a man who can use language agreeable 
to the ear, and arguments suited to convince, in 
law-court disputes and in debates of public business. 
Such a man I call an orator, and would have him 
endowed besides with intonation, delivery and a 
certain charm. 

214 ' Now our friend Crassus seemed to me to delimit Crassus^s 
the range of the orator, not by the bounds of the art ^^^^0 wlda, 
concerned, but by the wellnigh infinite extent of 

his own talent. For by his verdict he even handed 
over to the orator the helm of statesmanship ; and 
I thought it passing strange, Scaevola, that you 
should grant him this point, when times without 
number the Senate has agreed with you on matters 
of extreme gravity, though your speech has been 
short and without ornament. Indeed if Marcus 
Scaurus, who I am told is at his country-house not 
far away, one of the highest authorities on states- 
manship, had happened to hear that the influence 



audierit, hanc auctoritatem gravitatis et consilii sui 
vindicari a te, Crasse, quod eam oratoris propriam 
esse dicas : iam, credo, huc veniat, et hanc loquaci- 
tatem nostram vultu ipso aspectuque conterreat : 
qui, quanquam est in dicendo minime contemnendus, 
prudentia tamen rerum magnarum magis, quam 

215 dicendi arte, nititur. Neque vero, si quis utrumque 
potest, aut ille consihi publici auctor, ac senator 
bonus, ob eam ipsam causam orator est ; aut hic 
disertus atque eloquens, si est idem in procuratione 
civitatis egregius, illam scientiam dicendi copia est 
consecutus. Multum inter se distant istae facultates, 
longeque sunt diversae atque seiunctae ; neque ea- 
dem ratione ac via M. Cato, P. Africanus, Q. Me- 
tellus, C. Laehus, qui omnes eloquentes fuerunt, 
orationem suam et reipublicae dignitatem exoma- 

216 L. Neque enim est interdictum aut a rerum natura, 
aut a lege aliqua atque more, ut singuhs hominibus 
ne ampUus, quam singulas artes, nosse Uceat. Quare 
non, etsi eloquentissimus Athenis Pericles, idemque 
in ea civitate plurimos annos princeps consilii publici 
fuit, idcirco eiusdem hominis atque artis utraque 
facultas existimanda est ; nec, si P. Crassus idem fuit 
eloquens, et iuris peritus, ob eam causam inest in 

217 facultate dicendi iuris civilis scientia. Nam si quis- 
que, ut in aliqua arte et facultate exceUens, aUam 
quoque artem sibi assumpserit, ita perficiet, ut, quod 
praeterea sciet, id eius, in quo exceUet, pars quaedam 


DE ORATORE, I. xlix. 214— 1. 217 

natural to his own worth and wisdom was being 
claimed by yourself, Crassus, as the right of an 
orator, he would, I do beUeve, instantly proceed 
hither and thoroughly frighten us chatterers by the 
mere look on his face : for, though no mean speaker, 
he yet reUes rather on his knowledge of higher 

215 poHtics than on the art of oratory. Then too, if a 
man is capable in both ways, such as the originator 
of national policy who is also a good senator, he is 
not just for that reason an orator ; nor did the 
accomplished orator, who happens also to be out- 
standing in pubUc administration, attain that special 
knowledge through his fluency in speaking. There 
is a vast difference between these gifts, and far apart 
are they sundered ; nor was it by any uniform theory 
and method that Marcus Cato, PubUus Africanus, 
Quintus MeteUus and Gaius LaeUus, orators aU, 
gave briUiance to their own style and to the reputa- 
tion of their community. 

216 L- " For neither the nature of things, nor any wide 
statute or custom, requires any one man to refrain cuiture not 
from learning more than one art. And so, although LbieToTthe 
Pericles was the most eloquent man at Athens, and ^'^^^' 
also for very many years the leader of national 

poUcy in that community, it is not therefore to 
be supposed that these two accompUshments pertain 
to one and the same man or art ; nor, because 
PubUus Crassus combined eloquence with legal 
learning, does it foUow that knowledge of common 

217 law is impUed in oratorical abiUty. For if every- 
one who, while outstanding in some art and capacity, 
has embraced another art as well, is thereby to 
create the beUef that such subsidiary knowledge 
is a specific part of that wherein he excels, we may 



esse videatur : licet ista ratione dicamus, pila bene, 
et Duodecim Scriptis ludere, proprium esse iuris 
civilis, quoniam utrumque eorum P. Mucius optime 
fecerit ; eademque ratione dicantur, et quos (^vo-tKoi-s 
Graeci nominant, eidem poetae, quoniam Empedocles 
physicus egregium poema fecerit. At hoc ne philo- 
sophi quidem ipsi, qui omnia, sicut propria, sua esse, 
atque a se possideri volunt, dicere audent, geo- 
metriam, aut musicam, philosophi esse, quia Plato- 
nem omnes in illis artibus praestantissimum fuisse 

218 Ac, si iam placet omnes artes oratori subiungere, 
tolerabihus est, sic potius dicere, ut, quoniam dicendi 
facultas non debeat esse ieiuna atque nuda, sed 
aspersa atque distincta multarum rerum iucunda 
quadam varietate, sit boni oratoris multa auribus 
accepisse, multa vidisse, multa animo et cogitatione^ 
multa etiam legendo percurrisse ; neque ea, ut sua, 
possedisse ; sed, ut aliena, hbasse. Fateor enim, 
calUdum quemdam hunc, et nulla in re tironem ac 
rudem, nec peregrinum atque hospitem in agendo 
esse debere. 

219 LI. Neque vero istis tragoediis tuis, quibus uti 
philosophi maxime solent, Crasse, perturbor, quod 
ita dixisti, neminem posse eorum mentes, qui audi- 
rent, aut inflanamare dicendo, aut inflammatas restin- 
guere, cum eo maxime vis oratoris magnitudoque 
cernatur, nisi qui rerum omnium naturam, mores 

" In Cicero's time, and much later, pila was no definite 
game, but a series of gymnastic exercises for the promotion 
of bodily suppleness and health. 

Duodecim scripta involved dice-throwing, and the use of 
difFerently coloured counters on a special board, divided into 
spaces by 12 slanting lines. 


DE ORATORE, I. 1. 217— li. 219 

on the same principle assert that to play well at ball 
or Twelve-Lines * is a pecuharity of common lawyers, 
since PubUus Mucius did both things to perfection ; 
and by the same Une of argument those also whom 
the Greeks call * natural philosophers ' may be 
pronounced to be poets into the bargain, seeing that 
Empedocles, a natural philosopher, has composed 
a notable poem. But in reaUty even the moral 
philosophers themselves, who would have all things 
for their own, in right of dominion and in fact of 
possession as well, do not venture to claim that either 
geometry or the pursuit of music belongs to the 
moral philosopher, merely because Plato is admitted 
on all hands to have been pre-eminent in those arts. 

" And, if for once we decide to place all the arts in 
subjection to the orator, our case may more accept- 
ably be stated in this way, that, since abiUty to 
speak ought not to starve and go naked, but to 
be besprinkled and adorned with a kind of charming 
variety in many details, it is the part of a good orator 
to have heard and seen much, and to have run over 
much in thought and reflection, as well as in his 
reading, not acquiring all this as his own possession, 
but tasting what belongs to others. For I agree 
that he ought to be a shrewd sort of man, and 
nowhere an untrained recruit, and no stranger or 
sojourner in his sphere of action. 

LI. " Nor again, Crassus, am I greatly troubled by To inflnence 
those histrionics of yours, the favourite medium of he^ife^ds*'^°* 
philosophers, setting forth that by the spoken word knowiedge 
no man can kindle the feeUngs of his hearers, or °^*^®*°ri<i; 
quench them when kindled (though it is in this that 
the orator's virtue and range are chiefly discerned), 
unless he has gazed into the depths of the nature of 



hominum atque rationes penitus perspexerit : in quo 
philosophia sit oratori necessario percipienda ; quo in 
studio hominum quoque ingeniosissimorum otiosis- 
simorumque totas aetates videmus esse contritas. 
Quorum ego copiam magnitudinemque cognitionis 
atque artis non modo non contemno, sed etiam vehe- 
menter admiror : nobis tamen, qui in hoc populo 
foroque versamur, satis est, ea de moribus hominum 
et scire, et dicere, quae non abhorrent ab hominum 

220 Quis enim unquam orator magnus, et gravis, cum 
iratum adversario iudicem facere vellet, haesitavit ob 
eam causam, quod nesciret, quid esset iracundia, 
fervorne mentis, an cupiditas puniendi doloris ? Quis, 
cum ceteros animorum motus aut iudicibus, aut 
populo dicendo miscere atque agitare vellet, ea dixit, 
quae a philosophis dici solent ? Qui partim omnino 
motus negant in animis ullos esse debere, quique eos 
in iudicum mentibus concitent, scelus eos nefarium 
facere ; partim, qui tolerabiliores volunt esse, et ad 
veritatem vitae propius accedere, permediocres ac 
potius leves motus debere esse dicunt. 

221 Orator autem omnia haec, quae putantur in com- 
muni vitae consuetudine, mala, ac molesta, et 
fugienda, multo maiora et acerbiora verbis facit ; 
itemque ea, quae vulgo expetenda atque optabiUa 
videntur, dicendo amplificat atque ornat : neque vult 
ita sapiens inter stultos videri, uti, qui audiant, aut 

" Wilkins's argument for reading motibus animorum for 
moribus hominum is unconvincing. 

* Cf. Aristotle, Rhet. II. ii. 2 ; and Cicero, Tusc. Disp. 
iv. 9. 21 and 10. 24. 

DE ORATORE, I. li. 219-221 

everything, including human characters and motives : 
in which connexion the orator must needs make 
philosophy his own ; and in this pursuit we see that 
whole Uves of most talented and leisured persons 
have been consumed. The copiousness of their 
learning and the wide range of their art I am so far 
from despising that in fact I ardently admire these : 
yet for ourselves, busied in the public Ufe of this 
community, it is enough to know and give expression 
to such things concerning human characters** as are 
not alien to human character. 

220 " For what grand and impressive speaker, trying to 
make an arbitrator angry with his opponent, was 
ever at a loss merely through not knowing whether 
wrath is a vehement heat of the mind, or a strong 
desire to avenge pain .'' ^ Who, in seeking by his 
word to confound and stir up the other feelings in 
the minds of a tribunal or popular assembly, has 
uttered the hackneyed sayings of the philosophers ? 
Of whom some deny to the feelings any rightful 
place at all within the mind, regarding it as an 
infamous crime to awaken such in the hearts of a 
tribunal, while others, pretending to some tolerance 
and a closer approach to the facts of Hfe, assert that 
the feelings should be exceedingly temperate, or 
rather of only trivial force. 

221 " The orator however by his words greatly magni- 
fies and exaggerates the grievousness of such things 
as in everyday life are thought evils and troubles to 
be shunned, while he enlarges upon and beautifies 
by his eloquence whatever is commonly deemed 
delectable and worthy to be desired : and he does 
not wish to appear so completely a sage among fools, 
as to have his hearers either regarding him as a 



illum ineptum et Graeculum putent ; aut, etiamsi 
valde probent ingenium oratoris, sapientiam ad- 

222 mirentur, se esse stultos moleste ferant : sed ita 
peragrat per animos hominum, ita sensus mentesque 
pertractat, ut non desideret philosophorum descrip- 
tiones, neque exquirat oratione, summum illud 
bonum in animone sit, an in corpore ; virtute an 
voluptate definiatur ; an haec inter se iungi copulari- 
que possint ; an vero, ut quibusdam visum, nihil 
certum sciri, nihil plane cognosci et percipi possit. 
Quarum rerum fateor magnam multiplicemque esse 
discipUnam, et multas, copiosas variasque rationes ; 
sed aliud quiddam, longe aliud, Crasse, quaerimus. 

223 Acuto homine nobis opus est, et natura usuque 
callido, qui sagaciter pervestiget, quid sui cives, eique 
homines, quibus aliquid dicendo persuadere velit, 
cogitent, sentiant, opinentur, exspectent. 

LII. Teneat oportet venas cuiusque generis, aeta- 
tis, ordinis, et eorum, apud quos ahquid aget, aut erit 

224 acturus, mentes sensusque degustet ; philosophorum 
autem hbros reservet sibi ad huiuscemodi Tusculani 
requiem atque otium, ne, si quando ei dicendum erit 
de iustitia et fide, mutuetur a Platone ; qui, cum 
haec exprimenda verbis arbitraretur, novam quam- 
dam finxit in libris civitatem : usque eo illa, quae 
dicenda de iustitia putabat, a vitae consuetudine et 

225 a civitatum moribus abhorrebant. Quod si ea pro- 


DE ORATORE, I. li. 221— lii. 225 

clumsy Greekling, or for all their approval of the 
orator's talent and astonishment at his wisdom, yet 

222 taking it ill that they themselves are foolish : but 
in such way does he range over men's souls, and 
explore their feelings and thoughts, that he needs 
no philosophers' definitions, and does not inquire in 
his discourse whether ' the supreme good ' is sub- 
jective or objective, whether it is to be defined as 
virtue or pleasure, or whether these two can be 
wedded together, or, to be sure, whether, as some 
have thought, nothing can be known for certain, 
nothing clearly understood and apprehended. On 
these questions I admit that the teaching is abund- 
ant and manifold, and the theories numerous, copious 
and varied ; but we, Crassus, are looking for some- 

223 thing difFerent, and widely different. We require a 
man of sharpness, ingenious by nature and experience 
alike, who with keen scent will track down the 
thoughts, feelings, beliefs and hopes of his fellow- 
citizens and of any men whom on any issue he would 
fain win over by his word. 

LII. " He ought to feel the pulses of every class, hedoegnot 
time of life, and degree, and to taste the thoughts p^^jJJ^ophy. 
and feelings of those before whom he is pleading or 

224 intending to plead any cause ; but his philosophical 
books he should keep back for a restful holiday, such 
as this one of ours at Tusculum, so as not to borrow 
from Plato, if ever he has to speak of justice and 
righteousness ; for Plato, when he thought fit to put 
these things into writing, depicted in his pages an 
unknown sort of republic, so completely in contrast 
with everyday life and the customs of human com- 
munities were his considered statements concerning 

225 justice. But if his ideas were approved in real 



barentur in populis atque in civitatibus, quis tibi, 
Crasse, concessisset, clarissimo viro, et amplissimo 
principi civitatis, ut illa diceres in maxima concione 
tuorum civium, quae dixisti ? * Eripite nos ex miseriis, 
eripite nos ex faucibus eorum, quorum crudelitas 
nostro sanguine non potest expleri ; nolite sinere nos 
cuiquam servire, nisi vobis universis, quibus et pos- 
sumus et debemus.' Omitto ' miserias,' in quibus, 
ut illi aiunt, vir fortis esse non potest ; omitto 
' fauces,' ex quibus te eripi vis, ne iudicio iniquo 
exsorbeatur sanguis tuus ; quod sapienti negant 
accidere posse ; ' servire ' vero non modo te, sed 
universum Senatum, cuius tum causam agebas, ausus 
es dicere ? 
226 Potestne virtus, Crasse, servire, istis auctoribus, 
quorum tu praecepta oratoris facultate complecteris ? 
Quae et semper, et sola libera est, quaeque, etiamsi 
corpora capta sint armis, aut constricta vinculis, 
tamen suum ius, atque omnium rerum impunitam 
libertatem tenere debeat. Quae vero addidisti, non 
modo Senatum servire ' posse ' populo, sed etiam 
' debere,' quis hoc philosophus tam mollis, tam 
languidus, tam enervatus, tam omnia ad voluptatem 
corporis doloremque referens, probare posset, Sena- 
tum servire populo, cui populus ipse moderandi et 
regendi sui potestatem, quasi quasdam habenas, 
tradidisset ? 


DE ORATORE, I. lii. 225-226 

nations and States, who would have allowed you, 
Crassus, for all your high reputation, and all your 
splendour as a pohtical leader, to expres^ yourself 
as you did before a densely crowded assembly ot 
your fellow-citizens ? ' Dehver us out of our woes, 
dehver us out of the jaws of those whose ferocity 
cannot get its fill of our blood ; sufFer us not to be 
in bondage to any, save to yourselves as a nation, 
whose slaves we can and ought to be.' I pass over 
* woes,' in which, according to the philosophers, 
the brave can never become involved ; I pass over 
' jaws,' out of which you desire to be dehvered, for 
fear of your blood being sucked out of you by an un- 
just judgement, a thing which they say cannot befall 
the wise ; but ' slavery,' did you dare to say that not 
yourself only, but the entire Senate, whose interests 
you were that day upholding, could be slaves ? 
226 " Can Virtue be a slave, Crassus, according to those 
authorities of yours, whose maxims you include 
within the range of the orator's knowledge ? She 
who for ever and alone is free, and who, though the 
body be made prisoner of war or bound with chains, 
ought still to hold fast to her own rights and un- 
restricted freedom in all things ! And as for your 
further pronouncement, that the Senate not only 
' can ' but actually * ought to ' be the slaves of 
the nation, could any philosopher be so unmanly, 
spiritless and weak, so resolved to make physical 
pleasure and pain the standard of everything, as 
to approve of this suggestion that the Senate is in 
bondage to the nation, when it is to the Senate that 
the nation itself has committed the power of con- 
troUing and guiding it, as some driver might hand 
over his reins ? 



227 LIII. Itaque haec cum a te divinitus ego dicta 
arbitrarer, P. Rutilius Rufus, homo doctus, et philo- 
sophiae deditus, non modo parum commode, sed 
etiam turpiter et flagitiose dicta esse dicebat. Idem- 
que Servium Galbam, quem hominem probe com- 
meminisse se aiebat, pergraviter reprehendere 
solebat, quod is, L. Scribonio quaestionem in eum 
ferente, populi misericordiam concitasset, cum 
M. Cato, Galbae gravis atque acer inimicus, aspere 
apud populum Romanum et vehementer esset locu- 
tus, quam orationem in Originibus suis exposuit ipse. 

228 Reprehendebat igitur Galbam RutiUus, quod is 
C. Sulpicii GalU, propinqui sui, Quintum pupillum 
fiUum ipse paene in humeros suos extuUsset, qui 
patris clarissimi recordatione et memoria fletum 
populo moveret, et duos fiUos suos parvos tutelae 
populi commendasset, ac se, tanquam in procinctu 
testamentum faceret, sine Ubra atque tabuUs, popu- 
lum Romanum tutorem instituere dixisset illorum 
orbitati. Itaque cum et invidia et odio popuU tum 
Galba premeretur, his quoque eum tragoediis Ubera- 
tum ferebat ; quod item apud Catonem scriptum 
esse video, ' nisi pueris et lacrimis usus esset, poenas 
eum daturum fuisse.' Haec RutiUus valde vitupera- 
bat, et huic humiUtati, dicebat vel exsiUum fuisse, 

229 ^^^ mortem anteponendam. Neque vero hoc solum 

DE ORATORE, I. liii. 227-229 

227 LIII. " Andso,althoughIpersonal]ythoughtthese indeed 
words of yours inspired, Publius Rutilius Rufus, a P^'i°f°phy 

f 1 • 11 1 1.1 1 1 migntdis- 

man oi learning and devoted to philosophy, used approve of 
to say they were not only wanting in diseretion, but i^veHnes^of" 
positively unseemly and disgraceful. He it was who pieading. 
used also to censure very severely Servius Galba, 
whom he claimed to remember well, for having 
worked upon the compassion of the assembly, when 
Lucius Scribonius was moving for his prosecution, 
after Marcus Cato, a troublesome and bitter foe to 
Galba, had harangued the Roman people in a rough 
and violent strain : this speech Cato hiraself has 
recorded in his Early History. 

228 " As I was saying, Rutilius used to find fault with 
Galba, for having almost hoisted on to his shoulders, 
v/ith his own hands, his ward Quintus, the son of 
his near relative Gaius Sulpicius Gallus, so that his 
appearance might set the assembly a-weeping, by 
recalling the memory of his most illustrious father ; 
and for having committed two small sons of his own 
to the guardianship of the nation ; and for having 
proclaimed, like a soldier making his will under arms, 
without scales or tablets, that he appointed the 
Roman people to be their guardians in their father- 
less plight. The result, according to Rutilius, was 
that Galba, though at that time weighed down by 
popular ill-will and hatred, actually secured an 
acquittal by means of these histrionics, and I also 
find the incident recorded in Cato's book, with the 
comment that ' but for his employment of boys and 
blubbering, the accused would have got his deserts.' 
These methods Rutilius used roundly to condemn, 
affirming that banishment or death itself was better 

229 than such abjectness. Nor was this mere talk on 



dixit, sed ipse et sensit, et fecit. Nam cum esset 
ille vir exemplum, ut scitis, innocentiae, cumque 
illo nemo neque integrior esset in civltate, neque 
sanctior, non modo supplex iudicibus esse noluit, sed 
ne ornatius quidem, aut liberius causam dici suam, 
quam simplex ratio veritatis ferebat. Paulum huic 
Cottae tribuit partium, disertissimo adolescenti, 
sororis suae filio. Dixit item causam illam quadam 
ex parte Q. Mucius, more suo, nuUo apparatu, pure 
et dilucide. 

230 Quod si tu tunc, Crasse, dixisses, qui subsidium 
oratori ex illis disputationibus quibus philosophi 
utuntur, ad dicendi copiam petendum esse paulo 
ante dicebas ; et, si tibi pro P. Rutilio non philo- 
sophorum more, sed tuo licuisset dicere : quamvis 
scelerati illi fuissent, sicuti fuerunt, pestiferi cives, 
supplicioque digni ; tamen omnem eorum impor- 
tunitatem ex intimis mentibus evellisset vis orationis 
tuae. Nunc talis vir amissus est, dum causa ita 
dicitur, ut si in illa commentitia Platonis civitate res 
ageretur. Nemo ingemuit, nemo inclamavit patro- 
norum, nihil cuiquam doluit, nemo est questus, nemo 
rempublicam imploravit, nemo supphcavit. Quid 
multa ? pedem nemo in illo iudicio supplosit, credo, 
ne Stoicis renuntiaretur. 

231 LIV. Imitatus est homo Romanus et consularis 
veterem illum Socratem, qui, cum omnium sapientis- 
simus esset sanctissimeque vixisset, ita in iudicio 


DE ORATORE, I. liii. 229— liv. 231 

his part, but he meant what he said, and acted upon 
it himself. For though, as you know, that great 
man was a pattern of righteousness, and there was 
no more honourable and blameless individual in the 
community, he dechned not only to crave mercy of 
his judges, but also to be defended more eloquently 
or elaborately than the plain truth of the matter 
permitted. To Cotta here, though a highly accom- 
plished young man and his sister's son, he allotted 
but a fragment of his case. Quintus Mucius too 
argued a part of it in his own way, with no trappings, 
his diction simple and crystal-clear. 

230 " But had you spoken that day, Crassus, — you who 
were saying just now that the orator must have 
recourse to the ordinary debates of the philosophers 
for the material of his speeches, — and had you been 
allowed to plead for Pubhus Rutihus, in no philo- 
sophic style but in your own, then, even though 
those judges had been, — as they were — , accursed 
and pernicious men deserving of death, the power of 
your eloquence would none the less have rent away 
all savagery from the bottom of their hearts. As 
matters stand, a man of such quality has been lost, 
through his case being conducted as if the trial had 
been taking place in that ideal repubhc of Plato. 
None of his counsel groaned or shrieked, none was 
pained at anything, or made any complaint, or 
invoked the State, or humbled himself. In a word, 
not one of them stamped a foot during those pro- 
ceedings, for fear, no doubt, of being reported to the 

231 LIV. " Thus did a Roman of consular rank foUow Theinstance 
the example of great Socrates of old who, as he of Socrates. 
was the wisest of all men, and had lived the most 



capitis pro se ipse dixit, ut non supplex aut reus, sed 
magister, aut dominus videretur esse iudicum. Quin 
etiam, cum ei scriptam orationem disertissimus 
orator Lysias attulisset, quam, si ei videretur, edis- 
ceret, ut ea pro se in iudicio uteretur, non invitus 
legit, et commode scriptam esse dixit : ' Sed,' inquit, 
' ut, si mihi calceos Sicyonios attulisses, non uterer, 
quamvis essent habiles et apti ad pedem, quia non 
essent viriles ; sic illam orationem disertam sibi et 
oratoriam videri, fortem et virilem non videri.' Ergo 
ille quoque damnatus est ; neque solum primis sen- 
tentiis, quibus tantum statuebant iudices, damnarent, 
an absolverent, sed etiam iUis, quas itenmi legibus 

232 ferre debebant. Erat enim Athenis, reo damnato, 
si fraus capitahs non esset, quasi poenae aestimatio ; 
et sententia cum iudicibus daretur, interrogabatur 
reus, quam quasi aestimationem commeruisse se 
maxime confiteretur. Quod cum interrogatus So- 
crates esset, respondit, sese meruisse, ut amplissimis 
honoribus et praemiis decoraretur, et ei victus quoti- 
dianus in Prytaneo pubhce praeberetur ; qui honos 

233 apud Graecos maximus habetur. Cuius responso 
sic iudices exarserunt, ut capitis hominem innocen- 
tissimum condemnarent. Qui quidem si absolutus 
esset ; quod mehercule, etiamsi nihil ad nos pertinet, 
tamen propter eius ingenii magnitudinem vellem i 
quonam modo istos philosophos ferre possemus, qui 


DE ORATORE, I. liv. 231-233 

blameless of lives, defended himself in person, when 
indicted on a capital charge, in such fashion as 
to seem no submissive prisoner, but the teacher or 
domestic superior of his judges. Indeed on Lysias, 
a most accomphshed orator, bringing him a written 
speech, to be committed to memory, if he thought 
proper, for use in his defence at his trial, he read 
it not unwillingly, and said it was aptly phrased : 
' But,' quoth he, ' just as, if you had brought me a 
pair of Sicyonian half-boots, were they never so easy 
and well-fitting, I should reject them as womanish, 
even so I think your speech is skilful oratory but 
not the utterance of a brave man.' And so he too 
was condemned, not only at the first count, when the 
tribunal merely determined the issue of conviction 
or acquittal, but also on the further vote which they 

232 were bound by law to give. For at Athens, on a 
defendant being convicted of an offence carrying no 
fixed penalty, something like an appraisement of 
hability was made and, when the judges' vote was 
being taken, the accused was asked what was the 
highest assessment, as it were, that he owned to 
having thoroughly merited. When this question 
was put to Socrates he replied that he had earned 
the distinction of the most splendid preferments and 
rewards, with provision for him, at the public expense, 
of daily sustenance in the Hall of the Presidents, this 
being rated among the Greeks as the highest of 

233 honours. His answer so incensed the tribunal that 
they condemned a perfectly blameless man to death. 
Had he indeed been acquitted, as I devoutly wish he 
had been, — not that it is any business of ours — but 
for the sake of his vast genius, how could we ever 
endure your philosophers, who even as it is, with 



nunc, cum ille damnatus est, nullam aliam ob cul- 
pam, nisi propter dicendi inscientiam, tamen a se 
oportere dicunt peti praecepta dicendi ? Quibuscum 
ego non pugno, utrum sit melius, aut verius : tantum 
dico, et aliud illud esse, atque hoc, et hoc sine illo 
summum esse posse. 

234 LV. Nam quod ius civile, Crasse, tam vehementer 
amplexus es, video, quid egeris. Tum, cum dicebas, 
videbam. Primum Scaevolae te dedisti, quem omnes 
amare meritissimo pro eius eximia suavitate de- 
bemus : cuius artem cum indotatam esse et incom- 
ptam videres, verborum eam dote locupletasti et 
ornasti. Deinde quod in ea tu plus operae laborisque 
consumpseras, cum eius studii tibi et hortator et 
magister esset domi, veritus es, nisi istam artem 
oratione exaggerasses, ne operam perdidisses. 

235 Sed ego ne cum ista quidem arte pugno. Sit sane 
tanta, quantam tu illam esse vis. Etenim sine con- 
troversia et magna est, et late patet, et ad multos 
pertinet, et summo in honore semper fuit, et claris- 
simi cives ei studio etiam hodie praesunt. Sed vide, 
Crasse, ne, dum novo et alieno ornatu velis ornare 
iuris civilis scientiam, suo quoque eam concesso et 

23g tradito spolies atque denudes. Nam, si ita diceres, 
qui iurisconsultus esset, esse eum oratorem, itemque 
qui esset orator, iuris eimidem esse consultum : prae- 

DE ORATORE, I. liv. 233— Iv. 236 

their Master condemned solely for the ofFence of 
inexperience in oratory, yet tell us that it is from 
themselves that the rules of eloquence ought to be 
sought ? For my part I have no quarrel with them 
as to which of these faculties is the better or more 
real ; I simply say that theirs and ours are two 
distinct things, and that consummate eloquence can 
exist quite apart from philosophy. 

234 LV. " For I see now, Crassus, the purpose of your Nordoesthe 
so ardent afFection for the common law. Indeed I ^^^know^ 
saw it as you were speaking. First you did service ledgeof law. 
to Scaevola, whom we are all most justly bound to 

love for his exceeding great courtesy : seeing his 
Art to be portionless and unadorned, you have en- 
riched and decorated her with the dower of diction. 
Secondly, having squandered upon her too much 
work and labour, since you had at home an encourager 
and instructor in that pursuit, you were afraid that, 
unless you glorified that Art of yours by eloquence, 
you would have lost your labour. 

235 " But I myself have no quarrel with this art of yours 
either. By all means let it be of such consequence 
as you would have it be. For indisputably it is a 
noble art, extending far and wide and touching 
the concerns of many, while it has ever been held 
in the highest repute, and even now the most illus- 
trious citizens are the leaders in that field. But see 
to it, Crassus, that, in your desire to deck out the 
science of common law in new-fangled and foreign 
apparel, you do not at the same time despoil and strip 
her of what has been confirmed to her and made her 

236 own. For if you were to put it in this way, that the 
man learned in the law is an orator, and likewise the 
orator is one learned in the law, you would be setting 

o 169 


claras duas artes constitueres, atque inter se pares, et 
eiusdem socias dignitatis. Nunc vero, iurisconsultum 
sine hac eloquentia, de qua quaerimus, fateris esse 
posse, fuisseque plurimos ; oratorem negas, nisi illam 
scientiam assumpserit, esse posse. Ita est tibi iuris- 
consultus ipse per se nihil, nisi leguleius quidam 
cautus et acutus, praeco actionum, cantor formula- 
rum, auceps syllabarum ; sed quia saepe utitur orator 
subsidio iuris in causis, idcirco istam iuris scientiam 
eloquentiae, tanquam ancillulam pedisequamque, 

237 LVI. Quod vero impudentiam admiratus es eorum 
patrononmi, qui aut, cum parva nescirent, magna 
profiterentur, aut ea, quae maxima essent in iure 
civili, tractare auderent in causis, cum ea nescirent, 
nunquamque didicissent ; utriusque rei facilis est et 
prompta defensio. Nam neque illud est mirandum, 
qui, quibus verbis coemptio fiat, nesciat, eumdem eius 
muheris, quae coemptionem fecerit, causam posse de- 
fendere ; nec si parvi navigii et magni eadem est in 
gubernando scientia, idcirco qui, quibus verbis erctum 
cieri oporteat, nesciat, idem herciscundae famihae 

238 causam agere non possit. Nam, quod maximas cen- 
tumvirales causas in iure positas protulisti : quae 
tandem earum causa fuit, quae ab homine eloquenti, 
iuris imperito, non ornatissime potuerit dici ? Quibus 


DE ORATORE, I. Iv. 236— Ivi. 238 

up two glorious arts, on an equality with each other, 
and partners in one grandeur. But as it is you 
admit that a man may be learned in the law without 
possessing this eloquence which we are investigating, 
and that many such have appeared ; while you deny 
the possibility of the existence of an orator who has 
not acquired that legal knowledge as well. So by 
your account the learned lawyer, in and by himself, 
is nothing but a circumspect and sharp kind of petti- 
fogger, a crier of legal actions, a chanter of legal 
formulas, a trapper of syllables ; but, because the 
orator in Court often employs the aid of the law, you 
have therefore associated your legal knowledge with 
Eloquence, as a Uttle maid to follow at her heels. 

237 LVI. " But as for your wondering at the shameless- indeedoftei 
ness of those counsel who either made great pro- uncertain' 
fessions, though ignorant of small details, or dared 

to handle in Court the highest topics of common law, 
though they knew nothing about them, and had 
never studied them, there is a simple and obvious 
excuse in each case. For there is nothing marvellous 
in a man, who is ignorant of the formaUties of 
marriage by purchase, being none the less able to 
conduct the case of a woman married in that manner ; 
nor, because the same kind of skill is exercised in 
steering a Uttle craft as a large vessel, does it 
foUow that he, who does not know the technical 
phrases required for the division of an inheritance, 
cannot conduct a suit for the partition of an estate. 

238 Why ! to take your own citations of most important 
proceedings before the Hundred Commissioners, 
which turned upon questions of law, which of those 
cases, pray, could not have been most handsomely 
argued by a man of eloquence unversed in law ? 



quidem in causis omnibus, sicut in ipsa M*. Curii, quae 
abs te nuper est dicta, et in C. Hostilii Mancini con- 
troversia, atque in eo puero, qui ex altera natus erat 
uxore, non remisso nuntio superiori, fuit inter peritis- 

239 simos homines summa de iure dissensio. Quaero 
igitur, quid adiuverit oratorem in his causis iuris 
scientia, cum hic iurisconsultus superior fuerit dis- 
cessurus, qui esset non suo artificio, sed alieno, hoc 
est, non iuris scientia, sed eloquentia, sustentatus. 

Equidem hoc saepe audivi, cum aedilitatem P. 
Crassus peteret, eumque maior natu, etiam consularis, 
Ser. Galba assectaretur, quod Crassi filiam Gaio filio 
suo despondisset, accessisse ad Crassum consulendi 
causa quemdam rusticanum : qui cum Crassum sedu- 
xisset, atque ad eum rettulisset, responsumque ab eo 
verum magis, quam ad suam rem accommodatum abs- 
tulisset ; ut eum tristem Galba vidit, nomine appel- 
lavit, quaesivitque, qua de re ad Crassum rettulisset. 

240 Ex quo ut audivit, commotumque ut vidit hominem, 
' Suspenso,' inquit, * animo et occupato Crassum tibi 
respondisse video ' : deinde ipsum Crassum manu pre- 
hendit, et, * Heus tu,' inquit, ' quid tibi in mentem 
venit ita respondere .'' ' Tum ille fidenter, homo peritis- 
simus, confirmare, ita se rem habere, ut respondisset ; 
nec dubium esse posse. Galba autem alludens varie, 
et copiose, multas similitudines afFerre, multaque pro 

DE ORATORE, I. Ivi. 2S8-240 

Indeed in all those suits, as in that very one of 
Manius Curius, recently conducted by yourself, and 
in the dispute over Gaius Hostilius Mancinus, and 
again in the matter of the boy born of the second 
wife, before her predecessor had received notice of 
divorce, dissent as to the law was complete in the 

239 most learned circles. I ask then, of what service and then it 
was legal knowledge to an advocate in those cases, thft*wiM!''* 
when that learned lawyer was bound to come ofF 
victorious, who had been upheld, not by his own 
dexterity but by a stranger's, that is to say, not by 

legal knowledge but by eloquence ? 

" Often too have I heard how, when Publius Crassus 
was a candidate for the aedileship, and Servius Galba, 
his senior and a past consul, was in attendance upon 
him, having arranged a marriage between his son 
Gaius and the daughter of Crassus, a certain country- 
man approached Crassus to obtain his opinion : he 
took Crassus apart and laid the facts before him, but 
brought away from him advice that was more correct 
than conformable to his interest ; whereupon Galba, 
noting his chagrin, accosted him by name, inquiring 
what the question was on which he had consulted 

240 Crassus. Having heard the cHent's tale and ob- 
serving his agitation, ' I see,' said he, * that Crassus 
was preoccupied and distracted when he advised 
you ' : he then seized Crassus himself by the hand 
and asked, ' How now, what ever entered your 
head to suggest such an opinion ? ' Upon this the 
other, with the assurance of profound knowledge, 
repeated that the position was as he had advised 
and the point unarguable. Galba however, sportively 
and with varied and manifold illustrations, brought 
forward a number of analogies, and urged many 



aequitate contra ius dicere ; atque illum, cum dis- 
serendo par esse non posset — quanquam fuit Crassus 
in numero disertorum, sed par Galbae nullo modo — , 
ad auctores confugisse, et id, quod ipse diceret, et in 
P. Mucii, fratris sui, libris, et in Sext. Aelii commen- 
tariis scriptum protulisse, ac tamen concessisse, 
Galbae disputationem sibi probabilem et prope veram 

241 LVII. Attamen, quae causae sunt eiusmodi, ut de 
earum iure dubium esse non possit, omnino in iudi- 
cium vocari non solent. Num quis eo testamento, 
quod paterfamilias ante fecit, quam ei filius natus 
esset, hereditatem petit ? Nemo ; quia constat, ag- 
nascendo rumpi testamentum. Ergo in hoc genere 
iuris iudicia nulla sunt. Licet igitur impune oratori 
omnem hanc partem iuris incontroversi ignorare, 

242 quae pars sine dubio multo maxima est : in eo autem 
iure, quod ambigitur inter peritissimos, non est dif- 
ficile oratori, eius partis, quamcumque defendat, 
auctorem aliquem invenire ; a quo cum amentatas 
hastas acceperit, ipse eas oratoris lacertis viribusque 
torquebit. Nisi vero — bona venia huius optimi viri 
dixerim, Scaevolae — tu Hbelhs aut praeceptis soceri 
tui, causam M'. Curii defendisti. Nonne arripuisti 
patrocinium aequitatis et defensionem testamen- 
torum, ac voluntatis mortuorum .'* 

243 Ac mea quidem sententia — frequens enim te audivi, 
atque adfui — multo maiorem partem sententiarum sale 

" These were javelins with a slinging-strap to help the 


DE ORATORE, I. Ivi. 240— Ivii. 243 

considerations in favour of equity as against rigid 
law, and it is related that Crassus, being no match 
for him in discussion — though ranked among the 
accomplished, Crassus came nowhere near Galba — , 
took refuge in authorities, and pointed out his own 
statement both in the works of his brother Publius 
Mucius, and in the text-book of Sextus Aelius, yet 
after all admitted that Galba's argument seemed to 
him persuasive, and very near the truth. 

241 LVII. " And yet those cases which are such that 
the law involved in them is beyond dispute, do not 
as a rule come to a hearing at all. Does anyone 
claim an inheritance under a will made by the head 
of a household before the birth of a son of his ? No 
one ; since it is settled law that the will is revoked by 
such subsequent birth. Thus there are no judicial 
decisions on this branch of the law. And so the 
orator may safely disregard all this region of un- 
questionable law, being as it certainly is by far the 

242 larger portion of the science : while, as for the law 
which is unsettled in the most learned circles, it is 
easy enough for him to find some authority in favour 
of whichever side he is supporting, and, having 
obtained a supply of thonged shafts " from him, he 
himself will hurl these with all the might of an 
orator's arm. Unless indeed (let me say this by 
the kind indulgence of our excellent friend here 
Scaevola) it was by means of the works and maxims 
of your father-in-law that you argued the case for 
Manius Curius ? Did you not rather snatch at the 
chance of protecting righteousness and upholding 
last wills and the intentions of dead men ? 

243 " And in my opinion, at any rate, — for I often heard 
you and was at your elbow — , it was by your wit and 



tuo, et lepore, et politissimis facetiis pellexisti, cum 
et illud nimium acumen illuderes, et admirarere in- 
genium Scaevolae, qui excogitasset, nasci prius opor- 
tere, quam emori ; cumque multa colligeres, et ex 
legibus et ex senatusconsultis, et ex vita ac sermone 
communi, non modo acute, sed etiam ridicule ac 
facete, ubi si verba, non rem sequeremur, confici nil 
posset. Itaque hilaritatis plenum iudicium ac laeti- 
tiae fuit : in quo quid tibi iuris civilis exercitatio 
profuerit, non intellego ; dicendi vis egregia, summa 
festivitate et venustate coniuncta, profuit. 

244 Ipse ille Mucius, paterni iuris defensor, et quasi 
patrimonii propugnator sui, quid in illa causa, cum 
contra te diceret, attulit, quod de iure civili deprom- 
ptum videretur ? quam legem recitavit ? quid pate- 
fecit dicendo, quod fuisset imperitis occultius ? 
Nempe eius omnis oratio versata est in eo, ut scriptum 
plurimum valere oportere defenderet. At in hoc 
genere pueri apud magistros exercentur omnes, 
cum in eiusmodi causis alias scriptum, ahas aequi- 
tatem defendere docentur. 

245 Et, credo, in illa mihtis causa, si tu aut heredem, 
aut mihtem defendisses, ad Hostihanas te actiones, 
non ad tuam vim et oratoriam facultatem contuhsses ! 

" See § 175, supra. 
* A work otherwise unknown. 


DE ORATORE, I. Ivii. 243-245 

charm and highly refined pleasantries that you won 
the vast majority of your verdicts, vehile you vv^ere 
mocking at that over-subtlety of Scaevola's, and 
marvelling at his clevemess in having thought out 
the proposition that a man must be born before he 
can die ; and while, amusingly and with a sense of 
humour, as well as shrewdly, you were adducing 
numerous examples, gathered from statutes and 
senatorial ordinances, and also from everyday life 
and conversation, in which our pursuit of the letter 
instead of the spirit would lead to no result. And 
so the Court was fiUed with gaiety and delight : but 
of what avail your practice in the common law was to 
you in these proceedings I cannot see ; it was your 
surpassing power of eloquence, in union with consum- 
mate cheerfulness and grace, that proved of service. 

" That very Mucius, upholder of his ancestral 
science, and champion, as it were, of his hereditary 
rights, — what argument did he introduce in that 
case wherein he was opposed to you, which sounded 
hke a borrowing from common law ? What statute 
did he read over ? What did he reveal in his speech 
that would have been too obscure for the uninitiated ? 
Surely his entire address was concerned vdth the one 
contention that the written word ought to prevail to 
the uttermost. Yet it is in this kind of thing that 
all students are trained in the schools, when in mock 
trials of this kind they are taught to uphold in turn 
the written word and true equity. 

" I presume too that, in The Soldiers Case,'^ if you 
had been counsel for the heir or for the soldier, 
you would have betaken yourself to Precedents in 
Pleading ^ by Hostilius, and not to the force of your 
own ability in oratory ! On the contrary, if you 



Tu vero, vel si testamentum defenderes, sic ageres, ut 
omne omnium testamentorum ius in eo iudicio posi- 
tum videretur ; vel si causam ageres militis, patrem 
eius, ut soles, dicendo a mortuis excitasses ; sta- 
tuisses ante oculos ; complexus esset filium, flensque 
eum centumviris commendasset ; lapides mehercule 
omnes flere ac lamentari coegisset : ut totum illud, 
Uti lingua nuncupassit, non in Duodecim Tabulis, 
quas tu omnibus bibliothecis anteponis, sed in magi- 
stri carmine scriptum videretur. 

246 LVIII. Nam quod inertiam accusas adolescentium, 
qui istam artem, primum facillimam, non ediscant ; 
quae quam sit facihs, ilU viderint, qui eius artis 
arrogantia, quasi difficillima sit, ita subnixi ambulant, 
deinde etiam tu ipse videris, qui eam artem facilem 
esse dicis, quam concedis adhuc artem omnino non 
esse, sed aliquando, si quis aliam artem didicerit, ut 
hanc artem efficere possit, tum esse illam artem 
futuram : deinde, quod sit plena delectationis ; in 
quo tibi remittunt omnes istam voluptatem, et ea se 
carere patiuntur ; nec quisquam est eorum, qui, si 
iam sit ediscendum sibi aliquid, non Teucrum Pacuvii 
maht quam Manihanas venahum vendendorum leges 

247 ediscere. Tum autem, quod amore patriae censes 

" See Remains of Old Latin (L.C.L.), iii. pp. 456-457. 
» Jbid. ii. pp. 286 303. 


DE ORATORE, I. Ivii. 245— Iviii. 247 

had been propounding the will, you would have so 
managed matters that the entire security of every 
will would have seemed to be staked on the issue of 
those proceedings ; and, if you had been appearing 
for the soldier, you would by your eloquence, in 
your usual way, have called up his father from the 
shades ; you would have set him in sight of all ; he 
would have embraced his son and tearfuUy committed 
him to the care of the Hundred Commissioners ; I 
pledge my word he would have made every stone 
weep and wail, with the result that the whole section 
beginning * As the tongue hath proclaimed it ' would 
have seemed no part of the Twelve Tables," which 
you rate higher than all the Ubraries, but just a piece 
of moraUzing doggerel by some professor. 

246 LVIII. " For as to your indictment of the young for Qiven a 
their laziness, in that they do not commit to memory kno\^edge 
that art of yours, its exceeding simpUcity being your ofiaw, 
first point, I leave the question of its simpUcity to points can 
those who parade about in the haughty assurance D^i°<'J'®<i 
imparted by this art, just as though it were ex- 
tremely difficult, and do you yourself see to this, 

who describe an art as simple which by your own 
admission is not yet an art at all, but some day, 
should somebody have learned another art, and so 
be able to make an art of this one, will then become 
an art : secondly you urge its copious deUghts, in 
which respect they all resign in your favour this 
pleasure of yours, and are content themselves to go 
without it, nor is there a man among them who, if 
ever he had to learn some work by heart, would not 
choose for that purpose the Teucer * of Pacuvius 

247 rather than ManiUus's Conditions of Sale. Taking 
next your opinion that love of country obUges us 



nos nostrorum maiorum inventa nosse debere : non 
vides, veteres leges aut ipsa sua vetustate consenuisse, 
aut novis legibus esse sublatas ? Quod vero viros 
bonos iure civili fieri putas, quia legibus et praemia 
proposita sint virtutibus, et supplicia vitiis : equidem 
putabam, virtutem hominibus — si modo tradi ratione 
possit — instituendo et persuadendo, non minis, et vi, 
ac metu tradi. Nam ipsum quidem illud, etiam sine 
cognitione iuris, quam sit bellum, cavere malum, 
scire possumus. 

248 De me autem ipso, cui uni tu concedis, ut, sine ulla 
iuris scientia, tamen causis satisfacere possim, tibl 
hoc, Crasse, respondeo, neque me unquam ius civile 
didicisse, neque tamen in eis causis, quas in iure pos- 
sem defendere, unquam istam scientiam desiderasse. 
Ahud est enim, esse artificem cuiusdam generis atque 
artis, ahud in communi vita et vulgari hominum con- 

249 suetudine nec hebetem, nec rudem. Cui nostrum 
non hcet fundos nostros obire, aut res rusticas, vel 
fructus causa, vel delectationis, invisere ? Tamen 
nemo tam sine ocuhs, tam sine mente vivit, ut, 
quid sit sementis ac messis, quid arborum putatio 
ac vitium, quo tempore anni, aut quo modo ea 
fiant, omnino nesciat. Num igitur, si cui fundus 
inspiciendus, aut si mandandum ahquid procuratori 
de agricultura, aut imperandum vihico sit, Magonis 
Carthaginiensis sunt hbri perdiscendi ? An hac com- 
muni inteUegentia contenti esse possumus ? Cur ergo 

DE ORATORE, I. Iviii. 247-249 

to get a knowledge of the devices of our ancestors, 
do you not observe that the ancient statutes have 
either sunk into the decrepitude of their old age, 
or been repealed by modern legislation ? And as 
for your behef that men are made good by the 
common law, since by its rules prizes are oiFered 
to virtue and punishments appointed for vice, I 
certainly used to regard virtue as being taught to 
mankind (assuming it to be methodically teachable 
at all) by training and persuasion, not by threats, 
and force and even terror. For thus much, at any 
rate, we can learn even without legal study, namely, 
how lovely a thing it is to eschew evil. 

248 " Now as to myself, to whom alone you allow the 
faculty of doing justice to my cases without any 
legal knowledge, I give you this answer, Crassus, 
that I never learned the common law, and yet never 
felt the want of that knowledge in the suits I was 
able to argue before the Praetor. For it is one thing 
to be a craftsman in a specific subject and art, and 
another to be no dullard or raw hand in social Bfe 

249 and the general practices of mankind. Which of 
us may not survey his estate or go to see his rural 
concerns, whether in quest of profit or of amusement ? 
Yet no one passes his days so bereft of sight and 
sense as to be wholly ignorant of the nature of sowing 
and reaping, or of the lopping of trees and pruning 
of vines, or of the times of year for doing these things, 
or of how they are done. If then some one of us has 
occasion to look over his estate, or give some com- 
mission to his agent, or order to his bailifF, on details 
of husbandry, need he get by heart the volumes of 
Mago of Carthage ? Or may we be satisfied with 
our own mother-wit ? If so then, especially as we 



non eidem in iure civili, praesertim ciun in causis, et 
in negotiis, et in foro conteramur, satis instructi esse 
possumus ad hoc duntaxat, ne in nostra patria pere- 

250 grini atque advenae esse videamur ? Ac si iam sit 
causa aliqua ad nos delata obscurior, difficile, credo, 
sit cum hoc Scaevola communicare ; quanquam ipsi 
omnia, quorum negotium est, consulta ad nos et 
exquisita deferunt. An vero si de re ipsa, si de 
finibus, cum in rem praesentem non venimus, si de 
tabulis, et perscriptionibus controversia est, contortas 
res et saepe difficiles necessario perdiscimus : si leges 
nobis, aut si hominum peritorum responsa cogno- 
scenda sunt, veremur ne ea, si ab adolescentia iuri 
civili minus studuerimus, non queamus cognoscere ? 
LIX. Nihilne igitur prodest oratori iuris civilis 
scientia ? Non possum negare prodesse uUam scien- 
tiam, ei praesertim, cuius eloquentia copia rerum 
debeat esse ornata ; sed multa, et magna, et difficilia 
sunt ea, quae sunt oratori necessaria, ut eius indu- 
striam in plura studia distrahere nolim. 

261 Quis neget, opus esse oratori, in hoc oratorio motu 
statuque, Roscii gestum et venustatem ? Tamen nemo 
suaserit studiosis dicendi adolescentibus, in gestu di- 
scendo histrionum more elaborare. Quid est oratori 
tam necessarium, quam vox ? Tamen, me auctore, 
nemo dicendi studiosus, Graecorimi more tragoe- 


DE ORATORE, I. Iviii. 249— lix. 251 

are worn out with legal and other business and with 
public afFairs, why may we not likewise be well 
enough equipped in common law, to the extent at 
any rate of not seeming to be sojourners and strangers 

250 in our own country ? And if some day an excep- 
tionally doubtful case were submitted to us, it would 
be quite easy, I suppose, to take counsel with Scae- 
vola here ; although in fact the parties themselves, 
whose affair it is, furnish us with all the professional 
opinions and researches. If again the dispute relates 
to a question of fact, or to boundaries, without our 
having a view of the very spot, or to account-books 
and entries, we are obliged to get up comphcated 
and often troublesome matters : if we have to master 
statutes, or the opinions of the learned in the law, 
are we afraid of not being able to do so, just because, 
from our youth upwards, our study of the common 
law has been inadequate ? 

LIX. " Is a knowledge of the common law, then, 
useless to an orator ? I cannot assert that any 
knowledge is useless, least of all to one whose 
eloquence ought to be furnished with material in 
plenty ; but the essential needs of an orator are 
many and weighty and hard to come by, so that I 
would not dissipate his energy over too wide a field 
of study. 

251 " Who would deny that in his movements and simiiariv 
carriage the orator must have the bearing and ^eiivery 

, o _ o cloes not re- 

elegance oi Koscius ? Yet no one wiil urge young quirespeciai 
devotees of eloquence to toil like actors at the study ^^^^^- 
of gesture. What is so essential to an orator as 
intonation ? Yet no devotee of eloquence will 
become, by my advice, a slave to his voice, after 
the manner of the Greek tragedians, who both 



dorum, voci serviet, qui et annos complures seden- 
tes declamitant, et quotidie, antequam pronuntient, 
vocem cubantes sensim excitant, eamdemque, cum 
egerunt, sedentes ab acutissimo sono usque ad gravis- 
simum sonum recipiunt, et quasi quodam modo 
colligunt. Hoc nos si facere velimus, ante condem- 
nentur ei, quorum causas receperimus, quam, toties, 
quoties perscribitur, paeanem, aut nomionem^ 

252 Quod si in gestu, qui multum oratorem adiuvat, et 
in voce, quae una maxime eloquentiam vel com- 
mendat, vel sustinet, elaborare nobis non licet ; ac 
tantum in utroque assequi possumus, quantum in hac 
acie quotidiani muneris, spatii nobis datur : quanto 
minus est ad iuris civilis perdiscendi occupationem 
descendendum, quod et summatim percipi sine doc- 
trina potest, et hanc habet ab illis rebus dissimilitu- 
dinem, quod vox et gestus subito sumi et aliunde 
arripi non potest ; iuris utilitas ad quamque causam, 
quamvis repente, vel a peritis, vel de Ubris depromi 
potest ! 

263 Itaque illi disertissimi homines ministros habent in 
causis iuris peritos, cum ipsi sint peritissimi, et qui, 
ut abs te paulo ante dictum est, pragmatici vocantur. 
In quo nostri omnino melius multo, quod clarissimo- 
rum hominum auctoritate leges et iura tecta esse 
voluerunt. Sed tamen non fugisset hoc Graecos 
homines, si ita necesse esse arbitrati essent, oratorem 

^ nomionem (an invocation of 'AttoAAwv Nd/iios) is the con- 
jectural emendation adopted by Kayser, Piderit, and others 
for the various corruptions ofthe mss. 

" The most eloquent Greek orators. 

DE ORATORE, I. lix. 251-253 

for many a year practise declamation from their 
chairs, and every day, before their performance on 
the stage, He down and gradually raise the voice, 
and later, after playing their parts, take their seats, 
and bring it back again from the highest treble 
to the lowest bass, and in a way regain control of it. 
If we had a fancy to do this, the parties whose cases 
we had undertaken would lose their cases, before we 
had recited our hymn or chant the regulation number 
of times. 

252 " But if we are not to work hard either at gesture, 
a great help to an orator, or at intonation, that 
singular and unrivalled recommendation and prop 
of eloquence ; and if in each of these matters we 
can attain only such proficiency as corresponds to 
the leisure allowed us amid this array of daily duties ; 
how much the less must we sink into becoming 
engrossed with getting by heart the common law, 
of which a general knowledge may be gained even 
without instruction, and which bears this unhkeness 
to those other things, that intonation and gesture 
cannot be acquired all at once and caught up from 
extemal sources, while anything in the law that is 
of use for a particular case, may be fetched, as 
hurriedly as you please, from experts or text-books ! 

253 "This is why those most accomplished speakers,* 
for all their own profound skill, have with them in 
Court assistants learned in the law, and these, as you 
said a Uttle while ago, are called attorneys. In this 
respect our own folk have done infinitely better, by 
requiring the statutes and rules of law to be safe- 
guarded by the influence of most illustrious men. 
But after all, had they thought it necessary, this 
idea of training the orator himself in the common 



ipsum erudire in iure civili, non ei pragmaticum 
adiutorem dare. 

254 LX. Nam quod dicis senectutem a solitudine vin- 
dicari iuris civilis scientia : fortasse etiam pecuniae 
magnitudine. Sed nos, non quid nobis utile, verum 
quid oratori necessarium sit, quaerimus. Quanquam, 
quoniam multa ad oratoris similitudinem ab uno 
artifice sumimus, solet idem Roscius dicere, se, quo 
plus sibi aetatis accederet, eo tardiores tibicinis 
modos, et cantus remissiores esse facturum. Quod 
si ille, astrictus certa quadam numerorum modera- 
tione et pedum, tamen aliquid ad requiem senectutis 
excogitat, quanto facilius nos non laxare modos, sed 

266 totos mutare possumus ! Neque enim hoc te, Crasse, 
fallit, quam multa sint, et quam varia genera dicendi, 
et quod haud sciam, an tu primus ostenderis, qui 
iamdiu multo dicis remissius et lenius, quam solebas ; 
neque minus haec tamen tua gravissimi sermonis 
lenitas, quam illa summa vis et contentio probatur : 
multique oratores fuerunt, ut illum Scipionem audi- 
mus, et Laelium, qui omnia sermone conficerent paulo 
intentiore, nunquam, ut Ser. Galba, lateribus, aut 
clamore contenderent. Quod si iam hoc facere non 
poteris, aut noles : vereris, ne tua domus, talis et viri, 
et civis, si a litigiosis hominibus non colatur, a ceteris 
deseratur ? Equidem tantum absum ab ista sen- 

DE ORATORE, I. lix. 253— Ix. 255 

law, instead of giving him an attorney to help him, 
would not have failed to occur to the Greeks. 

254 LX. " As for your theory that old age is redeemed oidagedoe» 
from loneliness by a knowledge of the common law, ^nowildg? 
possibly a large fortune will do as much. However oftheiawto 
we are not investigating our own advantage, but the ^cupation. 
essential needs of the orator. And yet, as we are 
taking from a single artist a nimiber of details for 
our hkeness of an orator, that same Roscius is fond 
of saying, that, the older he grows, the slower he will 
make the flute-player's rhythms and the Hghter the 
music. Now if he, fettered as he is by a definite 
system of measures and metres, is none the less 
thinking out some relief for his old age, how much 
more easily can we not merely slacken our methods, 

265 but change them altogether ! For you cannot fail 
to see, Crassus, how many and diverse are the styles 
of oratory, a fact which I should ahnost think you 
have been the first to make plain, who for a long time 
have been speaking in a far lighter and calmer 
fashion than was your wont ; though the present 
serenity of your very dignified discourse finds as 
ready acceptance as did your extreme energy and 
passion of old : and there have been many orators 
including, we are told, the famous Scipio and Laelius, 
who obtained all their results by discourse little 
more emphatic than the ordinary, and never strained 
their lungs or shouted, as Servius Galba did. But 
if some day you should be unable or unwilling to do 
even this, are you afraid that the house of such a 
man and citizen as yourself will be left desolate by 
the rest of the community, just because it may no 
longer be the shrine of the Htigious ? Truly I am 
so far from agreeing with that view of yours, that I 



tentia, ut non modo non arbitrer subsidium senectutis 
in eorum, qui consultum veniant, multitudine esse 
ponendum, sed tanquam portum aliquem, exspectem 
istam, quam tu times, solitudinem. Subsidium enim 
bellissimum existimo esse senectuti, otium. 

256 Reliqua vero etiamsi adiuvant, historiam dico, et 
prudentiam iuris publici, et antiquitatis iter,^ et ex- 
emplorum copiam, si quando opus erit, a viro optimo, 
et istis rebus instructissimo, familiari meo, Congo * 
mutuabor. Neque repugnabo, quominus — id quod 
modo hortatus es — omnia legant, omnia audiant, in 
omni recto studio atque humanitate versentur : sed 
mehercule non ita multum spatii mihi habere viden- 
tur, si modo ea facere et persequi volent, quae a te, 
Crasse, praecepta sunt ; qui mihi prope etiam nimis 
duras leges imponere visus es huic aetati, sed tamen 
ad id, quod cupiunt, adipiscendum prope necessarias. 

257 Nam et subitae ad propositas causas exercitationes, et 
accuratae, et meditatae commentationes, ac stylus ille 
tuus, quem tu vere dixisti perfectorem dicendi esse ac 
magistrum, multi sudoris est ; et illa orationis suae 
cum scriptis alienis comparatio, et de alieno scripto 
subita, vel laudandi, vel vituperandi, vel comprobandi, 
vel refellendi causa, disputatio, non mediocris conten- 
tionis est, vel ad memoriam, vel ad imitandum. 

258 LXI. IUud vero fuit horribile, quod mehercule 
vereor, ne maiorem vim ad deterrendum habuerit, 
quam ad cohortandum. Voluisti enim in suo genere 

^ scita Reid, memoriam Koch. 
* Roth ; Longo (Longino edd.). 


DE ORATORE, I. Ix. 255— Ixi. 258 

not only do not think the prop of old age is to be 
found in the multitude of those who come to seek 
its counsel, but I look for that loneliness which you 
dread, as I might for a haven. For I hold that the 
finest prop of old age is its leisure. 

256 " But the remaining acquirements, — useful as they Generai 
are, — I am speaking of history, and a knowledge of gJJ^^gn^ 
public law, and the ways of the ancients, and a store 

of precedents, — I shall borrow, if ever I need them, 
from my friend Congus, an excellent man who is 
thoroughly versed in these things. And I shall not 
object to these young men reading and hstening 
to everything, and busying themselves with every 
fitting pursuit and with general culture — as you 
advised just now — : but, I vow, they do not seem to 
me to have so very much time to spare, provided 
that they hope to accomplish and follow out all your 
bidding, Crassus ; for I thought that the conditions 
you imposed were rather too rigorous for their time 
of life, though possibly necessary for the attainment 

257 of the end of their desire. Indeed the impromptu 
exercises on problems set, the elaborate and con- 
sidered reflections, and your practice of Avritten 
composition, which you justly called the finishing 
schoolmaster of eloquence, all demand much toil ; 
and that comparison of the student's own disserta- 
tion with the writings of others, and the unprepared 
estimate of another's work, by way of praise or 
disparagement, approval or refutation, involve excep- 
tional efForts of memory and of the imitative faculty 
as well. 

258 LXI. " Then that further claim of yours was terri- 
fying, and upon my word I am afraid that its effect 
will be to deter rather than encourage. For you 



unumquemque nostrum quasi quemdam esse Ro- 
scium ; dixistique, non tam ea, quae recta essent, 
probari, quam quae prava sunt fastidiis adhaerescere : 
quod ego non tam fastidiose in nobis, quam in hi- 

269 strionibus, spectari puto. Itaque nos raucos saepe 
attentissime audiri video : tenet enim res ipsa atque 
causa : at Aesopum, si paulum irrauserit, explodi. A 
quibus enim nihil praeter voluptatem aurium quae- 
ritur, in eis ofFenditur, simul atque imminuitur aliquid 
de voluptate. In eloquentia autem multa sunt, quae 
teneant ; quae si omnia summa non sunt — et pleraque 
tamen magna sunt — necesse est, ea ipsa quae sunt, 
mirabilia videri. 

260 Ergo, ut ad primum illud revertar, sit orator nobis 
is, qui, ut Crassus descripsit, accommodate ad per- 
suadendum possit dicere. Is autem concludatur in 
ea, quae sunt in usu civitatum vulgari ac forensi ; 
remotisque ceteris studiis, quamvis ea sint ampla 
atque praeclara, in hoc uno opere, ut ita dicam, noctes 
et dies urgeatur ; imiteturque illum, cui sine dubio 
summa vis dicendi conceditur, Atheniensem Demo- 
sthenem, in quo tantum studium fuisse, tantusque 
labor dicitur, ut primum impedimenta naturae dih- 
gentia industriaque superaret : cumque ita balbus 
esset, ut eius ipsius artis, cui studeret, primam lit- 
teram non posset dicere, perfecit meditando, ut nemo 

" For the great orator's ways of conquering his natural 
handicaps see Schaefer's Demosthenea, vol. i. pp. 299-301 ; 
Cicero, De Finibus v. 2. S ; PIutarch's Li/e of Demosthenes 
(c 11); and Quintilian x. 3. 30. 

* Rhetorica. 


DE ORATORE, I. Ixi. 258-260 

would have every man of us be a kind of Roscius in 
his own line ; and you said that the approbation 
accorded to the good points of a speech is short- 
Uved in comparison with the enduring aversion 
inspired by its shortcomings, whereas I hold that 
the criticism of our oratory is less squeamish than 

259 that directed upon actors. This explains why I see 
that, even when hoarse, we are often listened to 
with rapt attention, since the very fact of our hoarse- 
ness and our case grip the audience : while Aesopus, 
should he be a little husky, is hissed off the stage. 
For, in those arts of which nothing is expected save 
the gratification of the ear, offence is given directly 
that gratification is at all weakened. But of oratory 
the fascinating features are many, and even if all 
are not there in perfection — still, most of them are 
highly developed — , such as are actually present must 
needs be thought marvellous. 

260 " And so, to retum to our starting-point, let us take The import. 
the orator to be, as Crassus defined him, a man who p^^^f ^ 
can speak in a way calculated to convince. But let 

him be shut up within the sphere of the daily inter- 
course and pubUc Ufe of bodies poUtic ; and forsaking 
all other pursuits, be they as noble and glorious as 
you please, let him press forward night and day 
(so to speak) in this single vocation, and do as 
the famous Athenian Demosthenes ^ did, whose pre- 
eminence in oratory is unhesitatingly admitted, and 
whose zeal and exertions are said to have been such 
that at the very outset he surmounted natural 
drawbacks by diUgent perseverance : and though at 
first stuttering so badly as to be unable to pro- 
nounce the initial R. of the name of the art of his 
devotion,** by practice he made himself accounted as 



261 planius eo locutus putaretur ; deinde, cum spiritus 
eius esset angustior, tantum continenda anima in 
dicendo est assecutus, ut una continuatione verborum 
— ^id quod eius scripta declarant — binae ei conten- 
tiones vocis et remissiones continerentur ; qui etiam 
— ^ut memoriae proditum est — , coniectis in os calculis, 
summa voce versus multos uno spiritu pronuntiare 
consuescebat ; neque is consistens in loco, sed in- 
ambulans, atque ascensu ingrediens arduo. 

262 Hisce ego cohortationibus, Crasse, ad studium et 
ad laborem incitandos iuvenes vehementer assentior : 
cetera, quae coUegisti ex variis et diversis studiis et 
artibus, tametsi ipse es omnia consecutus, tamen ab 
oratoris proprio officio atque munere seiuncta esse 

LXII. Haec cum Antonius dixisset, sane dubitare 
visus est Sulpicius, et Cotta, utrius oratio propius ad 

263 veritatem videretur accedere. Tum Crassus : Opera- 
rium nobis quemdam, Antoni, oratorem facis ; atque 
haud scio, an aliter sentias, et utare tua illa mirifica 
ad refellendum consuetudine, qua tibi nemo unquam 
praestitit ; cuius quidem ipsius facultatis exercitatio 
oratorum propria est, sed iam in philosophorum con- 
suetudine versatur, maximeque eorum, qui de omni 
re proposita in utramque partem solent copiosissime 

264 dicere. Verum ego non solum arbitrabar, his prae- 
sertim audientibus, a me informari oportere, quaUs 
esse posset is, qui habitaret in subselhis, neque quid- 


DE ORATORE, I. Ixi. 261— Ixii. 264 

261 distinct a speaker as anyone ; later on, though his 
breath was rather short, he succeeded so far in 
making his breath hold during a speech, that a single 
oratorical period — as his writings prove — covered two 
risings and two fallings of tone ; moreover — as the tale 
goes — ^it was his habit to sHp pebbles into his mouth, 
and then declaim a number of verses at the top of 
his voice and without drawing breath, and this not 
only as he stood still, but while walking about, or 
going up a steep slope. 

262 " By encouragements of this sort, Crassus, I 
thoroughly agree with you that the young should be 
spurred on to severe application : all else that you 
have brought together from various and dissimilar 
pursuits and arts, though you yourself have attained 
everything, I nevertheless regard as lying outside 
the strict business and function of an orator." 

LXII. At the conclusion of these observations of Adjoum- 
Antonius, Sulpicius, and Cotta too, appeared to be ^bate^*** 
in grave doubt as to which of the two speakers' 
discourses bore the closer resemblance to the truth. 

263 Presently Crassus replied : " Antonius, you are 
making our orator something of a mechanic ; and I 
rather suspect you are really of a difFerent opinion, 
and are gratifying that singular Uking of yours for 
contradiction, in which no one has ever outdone you ; 
the exercise of this power belongs pecuharly to 
orators, though nowadays it is in regular use among 
philosophers, and chiefly those who make a practice 
of arguing at extreme length either for or against 

264 any proposition whatever laid before them. Now 
I did not think it my duty, especially before my 
present audience, to dehneate only the possible 
quality of such a speaker as would live in Court, and 



quam amplius afferret, quam quod causarum neces- 
sitas postularet ; sed maius quiddam videbam, ciun 
censebam, oratorem, praesertim in nostra republica, 
nullius ornamenti expertem esse oportere. Tu autem, 
quoniam exiguis quibusdam finibus totum oratoris 
munus circumdedisti, hoc facilius nobis expones ea, 
quae abs te de officiis praeceptisque oratoris quaesita 
sunt : sed, opinor, secundum hunc diem. Satis enim 
266 multa a nobis hodie dicta sunt. Nunc et Scaevola, 
quoniam in Tusculanum ire constituit, paulum re- 
quiescet, dum se calor frangat ; et nos ipsi, quoniam 
id temporis est, valetudini demus operam. 

Placuit sic omnibus. Tum Scaevola : Sane, inquit, 
vellem non constituissem, in Tusculanum me hodie 
venturum esse, Laelio ; libenter audirem Antonium. 
Et, cum exsurgeret, simul arridens : Neque enim, 
inquit, tam mihi molestus fuit, quod ius nostrum civile 
pervellit, quam iucundus, quod se id nescire con- 
fessus est. 


DE ORATORE, I. Ixii. 264-265 

bring thither nothing more than the needs of his 
cases demanded ; but I was envisaging a loftier ideal 
when I stated my view that the orator, especially 
in our own community, ought to lack nothing in 
the way of equipment. You on the other hand, 
having enclosed within certain narrow confines the 
whole function of an orator, will the more easily 
expound to us the result of your investigations into 
his duties and rules : but that, I think, must be 
another time. For our talk to-day has been long 
265 enough. Now too Scaevola, as he has arranged to 
go to his Tusculan villa, vdll rest awhile, until the 
heat has abated ; and let us ourselves, considering 
the time of day, take care of our health." 

This suggestion pleased everybody. Then Scae- 
vola observed : " I devoutly wish that I had not 
arranged with LaeUus to arrive at my Tusculan 
villa to-day ; I should Hke to hear Antonius." 
And, as he got up, he added with a smile : " For I 
was not so much vexed by his tearing our common 
law to tatters, as deHghted by his admission that 
he knew nothing about it." 




1 I. Magna nobis pueris, Quinte frater, si memoria 
tenes, opinio friit, L. Crassum non plus attigisse doc- 
trinae, quam quantum prima illa puerili institutione 
potuisset ; M. autem Antonium omnino omnis erudi- 
tionis expertem atque ignarum friisse. Erantque 
multi qui, quanquam non ita sese rem habere arbi- 
trarentur, tamen, quo facilius nos incensos studio 
dicendi a doctrina deterrerent, libenter id quod dixi, 
de illis oratoribus praedicarent, ut, si homines non 
eruditi summam essent prudentiam atque incredi- 
bilem eloquentiam consecuti, inanis omnis noster esse 
labor, et stultum in nobis erudiendis, patris nostri, 

2 optimi ac prudentissimi viri, studium videretur. Quos 
tum, ut pueri, refutare domesticis testibus patre et 
C. Aculeone propinquo nostro et L. Cicerone patruo 
solebamus, quod de Crasso pater, et Aculeo (quocum 
erat nostra matertera), quem Crassus dilexit ex 



1 I. When we were boys, brother Quintus, there was, introduc- 
if you remember, a widespread behef that Lucius qu^nce of 
Crassus had dabbled no further in learning than the Crassus and 
early training of a lad of his day allowed, and that based on 
Marcus Antonius was absolutely without any educa- ^^JJ^j^"' 
tion and ignorant. And there were many who, while 

they did not hold this to be the truth of the matter, 
none the less hoped the more readily to deter us 
eager students in search of eloquence from the ^^ 
pursuit of learning, and so they did not scruple to <u/^ 
make such statements about those eminent orators ; ,, % ^^ 
to the intent that we ourselves, on seeing that men '"4^-,'% , 
who were no scholars had attained the highest degree / 

of practical wisdom, and a standard of eloquence %_, -^ 
passing belief, might come to look upon all our own 'ij^ 
labour as being but in vain, and to think mere folly ^ 
the care bestowed upon our education by a man so 
excellent and widely experienced as our father. 

2 Such sophists we used at that time to confound, in 
boyish fashion, by calling witnesses from home, 
namely our father, our near kinsman Gaius Aculeo, 
and our paternal uncle Lucius Cicero, inasmuch as 
our father, and Aculeo, who married our mother's 
sister, and was esteemed by Crassus above all other 




omnibus plurimum, et patruus, qui cum Antonio in 
Ciliciam profectus una decesserat, multa nobis de 
eius studio doctrinaque saepe narravit. Cumque nos 
cum consobrinis nostris, Aculeonis filiis, et ea disce- 
remus, quae Crasso placerent, et ab his doctoribus, 
quibus ille uteretur, erudiremur, etiam illud saepe 
intelleximus cum essemus eius domi,^ quod vel pueri 
sentire poteramus, illum et Graece sic loqui, nullam 
ut nosse aliam linguam videretur, et doctoribus nos- 
tris ea ponere in percontando, eaque ipsum omni in 
sermone tractare, ut nihil esse ei novum, nihil inau- 

3 ditum videretur. De Antonio vero, quanquam saepe 
ex humanissimo homine, patruo nostro, acceperamus, 
quemadmodum ille vel Athenis vel Rhodi se doctis- 
simorum hominum sermonibus dedisset, tamen ipse 
adolescentulus, quantum illius ineuntis aetatis meae 
patiebatur pudor, multa ex eo saepe quaesivi. Non 
erit profecto tibi, quod scribo, hoc novum nam iam 
tum ex me audiebas, mihi illum, ex multis variisque 
sermonibus, nulUus rei, quae quidem esset in his 
artibus, de quibus aliquid existimare possem, rudem 
aut ignarum esse visum. 

4 Sed fuit hoc in utroque eorum, ut Crassus non tam 
existimari vellet non didicisse, quam illa despicere, 

* eius domi. The eorrection o/ Piderit and Soro/for th§ 
inde/enaibU eius modi o/ tht Msa. 


DE ORATORE, II. i. 2-4 

men, and our paternal uncle, who went out to Cilicia 
with Antonius, and was with him when he left his 
province for home, all severally and often related to 
us a great deal about Crassus, his application to 
study, and his intellectual attainments. And since, 
in the company of our cousins, the sons of Aculeo 
and our mother's sister, we were not only studying 
such subjects as attracted Crassus, but were also 
being instructed by those very teachers whom he 
made his friends, we, being as we were at his 
home, often perceived, — as even we boys could per- 
ceive, — that, besides speaking Greek so perfectly as 
to suggest that it was the only tongue he knew, 
he propounded such topics to our masters in the 
way of inquiry and himself so handled matters in 
his discourse, that nothing seemed strange to him, 

3 nothing beyond his range of knowledge. But as for 
Antonius, although we had frequently understood 
from our highly accomplished paternal uncle how, at 
Athens and at Rhodes alike, that orator had devoted 

"^himself to conversation with the most learned men, 
] yet I myself, in early Ufe, went as far as the modesty 
natural to my youth permitted, in questioning him 
time and again on many subjects. What I am writ- 
ing will assuredly be no news to you, for I used to tell 
you even then that the result of many conversa- 
tions with him on various subjects was to convey to 
me the impression that there was nothing — at least in 
any studies about which I could form an opinion — 
about which he was inexperienced or ignorant. 

4 There was nevertheless this point of difference 
between the two men, that Crassus did not so much 
wish to be thought to have learned nothing, as to 
have the reputation of looking down upon learning, 



et nostrorum hominum in omni genere prudentiam 
Graecis anteferre ; Antonius autem probabiliorem 
hoc populo orationem fore censebat suam, si omnino 
didicisse nunquam putaretur. Atque ita se uterque 
graviorem fore, si alter contemnere, alter ne nosse 
6 quidem Graecos videretur. Quorum consilium quale 
fuerit, nihil sane ad hoc tempus ; illud autem est 
huius institutae scriptionis ac temporis, neminem 
eloquentia, non modo sine dicendi doctrina, sed ne 
sine omni quidem sapientia, florere unquam et prae- 
stare potuisse. 

II. Etenim ceterae fere artes se ipsae per se tuen- 
tur singulae ; bene dicere autem, quod est scienter, 
et perite, et ornate dicere, non habet definitam 
aliquam regionem, cuius terminis septa teneatur. 
Omnia, quaecumque in hominum disceptationem ca- 
dere possunt, bene sunt ei dicenda, qui hoc se posse 
profitetur, aut eloquentiae nomen relinquendum 

6 est. Quare equidem et in nostra civitate, et in ipsa 
Graecia, quae semper haec summa duxit, multos et 
ingeniis, et magna laude dicendi sine summa rerum 
omnium scientia fuisse fateor ; talem vero exsistere 
eloquentiam, quahs fuerit in Crasso et Antonio, non 
cognitis rebus omnibus, quae ad tantam prudentiam 
pertinerent, tantamque dicendi copiam, quanta in iUis 

7 fuit, non potuisse confirmo. Quo etiam feci liben- 
tius, ut eum sermonem, quem illi quondam inter se 

DE ORATORE, II. i. 4— ii. 7 

and of placing the wisdom of our own fellow-country- 

men above that of the Greeks in all departments ; 

while Antonius held that his speeches would be the 

more acceptable to a nation Hke ours, if it were 

thought that he had never engaged in study at all. 

<^Thus the one expected to grow in influence by being 

j thought to hold a poor opinion of the Greeks, and the 

I other by seeming never even to have heard of them. 

5 What the value of these opinions was, would clearly 
not matter now, but it does belong to this treatise 
which I have in hand, and to this occasion, to insist 
that noman has ever succeeded inachieving splendour 
and excellence in oratory, I will not say merely 

// without training^ speaking, but withoutjaking all 

ll knowTedgelror^sprovince as well. 

II. For, while nearly all the other arts can look Oiatory 
after themselves, the art of speaking well, that is to ™Jcked% 
say, of speaking with knowledge, skill and elegance, leaming. 
has no dehmited territory, within whose borders it is 
enclosed and confined. All things whatsoever, that 
can fall under the discussion of human beings, must 
be aptly dealt with by him who professes to have this 
power, or he must abandon the name of eloquent. 

6 And so on my own part, I admit that, both in our 
own country and in Greece itself, which has ever 
held these pursuits in the highest esteem, there 
have appeared many men of natural parts and great 
reputation in oratory, without the futlest universal 
knowledge ; yet I maintain that such eloquence as 
Crassus and Antonius attained could never have 
been realized without a knowledge of every matter '";^ 
Ithat went to produce that wisdom and that power of '^y^ 

7 oratory which were manifest in those two. And so ^''^ 
I was the readier to commit to writing a conversation 7«. 

H 201 


de his rebus habuissent, mandarem litteris, vel ut illa 
opinio, quae semper fuisset, toUeretur, alterum non 
doctissimum, alterum plane indoctum fuisse ; vel ut 
ea, quae existimarem a summis oratoribus de elo- 
quentia divinitus esse dicta, custodirem litteris, si 
uUo modo assequi complectique potuissem ; vel me- 
hercule etiam, ut laudem eorum, iam prope senescen- 
tem, quantum ego possem, ab oblivione hominum 

8 atque a silentio vindicarem. Nam si ex scriptis 
cognosci ipsi suis potuissent, minus hoc fortasse mihi 
esse putassem laborandum : sed cum alter non 
multum quod quidem exstaret, et id ipsum adole- 
scens, alter nihil admodum scripti rehquisset, deberi 
hoc a me tantis hominimi ingeniis putavi, ut, cum 
etiam nunc vivam illoriun memoriam teneremus, hanc 

g immortalem redderem, si possem. Quod hoc etiam 
spe aggredior maiore ad probandum, quia non de Ser. 
Galbae, aut C. Carbonis eloquentia scribo ahquid, in 
quo hceat mihi fingere, si quid veHm, nullius memoria 
iam me refellente : sed edo haec eis cognoscenda, qui 
eos ipsos, de quibus loquor, saepe audierunt ; ut duos 
summos viros eis, qui neutrum illorum viderint, 
eonmi, quibus ambo ilU oratores cogniti sint, vivo- 
rum et praesentium memoria teste, oommendemus. 


DE ORATORE, II. ii. 7-9 

they once had on the subject, my purpose being, in 
the first place, to dispel that notion, which had 
always prevailed, that one of them had no great 
learning and the other none at all ; secondly, to 
preserve in literary form the sentiments concerning 
eloquence which to my thinking were expressed to 
perfection by those consummate orators, if in any 
way I should have succeeded in recapturing and 
representing their pronouncements ; and lastly, I 
protest, to rescue, as far as possible, from disuse and 
from silence, the reputation of these men which was 

8 already beginning to wane. For could their own 
writings have made those orators known, perhaps I 
should have seen smaller need for this work that 
I have undertaken, but as one of them had written 
httle (at all events Httle that survived), and had 
written that little in early Hfe, while the other had 
left nothing whatever in writing, I thought that it 
was a tribute due from me to those great intellects, 
that while all still held them in Uving memory I 
should render that memory immortal, if I could. 

9 And my hope is so much the greater that I shall 
establish the case which I am approaching, because I 
am not treating of the eloquence of Servius Galba or 
Gaius Carbo, in which case I should be able to invent 
at ple^sure, no one now surviving to contradict me 
with his reminiscences, but I am publishing what will 
be criticized by those who have often actually listened 
to the men of whom I am speaking, in order that I 
may recommend an illustrious pair to those who have 
never seen either of them, on the testimony of the 
recollections of men to whom both those famous 
orators were personally known, and who themselves 
are living and still among us. 



10 III. Nec vero te, carissime frater atque optime, 
rhetoricis nunc quibusdam libris, quos tu agrestes 
putas, insequor ut erudiam : quid enim tua potest 
oratione aut subtilius, aut ornatius esse ? Sed, sive 
iudicio, ut soles dicere, sive, ut ille pater eloquentiae 
de se Isocrates scripsit ipse, pudore a dicendo et 
timiditate ingenua quadam refugisti, sive, ut ipse 
iocari soleo, unum putasti satis esse non modo in una 
familia rhetorem, sed paene in tota civitate, non 
tamen arbitror tibi hos Hbros in eo fore genere, quod 
merito, propter eorum, qui de dicendi ratione dis- 
putarunt, ieiunitatem bonarum artium, possit illudi. 

11 Nihil enim mihi quidem videtur in Crassi et Antonii 
sermone esse praeteritum, quod quisquam summis 
ingeniis, acerrimis studiis, optima doctrina, maximo 
usu cognosci ac percipi potuisse arbitraretur, quod 
tu faciUime poteris iudicare, qui prudentiam ratio- 
nemque dicendi per te ipsum, usum autem per nos 
percipere voluisti. Sed, quo citius hoc, quod susce- 
pimus, non mediocre munus conficere possimus, omis- 
sa nostra adhortatione, ad eorum, quos proposuimus, 
sermonem disputationemque veniamus. 

12 Postero igitur die, quam illa erant acta, hora fere 
secunda, cum etiam tum in lecto Crassus esset et 
apud eum Sulpicius sederet, Antonius autem in- 
ambularet cum Cotta in porticu, repente eo Q. 

DE ORATORE, II. iii. 10-12 

10 III. But you are the last man, my dear and The topic 
excellent brother, that I should try to instruct by commended. 
means of a lot of Ijooks which you think only crude ; 

for what can be more exact or graceful than your 
own diction ? But whether it be on principle, as you 
generally affirm, or from modesty and what I may 
call the diffidence of the well-bred, that you have 
shrunk from pubHc speaking (as that eminent father 
of eloquence, Isocrates, has declared to have been 
the case with himself), or whether, as I myself am 
wont to say in jesting mood, you thought one 
declaimer enough in a family, and wellnigh enough 
in an entire community, still I think that you will not 
place this essay among that class of writings which 
may be a fitting object of ridicule, because of the 
sheer want of good learning in those who have 

1 1 therein discussed the art of speaking. For to my mind 
nothing has been passed over, in the dialogue be- 
tween Crassus and Antonius, that anyone would have 
thought possible to be known and understood by men 
of the highest abiUty, the most eager appUcation, the 
profoundest learning, and the most complete experi- 
ence, — a point which you will have no trouble in de- 
ciding, since you have chosen to master the lore and 
principles of oratory by your own study, its practice 
by my assistance. But in order the sooner to dis- 
charge this important duty that we have undertaken, 
let us proceed, without any preamble of mine, to the 

'< discourse and arguments of those orators whom we 
\ have set before us. 

12 On the morrow, then, of that former debate, atxhesecond 
about eight in the morning, while Crassus was still in ^ay^s 
bed and Sulpicius sitting by his side, and Antonius Arrivai of 
strolUng with Cotta in the colonnade, Quintus Catulus and^caesar. 



Catulus senex cum C. lulio fratre venit. Quod ubi 
audivit, commotus Crassus surrexit omnesque ad- 
mirati maiorem aliquam esse causam eorum adven- 

13 tus suspicati sunt. Qui cum inter se, ut ipsorum 
usus ferebat, amicissime consalutassent : Quid vos 
tandem ? Crassus, num quidnam, inquit, novi ? Nihil 
sane, inquit Catulus : etenim vides esse ludos. 
Sed (vel tu nos ineptos licet, inquit, vel moles- 
tos putes) cum ad me in Tusculanum heri vesperi 
venisset Caesar de Tusculano suo, dixit mihi, a se 
Scaevolam hinc euntem esse conventum, ex quo 
mira quaedam se audisse dicebat ; te, quem ego, 
toties omni ratione tentans, ad disputandum ehcere 
non potuissem, permulta de eloquentia cum Antonio 
disseruisse, et tanquam in schola, prope ad Grae- 

14 corum consuetudinem, disputasse. Ita me frater ex- 
oravit, ne ipsum quidem a studio audiendi nimis ab- 
horrentem, sed mehercule verentem, ne molesti vobis 
interveniremus, ut huc secum venirem ; Scaevolam 
etenim ita dicere aiebat, bonam partem sermonis in 
hunc diem esse dilatam. Hoc si tu cupidius factum 
existimas, Caesari attribues ; si familiarius, utrique 
nostrum : nos quidem, nisi forte molesti intervenimus, 
venisse delectat. 

15 IV. Tum Crassus : Equidem, quaecumque causa 
vos huc attulisset, laetarer, cum apud me viderem 

DE ORATORE, II, iii. 12— iv. 15 

the elder suddenly arrived at the house, accompanied 
by his brother Gaius Juhus. On being informed of 
this, Crassus rose in a state of excitement, and general 
astonishment prevailed, everyone surmising that the 
reason for this visit must be something out of the 

13 ordinary. After exchanging very cordial greetings 
with one another, as their practice was, Crassus 
inquired, " What in the world brings you here ? 
Have you any news ? " " None whatever," replied 
Catulus ; " you see the Games are on. Think us 
impertinent or troublesome, as you please, but the 
fact is, that on arriving yesterday evening at my 
Tusculan villa from his own, Caesar told me that he 
had met Scaevola, who was on his way from this 
place, and who related to him a marvellous tale, the 
purport of which was that you, whom all my induce- 
ments, so often employed, could never draw into a 
discussion, had been stating your views on oratory at 
large, in debate with Antonius, and reasoning as if 
in the schools, and very much in the Greek mode. 

14 And this was how my brother's entreaties prevailed 
upon me to accompany him hither, — not indeed that 
I have any particular aversion to playing the part of 
a hstener, but I vow I was afraid that our pushing 
in might be troublesome to you — ; for he explained 
that, according to Scaevola, a good part of the 
discourse stood adjourned until to-day. If you think 
this action of ours impertinent curiosity, you will 
blame Caesar, if it seems an abuse of friendship, you 
will blame the pair of us ; for our part we are charmed 
to be here, provided always that our coming in does 
not happen to be a nuisance." 

16 IV. To which Crassus made answer, " Whatever Generai 
occasion had brought you here, I should be deUghted tum[^'^' 



homines mihi carissimos et amicissimos ; sed tamen, 
vere dicam, quaevis mallem fuisset, quam ista, quam 
dicis. Ego enim ut, quemadmodum sentiam, loquar, 
nunquam mihi minus, quam hesterno die, placui ; 
magis adeo id facihtate, quam aha ulla culpa mea 
contigit, qui, dum obsequor adolescentibus, me senem 
esse sum obHtus, fecique id, quod ne adolescens qui- 
dem feceram, ut eis de rebus, quae doctrina ahqua 
continerentur, disputarem. Sed hoc tamen cecidit 
mihi peropportune, quod, transactis iam meis parti- 
bus, ad Antonium audiendum venistis. 

16 Tum Caesar : Equidem, inquit, Crasse, ita sum 
cupidus te in illa longiore ac perpetua disputatione 
audiendi, ut, si id mihi minus contingat, vel hoc sim 
quotidiano tuo sermone contentus. Itaque experiar 
equidem illud, ut ne Sulpicius, familiaris meus, aut 
Cotta, plus quam ego apud te valere videantur ; et 
te exorabo profecto, ut mihi quoque et Catulo tuae 
suavitatis ahquid impertias. Sin tibi id minus Ubebit, 
non te urgebo, neque committam, ut, dum vereare, tu 
ne sis ineptus, me esse iudices. 

17 Tum ille : Ego mehercule, inquit, Caesar, ex 
omnibus Latinis verbis huius verbi vim vel maximam 
semper putavi. Quem enim nos ' ineptum ' vocamus, 
is mihi videtur ab hoc nomen habere ductum, quod 
non sit aptus ; idque in sermonis nostri consuetudine 
perlate patet ; nam qui aut, tempus quid postulet, 

DE ORATORE, II. iv. 15-17 

to see at my home men who are among my dearest 
and best friends ; yet, to tell the truth, I had rather 
it had been any other object than the one you men- 
tion. For, to speak my mind, I personally have never 
been so dissatisfied with myself as I was yesterday ; 
indeed it was just good-nature rather than any fault 
of mine when, in humouring the young, I forgot that 
I was old, and did a thing which even as a youth I 
had never done, in discussing subjects that involved 
a certain degree of learning. One circumstance 
however has turned out most happily for me, in that 
my part is already played out, so Antonius is the 
one you have come to hear." 

16 " For my part, Crassus," returned Caesar, " while 
I am longing to hear you in that fuller and uninter- 
rupted style of debate, yet, if that is not to be had, 
I could even make shift with your everyday talk. 
One thing therefore I shall certainly attempt, which 
is to prevent people from supposing that either my 
friend Sulpicius or Cotta has more influence with 
you than I have, and assuredly I shall implore you 
to spare a Httle of your amiability even for Catulus 
and myself. If however that suggestion does not 
commend itself to you, I shall not press you, nor give 
you occasion to deem me tactless, while dreading 
any tactlessness on your own part." 

17 " Truly, Caesar," rejoined the other, " I have al- 
ways thought that, of all the words in the Latin lan 
guage, none has so wide a signification as this word 
that you have just used. Of course the man whom we 
call ' tactless ' seems to me to bear a title derived 
from his want of tact, and this is most amply illus- 
trated in our ordinary conversation, inasmuch as 
whosoever fails to realize the demands of the occa- 



non videt, aut plura loquitur, aut se ostentat, aut 
eorum, quibuscum est, vel dignitatis, vel commodi 
rationem non habet, aut denique in aliquo genere aut 

18 inconcinnus, aut multus est, is ineptus dicitur. Hoc 
vitio cumulata est eruditissima illa Graecorum natio : 
itaque quod vim huius mali Graeci non vident, ne 
nomen quidem ei vitio imposuerunt ; ut enim quae- 
ras omnia, quomodo Graeci ineptum appellent, non 
reperies. Omnium autem ineptiarum, quae sunt 
innumerabiles, haud scio, an nuUa sit maior, quam, 
ut illi solent, quocumque in loco, quoscumque inter 
homines visum est, de rebus aut difficillimis, aut non 
necessariis, argutissime disputare. Hoc nos ab istis 
adolescentibus facere inviti et recusantes heri coacti 

19 V. Tum Catulus : Ne Graeci quidem, inquit, 
Crasse, qui in civitatibus suis clari et magni fuerunt, 
sicuti tu es, nosque omnes in nostra republica volu- 
mus esse, horum Graecorum, qui se inculcant auri- 
bus nostris, similes fuerunt, nec in otio sermones 

20 huiusmodi, disputationesque fugiebant. Ac si tibi 
videntur, qui temporis, qui loci, qui hominum ra- 
tionem non habent, inepti, sicut debent videri, num 
tandem aut locus hic non idoneus videtur, in quo 
porticus haec ipsa, ubi ambulamus, et palaestra, et 
tot locis sessiones, gymnasiorum, et Graecorum dis- 
putationum memoriam quodam modo commovent ? 
Aut num importunum tempus in tanto otio, quod et 

" Originally designed for ph^^sical exercise, the gymnatia 
had become the scene of lectures on philosophy, 


DE ORATORE, II. iv. 17— v. 20 

sion, or talks too much, or advertises himself, or 
ignores the prestige or convenience of those with 
whom he has to deal, or, in short, is in any way awk- 

18 ward or tedious, is described as ' tactless.' The 
Greek nation, with all its learning, abounds in this 
fault, and so, as the Greeks do not perceive the 
significance of this plague, they have not even 
bestowed a name upon the fault in question, for, 
search where you may, you will not find out how the 
Greeks designate the ' tactless ' man. But, of all the 
countless forms assumed by want of tact, I rather 
think that the grossest is the Greeks' habit, in any 
place and any company they like, of plunging into the 
most subtle dialectic concerning subjects that present 
extreme difficulty, or at any rate do not call for 
discussion. This is what we were obhged to do 
yesterday by our young friends here, albeit we 
yielded but reluctantly and under protest." 

19 V. Thereupon Catulus observed, " But even among phUo- 
the Greeks, Crassus, those who were famous and sopiiicai 

. 1 . . . . . discussion 

great men m their respective commumties, as in our and the 
own republic you are, and we all hope to be, were onei8ur&'^' 
whoUy unlike these Greeks, who obtrude themselves 
upon our hearing ; and yet in their hours of ease they 
were not averse to discussion and debate of this kind. 

20 And, although you are justified in deeming those 
people tactless, who take no heed of seasons, places 
orpersons,yet do you really think this scene ill-fitting, 
where this very colonnade, in which we are now walk- 
ing, this exercise-ground, and these benches placed 
at so many points, in some degree awaken memories 
of the gymnastic schools " and the discussions of the 
Greeks ? Or can it be the season that is ill-chosen, 
occurring as it does during a holiday of a length such 



raro datur, et nunc peroptato nobis datum est ? 
Aut homines ab hoc genere disputationis aheni, qui 
omnes ei sumus, ut sine his studiis vitam nuUam 
esse ducamus ? 

21 Omnia ista, inquit Crassus, ego alio modo inter- 
pretor, qui primum palaestram, et sedes, et porticus 
etiam ipsos, Catule, Graecos exercitationis et de- 
lectationis causa non disputationis invenisse arbi- 
tror. Nam et saeculis multis ante gymnasia inventa 
sunt, quam in eis philosophi garrire coeperunt, et 
hoc ipso tempore, cum omnia gymnasia philosophi 
teneant, tamen eorum auditores discum audire quam 
philosophum malunt : qui simul ut increpuit, in 
media oratione de maximis rebus et gravissimis dis- 
putantem philosophum omnes unctionis causa reHn- 
quunt : ita levissimam delectationem gravissimae, ut 

22 ipsi ferunt, utilitati anteponunt. Otium autem quod 
dicis esse, assentior ; verum otii fructus est, non 
contentio animi, sed relaxatio. 

VI. Saepe ex socero meo audivi, cum is diceret 
socerum suum LaeHum semper fere cum Scipione 
soHtum rusticari eosque incredibiHter repuerascere 
esse soHtos, cum rus ex urbe, tanquam e vincuHs, 
evolavissent. Non audeo dicere de taHbus viris, sed 
tamen ita solet narrare Scaevola, conchas eos et 
umbiHcos ad Caietam et ad Laurentum legere con- 
suesse, et ad omnem animi remissionem ludumque 

" Vitam nullam corresponds to the Platonic piov oi ^uxnov 
(Apol. 38 a). 

* Unctionis causa refers to the wrestler's use of suppling- 
oil in preparation for the palaestra. 


DE ORATORE, II. v. 20— vi. 22 

as we seldom enjoy and find especially welcome at the 
present time ? Or are we new to debate of this kind, 
we being all of us men of such sort as to hold that 
Hfe " without these exercises is worth nothing ? " 

21 " Everything that you urge," said Crassus, " I look 
at in a different hght, since in the first place, Catulus, 
it is my behef that even the Greeks themselves 
devised their exercise-ground, benches and colon- 
nades, for purposes of physical training and enjoy- 
ment, not for dialectic. For not only were their 
gymnastic schools introduced ages before the philo- 
sophers began to chatter therein, but even in the 
present day, although the sages may be in occupation 
of all the gymnastic schools, yet their audiences 
would rather hsten to the discus than to the Master, 
and the moment its chnk is heard, they all desert the 
lecturer, in the middle of an oration upon the most 
subhme and weighty topics, in order to anoint ^ them- 
selves for athletic exercise ; so definitely do they 
place the most trifling amusement before that which 
the philosophers describe as the most sohd advantage. 

22 And, as to your saying that it is a hohday, I agree 
with you ; but the enjoyment of a hohday is not 
mental effort, but relaxation. 

VI. " Often have I heard my father-in-law say that 
his own father-in-law Laehus almost invariably had 
Scipio with him upon his country excursions, and that 
the pair of them used to become boys again, in an 
astonishing degree, as soon as ever they had flitted 
from the prison of town to rural scenes. I am 
afraid to say it of personages so august, but Scaevola 
is fond of relating how at Caieta and Laurentum it 
was their wont to collect mussels and top-shells, and 
to condescend to every form of mental recreation and 



23 descendere. Sic enim se res habet : ut, quemad- 
modum volucres videmus, procreationis atque utili- 
tatis suae causa, fingere et construere nidos, easdem 
autem, cum aliquid efFecerint, levandi laboris sui 
causa, passim ac libere, solutas opere, volitare ; sic 
nostri animi, forensibus negotiis atque urbano opere 
defessi, gestiant ac volitare cupiant, vacui cura ac 

24 labore. Itaque illud, quod ego in causa Curiana 
Scaevolae dixi, non dixi secus ac sentiebam, ' Nam si,' 
inquam, ' Scaevola, nuUum erit testamentum recte 
factum, nisi quod tu scripseris, omnes ad te cives 
cum tabulis veniemus, omnium testamenta tu scribes 
unus : quid igitur ? ' inquam : ' quando ages negotium 
publicum ? quando amicorum ? quando tuum ? quan- 
do denique nihil ages ? ' Tum illud addidi : ' Mihi 
enim liber esse non videtur, qui non aliquando nihil 
agit.' In qua permaneo, Catule, sententia ; meque, 
cum huc veni, hoc ipsum nihil agere et plane cessare 

26 Nam quod addidisti tertium, vos eos esse, qui vitam 
insuavem sine his studiis putaretis, id me non modo 
non hortatur ad disputandum, sed etiam deterret. 
Nam ut C. Lucilius, homo doctus et perurbanus, 
dicere solebat ea quae scriberet neque ab indoctis- 
simis se, neque a doctissimis legi velle ; quod alteri 
nihil intellegerent, alteri plus fortasse, quam ipse; 

DE ORATORE, II. vi. 23-25 

23 pastime. For nature is so ordered, that even as we 
see the birds fashioning and building their nests, with 
a view to raising famiUes and to their own comfort, 
but yet, as soon as any part of their task is done, seek- 
ing some relief from their toil by flying about at 
random in full freedom from work, so in Hke manner 
our human minds, when worn out by the business of 
the Courts and the work of the City, grow restless and 
yearn to go a-roving, in freedom from worry and 

24 exertion. And so, in those observations that I ad- 
dressed to Scaevola, in the course of my defence of 
Curius, I said no more than I thought, when I de- 
clared, ' Well, Scaevola, if no will is to be duly made, 
unless it be of your drafting, all we citizens will come 
to you with our tablets, and you alone shall draw the 
wills of us all, but in that event,' I went on, 
' when will you conduct afFairs of State ? when those 
of your friends ? when your own ? when, in one 
word, will you do nothing ? ' And I added also the 
proposition, * For to my mind he is no free man, who 
is not sometimes doing nothing.' To that view, 
Catulus, I still adhere, and it is just this inaction and 
utter idleness that charm me on my comings to this 

25 " As for the third argument, which you threw in, 
that you are men so constituted that you would find 
hfe insipid without these pursuits, this consideration, 
so far from encouraging me to debate, positively 
frightens me away from it. For just as Gaius Lucilius, 
himself a learned and highly accomphshed man, was 
wont to say that he wished his writings to be read 
neither by the most ignorant nor the most learned, 
since the former class understood nothing, and the 
latter possibly more than he himself did, in which 



de quo etiam scripsit, ' Persium non curo legere ' 
(hic enim fuit, ut noramus, omnium fere nostrorum 
hominum doctissimus), ' Laelium Decumum volo ' 
(quem cognovimus virum bonum, et non illiteratum, 
sed nihil ad Persium) : sic ego, si iam mihi dispu- 
tandum sit de his nostris studiis, nolim equidem apud 
rusticos, sed multo minus apud vos ; malo enim non 
intellegi orationem meam, quam reprehendi. 

26 VII. Tum Caesar: Equidem, inquit, Catule, iam 
mihi videor navasse operam, quod huc venerim, nam 
haec ipsa recusatio disputationis disputatio quaedam 
fuit mihi quidem periucunda. Sed cur impedimus 
Antonium, cuius audio esse partes, ut de tota elo- 
quentia disserat, quemque iamdudum Cotta et Sul- 

27 picius exspectant ? Ego vero, inquit Crassus, neque 
Antonium verbum facere patiar, et ipse obmutescam, 
nisi prius a vobis impetraro — Quidnam ? inquit 
Catulus. Ut hic sitis hodie. Tum, cmn ille dubi- 
taret, quod ad fratrem promiserat, Ego, inquit luUus, 
pro utroque respondeo. Sic faciemus ; atque ista 
quidem conditione, vel ut verbum nuUum faceres, 
me teneres. 

28 Hic Catulus arrisit ; et simul : Praecisa, inquit, mihi 
quidem dubitatio est, quoniam neque domi impera- 
ram, et hic, apud quem eram futurus, sine mea 
sententia tam facile promisit. Tum omnes oculos 

» Remains o/ Old Latin (L.C.L.), iii. pp. 202-203. 

DE ORATORE, II. vi. 25— vii. 28 

connexion he also wrote ** : — ' I don't want Persius to 
read me ' (Persius, as we knew him, being about the 
most erudite of all our fellow-citizens), and he con- 
tinued : — * Laelius Decumus for me ' (which Laelius 
we also knew for an excellent man of some learning, 
but nothing to Persius) : so too I, if I should now 
have to discuss these pursuits of ours, should of 
course be sorry to speak before an audience of 
clowns, but far more reluctant to do so in this present 
company, for I had rather have my discourse mis- 
understood than disapproved." 

26 VII. ** Truly, Catulus," answered Caesar, " I think Resumption 
already that I have bestowed my pains to advantage dly-g^dls^ 
in coming hither, for to myself at any rate this very cussion. 
protest against discussion has been in itself a discus- staterhis 
sion of a most agreeable character. But why are we °^'? 
delaying Antonius, whose function, I hear, is to treat 

of eloquence at large, and for whom Cotta has been 

27 a long time waiting, and so has Sulpicius ? " " Nay," 
interposed Crassus, " I will not have Antonius utter 
a syllable, and I will myself be dumb, until I have 
first obtained a boon from you." " Name it," said 
Catulus. " That you spend the day here." Then, 
as the other hesitated, because he had promised to go 
to his brother's, Julius observed, " I answer for both 
of us. We will do as you ask, and on the terms you 
ofFer, you would keep me here, even though you 
should not contribute a word to the debate." 

28 Here Catulus smiled on him and said, " There's an 
end of my hesitation anyhow, since I had given no 
orders at home, and my brother here, at whose 
house I was to have been, has so readily engaged 
me, without my having any say in the matter." 
At this point all eyes were turned on Antonius, 



in Antonium coniecerunt ; et ille : Audite vero, 
audite, inquit. Hominem enim audietis de schola, 
atque a magistro et Graecis litteris eruditum ; et eo 
quidem loquar confidentius, quod Catulus auditor 
accessit, cui non solum nos Latini sermonis, sed etiam 
Graeci ipsi solent suae linguae subtilitatem elegan- 

29 tiamque concedere. Sed quia tamen hoc totum, 
quidquid est, sive artificium, sive studium dicendi, 
nisi accessit os, nullum potest esse, docebo vos, dis- 
cipuli, quod ipse non didici, quid de omni genere 
dicendi sentiam. 

30 Hic posteaquam arriserunt, Res mihi videtur esse, 
inquit, facultate praeclara, arte mediocris. Ars enim 
earmn rerum est, quae sciuntur ; oratoris autem 
omnis actio opinionibus, non scientia continetur. 
Nam et apud eos dicimus, qui nesciunt, et ea dicimus, 
quae nescimus ipsi : itaque et illi alias aliud eisdem de 
rebus et sentiunt et iudicant et nos contrarias saepe 
causas dicimus, non modo ut Crassus contra me dicat 
aliquando, aut ego contra Crassum, cum alterutri 
necesse sit falsum dicere, sed etiam ut uterque nos- 
trum eadem de re alias aliud defendat, cum plus uno 
verum esse non possit. Ut igitur in eiusmodi re, 
quae mendacio nixa sit, quae ad scientiam non saepe 
perveniat, quae opiniones hominum, et saepe errores 

■ Facultate. Similarly Aristotle describes rhetoric as a 
BA/afus, not a t^x*^ {Rhet. I. ii. 1). 


DE ORATORE, II. vii. 28-30 

who exclaimed, " Attention, pray ! Attention ! For 
you will be listening to a man from the schools, 
polished by professorial instruction and the study of 
Greek literature ; and I shall speak with all the fuUer 
assurance, in that Catulus has joined my audience, he 
whose possession of accuracy and taste in the Greek 
language is ever acknowledged, not only by us men 
of Latin speech, but by the Greeks themselves as 

29 well. Seeing however that all this art or vocation of 
speaking, whichever it may be, can avail nothing 
without the addition of * cheek,' I Mdll teach you, 
my disciples, something that I have not learned 
myself, to wit, my theory of oratory in all its 

30 When their laughter had subsided, he continued, Oratory not 
" Oratory, it seems to me, derives distinction from *^°*®'**'*J 
abiUty,** but owes Httle to art. For, while art is con- 
cerned with the things that are known, the activity 

of the orator has to do with opinion, not knowledge. 
For we both address ourselves to the ignorant, and 
speak of matters unknown to ourselves, with the 
result, that while our hearers form different concep- 
tions and judgements at different times, concerning 
the selfsame subjects, we on our part often take 
opposite sides, not merely in the sense that Crassus 
sometimes argues against me, or I against him, when 
one or the other of us must of necessity be urging 
what is false, but also because we both maintain 
different opinions at different times on an identical 
issue, in which case only one of such opinions can 
possibly be right. I shall therefore speak as one who 
is deahng with a subject which is founded upon false- 
hood, which seldom attains to demonstration, which 
sets its snares to entrap the fancies and often the 



aucupetur, ita dicam, si causam putatis esse, cur 

31 VIII. Nos vero et valde quidem, Catulus inquit, 
putamus, atque eo magis, quod nuUa mihi ostenta- 
tione videris esse usurus. Exorsus es enim non 
gloriose ; magis a veritate, ut tu putas, quam a nescio 

32 qua dignitate. Ut igitur de ipso genere sum con- 
fessus, inquit Antonius, artem esse non maximam, sic 
illud affirmo, praecepta posse quaedam dari peracuta 
ad pertractandos animos hominum et ad excipiendas 
eorum voluntates. Huius rei scientiam si quis volet 
magnam quamdam artem esse dicere, non repug- 
nabo. Etenim cum plerique temere ac nuUa ratione 
causas in foro dicant, nonnuUi autem propter exer- 
citationem, aut propter consuetudinem aliquam, cal- 
lidius id faciant, non est dubium quin, si quis 
animadverterit, quid sit, quare alii melius quam alii 

33 dicant, id possit notare. Ergo id qui toto in genere 
fecerit, is si non plane artem, at quasi artem quamdam 

Atque utinam, ut mihi illa videre videor in foro 
atque in causis, item nunc, quemadmodum ea reperi- 
rentur, possem vobis exquirere ! Sed de me videro : 
mmc hoc propono, quod mihi persuasi, quamvis ars 


DE ORATORE, II. vii. 30— viii. 33 

delusions of mankind, provided of course that you 
think there is any reason for listening to me." 

31 VIII. " Assuredly we think so most decidedly," but ruies 
said Catulus, " and all the more in that you do not gpelkfng '"' 
seem to me to intend the use of any self-advertise- may be 
ment. For you have opened in no vaunting fashion, experiencM 
starting, as you think, from the actual facts of the 

case, rather than from any supposed grandeur of 

32 your theme." " Well then," resumed Antonius, 
" while I have admitted, on the general question, 
that oratory is not the highest form of art, I yet make 
this assertion — that some very clever rules may be 

( laid down for playing upon men's feelings and making 
iprize of their goodwill. If anyone is for claiming 
that the knowledge of such devices is an art of real 
significance, I am not going to quarrel with him. 
For, inasmuch as very many advocates argue their 
cases in Court carelessly and without method, while 
some others, thanks to training or to a certain amount 
of experience, do such work more skilfulty, it is indis- 
putable that any man who appUes his mind to finding 
out the reason why some speak better than others, 

33 may succeed in discerning it. Whence it foUows, 
that he who extends his survey over the whole 
province of rhetoric, will discover that which, though 
not absolutely an art, yet wears the hkeness of 
an art. 

" And I would that, even as I think I see, with the 
mind's eye, the course of proceedings in the Courts, 
and at the hearing of aetions, so I could now go 
on to bring these before you as they really are ! 
But of myself hereafter : for the time being I enun- 
ciate this proposition, which I have proved to my 
own satisfaction, — that, although oratory may not be 



non sit, tamen nihil esse perfecto oratore praeclarius. 
Nam, ut usum dicendi omittam, qui in omni pacata et 
libera civitate dominatur, tanta oblectatio est in ipsa 
facultate dicendi, ut nihil hominum aut auribus, aut 

34 mentibus iucundius percipi possit. Qui enim cantus 
moderata oratione dulcior inveniri potest ? Quod 
carmen artificiosa verborum conclusione aptius ? Qui 
actor imitanda, quam orator suscipienda veritate 
iucundior ? Quid autem subtiUus, quam acutae cre- 
braeque sententiae ? Quid admirabilius, quam res 
splendore illustrata verborum ? quid plenius, quam 
omni rerum genere cumulata oratio ? Neque uUa 
non propria oratoris est res, quae quidem omate dici 
graviterque debet. 

36 IX. Huius est in dando consilio de maximis re- 
bus cum dignitate explicata sententia ; eiusdem et 
languentis populi incitatio, et effrenati moderatio. 
Eadem facultate et fraus hominum ad perniciem, et 
integritas ad salutem vocatur. Quis cohortari ad 
virtutem ardentius, quis a vitiis acrius revocare ? Quis 
vituperare improbos asperius, quis laudare bonos 
ornatius ? Quis cupiditatem vehementius frangere 
accusando potest ? Quis maerorem levare mitius 
consolando ? 


DE ORATORE, II. viii. 33— ix. 35 

one of the arts, still there is nothing more splendid 
than a eomplete orator. For to pass over the 
actual practice of eloquence — that governing force 
in every tranquil and free community — , there is 
such a charm about the mere power to dehver a set 
speech, that no impression more dehghtful than this 
can be received by the ear or the intelUgence of man. 

34 Can any music be composed that is sweeter than a 
well-balanced speech ? Is any poem better rounded 

^ than an artistic period in prose ? What actor gives 
^Mkeener pleasure by his imitation of real Hfe than 
) your orator affords in his conduct of some real case ? 
Does anything display more exact precision than a 
rapid succession of pointed reflections ? Is there 
aught more wonderful than the hghting-up of a topic 
by verbal brilhance, or aught richer than a discourse 
fumished forth with material of every sort ? And 
there is not a subject that is not the orator's own, 
provided only that it is one which deserves elegant 
and impressive treatment. 

35 IX. " It is the part of the orator, when advising on importance 
afFairs of supreme importance, to unfold his opinion as au°ubjects 
a man having authority : his duty too it is to arouse require 

a hstless nation, and to curb its unbridled impetuosity. ^^^° 
By one and the same power of eloquence the deceit- 
ful among mankind are brought to destruction, and 
the righteous to dehverance. Who more passionately / '^ 
than the orator can encourage to virtuous conduct, or (^4, 
more zealously than he reclaim from vici6us"courses ? %, 

^ Who can more austerely censurej^e^^icked, orjnore ^S^^c 
gracefuUy praise men of worth ? Whose iiivective 'h^ 

' can more forcibly subdue the power of lawless desire ? "^^^-^/ 
Whose comfortable words can soothe grief more 
tenderly ? 



36 Historia vero testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita 
memoriae, magistra vitae, nuntia vetustatis, qua voce 
alia, nisi oratoris, immortalitati commendatur ? Nam 
si qua est ars alia, quae verborum aut faciendorum 
aut legendorum scientiam profiteatur ; aut si quis- 
quam dicitur nisi orator formare orationem eamque 
variare et distinguere quasi quibusdam verborum 
sententiariunque insignibus ; aut si via uUa, nisi ab 
hac una arte, traditur, aut argumentorum, aut sen- 
tentiarum, aut denique discriptionis atque ordinis, 
fateamur aut hoc, quod haec ars profiteatur, ahenum 

37 esse aut cum aliqua alia arte esse commune. Sed si 
in hac una est ea ratio atque doctrina, non, si qui 
aliarum artium bene locuti sunt, eo minus id est 
huius unius proprium ; sed, ut orator de eis rebus, 
quae ceterarum artium sunt, si modo eas cognovit 
(ut heri Crassus dicebat), optime potest dicere, sic 
ceterarum artium homines ornatius illa sua dicunt, si 

38 quid ab hac arte didicerunt. Neque enim si de rusticis 
rebus agricola quispiam, aut etiam, id quod multi, 
medicus de morbis, aut de pingendo pictor ahquis 
diserte dixerit aut scripserit, idcirco ilHus artis pu- 
tanda est eloquentia : in qua quia vis magna est in 

" Intignia are the ' purple patches ' of Horace, A.P. 15-16. 

DE ORATORE, II. ix. 36-38 

36 " And as History , which bears witness to the passing 
of the ages, sheds hght upon reahty, gives hfe to 
recoUection and guidance to human existence, and 
brings tidings of ancient days, whose voice, but the 
orator's, can entrust her to immortahty ? For if 
there be any other art, which pretends to skill in the 
coinage and choice of language, or if it be claimed 
for anyone but the orator that he gives shape and 
variety to a speech, and marks it out with* high 
hghts of thought and phrase, or if any method be 
taught, except by this single art, for producing proofs 
or reflections, or even in the distribution and arrange- 
ment of subject-matter, then let us admit that the 
skill professed by this art of ours either belongs really 
to some other art, or is shared in common with some 

37 other. Whereas, if all reasoning and all teaching 
really belong to this one art alone, then, even though 
professors of other arts have expressed themselves 
with success, it does not therefore follow that such 
instruction is not the monopoly of this single art; 
but (as Crassus was saying yesterday) just as the 
orator is best quahfied to discuss the subjects per- 
taining to the other arts, assuming always that he 
has acquainted himself with them, so the masters 
of the other arts expound their own topics with 
the better grace, if they have learned something 

38 from the art with which we are deahng. For even 
though some farmer may have written or spoken 
with address upon country matters or perhaps a 
medical man upon pathology, as many have done, 
or a painter upon painting, it does not therefore 
follow that eloquence belongs to the particular 
art, the truth being that in the art of speaking, by 
reason of the vast energy inherent in human intelli- 



hominum ingeniis, eo multi etiam sine doctrina ali- 
quid omnium generum atque artium consequuntur. 
Sed, quid cuiusque sit proprium, etsi ex eo iudicari 
potest, cum videris, quid quaeque doceat, tamen hoc 
certius nihil esse potest, quam quod omnes artes aliae 
sine eloquentia suum munus praestare possunt, orator 
sine ea nomen obtinere suiun non potest : ut ceteri, 
si diserti sint, aliquid ab hoc habeant, hic nisi domes- 
ticis se instruxerit copiis, aliunde dicendi copiam 
petere non possit. 

39 X. Tum Catulus : Etsi, inquit, Antoni, minime 
impediendus est interpellatione iste cursus orationis 
tuae, patiere tamen, mihique ignosces. * Non enim 
possum quin exclamem,' ut ait ille in Trinummo : ita 
mihi vim oratoris cum exprimere subtiHter visus es, 
tum laudare copiosissime. Quod quidem eloquentem 
vel optime facere oportet, ut eloquentiam laudet ; 
debet enim ad eam laudandam ipsam illam adhibere, 
quam laudat. Sed perge porro : tibi enim assentior, 
vestrum esse hoc totum, diserte dicere, idque si quis 
in alia arte faciat, eum assumpto ahunde uti bono, 

40 non proprio, nec suo. Et Crassus : Nox te, inquit, 
nobis, Antoni, expohvit, hominemque reddidit : nam 
hesterno sermone, unius cuiusdam operis, ut ait Cae- 
cihus, remigem aliquem, aut baiulum, nobis oratorem 

• Plautus, Trinummus iii. 2. 79. 

DE ORATORE, II. ix. 38— x. 40 

gence, many a man, whatever his class or his calling, 
\ 1 attains some degree of proliciehcy even witKout any 
I I regular training. But, although the peciiliar property 
oF^Ch art may be determined by noting what it is 
which each teaches, there can be nothing more 
certain than this, that while all other arts are able 
to discharge their functions unaided by eloquence, 
the orator cannot even earn his distinctive title 
without being eloquent ; so that the rest of the 
world, if they be fluent speakers, gain something 
from him, while he, unless he has equipped himself 
from his own private store, cannot seek his supplies 
as a speaker from any other source." 

39 X. At this point Catulus interposed, saying, 
" Antonius, although that flowing discourse of yours 
should never be checked by interruption, still you will 
bear with me and forgive me. For, as the man says 
in Tke Threepenny Piece, 'I cannot help applauding'**: 
so exquisitely, as I think, have you described the 
power of the orator, and with such wealth of diction 
have you extolled it. And yet, to be sure, a man of 
eloquence must needs sing the praises of eloquence 
better than all others, since he is bound to bring, to 
the performance of his task, that very gift which he 
is praising. But pray proceed, for I agree with 
you that you have this skill in speaking wholly for 
your own, and that any man discoursing with ability 
upon any other art does but use an accomplishment 
borrowed from elsewhere, and one that is not pecu- 

40 har to himself, or even his own. " And Crassus added, 
" A night's rest has smoothed and humanized you, 
Antonius, from our point of view, for in the course of 

. yesterday's discussion you sketched the orator as a 
one-talent man, ' Just a galley-slave or porter,' to 



descripseras, inopem quemdam humanitatis atque 

Tum Antonius : Heri enim, inquit, hoc mihi pro- 
posueram, ut, si te refellissem, hos a te discipulos 
abducerem : nunc, Catulo audiente et Caesare, videor 
debere non tam pugnare tecum, quam, quid ipse 

41 sentiam, dicere. Sequitur igitur, quoniam nobis est 
hic, de quo loquimur, in foro atque in oculis civium 
constituendus, ut videamus, quid ei negotii demus, 
cuique eum muneri velimus esse praepositum. Nam 
Crassus heri, cum vos, Catule et Caesar, non ades- 
setis, posuit breviter in artis distributione idem, quod 
Graeci plerique posuerunt, neque sane quid ipse 
sentiret, sed quid ab illis diceretur, ostendit : duo 
prima genera quaestionum esse, in quibus eloquentia 

42 versaretur, unum infinitum, alterum certum. In- 
finitum mihi videbatur id dicere, in quo aliquid 
generatim quaereretur, hoc modo : ' Expetendane 
esset eloquentia, expetendine honores ? ' Certum 
autem, in quo quid in personis, et in constituta re et 
definita quaereretur : cuius modi sunt, quae in foro 
atque in civium causis disceptationibusque versantur. 

43 Ea mihi videntur aut in Ute oranda, aut in consilio 
dando esse posita, nam illud tertium, quod et a Crasso 
tactum est, et, ut audio, ille ipse Aristoteles, qui haec 

Remains of Old Latin (L.C.L.), i. pp. 558-559. 
* Rhet. I. iii. 1. 


DE ORATORE, II. x. 40-43 

quote Caecilius " ; in faet as a fellow destitute of 
breeding and a mere boor." 

" I did," returned Antonius, " for yesterday it was 
my design, if I should have succeeded in refuting 
your arguments, to steal these pupils from you ; but 
to-day, with Catulus and Caesar among my hearers, 
I think it my duty not so much to fight with you as 

41 to enunciate mv own personal views. And so, now Tte proper 

1 1 1 • , 1 j . sphere oi 

that we are to have this orator, whom we are discuss- rhetoric 
ing,brought into Courtand exposed to publicscrutiny, 
our next task is to consider what business we shall 
assign to him, and what function we would suggest 
that he has been appointed to discharge. For 
yesterday, Catulus and Caesar, when you were not 
here, Crassus made in concise terms, with regard to 
the classification of this art, the identical statement 
that most of the Greeks have made, and of course 
expressed no opinion of his own, but just their affirma- 
tions : his proposition being that there are two main 
divisions of the questions wherewith eloquence is con- 

42 cerned, the one abstract, the other concrete. By 
abstract problems I thought he meant those wherein 
questions are propounded in general terms, as for 
instance, * Is eloquence to be desired ? ' ' Should 
public office be sought ? * The concrete class, by 
contrast, was composed of such as raise investigations 
deahng with individual persons and settled and 
defined points, to which kind belong the issues dis- 
cussed in Court, and in the judicial proceedings and 

43 the disputes between private citizens. The sphere 
of such oratory is Hmited, in my view, to the conduct 
of litigation and to advising, for that third category, 
just barely noticed by Crassus, and included, as I am 
told, by Aristotle ^ himself, who has elucidated these 



maxime illustravit, adiunxit, etiamsi opus est, tamen 
minus est necessarium. Quidnam ? inquit Catulus ; 
an laudationes ? id enim video poni genus tertium. 

44 XI. Ita, inquit Antonius, et in eo quidem genere 
scio et me, et omnes qui adfuerunt, delectatos esse 
vehementer, cum abs te est Popilia, mater vestra, 
laudata, cui primum mulieri hunc honorem in nostra 
civitate tributum puto. Sed non omnia, quaecumque 
loquimur, mihi videntur ad artem et ad praecepta 

46 esse revocanda. Ex eis enim fontibus, unde omnia 
praecepta dicendi sumuntur, licebit etiam lauda- 
tionem ornare, neque illa elementa desiderare, quae 
ut nemo tradat, quis est, qui nesciat, quae sint in 
homine laudanda ? Positis enim eis rebus, quas 
Crassus in illius orationis suae, quam contra collegam 
censor habuit, principio dixit, ' Quae natura aut 
fortuna darentur hominibus, in eis rebus se vinci posse 
animo aequo pati ; quae ipsi sibi homines parare 
possent, in eis rebus se pati non posse vinci ' : qui 
laudabit quempiam, intelleget, exponenda sibi esse 

46 fortunae bona. Ea sunt, generis, pecuniae, propin- 
quorum, amicorum, opum, valetudinis,formae, virium, 
ingenii, ceterarumque rerum, quae sunt aut corporis, 
aut extraneae : si habuerit, bene rebus eis usum ; si 

• Laudatio here has its wider sense of any encomiastic 
speech delivered in public, not necessarily a funeral oration. 


DE ORATORE, II. x. 43— xi. 46 

matters as clearly as possible, is serviceable enough, 
but not essential in the same degree. ' ' ' * What kind is 
that ? " said Catulus. " Do you refer to panegyrics ? "■ 
for I notice that these are set down as a third variety." 

44 XI. " Precisely so," replied Antonius, " and, with Panegyrio 
regard to this type of oratory, I know that I myself, n^^^no 
and all who were present, were highly delighted speciai, 
when your mother Popiha was eulogized in this ' 
fashion by yourself; she being, I think, the first 
woman to whom such honour was ever rendered in 

our own community . But to my mind not everything 
that we say need be reduced to theory and rule. 

45 For from those same sources, whence the rules of 
speaking are all derived, we shall also be able to set 
off a funeral oration without feeUng the want of those 
scholastic rudiments, since, even though no one were 
to teach these, is there a man who would not know 
the good points of a human being ? In fact, if he 
has laid down those axioms enunciated by Crassus in 
the opening of that famous speech of his, which he 
delivered when censor in opposition to his colleague 
in office, when he declared, that while he could cheer- 
fully endure inferiority in respect of the gifts be- 
stowed on mankind by nature or by chance, he could 
not consent to be surpassed in such credit as men 
may win for themselves, he who proposes to be the 
panegyrist of anyone will understand that he has in 
the first place to deal fully with the favours of fortune. 

46 These are the advantages of race, wealth, connexions, 
friendships, power, good health, beauty, vigour, 
talent, and the rest of the attributes that are either 
physical or externally imposed : it must be explained 
that the person commended made a right use of these 
benefits if he possessed them, managed sensibly 



non habuerit, sapienter caruisse ; si amiserit, mode- 
rate tulisse ; deinde, quid sapienter is, quem laudet, 
quid liberaliter, quid fortiter, quid iuste, quid magni- 
fice, quid pie, quid grate, quid humaniter, quid 
denique cum ahqua virtute aut fecerit, aut tulerit. 
Haec, et quae sunt eius generis, facile videbit, qui 
volet laudare ; et qui vituperare, contraria. 

47 Cur igitur dubitas, inquit Catulus, facere hoc 
tertium genus, quoniam est in ratione rerum ? Non 
enim, si est facilius, eo de numero quoque est excer- 
pendum. Quia nolo, inquit, omnia, quae cadunt 
aliquando in oratorem, quamvis exigua sint, ea sic 
tractare, quasi nihil possit dici sine praeceptis suis. 

48 Nam et testimonium saepe dicendum est, ac non- 
nunquam etiam accuratius, ut mihi etiam necesse fuit 
in Sex. Titium, seditiosum civem et turbulentum. 
Explicavi in eo testimonio dicendo, omnia consiUa 
consulatus mei, quibus ilU tribuno plebis pro repu- 
bhca restitissem, quaeque ab eo contra rempubhcam 
facta arbitrarer, exposui. Diu retentus sum, multa 
audivi, multa respondi. Num igitur placet, cum de 
eloquentia praecipias, aUquid etiam de testimoniis 


DE ORATORE, II. xi. 46-48 

without them, if they were denied to him, and bore 
the loss with resignation, if they were taken away 
from him ; and after that the speaker will marshal 
instances of conduct, either active or passive, on the 
part of the subject of his praises ; whereby he mani- 
fested wisdom, generosity, valour, righteousness, 
greatness of soul, sense of duty, gratitude, kindUness 
or, in short, any moral excellence you please. These 
and similar indications of character the would-be 
panegyrist will readily discern, and he who seeks to 
disparage will as readily find evidence in rebuttal." 

47 " Why then hesitate," interposed Catulus, " to 
regard this as a third kind, since its existence is 
inherent in the nature of the case ? For the fact of 
its being easier of accomplishment is no reason for 
ehminating it from the classification." " My reason," 
replied the other, " is that I do not wish to handle all 
matters, however petty, that at one time or another 
fall under oratorical treatment, upon the footing that 
nothing can be mentioned without reference to its 

48 own special rules. For instance, evidence has often 
to be given, and, upon occasions, with precision even 
closer than usual, as I myself was compelled to give 
it against Sextus Titius, a factious and troublesome 
member of the community. In the course of such 
evidence I revealed all the measures whereby, in 
defence of the State, I as consul had withstood him in 
his character of tribune of the commons, and I laid 
bare every proceeding of his that I considered inimical 
to the public benefit. I was long obstructed, had to 
listen to a great deal, and rephed to many objections. 
But do you on that account think it fitting, when 
laying down rules of rhetoric, to add any teaching on 
how to give evidence, as though this came within the 

I 233 


dicendis, quasi in arte tradere ? Nihil sane, inquit 
Catulus, necesse est. 

49 XII. Quid ? si quod saepe summis viris accidit 
mandata sint exponenda, aut in senatu ab impera- 
tore, aut ad imperatorem, aut ad regem, aut ad 
populum aliquem a senatu, num quia genere ora- 
tionis in eiusmodi causis accuratiore est utendum, 
idcirco pars etiam haec causarum numeranda videtur, 
aut propriis praeceptis instruenda ? Minime vero, 
inquit Catulus : non enim deerit homini diserto in 
eiusmodi rebus facultas, ex ceteris rebus et causis 

60 Ergo item, inquit, illa, quae saepe diserte agenda 
sunt, et quae ego paulo ante cum eloquentiam 
laudarem dixi oratoris esse, neque habent suum 
locum ullum in divisione partium, neque certum 
praeceptorum genus, et agenda sunt non minus 
diserte, quam quae in lite dicuntur, obiurgatio, co- 
hortatio, consolatio : quorum nihil est, quod non 
summa dicendi ornamenta desideret ; sed ex artificio 
res istae praecepta non quaerunt. Plane, inquit 
Catulus, assentior. 

51 Age vero, inquit Antonius, qualis oratoris, et 
quanti hominis in dicendo, putas esse, historiam 
scribere ? Si, ut Graeci scripserunt, summi, inquit 
Catulus ; si, ut nostri, nihil opus est oratore : satis 

DE ORATORE, II. xi. 48— xii. 51 

sphere of the art ? " Catulus answered, " There is 
no need whatever to do so." 

XII. " And what if (as often happens to the most nordo 
exalted personages) messages have to be communi- dispatehes, 
cated from a general at a meeting of the Senate, or 
conveyed from the Senate to a general or to any 
prince or nation ? Because, on occasions of this sort, 
a style of diction more elaborate than the ordinary 
has to be employed, does it therefore seem to follow 
that this type of speaking should be accounted a 
distinct department of oratorical activity, or should 
be fitted out with its own peculiar rules ? " " Why 
of course not," returned Catulus, " since the ability 
acquired by a ready speaker, from the treatment 
of his other subjects and topics, will not fail him 
in situations of that description." 

"And so," continued Antonius, " those matters 
which often demand fluent expression, and which just 
now, in my praise of eloquence, I asserted to be 
within the part of the orator, have no special place in 
the formal classification of the branches of rhetoric, 
nor any particular code of rules, and yet they must 
be handled quite as skilfully as arguments at the 
Bar : I am speaking of rebuke, encouragement, and 
the giving of comfort, each of which topics calls for 
the finest graces of diction, while such subjects ask 
no directions from theory." " I am in complete 
agreement with you," said Catulus. 

" Now further," proceeded Antonius, " what class norhistory. 
of orator, and how great a master of language is 
qualified, in your opinion, to write history ? " " If 
he is to write as the Greeks have written," answered 
Catulus, " a man of supreme ability is required : if 
the standard is to be that of our own fellow-country- 



est, non esse mendacem. Atqui, ne nostros con- 
temnas, inquit Antonius, Graeci quoque sic initio 

52 scriptitarunt, ut noster Cato, ut Pictor, ut Piso. Erat 
enim historia nihil ahud nisi annahum confectio, cuius 
rei, memoriaeque pubhcae retinendae causa, ab 
initio rerum Romanarum usque ad P. Mucium ponti- 
ficem maximum, res omnes singulorum annorum 
mandabat htteris pontifex maximus, referebatque in 
album, et proponebat tabulam domi, potestas ut 
esset populo cognoscendi, hique etiam nunc Annales 

63 Maximi nominantur. Hanc simihtudinem scribendi 
multi secuti sunt, qui sine uUis ornamentis monu- 
menta solum temporum, hominum, locorum ges- 
tarumque rerum rehquerunt. Itaque quahs apud 
Graecos Pherecydes, Hellanicus, Acusilas fuit, ahique 
permulti, tahs noster Cato, et Pictor, et Piso, qui 
neque tenent, quibus rebus ornetur oratio — modo 
enim huc ista sunt importata, — et, dum intehegatur, 
quid dicant, unam dicendi laudem putant esse 

54 brevitatem. Paulum se erexit, et addidit historiae 
maiorem sonum vocis vir optimus, Crassi famiharis, 
Antipater : ceteri non exornatores rerum, sed 
tantummodo narratores fuerunt. 

XIII. Est, inquit Catulus, ut dicis. Sed iste ipse 
Coehus neque distinxit historiam varietate locorum, 
neque verborum coUocatione et tractu orationis leni 


DE ORATORE, II. xii. 51— xiii. 54 

men, no orator at all is needed ; it is enough that 
the man should not be a Uar." " But nevertheless," 
rejoined Antonius, " (and I say this, that you may 
not think lightly of our own folk) the Greeks them- 
selves also used to write, in the beginning, just hke 
62 our Cato, Pictor and Piso. For history began as a 
mere compilation of annals, on whieh account, and 
in order to preserve the general traditions, from the 
earhest period of the City down to the pontificate of 
Publius Mucius, each High Priest used to commit to 
writing all the events of his year of office, and record 
them on a white surface, and post up the tablet at his 
house, that all men might have hberty to acquaint 
themselves therewith, and to this day those records 

53 are known as the Pontifical Chronicles. A similar 
style of writing has been adopted by many who, with- 
out any rhetorical ornament, have left behind them 
bare records of dates, personaUties, places and events. 
In this sense Pherecydes, Hellanicus, Acusilas, and 
very many others among the Greeks, correspond to 
our own Cato, Pictor and Piso, who do not understand 
the adornment of composition — since it is only of 
late that decoration of that sort has been brought 
into this country — and, so long as their narrative is 
understood, regard conciseness as the historian's 

54 single merit. Antipater, an admirable man and a 
close friend of Crassus, raised his crest a Uttle higher, 
and imparted to history a richer tone : the rest did 
not embelUsh their facts, but were chroniclers and 
nothing more." 

XIII. " It is as you say," rejoined Catulus. " But 
even your friend CoeUus did not set off his narrative 
with any diversity of reflections, or give finish to his 
famous work by his marshalUng of words and a 



et aequabili perpolivit illud opus ; sed ut homo neque 
doctus, neque maxime aptus ad dicendum, sicut 
potuit, dolavit : vicit tamen, ut dicis, superiores. 

65 Minime mirum, inquit Antonius, si ista res ad- 
huc nostra lingua illustrata non est. Nemo enim 
studet eloquentiae nostrorum hominum, nisi ut in 
causis atque in foro eluceat ; apud Graecos autem 
eloquentissimi homines, remoti a causis forensibus, 
cum ad ceteras res illustres, tum ad scribendam 
historiam maxime se applicaverunt. Namque et 
Herodotum illum, qui princeps genus hoc ornavit, in 
causis nihil omnino versatum esse accepimus : atqui 
tanta est eloquentia, ut me quidem, quantum ego 
Graece scripta intellegere possum, magnopere de- 

66 lectet. Et post illum Thucydides omnes dicendi 
artificio, mea sententia, facile vicit : qui ita creber 
est rerum frequentia, ut verborum prope numerum 
sententiarum numero consequatur, ita porro verbis 
est aptus et pressus, ut nescias, utrum res oratione, 
an verba sententiis illustrentur. Atqui ne hunc qui- 
dem, quanquam est in republica versatus, ex numero 
accepimus eorum, qui causas dictitarunt : et hos 
ipsos Ubros tum scripsisse dicitur, cum a repubhca 
remotus, atque, id quod optimo cuique Athenis ac- 

57 cidere solitum est, in exsiUum pulsus esset. Hunc 
consecutus est Syracusius Phihstus, qui, cum 
Dionysii tyranni famiUarissimus esset, otium suum 
consumpsit in historia scribenda, maximeque Thucy- 


DE ORATORE, II. xiii. 54-57 

smooth and unvarying flow of style, but he rough- 
hewed it as best he could, Uke a man who was no 
scholar and had no special turn for rhetoric : never- 
theless, as you observe, he excelled his forerunners." 
56 " No wonder," returned Antonius, " if this subject Thegreat 
has never yet been brilhantly treated in our language. hiXrians 
For not one of our own folk seeks after eloquence, reviewed. 
save with an eye to its display at the Bar and in 
pubhc speaking, whereas in Greece the most eloquent 
were strangers to forensic advocacy, and applied 
theraselves chiefly to reputable studies in general, 
and particularly to writing history. Indeed even of 
renowned Herodotus, who first imparted distinction 
to such work, we have heard that he was in no way 
concerned with lawsuits, and yet his eloquence is 
of such quality as to afFord intense pleasure, to 
myself at any rate, so far as I can comprehend what 

56 is written in Greek. After his day Thucydides, in 
my judgement, easily surpassed all others in dexterity 
of composition : so abounding is he in fullness of 
material that in the number of his ideas he well- 
nigh equals the number of his words, and further- 
more he is so exact and clear in expression that you 
cannot tell whether it be the narrative that gains 
illumination from the style, or the diction from the 
thought. Yet even of him, though a man of pubHc 
afFairs, we are not told that he was numbered among 
forensic speakers ; and it is related that when writing 
the volumes in question, he was far away from civic 
life, having in fact been driven into exile, as generally 

57 happened at Athens to anyone of excellence. He 
was succeeded by Philistus of Syracuse, who, living 
in the closest intimacy with the tyrant Dionysius, 
spent his leisure in writing history and, to my 



didem est, sicut mihi videtur, imitatus. Postea vero, 
rhetorum ex clarissima quasi officina, duo praestantes 
ingenio, Theopompus et Ephorus, ab Isocrate magis- 
tro impulsi, se ad historiam contulerunt ; causas 
omnino nunquam attigerunt. 

58 XIV. Denique etiam a philosophia profectus prin- 
ceps Xenophon, Socraticus ille, post ab Aristotele 
Calhsthenes, comes Alexandri, scripsit historiam, et 
is quidem rhetorico paene more ; ille autem superior 
leniore quodam sono est usus, et qui illum impetum 
oratoris non habeat, vehemens fortasse minus, sed 
aliquanto tamen est, ut mihi quidem videtur, dulcior. 
Minimus natu horum omnium Timaeus, quantum 
autem iudicare possum, longe eruditissimus, et rerum 
copia et sententiarum varietate abundantissimus, et 
ipsa compositione verborum non impohtus, magnam 
eloquentiam ad scribendum attulit, sed nullum usum 

69 Haec cum ille dixisset : Quid est, inquit, Catule ? 
Caesar ; ubi sunt, qui Antonium Graece negant 
scire ? Quot historicos nominavit ! Quam scienter ! 
quam proprie de unoquoque dixit ! Id mehercule, 
inquit Catulus, admirans, illud iam mirari desino, 
quod multo magis ante mirabar, hunc, cum haec 
nesciret, in dicendo posse tantum. Atqui, Catule, 
inquit Antonius, non ego utilitatem ahquam ad di- 

• ue. Greece. 

DE ORATORE, II. xiu. 57— xiv. 59 

thinking, was above all else an imitator of Thucy- 
dides. Afterwards, however, from what I may call 
that most famous factory of rhetoricians,** there issued 
a pair of outstanding talent in Theopompus and 
Ephorus, who betook themselves to history at the 
instance of their teacher Isocrates : lawsuits they 
never handled at all. 

68 XIV. " And at length historians appeared who had 
begun as philosophers, first Xenophon, that notable 
follower of Socrates, afterwards Callisthenes, Aris- 
totle's disciple and Alexander's famihar friend; the 
latter approaching the rhetorical in method, while 
his predecessor adopted a gentler kind of tone, 
lacking the characteristic vigour of oratory and 
possibly less animated but, in my view at any rate, 
somewhat more pleasing. Timaeus, the latest-born 
of all these, but as well as I can judge, by far the 
best informed, the most amply endowed in wealth 
of material and range of thought, and a man whose 
very style had some polish, brought to authorship 
abounding eloquence but no experience of public 

59 When Antonius had finished Caesar exclaimed, 
" What now, Catulus ? Where are those who say 
Antonius does not know the Greek tongue ? What a 
number of historians he has mentioned ! With what 
insight and discrimination he has described every 
one ! " " Upon my word," returned Catulus, " in 
my astonishment at this I marvel no longer at 
something which hitherto surprised me far more, 
I mean that our friend here, being all unversed in 
these matters, could speak so effectively." " And 
yet, Catulus," rejoined Antonius," it is not because 
I am on the look-out for aids to oratory, but just for 



cendum aucupans, horum libros et nonnullos alios, 
sed delectationis causa, cum est otium, legere soleo. 

60 Quid ergo ? Est, fatebor, aliquid tamen : ut, cum in 
sole ambulem, etiamsi aliam ob causam ambulem, 
fieri natura tamen, ut colorer : sic, cum istos libros 
ad Misenum (nam Romae vix licet) studiosius le- 
gerim, sentio illorum tactu orationem meam quasi 
colorari. Sed ne latius hoc vobis patere videatur, 
haec duntaxat in Graecis intellego, quae ipsi, qui 

61 scripserunt, voluerunt vulgo intellegi. In philosophos 
vestros si quando incidi, deceptus indicibus hbrorum, 
quod sunt fere inscripti de rebus notis et illustribus, 
de virtute, de iustitia, de honestate, de voluptate, 
verbum prorsus nullum intellego : ita sunt angustis et 
concisis disputationibus illigati. Poetas omnino, quasi 
alia quadam Hngua locutos, non conor attingere : cum 
his me (ut dixi) oblecto, qui res gestas, aut qui ora- 
tiones scripserunt suas, aut qui ita loquuntur, ut 
videantur voluisse nobis, qui non sumus eruditissimi, 
esse famiUares. Sed illuc redeo. 

82 XV. Videtisne, quantum munus sit oratoris his- 
toria .'' Haud scio, an flumine orationis et varietate 
maximum. Neque tamen eam reperio usquam se- 
paratim instructam rhetorum praeceptis : sita sunt 
enim ante oculos. Nam quis nescit, primam esse 

DE ORATORE, II. xiv. 59— xv. 62 

pleasure, that I make a habit, when I have time, of 
reading the works of these authors and a few more. 

60 To what purpose then .'' Well, I will own to some 
benefit : just as, when walking in the sunshine, 
though perhaps taking the stroU for a diflFerent 
reason, the natural result is that I get sunburnt, 
even so, after perusing those books rather closely 
at Misenum (having Httle chance in Rome), I find 
that under their influence my discourse takes on 
what I may call a new complexion. However, — not 
to let you think this claim too extravagant — I under- 
stand no more of Greek hterature than its authors 
themselves intended to be understood by the multi- 

61 tude. Whenever I light upon your philosophers, 
cheated by the titles of their books, which commonly 
bear headings descriptive of well-known and obvious 
subjects, such as virtue, justice, integrity or pleasure, 
I do not comprehend a single word, so inextricably 
are they entangled in closely reasoned and con- 
densed dialectic. Your poets, speaking as they do 
an altogether difFerent tongue, I do not attempt to 
handle at all : I divert myself (as I said) in the 
company of those who have written the story of 
events, or speeches deUvered by themselves, or 
whose style suggests their wish to be accessible to 
us men of no very profound leaming. But I return 
to my argument. 

62 XV. " Do you see how great a responsibihty the iTie systems 
orator has in historical writing ? I rather think that contain no 
for fluency and diversity of diction it comes first, Yet ™'jg °^^ 
nowhere do I find this art supplied with any in- iiistory, 
dependent directions from the rhetoricians ; indeed 

its rules He open to the view. For who does not 
know history's first law to be that an author must 



historiae legem, ne quid falsi dicere audeat ? Deinde 
ne quid veri non audeat ? Ne qua suspicio gratiae 

63 sit in scribendo ? Ne qua simultatis ? Haec scilicet 
fundamenta nota sunt omnibus ; ipsa autem exaedi- 
ficatio posita est in rebus et verbis. Rerum ratio 
ordinem temporum desiderat, regionum descrip- 
tionem ; vult etiam, quoniam in rebus magnis me- 
moriaque dignis consilia primum, deinde acta, postea 
eventus expectentur, et de consiliis significari quid 
scriptor probet, et in rebus gestis declarari, non solum 
quid actum aut dictum sit, sed etiam quomodo ; et 
cum de eventu dicatur, ut causae explicentur omnes, 
vel casus, vel sapientiae, vel temeritatis, hominumque 
ipsorum non solum res gestae, sed etiam, qui fama 
ac nomine excellant, de cuiusque vita atque natura. 

64 Verborum autem ratio et genus orationis fusum atque 
tractum, et cum lenitate quadam aequabili profluens, 
sine hac iudiciah asperitate, et sine sententiarum 
forensium aculeis persequendum est. Harum tot 
tantarumque rerum videtisne ulla esse praecepta, 
quae in artibus rhetorum reperiantur ? 

In eodem silentio multa alia oratorum ofl^cia iacue- 
runt, cohortationes, consolationes, praecepta, ad- 
monita : quae tractanda sunt omnia disertissime ; 
sed locum suum in his artibus, quae traditae sunt, 

65 habent nuUum. Atque in hoc genere illa quoque est 

DE ORATORE, II. xv. 62-65 

not dare to tell anything but the truth ? And its 
second that he must make bold to tell the whole 
truth ? That there must be no suggestion of par- 
tiahty anywhere in his writings ? Nor of mahce ? 

63 This groundwork of course is famiUar to every one ; 
the completed structure however rests upon the 
story and the diction. The nature of the subject 
needs chronological arrangement and geographical 
representation : and since, in reading of important 
affairs worth recording, the plans of campaign, the 
executive actions and the results are successively 
looked for, it calls also, as regards such plans, for 
some intimation of what the writer approves, and, 
in the narrative of achievement, not only for a state- 
ment of what was done or said, but also of the manner 
of doing or saying it ; and, in the estimate of conse- 
quences, for an exposition of all contributory causes, 
whether originating in accident, discretion or fool- 
hardiness ; and, as for the individual actors, besides 
an account of their exploits, it demands particulars of 
the hves and characters of such as are outstanding 

64 in renown and dignity. Then again the kind of lan- 
guage and type of style to be followed are the easy 
and the flowing, which run their course with unvary- 
ing current and a certain placidity, avoiding ahke 
the rough speech we use in Court and the advocate's 
stinging epigrams. Upon all these numerous and 
important points, do you observe that any directions 
are to be found in the rhetoricians' systems ? 

" In a hke silence have languished many other nor for 
duties of the orator, those of encouraging, comforting, abstoact 
teaching and warning, all worthy of most eloquent topics. 
treatment, yet having no place of their own in those 

65 systems hitherto propounded. In this region also 



infinita silva, quod oratori plerique, ut etiam Crassus 
ostendit, duo genera ad dicendum dederunt : unum, 
de certa definitaque causa, quales sunt, quae in 
litibus, quae in deliberationibus versantur, addat, si 
quis volet, etiam laudationes : alterum, quod appel- 
lant omnes fere scriptores, explicat nemo, infinitam 
generis, sine tempore, et sine persona, quaestionem. 

66 Hoc quid et quantum sit, cum dicunt, intellegere 
mihi non videntur. Si enim est oratoris, quaecumque 
res infinite posita sit, de ea posse dicere, dicendum 
erit ei, quanta sit solis magnitudo, quae forma terrae : 
de mathematicis, de musicis rebus non poterit, quin 
dicat, hoc onere suscepto, recusare. Denique ei, qui 
profitetur esse suum, non solum de eis controversiis, 
quae temporibus et personis notatae sunt, hoc est, de 
omnibus forensibus, sed etiam de generum infinitis 
quaestionibus dicere, nullum potest esse genus 
orationis, quod sit exceptum. 

67 XVI. Sed si illam quoque partem quaestionum 
oratori volumus adiungere vagam, et Uberam, et 
late patentem, ut de rebus bonis aut malis, expeten- 
dis aut fugiendis, honestis aut turpibus, utilibus aut 
inutihbus, de virtute, de iustitia, de continentia, de 
prudentia, de magnitudine animi, de hberalitate, de 
pietate, de amicitia, de fide, de oflicio, de ceteris 
virtutibus contrariisque vitiis, dicendum oratori pute- 
mus ; itemque de repubUca, de imperio, de re miU- 
tari, de discipUna civitatis, de hominum moribus : 
assumamus eam quoque partem, sed ita, ut sit cir- 


DE ORATORE, II. xv. 65— xvi. 67 

there lies a boundless forest of topics : because (as 
Crassus too has shown) most writers have assigned 
to the orator two kinds of subject to talk upon, the 
one concerned with what is specific and determinate, 
such as the matters handled in lawsuits and consulta- 
tions, — to which he who will may add panegyrics — ; 
the other spoken of by nearly every writer, — though 
explained by none — , as the abstract sort of inquiry, 

66 unrelated to times or persons. When discussing this 
kind they do not seem to me to grasp its nature and 
range. For if it be an orator's part to be able to 
speak on any subject whatever that is laid before him 
in general terms, he will have to discuss the size of the 
sun and the contour of the earth ; and after under- 
taking this duty he will not be able to refuse to 
handle mathematics or the cult of the Muses. In a 
word, for the man who claims the right to speak, not 
only on problems identified with specific times and 
persons (that is, on all judicial issues), but also on 
propositions of an abstract character, there can be no 
sort of debate which he can decUne. 

67 XVI. " But if we would connect with the orator Treatment 
that indeterminate, unrestricted and far-extending be^ieft to*" 
sort of investigation, and so think it his duty to discuss tact. 
good and evil, things to be preferred and things to 

be shunned, fair repute and infamy, the useful and 
the unuseful, besides moral perfection, righteous- 
ness, self-control, discretion, greatness of soul, 
generosity, loyalty, friendship, good faith, sense of 
duty and the rest of the virtues and their corre- 
sponding vices, as well as the State, sovereignty, 
warUke operations, poUtical science and the ways of 
mankind — then let us take up that kind of inquiry 
also, but only on condition that it be confined within 



68 cumscripta modicis regionibus. Equidem omnia, 
quae pertinent ad usum civium, morem hominum, 
quae versantur in consuetudine vitae, in ratione 
reipublicae, in hac societate civili, in sensu hominum 
communi, in natura, in moribus, comprehendenda 
esse oratori puto ; si minus, ut separatim de his rebus 
philosophorum more respondeat, at certe, ut in causa 
prudenter possit intexere : hisce autem ipsis de rebus 
ut ita loquatur, ut ei, qui iura, qui leges, qui civitates 
constituerunt, locuti sunt, simphciter et splendide, 
sine ulla serie disputationum, et sine ieiuna con- 
certatione verborum. 

69 Hoc loco, ne qua sit admiratio, si tot tantarumque 
rerum nulla a me praecepta ponentur, sic statuo : Ut 
in ceteris artibus, cum tradita sint cuiusque artis 
difficiUima, rehqua, quia aut faciUora, aut simiha sint, 
tradi non necesse esse ; ut in pictura, qui hominis 
speciem pingere perdidicerit, posse eum cuiusvis vel 
formae, vel aetatis, etiamsi non didicerit, pingere 
neque esse periculum, qui leonem aut taurum pingat 
egregie, ne idem in multis aliis quadrupedibus facere 
non possit (neque est omnino ars ulla, in qua omnia, 
quae illa arte effici possunt, a doctore tradantur, sed 
qui primarum et certarum rerum genera ipsa di- 
dicerunt, reUqua non incommode per se asse- 

70 quuntur) : similiter arbitror in hac sive ratione, sive 
exercitatione dicendi, qui illam vim adeptus sit, ut 
eorum mentes, qui aut de repubUca, aut de ipsis 


DE ORATORE, II. xvi. 68-70 

68 reasonable limits. Of course I hold that all things 
relating to the intercourse of fellow-citizens and the 
ways of mankind, or concerned with everyday life, 
the pohtical system, our own corporate society, the 
common sentiments of humanity, natural inchnations 
and morals must be mastered by the orator ; if not in 
the sense that he is to advise on these matters one by 
one, as the philosophers do, yet so far at least as to 
enable him to weave them skilfully into his discourse, 
and moreover to speak of these very things in the 
same way as the founders of rules of law, statutes 
and civil communities spoke, frankly and lucidly, 
with no formal train of argument or barren verbal 

69 " And here, to prevent any surprise at my omitting 
to lay down any regulations on so many highly 
important subjects, I make this declaration : ' Just 
as in the other arts, when the hardest portions of each 
have been taught, the rest, through being either 
easier or just hke the former, call for no teaching ; 
as in painting, for instance, he who has thoroughly 
learned how to paint the semblance of a man, can 
without further lessons paint one of any figure or 
time of hfe, nor is there any danger that he, who 
would paint to admiration a hon or bull, will be 
unable to do the hke with many other four-footed 
animals (there being no art whatever wherein all its 
possibihties require professorial teaching, since those 
who have rightly learned the general principles of 
fundamental and estabhshed things attain the rest 

70 without difficulty and unaided) ; even so I hold that 
in this oratory, be it an art or the outcome of 
practice, he who has acquired such power as to be 
abie to sway at his pleasure the minds of hearers 



rebus, aut de eis, contra quos aut pro quibus dicat, 
cum aliqua statuendi potestate audiant, ad suum 
arbitrium movere possit, illum de toto illo genere 
reliquarum orationum non plus quaesiturum esse, 
quid dicat, quam Polyclitum illum cum Herculem 
fingebat, quemadmodum pellem aut hydram fingeret, 
etiamsi haec nunquam separatim facere didicisset. 

71 XVII. Tum Catulus : Praeclare mihi videris, 
Antoni, posuisse, inquit, ante oculos, quid discere 
oporteret eum, qui orator esset futurus, quid etiam, 
si non didicisset, ex eo, quod didicisset, assumeret : 
deduxisti enim totum hominem in duo genera solum 
causarum ; cetera innumerabilia exercitationi et 
simihtudini reHquisti. Sed videto, ne in istis duobus 
generibus hydra tibi sit et pelHs, Hercules autem, et 
aHa opera maiora, in ilHs rebus, quas praetermittis, 
reHnquantur. Non enim mihi minus operis videtur 
de universis generibus rerum, quam de singulorum 
causis, ac multo etiam maius de natura deorum, quam 

72 de hominum Htibus dicere. Non est ita, inquit 
Antonius. Dicam enim tibi, Catule, non tam doctus, 
quam, id quod est maius, expertus. Omnium cetera- 
rum rerum oratio, mihi crede, ludus est homini non 
hebeti, neque inexercitato, neque communium Ht- 
terarum et poHtioris humanitatis experti. In causa- 
rum contentionibus magnum est quoddam opus, 
atque haud sciam, an de humanis operibus longe 
maximum : in quibus vis oratoris plerumque ab im- 

' i.e. concrete and abstract problems. 

DE ORATORE, II. xvi. 70— xvii. 72 

invested with authority to determine some issue 
concerning the State, or questions of fact, or the 
parties vi^hom he may be attacking or defending, will 
on any other oratorical topic whatever be no more 
at a loss for words than famous PolycHtus, when 
modelUng his " Hercules," was at a loss how to model 
the wild beast's skin or the water-serpent, even 
though he had never been taught to fashion these 
subjects in isolation.* " 

71 XVII. Here Catulus interposed : " Antonius, I Forensic 
think you have admirably set before us what the ^^^^^ *® 
would-be orator ought to learn, as well as what he difficuit 
would absorb from his learning even without inde- 
pendent study : for you have restricted the whole 

man to just two kinds of subject," leaving the count- 
less other matters to practice and analogy. But 
please see that you do not include the water-serpent 
and wild beast's skin in your two kinds, and leave the 
* Hercules ' and other more important work among 
the things you pass over. For it seems to me just as 
difficult to discuss the abstract types of things as the 
concerns of individuals, and even far more difficult to 
discuss the nature of the gods than the legal squabbles 

72 of men." " Not so," answered Antonius. " For to 
you, Catulus, I will speak as one having less learning 
than experience, which is the bigger thing. To dis- 
course on any other topic, take my word for it, is 
but pastime to a man who is no dullard and has had 
some training and is not unacquainted with general 
literature and a tolerably polite education. But the 
battles of the law-courts involve really great difficulty 
and, I rather think, by far the most arduous of 
human enterprises ; for here ignorant people com- 
monlj judge an orator's power by the test of a 



peritis exitu et victoria iudicatur ; ubi adest arma- 
tus adversarius, qui sit et feriendus et repellendus ; 
ubi saepe is, qui rei dominus futurus est, alienus atque 
iratus, aut etiam amicus adversario et inimicus tibi 
est ; cum aut docendus is est, aut dedocendus, aut 
reprimendus, aut incitandus, aut omni ratione ad 
tempus, ad causam oratione moderandus; in quo saepe 
benevolentia ad odium, odium autem ad benevolen- 
tiam deducendum est ; aut tanquam machinatione 
aliqua, tum ad severitatem, tum ad remissionem 
animi, tum ad tristitiam, tum ad laetitiam est contor- 
quendus. Omnium sententiarum gravitate, omnium 

73 verborum ponderibus est utendum. Accedat oportet 
actio varia, vehemens, plena animi, plena spiritus, 
plena doloris, plena veritatis. In his operibus si quis 
illam artem comprehenderit, ut tanquam Phidias 
Minervae signum efficere possit, non sane, quemad- 
modum ut in chpeo idem artifex minora illa opera 
facere discat, laborabit. 

74 XVIII. Tum Catulus : Quo ista maiora ac mira- 
bihora fecisti, eo me maior exspectatio tenet qui- 
busnam rationibus quibusque praeceptis ea tanta vis 
comparetur : non quo mea quidem iam intersit — neque 
enim aetas id mea desiderat et ahud quoddam genus 
dicendi nos secuti sumus, qui nunquam sententias de 
manibus iudicum vi quadam orationis extorsimus, ac 
potius placatis eorum animis, tantum, quantum ipsi 
patiebantur, accepimus — , sed tamen ista tua nuUum 


DE ORATORE, II. xvii. 72— xviii. 74 

triumphant result, and a panoplied antagonist con- 
fronts you who must be smitten as well as countered, 
and often he who is to adjudge the victory is ill- 
disposed and angry or even friendly to the other side 
while hostile to yourself, when he has to be convinced 
or undeceived, or reined back or spurred on, or 
managed by eloquent suggestion of every considera- 
tion befitting the occasion or the circumstances (in 
which process goodwill has often to be transmuted 
into hatred and hatred into goodwill), or he must 
be alternately swung round, as though by some 
machinery, to hardness and to gentleness of heart, to 
melancholy and to gaiety. Every impressive reflec- 

73 tion, every weighty word must be employed. There 
must be added a dehvery that is free from monotony 
and forceful and rich in energy, animation, pathos 
and reality. In such labours, if any man shall have 
so firmly grasped this art as to be able to produce 
a statue of Minerva, in the manner of Phidias, 
assuredly he will have no trouble in learning how to 
carry out the lesser details, as that same Master did, 
upon the shield." 

74 XVIII. To this Catulus rejoined : " The greater Theoiy not 
and more marvellous you make out these achieve- experience 
ments to be, the greater longing possesses me to know uniess in 
the methods or instructions whereby so mighty a ^^° '"^®' 
power is to be acquired : not indeed that I am now 
personally afFected, — for a man of my years is in 

no want of it, and my generation pursued a rather 
difFerent style of oratory , in that we never wrested our 
verdicts from the grasp of the tribunals by any special 
force of eloquence, but rather had them presented 
to us, after concihating the feeUngs of the members 
j ust so far as they themselves would permit, — but none 



ad usum meum, tantum cognoscendi studio adductus, 

75 requiro. Nec mihi opus est Graeco aliquo doctore, qui 
mihi pervulgata praecepta decantet, cum ipse nun- 
quam forum, nunquam ullum iudicium aspexerit : 
ut Peripateticus ille dicitur Phormio, cum Hannibal 
Carthagine expulsus Ephesum ad Antiochum venisset 
exsul, proque eo, quod eius nomen erat magna apud 
omnes gloria, invitatus esset ab hospitibus suis, ut eum, 
quem dixi, si vellet, audiret ; cumque is se non nolle 
dixisset, locutus esse dicitur homo copiosus aliquot 
horas de imperatoris officio, et de omni re mihtari. 
Tum, cum ceteri, qui illum audierant, vehementer 
essent delectati, quaerebant ab Hannibale, quidnam 
ipse de illo philosopho iudicaret ; hic Poenus non 
optime Graece, sed tamen Hbere respondisse fertur, 
multos se deliros senes saepe vidisse, sed qui magis 

76 quam Phormio deliraret, vidisse neminem. Neque 
mehercule iniuria ; quid enim aut arrogantius, aut 
loquacius fieri potuit, quam Hannibali, qui tot annis 
de imperio cum populo Romano, omnium gentium 
victore, certasset, Graecum hominem, qui nunquam 
hostem, nunquam castra vidisset, nunquam denique 
minimam partem ullius pubHci muneris attigisset, 
praecepta de re militari dare ? Hoc mihi facere 
omnes isti, qui de arte dicendi praecipiunt, viden- 
tur : quod enim ipsi experti non sunt, id docent ce- 
teros. Sed hoc minus fortasse errant, quod non 
te, ut Hannibalem, sed pueros, aut adolescentulos 
docere conantur. 


DE ORATORE, II. xviii. 74-76 

the less I am asking for these secrets of yours, not for 
my own use but prompted solely by love of knowledge. 

75 Nor do I need any Greek professor to chant at me 
a series of hackneyed axioms, when he himself never 
had a glimpse of a law-court or judicial proceeding, 
as the tale goes of Phormio the well-known Peri- 
patetic ; for when Hannibal, banished from Carthage, 
had come in exile to Antiochus at Ephesus and, inas- 
much as his name was highly honoured all the world 
over, had been invited by his hosts to hear the 
philosopher in question, if he so pleased, and he had 
intimated his wilhngness to do so, that wordy in- 
dividual is said to have held forth for several hours 
upon the functions of a commander-in-chief and 
mihtary matters in general. Then, when the other 
hsteners, vastly dehghted, asked Hannibal for his 
opinion of the eminent teacher, the Carthaginian is 
reported to have thereupon rephed, in no very good 
Greek, but at any rate candidly, that time and again 
he had seen many old madmen but never one madder 

76 than Phormio. And upon my word he was right, for 
what better example of prating insolence could there 
be than for a Greek, who had never seen a foeman or 
a camp, or even had the shghtest connexion with any 
pubhc employment, to lecture on mihtary matters to 
Hannibal, who all those years had been disputing 
empire with the Roman people, the conquerors of the 
world ? Just so do all those seem to me to behave 

\who lay down rulesf^Jhe art of speaking, for they 
)are for teaching others a thlngwrEK" which they 
themselves are unacquainted. But possibly their 
blunder is the less serious, in that they do not try to 
instruct yourself, as Phormio did Hannibal, but only 
boys or very young men." 



7? XIX. Erras, Catule, inquit Antonius : nam egomet 
in multos iam Phormiones incidi. Quis enim est 
istorum Graecorum, qui quemquam nostrum quid- 
quam intellegere arbitretur ? Ac mihi quidem non 
ita molesti sunt ; facile omnes perpetior et perfero. 
Nam aut aliquid afFerunt, quod mihi non displiceat, 
aut efficiunt, ut me non didicisse minus poeniteat. 
Dimitto autem eos non tam contumeUose quam 
philosophum illum Hannibal, et eo fortasse plus 
habeo etiam negotii ; sed tamen est eorum doctrina, 

78 quantum ego iudicare possum, perridicula. Dividunt 
enim totam rem in duas partes, in causae contro- 
versiam, et in quaestionis. Causam appellant, rem 
positam in disceptatione reorum et controversia ; 
quaestionem autem, rem positam in infinita dubita- 
tione. De causa praecepta dant ; de altera parte 

79 dicendi mirum silentium est. Denique quinque 
faciunt quasi membra eloquentiae, invenire quid 
dicas, inventa disponere, deinde ornare verbis, post 
memoriae mandare, tum ad extremum agere ac pro- 
nuntiare : rem sane non reconditam. Quis enim hoc 
non sua sponte viderit, neminem posse dicere, nisi et 
quid diceret, et quibus verbis, et quo ordine diceret, 
haberet, et ea meminisset ? Atque haec ego non 
reprehendo, sed ante oculos posita esse dico, ut eas 
item quatuor, quinque, sexve partes, vel etiam sep- 
tem, quoniam aliter ab aliis digeruntur, in quas est 

80 ab his omnis oratio distributa. lubent enim exordiri 
ita, ut eum, qui audiat, benevolum nobis faciamus, et 


DE ORATORE, II. xix. 77-80 
77 XIX. " You are mistaken, Catulus,' 


ntonius, " for I myself ere now have fallen in witH of rhetoric 

-—' T,T_ . T 1 • /> 1 1 superfluous/ 

many a rnormio. Is tnere in tact a man among those\ or misiead-i 
Greeks who would credit one of us with understanding "°^" 
anything ? Not that they worry me so much ; I 
gladly sufFer and bear with them all. For they either 
contribute to my amusement, or contrive to soften 
my regret at not having been a student. And I 
send them on their ways less contemptuously than 
Hannibal sent his philosopher, and for that reason 
perhaps I have even more trouble with them ; their 
(y)/ theory^jiowever, so farasjMcai^judgeiis^uU 

78 luHicrous^^T^OT^^fliey^Hrvid^^^ into 

two "IBranches — the discussion of concrete and of 
abstract problems. By the concrete they mean a >^- 
question in debate and dispute between htigants,!'^ 4- , 
by the abstract something involved in boundlessi %?> 
uncertainty. For the treatment of the concretel y, 
they lay down rules ; as to the other branch of 

vgiloratory their silence is remarkable. After that they 
set forth a sort of fivefold division of rhetoric, to ,, 
choose what to say, to marshal the chosen material, 5-j^ 
next to express it elegantly, then to commit it to ' 
memory, and in the end actually to deUver it — 
assuredly no mysterious progress. For who would not 
instinctively realize that no one can make a speech 
Without having settled what to say, and in what 
) terms andsequence,andwithout remembering all this? 
And without complaining of this classification I say 
it is one that is obvious, as also are those four, five, 
six or even seven subdivisions (for different authorities 
adopt difFerent analyses) into which these people 

3Q distribute every speech. For theybid_us_open^ in d 
such a way as to win the goodwilVOTtnelistSaeTand ^, 
" ' "^ 257 "^^ 


docilem et attentum, deinde rem narrare et ita, ut 
verisimilis narratio sit, ut aperta, ut brevis ; post 
autem dividere causam, aut proponere ; nostra con- 
firmare argumentis ac rationibus ; deinde contraria 
refutare : tum autem alii conclusionem orationis, et 
quasi perorationem collocant, alii iubent, antequara 
peroretur, ornandi aut augendi causa, digredi deinde 

81 concludere ac perorare. Ne haec quidem repre- 
hendo : sunt enim concinne distributa ; sed tamen, 
id quod necesse fuit hominibus expertibus veritatis, 
non perite. Quae enim praecepta principiorum et 
narrationum esse voluerunt, ea in totis orationibus 

82 sunt conservanda. Nam ego mihi benevolum iudicem 
faciUus facere possum cum sum in cursu orationis, quam 
cum omnia sunt inaudita ; docilem autem, non cum 
polliceor me demonstraturum, sed tum, cum doceo 
et explano : attentum vero, tota actione, non prima de- 

83 nuntiatione efficere possumus. lam vero narrationem 
quod iubent verisimilem esse et apertam, et brevem, 
recte nos admonent; quod haec narrationis magis 
putant esse propria quam totius orationis, valde mihi 
videntur errare : omninoque in hoc omnis est error, 
quod existimant, artificium esse hoc quoddam non 
dissimile ceterorum, cuiusmodi de ipso iure civili 
hestemo die Crassus componi posse dicebat : ut 
genera rerum primum exponerentur, in quo vitiura 
est, si genus ullura praeterraittatur ; deinde singu- 
lorum partes generura, in quo et deesse aUquam 


DE ORATORE, II. xix. 80-83 

make him receptive and attentive ; then in stating 

the case t^TlnaKemir statemenrplausible, lucid and 

brief ; after that to dissect or define the matter in 

hand, estabhshing our own propositions by evidence 

and reasonings before disproving those of the other 

side : some masters place next the summing-up of 

the address and the so-called peroration, while others 

, require, before such peroration, a digression for the \ / 

i' sake of effect or amplification, to be followed by '«• 

gl the summing-up and the close. I find no fault 

with even this distribution, for it is neat, though -^ 
^ unscientific, as was sure to happen with teachers ^"^ 
unversed in practical advocacy. For the rules which ■ . 't\^ 
Ithey have^^gaagKf^to^lrestrrct to the openings and \^,?i;J" 
Ithe statements of cases ought to be observed in all J*^ 
^2' speeches. Thus I can more readily win an arbi- \%^ 
^ trator's goodwill as my address proceeds than before \'<- 

%/, a word of it has been heard, and I make him recep- 
^ir^ tive, not when I am promising proof, but when I 
-ir/am instructing him and making all plain ; moreover 

we can secure his attention by qur argument as a/ "> 
83 whole, not_by^our ppenin^ allegations. Tfieiragain, S.^^^ 
in requiring theTtateinenf oF the^ase to be plausible, -^^ *« 
lucid and brief, they advise us well ; but, in deeming v «i^ 
these qualities more appropriate to such statement ^*l 
\ j than to the address as a whole, I think they are ■5 "^ 
V I greatly mistaken ; and undoubtedly their blunder ^\ 
arises solely from their idea that this oratory is a[| '\/ 

kind of art, just like the other arts, suclT^^tllrassus '^. , t 


said yesterday could be constructed on the model of y 
the common law itself, so that the general kinds of '^ 

subject-matter must first be set out, the omission of 
any kind being an error, next the particular species 
of each kind, wherein too Uttle or too much of any 




partem, et superare, mendosum est ; tum verborum 
omnium definitiones, in quibus neque abesse quid- 
quam decet neque redundare. 

84 XX. Sed hoc si in iure civili, si etiam in parvis aut 
mediocribus rebus doctiores assequi possunt, non 
idem sentio tanta hac in re, tamque immensa, posse 
fieri. Sin autem qvii arbitrantur, deducendi sunt ad 
eos, qui haec docent ; omnia iam exphcata et per- 
polita assequentur : sunt enim innumerabiles de 
his rebus libri, neque abditi neque obscuri. Sed 
videant, quid velint : ad ludendumne, an ad pugnan- 
dum arma sint sumpturi ; aliud enim pugna et acies, 
ahud ludus campusque noster desiderat. Attamen 
ars ipsa ludicra armorum et gladiatori et miUti prodest 
aliquid ; sed animus acer, et praesens, et acutus idem 
atque versutus, invictos viros efficit [non difficilius 
arte coniuncta].^ 

85 Quare ego tibi oratorem sic iam instituam, si 
potuero, ut, quid efficere possit, ante perspiciam. Sit 
enim mihi tinctus Utteris ; audierit aUquid, legerit, 
ista ipsa praecepta acceperit : tentabo quid deceat, 
quid voce, quid viribus, quid spiritu, quid Ungua 
efficere possit. Si inteUegam posse ad summos per- 
venire, non solum hortabor, ut elaboret, sed etiam, 
si vir quoque bonus mihi videbitur esse, obsecrabo : 

^ Ellendt, Soro/and others reject the words in brackets a$ 
a copyisCs addition, 


DE ORATORE, II. xix. 83— xx. 85 

species is a fault, and finally the definitions of all 
terms, in which nothing ought to be missing and 
nothing redundant. 

g4 XX. " But, granting that the more learned can itisnatural 
attain such orderliness in common law and also in tUat^'*'^ 
matters of slight or no great importance, I do not matters. 
think the same is possible in this subject, with its 
vast significance and range. If however some hold 
otherwise, they must be brought to the teachers of 
these studies ; they will find everything already dis- 
played and highly finished ; for there are countless 
books on these topics, neither recondite nor hard 
to understand. But let them consider what they 
want ; whether it be for sport or warfare that they 
mean to arm ; for the requirements of a pitched 
battle are not those of a sham fight or our own 
training-ground. For all that, the management of 
arms in mere sport has its value for gladiator and 
soldier aUke, though it is the keen and ready in- 
telhgence, endowed with sharpness and resource- 
fulness, that secures men against defeat, and no less 
easily when alHed with art. 

85 " And so I shall now begin making an orator for r- 
you, if I can, by first discovering the extent of his J^^ 
capacity. I would have him be a man of some /% , 
S learning, who has done some hstening and some ^. •l/' 
I reading, and received those very teachings we have >t V' 
mentioned ; I will make trial of what suits him, and o^^/ 
/ of his powers of intonation, physique, energy and >* . \ 
fluency. If I find him capable of reacEing the %^ 

higEest class, I will not merely encourage him to 
work out his purpose but will positively implore him 
so to do, provided that I also think his character 
sound — so much glory to the whole community do 



• tantum ego in excellenti oratore, et eodem viro 
bono, pono esse ornamenti universae civitati. Sin 
videbitur, cum omnia summa fecerit, tamen ad 
mediocres oratores esse venturus, permittam ipsi, 
quid velit ; molestus magnopere non ero ; sin plane 
abhorrebit, et erit absurdus, ut se contineat, aut ad 

86 aliud studium transferat, admonebo. Nam neque is, 
qui optime potest, deserendus ullo modo est a co- 
hortatione nostra, neque is, qui aliquid potest, deter- 
rendus : quod alterum divinitatis mihi cuiusdam 
videtur, alterum, vel non facere, quod non optime 
possis, vel facere, quod non pessime facias, humani- 
tatis. Tertium vero illud, clamare contra quam de- 
ceat, et quam possit, hominis est, ut tu, Catule, de 
quodam clamatore dixisti, stultitiae suae quam 

87 plurimos testes domestico praeconio coUigentis. De 
hoc igitur, qui erit talis, ut cohortandus adiuvandus- 
que sit, ita loquamur, ut ei tradamus ea duntaxat, 
quae nos usus docuit, ut nobis ducibus veniat eo, quo 
sine duce ipsi pervenimus, quoniam mehora docere 
non possumus, 

88 XXI. Atque, ut a famiUari nostro exordiar, hunc 
ego, Catule, Sulpicium, primum in causa parvula 
adolescentulum audivl : voce et forma, et motu cor- 
poris, et rehquis rebus aptis ad hoc munus, de quo 
quaerimus ; oratione autem celeri et concitata, quod 
erat ingenii, et verbis efFervescentibus, et paulo 
nimiiun redundantibus, quod erat aetatis. Non sum 


DE ORATORE, II. xx. 85— xxi. 88 

I see in an outstanding orator who is also a man of 
worth. But if he seems likely, after doing his utmost 
in every way, to attain only the level of the ordinary 
speaker, I will leave him to his own choice and not 
worry him much, w^hile, if he prove wholly un- 
suitable and out of his element, I will recommend 
either self-repression or recourse to some other 

86 vocation. For by no means must a man of the 
highest capacity be left without our encouragement, 
or one of any abihty scared away, since to my mind 
the state of the former partakes in a sense of the 
godUke, while the other course, that of refraining 
from doing what you cannot do perfectly, or doing 
what you can do without complete discredit, is 
natural to a gentleman. But that third alternative 
of bawling, in defiance of propriety and of the 
speaker's own Hmitations, marks the man who, as 
you, Catulus, observed of a certain bawler, assembles 
as many witnesses of his folly as he can, by acting as 

87 his own crier. Of him then, who shall be found 
deserving of our encouragement and help, let us so 
speak as to impart to him merely what practice has 

ytaught us, so that under our leadership he may/j^ 
1 reach that stage at which we ourselves have arrived ^^ 

without a leader, since better teaching we cannot n^ 


88 XXI. " And so, Catulus, to begin with our friend instance of 
here, I first heard Sulpicius, when he was almost a appropri- 
boy, in a petty case : as to intonation, presence, ateiy 
bearing and the other essentials he was well fitted *^'' '^* ^ 
for this function we are investigating, but his dehvery 

was rapid and impetuous — the result of his genius — , 
his diction agitated and a Httle too exuberant, as 
was natural at his age. I did not underrate him, 



aspernatus ; volo enim se efferat in adolescente 
fecunditas : nam sicut facilius, in vitibus, revocantur 
ea, quae sese nimium profuderunt, quam, si nihil valet 
materies, nova sarmenta cultura excitantur : ita volo 
esse in adolescente, unde aliquid amputem ; non 
enim potest in eo sucus esse diuturnus, quod nimis 

89 celeriter est maturitatem assecutum. Vidi statim 
indolem, neque dimisi tempus, et eum sum cohor- 
tatus, ut forum sibi ludum putaret esse ad discendum ; 
magistrum autem, quem vellet, eligeret ; me quidem 
si audiret, L. Crassum ; quod iste arripuit, et ita sese 
facturum confirmavit, atque etiam addidit, gratiae 
scilicet causa, me quoque sibi magistrum futurum. 
Vix annus intercesserat ab hoc sermone cohortationis 
meae, cum iste accusavit C. Norbanum, defendente 
me. Non est credibile, quid interesse mihi sit visum 
inter eum qui tum erat, et qui anno ante fuerat. 
Omnino in illud genus eum Crassi magnificum atque 
praeclarum natura ipsa ducebat : sed ea non satis 
proficere potuisset, nisi eodem studio atque imitatione 
intendisset, atque ita dicere consuesset, ut tota mente 
Crassum atque omni animo intueretur. 

90 XXII. Ergo hoc sit primum in praeceptis meis, ut 
demonstremus, quem imitetur atque ita ut, quae 
maxime excellant in eo, quem imitabitur, ea dih- 
gentissime persequatur. Tum accedat exercitatio, 
qua illum, quem delegerit, imitando eflfingat, atque 
ita exprimat, non ut multos imitatores saepe cognovi, 
qui aut ea, quae faciha sunt, aut etiam illa, quae 
insignia ac paene vitiosa, consectantur imitando. 

• See § 197 n. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxi. 88— xxii. 90 

being well content that luxuriance should exalt 
itself in the youthful, for, as with vines it is easier 
to cut back the branches which have shot out too 
riotously than to produce new growths by cultivation 
from a feeble stock, even so in a young man I want 
something to prune, because the sap can never Hve 

89 long in anything which has ripened too early. I 
instantly perceived his quahty and did not miss the 
opportunity, but urged him to regard the law-courts 
as his school of instruction, choosing what master he 
pleased, but Lucius Crassus if he would take my 
advice ; he caught at this suggestion and assured 
me that he would follow it, adding, out of politeness 
of course, that I too should be his teacher. Scarcely 
a year had elapsed, after this advisory talk with me, 
when our friend prosecuted Gaius Norbanus,* whom 
I was defending. Incredible was the difFerence I 
saw between the Sulpicius of that day and of a year 
earher. Assuredly Nature herself was leading him 
into the grand and glorious style of Crassus, but could 
never have made him proficient enough, had he not 
pressed forward on that same way by careful imita- 
tion, and formed the habit of speaking with every 
thought and all his soul fixed in contemplation of 

90 XXII. " Let this then be my first counsel, that we Ruiesfor 
show the student whom to copy, and to copy in such p™''*^"'^* 
a way as to strive with all possible care to attain 

the most excellent quahties of his model. Next let 
practice be added, whereby in copying he may 
reproduce the pattern of his choice and not portray 
him as time and again I have known many copyists 
do, who in copying hunt after such characteristics 
as are easily copied or even abnormal and possibly 
K 265 


91 Nihil est facilius quam amictum imitari alicuius, aut 
statum, aut motum. Si vero etiam vitiosi aliquid est, 
id sumere et in eo ambitiosum esse non magnum est, 
ut ille, qui nunc etiam, amissa voce, furit in republica, 
Fufius, nervos in dicendo C. Fimbriae, quos tamen 
habuit ille, non assequitur, oris pravitatem et ver- 
borum latitudinem imitatur. Sed tamen ille nec 
deligere scivit, cuius potissimum similis esset, et in 
eo ipso, quem delegerat, imitari etiam vitia voluit. 

92 Qui autem ita faciet, ut oportet, primum vigilet 
necesse est in deligendo ; deinde, quem probarit, in 
eo, quae maxime excellent, ea diligentissime per- 

Quid enim causae censetis esse, cur aetates ex- 
tulerint singulae singula prope genera dicendi ? Quod 
non tam facile in nostris oratoribus possumus iudi- 
care, quia scripta, ex quibus iudicium fieri posset, non 
multa sane reliquerunt, quam in Graecis ; ex quorum 
scriptis, cuiusque aetatis quae dicendi ratio voluntas- 
03 que fuerit, intellegi potest. Antiquissimi fere sunt, 
quorum quidem scripta constent, Pericles atque 
Alcibiades, et eadem aetate Thucydides, subtiles, 
acuti, breves, sententiis magis quam verbis abun- 
dantes. Consecuti sunt hos Critias, Theramenes, 
Lysias : multa Lysiae scripta sunt ; nonnuUa Critiae ; 
de Theramene audivimus. Non potuisset accidere 
ut unum esset omnium genus, nisi ahquem sibi pro- 
ponerent ad imitandum^ : omnes etiam tum re- 
tinebant illum Periclis sucum ; sed erant paulo 

* non . . . imitandum hic Warmington : ante Consecuti. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxii. 91-93 

91 faulty. For nothing is easier than to imitate a man*s 
style of dress, pose or gait. Moreover, if there is 
a fault, it is not much trouble to appropriate that 
and to copy it ostentatiously, just as that Fufius, 
who even now is raving in the political world, though 
his voice has gone, fails to attain the energy in 
speaking which Gaius Fimbria certainly possessed, 
though hitting ofF his uncouth mouthings and broad 
pronunciation, For all that, however, he did not 
know how to choose the model whom he would most 
willingly resemble, and it was positively the faults 

92 in his chosen pattern that he elected to copy. But 
he who is to proceed aright must first be watchful 
in making his choice, and afterwards extremely 
careful in striving to attain the most excellent 
quahties of the model he has approved. 

" Why now is it, do you suppose, that nearly every ^ ^ ^^^ 
age has produced its own distinctive style of oratory ? schoois of 
Of this truth we can judge less easily in the case °^^^y- 
of our own orators, since they have left but very 
few writings on which a judgement could be based, 
than as regards the Greeks, from whose works the 
method and tendency of the oratory of every genera- 

93 tion may be understood. Quite the earliest, of whom 
we have any authentic remains, are Pericles and 
Alcibiades, with Thucydides of the same generation, 
all of them accurate, pointed, terse and wealthier 
in ideas than diction. These were followed by 
Critias, Theramenes and Lysias : we possess many 
writings of Lysias, of Critias a few ; Theramenes is 
but a name to us. Their uniformity of style could 
never have come about, had they not kept before 
them some single model for imitation : they all still 
retained the pecuhar vigour of Pericles, but their 



94 uberiore filo. Ecce tibi exortus est Isocrates, magis- 
ter rhetorum^ omnium, cuius e ludo, tanquam ex equo 
Troiano, meri principes exierunt ; sed eorum partim 
in pompa, partim in acie illustres esse voluerunt. 

XXIII. Atque' et illi, Theopompi, Ephori, Philisti, 
Naucratae, multique ahi naturis difFerunt, voluntate 
autem similes sunt et inter sese et magistri, et ei, 
qui se ad causas contulerunt, ut Demosthenes, Hy- 
perides, Lycurgus, Aeschines, Dinarchus, aliique com- 
plures, etsi inter se pares non fuerunt, tamen omnes 
sunt in eodem veritatis imitandae genere versati, 
quorum quamdiu mansit imitatio, tamdiu genus illud 

95 dicendi studiumque vixit. Posteaquam, exstinctis 
his, omnis eorum memoria sensim obscurata est et 
evanuit, alia quaedam dicendi molliora ac remissiora 
genera viguerunt. Inde Demochares, quem aiunt 
sororis fihum fuisse Demosthenis ; tum Phalereus ille 
Demetrius, omnium istorum, mea sententia, pohtis- 
simus, aliique horum similes exstiterunt. Quae si 
volemus usque ad hoc tempus persequi, intellegemus, 
ut hodie Alabandensem illum Meneclem, et eius 
fratrem Hieroclem, quos ego audivi, tota imitetur 
Asia : sic semper fuisse aUquem, cuius se similes 

gg plerique esse vellent. Hanc igitur simiUtudinem qui 
imitatione assequi volet, cum exercitationibus crebris 
atque magnis, tum scribendo maxime persequatur : 
quod si hic noster Sulpicius faceret, multo eius oratio 
esset pressior ; in qua nunc interdum, ut in herbis 

* rhetorum li^id : istorum. ■ Atque Wilkins, : Itaque. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxii. 94— xxiii. 96 

94 texture was a little more luxuriant. Then behold ! 
there arose Isocrates, the Master of all rhetoricians, 
from whose school, as from the Horse of Troy, none 
but leaders emerged, but some of them sought glory 
in ceremonial, others in action. 

XXIII. " And indeed the former sort, men like 
Theopompus, Ephorus, Philistus, Naucrates and 
many more, while difFering in natural gifts, yet in 
spirit resemble one another and their Master too ; 
and those who betook themselves to lawsuits, as did 
Demosthenes, Hyperides, Lycurgus, Aeschines, 
Dinarchus and several others, although of varying 
degrees of ability, were none the less all busy with 
the same type of imitation of real life, and as long 
as the imitation of these persisted, so long did their 

95 kind of oratory and course of training endure. After- 
wards, when these men were dead and all remem- 
brance of them gradually grew dim and then vanished 
away, certain other less spirited and lazier styles of 
speaking flourished. Then came Demochares, said to 
have been the son of Demosthenes' sister, and after 
him the distinguished Demetrius of Phalerum, the 
most elegant, to my thinking, of all that school, and 
others Hke them. And, if we please to trace this 
subject down to our own times, we shall find, that just 
as to-day all Asia is copying the great Menecles of 
Alabanda and his brother Hierocles, both of whom I 
have heard, so there has always been some speaker 

96 whom the majority would fain resemble. Let him 
then, who hopes by imitation to attain this likeness, 
carry out his purpose by frequent and large practice, 
and if possible, by written composition : if our friend 
Sulpicius here were to do so, his diction would be 
far more condensed ; at present, as countrymen are 



rustici solent dicere in summa ubertate, inest luxuries 
quaedam, quae stylo depascenda est. 

97 Hic Sulpicius : Me quidem, inquit, recte mones, 
idque mihi gratum est : sed ne te quidem, Antoni, 
multum scriptitasse arbitror. 

Tum ille: Quasi vero, inquit, non ea praecipiam 
aliis, quae mihi ipsi desint : sed tamen ne tabulas 
quidem conficere existimor. Verum et in hoc, ex re 
familiari mea, et in illo, ex eo, quod dico, quantulum 

98 id cumque est, quid faciam, iudicari potest. Atque 
esse tamen multos videmus, qui neminem imitentur 
et suapte natura, quod velint, sine cuiusquam simili- 
tudine consequantur. Quod et in vobis animadverti 
recte potest, Caesar et Cotta ; quorum alter inusi- 
tatum nostris quidem oratoribus leporem quemdam 
et salem, alter acutissimum et subtiUssimum dicendi 
genus est consecutus. Neque vero vester aequalis 
Curio, patre, mea sententia, vel eloquentissimo 
temporibus illis, quemquam mihi magnopere videtur 
imitari ; qui tamen verborum gravitate et elegantia 
et copia suam quamdam expressit quasi formam, 
figuramque dicendi : quod ego maxime potui iudicare 
in ea causa, quam ille contra me apud centumviros 
pro fratribus Cossis dixit ; in qua nihil ilH defuit, quod 
non modo copiosus, sed etiam sapiens orator habere 

99 XXIV. Verum, ut aliquando ad causas deducamus 
illum, quem constituimus, et eas quidem, in quibus 
plusculum negotii est, iudiciorum atque Utium — 


DE ORATORE, II. xxiii. 96— xxiv. 99 

wont to say of grass in times of extreme productive- 
ness, it occasionally has a certain luxuriance about 
it, which should be grazed ofF by the pen." 

97 Here Sulpicius interposed, " Truly you give me 
good counsel and I thank you for it, but I fancy 
that even you, Antonius, have done but Uttle 

To which Antonius made answer, " As though I 
could not teach others what I lack myself ; though 
certainly I am credited with not even keeping 
accounts ! But what httle I can do in this direction But gifted 
can be iudffed from my financial situation, and in individuais 

, 1 J^ 1 T Ai-TT candispense 

98 the other irom wnat 1 say. And mdeed we see withmodeis. 
that there are many who copy no man, but gain their 
objects by natural aptitude, without resembUng any 
model. And the truth of this may be observed in 

you two, Caesar and Cotta, for one of you has acquired 
a degree of humour and wit unusual in orators, at any 
rate in our own, and the other a thoroughly keen 
and subtle type of oratory. Curio too, your con- 
temporary, whose father I consider quite the most 
eloquent of his day, seems to me to copy no one in 
particular, though in the dignity, refinement and 
copiousness of his language he has given expression 
to what may be called his own pecuUar pattern and 
type of oratory, of which I could judge to perfection 
in that action which he conducted against me before 
the Hundred Commissioners, on behalf of the brothers 
Cossi ; on that occasion he lacked no qualification 
which an orator of insight, not of copiousness alone, 
should possess. 

99 XXIV. " However, to introduce at last this man Firatmaster 
we are portraying to the business of trials and law- factsofcase. 
suits, especially such cases as involve rather more 



riserit aliquis fortasse hoc praeceptum ; est enim non 
tam acutum, quam necessarium, magisque monitoris 
non fatui, quam eruditi magistri — hoc ei primum 
praecipiemus, quascumque causas erit tractaturus, ut 

100 eas diligenter penitusque cognoscat. Hoc in ludo 
non praecipitur : faciles enim causae ad pueros 
deferuntur. ' Lex peregrinum vetat in murum 
ascendere ; ascendit ; hostes repuht ; accusatur.' 
Nihil est negotii eiusmodi causam cognoscere ; recte 
igitur nihil de causa discenda praecipiunt : haec 
est enim in ludo causarum fere formula. At vero 
in foro, tabulae, testimonia, pacta conventa, stipula- 
tiones, cognationes, affinitates, decreta, responsa, vita 
denique eorum qui in causa versantur, tota cogno- 
scenda est : quarum rerum neglegentia plerasque 
causas, et maxime privatas (sunt enim multo saepe 

101 obscuriores) videmus amitti. Ita nonnulh, dum 
operam suam multam existimari volunt, ut toto foro 
vohtare et a causa ad causam ire videantvu*, causas 
dicimt incognitas. In quo est illa quidem magna 
ofFensio, vel neglegentiae, susceptis rebus ; vel per- 
fidiae, receptis ; sed etiam iUa maior opinione, quod 
nemo potest de ea re, quam non novit, non turpissime 
dicere. Ita dum inertiae vituperationem, quae maior 
est, contemnunt, assequuntur etiam illam, quam 
magis ipsi fugiunt, tarditatis. 

102 Equidem soleo dare operam, ut de sua quisque re 

DE ORATORE, II. xxiv. 99-102 

trouble, — someone will perhaps laugh at this axiom, 
for it is not so much shrewd as necessary, and 
comes from an adviser who is no fool, rather than 
from a learned Master — , we shall first instruct 
him to get up carefully and thoroughly whatever 

100 cases he proposes to conduct. This is no canon 
of the schools, for the cases set to the boys are 
simple. ' Statute forbids a foreigner to mount the 
wall ; a foreigner mounts ; he has driven ofF the 
enemy ; he is prosecuted.' It is no trouble to get 
up a case hke that, and so they are right in giving 
no directions for mastering the case, for this is just 
about the type of wording in cases set in the schools. 
But in the law-courts documents, evidence, informal 
agreements, formal contracts, relationship by blood 
or marriage, magisterial orders, opinions of counsel, 
and finally the Ufe-history of the parties to the pro- 
ceedings, must all be examined ; and we see that 
it is generally through neglect of these matters that 
cases are lost, particularly such as concern private 
rights, for these are often of peculiar difficulty. 

101 Thus some practitioners, wishing their business to be 
thought large, and themselves to be seen flitting 
from lawsuit to lawsuit all round the courts, argue 
cases which they have not got up. Herein they incur 
very grave reproach, either of carelessness, if their 
services are volunteered, or of bad faith, if they are re- 
tained ; but that reproach is deemed all the greater, 
in that no man can speak, without the direst disgrace, 
on a subject which he has not mastered. And so, 
while scorning the accusation of laziness, in reality 
the more serious, they encounter as well that of dull- 
ness, which they themselves more sedulously avoid. 

102 " It is my own practice to take care that every client 



me ipse doceat et ut ne quis alius adslt, quo liberius 
loquatur, et agere adversarii causam, ut ille agat 
suam et, quidquid de sua re cogitarit, in medium 
proferat. Itaque cum ille discessit, tres personas unus 
sustineo summa animi aequitate, meam, adversarii, 
iudicis. Qui locus est talis, ut plus habeat adiumenti 
quam incommodi, hunc iudico esse dicendum ; ubi 
plus mali quam boni reperio, id totum abiudico atque 

103 eicio. Ita assequor, ut alio tempore cogitem, quid 
dicam, et aho dicam : quae duo plerique ingenio freti 
simul faciunt ; sed certe eidem ilU mehus ahquanto 
dicerent, si ahud sumendum sibi tempus ad cogi- 
tandum, ahud ad dicendum putarent. 

104 Cum rem penitus causamque cognovi, statim 
occurrit animo, quae sit causa ambigendi. Nihil est 
enim, quod inter homines ambigatur (sive ex crimine 
causa constat, ut facinoris, sive ex controversia, ut 
hereditatis, sive ex dehberatione, ut behi, sive ex 
persona, ut laudis, sive ex disputatione, ut de ratione 
vivendi) in quo non, aut quid factum sit, aut fiat, 
futurumve sit, quaeratur, aut quale sit, aut quid 

106 XXV. Ac nostrae fere causae, quae quidem sunt 
criminum, plerumque infitiatione defenduntur. Nam 
et de pecuniis repetundis, quae maximae sunt, ne- 
ganda fere sunt omnia, et de ambitu raro illud datur, 
ut possis hberahtatem atque benignitatem ab ambitu 


DE ORATORE, II. xxiv. 102— xxv. 105 

personally instructs me on his afFairs, and that no one 
else shall be present, so that he may speak the more 
freely ; and to argue his opponent's case to him, so 
that he may argue his own and openly declare 
whatever he has thought of his position. Then, when 
he has departed, in my own person and with perfect 
impartiality I play three characters, myself, my 
opponent and the arbitrator. Whatever consideration 
is hkely to prove more helpful than embarrassing I 
decide to discuss ; wherever I find more harm than 
good I entirely reject and discard the topic concerned. 

103 In this way I gain the advantage of reflecting first on 
what to say and saying it later, two things which most 
people, trusting in their talent, do simultaneously, 
though those same individuals would certainly speak 
rather more successfully, if they thought fit to take 
one occasion for reflection and another for speaking. 

104 " When I have thoroughly mastered the circum- The issue 
stances of a case the issue in doubt comes instantly to ^g ®" ^^g' 
my mind. For of all the issues disputed among men, one of three 
whether the matter is criminal, as a charge of outrage, ^ ^ ' 

or a civil proceeding, as one relating to an inheritance, 
or a discussion of poUcy, as one touching a war, or of 
a personal kind, as a panegyric, or a philosophical 
debate, as on the way to live, there is not one of 
which the point is not either what has been done, or 
what is being done, or going to be done, or as to the 
nature or description of something. 

105 XXV. "In almost all our cases, in prosecutions at (i) factof 
any rate, the usual defence is a plea of not guilty. ^^^^^^ *° ' 
For, in trials for extortion, the most important class, 
nearly every allegation must be denied, and, on a 
charge of corrupt practices, lavish generosity can 
seldom be distinguished from profuse bribery ; in 



atque largitione seiungere ; de sicariis, de veneficiis, 
de peculatu infitiari necesse est. Id est igitur genus 
primum causarum in iudiciis ex controversia facti ; 
in deliberationibus plerumque ex futuri, raro ex 

106 instantis aut acti. Saepe etiam res non sit necne, 
sed qualis sit quaeritur ; ut cura L. Opimii causam 
defendebat apud populum, audiente me, C. Carbo 
consul, nihil de C. Gracchi nece negabat, sed id iure 
pro salute patriae factum esse dicebat ; ut eidem 
Carboni tribuno plebis alia tum mente rem pubh- 
cam capessenti P. Africanus de Ti. Graccho inter- 
roganti responderat iure caesum videri. lure autem 
omnia defenduntur, quae sunt eius generis, ut aut 
oportuerit aut hcuerit aut necesse fuerit aut impru- 

107 dentia aut casu facta esse videantur. lam quid 
vocetur, quaeritur, cura quo verbo quid appel- 
landum sit, contenditur ; ut mihi ipsi cmn hoc 
Sulpicio fuit in Norbani causa summa contentio. 
Pleraque enim de eis, quae ab isto obiciebantur, 
cura confiterer, tamen ab illo maiestatem minutara 
negabam, ex quo verbo lege Appuleia tota illa causa 

208 pendebat. Atque in hoc genere causarum non nulh' 
praecipiunt ut verbum illud, quod causam facit, 
breviter uterque definiat, quod mihi quidem per- 
quam puerile videri solet. Aha est enim, cum inter 
doctos horaines de eis ipsis rebus quae versantur 
in artibus disputatur, verborum definitio, ut cum 

" See § 197 n. 

* In 100 B.C., appointing a connmission to investigate 
treasons committed during the Cimbrian war, 1 13 — 101 b.c 


DE ORATORE, II. xxv. 105-108 

cases of assassination, poisoning or misappropriation 
a denial is the inevitable plea. Thus in Court the 
first class of cases is that of disputed facts ; debate 
generally proceeds from something still to come, 

106 seldom from anything present or past. Often too (2) it« 
the question is not whether something be the °* ^^ 
fact or not, but what is its nature ; as, when I 
heard Gaius Carbo, in his consulship, defending 
Lucius Opimius before the people, he denied no de- 

tail of the killing of Gaius Gracchus, but urged that 
it was justifiable and for the public safety ; or as 
when PubHus Africanus made answer to that very 
Carbo (by then a tribune of the commons with 
changed political views and putting a question as to 
Tiberius Gracchus), that * his death appeared to be 
justifiable.' Now all acts may be defended as justifi- (3) ita defl. 
able which are such that the doing thereof was a ^^^^^'^ 
duty, or permissible, or necessary, or which are shown 
to have been done inadvertently or by accident. 

107 Again the question is one of definition, when the 
terms in which an act should be described are in dis- 
pute, as in the main contention between myself and 
our friend Sulpicius at the trial of Norbanus.* For, 
while admitting most of our friends indictment, I 
still maintained that the defendant was not guilty of 
' treason,' since the whole case depended on the con- 
struction of this word, by virtue of the Statute of 

108 Appuleius.^ And in such proceedings some lay down 
a rule that each side shall concisely define the de- 
batable term, a proposition which I myself always 
think thoroughly childish. For definition of terms is 
another thing when controversy arises among special- 
ists touching the intimate concerns of the arts, for 
instance when inquiry is made as to the essential 



quaeritur, quid sit ars, quid sit lex, quid sit civitas, in 
quibus hoc praecipit ratio atque doctrina, ut vis eius 
rei quam definias sic exprimatur ut neque absit 

109 quicquam neque supersit. Quod quidem in illa causa 
neque Sulpicius fecit neque ego facere conatus sum ; 
nam quantum uterque nostrum potuit, omni copia 
dicendi dilatavit, quid esset maiestatem minuere. 
Etenim definitio primum reprehenso verbo uno aut 
addito aut dempto saepe extorquetur e manibus ; 
deinde genere ipso doctrinam redolet exercitatio- 
nemque paene puerilem ; tum et in sensum et in 
mentem iudicis intrare non potest, ante enim prae- 
terlabitur, quam percepta est. 

110 XXVI. Sed in eo genere, in quo quale sit quid, 
ambigitur, exsistit etiam ex scripti interpretatione 
saepe contentio, in quo nuUa potest esse nisi ex 
ambiguo controversia. Nam illud ipsum, quod scrip- 
tum a sententia discrepat, genus quoddam habet 
ambigui ; quod tum explicatur, cum ea verba, quae 
desunt, suggesta sunt, quibus additis defenditur 
sententiam scripti perspicuam fuisse. Ex contrariis- 
que scriptis si quid ambigitur, non novum genus 
nascitur, sed superioris generis causa duplicatur. 
Idque aut numquam diiudicari poterit aut ita diiudi- 
cabitur, ut referendis praeteritis verbis id scriptum, 
quodcumque defendemus, suppleatur. Ita fit, ut 
unum genus in eis causis, quae propter scriptum 
ambiguntur, reUnquatur, si est scriptum ahquid 

111 Ambiguorum autem cum plura genera sunt, quae 


DE ORATORE, II. xxv. 108— xxvi. 111 

nature of an art, a statute or a community, in which 
circumstances scientific method ordains that the 
significance of whatever you are defining shall be 

109 made plain, with no omission or redundance. But in 
that case of ours Sulpicius did no such thing nor did 
I attempt it, since we both, to the utmost of our 
power, enlarged with all our fluency upon the mean- 
ing of ' act of treason.' For, in the first place, if the 
addition or substraction of a word be seized on, a 
definition is often wrung from our grasp, and then too 
the very suggestion savours of the schools and a 
training little better than elementary, and lastly the 
definition cannot reach the understanding and reason 
of the arbitrator, as It slips by him before he has 
taken it in. 

110 XXVI. "But in that kind of cases, wherein the Thesethree 
nature of somethinff is in issue, a further contest often issues ex- 

Ai ./•! ii_ plamed, 

arises out of the construction or a document, when 
the only possible dispute comes from an equivocation. 
For the mere fact that letter and spirit are at variance 
involves something of an equivocation ; and this is 
solved directly the missing words are supplied, and, 
when these are inserted, it is contended that the 
sense of the writing has become plain. And, if un- 
certainty arises from passages which contradict one 
another, there emerges no new sort of problem, but 
a double example of the former kind. And this 
will either prove insoluble, or will be so solved, that 
by the restoration of the words omitted, whichever 
version we are upholding will be completed. It 
follows that only one class is left of problems turn- 
ing on the writer's language, these arising where 
something has been equivocally expressed. 

111 " Now, although there are several kinds of equivo- 



mihi videntur ei melius nosse, qui dialectici appel- 
lantur, hi autem nostri ignorare, qui non minus nosse 
debeant, tum illud est frequentissimum in omni 
consuetudine vel sermonis vel scripti, cum idcirco 
aliquid ambigitur, quod aut verbum aut verba sint 

112 praetermissa. Iterum autem peccant, cum genus 
hoc causarum, quod in scripti interpretatione versa- 
tur, ab illis causis, in quibus, qualis quaeque res sit, 
disceptatur, seiungunt ; nusquam enim tam quae- 
ritur, quale sit genus ipsum rei quam in scripto, quod 
totum a facti controversia separatum est. 

113 Ita tria sunt omnino genera, quae in discepta- 
tionem et controversiam cadere possunt : quid fiat 
factum futurumve sit, aut quale sit, aut quo modo 
nominetur. Nam illud quidem, quod quidam Graeci 
adiungunt, 'rectene factum sit,' totum in eo est, 
'quale sit.' 

114 XXVII. Sed iam ad institutum revertar meum. 
Cum igitur accepta causa et genere cognito rem 
tractare coepi, nihil prius constituo, quam quid sit 
illud, quo mihi sit referenda omnis illa oratio, quae sit 
propria quaestionis et iudicii. Deinde illa duo dili- 
gentissime considero, quorum alterum commenda- 
tionem habet nostram aut eorum, quos defendimus, 
alterum est accommodatum ad eorum animos, apud 
quos dicimus, ad id, quod volumus, commovendos. Ita 
omnis ratio dicendi tribus ad persuadendum rebus est 
nixa : ut probemus vera esse, quae defendimus ; ut 
concihemus eos nobis, qui audiunt ; ut animos eorum, 
ad quemcumque causa postulabit motum, vocemus. 

116 -^^ probandum autem duplex est oratori subiecta 

• «.«. the rhetoricians. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxvi. 111— xxvii. 116 

cation (better understood, I think, by the so-called 
logicians, and unknown to these " friends of ours, 
who should understand them just as well), yet the 
most common, in the whole range of verbal or written 
intercourse, is the equivocation due to the omission 

112 of a word or words. And they are wrong again in 
distinguishing between this sort of cases, con- 
cerned with documentary construction, and those 
where the nature of something is in debate ; for 
never is the precise character of anything so closely 
investigated as in the construction of a document, 
which has nothing in common with questions of fact. 

113 " Then questions of three kinds in all may fall under 
debate and dispute — , what is being done, or has been 
done or is going to be done, or what is the nature of 
something, or what is its right designation .'' For 

i that further question, added by sundry Greeks, 
whether something was lawfuUy done, is completely 
covered by the question of its nature. 

114 XXVII. " But to return at length to my own plan. Three 
As soon then as I have received my instructions and «bjects .a 
classed the case and taken the matter in hand, the 

very first thing I determine is that point to which I 
must devote all such part of my speech as belongs 
peculiarly to the issue and the verdict. Next I con- 
template with the utmost care those other two 
essentials, the one involving the recommendation of 
myself or my clients, the other designed to sway the 

115 feelings of the tribunal in the desired direction. Thus 
for purposes of persuasion the art of speaking relies 
whoUy upon three things : theproof ofourallegations, 
the winning of our hearers' favour, and the rousing of 
their feehngs to whatever impulse our case may 

116 require. For purposes of proof, however, the material 



materies : una rerum earum, quae non exeogitantur 
ab oratore, sed in re positae ratione tractantur, ut 
tabulae, testimonia, paeta conventa, quaestiones, 
leges, senatus consulta, res iudicatae, decreta, re- 
sponsa, reliqua, si quae sunt, quae non ab oratore 
pariuntur, sed ad oratorem a causa atque a reis 
deferuntur ; altera est, quae tota in disputatione et 

117 in argumentatione oratoris coUocata est. Ita in 
superiore genere de tractandis argumentis, in hoc 
autem etiam de inveniendis cogitandum est. Atque 
isti quidem, qui docent, cum causas in plura genera 
secuerunt, singulis generibus argumentorum copiam 
suggerunt. Quod etiamsi ad instituendos adolescen- 
tulos magis aptum est, ut, simul ac posita causa sit, 
habeant quo se referant, unde statim expedita 
possint argumenta depromere, tamen et tardi ingenii 
est rivulos consectari, fontis rerum non videre, et 
iam aetatis est ususque nostri a capite quod velimus 
arcessere et unde omnia manent videre. 

118 Et primum genus illud earum rerum, quae ad 
oratorem deferuntur, meditatum nobis in perpetuum 
ad omnem usum similium rerum esse debebit ; nam et 
pro tabulis et contra tabulas et pro testibus et contra 
testes et pro quaestionibus et contra quaestiones 
et item de ceteris rebus eiusdem generis vel separa- 
tim dicere solemus de genere universo vel definite de 
singuhs temporibus, hominibus, causis ; quos quidem 
locos — vobis hoc, Cotta et Sulpici, dico— multa com- 
mentatione atque meditatione paratos atque expe- 


DE ORATORE, II. xxvii. 116-118 

at the orator's disposal is twofold, one kind made up Facts must 
of the things which are not thought out by himself, ||g,f|^^ 
but depend upon the circumstances and are dealt evidenceor 
with by rule, for example documents, oral evidence, ^'"S"'"'*'»*- 
informal agreements, examinations, statutes, decrees 
of the Senate, judicial precedents, magisterial orders, 
opinions of counsel, and whatever else is not pro- 
duced by the orator, but is suppUed to him by the 
case itself or by the parties : the other kind is founded 

117 entirely on the orator's reasoned argument. And so, Methods ot 
with the former sort, he need only consider the thesl)'"^ 
handUng of his proofs, but with the latter, the dis- acquired 
covery of them as well. And indeed those professors, ^ ® " ^ 
after distinguishing a larger number of types of cases, 
suggest proofs in plenty for each type. But, even if 

this plan is better fitted for training the young, to 
the end that, directly a case is propounded, they may 
have authorities from which they can forthwith 
borrow ready-made proofs, yet it is a symptom of 
congenital dullness to follow up the tiny rills, but fail 
to discern the sources of things : and by this time it 
is the privilege of men of our years and experience to 
call up what we want from the water's head, and to 
discern the springs of every stream. 

118 " And, to begin with, that class of things supplied to 
the orator we shaU have to study constantly, with a 
view to the general use of similar instances ; for in 
attacking or defending documents, witnesses or exam- 
inations by torture, and also in deaUng with aU other 
such subjects, it is our habit to discuss either the whole 
class in the abstract, or individual occasions, persons 
or circumstances in the concrete : these common- 
places (I am speaking to you, Cotta and Sulpicius) 
you ought, by dint of large study and practice, to 



119 ditos habere debetis. I^ongum est enim nunc me expli- 
care, qua ratione aut confirmare aut infirmare testes, 
tabulas, quaestiones oporteat. Haec sunt omnia in« 
genii vel mediocris, exercitationis autem maximae ; 
artem quidem et praecepta dumtaxat hactenus requi- 

120 runt, ut certis dicendi luminibus ornentur. Itemque 
illa, quae sunt alterius generis, quae tota ab oratore 
pariuntur, excogitationem non habent difficilem ; 
explicationem magis illustrem perpohtamque de- 
siderant. Itaque cum haec duo nobis quaerenda 
sint in causis, primvrai quid, deinde quo modo 
dicamus, alterum, quod totum arte tinctum videtur, 
tametsi artem requirit, tamen prudentiae est paene 
mediocris quid dicendum sit videre ; alterum est, in 
quo oratoris vis illa divina virtusque cernitur, ea, quae 
dicenda sunt, ornate, copiose varieque dicere. 

121 XXVIII. Qua re illam partem superiorem, quoniam 
semel ita vobis placuit, non recusabo quo minus 
perpoliam atque conficiam — quantum consequar, vos 
iudicabitis — quibus ex locis ad eas tres res, quae ad 
fidem faciendam solae valent, ducatur oratio, ut 
et concihentur animi et doceantur et moveantur. 
Haec sunt enim tria. Ea vero quem ad modum illus- 
trentur, praesto est, qui omnes docere possit, qui hoc 
primus in nostros mores induxit, qui maxime auxit, 

122 qui solus efFecit. Namque ego, Catule, — dicam enim 
non reverens assentandi suspicionem — neminem esse 
oratorem paulo illustriorem arbitror, neque Graecum 
neque Latinum, quem aetas nostra tulerit, quem non 
et saepe et diligenter audierim. Itaque si quid est in 
me — quod iam sperare videor, quoniam quidem vos, 

• i.e. inventio, or the discovery of what to say. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxvii. 119— xxviii. 122 

119 have ready at hand. It would be a long story for me 
to unfold just now the right way to corroborate or 
weaken witnesses, documents or examinations. All 
this demands no great talent but vast practice, and 
Art and her maxims only to this extent — that it be 

120 illuminated by good and efFective diction. So too 
those subjects of the other class, produced entirely 
by the orator, are easy enough to think out, but call 
for clearer and highly finished exposition. Thus, 
while in our cases we have these two objectives, first 
what to say, and secondly how to say it, the former, 
which seems to be art pure and simple, cannot indeed 
dispense with art, though it needs but ordinary skill 
to discover what ought to be said ; but it is in the 
latter that the orator's godhke power and excellence 
are discerned, that is, his delivery of what he has to 
say in a style elegant, copious and diversified. 

121 XXVIII. " Accordingly , as you have once for all so Mode of 
resolved, I shall not object to working out completely arguments 
(you will judge of the measure of my success) that etiectiveiy 
former ** portion, dealing with those commonplaces crassua. 
from which may be drawn a speech such as to attain 

those three things which alone can carry conviction ; 
I mean the winning over, the instructing and the 
stirring of men's minds. For these are the three. 
But how to embellish these arguments we have at 
hand him who could teach the world, the man who 
first made this accomplishment habitual among us, 
did most to improve it, and alone has mastered it. 

122 For I think, Catulus (and I shall say so without fear 
of being suspected of flattery), that I have Hstened 
often and attentively to every one of the rather more 
brilliant speakers of our day, Greek and Roman alike. 
And so, if there be anything in me (as I think I may 



his ingeniis homines, tantum operae mihi ad audien- 
dum datis — ex eo est, quod nihil quisquam umquam 
me audiente egit orator, quod non in memoria mea 
penitus insederit. Atque ego is, qui sum, quantus- 
cumque sum ad iudicandum, omnibus auditis oratori- 
bus, sine ulla dubitatione sic statuo et iudico, nemi- 
nem omnium tot et tanta, quanta sunt in Crasso, 

123 habuisse ornamenta dicendi. Quam ob rem, si vos 
quoque hoc idem existimatis, non erit, ut opinor, 
iniqua partitio, si, cum ego hunc oi-atorem, quem 
nunc fingo, ut institui, crearo, aluero, confirmaro, 
tradam eum Crasso et vestiendum et ornandum. 

124 Tum Crassus : Tu vero, inquit, Antoni, perge, ut 
instituisti. Neque enim est boni neque Uberalis 
parentis, quem procrearis et eduxeris, eum non et 
vestire et ornare, praesertim cum te locupletem 
esse negare non possis. Quod enim ornamentum, 
quae vis, qui animus, quae dignitas ilU oratori defuit, 
qui in causa peroranda non dubitavit excitare reum 
consularem et eius diloricare tunicam et iudicibus 
cicatrices adversas senis imperatoris ostendere ? Qui 
idem, hoc accusante Sulpicio, cum hominem sedi- 
tiosum furiosumque defenderet, non dubitavit sedi- 
tiones ipsas ornare, ac demonstrare gravissimis verbis 
multos saepe impetus populi non iniustos esse, quos 
praestare nemo possit ; multas etiam e re publica 
seditiones saepe esse factas, ut cum reges essent 
exacti, ut cum tribunicia potestas constituta ; 
illam Norbani seditionem ex luctu civium et ex 

• M'. Aquilius, see § 194 n 
» See § 197 n. 


DE ORATORE, II. xxviii. 122-124 

hope there is, now that men of your talents take so 
much trouble to hear me), it is because no orator 
ever delivered a speech in my hearing which did not 
settle deep within my memory. And I, being what 
I am, and so far as I am competent to judge, after 
hearing all the orators, do unhesitatingly decree and 
pronounce as follows, that not one of them all 
possessed so many and excellent resources of diction 

123 as appear in Crassus. Therefore, if you share this 
estimate of mine, it will, I think, be no unfair division 
of labour if, having begotten, nurtured and made 
strong this orator, whom I am now moulding as I 
planned, I hand him over to Crassus, to be clothed 
and fitted out." 

124 Here Crassus observed : " Nay, Antonius, you go Cnwsus 
on with your plan. For it ill becomes a good and A^tonius to 
generous father to refuse clothing and equipment to expiain his 
the child you have begotten and reared, especially ^hod. 

as you cannot plead poverty. For what (id that 
advocate lack, in the way of resource, passion, energy 
or greatness, who in closing his case did not hesitate 
to call forward the defendanf of consular rank, and 
tear open his tunic, and display to the tribunal the 
scars on the old generars breast ? Who again, in his 
defence of a factious and frenzied client, prosecuted 
by Sulpicius here, did not hesitate to glorify civil dis- 
cord in itself, and to show, in most convincing terms, 
that many popular movements are justifiable, and no 
one by any possibility answerable for them ; that 
moreover civil discord has often been aroused in the 
interest of the community, witness the expulsion of 
the kings and the establishment of the authority of 
tribunes ; that the outbreak of Norbanus,^ arising as 
it did from pubHc mourning and indignation against 



Caepionis odio, qui exercitum amiserat, neque re- 

125 primi potuisse et iure esse conflatam ? Potuit hic 
locus tam anceps, tam inauditus, tam lubricus, tam 
novus sine quadam incredibili vi ac facultate dicendi 
tractari ? Quid ego de Cn. Mallii, quid de Q. Regis 
commiseratione dicam ? Quid de aliis innumerabili- 
bus ? in quibus non hoc maxime enituit, quod tibi 
omnes dant, acumen quoddam singulare, sed haec 
ipsa, quae nunc ad me delegare vis, ea semper in 
te eximia et praestantia fuerunt. 

126 XXIX. Tum Catulus : Ego vero, inquit, in vobis 
hoc maxime admirari soleo, quod, cum inter vos in 
dicendo dissimillimi sitis, ita tamen uterque vestrum 
dicat, ut ei nihil neque a natura denegatum neque a 
doctrina non delatum esse videatur. Qua re, Crasse, 
neque tu tua suavitate nos prfvabis, ut, si quid ab 
Antonio aut praetermissum aut relictum sit, non 
explices ; neque te, Antoni, si quid non dixeris, 
existimabimus non potuisse potius quam a Crasso 
dici maluisse. 

127 Hic Crassus : Quin tu, inquit, Antoni, omittis 
ista, quae proposuisti, quae nemo horum desiderat : 
quibus ex locis ea, quae dicenda sunt in causis, re- 
periantur ; quae quamquam a te novo quodam modo 
praeclareque dicuntur, sunt tamen et re faciliora 
et praeceptis pervagata. IUa deprome nobis unde 
afferas, quae saepissime tractas semperque divini- 
tus. Depromam equidem, inquit, et quo facilius 


DE ORATORE, II. xxviii. 124— xxix. 127 

Caepio, who had lost his army, could not have been 

125 restrained and was justifiably kindled. Could this 
line of argument, so hazardous, startling, treacherous 
and unfamiliar, be handled otherwise than by 
oratorical power and readiness truly marvellous ? 
What shall I say of the lamentation over Gnaeus 
Mallius, or of that over Quintus Rex ? What of 
countless other cases, wherein the really unequalled 
acuteness, universally recognized as yours, was not 
the most brilliant feature, but those very qualifica- 
tions, which you would now delegate to me, were 
consistently displayed in outstanding excellence by 
yourself ? " 

126 XXIX. " For my part," interposed Catulus, " the 
thing about you two which most persistently excites 
my wonder is, that while you are utterly different in 
style, yet each speaks as though nothing had been 
denied him by nature or withheld from him by train- 
ing. And so, Crassus, you will not stint us of your 
charm to the extent of decUning to expound any thing 
passed over or left out by Antonius, nor shall we 
suppose, Antonius, that you could have a speaker 
more welcome to you than Crassus, to say what you 
may have omitted to say." 

127 " Not so, Antonius," continued Crassus, " rather 
please omit that part of your programme which none 
of ourfriends here wants, touching the commonplaces 
which supply us with what we have to say in our 
cases : although you discuss these things with brilliant 
originality, they are for all that really rather easy 
and widely current in maxims. Produce for us the 
sources of what you so often handle and always in 
inspired fashion." " I will certainly produce them," 
replied the other, " and, the more readily to exact 



id a te exigam, quod petam, nihil tibi a me 

128 postulanti recusabo. Meae totius orationis et 
istius ipsius in dicendo facultatis, quam modo 
Crassus in caelum verbis extulit, tres sunt rationes, 
ut ante dixi : una conciliandorum hominum, altera 

129 docendorum, tertia concitandorum. Harum trium 
partium prima lenitatem orationis, secunda acu- 
men, tertia vim desiderat. Nam hoc necesse est, ut 
is, qui nobis causam adiudicaturus sit, aut inclina- 
tione voluntatis propendeat in nos, aut defensionis 
argumentis adducatur, aut animi permotione cogatur. 
Sed quoniam illa pars, in qua rerum ipsarum expli- 
catio ac defensio posita est, videtur omnem huius 
generis quasi doctrinam continere, de ea primum 
loquemur et pauca dicemus. Pauca enim sunt, quae 
usu iam tractata et animo quasi notata habere 

130 XXX. Ac tibi sapienter monenti, Crasse, libenter 
assentiemur, ut singularum causarum defensiones 
quas solent magistri pueris tradere, relinquamus, 
aperiamus autem capita ea, unde omnis ad omnem et 
causam et orationem disputatio ducitur. Neque 
enim, quotiens verbum aliquod est scribendum nobis, 
totiens eius verbi litterae sunt cogitatione conqui- 
rendae ; nec quotiens causa dicenda est, totiens ad 
eius causae seposita argumenta revolvi nos oportet, 
sed habere certos locos, qui, ut litterae ad verbum 
scribendum, sic illi ad causam explicandam statim 

131 occurrant. Sed hi loci ei demum oratori prodesse 
possunt, qui est versatus in rerum vel usu, quem aetas 

DE ORATORE, II. xxix. 127— xxx. 131 

what I want from you, I will refuse nothing that you 

128 demand of me. Under my whole oratorical system 
and that very readiness in speaking which Crassus 
just now lauded to the skies, lie three principles, as I 
said before, first the winning of men's favour, secondly 

129 their enlightenment, thirdly their excitement. Of 
these three the first calls for gentleness of style, the 
second for acuteness, the third for energy. For, of 
necessity, the arbitrator who is to decide in our 
favour must either lean to our side by natural inclina- 
tion, or be won over by the arguments for the defence, 
or constrained by stirring his feelings. But as the 
portion including the exposition of the actual facts 
and the line of defence seems to include the whole 
doctrine on this subject, we will speak of that first 
and briefly. For there are a few points which I have 
perhaps already handled in practice and noted in 
my memory. 

130 XXX. " And I shall gladly follow your good Bmpioy- 
counsel, Crassus, ignoring the lines of defence ?^ommor 
proper to particular types of cases, as taught piaces.* 
regularly by the professors to the boys, while I 

open up the sources from which the whole argument 
for every case and speech is derived. For just as, 
whenever we have some word to write, we need not 
search out its component letters by hard thinking, 
so, whenever we have some case to argue, our right 
course is not to fall back upon proofs laid away for 
that particular type of cases, but to have in readiness 
sundry commonplaces which will instantly present 
themselves for setting forth the case, as the letters 

131 do for writing the word. But these commonplaces 
can be useful only to a speaker who is a man of 
affairs, qualified by experience, which age assuredly 



denique affert, vel auditione et cogitatione, quae 
studio et diligentia praecurrit aetatem. Nam si tu 
mihi quamvis eruditum hominem adduxeris, quamvis 
acrem et acutum in cogitando, quamvis ad pro- 
nuntiandum expeditum, si erit idem in consuetudine 
civitatis, in exemplis, in institutis, in moribus ac 
voluntatibus civium suorum hospes, non multum ei 
loci proderunt illi, ex quibus argumenta promuntur. 
Subacto mihi ingenio opus est, ut agro non semel 
arato, sed et^ novato et iterato, quo mehores fetus 
possit et grandiores edere. Subactio autem est usus, 
auditio, lectio, litterae. 
132 Ac primum naturam causae videat, quae numquam 
latet, factumne sit quaeratur, an quale sit, an quod 
nomen habeat ; quo perspecto statim occurrit 
naturali quadam prudentia, non his subductionibus, 
quas isti docent, quid faciat causam, id est, quo 
sublato controversia stare non possit ; deinde quid 
veniat in iudicium, quod isti sic iubent quaerere. 
' Interfecit Opimius Gracchum. Quid facit causam ? 
Quod rei publicae causa, cum ex senatus consulto ad 
arma vocasset. Hoc toUe, causa non erit. At id 
ipsirni negat contra leges licuisse Decius. Veniet 
igitur in iudicium licueritne ex senatus consulto 
servandae rei publicae causa.' Perspicua sunt haec 
quidem et in volgari prudentia sita ; sed illa quae- 

^ et add. Beid ; [novato et] alii. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxx. 131-132 

brings, or by listening and reflection, which through 
careful study outruns age. For bring me a man 
as accompUshed, as clear and acute in thinking, 
and as ready in delivery as you please ; if, for 
all that, he is a stranger to social intercourse, 
precedent, tradition, and the manners and dis- 
position of his fellow-countrymen, those common- 
places from which proofs are derived will avail 
him but Httle. I must have talent which has been 
cultivated, soil, as it were, not of a single ploughing, 
but both broken and given a second ploughing so as 
to be capable of bearing better and more abundant 
produce. And the cultivation is practice, listening, 
reading and written composition. 
132 " And let the pupil first discern the nature of a Some 
case, never an obscure thing, whether the question '^1^^°^' 
relate to the doing of an act, or to its character or aiways 
right designation : this once ascertained, the sub- ^^*' * 
stance of the case, or that without which the dis- 
cussion must collapse, leaps instantly to the mind, 
through what I may call native intuition, not through 
the reckonings taught by those people ; next he 
must determine the issue to be decided, which they 
would have him investigate as follows. ' Opimius 
killed Gracchus. What is the substance of the 
case .'' That he did so in the interest of the com- 
munity, after proclaiming a state of war in obedience 
to the Senate's decree. Strike out this plea, and 
there will be no case. Decius however denies the 
legality of the decree itself, as being contrary to 
statute. So the issue will be whether the Senates 
decree and the salvation of the community justified 
the act.' These points are quite clear and within 
the compass of ordinary knowledge, but a search is 



renda, quae et ab accusatore et a defensore argu- 
menta ad id, quod in iudicium venit, spectantia 
debent afFerri. 

133 XXXI. Atque hic illud videndum est, in quo sum- 
mus est error istorum magistrorum, ad quos liberos 
nostros mittimus, non quo hoc quidem ad dicendum 
magno opere pertineat, sed tamen ut videatis quam^ 
sit genus hoc eorum qui sibi eruditi videntur hebes 
atque impolitum.* Constituunt enim in partiendis 
orationum modis duo genera causarum : unum ap- 
pellant, in quo sine personis atque temporibus de 
universo genere quaeratur ; alterum, quod personis 
certis et temporibus definiatur ; ignari omnes con- 
troversias ad universi generis vim et naturam referri. 

134 Nam in ea ipsa causa, de qua ante dixi, nihil pertinet 
ad oratoris locos Opimii persona, nihil Decii. De 
ipso universo genere infinita quaestio est, num 
poena videatur esse aflSciendus, qui civem ex senatus 
consulto patriae conservandae causa interemerit, 
cum id per leges non Uceret. Nulla denique est 
causa, in qua id, quod in iudicium venit, reorura 
personis ac non generum ipsorum universa dubitatione 

135 quaeratur. Quin etiam in eis ipsis, ubi de facto 
ambigitur, ceperitne pecunias contra leges P. 
Decius, argumenta et criminum et defensionis revo- 
centur oportet ad genus et ad naturam universam : 
quod sumptuosus, de luxurie, quod aUeni appetens, 
de avaritia, quod seditiosus, de turbulentis et mahs 

^ quam Piderit : quale. 
[hebes atque impolitum] Kayser. 


DE ORATORE, II. xxx. 132— xxxi. 135 

necessary to discover the proofs, bearing upon the 
issue, which are proper to be adduced by the prose- 
cution and the defence respectively. 

133 XXXI. " And here we must notice the very great Errorof 
mistake made by those professors, to whom we ^common? 
send our sons ; not indeed that this has much to do piaces ' from 
with speaking, but just to let you see how dull and 
inelegant is this class of the people who fancy thera- • 
selves accompHshed. For in their division of the 
diflPerent kinds of speeches they set up two sorts 

of cases : one they describe as raising general 
questions, not related to individuals or occasions ; 
and the other as depending upon specific individuals 
and occasions ; not knowing that any debate what- 
soever can be brought under the notion and quaUty 

134 of the general kind. For, in the very case I 
mentioned just now, the personahty of Opimius 
or of Decius has nothing to do with the orator*s 
commonplaces. There is an abstract question of a 
purely general kind, * Is a defendant to be deemed 
deserving of punishment, who has slain a fellow- 
countryman in obedience to a decree of the Senate, 
and for the salvation of his native land, though by 
statute such act was unlawful ? ' There is in fact 
no case wherein the issue for decision turns on the 
personaUties of the parties, and not on the abstract 

135 discussion of general conceptions. Indeed, even 
where the question is one of pure fact, such as 
* Did Publius Decius take moneys unlawfully ? ' the 
evidence for prosecution and defence alike must 
have reference to general terms and essential 
qualities : to convict of extravagance you must 
refer to profusion ; of covetousness, to greed ; of 
sedition, to turbulent and wicked members of 



civibus, quod a multis arguitur, de genere testium, 
contraque, quae pro reo dicentur, omnia necessario a 
tempore atque homine ad communes renun et gene- 

136 rum summas revolventur. Atque haec forsitan 
homini non omnia, quae sunt in natura rerum, 
celeriter animo comprehendenti permulta videantur, 
quae veniant in iudicium tum, cum de facto quae- 
ratur; sed tamen criminum multitudo est et de- 
fensionum, non locorum infinita. 

137 XXXII. Quae vero, cum de facto non ambigitur, 
quaeruntur, qualia sint, ea si ex reis numeres, et 
innumerabilia sunt et obscura ; si ex rebus, valde 
et modica et illustria. Nam si Mancini causam in uno 
Mancino ponimus, quotienscumque is, quem pater 
patratus dediderit, receptus non erit, totiens causa 
nova nascetur. Sin illa controversia causam facit, 
videaturne ei, quem pater patratus dediderit, si is 
non sit receptus, postliminium esse, nihil ad artem 
dicendi nec ad argumenta defensionis Mancini 

138 nomen pertinet. Ac, si quid affert praeterea hominis 
aut dignitas aut indignitas, extra quaestionem est et 
ea tamen ipsa oratio ad universi generis disputa- 
tionem referatur necesse est. Haec ego non eo 
consiho disputo, ut homines eruditos redarguam ; 
quamquam reprehendendi sunt qui in genere de- 
finiendo istas causas describunt in personis et in 

139 temporibus positas esse. Nam etsi incurrunt tempora 

* See Book I, xL 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxi. 135— xxxii. 139 

the community ; to prove that the defendants 
accusers are many, you must deal with witnesses 
in the mass : and conversely all the evidence for 
the defence will have to turn away from the 
particular occasion and individual to general con- 

136 ceptions of circumstances and kinds. And, to a 
man who is slow in his intellectual apprehension of 
all that there is in Hfe, the issues arising for decision 
on questions of fact may perhaps seem very numerous, 
but in reaHty it is the charges and the Hnes of 
defence, not the commonplaces, which are endless 
in their variety. 

137 XXXII. But the cases wherein there is no ques- The great 
tion of fact, and only the character of an act is in variety of 

11. • 11 t . . .n 1 1 cases can be 

doubt, are innumerable and mtricate if reckoned brougiit 
up by the actors, but very few and clear if reckoned heals.^^^ 
up by the acts. For, if we confine the decision in 
the Case of Majicinus '^ to Mancinus alone, then every 
time the surrender of anyone deHvered up by the 
Priestly Envoy has been rejected, a fresh debate 
wiH begin. But, if the substance of that case is 
the problem ' Whether a man deHvered up by the 
Priestly Envoy has the right of re-entry if his 
surrender is rejected,' then the person of Mancinus 
has nothing to do with the art of speaking or the 

138 evidence for the defence. Moreover whatever help 
a mans worth or his want of it afFords is irrelevant 
to the inquiry, and yet that part of the speech also 
must be classed as discussion of a general proposi- 
tion. I treat these matters not in order to contradict 
accompHshed people, though they are to be censured 
who, in determining their classification, define such 
cases as depending upon specific individuals and 

139 occasions. For occasions and individuals do indeed 

L 297 


et personae, tamen intellegendum est, non ex eis, sed 
ex genere quaestionis pendere causas. Sed hoc 
nihil ad me ; nuUum enim nobis certamen cum istis 
esse debet. Tantum satis est intellegi ne hoc quidem 
eos consecutos, quod in tanto otio, etiam sine hac 
forensi exercitatione, efficere potuerunt, ut genera 
rerum discernerent eaque paulo subtilius explicarent. 

140 Verum hoc, ut dixi, nihil ad me. Illud ad me ac 
multo etiam magis ad vos, Cotta noster et Sulpici : 
quo modo nunc se istorum artes habent, pertimes- 
cenda est multitudo causarum ; est enim infinita, si 
in personis ponitur ; quot homines, tot causae ; sin ad 
generum universas quaestiones referuntur, ita modicae 
et paucae sunt, ut eas omnes diligentes et memores 
et sobrii oratores percursas animo et prope dicam 
decantatas habere debeant ; nisi forte existimatis 
a M'. Curio causam didicisse L. Crassum et ea re 
multa attulisse, quam ob rem postumo non nato 
Curium tamen heredem Coponii esse oporteret. 

141 Nihil ad copiam argmnentorum neque ad causae vim 
ac naturam nomen Coponii aut Curii pertinuit. In 
genere erat universo rei negotiique, non in tempore 
ac nominibus, omnis quaestio : cum scriptum ita sit 
Si mihi JiUus genitur, isque prius moritur, et cetera, 
tum mihi ille sit heres, si natus filius non sit, 
videaturne is, qui filio mortuo institutus heres sit, 

" See Book I, § 180. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxii. 139-141 

enter into the inquiry, but it must be understood 
that the cases do not depend upon these, but upon 
general questions. This however is nothing to me, 
for we are not obhged to quarrel with those people. 
It is quite enough to make it known that they have 
not even succeeded in distinguishing difFerent classes 
of things, and in describing them a little more 
accurately, as with their unbounded leisure they 
could have done, even though they lacked our own 

140 public practice. But this, as I said, is nothing to 
me. What is important to me, and far more so 
to you, friends Cotta and Sulpicius, is that, in 
the present stage of those men's attainments, a 
multiplicity of cases is greatly to be feared ; for their 
variety is endless if they are identified with indi- 
viduals ; every man then has his case ; but, if they 
are brought under general heads of inquiry, they are 
so ordinary and so few that careful and thoughtful 
speakers with good memories should be able to 
handle them all, after mentally running through 
them and all but sing-songing them ; unless you 
happen to think that Lucius Crassus got up his brief 
from Manius Curius," and for that reason adduced 
all those grounds for holding Curius entitled to 
succeed as heir to Coponius, though no posthumous 

141 son had been born. The identity of Coponius or of 
Curius had nothing to do with the wealth of argu- 
ment or with the essential character of the case, 
The whole inquiry turned upon an abstract question, 
founded in the facts of the matter, not in any occasion 
or personalities : the words in the will being ' If a 
son is horn to me, and such son dies bejhre, etc., then let 
So-and-so he my heir,' and no son having in fact been 
born, ought that party to inherit who was nominated 



heres esse. Perpetui iuris et universi generis quaestio 
non hominum nomina, sed rationem dicendi et argu- 
mentorum fontes desiderat. 

142 XXXIII. In quo etiam isti nos iuris consulti im- 
pediunt a discendoque deterrent. Video enim in 
Catonis et in Bruti libris nominatim fere referri quid 
alicui de iure viro aut mulieri responderit : credo, ut 
putaremus in hominibus, non in re, consultationis aut 
dubitationis causam aliquam fuisse ; ut, quod ho- 
mines innumerabiles essent, debilitati a iure cog- 
noscendo voluntatem discendi simul cum spe per- 
discendi abiceremus. Sed haec Crassus aliquando 
nobis expediet et exponet discripta generatim ; est 
enim, ne forte nescias, heri nobis ille hoc, Catule, 
pollicitus se ius civile, quod nunc diflPusum et dis- 
sipatmn esset, in certa genera coacturum et ad artem 
facilem redacturum. 

143 Et quidem, inquit Catulus, haudquaquam id est 
difficile Crasso, qui et, quod disci potuit de iure, 
didicit et, quod eis, qui eum docuerunt, defuit, ipse 
aflFeret, ut, quae sint in iure, vel apte discribere vel 
ornate illustrare possit. Ergo ista, inquit Antonius, 
tum a Crasso discemus, cum se de turba et a subselliis 

144 in otium, ut cogitat, soliumque contulerit. lam id 
quidem saepe, inquit Catulus, ex eo audivi, cum 
diceret sibi certiun esse a iudiciis causisque discedere ; 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxii. 141— xxxiii. 144 

heir in substitution for a deceased son ? An inquiry 
depending upon a fixed and general rule of law 
needs no men's names, but methodical presentation 
and the sources of arguments. 

142 XXXIII. " And here again those learned lawyers 
embarrass us and frighten us away from more learn- 
ing. For I observe that in the treatises of Cato and 
Brutus the advice given by counsel to cHents of either 
sex is generally set down with the parties named : 
I suppose, to make us think that some reason for 
seeking advice or for the discussion originated in 
the parties and not in the circumstances ; to the 
end that, seeing the parties to be innumerable, we 
might be discouraged from studying the law, and 
might cast away our inchnation to learn at the 
same moment as our hope of mastery. But these 
matters Crassus will one day disentangle for us and 
set forth arranged under heads ; for you must know, 
Catulus, that yesterday he promised us that he 
would collect under definite heads the common law, 
at present dispersed in disorder, and would reduce 
it to an easy system." 

143 " To be sure," answered Catulus, " that is easy 
enough for Crassus, who has learned all there is to 
be learned about law, and will personally supply the 
deficiencies of his teachers, to make it possible for 
liim to arrange fittingly and elucidate elegantly the 
contents of the law." " Well then," said Antonius, 
" we shall learn those things from Crassus, when 
as he is thinking of doing, he has withdrawn from 
the hubbub of the Courts to the peace of his 

144 armchair." " I have often heard him say so," re- 
joined Catulus, " when he has been announcing his 
resolve to retire from practice at the Bar, but, as I 



sed, ut ipsi soleo dicere, non licebit ; neque enim ipse 
auxilium suum saepe a viris bonis frustra implorari 
patietur neque id aequo animo feret civitas, quae si 
voce L. Crassi carebit, ornamento quodam sese 
spoliatam putabit. Nam hercle, inquit Antonius, 
si haec vere a Catulo dicta sunt, tibi mecum in eodem 
est pistrino, Crasse, vivendum ; et istam oscitantem 
et dormitantem sapientiam Scaevolarum et cete- 

145 rorum beatorum otio concedamus. Arrisit hic 
Crassus leniter et : Pertexe modo, inquit, Antoni, 
quod exorsus es ; me tamen ista oscitans sapientia, 
simul atque ad eam confugero, in hbertatem vin- 

XXXIV. Huius quidem loci, quem modo sum 
exorsus, hic est finis, inquit Antonius ; quoniam 
intellegitur non in hominum innumerabilibus per- 
sonis neque in infinita temporum varietate, sed in 
generum causis atque naturis omnia sita esse, quae in 
dubium vocarentur, genera autem esse definita non 
solum numero, sed etiam paucitate, ut eam materiem 
orationis, quae cuiusque esset generis, studiosi qui 
essent dicendi, omnibus locis discriptam, instructam 
omatamque comprehenderent rebus dico et senten- 

146 tiis. Ea vi sua verba parient, quae semper satis 
ornata mihi quidem videri solent, si eius modi sunt, ut 
ea res ipsa peperisse videatur. Ac si verum quaeritis, 
quod mihi quidem videatur — nihil enim ahud affir- 
mare possum nisi sententiam et opinionem meam — 
hoc instrumentum causarum et generum universorum 
in forum deferre debemus neque, ut quaeque res 
delata ad nos erit, tum denique scrutari locos, ex 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxui. 144^xxxiv. 146 

always tell him, he will not get the chance : for he 
himself will seldom sufFer his aid to be begged in 
vain by men of worth, nor will the community bear 
it, but will think itself robbed of its jewel, as it were, 
if it miss the tones of Lucius Crassus." " Upon my 
word, Crassus," interposed Antonius, " if Catulus 
has been telling the truth, you and I will have to 
pass our lives together in the same pounding-mill ; 
and we shall let leisure have ( — and welcome too) 
that yawning and drowsy philosophizing of men like 

145 Scaevola and the others who are lucky." Crassus 
laughed quietly at this, observing, " Just weave out 
the warp you have begun, Antonius, but that yawn- 
ing Philosophy of yours, when once I have found 
sanctuary with her, will claim my freedom." 

XXXIV. " This then," resumed Antonius, " is the Necessity 
aim of the topic whose warp I opened just now : it equippfd in 
beinff understood that all the possible subiects of adyance 
debate are not founded on a countless host of human ments— 
beings or an endless diversity of occasions, but on by^^idyr 
t^rpical cases and characters, and that the types are 
not merely limited in number but positively few, I 
wished the devotees of eloquence to contemplate the 
fabric of speeches of the several kinds, in distribution 
under all the headings, and in good order and well 

146 furnished, with facts, I mean, and reflections. These 
things, by their own natural force, will beget the 
words, which I, at any rate, always think well enough 
found, if they are such as seem to grow out of the 
inherent circumstances. And if you want the truth, 
at any rate as I see it (for I can assert only my own 
verdict and belief), we ought to bring this stock of 
cases and types down to Court with us, and not wait 
until we have accepted a brief, before we search the 



quibus argumenta eruamus ; quae quidem omnibus, 
qui ea mediocriter modo considerarint, studio adhibito 
et usu pertractata esse possunt ; sed tamen animus 
referendus est ad ea capita et ad illos, quos saepe 
iam appellavi, locos, ex quibus omnia ad omnem 

147 orationem inventa ducuntur. Atque hoc totum est 
sive artis sive animadversionis sive consuetudinis 
nosse regiones, intra quas venere et pervestiges, 
quod quaeras. Ubi eum locum omnem cogitatione 
saepseris, si modo usu rerum percallueris, nihil te 
eflPugiet atque omne, quod erit in re, occurret atque 

XXXV. Et sic, cum ad inveniendum in dicendo 
tria sint : acumen, deinde ratio, quam licet, si volu- 
mus, appellemus artem, tertium diligentia, non 
possum equidem non ingenio primas concedere, sed 
tamen ipsum ingenium diligentia etiam ex tarditate 

148 incitat ; diligentia, inquam, quae cum omnibus in 
rebus tum in causis defendendis plurimum valet. 
Haec praecipue colenda est nobis ; haec semper 
adhibenda ; haec nihil est quod non assequatur. 
Causa ut penitus, quod initio dixi, nota sit, diligentia 
est ; ut adversarium attente audiamus atque ut eius 
non solum sententias, sed etiam verba omnia ex- 
cipiamus, voltus denique perspiciamus omnes, qui 

149 sensus animi plerumque indicant, diligentia est. Id 
tamen dissimulanter facere, ne sibi ille aliquid pro- 
ficere videatur, prudentia est. Deinde ut in eis locis, 
quos proponam paulo post, pervolvatur animus, ut 
penitus insinuet in causam, ut sit cura et cogitatione 


DE ORATORE, II. xxxiv. 146— xxxv. 149 

commonplaces, from which to dig out our proofs ; 
which indeed can be handled, after no very deep 
consideration, by anyone who is helped by study and 
practice, but for all that the mind must needs return 
to those headings and those commonplaces which I 
have often mentioned as such already, from which 
every device for every speech whatever is derived. 

147 Again, in art, in observation and in practice alike, it 
is everything to be famihar with the ground over 
which you are to chase and track down your quarry. 
When you have mentally encompassed all that area, 
if only you are quite hardened to practical dealings, 
nothing will escape you, but every detail of an affair 
will come up with a rush and fall into your net. 

XXXV. " And so, since in oratory three things are 
necessary to discovery of arguments, first acuteness, 
secondly theory, or art, as we may call it if we Hke, 
and thirdly painstaking, I must needs grant pride of 
place to talent, though talent itself is roused from 

148 lethargy by painstaking, painstaking, I repeat, which 
is always valuable, and most of all in fighting a case. 
This virtue we must especially cultivate and ever be 
caUing it to our aid ; there is nothing that this cannot 
attain. By painstaking comes that intimate know- 
ledge of a case, to which I alluded at first ; it is pains- 
taking to listen with close attention to our opponent, 
and so as to catch not only his periods, but his every 
word as well, and finally to read all his changes of 
countenance, which generally gives the clue to his 

149 frame of mind. But to do this unobtrusively, so that 
he may not think he has scored a point, is discretion. 
Then that the mind should dwell upon those common- 
places which I shall set forth presently, that it should 
worm itself into the roots of a matter, with its powers 



intentus, diligentia est ; ut his rebus adhibeat tam- 
quam lumen aliquod memoriam, ut vocem, ut vires, 

160 diligentia est. Inter ingenium quidem et diligentiam 
perpaulvun loci reliquum est arti. Ars demonstrat 
tantum, ubi quaeras, atque ubi sit illud, quod studeas 
invenire ; reliqua sunt in cura, attentione animi, 
cogitatione, vigilantia, assiduitate, labore ; com- 
plectar uno verbo, quo saepe iam usi sumus, diU- 
gentia ; qua una virtute omnes virtutes reliquae 

151 continentur. Nam orationis quidem copia videmus 
ut abundent philosophi, qui, ut opinor — sed tu haec, 
Catule, melius — nulla dant praecepta dicendi nec 
idcirco minus, quaecumque res proposita est, susci- 
piunt, de qua copiose et abundanter loquantur. 

162 XXXVI. Tum Catulus : Est, inquit, ut dicis, 
Antoni, ut plerique philosophi nulla tradant praecepta 
dicendi et habeant paratum tamen quid de quaque 
re dicant. Sed Aristoteles, is, quem ego maxime 
admiror, proposuit quosdam locos, ex quibus omnis 
argumenti via non modo ad philosophorum dis- 
putationem, sed etiam ad hanc, qua in causis 
utimur, inveniretur ; a quo quidem homine iam 
dudum, Antoni, non aberrat oratio tua, sive tu 
simiUtudine iUius divini ingenii in eadem incurris 
vestigia sive etiam illa ipsa legisti atque didicisti, 
quod quidem magis veri simile videtur. Plus enim 
te operae Graecis dedisse rebus video, quam 

153 putaramus. Tum ille : Verum, inquit, ex me 

" In Topica. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxv. 149— xxxvi. 153 

of attention and thought at full stretch, is still pains- 
taking ; to supplement all this with the toreh of 
memory, with intonation and with energy, is pains- 

150 taking once more. Indeed between talent and 
painstaking there is very little room left for art. Art 
merely points out where to search, and the locahty 
of what you are anxious to find : all else depends on 
carefulness, mental concentration, reflection, watch- 
fulness, persistence and hard work ; I shall sum up 
these in the single word I have often used already, 
painstaking to wit, on which single virtue all other 

161 virtues are dependent. For we notice the over- 
flowing copiousness of the diction of the philosophers 
who, I think (though you, Catulus, are better in- 
formed on these points), prescribe no rules for speak- 
ing, but none the less undertake to discuss with 
overflowing copiousness, whatever subject is laid 
before them." 

152 XXXVI. Thereupon Catulus remarked, " You are simiiar 
right, Antonius, in saying that most philosophers ^^J^^tie. 
prescribe no rules for speaking, and yet have some- 
thing ready to say about everything. Aristotle, 
however, my own most particular admiration, set 
forth <» certain commonplaces, among which every line 
of argument might be found, not merely for philo- 
sophical debate, but also for our own contentions in 
the Courts : it is certainly long, Antonius, since your 
own style deviated from his principles, whether it be 
that through hkeness to that godUke genius you fall 
into the same track, or, as seems far more probable, 
you too have perused and learned those very maxims. 
For I perceive that you have bestowed more pains 

163 on Greek Hterature than we had supposed." And 
the other answered, " Catulus, I will tell you the 



audies, Catule : semper ego existimavi iucundiorem 
et probabiliorem huic populo oratorem fore, qui 
primum quam minimam artificii alicuius, deinde 
nuUam Graecarum rerimi significationem daret. At- 
que ego idem existimavi pecudis esse, non hominis, 
cum tantas res Graeci susciperent, profiterentur, 
agerent seseque et videndi res obscurissimas et 
bene vivendi et copiose dicendi rationem daturos 
hominibus pollicerentur, non admovere aurem et, 
si palam audire eos non auderes, ne minueres apud 
tuos cives auctoritatem tuam, subauscultando tamen 
excipere voces eorum et procul quid narrarent at- 
tendere. Itaque feci, Catule, et istorum omnium 
siunmatim causas et genera ipsa gustavi. 
X64 XXXVII. Valde hercule, inquit Catulus, timide 
tamquam ad aliquem libidinis scopulum sic tuam 
mentem ad philosophiam appulisti, quam haec civitas 
aspernata numquam est. Nam et referta quondam 
Italia Pythagoreorum fuit tum, cum erat in hac 
gente magna illa Graecia ; ex quo etiam quidam 
Numam Pompilium, regem nostrum, fuisse Pytha- 
goreum ferunt ; qui annis ante permultis fuit quam 
ipse Pythagoras ; quo etiam maior vir habendus est, 
quod illam sapientiam constituendae civitatis duobus 
prope saecuUs ante cognovit, quam eam Graeci natam 
esse senserunt. Et certe non tuUt uUos haec civitas 
aut gloria clariores aut auctoritate graviores aut 
humanitate poUtiores P. Africano, C. LaeUo, L. 
Furio, qui secum eruditissimos homines ex Graecia 


DE ORATORE, II. xxxvi. 153— xxxvii. 154 

truth : I always considered that a speaker would be 
more pleasing and acceptable to a nation like ours 
if he were to show, first, as Uttle trace as possible of 
any artifice, and secondly none whatever of things 
Greek. And at the same time I considered that, 
with the Greelis undertaking, professing and achiev- 
ing such marvels, and promising to reveal to mankind 
the way to understand the profoundest mysteries, to 
Hve rightly and to speak copiously, it would be brutish 
and inhuman not to lend an ear, and, though perhaps 
not venturing to listen to them openly, for fear of 
lessening your influence with your fellow-citizens, 
yet to pick up their sayings by eavesdropping, and 
keep a look-out from afar for their talk. Accordingly 
I did so, Catulus, and took a little taste of the cases 
and actual types of all those friends of yours." 
164 XXXVII. " Upon my word," said Catulus, " you Roman 
are hke a pilot cautiously steering towards a danger- ?o^^"j|^ 
ous reef, some Sirens' isle, when you direct your phUosophy. 
mind to Philosophy, which this country has never 
disdained ! For even of old Italy was crowded with 
Pythagoreans, in the days when a part of this land 
was Great Greece as they called it ; so that some 
even claim our King Numa Pompilius as a Pytha- 
gorean, though he lived very many years earlier 
than Pythagoras himself, for which reason he must be 
accounted an even greater man, in that he mastered 
the famous science of community-building nearly 
two centuries before the Greeks perceived its exist- 
ence. And surely this community has produced no 
men of more splendid fame, more weighty influence 
or more polished manners, than PubHus Africanus, 
Gaius Laelius and Lucius Furius, who at all times 
and in public had about them most accomphshed 



166 palam semper habuerunt. Atque ego hoc ex eis 
saepe audivi, cum dicerent pergratum Athenienses 
et sibi fecisse et multis principibus civitatis, quod, 
cum ad senatum legatos de suis maximis rebus 
mitterent, tres illius aetatis nobilissimos philosophos 
misissent, Cameadem et Critolaum et Diogenem ; 
Itaque eos, dum Romae essent, et a se et ab ahis fre- 
quenter auditos ; quos tu cum haberes auctores, 
Antoni, miror cur philosophiae sicut Zethus ille 

156 Pacuvianus prope bellum indixeris. Minime, inquit 
Antonius, ac sic decrevi philosophari potius, ut Neo- 
ptolemus apud Ennium ' Paucis : nam omnino haud 
placet.' Sed tamen haec est mea sententia, quam 
videbar exposuisse : ego ista studia non improbo, 
moderata modo sint : opinionem istorum studiorimi 
et suspicionem artificii apud eos, qui res iudicent, 
oratori adversariam esse arbitror, imminuit enim 
et oratoris auctoritatem et orationis fidem. 

167 XXXVIII. Sed, ut eo revocetur, unde huc de- 
clinavit oratio, ex tribus istis clarissimis philosophis, 
quos Romam venisse dixisti, videsne Diogenem eum 
fuisse, qui diceret artem se tradere bene disserendi 
et vera ac falsa diiudicandi, quam verbo Graeco 
SiaXfKTtKrjv appellaret ? In hac arte, si modo est 
haec ars, nullum est praeceptum, quo modo verum 

168 inveniatur, sed tantum est, quo modo iudicetur, Nam 
et omne, quod eloquimur sic, ut id aut esse dicamus 
aut non esse, et, si simpliciter dictum sit, suscipiunt 

• In 155 B.c. The Athenians had pillaged Oropus, on 
the Boeotian frontier, and had baen sentenced by umpires 
appointed by the Romans to a fine of 500 talents, reduced 
to 100 after this embassy, 

' See Remains of Old Latin (L.C.L.), ii, pp, 162-163. 

" Ibid, i. pp. 368-369, and Aulus Gellius v. 15. 9 and 16, &. 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxvii. 155— xxxviii. 158 

155 personages from Greece. Moreover I have often 
heard those notables speak of the vast pleasure 
afforded to themselves and many leaders of the State 
by the Athenians, in having sent," as envoys to the 
Senate on business of supreme importance to Athens, 
the three most illustrious philosophers of that day, 
Carneades, Critolaus and Diogenes, who accordingly, 
during their stay in Rome, frequently had my in- 
formants and others for an audience : wlth these 
witnesses before you, Antonius, I marvel why, like 
that Zethus described by Pacuvius,'' you have all but 

156 declared war against Philosophy." " Not at all," 
repHed Antonius, " but rather I have determined 
to philosophize, as Neoptolemus says in Ennius, * In 
a few things, for I don't want to do so in all ways.' " 
For all that, however, my verdict, as I thought I had 
made plain, is this : I do not disapprove of such 
pursuits, if kept within Umits, though I hold that a 
reputation for such pursuits, or any suggestion of 
artifice, is Ukely to prejudice an orator with the 
judiciary : for it weakens at once the credibiUty of 
the orator and the cogency of his oratory. 

157 XXXVIII. " But, to recall Oratory to the point at stoic 
which this digression started, do you observe that, u°ei*^rfor 
of those three most illustrious philosophers, who the orator. 
visited Rome as you told us, it was Diogenes who 
claimed to be teaching an art of speaking well, and 

of distinguishing truth from error, which art he 
caUed by the Greek name of dialectic ? This art, 
if indeed it be an art, contains no directions for dis- 

158 covering truth, but only for testing it. For as to 
every proposition that we enunciate with an affirma- 
tion of its truth or falsity, if it be affirmed without 
quaUfication, the dialecticians undertake to decide 



dialectici, ut iudicent, verumne sit an falsum, et, si 
coniuncte sit elatum, et adiuncta sint alia, iudicant, 
rectene adiuncta sint et verane summa sit unius 
cuiusque rationis, et ad extremum ipsi se compungunt 
suis acuminibus et multa quaerendo reperiunt non 
modo ea, quae lam non possint ipsi dissolvere, sed 
etiam quibus ante exorsa, et potius detexta, prope 

1C9 retexantur. Hic nos igitur Stoicus iste nihil adiuvat, 
quoniam, quem ad modum inveniam quid dicam, non 
docet ; atque idem etiam impedit, quod et multa 
reperit, quae negat ullo modo posse dissolvi, et genus 
sermonis afFert non liquidum, non fusum ac profluens, 
sed exile, aridum, concisum ac minutum, quod si 
quis probabit, ita probabit, ut oratori tamen aptum 
non esse fateatur. Haec enim nostra oratio multi- 
tudinis est auribus accommodanda, ad oblectandos 
animos, ad impellendos, ad ea probanda, quae non 
aurificis statera, sed populari quadam trutina ex- 

160 Qu3. re istam artem totam dimittamus, quae in ex- 
cogitandis argumentis muta nimium est, in iudicandis 
nimium loquax. Critolaum istum, quem cum Diogene 
venisse commemoras, puto plus huic nostro studio pro- 
desse potuisse. Erat enim ab isto Aristotele, a cuius 
inventis tibi ego videor non longe aberrare. Atque 
inter hunc Aristotelem, cuius et illum legi librum, in 
quo exposuit dicendi artes omnium superiorum, et 
illos, in quibus ipse sua quaedam de eadem arte dixit, 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxviii. 158-160 

whether it be true or false ; and, if again it be stated 
hypothetically, with collateral propositions annexed, 
then they decide whether these others are properly 
annexed, and whether the conclusion drawn from 
each and every reasoning is correct : and in the end 
they prick themselves with their own barbs, and by 
wide investigation discover not only difficulties such 
as they themselves can no longer solve, but also 
others by which webs already attacked, or rather well- 

159 nigh unwound, are tangled up again. In this con- 
nexion then that eminent Stoic is of no help to us, 
since he does not teach me how to discover what to 
say ; and he actually hinders me, by finding many 
difficulties which he pronounces quite insoluble, and 
by introducing a kind of diction that is not lucid, 
copious and flowing, but meagre, spiritless, cramped 
and paltry ; and, if any man commends this style, it 
will only be with the quahfication that it is unsuitable 
to an orator. For this oratory of ours must be adapted 
to the ears of the multitude, for charming or urging 
their minds to approve of proposals, which are weighed 
in no goldsmith's balance, but in what I may call 
common scales. 

160 " Let us therefore renounce entirely that art which insight of 
has too httle to say when proofs are being thought ^nd^^ufty 
out, and too much when they are being assessed. inargu- 
That Critolaus, whose visit in company with Diogenes cameades. 
you recall, might have been more useful, I think, in this 
pursuit of ours. For he was a foUower of your Aris- 

totle, from whose doctrines you think my own differ 
but Uttle. And between this Aristotle (I read also 
that book of his, setting forth the rhetorical theories 
of all his forerunners, and those other works contain- 
ing sundry observations of his own on the same art), 



et hos germanos huius artis magistros hoc mihi visum 
est interesse, quod ille eadem acie mentis, qua rerum 
omnium vim naturamque viderat, haec quoque 
aspexit, quae ad dicendi artem, quam ille despicie- 
bat, pertinebant ; illi autem, qui hoc solum colendum 
ducebant, habitarunt in hac una ratione tractanda 
non eadem prudentia, qua ille, sed usu in hoc uno 

161 genere studioque maiore. Carneadi vero vis incre- 
dibiUs illa dicendi et varietas perquam esset optanda 
nobis, qui nuUam umquam in illis suis disputationibus 
rem defendit, quam non probarit, nullam oppugnavit, 
quam non everterit. Sed hoc maius est quiddam, 
quam ab eis, qui haec tradunt et docent, postulandimi 

162 XXXIX. Ego autem, si quem nunc rudem plane 
institui ad dicendum velim, his potius tradam assiduis 
uno opere eandem incudem diem noctemque tun- 
dentibus, qui omnes tenuissimas particulas atque 
omnia minima mansa ut nutrices infantibus pueris in 
os inserant. Sin sit is, qui et doctrina mihi HberaHter 
institutus et aliquo iam imbutus usu et satis acri 
ingenio esse videatur, illuc eum rapiam, ubi non 
seclusa ahqua acula teneatur, sed unde universum 
flumen erumpat ; qui ilU sedes et quasi domiciHa 
omnium argumentorum commonstret et ea breviter 

163 illustret verbisque definiat. Quid enim est, in quo 
haereat, qui viderit omne, quod sumatur in oratione 

DE ORATORE, II. xxxviii. 160— xxxix. 163 

and these true professors of this art, there seeraed 
to rae to be this difference, — that he surveyed these 
concerns of the art of rhetoric, which he disdained, 
with that sarae keen insight, by which he had dis- 
cerned the essential nature of all things ; whereas 
those others, considering this the only thing worth 
cultivating, have dwelt upon the treatment of this 
single subject, without his sagacity, but, in this one 
instance, with larger practice and closer application. 

161 As for Carneades, however, the extraordinary power 
and diversity of his oratory would be extreraely to 
our Hking ; since, in those debates of his he supported 
no contention without proving it, and attacked none 
which he did not overthrow. But this is rather raore 
than should be asked of the authors and teachers of 
these maxims. 

162 XXXIX. " For my part, if just now I were to want The 

a complete novice trained up to oratory, I should ^^p^g®°' 
rather entrust hira to these untiring people, who whichare 
hamraer day and night on the sarae anvil at their one either from 
and only task, for them to put into his mouth none the case 
but the most delicate morsels — everything chewed from 
exceedingly small — in the raanner of wet nurses ^itiioii*' 
feeding baby-boys. But should he, whora I have 
had liberally educated in theory, and who by this 
tirae has sorae tincture of practice, show also signs 
of sufficient natural acuteness, I will hurry him off 
to that source where no sequestered pool is land- 
locked, but from it bursts forth a general flood ; 
to that teacher who will point out to him the very 
homes of all proofs, so to speak, illustrating these 

163 briefly and defining thera in terras. For in what 
respect could a speaker be at a loss, who has con- 
templated everything to be employed in a speech, 



aut ad probandum aut ad refellendum aut ex sua 
siuni vi atque natura aut assumi foris ? Ex sua vi, 
cum aut res quae sit tota quaeratur, aut pars eius 
aut vocabulum quod habeat aut quippiam, rem illam 
quod attingat ; extrinsecus autem, cum ea, quae 
sunt foris neque inhaerent in rei natura, coUiguntur. 

164 Si res tota quaeritur, definitione universa vis ex- 
plicanda est, sic : ' si maiestas est amplitudo ac 
dignitas civitatis, is eam minuit, qui exercitum hosti- 
bus popuU Romani tradidit, non qui eum, qui id 

165 fecisset, popuU Romani potestati tradidit.* Sin pars, 
partitione, hoc modo : * aut senatui parendum de 
salute rei pubUcae fuit aut aUud consiUum insti- 
tuendum aut sua sponte faciendum ; aUud con- 
siUum, superbum ; suum, arrogans ; utendum igitur 
fuit consiUo senatus.' Si ex vocabulo, ut Carbo : 
' si consul est, qui consuUt patriae, quid aUud fecit 

166 Opimius ? * Sin ab eo, quod rem attingat, plures 
sunt argumentorum sedes ac loci, nam et coniuncta 
quaeremus et genera et partes generibus subiectas 
et simiUtudines et dissimiUtudines et contraria et 
consequentia et consentanea et quasi praecurrentia 
et repugnantia et causas rerum vestigabimus et ea, 


DE ORATORE, II. xxxix. 163-166 

for purposes of either proof or disproof, or to be 
derived from the essential nature of the case, or 
adopted from without ? Intrinsic arguments, when 
the problem concerns the character of the subject 
as a whole, or of part of it, or the name it is to bear, 
or anything whatever relating to the subject ; ex- 
trinsic arguments, on the other hand, when topics 
are assembled from without and are not inherent in 
the nature of the case. 

164 " If the problem concerns the whole subject, the 
general idea of it has to be made plain by definition ; 
for example : ' If sovereignty be the grandeur and 
glory of the State, it was violated by the man who 
dehvered up to the enemy an army of the Roman 
People, not by him who delivered the man that did it 

165 into the power of the Roman People.' But if only a 
part is being dealt with, its nature must be explained 
by distribution, as follows : ' The right course, in a 
situation afFecting the welfare of the State, was to 
obey the Senate, or to set up another advisory body, 
or to act on his own initiative : to set up another 
body would have been insolence, to follow his own 
counsel, arrogance ; therefore he should have taken 
the advice of the Senate.' If the argument turns 
on a word, remember Carbo's ' If a consuFs duty is to 
consult the interests of his native land, what else has 

166 Opimius done ? ' If it turns on something corre- 
lated with the subject, the proofs come from several 
sources or common-places ; for we shall investigate 
connected terms, and general heads with their 
sub-divisions, and resemblances and differences, and 
opposites, and corresponding and concurrent circum- 
stances, and so-called antecedents, and contra- 
dictories, and we shall track down the causes of 



quae ex causis orta sunt, et maiora, paria, minora 

167 XL. Ex coniunctis sic argumenta ducuntur : ' si 
pietati summa tribuenda laus est, debetis moveri, 
cum Q. Metellum tam pie lugere videatis.' Ex 
genere autem : * si magistratus in populi Romani 
potestate esse debent, quid Norbanum accusas, cuius 
tribunatus voluntati paruit civitatis ? ' 

168 Ex parte autem ea, quae est subiecta generi : * si 
omnes, qui rei publicae consulunt, cari nobis esse 
debent, certe in primis imperatores, quorimi consiliis, 
virtute, periculis, retinemus et nostram salutem et 
imperii dignitatem.' Ex similitudine autem : ' si 
ferae partus suos diligunt, qua nos in liberos nostros 

169 indulgentia esse debemus ! ' At ex dissimilitudine : 
' si barbarorum est in diem vivere, nostra consilia 
sempiternum tempus spectare debent.' Atque 
utroque in genere et similitudinis et dissimilitudinis 
exempla sunt ex aliorum factis aut dictis aut eventis, 
et fictae narrationes saepe ponendae. lam ex con- 
trario : ' si Gracchus nefarie, praeclare Opimius.' 

170 Ex consequentibus : ' si et ferro interfectus ille et 
tu inimicus eius cum gladio cruento comprehensus es 
in illo ipso loco et nemo praeter te ibi visus est et 
causa nemini et tu semper audax, quid est quod de 
facinore dubitare possimus ? * Ex consentaneis et 


DE ORATORE, II. xxxix. 166— xl. 170 

things, and the efFects proceeding from causes, and 
investigate things of relatively greater, equal or 
lesser significance. 

167 XL. ' ' An instance of proof deduced from connected 
terms is : ' If the highest praise is due to loyalty, 
you should be stirred at the sight of Quintus Metellus 
mourning so loyally.' One of deduction from a 
general term is : ' If the magistracies ought to be 
under the control of the Roman People, why impeach 
Norbanus, whose conduct as tribune was subservient 
to the will of the community ? * 

168 " As a deduction from a subdivision of a general 
head take : ' If we are bound to esteem all who make 
the interests of the State their care, surely our com- 
manders-in-chief stand foremost, by whose strategy, 
valour and hazards we preserve both our own security 
and the grandeur of our sovereignty.' Then, as a 
deduction from resemblance, we have : ' If the wild 
beasts cherish their young, what tendemess ought 

169 we to bear to our children ! * One from difference, on 
the other hand, is : * If it be the mark of uncivilized 
folk to live but for the day, our own purposes should 
contemplate all time.' And, in cases involving both 
resemblance and difference, analogies are found in 
the deeds or the words or the fate of other people, 
and feigned tales must often be cited. Again, as a 
deduction from an opposite, take : ' If Gracchus did 

170 wickedly, Opimius did nobly.' And, as one from 
corresponding circumstances : ' If he was killed by 
a sword, and you, his enemy, were caught on the 
very spot with a bloody blade, and none other than 
yourself was seen there or had any motive, and you 
were ever a man of violence, what doubt could we 
feel as to the crime ? ' And, to illustrate deduction 



praecurrentibus et repugnantibus, ut olim Crassus 
adolescens : * non si Opimium defendisti, Carbo, 
idcirco te isti bonum civem putabunt ; simulasse 
te et aliud quid quaesisse perspicuum est, quod 
Ti. Gracchi mortem saepe in contionibus deplorasti, 
quod P. Africani necis socius fuisti, quod eam legem 
in tribunatu tulisti, quod semper a bonis dissedisti.' 

171 Ex causis autem rerum sic : ' avaritiam si tollere 
vultis, mater eius est tollenda, luxuries.* Ex eis 
autem, quae sunt orta de causis : ' si aerarii copiis 
et ad belli adiumenta et ad ornamenta pacis utimur, 

172 vectigalibus serviamus.' Maiora autem et minora 

et paria comparabimus sic : ex maiore : ' si bona 

existimatio divitiis praestat et pecunia tantopere 

expetitur, quanio gloria magis est expetenda ? ' ex 

minore : 

Hic parvae consuetudinis 
Causa huius mortem tam fert familiariter : 
Quid si ipse amasset ? quid hic mihi faciet patri ? 

ex pari : 'est eiusdem et eripere et contra rem 
publicam largiri pecunias.' 

173 Foris autem assumuntur ea, quae non sua vi, sed 
extranea sublevantur, ut haec : ' hoc verum est ; 
dixit enim Q. Lutatius.' ' Hoc falsum est ; habita 
enim quaestio est.' ' Hoc sequi necesse est ; recito 

" P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus Minor, who captured 
Carthage 146 b.c, died in 129, probably from a stroke, but 
the Gracchans were suspected of assassination. 

* Apparently extending the use of the ballot. 

* From Terence, .^ndria 110-112. 


DE ORATORE, 11. xl. 170-173 

from concurrent circumstances, antecedents and con- 
tradictories, we remember Crassus arguing in his 
youth : * This tribunal, Carbo, is not going to deem 
you a patriotic citizen just because you defended 
Opimius : clearly you were only pretending, and 
had some other end in view, inasmuch as in your 
harangues you frequently lamented the death of 
Tiberius Gracchus, and you were a party to the 
murder of Publius Africanus," and you brought in 
that statute * during your tribuneship, and always dis- 

171 agreed with the patriotic' And a deduction from 
the causes of things is : ' If you would abolish covet- 
ousness, you must abolish its mother, profusion.* 
And one from the efFects of causes is : ' If we are 
using the funds of the Treasury to aid war and 
beautify peace, let us become the slaves of taxa- 

172 tion.' And, to show how we shall compare things 
of relatively greater, lesser and equal significance, 
a deduction from the greater is : ' If good repute is 
above riches, and money is so keenly desired, how 
far more keenly should fame be desired ? ' For one 
from the lesser take : 

Just for a slender acquaintance ! 
So heartfelt his grief at her death ! 
What had he loved her ? What sorrow 
Will he show for his father — for me ? " 

For one from the equal we have : ' It is one and the 
same man's part to snatch the State's money and 
lavish it to her detriment.' 

173 Finally, proofs adopted from outside are such as 
rest upon no intrinsic force of their own but upon 
external authority, instances being : ' This is true, 
for Quintus Lutatius said so ' : ' This evidence is 
false, for torture has been employed ' : ' This must 



enim tabulas.' De quo genere toto paulo ante 

174 XLI. Haec, ut brevissime dici potuerunt, ita a me 
dicta sunt. Ut enim si aurum cui, quod esset multi- 
fariam defossum, commonstrare vellem, satis esse 
deberet, si signa et notas ostenderem locorum, quibus 
cognitis ipse sibi foderet et id, quod vellet, parvulo 
labore, nullo errore, inveniret : sic has ego argumen- 
torum novi notas, quae illa mihi quaerenti demon- 
strant, ubi sint ; reliqua cura et cogitatione eruuntur. 

175 Quod autem argumentorum genus cuique causarmn 
generi maxime conveniat, non est artis exquisitae 
praescribere, sed est mediocris ingenii iudicare. 
Neque enim nunc id agimus, ut artem aliquam 
dicendi explicemus, sed ut doctissimis hominibus 
usus nostri quasi quaedam monita tradamus. His 
igitur locis in mente et cogitatione defixis et in omni 
re ad dicendum posita excitatis, nihil erit quod 
oratorem effugere possit, non modo in forensibus 
disceptationibus, sed omnino in ullo genere dicendi. 

176 Si vero assequetur, ut talis videatur, qualem se videri 
velit, et animos eorum ita afficiat, apud quos aget, 
ut eos, quocumque velit, vel trahere vel rapere 
possit, nihil profecto praeterea ad dicendum requiret. 

lam illud videmus nequaquam satis esse, reperire 

177 quid dicas, nisi id inventum tractare possis. Tractatio 
autem varia esse debet, ne aut cognoscat artem qui 
audiat aut defatigetur similitudinis satietate. Proponi 


DE ORATORE, II. xl. 173— xli. 177 

inevitably follow, for I am reading from the docu- 
ments.' Of all this kind of thing I spoke just now. 

174 XLI. " I have sketched these topics as shortly as a brief 
possible. For if I wished to reveal to somebody gold *J*n*™®h* 
that was hidden here and there in the earth, it should as attention 
be enough for me to point out to him some marks wludo^"*^" 
and indications of its positions, with which knowledge more than 
he could do his own digging, and find what he wanted, ^'^' 
with very httle trouble and no chance of mistake : 

so I know these indications of proofs, which reveal to 
me their whereabouts when I am looking for them ; 
all the rest is dug out by dint of oereful consideration, 

175 But what type of proofs best befits each type of case 
needs not consummate art to dictate, but only 
ordinary talent to decide. For our immediate task 
is not to display any system of speaking, but to 
hand on to highly educated men certain lessons, as 
I may call them, learned from our own practice. 
Accordingly, with these commonplaces firmly estab- 
hshed in his mind and memory, and roused into 
activity with every topic proposed for discussion, 
nothing will be able to elude the orator, either in 
our own contentions at the Bar, or in any depart- 

17g ment whatever of speaking. If however he shall 
succeed in appearing, to those before whom he is to 
plead, to be such a man as he would desire to seem, 
and in touching their hearts in such fashion as to be 
able to lead or drag them whithersoever he pleases, 
he will assuredly be completely furnished for oratory. 

" Again, we see that the discovery of what to say is Variety of 
whoUy insufficient, unless you can handle it when esIenUaL* 

177 found. But the handhng should be diversified, so 
that your hearer may neither perceive the art of it, 
nor be worn out by too much monotony. You ought 



oportet quid afFeras et id qua re ita sit ostendere ; et 
ex eisdem illis locis interdum concludere, relinquere 
alias alioque transire ; saepe non proponere ac ratione 
ipsa afFerenda quid proponendum fuerit, declarare ; 
si cui quid simile dicas, prius ut simile confirmes, 
deinde quod agitur, adiungas ; interpuncta argu- 
mentorum plerumque occulas, ne quis ea nume- 
rare possit, ut re distinguantur, verbis confusa esse 

178 XLII. Haec properans ut et apud doctos et semi- 
doctus ipse percurro, ut aliquando ad illa maiora 
veniamus. Nihil est enim in dicendo, Catule, maius, 
quam ut faveat oratori is, qui audiet, utque ipse sic 
moveatur, ut impetu quodam animi et perturbatione, 
magis quam iudicio aut consilio regatur. Plura 
enim multo homines iudicant odio aut amore aut 
cupiditate aut iracundia aut dolore aut laetitia aut 
spe aut timore aut errore aut aliqua permotione 
mentis, quam veritate aut praescripto aut iuris norma 

179 aliqua aut iudicii formula aut legibus. Qua re, 
nisi quid vobis aliud placet, ad illa pergamus. 

Pauliun, inquit Catulus, etiam nunc deesse vi- 
detur eis rebus, Antoni, quas exposuisti, quod sit 
tibi ante explicandum, quam iUuc proficiscare, quo 
te dicis intendere. Quidnam ? inquit. Qui ordo 
tibi placeat, inquit Catulus, et quae dispositio 

DE ORATORE, II. xli. 177— xlii. 179 

to formulate your proposition, and give the reasons 
for its being what it is ; and from those same 
commonplaces you should sometimes draw your con- 
elusion, and sometimes abandon them to pass else- 
where ; often it is better not to formulate expressly, 
but to make it plain, by affirming the underlying 
principle, what the formulation would have been ; 
if you are putting a parallel case to something, you 
should first show how it is like, and then annex the 
matter in hand ; as a rule you should conceal the 
intervals between successive proofs, to prevent them 
from being counted, so that, though separate in fact, 
they may seem blended in statement. 

178 XLII. " I am running over these things in a hurry, Favour ot 
and like a half-trained man who is facing experts, in f^ust be* 
order that we may come at last to those more essential secured. 
matters, Now nothing in oratory, Catulus, is more 
important than to win for the orator the favour of his 
hearer, and to have the latter so afFected as to be 
swayed by something resembling a mental impulse 

or emotion, rather than by judgement or dehberation. 
For men decide far more problems by hate, or love, 
or lust, or rage, or sorrow, or joy, or hope, or fear, or 
illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by 
reality, or authority,or any legal standard, or judicial 

179 precedent, or statute. And so, unless you think 
difFerently, let us proceed to the things I spoke of." 

" Even now," returned Catulus, " there seems Arrange- 
to be a little something missing, Antonius, from dlgcussed* 
your exposition, which you should clear up, before later. 
setting out for that region whither you say you 
are bound." " Pray what is that ? " asked the 
other. " Your view as to the right arrangement 
and distribution of proofs," said Catulus, " in which 



argumentorum, in qua tu mihi semper deus videri 

180 Vide quam sim, inquit, deus in isto genere, 
Catule: non hercule mihi, nisi admonito, venisset in 
mentem ; ut possis existimare me in ea, in quibus 
nonnunquam aliquid efficere videor, usu solere in di- 
cendo, vel casu potius incurrere. Ac res quidem 
ista, quam ego, quia non noram, sic tanquam ignotxmi 
hominem praeteribam, tantum potest in dicendo, ut 

181 ad vincendum nulla plus possit; sed tamen mihi 
videris ante tempus a me rationem ordinis et dis- 
ponendarum rerum requisisse. Nam si ego omnem 
vim oratoris in argumentis et in re ipsa per se com- 
probanda posuissem, tempus esset iam de ordine 
argumentorum, et de collocatione aliquid dicere. 
Sed cum tria sint a me proposita, de uno dictum, 
cum de duobus rehquis dixero, tum erit denique 
de disponenda tota oratione quaerendum. 

182 XLIII. Valet igitur multum ad vincendum probari 
mores et instituta et facta et vitam eorum, qui agent 
causas, et eorum, pro quibus, et item improbari 
adversariorum, animosque eorum, apud quos agetur, 
concihari quam maxime ad benevolentiam, cum erga 
oratorem tum erga illum pro quo dicet orator. Con- 
ciHantur autem animi dignitate hominis, rebus gestis, 
existimatione vitae ; quae facilius ornari possunt, si 
modo sunt, quam fingi, si nulla sunt. Sed haec 
adiuvant in oratore : lenitas vocis, vultus pudoris 

" See the opening of chapter xxxv., supra. 

DE ORATORE, II. xlii. 179— xliii. 182 

connexion your practice always strikes me as ideal." 

180 " Observe, Catulus," came the answer, " how far I 
am ideal in that kind of thing : upon my word, but 
for your suggestion, the notion would never have en- 
tered my head : so that you may look upon me as 
generally running into those ways, in which now and 
then I seem efFective, just in the course of speaking, 
or rather by accident. And indeed that factor which, 
through failure to recognize it, I was passing by 
unnoticed, as I might a human stranger, is second 
to none in the making of oratorical success, but, 
for all that, I think you have been premature in ask- 
ing me for my theory of the arrangement and dis- 

181 tribution of topics. For had I based the orator's 
essential power solely upon his proofs, and upon his 
establishing personally his actual case, it would now 
be the time to say a word as to the arrangement and 
marshalling of proofs. But since I have assumed 
three ** elements in discovery and discussed only one 
of them, it will be time to conclude by investigating 
the arrangement of a speech as a whole, when I have 
first discussed the two elements that remain. 

182 XLIII. " A potent factor in success, then, is for the Means of 
characters, principles, conduct and course of Ufe, both f^^a^^f^ 
of those who are to plead cases and of their clients, to audtence. 
be approved, and conversely those of their opponents 
condemned ; and for the feelings of the tribunal to 

be won over, as far as possible, to goodwill towards 
the advocate and the advocate's client as well. Now 
feelings are won over by a man's merit, achievements 
or reputable life, qualifications easier to embellish, if 
only they are real, than to fabricate where non- 
existent. But attributes useful in an advocate are a 
mild tone, a countenance expressive of modesty, 



significatio/ verborum comitas ; si quid persequare 
acrius, ut invitus et coactus facere videare. Facili- 
tatis, liberalitatis,mansuetudinis,pietatis, grati animi, 
non appetentis, non avidi, signa proferri perutile est ; 
eaque omnia, quae proborum, demissorum, non acrium, 
non pertinacium, non litigiosorum, non acerborum 
sunt, valde benevolentiam conciliant abalienantque 
ab eis, in quibus haec non sunt ; itaque eadem sunt in 

183 adversarios ex contrario conferenda. Sed genus hoc 
totum orationis in eis causis excellet, in quibus minus 
potest inflammari animus iudicis acri et vehementi 
quadam incitatione. Non enim semper fortis oratio 
quaeritur, sed saepe placida, summissa, lenis, quae 
maxime commendat reos. Reos autem appello non 
eos modo, qui arguuntur, sed omnes, quorum de re 

184 disceptatur ; sic enimolim loquebantur. Horum igitur 
exprimere mores oratione, iustos, integros, religiosos, 
timidos, perferentes iniuriarum,mirum quiddam valet ; 
et hoc vel in principiis vel in re narranda vel in pero- 
randa tantam habet vim, si est suaviter et cum sensu 
tractatum, ut saepe plus quam causa valeat. Tantum 
autem efficitur sensu quodam ac ratione dicendi, ut 
Quasi mores oratoris effingat oratio. Genere enim 
quodam sententiarum et genere verborum, adhibita 
etiam actione leni facilitatemque significante effici- 
tur, ut probi, ut bene morati, ut boni viri esse 

^ pudor[is signifacatio] Bakius. 

DE ORATORE, II. xliii. 182-184 

gentle language, and the faculty of seeming to be 
dealing reluctantly and under compulsion with some- 
thing you are really anxious to prove. It is very help- 
ful to display the tokens of good-nature, kindness, 
calmness, loyalty and a disposition that is pleasing 
and not grasping or covetous, and all the qualities 
belonging to men who are upright, unassuming and 
not given to haste, stubbornness, strife or harshness, 
are powerful in winning goodwill, while the want of 
them estranges it from such as do not possess them ; 
accordingly the very opposites of these quaUties 

183 must be ascribed to our opponents. But all this kind 
of advocacy will be best in those cases wherein the 
arbitrator's feelings are not hkely to be kindled by 
what I may call the ardent and impassioned onset. 
For vigorous language is not always wanted, but often 
such as is cahn, gentle, mild : this is the kind that most 
commends the parties. By ' parties ' I mean not only 
persons impeached, but all whose interests are being 
determined, for that was how people used the term 

184 in the old days. And so to paint their characters 
in words, as being upright, stainless, conscientious, 
modest and long-suffering under injustice, has a 
really wonderful effect ; and this topic, whether in 
opening, or in stating the case, or in ^vinding-up, is 
so compelUng, when agreeably and feehngly handled, 
as often to be worth more than the merits of the 
case. Moreover so much is done by good taste 
and style in speaking, that the speech seems to 
depict the speaker's character. For by means of 
particular types of thought and diction, and the 
employment besides of a deUvery that is unruffled 
and eloquent of good-nature, the speakers are made 
to appear upright, well-bred and virtuous men. 

M 329 


185 XLIV. Huic autem est illa dispar adiuncta ratio 
orationis, quae alio quodam genere mentes iudicum 
permovet, impellitque, ut aut oderint aut diligant 
aut invideant aut salvum velint aut metuant aut 
sperent aut cupiant aut abhorreant aut laetentur 
aut maereant aut misereantur aut punire velint, aut 
ad eos motus adducantur, si qui finitimi sunt et pro- 
pinqui his^ ac talibus animi perturbationibus. 

Atque illud optandum est oratori, ut aliquampermo- 
tionem animorum sua sponte ipsi afFerant ad causam 
iudices, ad id, quod utiUtas oratoris feret, accommo- 

186 datam. Facilius est enim currentem, ut aiunt, incitare 
quam commovere languentem. Sin id aut non erit 
aut erit obscurius, sicut medico dihgenti, priusquam 
conetur aegro adhibere medicinam, non solum morbus 
eius, cui mederi volet, sed etiam consuetudo valentis 
et natura corporis cognoscenda est. 

Sic equidem cum aggredior ancipitem causam et 
gravem,adanimos iudicum pertractandos,omni mente 
in ea cogitatione curaque versor, ut odorer, quam 
sagacissime possim, quid sentiant. quid existiment, 
quid exspectent, quid vehnt, quo deduci oratione 

187 facillime posse videantur. Si se dant et, ut ante dixi, 
sua sponte, quo impellimus, inclinant atque propen- 
dent, accipio quod datur et ad id, unde aliquis 
flatus ostenditur, vela do. Sin est integer quietusque 
iudex, plus est operis ; sunt enim omnia dicendo 

^ sunt et propinqui his Ellendt : sunt de propinquis. 

DE ORATORE, II. xliv. 185-187 

186 XLIV. " But closely associated with this is that dis- importance 
similar style of speaking which, in quite another way, suitabie '°^ 
excites and urges the feelings of the tribunal towards emotions in 
hatred or love, ill-will or well-wishing, fear or hope, *'^'**®'^*^® • 
desire or aversion, joy or sorrow, compassion or the 
wish to punish, or by it they are prompted to what- 
ever emotions are nearly allied and similar to these 
passions of the soul, and to such as these. 

" Another desirable thing for the advocate is that 
the members of the tribunal, of their own accord, 
should carry within them to Court some mental 
emotion that is in harmony with what the advocate's 

186 interest will suggest. For, as the saying goes, it is 
easier to spur the willing horse than to start the lazy 
one. But if no such emotion be present, or recogniz- 
able, he will be like a careful physician who, before 
he attempts to administer a remedy to his patient, 
must investigate not only the malady of the man 
he wishes to cure, but also his habits when in health, 
and his physical constitution. 

" This indeed is the reason why, when setting about 
a hazardous and important case, in order to explore 
the feelings of the tribunal, I engage wholeheartedly 
in a consideration so careful, that I scent out with 
all possible keenness their thoughts, judgements, 
anticipations and wishes, and the direction in which 
they seem Ukely to be led away most easily by 

187 eloquence. If they surrender to me, and as I said 
before, of their own accord lean towards and are 
prone to take the course in which I am urging them 
on, I accept their bounty and set sail for that quarter 
which promises something of a breeze. If however 
an arbitrator is neutral and free from predisposition, 
my task is harder, since everything has to be called 



excitanda, nihil adiuvante natura. Sed tantam vim 
habet illa, quae recte a bono poeta dicta est * flex- 
anima atque omnium regina rerum,' oratio, ut non 
modo incHnantem excipere aut stantem inclinare, 
sed etiam adversantem ac repugnantem ut im- 
perator bonus ac fortis capere possit, 

188 XLV. Haec sunt illa, quae me ludens Crassus modo 
flagitabat, cum a me divinitus tractari solere diceret 
et in causa M'. Aquilii, Gaiique Norbani, non nullis- 
que aliis quasi praeclare acta laudaret. Quae me- 
hercule ego, Crasse, cum a te tractantur in causis, 
horrere soleo : tanta vis animi, tantus impetus, tantus 
dolor, oculis, vultu, gestu, digito denique isto tuo 
significari solet ; tantum est flumen gravissimorum 
optimorumque verborum, tam integrae sententiae, 
tam verae, tam novae, tam sine pigmentis fucoque 
puerili, ut mihi non solum tu incendere iudicem, sed 
ipse ardere videaris. 

189 Neque fieri potest, ut doleat is, qui audit, ut oderit, 
ut invideat, ut pertimescat aliquid, ut ad fletum 
misericordiamque deducatur, nisi omnes illi motus, 
quos orator adhibere volet iudici, in ipso oratore 
impressi esse atque inusti videbuntur. Quodsi 
fictus aliquis dolor suscipiendus esset et si in eius 
modi genere orationis nihil esset nisi falsum atque 
imitatione simulatum, maior ars aliqua forsitan esset 
requirenda. Nunc ego, quid tibi, Crasse, quid ceteris 
accidat, nescio ; de me autem causa nuUa est, cur 

" i.e. Pacuvius, in his tragedy Hermione. See Remains of 
Old Latin, ii. pp. 232-233 (L.C.L.). 


DE ORATORE, II. xUv. 187— xlv. 189 

forth by my speech, with no help from the listener's 
character. But so potent is that Eloquence, rightly 
styled, by an excellent poet,* ' soulbending sove- 
reign of all things,' that she can not only support 
the sinking and bend the upstanding, but, like a good 
and brave commander, can even make prisoner a 
resisting antagonist. 

1 XLV. " These are the details for which Crassus was success of 
playfully importuning me just now, when he said f^^>^ 
that I always handled them ideally, and he praised 
what he called the brilliant treatment of them in the 
cases of Manius Aquilius, Gaius Norbanus and sundry 
others. Now I give you my word, Crassus, that I 
always tremble when these things are handled by 
yourself in Court : such is the mental power, such 
the passion, so profound the indignation, ever mani- 
fest in your glance, features, gesture, even in that 
wagging finger of yours ; so mighty is the flow of 
your most impressive and happy diction, so sound, 
true and original your sentiments, and so innocent of 
colouring-matter or paltry dye, that to me you seem 
to be not merely inflaming the arbitrator, but actually 
on fire yourself. 

I " Moreover it is impossible for the listener to feel Thespeaker 
indignation, hatred or ill-will, to be terrified of any- ^i^\\if 
thing, or reduced to tears of compassion, unless all feei the 
those emotions, which the advocate would inspire in hTwi°hls 
the arbitrator, are visibly stamped or rather branded toexcite; 
on the advocate himself. Now if some feigned indig- 
nation had to be depicted, and that same kind of 
oratory aiforded only what was counterfeit and pro- 
duced by mimicry, some loftier art would perhaps be 
called for. As things stand, Crassus, I do not know 
how it may be with yourself or the rest, but in my 



apud homines prudentissimos atque amicissimos men- 
tiar : non mehereule unquam apud iudices, aut 
dolorem, aut misericordiam aut invidiam aut odium 
dicendo excitare volui, quin ipse in commovendis 
iudicibus eis ipsis sensibus, ad quos illos adducere 

190 vellem, permoverer. Neque est enim facile perficere, 
ut irascatur cui tu velis, iudex, si tu ipse id lente ferre 
videare ; neque ut oderit eum, quem tu veHs, nisi te 
ipsum flagrantem odio ante viderit ; neque ad miseri- 
cordiam adducetur, nisi tu ei signa doloris tui verbis, 
sententiis, voce, vultu, coUacrimatione denique osten- 
deris. Ut enim nulla materies tam facihs ad 
exardescendum est, quae nisi admoto igni ignem 
concipere possit, sic nuUa mens est tam ad compre- 
hendendam vim oratoris parata, quae possit incendi, 
nisi ipse inflammatus ad eam et ardens accesserit. 

191 XLVI. Ac, ne hoc forte magnum ac mirabile esse 
videatur hominem toties irasci, toties dolere, toties 
omni motu animi concitari, praesertim in rebus alienis, 
magna vis est earum sententiarum atque eorum 
locorum, quos agas tractesque dicendo, nihil ut opus 
sit simulatione et fallaciis ; ipsa enim natura ora- 
tionis eius, quae suscipitur ad ahorum animos per- 
movendos, oratorem ipsum magis etiam quam quem- 

192 quam eorum, qui audiunt, permovet. Et ne hoc in 
causis, in iudiciis, in amicorum pericuHs, in concursu 
hominum, in civitate, in foro accidere miremur, cura 

DE ORATORE, II. xlv. 189— xlvi. 192 

own case there is no reason why I should lie to men 
of consummate experience, who are also my best 
friends : I give you my word that I never tried, by 
means of a speech, to arouse either indignation or 
compassion, either ill-will or hatred, in the minds of 
a tribunal, without being really stirred myself, 
as I worked upon their minds, by the very feelings 

190 to which I was seeking to prompt them. For it is 
not easy to succeed in making an arbitrator angry 
with the right party, if you yourself seem to treat 
the affair with indifference ; or in making him hate 
the right party, unless he first sees you on fire with 
hatred yourself ; nor will he be prompted to com- 
passion, unless you have shown him the tokens of 
your own grief by word, sentiment, tone of voice, 
look and even by loud lamentation. For just as 
there is no substance so ready to take fire, as to be 
capable of generating flame without the application 
of a spark, so also there is no mind so ready to absorb 
an orator*s influence, as to be inflammable when the 
assaihng speaker is not himself aglow with passion. 

191 XLVI. " Again, lest haply it should seem a mighty as ho 
miracle, for a man so often to be roused to wrath, ^^ij"""^. 
indignation and every inward emotion — and that sidering his 
too about other people's business — the power ofexISpies. 
those reflections and commonplaces, discussed and 
handled in a speech, is great enough to dispense 

with all make-believe and trickery : for the very 
quaUty of the diction, employed to stir the feeUngs 
of others, stirs the speaker himself even more deeply 

192 than any of his hearers. And, not to have us 
astonished at this happening in Utigation, or before 
arbitrators, or in the impeachments of our friends, 
or among a crowd of people, or in poUtical Ufe, or 



agituj non solum ingenii nostri existimatio, (nam id 
esset levius ; — quanquam, cum professus sis te id 
posse facere, quod pauci, ne id quidem neglegendum 
est) ; sed alia sunt maiora multo, fides, officium, dili- 
gentia, quibus rebus adducti, etiam cum alienis- 

193 simos defendimus, tamen eos alienos, si ipsi viri boni 
volumus haberi, existimare non possumus. Sed, ut 
dixi, ne hoc in nobis mirum esse videatur, quid potest 
esse tam fictum quam versus, quam scaena, quam 
fabulae ? Tamen in hoc genere saepe ipse vidi, ut 
ex persona mihi ardere oculi hominis histrionis vide- 
rentur spondaha illa dicentis : 

segregare abs te ausu's aut sine illo Salamina ingredi, 
neque paternum aspectum es veritus ? 

Nunquam illum ' aspectum ' dicebat, quin mihi 
Telamon iratus furere luctu filii videretur. Ut idem 
inflexa ad miserabilem sonum voce, 

quem aetate exacta indigem 
liberum lacerasti, orbasti, exstinxti ; neque fratris necis, 
neque eius gnati parvi, qui tibi in tutelam est traditus? 

flens ac lugens dicere videbatur. Quae si ille 
histrio, cotidie cum ageret, tamen agere sine 
dolore non poterat, quid Pacuvium putatis in 
scribendo leni animo ac remisso fuisse ? Fieri nuUo 

194 modo potuit. Saepe enim audivi poetam bonum 
neminem — id quod a Democrito et Platone in scriptis 

" Tiiese lines are from the Teucer, a tragedy of Paciiviiis. 
See Remains of Old Latin, ii. pp. 292-293 (L.C.L.). 

DE ORATORE, II. xlvi. 192-194 

public debate, when not only our talent is under 
criticism (no great matter, though even this should 
not be overlooked, when you have claimed a pro- 
iiciency attained by few), but other and far more 
important attributes are on trial, I mean our loyalty, 
sense of duty and carefulness, under whose influence, 
even when defending complete strangers, we still 
cannot regard them as strangers, if we would be 

193 accounted good men ourselves. However, as I said, 
not to have this seem a marvel among us, what can 
be so unreal as poetry, the theatre or stage-plays ? 
And yet, in that sort of things, I myself have often 
been a spectator when the actor-man's eyes seemed 
to me to be blazing behind his mask, as he spoke 
those solemn lines," 

Darest thou part from thy brother, or Salamis enter without 

Dreading the mien of thy sire not at all ? 

Never did he utter that word ' mien,' without my 
beholding an infuriated Telamon maddened by grief 
for his son. Whenever too he lowered his voice 
to a plaintive tone, in the passage," 

Aged and childless, 
Didst tear and bereave and didst quench me, forgetting the 

death of thy brother, 
Forgetting his tiny son, though entrusted to thee as a 

guardian ? 

I thought I heard sobs of mourning in his voice. 
Now if that player, though acting it daily, could 
never act that scene without emotion, do you really 
think that Pacuvius, when he wrote it, was in a calm 
and careless frame of mind ? That could never be. 

194 For I have often heard that — as they say Democritus 



relictum esse dicunt — sine inflammatione animorum 
exsistere posse, et sine quodam afflatu quasi furoris. 
XLVII. Qua re nolite existimare me ipsum, qui non 
heroum veteres casus fictosque luctus vellem imitari 
atque adumbrare dicendo, neque actor essem alienae 
personae, sed auctor meae, cum mihi M'. Aquihus 
in civitate retinendus esset, quae in illa causa pero- 

195 randa fecerim, sine magno dolore fecisse. Quem 
enim ego consulem fuisse, imperatorem, ornatum a 
Senatu, ovantem in Capitolium ascendisse meminis- 
sem, hunc cum afflictum, debilitatum, maerentem, in 
summum discrimen adductum viderem, non prius 
sum conatus misericordiam ahis commovere, quam 
misericordia sum ipse captus. Sensi equidem tum 
magnopere moveri iudices, cum excitavi maestum 
ac sordidatum senem et cum ista feci, quae tu, 
Crasse, laudas, non arte, de qua quid loquar nescio, 
sed motu magno animi ac dolore, ut discinderem 

196 tunicam, ut cicatrices ostenderem. Ctmi C. Marius 
maerorem orationis meae praesens ac sedens multum 
lacrimis suis adiuvaret, cumque ego illum crebro 
appellans collegam ei suum commendarem atque 
ipsum advocatum ad communem imperatorum for- 
tunam defendendam invocarem, non fuit haec sine 
meis lacrimis, non sine dolore magno miseratio, 
omniumque deorum et hominum et civium et 
sociorum imploratio ; quibus omnibus verbis, quae a 

' Aquilius was consul in 101 b.c. After suppressing the 
Servile War in Sicily, he was prosecuted in 98 b.c. for extor- 
tion, but successfuUy defended by Antonius (c/. § 188). 

" Marius was consul for the fifth time in 101 b.c. 


DE ORATORE, II. xlvi. 194— xlvii. 196 

and Plato have left on record — no man can be a good 
poet who is not on fire with passion, and inspired by 
something very like frenzy. 

XLVII. " Do not suppose then that I myself, instance of 
though not concerned to portray and reproduce in t^o\t^\n 
language the bygone misfortunes and legendary casesof 
griefs of heroes, and though presenting my own an*<r* "" 
personality and not representing another's, did Norbanus. 
without profound emotion the things I did when 
closing that famous case," in which my task was to 

195 maintain Manius Aquilius in his civic rights. For 
here was a man whom I remembered as having been 
consul, commander-in-chief, honoured by the Senate, 
and mounting in procession to the Capitol ; on seeing 
him cast down, crippled, sorrowing and brought to 
the risk of all he held dear, I was myself overcome 
by compassion before I tried to excite it in others. 
Assuredly I felt that the Court was deeply affected 
when I called forward my unhappy old client, in his 
garb of woe, and when I did those things approved 
by yourself, Crassus — not by way of technique, as 
to which I know not what to say, but under stress 
of deep emotion and indignation — I mean my tear- 

19Q ing open his tunic and exposing his scars. While 
Gaius Marius, from his seat in court, was strongly 
reinforcing, by his weeping, the pathos of my appeal, 
and I, repeatedly naming him, was committing his 
colleague ^ to his care, and calling upon him to speak 
himself in support of the common interests of com- 
manders-in-chief, all this lamentation, as well as 
my invocation of every god and man, every citizen 
and ally, was accompanied by tears and vast in- 
dignation on my own part ; had my personal in- 
dignation been missing from all the talking I did 



me tum sunt habita, si dolor afuisset meus, non 
modo non miserabilis, sed etiam irridenda fuisset 
oratio mea. Quam ob rem hoc vos doceo, Sulpici, 
bonus ego videlicet atque eruditus magister, ut in 
dicendo irasci, ut dolere, ut flere possitis. 

197 Quanquam te quidem quid hoc doceam, qui in 
accusando sodali et quaestore meo tantum incendium 
non oratione solum, sed etiam multo magis vi et dolore 
et ardore animi concitaras, ut ego ad id restinguen- 
dum vix conarer accedere } Habueras enim tum 
omnia in causa superiora : vim, fugam, lapida- 
tionem, crudehtatem tribuniciam in Caepionis gravi 
miserabilique casu, in iudicium vocabas ; deinde 
principem et senatus et civitatis, M. Aemilium, lapide 
percussum esse constabat ; vi pulsum ex templo 
L. Cottam, et T. Didium, cum intercedere vellent 
rogationi, nemo poterat negare. 

198 XLVIII. Accedebat, ut haec tu adolescens pro 
re pubHca queri summa cum dignitate existimarere ; 
ego, homo censorius, vix satis honeste viderer sedi- 
tiosum civem et in hominis consularis calamitate 
crudelem posse defendere. Erant optimi cives 
iudices, bonorum virorum plenum forum, vix ut mihi 
tenuis quaedam venia daretur excusationis, quod 
tamen eum defenderem, qui mihi quaestor fuisset. 
Hic ego quid dicam me artem aUquam adhibuisse ? 

» i.e. Gaius Norbanus, who had been Antonius's quaestor 
in 103 B.c. (c/. Book II, §§ 89, 107, 124). Q. Servilius 
Caepio, as proconsul in Gaul, had been the main cause of 
the crushing defeat inflicted upon the Roman army by the 
Cimbri at Arausio. Being subsequently prosecuted and 
condemned for his treason and embezzlement in Gaul, he 
was exiled. Norbanus had been active in the proceedings 
against him, and this led to the prosecution of Norbanus 


DE ORATORE, II. xlvii. 196— xlviii. 198 

on that occasion, my address, so far from inspiring 
compassion, would positively have deserved ridicule. 
And so I am telling you this, Sulpicius, as naturally 
such a kindly and accompUshed teacher would do, in 
order to help you to be wrathful, indignant and 
tearful in your speech-making. 

197 " But why indeed should I teach this to you, who, 
in prosecuting my comrade and quaestor,*» had 
kindled such a blaze, not by eloquence only, but 
far more by vehemence, indignation and fiery en- 
thusiasm, that I hardly ventured to draw near and 
put it out ? For all the advantages in that case had 
been yours : you were citing to the Court the violence, 
the flight, the stone-throwing and the tribunes* 
ruthlessness that marked the disastrous and lament- 
able affair of Caepio ; then too it was established 
that Marcus Aemilius, chief of Senate and chief of 
State, had been struck by a stone, while it was 
undeniable that Lucius Cotta and Titus Didius, on 
trying to veto a resolution, had been forcibly driven 
from sanctuary. 

198 XLVIII. " In the result, while you, only a stripling, 
were thought to be conducting this pubhc prosecu- 
tion with consummate distinction, I, a past censor, 
was thought to be acting not quite honourably in bear- 
ing to defend a factious citizen, who moreover had 
been merciless to a past consul in distress. Citizens 
of the best repute formed the tribunal ; men of re- 
spectabiUty crowded the Court ; so that I had 
difficulty in winning a grudging sort of acceptance 
of my plea that at any rate my cHent was my old 
quaestor. In these circumstances how can I say 

himself by the aristocrats in 95 b.c, when Antonius con- 
ducted his defence, as here described. 



Quid fecerim, narrabo ; si placuerit, vos meam de- 
fensionem in aliquo artis loco reponetis. 
199 Omnium seditionum genera, vitia, pericula collegi, 
eamque orationem ex omni rei publicae nostrae tem- 
porum varietate repetivi, conclusique ita, ut dicerem, 
etsi omnes semper molestae seditiones fuissent, iustas 
tamen fuisse non nullas et prope necessarias. Tum 
illa, quae modo Crassus commemorabat, egi : neque 
reges ex hac civitate exigi, neque tribunos plebis 
creari, neque plebiscitis toties consularem potestatem 
minui, neque provocationem, patronam illam civitatis 
ac vindicem libertatis, populo Romano dari sine no- 
bilium dissensione potuisse ; ac, si illae seditiones 
saluti huic civitati fuissent, non continuo, si quis 
motus populi factus esset, id C. Norbano in nefario 
crimine atque in fraude capitali esse ponendum. 
Quodsi unquam populo Romano concessum esset, 
ut iure concitatus videretur, id quod docebam saepe 
esse concessiun, nuUam illa causam iustiorem fuisse. 
Tum omnem orationem traduxi et converti in in- 
crepandam Caepionis fugam, in deplorandum interi- 
timi exercitus : sic et eorum dolorem, qui lugebant 
suos, oratione refricabam, et animos equitum Ro- 
manorum, apud quos tum iudices causa agebatur, ad 

DE ORATORE, II. xlviii. 198-199 

I used any particular technique .'' What I did I will 
relate, if you think fit, you will give my line of 
defence some place or other in your system. 
199 " I classified all the types of civil discord, their 
weaknesses and dangers, and that part of my speech 
I derived from all the vicissitudes in the history of 
our own community, winding up with the assertion 
that civil discords, though always troublesome, had 
yet sometimes been justifiable and well-nigh un- 
avoidable. Next I discussed the considerations 
lately recalled by Crassus ; how that neither the 
expulsion of kings from this State, nor the estabUsh- 
ment of tribunes of the commons, nor the frequent 
restriction of the consuls' power by decrees of the 
commons, nor the bestowal upon the Roman People 
of the right of appeal, that famous buttress of 
the State and defence of freedom, could any of 
them have been efFected without aristocratic opposi- 
tion ; and that, if those particular civil discords had 
been beneficial to our community, the mere fact 
of a popular movement having been caused must 
not instantly be counted against Gaius Norbanus 
for heinous wickedness and indeed a capital ofFence. 
That if rightfulness had ever been conceded to an in- 
citement of the Roman People to sedition, — a con- 
cession which I was showing to have been frequent — , 
there had never been a juster cause than this one. 
After that I altered my course and turned ray entire 
speech into a denunciation of the running-away of 
Caepio and a lament for the destruction of his army : 
in this way, besides chafing anew by my words the 
sores of people mourning for their own folk, I was 
kindling the feelings of the Roman Knights, who 
constituted the Court I was addressing, into fresh 



Q. Caepionis odium, a quo erant ipsi propter iudicia 
abalienati, renovabam. 

200 XLIX. Quod ubi sensi me in possessione iudicii 
ac defensionis meae constitisse, quod et populi bene- 
volentiam mihi conciliaram, cuius ius etiam cum 
seditionis coniunctione defenderam, et iudicum ani- 
mos totos vel calamitate civitatis vel luctu ac desiderio 
propinquorum vel odio proprio in Caepionem ad 
causam nostram converteram, tum admiscere huic 
generi orationis vehementi atque atroci genus illud 
alterum, de quo ante disputavi, lenitatis et mansue- 
tudinis coepi : me pro meo sodali, qui mihi in hberum 
loco more maiorum esse deberet, et pro mea omni 
fama prope fortunisque decernere ; nihil mihi ad 
existimationem turpius, nihil ad dolorem acerbius 
accidere posse, quam si is, qui saepe aUenissimis a 
me, sed meis tamen civibus, saluti existimarer fuisse, 

201 sodaU meo auxiUum ferre non potuissem. Petebam a 
iudicibus, ut illud aetati meae, ut honoribus, ut rebus 
gestis, si iusto, si pio dolore me esse afFectum viderent, 
concederent ; praesertim si in aliis causis intellexis- 
sent omnia me semper pro amicorum pericuUs, nihil 
unquam pro me ipso deprecatum. Sic in iUa omni 
defensione atque causa, quod esse in arte positum 
videbatur, ut de lege Appuleia dicerem, ut quid esset 
minuere maiestatem expUcarem, perquam breviter 
perstrinxi atque attigi. His duabus partibus orationis, 

" Caepio in 106 b.c. had proposed to deprive the equites 
of their monopoly of the jury functions, and to have the 
tribunals composed of senators and equites in equal pro- 
portions. » See Book II, § 107 n. 6. 


DE ORATORE, II. xlviii. 199— xUx. 201 

hatred of Quintus Caepio, from whom they had been 
estranged already over the composition of the 
criminal Courts." 

200 XLIX. " But when I felt I had a firm hold on the 
Court and on my line of defence, and I had won the 
goodwill of the public, whose claims I had upheld 
even when involved with civil discord, and I had 
turned all hearts on the tribunal in favour of my 
cause, by reason either of the national disaster, or 
of yearning grief for kindred, or of private hatred of 
Caepio, then I began to blend with this impetuous 
and violent type of oratory that other mild and gentle 
type, which I have already discussed, pleading that 
I was fighting for my comrade, who by ancestral 
tradition should stand in a filial relation to myself, 
and also (I might say) for my own fair fame and 
general welfare ; no happening could more deeply 
disgrace my reputation, or cause me more bitter 
sorrow, than for it to be thought that I, so often the 
saviour of complete strangers to myself, provided 
only they were my fellow-citizens, had been unable 

201 to aid my own comrade. I begged the Court, should 
they see me affected by justifiable and loyal grief, 
to excuse this in consideration of my years, official 
career and achievements, particularly if, in the 
course of other trials, they had observed that I always 
made my petitions on behalf of friends in jeopardy, 
never for myself. Thus all through that speech for 
the defence, and indeed the trial itself, it was in 
the fewest possible words that I glanced over and 
lightly touched the matters which seemed dependent 
upon scientific treatment, I mean my discussion of 
the Statute of Appuleius,'' and my exposition of the 
nature of treason. By means of these two modes 



quarum altera concitationem habet,alteracommenda- 
tionem, quae minime praeceptis artium sunt per- 
politae, omnis est a me illa causa tractata, ut et 
acerrimus in Caepionis invidia renovanda et in meis 
moribus erga meos necessarios declarandis man- 
suetissimus viderer. Ita magis afFectis animis iudi- 
cum quam doctis, tua, Sulpici, est a nobis tum 
accusatio victa. 

202 L. Hic Sulpicius : Vere hercle, inquit, Antoni, 
ista commemoras ; nam ego nihil unquam vidi, quod 
tam e manibus elaberetur, quam mihi tum est elapsa 
illa causa. Cum enim, quem ad modum dixisti, tibi 
ego non iudicium, sed incendium tradidissem, quod 
tuum principium, di immortales, fuit! Qui timor! 
Quae dubitatio ! Quanta haesitatio tractusque ver- 
borum ! Ut illud initio, quod tibi unum ad ignoscen- 
dum homines dabant, tenuisti, te pro homine per- 
necessario, quaestore tuo, dicere ! Quam tibi primum 

203 munisti ad te audiendum viam ! Ecce autem, cum 
te nihil aliud profecisse arbitrarer, nisi ut homines 
tibi civem improbum defendenti ignoscendum prop- 
ter necessitudinem arbitrarentur, serpere occulte 
coepisti, nihildum aliis suspicantibus, me vero iam 
pertimescente, ut illam non Norbani seditionem, sed 
Popuh Romani iracundiam neque eam iniustam, sed 
meritam ac debitam fuisse defenderes. Deinde qui 
locus a te praetermissus est in Caepionem ? Ut tu 
illa omnia odio, invidia, misericordia miscuisti ! Neque 
haec solum in defensione, sed etiam in Scauro ce- 


DE ORATORE, II. xUx. 201—1. 203 

of speech, the one inflammatory, the other eulogistic, 
and neither of them much elaborated by rules of art, 
I so managed the whole of that case as to seem most 
passionate when reviving hatred of Caepio, and 
mildest when describing my conduct towards my 
own connexions. So, Sulpicius, it was rather by 
working upon, than by informing, the minds of the 
tribunal, that I beat your prosecution on that 

202 L. Here Sulpicius observed, " Upon my word, Snipicius 
Antonius, your account of those matters is true, for t^stifles to 
never did I see anything shp through the fingers in suMeM^hi' 
the way that verdict slipped that day through mine. *'^® ^***' 
For when (as you told us) I had left you with a con- 
flagration rather than a case to dispose of, — ye Gods 1 

— what an opening you made ! How nervous, how 
irresolute you seemed ! How stammering and halt- 
ing was your deUvery ! How you clung at the outset 
to the sohtary excuse everyone was making for you 
— that you were defending your own famiUar friend 
and quaestor ! So, in the first place, did you prepare 

203 the way towards getting a hearing ! Then, just as 
I was deciding that you had merely succeeded in 
making people think intimate relationship a possible 
excuse for your defending a wicked citizen, — lo and 
behold ! — so far unsuspected by other people, but 
already to my own serious alarm, you began to 
wriggle imperceptibly into your famous defence, of 
no factious Norbanus, but of an incensed Roman 
People, whose wrath, you urged, was not wrongful, 
but just and well-deserved. After that what point 
against Caepio did you miss ? How you leavened 
every word with hatred, maUce and pathos ! And 
aU this not only in your speech for the defence, but 



terisque meis testibus, quorum testimonia non re- 
fellendo, sed ad eundem impetum populi confugiendo 
refutasti. Quae cum abs te modo commemora- 

204 rentur, equidem nulla praecepta desiderabam ; ipsam 
tamen istam demonstrationem defensionum tuarum 
abs te ipso commemoratam doctrinam esse non 
mediocrem puto. 

Atqui, si ita placet, inquit Antonius, trademus 
etiam, quae nos sequi in dicendo quaeque maxime 
spectare solemus ; docuit enim iam nos longa vita 
ususque rerum maximarum, ut quibus rebus animi 
hominum moverentur teneremus. 

205 LI. Equidem primum considerare soleo, postuletne 
causa ; nam neque parvis in rebus adhibendae sunt 
hae dicendi faces neque ita animatis hominibus, ut 
nihil ad eorum mentes oratione flectendas proficere 
possimus, ne aut irrisione aut odio digni putemur, si 
aut tragoedias agamus in nugis aut convellere adoria- 

206 mur ea, quae non possint commoveri. lam^ quoniam 
haec fere maxime sunt in iudicum animis, aut qui- 
cumque ilU erunt, apud quos agemus, oratione mo- 
lienda, amor, odium, iracundia, invidia, misericordia, 
spes, laetitia, timor, molestia, sentimus amorem con- 
ciliari, si id videare, quod sit utile ipsis, apud quos 
agas, defendere, aut si pro bonis viris aut certe pro 
eis, qui iUis boni atque utiles sint, laborare. Namque 
haec res amorem magis conciUat, iUa virtutis de- 
fensio caritatem ; plusque proficit, si proponitur spes 
utiUtatis futurae quam praeteriti beneficii com- 

207 memoratio. Enitendum est, ut ostendas in ea re, 

' lam. Madvig^s correction for the inappropriate Nam o/ 
the U88. 

" Reading aut si for the *« aut of the mss. 

DE ORATORE, II. 1. 203— li. 207 

also in your handling of Scaurus and the rest of my 
witnesses, whose evidence you rebutted by no dis- 
proof, but by fleeing for refuge to that same national 

204 outbreak. When just now you were reminding us 
of these things, I certainly felt no need of any 
maxims, for that actual reproduction, in your own 
words, of your methods of defence is to my mind the 
most instructive of teaching." 

" For all that," answered Antonius, " we will, if Ruiesand 
you please, go on to set forth the principles we gener- ^otiOTfar"^ 
ally adopt in speaking, and the points we chiefly keep oratwry. 
in view : for a long career and experience in the most 
weighty afFairs have taught us, by this time, to hold 
fast to the ways of stirring the feelings of mankind. 

205 LI. " My own practice is to begin by reflecting 
whether the case calls for such treatment ; for these 
rhetorical fireworks should not be used in petty 
matters, or with men of such temper that our elo- 
quence can achieve nothing in the way of influencing 
their minds, unless we would be deemed fit objects 
of ridicule, or even of disgust, as indulging in heroics 
over trifles, or setting out to uproot the immovable. 

206 Now, since the emotions which eloquence has to 
excite in the minds of the tribunal, or whatever other 
audience we may be addressing, are most commonly 
love, hate, wrath, jealousy, compassion, hope, joy, 
fear or vexation, we observe that love is won if you 
are thought to be upholding the interests of your 
audience, or <* to be working for good men, or at any 
rate for such as that audience deems good and useful. 
For this last impression more readily wins love, and 
the protection of the righteous esteem ; and the 
holding-out of a hope of advantage to come is more 

207 efFective than the recital of past benefit. You must 



quam defendas, aut dignitatem inesse aut utilitatem, 
eumque, cui concilies hunc amorem, significes nihil 
ad utilitatem suam rettuUsse ac nihil omnino fecisse 
causa sua. Invidetur enim commodis hominum ip- 
sorum, studiis autem eorum ceteris commodandi 

208 Videndumque hoc loco est, ne, quos ob benefacta 
dihgi volemus, eorum laudem atque gloriam, cui 
maxime invideri solet, nimis efFerre videamur. Atque 
eisdem his ex locis et in alios odium struere discemus 
et a nobis ac nostris demovere ; eademque haec 
genera tractanda sunt in iracundia vel excitanda vel 
sedanda. Nam si, quod ipsis , qui audiunt, perniciosum 
aut inutile sit, id factum augeas, odiimi creatur ; 
sin, quod aut in bonos viros aut in eos, in quos minime 
quisque debuerit, aut in rem publicam, tum excitatur, 
si non tam acerbum odium, tamen aut invidiae aut 

209 odii non dissimihs offensio. Item timor incutitur aut 
ex ipsorum periculis aut ex communibus : interior 
est ille proprius, sed hic quoque communis ad ean- 
dem simiUtudinem est perducendus. 

LII. Par atque una ratio est spei, laetitiae, moles- 
tiae ; sed haud sciam an acerrimus longe sit omniiun 
motus invidiae nec minus virium opus sit in ea 
comprimenda quam in excitanda. Invident autem 
homines maxime paribus aut inferioribus, cum se 
reUctos sentiunt, illos autem dolent evolasse ; sed 


DE ORATORE, II. li. 207— lii. 209 

struggle to reveal the presence, in the cause you 
are upholding, of some merit or usefulness, and to 
make it plain that the man, for whom you are to win 
this love, in no respect consulted his own interests 
and did nothing at all from personal motives. For 
men's private gains breed jealousy, while their zeal 
for others' service is applauded. 

208 " And here we must be watchful, not to seem to 
extol unduly the merits and renown — jealousy's 
favourite target — of those whom we would have 
beloved for their good works. Then too, from these 
same commonplaces, we shall learn as well to in- 
stigate hatred of others as to turn it away from our- 
selves and our clients : and these same general heads 
are to be employed in kindUng and also in assuaging 
wrath. For, if you glorify the doing of something 
ruinous or unprofitable to your particular audience, 
hate is engendered : while, if it be something done 
against good men in general, or those to whom the 
particular doer should never have done it, or against 
the State, no such bitter hate is excited, but a disgust 

209 closely resembhng ill-will or hate. Fear again is 
struck from either the perils of individuals or those 
shared by all : that of private origin goes deeper, 
but universal fear ako is to be traced to a similar 

LII. " The treatment of hope, joy and vexation Prevaience 
is similar to this, and identical in each case, but I »' J«aiousy 
rather think that the emotion of jealousy is by far 
the fiercest of all, and needs as much energy for its 
repression as for its stimulation. Now people are 
especially jealous of their equals, or of those once 
beneath them, when they feel themselves left behind 
and fret at the others' upward flight ; but jealousy 



etiam superioribus invidetur saepe vehementer et 
eo magis, si intolerantius se iactant et aequa- 
bilitatem iuris praestantia dignitatis aut fortunae 
suae transeunt ; quae si inflammanda sunt, maxime 
dicendum est non esse virtute parta, deinde etiam 
vitiis atque peccatis, tum, si erunt honestiora atque 
graviora, tamen non esse tanta illa merita, quanta 

210 insolentia hominis quantumque fastidium. Ad 
sedandum autem, magno illa labore, magnis pericuHs 
esse parta nec ad suum commodum, sed ad aliorum 
esse collata; eumque si quam^ gloriam peperisse 
videatur, tamenetsi ea non sit iniqua merces periculi, 
tamen ea non delectari totamque abicere atque 
deponere ; omninoque perficiendum est, quoniam 
plerique sunt invidi maximeque hoc est commune 
vitium et pervagatum, invidetur autem praestanti 
florentique fortunae, ut haec opinio minuatur et 
illa excellens opinione fortuna cum laboribus et 

211 miseriis permixta esse videatur. lam misericordia 
movetur, si is, qui audit, adduci potest, ut illa, 
quae de altero deplorentur, ad suas res revocet, 
quas aut tulerit acerbas aut timeat, aut in- 
tuens ahum crebro ad se ipsum revertatur. Ita 
cum singuli casus humanarum miseriarum graviter 
accipiuntur, si dicuntur dolenter, tum affiicta et 
prostrata virtus maxime luctuosa est. Et, ut illa 
altera pars orationis, quae probitatis commendatione 

^ Piderit : collataque suatn. 


DE ORATORE, II. lii. 209-211 

of theii betters also is often furious, and all the more 
so if these conduct themselves insufferably, and 
overstep their rightful claims on the strength of 
pre-eminent rank or prosperity ; if these advantages 
are to be made fuel for jealousy, it should before all 
be pointed out that they were not the fruit of merit ; 
next that they even came by vice and wrongdoing, 
finally that the man's deserts, though creditable and 
impressive enough, are still exceeded by his arro- 

210 gance and disdain. To quench jealousy, on the other 
hand, it is proper to emphasize the points that those 
advantages were the fruit of great exertion and great 
risks, and were not turned to his own profit but to 
that of other people ; and that, as for any renown 
he himself may seem to have won, though no unfair 
recompense for his risk, he nevertheless finds no 
pleasure therein, but casts it aside and disclaims 
it altogether : and we must by all means make sure 
(since most people are jealous, and this faiUng is 
remarkably general and widespread, while jealousy 
is attracted by surpassingly brilhant prosperity) that 
the belief in such prosperity shall be weakened, and 
that what was supposed to be outstanding prosperity 
shall be seen to be thoroughly blended with labour 

211 and sorrow. Lastly compassion is awakened if the Appeais to 
hearer can be brought to apply to his own adversities, compassioa 
whether endured or only apprehended, the lamenta- 

tions uttered over someone else, or if, in his con- 
templation of another's case, he many a time goes 
back to his own experience. Thus, while particular 
occasions of human distress are deeply felt, if de- 
scribed in moving terms, the dejection and ruin of 
the righteous are especially lamentable. And, just 
as that other kind of style, which by bearing witness 



boni viri debet speciem tueri, lenis, ut saepe iam 
dixi, atque summissa, sic haec, quae suscipitur ab 
oratore ad commutandos animos atque omni ratione 
flectendos, intenta ac vehemens esse debet. 

212 LIII. Sed est quaedam in his duobus generibus, 
quorum alterum lene, alterum vehemens esse volu- 
mus, difficilis ad distinguendum similitudo, Nam et 
ex illa lenitate, qua concihamur eis, qui audiunt, 
ad hanc vim acerrimam, qua eosdem excitamus, 
influat oportet ahquid, et ex hac vi nonnunquam 
animi ahquid inflammandum est ilh lenitati ; neque 
est uUa temperatior oratio quam illa, in qua asperitas 
contentionis oratoris ipsius humanitate conditur, 
remissio autem lenitatis quadam gravitate et con- 
tentione firmatur. 

213 In utroque autem genere dicendi, et iho, in quo vis 
atque contentio quaeritur, et hoc, quod ad vitam et 
mores accommodatur, et principia tarda sunt et 
exitus tamen spissi et producti esse debent. Nam 
neque assihendum statim est ad genus illud orationis ; 
abest enim totum a causa, et homines prius ipsum 
illud, quod proprium sui iudicii est, audire desiderant; 
nec cum in eam rationem ingressus sis, celeriter 

214 discedendum est. Non enim, sicut argumentum, simul 
atque positum est, arripitur, alterumque et tertium 
poscitur, ita misericordiam aut invidiam aut iracun- 
diam, simul atque intuleris, possis commovere. Argu- 
mentum enim ratio ipsa confirmat, idque, simul atque 


DE ORATORE, II. lii. 211— liii. 214 

to the speakers integrity is to preserve the semblance 
of a man of worth, should be mild and gentle (as 
I have repeatedly said already), so this kind, assumed 
by the speaker in order to transform men's feelings 
or influence them in any desired way, should be 
spirited and emotional. 

212 LIII. " But these two styles, which we require to condiiatory 
be respectively mild and emotional, have something „„^'^4^ 
in common, making them hard to keep apart. For troatment of 
from that mildness, which wins us the goodwill of p^ggagOT. 
our hearers, some inflow must reach this fiercest of 
passions, wherewith we inflame the same people, 

and again, out of this passion some Uttle energy 
must often be kindled within that mildness : nor 
is any style better blended than that wherein the 
harshness of strife is tempered by the personal 
urbanity of the advocate, while his easy-going mild- 
ness is fortified by some admixture of serious strife, 

213 " Now in both styles of speaking, the one demand- 
ing passion and strife, and the other adapted to recom- 
mendation of the speaker's life and manners, the 
opening of a speech is unhurried, and none the less 
its closing should also be lingering and long drawn- 
out. For you must not bound all of a sudden into 
that emotional style, since it is whoUy ahen to the 
merits of the case, and people long to hear first just 
what is peculiarly within their own cognizance, 
while, once you have assumed that style, you must 

214 not be in a hurry to change it. For you could not 
awaken compassion, jealousy or wrath at the very 
instant of your onset, in the way that a proof is 
seized upon as soon as propounded, and a second 
and third called for. This is because the hearer's 
mentality corroborates the proof, and no sooner is 



emissum est, adhaerescit ; illud autem genus ora- 
tionis non cognitionem iudicis, sed magis perturba- 
tionem requirit, quam consequi nisi multa et varia 
et copiosa oratione, et simili contentione actionis, 

215 nemo potest, Quare qui aut breviter aut summisse 
dicunt, docere iudicem possunt, commovere non 
possunt ; in quo sunt omnia. 

lam illud perspicuum est, omnium rerum in con- 
trarias partes facultatem ex eisdem suppeditari locis. 
Sed argumento resistendum est aut eis, quae com- 
probandi eius causa sumuntur, reprehendendis, aut 
demonstrando, id, quod concludere illi vehnt, non 
effici ex propositis nec esse consequens ; aut, si ita non 
refellas, afFerendum est in contrariam partem, quod 

216 sit aut gravius aut aeque grave. Illa autem, quae aut 
conciliationis causa leniter, aut permotionis vehe- 
menter aguntur, contrariis commotionibus auferenda 
sunt, ut odio benevolentia, misericordia invidia 

LIV. Suavis autem est et vehementer saepe utilis 
iocus et facetiae ; quae, etiamsi alia omnia tradi 
arte possunt, naturae sunt propria certe neque ullam 
artem desiderant. In quibus tu longe ahis mea 
sententia, Caesar, excelhs, quo magis mihi etiam 
aut testis esse potes nuUam esse artem sahs aut, 
si qua est, eam tu potissimum nos docebis. 

217 Ego vero, inquit Caesar, omni de re facetius 
puto posse ab homine non inurbano, quara de ipsis 
facetiis disputari. Itaque cum quosdam Graecos 
inscriptos hbros esse vidissem de ridiculis, non- 


DE ORATORE, II. liii. 214— Uv. 217 

it uttered than it is sticking in his memory, whereas 
that passionate style searches out an arbitrator's 
emotional side rather than his understanding, and 
that side can only be reached by diction that is rich, 
diversified and copious, with animated delivery to 

215 match. Thus concise or quiet speakers may inform 
an arbitrator, but cannot excite him, on which 
excitement everything depends. 

" By this time it is plain that the power to argue Argument 
both sides of every question is abundantly furnished argumBnt''^ 
from the same commonplaces. But your opponents' appeaito' 
proof must be countered, either by contradicting the exdtlng the 
arguments chosen to estabUsh it, or by showing that contrary. 
their desired conclusion is not supported by their 
premisses and does not follow therefrom ; or, if you 
do not so rebut it, you must adduce on the opposite 

216 side some proof of greater or equal cogency. Lastly 
appeals, whether mild or passionate, and whether 
for winning favour or stirring the feehngs, must be 
swept aside by exciting the opposite impressions, 
so that goodwill may be done away with by hate, 
and compassion by jealousy. 

LIV. " Jesting too and shafts of wit are agreeable Empioy- 
and often highly efFective : but these, even if all else ™^°'^°^ ''**• 
can be taught by art, are assuredly the endowment 
of nature and in no need of art. To my mind, Caesar, 
you far surpass all others in this field, so that you are 
also the better able to bear me witness that no art 
of pleasantry exists, or, if any such there be, you will 

217 best teach it to us." " For my part," returned wita 
Caesar, " I hold that a man with any tincture of °**^^^^8i''5 
humour in him can discuss anything in the world kinds. 
more wittily than actual witticisms. Thus, on seeing 
sundry Greek books entitled Concerning tke Laughahle, 



nullam in spem veneram posse me ex eis aliquid 
discere ; inveni autem ridicula et salsa multa Grae- 
corum ; nam et Siculi in eo genere et Rhodii et 
Byzantii et praeter ceteros Attici excellunt ; sed 
qui eius rei rationem quandam conati sunt artemque 
tradere, sic insulsi exstiterunt, ut nihil aliud eorum 

218 nisi ipsa insulsitas rideatur. Quare mihi quidem 
nuUo modo videtur doctrina ista res posse tradi. 
Etenim cum duo genera sint facetiarum, alterum 
aequabiliter in omni sermone fusum, altermn pera- 
cutum et breve, illa a veteribus superior cavillatio, 
haec altera dicacitas nominata est. Leve nomen 

219 habet utraque res ! quippe leve enim est totum hoc 
risum movere. Verum tamen, ut dicis, Antoni, mul- 
tum in causis persaepe lepore et facetiis profici vidi. 
Sed cum illo in genere perpetuae festivitatis ars non 
desideretur (natura enim fingit homines et creat 
imitatores et narratores facetos, adiuvante et voltu 
et voce et ipso genere sermonis), tum vero in hoc 
altero dicacitatis quid habet ars loci, cum ante illud 
facete dictum emissum haerere debeat, quam cogitari 

220 potuisse videatur ? Quid enim hic meus frater ab 
arte adiuvari potuit, cum a Philippo interrogatus 
quid latraret, furem se videre respondit ? Quid in 
omni oratione Crassus vel apud centumviros contra 
Scaevolam vel contra accusatorem Brutum, cum 
pro Cn. Planco diceret ? Nam id, quod tu mihi 
tribuis, Antoni, Crasso est omnium sententia con- 
cedendum. Non enim fere quisquam reperietur 

» For Philippus see Index and Book I, § 24, aupra. 
' Catulus ' of course is Latin for a little dog. 


DE ORATORE, II. liv. 217-220 

I entertained the hope of being able to learn some- 
thing from them, and did indeed find much in Greek 
Ufe that was laughable and pungent, the inhabitants 
of Sicily, Rhodes, Byzantium, and particularly Athens 
having distinguished themselves in this kind of thing ; 
all however who tried to teach anything like a theory 
or art of this matter proved themselves so conspicu- 
ously silly that their very silliness is the only laugh- 

218 able thing about them. That is why I think that 
this accomplishment cannot possibly be imparted by 
teaching. For, there being two sorts of wit, one 
running with even flow all through a speech, while the 
other, though incisive, is intermittent, the ancients 
called the former ' irony ' and the latter ' raillery.' 

219 Each of these has a trivial name, but then of course 
all this business of laughter-raising is trivial. For all 
that, Antonius, as you remind me, I have very often 
seen much done in Court by humour and flashes of 
wit. But, while Art is not wanted in that continuous 
sort of jocularity (since Nature moulds mankind, and 
produces mimics and witty story-tellers, helped by 
their features, intonation and individual style of 
speaking), what room, pray, is there for Art in railler}'^, 
that other sort, wherein the shaft of wit has to be 
sped and hit its mark, with no palpable pause for 

220 thought ? For what help could my brother here iiiustra- 
have got from Art, when PhiUppus " inquired of him, ^^°^^ °* ^^^ 
' What are you barking at, Master Puppy,' and he 
answered, * I see a thief ' ? Or what help could 
Crassus have so got, all through his reply to Scaevola 
before the Hundred Commissioners, or his defence of 
Gnaeus Plancus, when prosecuted by Brutus ? In 

fact, Antonius, the tribute you pay me ought, by 
unanimous verdict, to be yielded to Crassus. For 



praeter hunc in utroque genere leporis excellens, 
et illo quod in perpetuitate sermonis, et hoc quod in 

221 celeritate atque dicto est. Nam haec perpetua 
contra Scaevolam Curiana defensio tota redundavit 
hilaritate quadam et ioco ; dicta illa brevia non 
habuit. Parcebat enim adversarii dignitati, in quo 
ipse conservabat suam ; quod est hominibus facetis 
et dicacibus difficillimimi, habere hominum rationem 
et temporum et ea, quae occurrant, cum salsissime 

222 dici possint, tenere. Itaque nonnulli ridiculi homines 
hoc ipsum non insulse interpretantur dicere ^ Ennium, 
flammam a sapiente facihus ore in ardente opprimi, 
quam bona dicta teneat ; haec scilicet bona dicta, 
quae salsa sint ; nam ea dicta appellantur proprio 
iam nomine. 

LV. Sed ut in Scaevolam continuit ea Crassus 
atque in illo altero genere, in quo nuUi aculei con- 
timielianmi inerant, causam illam disputationemque 
lusit, sic in Bruto, quem oderat et quem dignum 
contumeha iudicabat, utroque genere pugnavit. 

223 Quam multa de balneis, quas nuper ille vendiderat, 
quam multa de amisso patrimonio dixit ! Atque 
illa brevia, cum ille diceret se sine causa sudare, 
* minime mirum,' inquit, ' modo enim existi de 
balneis.' Innumerabilia talia fuerunt, sed non minus 
iucunda illa perpetua. Cum enim Brutus duo lectores 

^ Piderit : dicere enim aiunt. 

" For the famous 'causa Curiana,' see Book I, § 180, 
II, §§ 140 f. 


DE ORATORE, II. liv. 220— Iv. 223 

scarcely a single other speaker is to be found, who is 
outstanding in both kinds of humour, the one dis- 
played all through a continuous discourse, the other 

221 in instantaneous bons-mots. For that continuous 
speech, on behalf of Curius " and in reply to Scaevola, 
overflowed throughout with unmistakable mirth and 
jocularity ; of those sudden shafts it contained none. 
For the speaker was sparing his opponent's reputa- 
tion, and in so doing was maintaining his own, because 
it is a most difficult thing for men given to wdt and 
raillery to have regard to personages and occasions, 
and to refrain from making observations which sug- 
gest themselves, when these could be brought out 

222 with most pungent efFect. So true is this that sundry 
jesters explain it (shrewdly enough) as being exactly 
what Ennius speaks of, when he says that ' it is easier 
for a wise man to stifle a flame within his burning 
mouth than to keep words of worth to himself,' 
* worth ' in this passage of course meaning ' pun- 
gency,' for such sayings are now known by a name 
of their own. 

LV. " But although against Scaevola Crassus sup- sidifui use 
pressed those shafts, and in fact romped through his crassus.^ 
argument and the whole of the trial in that other 
mode, which involved no stinging invective, yet when 
encountering Brutus, whom he detested and deemed 
deserving of invective, he fought in both modes. 

223 Howmuch he had to say about the baths then recently 
sold by his adversary, and about his wasted heritage ! 
Those repartees too ! as when Brutus declared him- 
self to be sweating all for nothing and the other 
retorted * Likely enough, for you are just ousted from 
your sweating-room ! ' Such shots were countless, 
but his continuous vein was just as pleasing. For 

N S61 


excitasset et alteri de colonia Narbonensi Crassi 
orationem legendam dedisset, alteri de lege Servilia, 
et cum contraria inter sese de re publica capita con- 
tulisset, noster hic facetissime tres patris Bruti de 

224 iure civili libellos tribus legendos dedit. Ex libro 
primo : ' Forte evenit, ut in Privernati essemus.' 
' Brute, testificatur pater se tibi Privernatem fundum 
reliquisse.' Deinde ex libro secundo : * In Albano 
ERAMus EGO ET Marcus filius.' ' Sapicns videlicet 
homo cum primis nostrae civitatis norat hunc gur- 
gitem ; metuebat, ne, cum is nihil haberet, nihil esse 
ei rehctum putaretur.' Tum ex libro tertio, in quo 
finem scribendi fecit — tot enim, ut audivi Scaevolam 
dicere, sunt veri Bruti libri — ' In Tiburti forte as- 
SEDiMus EGO ET Marcus fihus.' ' Ubi sunt hi fundi, 
Brute, quos tibi pater publicis commentariis con- 
signatos reliquit ? Quod nisi puberem te, inquit, iam 
haberet, quartum librum composuisset et se etiam in 
balneis lotum cum filio scriptum reliquisset.' 

225 Quis est igitur, qui non fateatur, hoc lepore 
atque his facetiis non minus refutatum esse Brutum 
quam illis tragoediis, quas egit idem, cum casu in 
eadem causa funere efferretur anus lunia ? Pro di 

" For a boy of fourteen or more to bathe in his father'8 
company was considered indecorous. 


DE ORATORE, II. Iv. 223-225 

after Brutus had summoned a couple of readers, and 
handed them a speech of Crassus apiece to recite, 
one on the Narbonian settlement and the other on 
the Statute of ServiUus, and had himself noted some 
inconsistencies in their accounts of afFairs of State, 
our friend here most humorously delivered to three 
of these people for recital three pamphlets on the 

224 common law by Brutus the elder. On an extract 
from the first book, * It chanced that we were in the 
Privernian district,' his comment was, * Brutus, your 
father bears witness that he has bequeathed you an 
estate at Privernum.' Next, at the citation from the 
second book, ' I and my son Marcus were on the 
Alban Hills,' he observed, * See how a man as shrewd 
as any in our community had discerned the nature of 
this devouring gulf ; he was afraid that, when he had 
nothing left, it might be thought that nothing had 
been bequeathed to him.' Finally, on the words ' I 
and my son Marcus happened to sit down together 
on Tiburtine land ' being read out from the third and 
concluding book (for I have heard Scaevola say that 
the authentic volumes of Brutus are three in num- 
ber), Crassus exclaimed, * Where are these estates, 
Brutus, which your father registered in his pubhc 
memoirs as bequeathed to you ? Why,' he went 
on, ' had you not already turned fourteen, he would 
have put together a fourth book, leaving it on record 
that he had also washed in his son's company at 
those baths ! ' " 

226 " Who then would deny that this pleasantry and 
these witticisms had as much to do with the repulse 
of Brutus as those histrionics gone through by our 
same friend when, during the same trial, it happened 
that the aged Junia was carried forth in funeral pro- 



immortales, quae fait illa, quanta vis 1 quam inex- 
spectata ! quam repentina ! cmn coniectis oculis, 
gestu omni ei imminenti, summa gravitate et celeri- 
tate verborum * Brute, quid sedes ? Quid illam 
anum patri nuntiare vis tuo ? quid illis omnibus, 
quorum imagines duci vides ? quid maioribus tuis ? 
quid L, Bruto, qui hunc populum dominatu regio 
liberavit ? Quid te agere ? Cui rei, cui gloriae, cui 
virtuti studere ? Patrimonione augendo ? At id non 
est nobilitatis, sed fac esse, nihil superest ; Hbi- 

226 dines totum dissipaverunt. An iuri civili ? est pater- 
num. Sed dicet te, cum aedes venderes, ne in rutis 
quidem et caesis soUum tibi paternum recepisse. An 
rei militari ? Qui nunquam castra videris ! An elo- 
quentiae ? quae nuUa est in te, et, quicquid est vocis 
ac linguae, omne in istum turpissimum calumniae 
quaestum contulisti ! Tu lucem aspicere audes ? tu 
hos intueri ? tu in foro, tu in urbe, tu in civium esse 
conspectu ? Tu illam mortuam, tu imagines ipsas non 
perhorrescis ? quibus non modo imitandis, sed ne 
collocandis quidem tibi locum ullum reliquisti.' 

227 LVI. Sed haec tragica atque divina ; faceta autem 
et urbana innumerabilia ex una contione meministis. 

" In Roman Law minerals already quarried and timber 
already felled were deemed to be excepted from the sale of a 
farm, unless expressly included. 


DE ORATORE, II. Iv. 225— Ivi. 227 

cession ? Ha ! ye deathless gods ! what boundless 
vigour he displayed ! and how sudden and unlooked- 
for it was ! when, with piercing gaze, with menace in 
his every motion, in the severest tones, and in a 
torrent of words he declaimed : * Brutus, why seated ? 
What news would you have that venerable dame 
carry to your sire ? to all those whose busts you 
behold borne along ? to your ancestors ? to Lucius 
Brutus, who freed this community from the tyranny 
of the kings ? What shall she tell them you are 
doing ? What affairs, what glorious deeds, what 
worthy ends are you busied with ? Is it increas- 
ing your heritage ? That is no occupation for the 
nobly-born, but — assuming it were so — you have 
nothing left to increase ; sensuality has squandered 

226 every shilling. Are you cultivating the common law, 
your father's field ? Why, Junia will report that, 
on selling-up your home, you did not even reserve 
his arm-chair for yourself, along with the quarried 
minerals and felled timber ! " Are you foUowing a 
military career ? You, who will never set eyes on 
a camp ! Are you a devotee of eloquence ? There 
is no spark of it about you, and any power you had 
of intonation or language you applied to making 
money by the foulest perversion of justice ! Dare 
you behold the Hght of day ? Or look upon this 
assembly ? Or show yourself in Court, or within the 
City, or before the eyes of your fellow-citizens ? Do 
not you tremble exceedingly at the spectacle of that 
dead lady ? and of those same busts, you who have ^ _ 
left yourself no room even for setting them up, much 
less for emulating their originals ? ' 

227 LVI. " All this however was in the grand and 
inspired style, but you also recall a host of sparkling 



Nec enim contentio maior unquam fuit, nec apud 
populum gravior oratio, quam huius contra collegam 
in censura nuper, neque lepore et festivitate 

Quare tibi, Antoni, utrumque assentior, et multum 
facetias in dicendo prodesse saepe, et eas arte nullo 
modo posse tradi. IUud quidem admiror, te nobis in 
eo genere tribuisse tantum, et non huius rei quoque 
palmam, ut ceterarum, Crasso detulisse. 

228 Tum Antonius : Ego vero ita fecissem, inquit, nisi 
interdum in hoc Crasso paulum inviderem : nam esse 
quamvis facetum atque salsum, non nimis est per se 
ipsum invidendum ; sed, cum omnium sit venus- 
tissimus et urbanissimus, omnium gravissimum et 
severissimum et esse, et videri, quod isti contigit uni, 
id mihi vix ferendum videbatur. 

229 Hic cum arrisisset ipse Crassus, Attamen, inquit 
Antonius, cum artem esse facetiarum, luli, ullam 
negares, aperuisti quiddam, quod praecipiendum 
videretur. Haberi enim dixisti rationem oportere 
hominum, rei, temporis, ne quid iocus de gravitate 
decerperet ; quod quidem in primis a Crasso obser- 
vari solet. Sed hoc praeceptum praetermittendarum 
est facetiarum, cum eis nihil opus sit ; nos autem 
quomodo utamur, cum opus sit, quaerimus, ut in 
adversarium, et maxime, si eius stultitia poterit 
agitari, in testem stultum, cupidum, levem, si facile 

■ i.e. Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ivi. 227-229 

witticisms from a single harangue. For never was 
there a more spirited effort, or a speech more effec- 
tive with the public, than that of our friend here, not 
long since, against his colleague " in the censorship, 
or one better tempered with charm and gaiety. 

" And so, Antonius, I grant both your points, first 
the great and frequent utility of witticisms in oratory , 
secondly the absolute impossibiUty of learning these 
from art. One thing certainly surprises me, and 
that is your ascribing so much success in this sphere 
to myself, instead of awarding the prize for this, as 
for all eke, to Crassus." 

" I should certainly have done so," answered 
Antonius, " were I not now and then a little envious 
of Crassus in this connexion ; for merely to be as 
witty and shrewd as you please need not excite un- 
measured envy, but that the most attractive and 
polished of all speakers should at the same time be 
obviously the most impressive and austere, as has 
been the lot of our friend alone, — this did seem 
rather more than I could bear." 

Even Crassus smiled at this, and Antonius went 
on, " However, Julius, though you denied the exist- 
ence of any art of pleasantry, you did just start some- 
thing that seemed worth teaching. For you said 
that regard ought to be paid to personages, topics 
and occasions, so that the jest should not detract 
from dignity ; Crassus of course always observes this 
principle as strictly as anyone. But it is a rule for 
the omission of uncalled-for witticisms, whereas we 
seek to know how to employ witticisms when wanted, 
— against an enemy, for instance, and most of all, if 
his stupidity can be ruffled, against a stupid, biased 
or unreliable witness, when people seem inclined to 



230 homines audituri videbuntur. Omnino probabiliora 
sunt, quae lacessiti dicimus, quam quae priores, nam 
et ingenii celeritas maior est, quae apparet in respon- 
dendo, et humanitatis est responsio, Videmur enim 
quieturi fuisse, nisi essemus lacessiti, ut in ista ipsa 
contione nihil fere dictum est ab hoc, quod quidem 
facetius dictum videretur, quod non provocatus 
responderit. Erat autem tanta gravitas in Domitio, 
tanta auctoritas, ut, quod esset ab eo obiectum, 
lepore magis elevandum, quam contentione frangen- 
dum videretur. 

231 LVII. Tum Sulpicius : Quid igitur ? inquit, pa- 
tiemur Caesarem, qui, quanquam Crasso facetias 
concedit, tamen multo in eo studio magis ipse ela- 
borat, non exphcare nobis totum genus hoc iocandi, 
quale sit, et unde ducatur ; praesertim cum tantam 
vim et utihtatem salis et urbanitatis esse fateatur ? 
Quid si, inquit lulius, assentior Antonio dicenti, 

232 nullam esse artem saUs ? Hic cum Sulpicius re- 
ticuisset : Quasi vero, inquit Crassus, horum ip- 
sorum, de quibus Antonius iamdiu loquitur, ars ulla 
sit : observatio quaedam est, ut ipse dixit, earum 
rerum, quae in dicendo valent ; quae si eloquentes 
facere posset, quis esset non eloquens ? Quis enim 
haec non vel facile, vel certe ahquo modo posset 
ediscere ? Sed ego in his praeceptis hanc vim et hanc 
utihtatem esse arbitror, non ut ad reperiendum, quid 
dicamus, arte ducamur, sed ut ea quae natura, quae 
studio, quae exercitatione consequimur, aut recta esse 
confidamus aut prava intellegamus, cum, quo re- 


DE ORATORE, II. Ivi. 230— Ivii. 232 

230 give him a ready hearing. The things we say when 
exasperated are altogether more persuasive than 
those we say in our first attack, as greater quick- 
ness of device is shown in retort, and to retort is 
human. For we give the impression that we should 
have remained quiet, had we not been exasperated, 
just as, in that identical harangue, our friend here 
said scarcely anything we thought particularly witty, 
which was not said by way of retort to a challenge. 
Yet there was such an air of worth and distinction 
about Domitius, that it seemed more fitting to make 
hght of his charges by pleasantry than to shatter 
them by force." 

231 LVII. " How now ? " interposed Sulpicius, " shall Practicai 
we permit Caesar, who, though yielding precedence Judglng'' 
in wit to Crassus, yet toils far harder in that field «ritticisms. 
himself, to deny us a complete exposition of this type 

of jesting, its nature and its sources, particularly as 
he recognizes such power and value in pleasantry and 
humour ? " " But suppose," said Julius, " I agree 
with Antonius that no art of pleasantry exists ? " 

232 Sulpicius remaining silent, Crassus observed, " An 
art of these things which Antonius has been dis- 
cussing all this time ! a practice indeed there is, as 
he himself told us, of observing sundry conventions 
serviceable to speakers, but, if this practice could 
impart eloquence, who would fail to be eloquent ? 
For who could not master these conventions, either 
readily or at any rate in some measure ? However 
I hold the virtue and benefit of these maxims to lie 
in this : we do not discover what to say by artificial 
devices, but, after we have learned a true standard of 
comparison, they assure us of the soundness, or 
reveal to us the weakness, of whatever resources we 



233 ferenda sint, didicerimus. Quare, Caesar, ego quo- 
que a te hoc peto, ut, si tibi videtur, disputes de hoc 
toto iocandi genere, quid sentias, ne qua forte dicendi 
pars, quoniam ita voluistis, in hoc tali coetu, atque in 
tam accurato sermone praeterita esse videatur. Ego 
vero, inquit ille, quoniam coUectam a conviva, Crasse, 
exigis, non committam, ut, si defugerim, tibi causam 
aliquam dem recusandi, quanquam soleo saepe mirari 
eorum impudentiam, qui agunt in scena gestimi, 
spectante Roscio ; quis enim sese commovere potest, 
cuius ille vitia non videat ? Sic ego nunc, Crasso 
audiente, primum loquar de facetiis, et docebo sus, 
ut aiunt, oratorem eum, quem cum Catulus nuper 

234 audisset, ' foenum alios aiebat esse oportere.' Tum 
ille : locabatur, inquit, Catulus, praesertim cum 
ita dicat ipse, ut ambrosia alendus esse videatur. 
Verum te, Caesar, audiamus, ut ad Antonii reliqua 
redeamus. Et Antonius : Perpauca quidem mihi 
restant, inquit ; sed tamen, defessus iam labore 
atque itinere disputationis meae, requiescam in 
Caesaris sermone quasi in aliquo peropportuno de- 

LVIII. Atqui, inquit lulius, non nimis Uberale 
hospitium meum dices : nam te in viam, simul ac 

235 perpaulum gustaris, extrudam et eiciam. Ac, ne 
diutius vos demorer, de omni isto genere, quid sen- 
tiam, perbreviter exponam. De risu quinque sunt, 

" Caesar refers to his forthcoming talk as if it were his 
contribution to a feast. 

* See Book I, lix.-lxi. 

* Said to have tendered advice to the Goddess of Wisdom. 
Compare the English proverb as to a grandcliild giving its 
ancestress liints on egg-sucking. 

•* As seeming but brute beasts in comparison with Crassus. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ivii. 233— Iviii. 235 

233 attain by native talent, study or practice. And so, 
Caesar, I too beg you, if you think proper, to discuss 
fuUy this type of jesting, and to state your views, 
lest haply one branch of oratory should be thought 
to have been passed over, with your approval, in 
such a company as this, and in a conversation so 
carefully elaborated." " Assuredly, Crassus," re- 
plied Caesar, " seeing that you are coUecting a 
boon companion's ' shot,' " I will not run away 
and so give you any occasion for complaint, although 
I am generally amazed at the shamelessness of those 
who strut the stage under the very eye of Roscius ^ ; 
for what man can so much as stir without that artist 
noticing his weak points .'' Just so I, with Crassus 
in my audience, am now going to discuss witticisms 
for the first time and, in emulation of the proverbial 
hog," to instruct that orator of whom, after re- 
cently hearing him, Catulus declared that * all 

234 others ought to be fed on hay.'"** " Catulus was 
speakingin jest," returned Crassus, " and the more 
plainly so in that his own style seems to entitle 
him to heavenly sustenance. But let us hear you, 
Caesar, and come back afterwards to what Antonius 
has still in hand." " In fact I have very few things 
left to say," observed Antonius, " but in any case 
I am already worn-out by my long and toilsome 
debate, and shall repose, while Caesar is talking, as 
though in a most convenient roadside inn." 

LVIII. " Well then," said Julius, " you will not xiie 
call my hospitality unduly generous, for I shall thrust ia»ghabie; 
you forth and cast you out upon the road, directly 
236 you have taken the tiniest taste of it. And now, 
to delay you no longer, I will very concisely state 
my views on that subject of yours in general. As 



quae quaerantur : unum, quid sit ; alterum, unde 
sit ; tertium sitne oratoris, velle risum movere ; 
quartum, quatenus ; quintum, quae sint genera 

Atque illud primum, quid sit ipse risus, quo pacto 
concitetur, ubi sit, quomodo exsistat, atque ita re- 
pente erumpat, ut eum cupientes tenere nequeamus, 
et quomodo simul latera, os, venas, vultum, oculos 
occupet, viderit Democritus : neque enim ad hunc 
sermonem hoc pertinet ; et, si pertineret, nescire me 
tamen id non puderet quod ne ilU quidem scirent, qui 
236 Locus autem, et regio quasi ridicuU (nam id pro- 
xime quaeritur) turpitudine et deformitate quadam 
continetur : haec enim ridentur vel sola, vel maxime, 
quae notant et designant turpitudinem ahquam non 

Est autem, ut ad illud tertium veniam, est plane 
oratoris movere risum ; vel quod ipsa hilaritas bene- 
volentiam conciliat ei, per quem excitata est ; vel 
quod admirantur omnes acumen uno saepe in verbo 
positum maxime respondentis, nonnunquam etiam 
lacessentis ; vel quod frangit adversarium, quod 
impedit, quod elevat, quod deterret, quod refutat : 
vel quod ipsum oratorem poHtum esse hominem 
significat, quod eruditum, quod urbanum, maximeque 
quod tristitiam ac severitatem mitigat et relaxat, 

" An eminent Greek physicist of the 5th century b.c. ; 
known as ' the laughing philosopher.' 



DE ORATORE, II. Iviii. 235-236 

regards laughter there are five matters for considera- 
tion : first, its nature ; second, its source ; third, 
whether willingness to produce it becomes an orator ; 
fourth, the Umits of his licence ; fifth, the classification 
of things laughable. 

" Now the first of these topics, the essential nature (i) it» 
of laughter, the way it is occasioned, where it is "^ture; 
seated, and how it comes into being, and bursts out 
so unexpectedly that, strive as we may, we cannot 
restrain it, and how at the same instant it takes 
possession of the lungs, voice, pulse, countenance 
and eyes, — all this I leave to Democritus « : for it 
does not concern the present conversation, and, even 
if it did, I should still not be ashamed to show ignor- 
ance of something which even its professed expositors 
do not understand. 

" Then the field or province, so to speak, of the (2) its 
laughable (this being our next problem), is restricted province; 
to that which may be described as unseemly or ugly ; 
for the chief, if not the only, objects of laughter are 
those sayings which remark upon and point out 
something unseemly in no unseemly manner. 

" And again, to come to our third topic, it clearly (3) ita 
becomes an orator to raise laughter, and this on rhetoricai 
various grounds ; for instance, merriment naturally ateneMT 
wins goodvdll for its author ; and everyone admires 
acuteness, which is often concentrated in a single 
word, uttered generally in repelUng, though some- 
times in delivering an attack ; and it shatters or 
obstructs or makes light of an opponent, or alarms 
or repulses him ; and it shows the orator himself 
to be a man of finish, accomplishment and taste ; 
and, best of all, it reheves duUness and tones down 
austerity, and, by a jest or a laugh, often dispels dis- 



odiosasque res saepe, quas argumentis dilui non 
facile est, ioco risuque dissolvit. 

237 Quatenus autem sint ridicula tractanda oratori, 
perquam diligenter videndum est, id quod in quarto 
loco quaerendi posueramus. Nam nec insignis im- 
probitas, et scelere iuncta, nec rursus miseria insignis 
agitata ridetur : facinorosos enim maiore quadam vi 
quam ridiculi vulnerari volunt ; miseros illudi nolunt 
nisi se forte iactant. Parcendum est autem maxime 
caritati hominum, ne temere in eos dicas qui 

238 LIX. Haec igitur adhibenda est primum in iocando 
moderatio. Itaque ea facillime luduntur, quae neque 
odio magno, neque misericordia maxima digna sunt. 
Quam ob rem materies omnis ridiculorum est in istis 
vitiis quae sunt in vita hominimi neque carorum 
neque calamitosorum, neque eorum qui ob facinus 
ad supplicium rapiendi videntur ; eaque belle agi- 

239 tata ridentur. Est etiam deformitatis et corporis 
vitiorum satis bella materies ad iocandum ; sed 
quaerimus idem, quod in ceteris rebus maxime quae- 
rendum est, quatenus. In quo non modo illud prae- 
cipitur, ne quid insulse, sed etiam, si quid perridicule 
possis, vitandum est oratori utrumque, ne aut scurrilis 
iocus sit, aut mimicus. Quae cuiusmodi sint, facilius 
iam intellegemus, cum ad ipsa ridiculorum genera 


DE ORATORE, II. Iviii. 236— lix. 239 

tasteful suggestions not easily weakened by reason- 

237 " But the limits within which things laughable are (4) limitsof 
to be handled by the orator, that fourth question ^*'^^^®* 
we put to ourselves, is one calling for most careful 
consideration. For neither outstanding wickedness, 

such as involves crime, nor, on the other hand, out- 
standing wretchedness is assailed by ridicule, for the 
pubUc would have the villainous hurt by a weapon 
rather more formidable than ridicule ; while they 
dishke mockery of the wretched, except perhaps if 
these bear themselves arrogantly. And you must 
be especially tender of popular esteem, so that you 
do not inconsiderately speak ill of the well-beloved. 

238 LIX. " Such then is the restraint that, above all (5) ita 
else, must be practised in jesting. Thus the things cuL^sm^ed 
most easily ridiculed are those which call for neither 
strong disgust nor the deepest sympathy. This is 

why all laughing-matters are found among those 
blemishes noticeable in the conduct of people who 
are neither objects of general esteem nor yet full of 
misery, and not apparently merely fit to be hurried off 
to execution for their crimes ; and these blemishes, 

239 if deftly handled, raise laughter. In ughness too 
and in physical blemishes there is good enough matter 
for jesting, but here as elsewhere the hmits of Hcence 
are the main question. As to this, not only is there 
a rule excluding remarks made in bad taste, but also, 
even though you could say something with highly 
comical effect, an orator must avoid each of two 
dangers : he must not let his jesting become 
buffoonery or mere mimicking, We shall more 
readily understand examples of each kind when we 
come to the actual classification of things laughable. 



Duo enim sunt genera facetiarum, quorum alterum 

240 re tractatur, alterum dicto. Re, si quando quid, tan- 
quam aliqua fabella narratur ; ut olim tu, Crasse, in 
Memmium, ' comedisse eum lacertum Largi,' cum 
esset cum eo Tarracinae de amicula rixatus : salsa, 
at tamen a te ipso ficta tota narratio. Addidisti clau- 
sulam, tota Tarracina tum omnibus in parietibus 
inscriptas fuisse litteras, LLL, MM ; cum quaereres 
id quid esset, senem tibi quendam oppidanum dixisse 
' Lacerat Lacertum Largi Mordax Memmius.' 

241 Perspicitis, hoc genus quam sit facetum, quam ele- 
gans, quam oratorium, sive habeas vere, quod narrare 
possis, quod tamen est mendaciunculis aspergen- 
dum, sive fingas. Est autem haec huius generis 
virtus, ut ita facta demonstres, ut mores eius, de quo 
narres, ut sermo, ut vultus omnes exprimantur, ut eis 

242 qui audiunt, tum geri illa fierique videantur. In re 
est item ridiculum, quod ex quadam depravata imita- 
tione sumi solet ; ut idem Crassus : ' Per tuam 
nobilitatem, per vestram familiam.' Quid aliud fuit, 
in quo contio rideret, nisi illa vultus et vocis imi- 
tatio ? ' Per tuas statuas ' vero cum dixit, et extento 
bracchio paululum etiam de gestu addidit, vehemen- 
tius risimus, Ex hoc genere est illa Rosciana imitatio 
senis : * Tibi ego, Antipho, has sero,' inquit. Seniimi 

" Gaius Memmius, a turbulent tribune of 1 1 1 b.c, against 
whose ferocious character this jest of Crassus seems to be 

' This merriment may have been excited by an attack of 
Crassus upon Domitius Ahenobarbus, who was possibly 
disliked for his excessive family pride. 


DE ORATORE, II. lix. 239-242 

" For there are two types of wit, one employed upon wit of 

240 facts, the other upon words. Upon facts, whenever ^ft^^^fom; 
any tale is told, some anecdote for instance, just as thefomer 
you, Crassus, alleged one day, in a speech against anMdote"^ 
Memmius," that Memmius ' had made a mouthful and can- 
of Largus's arm,* when brawling with him at Tarra- 

cina over a lady-love ; it was a spicy story, but every 
word of your own fabrication, You wound up by 
relating that the letters M.M.L.L.L. were inscribed 
on every wall in Tarracina, and that some ancient in- 
habitant answered, when you asked what they meant, 

241 * Mordacious Memmius lacerates Largus's limb.' You 
see plainly how graceful, choice and well befitting an 
orator is a jest of this sort, whether you have some 
truth you can relate, — which for all that may be 
sprinkled with fibs, — or whether you are only fabri- 
cating. Now the beauty of such jesting is, that you 
state your incidents in such a way, that the character, 
the manner of speaking and all the facial expressions 
of the hero of your tale, are so presented that those 
incidents seem to your audience to take place and 
to be transacted concurrently with your description 

242 of them. Another sort of jest depending on facts, 
is that which is generally derived from what may be 
called vulgarized mimicry, as when on another occa- 
aion, Crassus was adjuring an adversary in the words, 
' By your rank, by your lineage ! ' What else had the 
assembly to laugh at in this than that mimicry of 
facial expression and intonation ? But when he went 
on to say, ' By your statuary,' and lent a touch of 
action to the word by stretching out his arm, we 
laughed quite consumedly.* To this class belongs 
Roscius's famous representation of an old man, when 
he quavers out, * For you, son Antipho, I*m planting 



est, cum audio. Atqui ita est totum hoc ipso genere 
ridiculum, ut cautissime tractandum sit. Mimorum 
est enim ethologorum, si nimia est imitatio, sicut 
obscenitas. Orator surripiat oportet imitationem 
ut is qui audiet, cogitet plura, quam videat ; praestet 
idem ingenuitatem et ruborem suum, verborum 
turpitudine et rerum obscenitate vitanda. 

243 LX. Ergo haec duo genera sunt eius ridiculi, quod 
in re positum est ; quae sunt propria perpetuarum 
facetiarum, in quibus describuntur hominum mores, 
et ita effinguntur, ut aut re narrata aUqua, quales 
sint, intellegantur, aut, imitatione brevi iniecta, in 
aliquo insigni ad irridendum vitio reperiantur. 

244 In dicto autem ridiculum est id, quod verbi, aut 
sententiae quodam acumine movetur. Sed ut in illo 
superiore genere vel narrationis, vel imitationis, 
vitanda est mimorum ethologorum similitudo, sic in 
hoc scurrihs oratori dicacitas magnopere fugienda est. 
Qui igitur distinguemus a Crasso, a Catulo, a ceteris 
famiharem vestrum, Granium, aut Vargulam, amicum 
meum ? Non mehercule in mentem mihi quidem 
venit : sunt enim dicaces ; Granio quidem nemo 
dicacior. Hoc, opinor, primum, ne, quotienscumque 

245 potuerit dictum dici, necesse habeamus dicere. Pu- 
sillus testis processit. ' Licet,' inquit, ' rogare ? ' 

" From a lost play. 

DE ORATORE, II. lix. 242— Ix. 245 

these.' * I think I am listening to testy Eld personi- 
fied. However this particular kind of laughing- 
matter is all sueh as to need extreme circumspection 
in the handUng of it. For if the caricature is too 
extravagant, it becomes the work of bufFoons in 
pantomime, as also does grossness. It behoves the 
orator to borrow merely a suspicion of mimicry, so 
that his hearer may imagine more than meets his 
eye ; he must also testify to his own well-bred 
modesty, by avoiding all unseemly language and 
ofFensive gestures. 

243 LX. " These then are the two kinds of the jesting The latter, 
that is founded on facts ; and they are appropriate ^ be useT' 
to continuous irony, wherein the characters of indi- sparingiy, 
viduals are sketched and so portrayed, that either 
through the relation of some anecdote their real 
natures are understood, or, by the infusion of a trifle 

of mimicry, they are found out in some fault suffi- 
ciently marked to be laughed at. 

244 " As regards words, however, the laughter is 
awakened by something pointed in a phrase or re- 
flection. But just as, with the former kind, both in 
narrative and in mimicry, all hkeness to buffoons in 
pantomime is to be avoided, so in this latter case the 
orator must scrupulously shun all bufFoonish raillery. 
How then shall we distinguish from Crassus, from 
Catulus, and from the others, your famihar acquaint- 
ance Granius, or my own friend Vargula ? Upon my 
word, I have never considered this matter, for all of 
them are witty, none indeed more so than Granius. 
The first point to make, I think, is that we should 
not feel bound to utter a witticism every time an 

245 occasion offers. A very small witness once came 
forward. ' May I examine him ? ' said Phihppus. 



Philippus. Tum quaesitor properans : * Modo bre- 
viter.' Hic ille : ' Non accusabis ; perpusillum 
rogabo.' Ridicule. Sed sedebat iudex L. Aurifex, 
brevior ipse, quam testis etiam : omnis est risus in 
iudicem conversus : visum est totum scurrile ridi- 
culum. Ergo haec quae cadere possunt in quos nolis, 
quamvis sint bella, sunt tamen ipso genere scurriUa. 

246 Ut iste, qui se vult dicacem, et mehercule est, Appius, 
sed nonnunquam in hoc vitium scurrile delabitur. 
* Cenabo,' inquit, ' apud te,' huic lusco, famihari 
meo, C. Sextio ; ' uni enim locum esse video.' Est 
hoc scurrile, et quod sine causa lacessivit ; et tamen 
id dixit quod in omnis luscos conveniret ; ea, quia 
meditata putantur esse, minus ridentur. Illud 
egregium Sextii, et ex tempore : ' Manus lava,' 
inquit, ' et cena.' 

247 Temporis igitur ratio, et ipsius dicacitatis mode- 
ratio et temperantia et raritas dictorum distinguet 
oratorem a scurra, et quod nos cum causa dicimus, 
non ut ridicuH videamur, sed ut proficiamus aUquid, 
ilH totum diem et sine causa. Quid enim est Vargula 
assecutus, cum eum candidatus A. Sempronius cum 
Marco suo fratre complexus esset : ' Puer, abige 
muscas ? ' Risum quaesivit, qui est, mea sententia, 
vel tenuissimus ingenii fructus. Tempus igitur di- 

" Apparently a reflection upon the seif-invited guest's 
probity. Compare the English legal maxim : ' He that 
cometh to Equity must come with clean hands,' 

* Musca was a cognomen of the gens Sempronia, and is 
also Latin for various winged insects. Vargula seems to 
have intended a subtle comparison between humming and 
biting insects and cliattering and irritating canvassers. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ix. 245-^247 

The president of the Court, who was in a hurry, 
answered, ' Only if you are short.' * You will not 
complain,* returned Philippus, * for I shall be just 
as short as that man is.' Quite comical ; but there 
on the tribunal sat Lucius Aurifex, and he was even 
tinier than the witness : all the laughter was directed 
against Lucius, and the joke seemed merely buf- 
foonish. And so those shafts which may hght upon 
unintended victims, however featly they may be 
winged, are none the less essentially those of a 

2il6 buffoon. For instance, that Appius, who tries to be 
witty, and egad ! succeeds, though occasionally slip- 
ping into this faihng of buffoonery, said to my one- 
eyed friend here, Gaius Sextius, ' I will sup with 
you, for I see you have room for another one.' This 
is the joke of a buffoon, for he attacked unprovoked, 
and even so only said what would apply to every 
one-eyed individual. Jokes of that sort, as they 
seem to be thought out in advance, win but little 
laughter. The retort of Sextius was brilliant and 
spontaneous : ' Wash your hands,' says he, ' before 

247 " Regard then to occasions, control and restraint of 
our actual raillery, and economy in bon-mots, wiil 
distinguish an orator from a buffoon, as also will the 
fact that we people speak with good reason, not just 
to be thought funny, but to gain some benefit, while 
those others are jesting from morning to night, and 
without any reason at all. Thus, when Aulus Sem- 
pronius was on canvassing bent, along with Marcus 
his brother, and embraced Vargula, what good did 
it do Vargula to shout ' Boy, drive away these 
buzzers ? ' ^ His object was to get a laugh — to my 
mind the very poorest return for cleverness. The 



cendi prudentia et gravitate moderabimur : quarum 
utinam artem aliquam haberemus ! sed domina na- 
tura est. 

248 LXI. Nunc exponamus genera ipsa summatim, 
quae risum maxime moveant. Haec igitur sit prima 
partitio, quod facete dicatur, id alias in re habere 
alias in verbo facetias : maxime autem homines 
delectari, si quando risus coniuncte re verboque 
moveatur. Sed hoc mementote, quoscumque locos 
attingam, unde ridicula ducantur, ex eisdem locis fere 
etiam graves sententias posse duci. Tantum interest, 
quod gravitas honestis in rebus severe, iocus in tur- 
piculis et quasi deformibus ponitur, velut eisdem 
verbis et laudare frugi servum possumus, et, si est 
nequam, iocari. Ridiculum est illud Neronianum 
vetus in furaci servo, * Solum esse, cui domi nihil sit 
nec obsignatum, nec occlusum ' : quod idem in bono 

249 servo dici solet, sed hoc eisdem etiam verbis. Ex 
eisdem autem locis nascuntur omnia. Nam quod Sp. 
Carvilio graviter claudicanti ex vulnere ob rem- 
publicam accepto, et ob eam causam verecundanti in 
publicum prodire, mater dixit, ' Quin prodis, mi 
Spuri ? quotienscumque gradum facies, totiens tibi 
tuarum virtutum veniet in mentem ' : praeclarum et 
grave est. Quod Calvino Glaucia claudicanti, ' Ubi 
est vetus illud : num claudicat ? at hic clodicat,' 
hoc ridiculum est ; et utrumque ex eo, quod in 

" Clodicare, plebeian and rustic form of elaudicare, au 
being vulgarly pronounced o. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ix. 247— Ixi. 249 

right occasion therefore for speaking out we shall 
fix by our own wisdom and discretion : would that 
we had some theory of the use of these qualities ! 
though intuition is the sovereign directress. 

248 LXI. " Now let us summarize the essential natures ciassiflca- 
of the chief sources of laughter. Let our first dis- verbai 
tinction, then, be this, that a witty saying has its witticisms. 
point sometimes in facts, sometimes in words, though 
people are most particularly amused whenever 
laughter is excited by the union of the two. But 
remember this, that whatever subjects I may touch 

upon, as being sources of laughing-matters, may 
equally well, as a rule, be sources of serious thoughts. . 
The only difference is that seriousness is bestowed 
austerely and upon things of good repute, jesting 
upon what is a trifle unseemly, or, so to speak, un- 
couth ; for example, we can, in identical terms, praise 
a careful servant, and make fun of one who is good- 
for-nothing. There is humour in that old remark 
of Nero's about a thievish servant, ' that he was 
the only member of the household against whom 
nothing was sealed up or locked away,' a description 
frequently applied to a trusty servant also, and that 

249 too word for word. In fact all kinds of remarks are 
derived from identical sources. For his mother's 
words to Spurius Carvihus, who was sadly lame from 
a wound received on national service, and for that 
reason shy of walking abroad, ' No no, my Spurius, 
go out ! and let every step you take remind you 
of your gallantry,' are noble and dignified. But 
what Glaucia said to Calvinus, who was hmping, 

Where is that old saying — Can he be hobbUng ? 
Nay, but he is wobbling,'" is merely absurd. Yet 
both observations were derived from what the con- 



claudicatione animadverti potuit, est ductum. ' Quid 
hoc Naevio ignavius ? ' severe Scipio. At in male 
olentem, * Video me a te circumveniri,' subridicule 
Philippus. At utrumque genus continet verbi ad 
litteram immutati similitudo. 

250 Ex ambiguo dicta vel argutissima putantur, sed 
non semper in ioco, saepe etiam in gravitate versan- 
tur. Africano illi superiori, coronam sibi in convivio 
ad caput accommodanti, cum ea saepius rumperetur, 
P. Licinius Varus, ' Noli mirari,' inquit, ' si non con- 
venit : caput enim magnum est ' : laudabile et 
honestum. At ex eodem genere est : * Calvus satis 
est, quod dicit parum.' Ne multa : nullum genus 
est ioci, quo non ex eodem severa et gravia sumantur. 

251 Atque hoc etiam animadvertendum est, non esse 
omnia ridicula faceta. Quid enim potest esse tam 
ridiculum, quam sannio est ? Sed ore, vultu, imi- 
tandis moribus, voce, denique corpore ridetur ipso. 
Salsum hunc possum dicere, atque ita, non ut eius- 
modi oratorem esse velim, sed ut mimum. 

LXII. Quare primum genus hoc, quod risum vel 
maxime movet, non est nostrum : morosum, super- 
stitiosum, suspiciosum, gloriosum, stultum ; naturae 
ridentur ipsae : quas personas agitare solemus, non 

" Professor Wilkins and others would sharpen the pun 
upon this name by substituting the less common form 

■" This alleged joke seems to require the coinage of a 
word hircumveniri, hircus being Latin not only for " goat," 
but also for the very rank odour characteristic of that animal. 

" Caput is Latin for (1) a human cranium, (2) the Head 
of e.ff. a body politic. 

<* Baldness may be natural or metaphorical : the exact 
point of this pleasantry seems to have eluded the com- 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixi. 249— Ixii. 251 

templation of lameness might suggest. Scipio's pun, 
* Is there an idler knave than this Naevius ? ' ", was 
intended foi austerity. But there was a spark of 
humour in the remark of PhiUppus to a malodorous 
individual, * I perceive that you are stinking me 
out.' ^ Yet both kinds of pun Ue in the verbal echo 
that survives the change in a letter. 

250 " Bons-mots prompted by an equivocation are (i) The 
deemed the very wittiest, though not always con- *™^'^°"^ ' 
cerned with jesting, but often even with what is im- 
portant. What PubUus Licinius Varus said to the great 
Africanus the elder, when he was adjusting a garland 

to his head at a banquet, and it tore again and again, 
was praiseworthy and creditable : ' Don't be aston- 
ished,' said he, ' if it does not fit, for it is on a Head 
of vast capacity.' " Yet from the same category 
comes, ' He is bald enough, seeing that he is bald 
in diction.'** So, to bore you no further, there is 
no source of laughing-matters from which austere 
and serious thoughts are not also to be derived. 

251 " There is also this to be noted, that all is not 
witty that is laughable. For can there be anything 
so droU as a pantaloon } Yet it is for his face, his 
grimaces, his mimicry of mannerisms, his intonation, 
and in fact his general bearing, that he is laughed 
at. Humorous I am able to caU him, but humorous 
for a low comedian, and not in the sense in which I 
would have an orator humorous. 

LXII. " Accordingly this kind of wit, though rais- 
ing as much laughter as any, is not at aU our kind : 
it caricatures peevishness, fanaticism, mistrust, pom- 
posity and folly, characters which are laughed at for 
their own sakes, masks which we do not put on, but 



252 sustinere. Alterum genus est in imitatione admodum 
ridiculum, sed nobis furtim tantum uti licet, si quando, 
et cursim ; aliter enim minime est liberale. Tertium, 
oris depravatio, non digna nobis. Quartum, obsce- 
nitas, non solum non foro digna, sed vix convivio 
liberorum. Detractis igitur tot rebus ex hoc oratorio 
loco facetiae reliquae sunt, quae aut in re, ut ante 
divisi, positae videntur esse aut in verbo. Nam quod, 
quibuscumque verbis dixeris, facetum tamen est, re 
continetur ; quod mutatis verbis salem amittit, in 
verbis habet leporem omnem. 

253 Ambigua sunt in primis acuta atque in verbo posita, 
non in re ; sed non saepe magnum risiun movent, 
magisque ut belle et litterate dicta laudantur : ut in 
illum Titium, qui, cum studiose pila luderet, et idem 
signa sacra noctu frangere putaretur, gregalesque, 
cum in Campum non venisset, requirerent, excusa- 
vit Vespa Terentius, quod eum * bracchium fregisse,' 
diceret ; ut illud Africani, quod est apud Lucihum : 

Quid Decius ? Nuculam an confixum vis facere ? inquit. 

Ut tuus amicus, Crasse, Granius, ' non esse sex- 
264 tantis.' Et si quaeritis, is, qui appellatur dicax, hoc 

" Was it his own or a holy statue's ? 

* The commentators are at fault here, for want of the 
Lucilian context. 

• Was he worth less or far more ? 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixi. 252-254 

252 attack. Another kind, quite comical, consists in 
mimicry, but this we may employ only by stealth, if 
at all, and but momentarily, as fuller use of it does 
not befit the well-bred. A third kind is grimacing, 
which is beneath our dignity. A fourth is indecency, 
not only degrading to a pubUc speaker, but hardly 
sufFerable at a gentlemen's dinner-party. When all 
these modes, then, are withheld from this branch 
of oratory, the residue of wit depends apparently 
either on the facts or on the language, in accordance 
with the distinction I have already drawn. For the 
joke which still remains witty, in whatever words it 
is couched, has its germ in the facts ; that which 
loses its pungency, as soon as it is difFerently worded, 
-^owes all its humour to the language. 

235- " The play upon equivocal words is particularly 
clever, and depends on language, not on facts ; but 
it seldom raises any considerable laughter, being 
chiefly praised as evidence of elegant scholarship : 
take, for example, that hit at the notorious Titius, 
who was devoted to ball-play and also under sus- 
picion of mutilating the holy statues by night : 
when his associates missed him, as he had not come 
to the Playing Fields, Vespa Terentius apologized 
for his absence on the plea, * He has broken an 
arm ' <» : or again, take the words of Africanus, 
preserved in LuciUus, 

" What of Decius? Do you wish to have Nucula spitted?" 
said he. * ! 

Or you, Crassus, may take what your friend Granius 

254 said, ' The man is not worth a farthing.'*' And, if 

you wish to know, the jester who deals in so-called 

* raillery ' will chiefly shine in this kind of thing, 



genere maxime excellet, sed risus movent alia 
maiores. Ambiguum per se ipsum probatur id qui- 
dem, ut ante dixi, vel maxime ; ingeniosi enim 
videtur vim verbi in aliud atque ceteri accipiant, 
posse ducere ; sed admirationem magis quam risum 
movet, nisi si quando incidit in aliud genus ridiculi. 

265 LXIII. Quae genera percurram equidem. Sed 
scitis esse notissimum ridiculi genus, cum aliud 
exspectamus, aliud dicitur. Hic nobismet ipsis 
noster error risum movet. Quod si admixtum est 
etiam ambiguum, fit salsius : ut apud Novium videtur 
esse misericors ille, qui iudicatum duci videns, per- 
contatur ita : * quanti addictus ? ' ' Mille nummum.' 
Si addidisset tantummodo : * Ducas licet ' ; esset 
illud genus ridiculi praeter exspectationem, sed quia 
addidit : * Nihil addo, ducas licet,' addito ambiguo, 
altero genere ridiculi, fuit, ut mihi quidem videtur, 
salsissimus. Hoc tum est venustissimum, cum in 
altercatione arripitur ab adversario verbum, et ex eo, 
ut a Catulo in Philippum, in eum ipsum aliquid, qui 

266 lacessivit, infligitur. Sed cum plura sint ambigui 
genera, de quibus est doctrina quaedam subtilior, 
attendere et aucupari verba oportebit : in quo, ut ea 

" The piquant equivocation must lurk in ' nihil addo,' 
which may mean, ' I say no more,' or (at an auction) ' I bid 
no more.' 

* See the anecdote related gupra, Book II, liv. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixii. 254— Ixiii. 256 

though other kinds raise louder laughter. Indeed 
the play upon words wins really vast applause on its 
own merits, as I said before, for the power to divert 
the force of a word into a sense quite different from 
that in which other folk understand it, seems to 
indicate a man of talent ; yet the jest arouses wonder 
rather than laughter, except when it also falls within 
some other category of the laughable. 

255 LXIII. " These categories I will certainly run over. (2) The 
You know already, however, that the most familiar "^^^^^p^ 
of these is exemplified when we are expecting to SoKiav); 
hear a particular phrase, and something different is 
uttered. In this case our own mistake even makes us 

laugh ourselves. But, if there be also an admixture 
of equivocation, the jest is rendered more pungent : 
as, in that play of Novius, the man is apparently 
moved by compassion when, on seeing a condemned 
debtor taken away, he earnestly inquires the amount 
of the judgement. He is told, ' A thousand sesterces.* 
Had he then gone on to say merely, ' You may take 
him away,' his rejoinder would have belonged to the 
unexpected kind, but what he actually said was, * No 
advance from me ; you may take him away,' whereby 
he brought in an element of equivocation, a different 
category of the laughable, the result, in my opinion 
at any rate, being piquancy in perfection." This 
playing on words is most dehghtful when, during a 
wrangle, a word is snatched from an antagonist and 
used to hurl a shaft at the assailant himself, as was 

256 done by Catulus against Philippus.'' But since 
equivocation is of numerous kinds, and the teaching 
as to these is somewhat abstruse, we shall have to 
be watchful and lie in wait for the words : in this 
way, while avoiding the feebler retorts (for we must 



quae sint frigidiora, vitemus (etenim cavendum est, 
ne arcessitum dictum putetur), permulta tamen acute 

Alterum genus est, quod habet parvam verbi im- 
mutationem, quod in littera positum Graeci vocant 
Trapovoixaa-iav, ut ' Nobiliorem, mobiliorem ' Cato ; 
aut, ut idem, cum cuidam dixisset : ' Eamus deam- 
bulatum ' : et ille : ' Quid opus fuit de ? ' ' Immo 
vero,' inquit, ' quid opus fuit te ? ' aut eiusdem re- 
sponsio illa : ' Si tu et adversus et aversus impudicus 
267 es.' Etiam interpretatio nominis habet acumen, 
cum ad ridiculum convertas, quam ob rem ita quis 
vocetur ; ut ego nuper Nummium divisorem, ut 
Neoptolemum ad Troiam, sic illum in Campo Martio 
nomen invenisse. Atque haec omnia verbo con- 

LXIV. Saepe etiam versus facete interponitur, vel 
ut est, vel paululum immutatus, aut ahqua pars 
versus, ut Statius Scauro stomachanti : ex quo sunt 
nonnuUi, qui tuam legem de civitate natam, Crasse, 
dicant : 

St, tacete, quid hoc clamoris ? quibus nec mater, nec pater, 
Tanta confiaentia ? auferte istam enim superbiam. 

Nam in Caelio sane etiam ad causam utile fuit tuum 
illud, Antoni, cum ille a se pecuniam profectam 

" Fulvius Nobilior, consul in 189 b.c. Cato was evidently 
attributing to him a certain instability of character. 

* Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, received the name of Neoptole- 
mus, as being ' a new-comer to the (Trojan) war.' Caesar 
facetiously derives the name ' Nummius ' from the coins 
(nummi) which its bearer had distributed, in the course of 
his duties as bribery agent at elections, 

" During the consulship of Crassus and Q. Mucius 
Scaevola in 95 b.c. the Lex Licinia Mucia d4 '^edigundis 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixiii. 256— Ixiv. 257 

see to it that our bon-mot be not thought forced), 
we shall still find ourselves delivering very many a 
pointed remark. 

" Another category, which uses a slight change in (3) piay 
spelling, the Greeks call ' assonance,' when the o^ameTf' 
variation is in a letter or two ; for example, one 
surnamed ' the Noble ' <» was referred to by Cato as 
' the Mobile,' or again Cato said to a certain man, 
' Let us go for a deambulation,' and, on the other 
asking, ' What need of the " de — ? ",' Cato rejoined, 
' Nay, rather, what need of thee ? ' or take that other 
answer of the same Cato's, ' Whether you turn hither 
257 or thither, you are filthy.' There is point also in the 
explanation of a name, when you make fun of the 
reason for a man being called as he is, as I said 
the other day of Nummius, the voters' paymaster, 
that he had found a name in the Election Field,* as 
Neoptolemus had done at Troy. Now all such jests 
hinge upon a word. 

LXIV. " Often too a verse, or some part of one, is (4) quota- 
wittily introduced, either just as it stands or very ^e^ses^or 
slightly varied, as when Statius quoted to an angry proverbs ; 
Scaurus that passage from which, Crassus, some people 
would have it that your own Nationality Act " 
originated : — 

Hist ! Silence ! Why this din ? Not overbold 
Should be the parentless ! Have done with pride ! 

Doubtless, too, in the affair of Caelius, that jest of 
yours, Antonius, helped your cause, when he gave 
evidence of having parted with money and, as he 

civibus was passed, apparently to prevent the asurpation of 
Roman civic rights by Latins and Italians. The lines cited 
seem to impute illegitimacy to the person or persons to 
whom they were addressed. 



diceret testis et haberet filium delicatiorem, abeunte 
iam illo, 

Sentin senem esse tactum triginta minis ? 

258 In hoc genus coniciuntur proverbia, ut illud Sci- 
pionis, cum Asellus omnes provincias stipendia 
merentem se peragrasse gloriaretur, ' Agas asellum,' 
et cetera. Quare ea quoque, quoniam mutatis verbis 
non possunt retinere eandem venustatem, non in re, 
sed in verbis posita ducantur. 

259 Est etiam in verbo positum non insulsum genus ex 
eo, cum ad verbum, non ad sententiam rem accipere 
videare : ex quo uno genere totus est Tutor, mimus 
vetus, oppido ridiculus. Sed abeo a mimis ; tantum 
genus huius ridiculi insigni ahqua et nota re notari 
volo. Est autem ex hoc genere illud, quod tu, Crasse, 
nuper ei, qui te rogasset, num tibi molestus esset 
futurus, si ad te bene ante lucem venisset : ' Tu 
vero,' inquisti, * molestus non eris.' ' lubebis igitur 
te,' inquit, ' suscitari ? ' Et tu : ' Certe negaram te 

260 molestum futurum.' Ex eodem hoc vetus illud est, 
quod aiunt Maluginensem illum Scipionem, cum 
ex centuria sua renuntiaret Acidinum consulem 
praecoque dixisset, ' Dic de L. Manho ' ; ' Virum 

<» Antonius being prosecuted by Duronius on a charge of 
corrupt practices, Caelius perhaps testified that he supplied 
funds through his profligate son for use in bribery on behalf 
of Antonius, whose defence may have insinuated that the 
son obtained this money by a false pretence, and converted 
it to his own use. 

* Asellus is Latin for a Httle ass. The innuendo may be 
that the boasted travels of Ti. Claudius Asellus were solely 
attributable to compulsory military activity. The complete 
saw is plausibly said to have been Agas asellum ; cursum 
nnn docebitur. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixiv. 257-260 

had a rather voluptuous son, you remarked, on his 
leaving the witness-box, 

Seest thou the ancient, tapped for thirty pounds ? " 

268 " Old saws fall into this category, that for instance 
appHed by Scipio, when Asellus was bragging that 
his miUtary service had taken him all over every 
province ; whereupon Scipio quoted ' You may 
drive the ass's colt,' and the rest of it.'' It foUows 
moreover that such jests, since they must lose their 
charm directly the terms of expression are varied, 
should be regarded as depending on language, not 
on facts. 

269 " There is another kind of joke, depending upon (5) words 
language and quite humorous, which proceeds from ifteraiiy; 
your seeming to understand an expression hterally, 

and not in the sense intended : The Guardian, 
an ancient and exceedingly droll farce, was entirely 
made up of this sort of thing. But no more of farces ; 
I merely wish this type of laughing-matter to be 
illustrated by some prominent and familiar example. 
This too is the origin, Crassus, of your recent reply 
to the person who had asked you whether he 
would be a nuisance to you, if he were to visit you 
well before dayhght : ' No,' you answered, ' you 
will not be a nuisance.' Upon this he said, ' Then 
you will give orders to call you ? ' And you re- 
joined, ' Surely I said you would not be a nuisance.' 
260 From this same source comes that old pleasantry 
attributed to the famous Scipio Maluginensis, when 
announcing the vote of his own division to be for 
Acidinus as consul ; upon the crier demanding, 
' What of Lucius Manhus ? ' Scipio repHed, ' I take 


bonum/ inquit, * egregiumque civem esse arbitror.' 
Ridicule etiam illud L. Nasica censori Catoni, cum 
ille : * Ex tui animi sententia tu uxorem habes ? ' 
* Non hercule,' inquit, * ex mei animi sententia.* 
Haec aut frigida sunt, aut tum salsa, cum aliud 
est exspectatum. Natura enim nos, ut ante dixi, 
noster delectat error : ex quo, cum quasi decepti 
sumus exspectatione, ridemus. 

261 LXV. In verbis etiam illa sunt, quae aut ex im- 
mutata oratione ducuntur, aut ex unius verbi trans- 
latione, aut ex inversione verborum. Ex immuta- 
tione, ut olim, Rusca cum legem ferret annalem, 
dissuasor M. Servilius : ' Dic mihi,' inquit, * M. Pinari, 
num, si contra te dixero, mihi male dicturus es, ut 

262 ceteris fecisti ? ' ' Ut sementem feceris, ita metes,' 
inquit. Ex translatione autem, ut, cum Scipio ille 
maior Corinthiis statuam poUicentibus eo loco, ubi 
aliorum essent imperatorum, * turmales ' dixit ' dis- 
plicere.' Invertuntur autem verba, ut, Crassus apud 
M. Perpernam iudicem pro Aculeone cum diceret, 
aderat contra Aculeonem Gratidiano L. Aelius 
Lamia, deformis, ut nostis ; qui cum interpellaret 

" At the consular elections in the Comitia Centuriata, 
voting being by centuries, the choice of each century was 
reported to the presiding consul by its own spokesman. 
Scipio, acting as one of these spokesmen, thought it humorous 
wilfully to mistake the official question, as to his century'8 
decision on the candidature of L. Manlius Acidinus, for an 
inquiry into his own personal opinion of the candidate. 

* Bachelors were assessable to a special tax. It is relatcd 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixiv. 260— Ixv. 262 

him for an honest man and a capital fellow-citizen.' * 
Laughable again was the response of Lucius Nasica 
to the interrogatory of Cato the censor, * On your 
conscience, are you satisfied that you are a married 
man ? ' ' Married for certain,' returned Nasica, ' but 
verily not to my entire satisfaction ! ' * Such jokes 
may fall flat, being humorous only when some 
difFerent answer was expected. For, as I said before, 
our own mistake naturally diverts us, so that, when 
balked, as it were, of what we expected, we fall to 

261 LXV. " Jests dependent upon language further (6) aiiegory 
include such as are derived from allegory, from the I^o^p.^"'"' 
figurative use of a single word, or from the ironical 
inversion of verbal meanings. Allegory as a source 

was illustrated by Rusca long ago, in moving his 
Limit of Age Bill," when Marcus Servilius, an 
opponent of the measure, said to him, ' Tell me, 
Marcus Pinarius, if I speak against you, are you 
going to revile me as you have done the others ? * 

262 Rusca's reply was, * You shall reap your sowing.* 
Figurative use of one word occurred, for example, 
when great Scipio the elder told the Corinthians, 
who were promising him a statue among those of 
the other commanders-in-chief, that ' he had no 
liking for statues in troops.* And meanings were 
ironically inverted when Crassus was representing 
Aculeo before Marcus Perperna as arbitrator, and 
Lucius AeUus Lamia, a cripple as you know, was for 
Gratidianus against Aculeo, and kept on interrupting 

that an unappreciative censor requited this untimely 
pleasantry with temporary disfranchisement of the joker. 

' Designed to fix a minimum age for candidates for any 
political office. 



odiose : ' Audiamus,' inquit, * pulchellum puerura,' 
Crassus. Cum esset arrisum, ' Non potui mihi,' 
inquit Lamia, * formam ipse fingere ; ingenium potui.' 
Tum hic, ' Audiamus,' inquit, ' disertum.' Multo 
etiam arrisum est vehementius. 

Sunt etiam illa venusta, ut in gravibus sententiis, 
sic in facetiis. Dixi enim dudum, materiam aliam esse 
ioci, aham severitatis ; gravium autem et iocorum 

263 unam esse rationem. Ornant igitur in primis orati- 
onem verba relata contrarie, quod idem genus saepe 
est etiam facetum, ut Servius ille Galba, cum iudices 
L. Scribonio tribuno plebis ferret familiares suos, et 
dixisset Libo, ' Quando tandem, Galba, de triclinio 
tuo exibis ? ' ' Cum tu,' inquit, ' de cubiculo aheno.' 
A quo genere ne illud quidem plurimum distat, quod 
Glaucia Metello, * Villam in Tiburte habes, cortem in 

264 LXVL Ac verboriun quidem genera, quae essent 
faceta, dixisse me puto ; rerum plura sunt, eaque 
magis, ut dixi ante, ridentur ; in quibus est narratio, 
res sane difficilis ; exprimenda enim sunt et ponenda 
ante oculos ea quae videantur et verisimilia, quod est 
proprium narrationis, et quae sint, quod ridiculi pro- 

• See Book II, Ixi., supra. 

• Although authority is scanty, it seems that, in certain 
criminal proceedings, the defendant had the right to propose 
a number of his judges, limited by a sufficient right of 
challenge and exclusion on the part of the prosecution. 

' Libo w£is his intending prosecutor on a charge of mis- 

** Libo evidently had a reputation for gallantry, in the 
unenviable sense. 

• The two properties would normally adjoin each other. 
Glaucia seems to refiect upon the manners and morals of 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixv. 262— Ixvi. 264 

vexatiously, until Crassus said, ' Let us hear the Uttle 
beauty.' When the laughter at this had subsided, 
Lamia retorted, ' I could not mould my own bodily 
shape ; my talents I could.' Thereupon Crassus 
remarked, ' Let us hear the eloquent speaker.' 
At this the laughter was far more uproarious. 

" Such jests are delightful, whether the underlying (T) anti- 
thought be grave or gay. For I said before ° that, ^ressl^ns^ 
though the fields of jesting and austerity Ue wide 
apart, yet the methods of seriousness and jesting 

263 are identical. So the opposition of verbal contra- 
dictories is one of the chief embelUshments of diction, 
and this same device is often witty as well, as was 
shown by the well-known Servius Galba, when he 
was tendering to Lucius Scribonius, tribune of the 
commons, a Ust of his own cronies to serve on the 
tribunal,^ and Libo " had commented, ' Galba, 
whenever wiU you go outside your own dining- 
room ? ' ' As soon as ever you come away from 
other people's bedrooms ' was the reply.'' To this 
kind of pleasantry Glaucia's words to Metellus bear 
some resemblance : * You have your country-house 
at Tibur, your cattle-pen on the Palatine.' * 

264 LXVI. " And now I think I have had my say re- Wittiness 
garding the types of pleasantry which depend upon (S"!»**^'' 
language. Those dependent upon facts are more 246 ff.) : 
numerous, and provoke heartier laughter, as I said wTeties, 
before ; they include narrative, a really difficult sub- especiaiiy— 
ject. For it must describe, and present to the mind's 

eye, such things as bear the semblance of truth, this 
being the peculiar function of narrative, and such 
also as are a trifle unseemly, this being the pecuUar 

the clients and hangers-on who thronged the town-house of 



prium est, subturpia : cuius exemplum, ut brevis- 
simum, sit sane illud, quod ante posui, Crassi de 
Memmio. Et ad hoc genus ascribamus etiam nar- 

265 rationes apologorum ; trahitur etiam aUquid ex 
historia, ut, cum Sex. Titius se Cassandram esse 
diceret, ' Multos,' inquit Antonius, ' possum tuos 
Aiaces Oileos nominare.' 

Est etiam ex similitudine, quae aut collationem 
habet aut tanquam imaginem : collationem, ut ille 
Gallus olim testis in Pisonem, cum innumerabilem 
Magio praefecto pecuniam dixisset datam, idque 
Scaurus tenuitate Magii redargueret : * Erras,' 
inquit, ' Scaure ; ego enim Magium non conservasse 
dico, sed tanquam nudus nuces legeret, in ventre 
abstulisse ' ; ut ille M. Cicero senex, huius viri 
optimi, nostri familiaris, pater, nostros homines 
similes esse Syrorum venalium : ut quisque optime 
Graece sciret, ita esse nequissimum. 

266 Valde autem ridentur etiam imagines, quae fere in 
deformitatem, aut in aliquod vitium corporis du- 
cuntur cum simihtudine turpioris : ut meum illud in 
Helvium Manciam ' lam ostendam cuiusmodi sis ' ; 
cum ille ' Ostende, quaeso,' demonstravi digito 
pictum Gallum in Mariano scuto Cimbrico sub Novis, 

" See Book II, lix., supra, 

* He meant that his prophecies of public disasters at Rome 
had met with no more credit than those of Cassandra, King 
Priam's daughter, at Troy, though they had proved as con- 
sistently true. After the fall of Troy the prophetess was 
outraged by this Ajax. I follow Conington on Aeneid i. 46 
in treating Oileos as a Greek genitive sing^lar, not an accusa- 
tive plural. 

' The allegation is that the money has been squandered 
in self-indulgence, after being received by Magius on behalf 
of Piso, who is on trial for extortion. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixvi. 264-266 

function of joking ; as the shortest possible example 
of this you may very well take Crassus's tale about 
Memmius," which I cited before. To this class we 

265 may also refer the stories in the fables. Material is 
derived too from history, as when Sextus Titius was 
describing himself as a Cassandra,'' and Antonius 
commented, ' I can name many who played Ajax, 
the son of Oileus, to your Cassandra.' 

" Another source of such pleasantry is resemblance, comparison, 
involving either comparison or something Uke por- 
traiture. Comparison is illustrated by that Gallus, 
who once upon a time gave evidence against Piso 
that Piso's heutenant Magius had received vast sums 
of money, which testimony Scaurus was for con- 
tradicting by proving the straitened circumstances of 
Magius, whereupon Gallus observed, * You are 
missing the point, Scaurus, for I do not assert that 
Magius still has this fund, but that he has tucked it 
away in his paunch, like a naked man who goes 
nutting.' " To take another instance, the eminent 
Marcus Cicero the elder, father of the best man of 
our time, our own friend, said that our contemporaries 
were hke the Syrian slave-market : ' the better know- 
ledge they had of Greeks, the more worthless were 
their respective characters.' 

266 " Caricatures also provoke loud laughter : as a rule caricature, 
they are levelled against ughness or some physical 
defect, and involve comparison with something a little 
unseemly ; an example was that remark of mine to 
Helvius Mancia, ' I will now show what manner of 

man you are,' to which he answered, ' Pray show 

me,' whereupon I pointed out with my finger a Gaul 

depicted on the Cimbrian shield of Marius,** which 

* A shield captured by Marius in the Gallic War, 101 b.c. 



distortum, eiecta lingua, buccis fluentibus ; risus est 
commotus : nihil tam Manciae simile visum est ; ut 
cum Tito Pinario mentum in dicendo intorquenti 
* tum ut diceret, si quid vellet, si nucem fregisset.' 

267 Etiam illa quae minuendi aut augendi causa ad 
incredibilem admirationem efFeruntur : velut tu, 
Crasse, in concione, ' ita sibi ipsum magnum videri 
Memmium ut in forum descendens caput ad for- 
nicem Fabii demitteret.' Ex quo genere etiam 
illud est quod Scipio apud Numantiam, cum 
stomacharetur cum C. Metello, dixisse dicitur, 
' si quintum pareret mater eius, asinum fuisse 

268 Arguta est etiam significatio cum parva re et 
saepe verbo res obscura et latens illustratur : ut, 
cum C. Fabricio P. Cornehus, homo, ut existima- 
batur, avarus et furax, sed egregie fortis, et bonus 
imperator, gratias ageret quod se homo inimicus 
consulem fecisset, bello praesertim magno et gravi : 
' Nihil est quo mihi gratias agas,' inquit, ' si malui 
compilari quam venire ' ; ut Asello Africanus, obi- 

" Standing on the north-eastern side of the Forum. 

* The triumphal arch commemorating the success of 
Fabius over the Allobroges was the loftiest so far erected in 

' Her four sons, of whom Gaius was the youngest, 
apparently exhibited, in order of seniority, a diminuendo of 

^ Famous opponent of Pyrrhus and eminent type of the 
old Roman morality. 

• Better an extortionate magistrate than an incompetent 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixvl. 266-268 

hung below the New Shops,* with the body twisted, 
the tongue protruding and the cheeks baggy : this 
raised laughter, for nothing so like Mancia was ever 
seen. Another instance was my telling Titus 
Pinarius, who kept twisting his chin when he was 
speaking, that the time for his observations, if he 
wished to say anything, would come when he had 
finished cracking his nut. 

267 ' ' Then again there are those intentional understate- under- " ■ 
ments or overstatements which are exaggerated to ^ta^^sment, 
a degree of the astonishing that passes belief, such 

as your own assertion, Crassus, made in a speech 
before a public assembly, that Memmius thought 
himself so exalted an individual that, on his way 
down into the Market Place, he lowered his head in 
order to pass under the Arch of Fabius.* To this 
category also belongs the taunt said to have been 
uttered by Scipio at Numantia, when he was in a rage 
with Gaius Metellus, that ' if the mother of Metellus 
should bear a fifth time, she would be found to have 
borne an ass.'" 

268 ' ' And a clever hint may be dropped when some hard 
and unintelligible saying is illuminated by some small 
detail, often by a word, as when Publius Cornelius, 
regarded as a covetous and dishonest man, but con- 
spicuously brave and a competent military com- 
mander, thanked Gaius Fabricius ** for having (though 
no friend of his) procured his election as consul, and 
that too in the course of an important and trouble- 
some war. ' No need to thank me,' replied the 
other, ' for choosing to be plundered rather than sold 
into bondage.' « Compare with this the retort of 

general, who would probably lead his followers to defeat, 
capture and the ancient fate of prisoners of war. 



cienti lustrum illud infelix, ' Noli,' inquit, ' mirari ; is 
enim qui te ex aerariis exemit lustrum condidit et 
taurum immolavit.' [Tanta suspicio est ut religione 
civitatem obstrinxisse videatur Mummius quod 
Asellum ignominia levarit.] 

269 LXVII. Urbana etiam dissimulatio est, cum alia 
dicuntur ac sentias, non illo genere de quo ante dixi, 
cum contraria dicas, ut Lamiae Crassus, sed cum 
toto genere orationis severe ludas, cum aliter sen- 
tias ac loquare : ut noster Scaevola Septumuleio illi 
Anagnino, cui pro C. Gracchi capite erat aurum 
repensum, roganti ut se in Asiam praefectum duceret, 
* Quid tibi vis,' inquit, ' insane ? tanta malorum est 
multitudo civium ut tibi ego hoc confirmem, si Romae 
manseris, te paucis annis ad maximas pecunias esse 

270 venturum.' In hoc genere Fannius in Annahbus suis 
Africanum hunc AemiUanum dicit fuisse egregium et 
Graeco eum verbo appellat eipoiva ; sed, uti ferunt 
qui melius haec norunt, Socratem opinor in hac ironia 
dissimulantiaque longe lepore et humanitate omnibus 
praestitisse. Genus est perelegans et cum gravitate 
salsum, cumque oratoriis dictionibus tum urbanis 

271 sermonibus accommodatum. Et hercule omnia haec 
quae a me de facetiis disputantur non maiora foren- 
sium actionum quam omnium sermonum condimenta 

• Africanus, as censor, in reciting the valedictory prayers 
at the census, had taken a serious liberty with the ritual text. 

• Africanus, as censor, had degraded Asellus to the class 
of voteless taxpayers, but his colleague Mummius had refused 
his necessary concurrence, and had thereby restored the 
status quo of Asellus. Africanus suggests that this action of 
Mummius left a taint upon the community. 

• The bracketed passage is commonly regarded as a gloss. 
' See Book II, Ixv., supra. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixvi. 268— Ixvii. 271 

Africanus, when Asellus taxed him with that unfor- 
tunate purification of his." ' Do not be surprised/ 
said Africanus, * for he who delivered you from dis- 
franchisement completed the purification by sacrifi- 
cing the bull.' * [So strong is mistrust that Mummius 
is thought to have laid the community under a re- 
hgious obligation by having relieved Asellus from 
degradation.] " 

269 LXVII. " Irony too gives pleasure, when your words irony, 
differ from your thoughts, not in the way of which I 
spoke earlier, when you assert exactly the contradic- 
tory, as Crassus did to Lamia,"* but when the whole 
tenor of your speech shows you to be solemnly jesting, 
what you think difFering continuously from what you 

say ; as our friend Scaevola observed to the notorious 
Septumuleius of Anagnia (to whom its weight in gold 
had been paid for the head of Gaius Gracchus), when 
he prayed to be taken into Asia as his lieutenant, 
' Madman,' said Scaevola, * what would you have ? 
There is such a host of wicked citizens in Rome that 
I guarantee you, if you remain there, the attainment, 

270 within a few years, of enormous wealth.' Fannius in 
his ' Chronicles ' records that Africanus (the one 
named Aemilianus) was outstanding in this kind of 
thing, and describes him by the Greek word * dis- 
sembler,' but, upon the evidence of those who know 
these subjects better than I do, my opinion is that 
Socrates far surpassed all others for accomplished wit 
in this strain of irony or assumed simphcity. This is 
a choice variety of humour and blended with aus- 
terity, and suited to public speaking as well as to 

271 the conversation of gentlemen. And I vow that all 
this discourse of mine concerning types of pleasantry 
is as excellent sauce for general talk as for legal 



sunt. Nam sicut quod apud Catonem est — qui multa 
rettulit, ex quibus a me exempli causa multa ponun- 
tur — per mihi scitum videtur, C. Publicium solitum 
dicere, * P. Mummium cuivis tempori hominem esse.' 
Sic profecto res se habet nuUum ut sit vitae tempus 
in quo non deceat leporem humanitatemque versari. 
Sed redeo ad cetera. 

272 Est huic finitimum dissimulationi cum honesto 
verbo vitiosa res appellatur : ut cum Africanus 
censor tribu movebat eum centurionem qui in Pauli 
pugna non adfuerat, cum ille se custodiae causa 
diceret in castris remansisse quaereretque cur ab eo 
notaretur, ' Non amo,' inquit, * nimium diligentes.' 

273 Acutum etiam illud est cum ex alterius oratione 
aliud excipias atque ille vult ; ut Salinatori Maximus 
cum Tarento amisso arcem tamen Livius retinuis- 
set multaque ex ea proelia praeclara fecisset, cum 
ahquot post annos Maximus id oppidum recepisset, 
rogaretque eum SaUnator ut meminisset opera sua se 
Tarentum recepisse ; 'Quidni,' inquit, ' meminerim .? 
nunquam ego recepissem nisi tu perdidisses.' 

274 Sunt etiam illa subabsurda, sed eo ipso nomine 
saepe ridicula, non solum mimis perapposita, sed 
etiam quodammodo nobis : 

" The victory over Perseus at Pydna in 168 b.c. 
* Quintus Fabius Maximus. 

' Marcus Livius Salinator, this cognomen being probably 
a mistake of Cicero's for Macatus. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixvii. 271-274 

advocacy. For that phrase of Cato, who has re- 
corded many such, several of which I cite in illustra- 
tion, seems to me thoroughly fine, where he says 
that Gaius Publicius was fond of describing Publius 
Mummius as ' a man for any occasion whatever.' 
So certain is it, in the present connexion, that there 
is no occasion in life on which accomplished wit may 
not fittingly be displayed. But I return to what 
remains for my notice. 

272 " A jest very closely resembles this ironical type 
when something disgraceful is called by an honour- 
able epithet, as happened when Africanus as censor 
removed from his tribe that centurion who failed to 
appear at the battle <* fought under Paulus, though 
the defaulter pleaded that he had stayed in camp on 
guard, and sought to know why he was degraded by 
the censor : ' I am no lover of the over-cautious,' was 

273 the answer of Africanus. There is point too in taking 
some part of another's words in a sense differing from 
that which he intended, as Maximus * did with 
Salinator " when, after the loss of Tarentum, Livius 
had nevertheless held the citadel, and made a number 
of brilliant sallies from it, and Fabius, several years 
later, recaptured the town itself, whereupon Livius 
begged him to remember that the recapture of 
Tarentum had been due to his own achievement. 
' To be sure, I shall remember that,'rejoined Fabius. 
' I could never have recaptured the place had you not 
lost it.' 

274 " Then there are jokes which are somewhat absurd, arcicai 
but for that very reason often comical, and which '^"^' 
are appropriate not only to actors in farce, but 

ako in some degree to us orators : examples of 
these are : 



. . . Homo fatuus 

Postquam rem habere coepit est emortuus. 


. . . Quid est tibi 

Ista mulier ? — Uxor. — Similis me dius fidius. 


Quamdiu ad aquas fuit, nunquam est emortuus. 

LXVIII. Genus hoc levius, et, ut dixi, mimicum, 
sed habet nonnunquam aliquld etiam apud nos loci, 
ut vel non stultus quasi stulte cum sale dicat aliquid : 
ut tibi, Antoni, Mancia, cum audisset te censorem a 
M. Duronio de ambitu postulatum, ' Aliquando,' 

275 inquit, * tibi tuum negotium agere licebit.' Valde 
haec ridentur, et hercule omnia, quae a prudentibus 
[quasi] per dissimulationem [non intellegendi] sub- 
absurde salseque dicuntur. Ex quo genere est etiam 
non videri intellegere quod intellegas ; ut Pontidius, 
' Qualem existimas qui in adulterio deprehenditur ? ' 
— ' Tardum.' Ut ego, qui in delectu, Metello, 
cum excusationem oculorum a me non acciperet et 

276 dixisset, ' Tu igitur nihil vides ? ' — ' Ego vero,' in- 
quam, ' a porta Esquilina video villam tuam.' Ut 
illud Nasicae, qui cum ad poetam Ennium venisset 
eique ab ostio quaerenti Ennium ancilla dixisset 

" Apparently a warning that luxury and avarice are likely 
to engender disease. 

* The innuendo seems to be, * If you two are not married, 
you ought to be.' 

* Perhaps a hint to ' let well alone.' Compare the epitaph 
to be read sixty years ago in a Devon churchyard : 

' Here lies I and my two daughters, 
AU through drinking the Cheltenham waters ; 
If we'd have stuck to Epsom salts, 
We'd never have come to these here vaults.* 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixvii. 274— Ixviii. 276 

The silly man, 
As soon as he was growing rich he died." 


And what to thee 
Is yonder dame ? — My wife ! — Like one, Faith help me '. * 


As long as at the waters he remained, 
He never died." 

LXVIII. " A jest of this sort is rather trivial, and, assumed 
as I said, fit for farces, but now and then even we si™P"c'ty, 
orators find room for one of them, with the result that 
even a man who is no fool says something in the 
manner of a fool, but not without humour, as Mancia 
did to yourself, Antonius, on hearing that you were 
being prosecuted by Marcus Duronius for corrupt 
practices during your censorship ; ' At last,' said he, 
* you will be able to attend to business of your own.* 

275 These jokes provoke hearty laughter, and so most as- 
suredly does everything that is said ironically by the 
wise,and somewhat absurdly,but notwithout humour. 
Another jest from this class is pretending not to 
understand what you understand perfectly, as when 
Pontidius, being asked his opinion of the man who is 
taken in adultery, repHed : ' He is a slowcoach,' or as 
when, at a muster of troops, Metellus rejected the 
excuse I pleaded of weak eyesight, and said to me, 

276 ' Can you then see nothing ? ', and I repHed * On the 
contrary, I can see your country-mansion from the 
Esquiline Gate.'** Another instance was that re- 
joinder of Nasica's : he had called upon the poet 
Ennius and, when he inquired for him at his front- 

' Said to be a reflection on the ostentatious size and 
splendour of the mansion. 



domi non esse, Nasica sensit illam domini iussu 
dixisse et illum intus esse ; paucis post diebus cum 
ad Nasicam venisset Ennius et eum a ianua quaereret, 
exclamat Nasica se domi non esse ; tum Ennius : 
' Quid ? ego non cognosco vocem,' inquit, * tuam ? ' 
Hic Nasica : * Homo es impudens. Ego cum te 
quaererem, ancillae tuae credidi te domi non esse ; 
tu mihi non credis ipsi ? ' 

277 Est bellum illud quoque ex quo is qui dixit irride- 
tur in eo ipso genere quo dixit : ut, cum Q. Opimius 
consularis, qui adolescentulus male audisset, festivo 
homini Egilio, qui videretur mollior nec esset, dixis- 
set, ' Quid tu, Egiha mea ? quando ad me venis cum 
tua colu et lana ? ' — * Non pol,' inquit, ' audeo, nam 
me ad famosas vetuit mater accedere.' 

278 LXIX. Salsa sunt etiam quae habent suspicionem 
ridicuH absconditam, quo in genere est SicuU illud, 
cui cum famiharis quidam quereretur quod diceret 
uxorem suam suspendisse se de ficu, ' amabo te,* 
inquit, ' da mihi ex ista arbore quos seram surculos.' 
In eodem genere est quod Catulus dixit cuidam 
oratori malo : qui cum in epilogo misericordiam se 
movisse putaret, postquam assedit, rogavit hunc 
videreturne misericordiam movisse ; * ac magnam qui- 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixviii. 276— Ixix. 278 

door, had been told by the housemaid that her master 
was not at home, which reply Nasica perceived to 
have been given by the master's order, he being in 
fact in the house. A few days later Ennius called at 
Nasica's, and asked for him at the entrance, where- 
upon Nasica called out that he was not at home. 
' What ? ', cries Ennius, ' Do I not know your voice ? * 
To which Nasica rejoined, * You are a shameless 
fellow ; when I asked for you, I believed your maid 
when she said you were not at home ; do you not 
believe me when I tell you the same thing at first 
hand ? ' 

277 " It is dehghtful too when a jester is requited in the 
identical vein in which he himself bantered, as when 
Quintus Opimius, a past consul, but of bad repute in 
his early manhood, said to a wit named Egilius, who 
looked rather effeminate but was not so in fact, ' Well 
now, my dear Egilia, when are you coming to visit me 
with your distaff and wool ? ' ' Really I dare not 
come,' replied the other, ' for mother told me never 
to go near women of ill fame.' 

278 LXIX. " Other witticisms are those that suggest hinted 
a joke that is not quite on the surface ; to this group '"''^*®'^'» 
belongs the quip of the Sicilian to whom a friend 

was lamenting because, as he told him, his wife had 
hanged herself from a fig-tree, and who replied, 
* Do please let me have some cuttings from that 
tree of yours to plant.' In the same group is the 
remark made by Catulus to a poor speaker who, 
after resuming his seat with the impression that his 
concluding remarks had aroused the audience's pity, 
inquired of Catulus whether he thought he had 
been successful in arousing pity ; ' Oh yes, and 
plenty of it,' was the reply, * for I can't imagine 



dem,' inquit, 'neminem enim puto esse tam durum 

279 cui non oratio tua miseranda visa sit.' Me quidem 
hercule valde illa movent stomachosa et quasi sub- 
morosa ridicula — non cum a moroso dicuntur ; tum 
enim non sal sed natura ridetur ; in quo, ut mihi 
videtvu:, persalsum illud est apud Novium : 

• Quid ploras, pater ? ' 
* Mirum ni cantem ! condemnatus sum.' 

Huic generi quasi contrarium est ridiculi genus 
patientis ac lenti, ut, cum Cato percussus esset ab 
eo qui arcam ferebat, cum ille diceret, ' Cave ! * 

280 rogavit numquid aliud ferret praeter arcam. Est 
etiam stultitiae salsa reprehensio, ut ille Siculus, 
cui praetor Scipio patronum causae dabat hospitem 
suum, hominem nobilem, sed admodum stultum : 
* Quaeso,' inquit, ' praetor, adversario meo da istum 
patronum, deinde mihi neminem dederis.' Movent 
illa etiam quae coniectura explanantur longe aliter 
atque sunt sed acute atque concinne : ut, cum 
Scaurus accusaret Rutilium ambitus cum ipse con- 
sul esset factus, ille repulsam tulisset, et in eius 
tabulis ostenderet htteras A. F. P. R. idque diceret 
esse ' AcTUM fide P. Rutilii,' Rutihus autem ' Ante 
FACTUM, posT RELATUM,' C. Canius cqucs Romanus, 
cum Rufo adesset, exclamavit^ neutrum ilUs htteris 

* Rackham : exclamat. 

" No Scipio is known to us to have been praetor in Sicily. 

* Apparently the presiding magistrate assigned such 
assistance to a litigant who was a provincial and presumably 
ignorant o£ Roman law. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixix. 278-280 

anybody could be so hard-hearted as not to have 

279 thought your speech a pitiable performance.' For 
my own part I vow I am also much amused by those 
pettish and rather ill-tempered jests — but not when 
they are spoken by an ill-tempered person, for then 
it is not his wit but his character that we laugh at ; 
and this point to my mind is very neatly put in the 
Unes in Novius : 

* Sire, why dost thou lament ? ' 
* 'Twere strange did I not sing, who am under sentence ! * 

A kind of jest that is just the opposite of this is the 
tolerant and gentle sort — for example, Cato's when 
he had been jostled by a man carrying a box, who 
said ' Look out,' and he asked ' What, are you carry- 

280 ing something else beside that box ? ' There is also 
a neat way of reproving folly, for instance the remark 
of the Sicilian to whom Scipio " when praetor was 
assigning as counsel in a law-suit his host, a person 
of position but rather stupid : ' Pray, Mr. Praetor, 
assign that gentleman as counsel ^ to my opponent, 
and then I will not ask you to assign any counsel to 
me.' Also efFective are conjectural explanations of 
a document that are completely at variance with 
the real meaning but are cleverly and wittily put : 
as for instance, in the prosecution of Rutilius by 
Scaurus on the charge of corrupt practices in the 
election to the consulship which Scaurus himself had 
won and Rutilius had lost, when Scaurus called atten- 
tion to the entry A.F.P.R. in Rutilius's election 
accounts, and said that they stood for ' Acting for 
Pubilius Rutilius,' whereas Rutilius said they meant 
* AUocated formerly, posted up recently,' Sir Gaius 
Canius, who appeared for Rufus, called out that both 



declarari ; ' Quid ergo ? ' inquit Scaurus ; ' Ae- 
milius fecit, plectitur Rutilius.* 

281 LXX. Ridentur etiam discrepantia. ' Quid huic 
abest nisi res et virtus ? ' Bella etiam est familiaris 
reprehensio quasi errantis ; ut cum obiurgavit 
Albium Granius quod, cum eius tabuhs quiddam ab 
Albucio probatum videretur, et valde absoluto Scae- 
vola gauderet neque intellegeret contra suas tabulas 

282 esse iudicatum. Huic similis est etiam admonitio in 
consiho dando familiaris, ut, cum patrono malo 
cum vocem in dicendo obtudisset suadebat Granius 
ut mulsum frigidum biberet simul ac domum re- 
disset, * Perdam,' inquit, ' vocem, si id fecero ' ; 

283 ' Melius est,' inquit, ' quam reum.' Bellum etiam 
est cum quid cuique sit consentaneum dicitur ; ut, 
cum Scaurus nonnuUam haberet invidiam ex eo quod 
Phrygionis Pompei locupletis hominis bona sine 
testamento possederat, sederetque advocatus reo 
Bestiae, cum funus quoddam duceretur, accusator 
C. Memmius ; ' Vide,' inquit, ' Scaure, mortuus 

284 rapitur, si potes esse possessor.' Sed ex his omnibus 
nihil magis ridetur quam quod est praeter exspecta- 
tionem, cuius innumerabilia sunt exempla, vel Appii 
maioris illius, qui in senatu cum ageretur de agris 

" Probably the grandfather of Cicero's enemy P. Clodius. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixix. 280— Ixx. 284 

these interpretations of the initials were wrong. 
* What do they mean then ? ' said Scaurus. * Aemilius 
filched. Punish Rutilius.' 

281 LXX. " A laugh is also scored by sentences that do unexpected 
not hang together : ' What does this gentleman lack *"™^' 

— except cash and character ? ' Another pretty turn 
is a friendly criticism of an impHed mistake, as when 
Granius reproved Albius because, when Albucius was 
held to have proved a statement on the evidence 
of Albius's accounts, Albius was not only much de- 
lighted by Scaevola's acquittal but actually failed to 
see that a verdict had been given against his own 

282 accounts. Also similar to this is giving a friendly 
hint by way of advice : for instance, when Granius 
was recommending an incompetent advocate who in 
the course of a speech had talked himself hoarse to 
have a drink of chilled wine and honey as soon as he 
got home, he answered ' If I do that, I shall ruin my 
voice,' and Granius retorted ' Better ruin your voice 

283 than ruin your client.' It is also a neat turn to point 
out what goes with anybody's individual character- 
istics ; as for instance, when Scaurus was somewhat 
under a cloud for having taken possession of the 
estate of a wealthy person named Pompeius Phrygio 
who had died intestate, and was appearing in court 
as an assessor on behalf of a defendant named Bestia, 
a funeral happened to pass by, and Gaius Memmius 
who was for the prosecution said, ' Look, Scaurus, 
there's a dead man being bundled out of the way — if 

284 only you can get possession.' But of all these devices 
nothing causes more amusement than an unexpected 
turn, of which there are countless instances — for 
example, the remark of old Appius senior,** who 
when there was a debate in the Senate about the 



publicis et de lege Thoria et premeretur Lucilius 
ab eis qui a pecore eius depasci agros publicos 
dicerent, ' Non est/ inquit, ' Lucilii pecus illud ; 
erratis ' — defendere Lucilium videbatur — ' ego 

285 liberum puto esse : qua libet pascitur.' Placet 
etiam mihi illud Scipionis illius qui Tib. Gracchura 
perculit : cum ei M. Flaccus multis probris obiectis 
P. Mucium iudicem tulisset, ' Eiero,' inquit, ' iniquus 
est ' ; cum esset admurmuratum, ' Ah,* inquit, 
* P. C, non ego mihi illum iniquum eiero, verum 
omnibus.' Ab hoc vero Crasso nihil facetius : cum 
laesisset testis Silus Pisonem quod se in eum audisse 
dixisset, ' Potest fieri,' inquit, ' Sile, ut is unde te 
audisse dicis, iratus dixerit.' Annuit Silus. ' Potest 
etiam, ut tu non recte intellexeris.' Id quoque toto 
capite annuit, ut se Crasso daret. ' Potest etiam 
fieri,' inquit, ' ut omnino, quod te audisse dicis, nun- 
quam audieris.' Hoc ita praeter exspectationem 
accidit ut testem omnium risus obrueret. Huius 
generis est plenus Novius, cuius iocus est familiaris 
' Sapiens si algebis, tremes.' Et aha permulta. 

286 LXXI. Saepe etiam facete concedas adversario id 

" Presumably the poet, c/. § 25. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixx. 284— Ixxi. 286 

lands in public ownership and the Lex Thoria, and 
LuciUus " was being attacked by raembers who asserted 
that his herd was being grazed on the lands in ques- 
tion, said ' No, that herd does not belong to Lucilius ; 
you are making a mistake ' — this sounded as if he 
were speaking in Lucilius's defence — ' My own view 
is that it is a herd that's got free — it grazes freely 

285 where it pleases.' I also like the remark of the 
Scipio who made away with Tiberius Gracchus : 
when Marcus Flaccus after a great many damaging 
objections had been made had carried Publius Mucius 
as a member of the jury, Scipio said ' I challenge 
him on oath : he is prejudiced ! ' ; at this there was 
a murmur, but Scipio continued, * Ah, gentlemen, 
I don't challenge him as prejudiced against myself, 
but as prejudiced against everybody.' From this 
point of view however nothing could be wittier than 
the remark of Crassus : serious damage had been 
done to the case of a certain Piso by a witness named 
Silus, who had said that he had heard something 
against him ; ' It may be the case, Silus,' said Crassus, 
' that the person whose remark you say you heard 
was speaking in anger.' Silus nodded assent. ' It 
is also possible that you misunderstood him.' To 
this also Silus nodded very emphatic assent, so 
putting himself into Crassus's hands. ' It is also 
possible,' he continued, ' that what you say you 
heard, you never really heard at all.' This was so 
entirely unexpected a turn that the witness was 
overwhelmed by a burst of laughter from the whole 
court. Novius is full of quips of this sort : everyone 
knows his jape, ' Even a philosopher like you, if he is 
cold, will shiver,' and a great many more. 

286 LXXI. " Also you may often humorously yield to personai 

^l^ retorts. 


ipsum quod tibi ille detrahit : ut C. Laelius, cum ei 
quidam malo genere natus diceret indignum esse suis 
maioribus, ' At hercule,* inquit, ' tu tuis dignus.' 
Saepe etiam sententiose ridicula dicuntur, ut M. 
Cincius, quo die legem de donis et muneribus tulit, 
cum C. Cento prodisset et satis contumeliose 
* Quid fers, Cinciole ? ' quaesisset, ' Ut emas,' in- 

287 quit, ' Gai, si uti velis.' Saepe etiam salse quae fieri 
non possunt optantur : ut M. Lepidus, cum ceteris 
in campo exercentibus in herba ipse recubisset : 
' Vellem hoc esset,' inquit, ' laborare.' Salsum est 
etiam quaerentibus et quasi percontantibus, lente 
respondere quod nolint : ut censor Lepidus cum 
M. Antistio Pyrgensi equum ademisset, amicique 
cum vociferarentur et quaererent quid ille patri suo 
responderet cur ademptum sibi equum diceret cum 
optimus colonus, parcissimus, modestissimus, frugaUs- 
simus esset : ' Me istorum,' inquit, ' nihil credere.' 

288 CoUiguntur a Graecis alia nonnulla, exsecrationes, 
admirationes, minationes, sed haec ipsa nimis mihi 
videor in multa genera descripsisse ; nam illa quae 
verbi ratione et vi continentur certa fere ac definita 
sunt quae plerumque, ut ante dixi, laudari magis 

289 quam rideri solent ; haec autem quae sunt in re ipsa 

" The praenomen, like a Christian name, has a note of 
familiarity which might be compHmentary, but here is con- 
temptuous, and is a retort to the diminutive Cinciole, which 
also has a touch of contempt, as has the question Quidfers? 
which suggests ' What do you offer for sale ? ' ' §254. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxi. 286-289 

you» opponent the very point that he is trying to 
make against you : for instance Gaius Laelius, when 
some low-born person told him he was not worthy of 
his ancestors, retorted ' But you are worthy of yours, 
I swear you are ! ' Also jests at the other's expense 
are often expressed in an epigrammatic form : for 
instance, on the day when Marcus Cincius carried a 
bill deahng ynth. gifts and presentations, Gaius Cento 
came forward and asked in a rather insulting manner, 
' What are you putting forward, my good Cincius ? ' 
And Cincius replied ' That if you want to use a thing, 

287 Gaius," you should pay for it ! ' Also it is often 
witty to wish for things that are impossible : as, for 
instance, when Marcus Lepidus was sprawHng on the 
grass himself while everybody else was doing exer- 
cises in the field, he said ' I wish that hard work 
were what I am doing.' Also when people ask you 
something and keep on repeating the question it is 
witty gently to give the very reply they don't want : 
for example when the censor Lepidus had taken a 
horse from Marcus Antistius of Pyrgi and Antistius's 
friends made an outcry and kept asking him what 
answer he should give his father to explain why his 
horse had been taken away from him, a first-class 
farmer, and an extremely economical and moderate 
and thrifty person, he said his answer would be ' I 

288 don't accept any of that ! ' The Greeks include some 
other varieties, execration, astonishment, threats, 
but I feel I have overdone my classification of these 
witticisms already ; for the notions contained in the 
meaning and force of a word are usually clear and 
definite, and most of them, as I said before,'' usually 

289 excite more applause than ridicule ; whereas the 
points comprised in the actual fact and meaning, 



et sententia partibus sunt innumerabilia, generibus 
pauca ; exspectationibus enim decipiendis et naturis 
aliorum irridendis [ipsorum ridicule indicandis]^ et 
similitudine turpioris et dissimulatione et subabsurda 
dicendo et stulta reprehendendo risus moventur, ita- 
que imbuendus est is qui iocose volet dicere quasi 
natura quadam apta ad haec genera et moribus, ut 
ad cuiusque modi genus ridicuh vultus etiam accom- 
modetur ; qui quidem quo severior est et tristior, ut 
in te, Crasse, hoc illa quae dicuntur salsiora videri 

290 Sed iam tu, Antoni, qui hoc deversorio sermonis mei 
libenter acquieturum te esse dixisti, tanquam in 
Pomptinum deverteris, neque amoenum neque salu- 
brem locum, censeo ut satis diu te putes requiesse et 
iter reliquum conficere pergas. 

Ego vero, atque hilare quidem a te acceptus, 
inquit, et cum doctior per te, tum etiam audacior 
factus iam ad iocandum ; non enim vereor ne quis 
me in isto genere leviorem iam putet, quoniam qui- 
dem tu Fabricios mihi auctores, et Africanos, Maxi- 

291 mos, Catones, Lepidos protulisti. Sed habetis ea 
quae vultis ex me audire, de quibus quidem accura- 
tius dicendum et cogitandum fuit : nam cetera 
faciUora sunt, atque ex eis quae dicta sunt reliqua 

1 tecl. Wilkin». 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxi. 289-291 

though falling into innumerable divisions, only be- 
long to a few main classes ; what excites laughter 
is disappointing expectations and ridicuhng other 
people's characters and imitating a baser person 
and dissembhng and saying things that are rather 
silly and criticizing points that are fooHsh, and con- 
sequently a person who wants to speak humorously 
must be equipped with a disposition and character 
that is suited to artifices of this kind, so that even his 
expression of countenance may be adapted to each 
kind of variety of the ridiculous ; and indeed the 
sterner and gloomier a man's expression is, as in 
your case, Crassus, the more humorous as a rule his 
remarks are considered. 

290 " Well, Antonius, you said you would be glad of a 
rest at this house of entertainment, which is what 
my discourse is,~but you must imagine the resort you 
have visited to be in the Pomptine marshes, not a 
very agreeable or very salubrious locahty, so I advise 
you to decide that you have had a sufficient rest and 
to push on to complete the remainder of your 

" Yes, I will, and that after being amusingly enter- Antonius 
tained by you, and having, thanks to you, become (^^^§^216) 
not only a better scholar but also a more reckless as to 
jester ; for now Tm not afraid of anybody thinking hebegins 
me too frivolous in that Une, inasmuch as you have ^^*V^^ 
suppUed me with such authorities as Fabricius, and points of 

291 also Africanus, Maximus, Cato and Lepidus. But case^and his 
now you have got the points you wanted to hear opponents'. 
from me, points which did in fact require more careful 
statement and consideration, inasmuch as all the 

others are easier, and the points that remain aU 
spring directly out of those that have been put. 



nascuntur omnia. LXXII. Ego enim cum ad causam 
sum aggressus atque omnia eogitando quoad facere 
potui persecutus, cum et argumenta causae et eos 
locos quibus animi iudicum conciliantur et illos quibus 
permoventur vidi atque cognovi, tum constituo quid 
habeat causa quaeque boni, quid mali ; nulla enim 
fere potest res in dicendi disceptationem aut contro- 
versiam vocari quae non habeat utrumque, sed 

292 quantum habeat id refert ; mea autem ratio in 
dicendo haec esse solet, ut boni quod habeat id 
amplectar, exornem, exaggerem, ibi commorer, ibi 
habitem, ibi haeream, a malo autem vitioque causae 
ita recedam non ut me id fugere appareat sed ut 
totum bono illo ornando et augendo dissimulatum 
obruatur ; et, si causa est in argumentis, firmissima 
quaeque maxime tueor, sive plura sunt sive aUquod 
unum ; sin autem in conciliatione aut in permotione 
causa est, ad eam me potissimum partem quae 
maxime movere animos hominum potest confero. 

293 Summa denique huius generis haec est, ut si in 
refellendo adversario firmior esse oratio quam in 
confirmandis nostris rebus potest, omnia in illum 
tela conferam, sin nostra probari facilius quam illa 
redargui possunt, abducere animos a contraria de- 

294 fensione et ad nostram coner^ deducere. Duo denique 
illa quae facillima videntur, quoniam quae difficiliora 

^ Rackham : conor. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxii. 291-294 

LXXII. For my part when I am launched on a case 
and have to the best of my ability passed all the facts 
under consideration, having discerned and ascer- 
tained the arguments that belong to the case and 
also the topics calculated to win the favour of the 
court and those adapted to arouse its emotions, I 
then decide what are the good and what the bad 
points in the case of each of the parties, as it is almost 
impossible for any matter to be brought under dis- 
cussion or dispute which does not contain both — the 
thing that matters is horv much of them it contains ; 

292 but my own method in a speech usually is to take 
the good points of my case and elaborate these, em- 
bellishing and enlarging and Hngering and dwelhng 
on and sticking to them, while any bad part or weak- 
ness in my case I leave on one side, not in such a 
manner as to give the appearance of running away 
from it but so as to disguise it and entirely cover it 
up by embellishing and amplifying the good point 
referred to ; and if the case is one that turns on 
arguments, I maintain all the strongest among them 
in the fullest measure, whether they are several or 
only one, or if it is a matter of winning favour or 
arousing feeling, I concentrate particularly on the 
part of the case that is most capable of influencing 

293 men's minds. In short, the chief thing in a case of 
this kind is, if my speech can be stronger in refuting 
our opponent than in proving our own points, for me 
to concentrate all my shafts upon him, but if on the 
contrary our points can be more easily proved than 
his can be refuted, to aim at drawing ofF their atten- 
tion from our opponent's defence and directing it to 

294 our own. Finally there are two lines that appear 
extremely easy — as the more difficult ones are beyond 



sunt non possum, mihi pro meo iure sumo : unum ut 
molesto aut difRcili argumento aut loco nonnunquam 
omnino nihil respondeam, quod forsitan aliquis iure 
irriserit — quis enim est qui id facere non possit ? 
sed tamen ego de mea nunc, non de aliorum facultate 
disputo, confiteorque me si quae premat res vehe- 
mentius ita cedere solere ut non modo non abiecto, 
sed ne reiecto quidem scuto fugere videar, sed ad- 
hibere quamdam in dicendo speciem atque pompam 
et pugnae similem fugam ; consistere vero in meo 
praesidio sic ut non fugiendi hostis sed capiendi loci 
295 causa cessisse videar ; alterum est illud quod ego 
maxime oratori cavendum et providendum puto 
quodque me soUicitare summe solet : non tam ut 
prosim causis elaborare soleo quam ut ne quid 
obsim ; non quin enitendum sit in utroque, sed 
tamen multo est turpius oratori nocuisse videri causae 
quam non profuisse. LXXIII. Sed quid hoc loco vos 
inter vos, Catule ? An haec ut sunt contemnenda 
contemnitis ? 

Minime, inquit ille, sed Caesar de isto ipso quiddam 
velle dicere videbatur. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxii. 294— Ixxiii. 295 

my power — which I adopt as being entitled to do so : 
one is that, when I encounter a troublesome or diffi- 
cult argument or topic, occasionally I make no reply 
to it at all : a method on which somebody will per- 
haps justly pour ridicule — for who is there who would 
not be capable of adopting it ? but all the same it is 
my own capacity and not that of other people which 
I am now discussing, and I frankly confess that I 
make it a practice, if some matter presses rather too 
forcibly upon me, to retire, but in such a manner as 
not to look as if I were running away even with my 
shield slung behind my back, much less after throw- 
ing it away, but to exhibit a certain seemHness and 
dignity in my delivery, and to execute a retreat 
that looks Uke a fight ; and when I come to a halt 
to stand on my guard in such a manner as to appear 
to have given ground for the sake of taking up a 
certain position, not for the sake of escaping the 
95 enemy ; the other Une is one which I for my part 
think a speaker should only adopt with very great 
caution and preparation, and which regularly causes 
me an extreme amount of trouble : my practice is 
not to devote my efforts to further the advancement 
of my cases but to avoid doing them any damage ; 
not but what it is proper to use every efFort in 
achieving both, but it is much more damaging to a 
speaker's reputation to be deemed to have done harm 
to his case than not to be thought to have advanced 
it. LXXIII. But what are you whispering among 
yourselves at this point, Catulus ? Do you despise 
these things as they deserve to be despised ? " 

" By no means," he said, " but we thought that 
Caesar wanted to say something on just the point 
you are treating." 



Me vero libente, inquit Antonius, dixerit sive 
refellendi causa sive quaerendi. 

296 Tum lulius : Ego mehercule, inquit, Antoni, 
semper is fui qui de te oratore sic praedicarem, unum 
te in dicendo mihi videri tectissimum, propriumque 
hoc esse laudis tuae, nihil a te unquam esse dictum 
quod obesset ei pro quo diceres ; idque memoria 
teneo, cum mihi sermo cum hoc ipso Crasso multis 
audientibus esset institutus Crassusque plurimis 
verbis eloquentiam laudaret tuam, dixisse me cum 
ceteris tuis laudibus hanc esse vel maximam, quod 
non solum quod opus esset diceres sed etiam 

297 quod non opus esset non diceres : tum illum mihi 
respondere memini, cetera in te summe esse lau- 
danda, illud vero improbi esse hominis et perfidiosi, 
dicere quod alienum esset et noceret ei pro quo quis- 
que diceret ; quare non sibi eum disertum qui id non 
faceret videri sed improbum, qui faceret. Nunc, si 
tibi videtur, Antoni, demonstres velim quare tu hoc 
ita magnum putes, nihil in causa mali facere, ut nihil 
tibi in oratore maius esse videatur. 

298 LXXIV. Dicam equidem, Caesar, inquit, quid 
intellegam, sed et tu, et vos omnes hoc, inquit, 
mementote, non me de perfecti oratoris divinitate 
quadam loqui sed de exercitationis et consuetudinis 
meae mediocritate. Crassi quidem responsum excel- 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxiii. 295— Ixxiv. 298 

" Oh, as for me," said Antonius, " I should be de- 
lighted for him to speak, whether with the object 
of refuting me or of asking me a question." 

296 " For my own part, Antonius," rejoined Julius, " I 
declare I have always taken the Une of maintaining, 
in regard to your powers as a speaker, that in my 
view you were quite exceptionally guarded in your 
utterances, and that it was your special distinction 
that nothing had ever fallen from you that would 
damage the cUent you were defending ; and I clearly 
remember that when I was engaged in a debate with 
Crassus here, before a large audience, and Crassus 
extolled your eloquence at great length, what I said 
was that together with all your other claims to dis- 
tinction the greatest one was that you not only said 
the proper thing but also avoided saying what was 

297 not the proper thing ; and thereupon I remember 
Crassus rejoining that while all your other quaUties 
were most deserving of praise, to say something 
untoward and damaging to one's cUent showed com- 
plete lack of principle and of loyalty, and consequently 
he did not consider a man to be a good speaker if 
he did not do so but an unprincipled person if he did. 
At this point, Antonius, if agreeable to you, I should 
Uke you to explain for what reason you put so high 
a value on this avoidance of doing any damage to 
one's case that you think it to be a speaker's most 
important quaUfication . ' ' 

298 LXXIV. " I will teU you what my own view is, 
Caesar," he said, " but I must request you and all 
the rest of the company to bear in mind that I am 
not speaking of the inspired genius of a consummate 
orator but of the moderate level attained by practice 
and habituation in my own case. The answer given 

p 425 


lentis cuiusdam est ingeni ac singularis ; cui quidem 
portenti simile esse visum est posse aliquem inveniri 
oratorem qui aliquid mali faceret dicendo obessetque 

299 ei quem defenderet ; facit enim de se coniecturam, 
cuius tanta vis ingeni est ut neminem nisi consulto 
putet quod contra se ipsum sit dicere ; sed ego non 
de praestanti quadam et eximia sed prope de vulgari 
et communi vi nunc disputo, Ita apud Graecos 
fertur incredibili quadam magnitudine consili atque 
ingeni Atheniensis ille fuisse Themistocles ; ad quem 
quidam doctus homo atque in primis eruditus ac- 
cessisse dicitur eique artem memoriae, quae tum 
primum proferebatur, pollicitus esse se traditurum ; 
cum ille quaesisset quidnam illa ars efficere posset, 
dixisse illum doctorem ut omnia meminisset ; et 
ei Themistoclem respondisse gratius sibi illum esse 
facturum si se oblivisci quae vellet quam si 

300 meminisse docuisset. Videsne quae vis in homine 
acerrimi ingeni, quam potens et quanta mens fuerit ? 
qui ita responderit ut intellegere possemus nihil ex 
illius animo quod semel esset infusum unquam 
effluere potuisse, cum quidem ei fuerit optabilius 
oblivisci posse potius quod meminisse noUet quam 
quod semel audisset vidissetve meminisse. Sed 
neque propter hoc Themistocli responsum memoriae 
nobis opera danda non est neque illa mea cautio et 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxiv. 298-300 

by Crassus is of course the verdict of a quite out- 
standing and unrivalled intellect — of course he deems 
it miraculous that any speaker could be found whose 
oratory would actually damage and prejudice the 

299 case of his cHent. This is because he judges from 
himself, being a person of such a strong intellect 
that he cannot imagine anybody saying anything to 
his o\vn detriment, unless he did so on purpose. But 
I am not at the moment talking about some out- 
standing and exceptional ability but about ordinary 
average capacity. For instance, we are told that the 
famous Athenian Themistocles was endowed with 
wisdom and genius on a scale quite surpassing belief , 
and it is said that a certain learned and highly accom- 
pUshed person went to him and ofFered to impart to 
him the science of mnemonics, which was then being 
introduced for the first time ; and that when Themis- 
tocles asked what precise result that science was 
capable of achieving, the professor asserted that it 
would enable him to remember everything ; and 
Themistocles replied that he would be doing him a 
greater kindness if he taught him to forget what he 

300 wanted than if he taught him to remember. Do 
you observe what mental force and penetration the 
man possessed, what power and range of intellect ? 
inasmuch as his answer brings home to us that 
nothing that had once been introduced into his mind 
had ever been able to pass out of it, inasmuch as he 
would rather have been able to forget something that 
he did not wish to remember than to remember 
everything that he had once heard or seen. But this 
reply of Themistocles must not cause us to neglect 
the training of the memory, and the exceptional 
intellectual powers of Crassus must not make us 



timiditas in causis propter praestantem prudentiam 
Crassi neglegenda est ; uterque enim istorum non 
mihi attulit aliquam sed suam significavit faculta- 

301 tem. Etenim permulta sunt in causis in omni parte 
orationis circumspicienda ne quid ofFendas, ne quo 
irruas : saepe aliqui testis aut non laedit aut minus 
laedit nisi lacessatur; orat reus, urgent advocati ut 
invehamur, ut maledicamus, denique ut interroge- 
mus : non moveor, non obtempero, non satisfacio — 
neque tamen ullam assequor laudem, homines enim 
imperiti facilius quod stulte dixeris reprehendere 

302 quam quod sapienter tacueris laudare possunt. Hic 
quantum fit maU si iratum, si non stultum, si non 
levem testem laeseris ! Habet enim et voluntatem 
nocendi in iracundia et vim in ingenio et pondus in 
vita. Nec, si hoc Crassus non committit, ideo non 
multi et saepe committunt ; quo quidem mihi turpius 
videri nihil solet quam quod ex oratoris dicto aliquo 
aut responso aut rogato sermo ille sequitur : ' Oc- 
cidit.' * Adversariumne ? ' * Immo vero,' aiunt, * se 

303 et eum quem defendit.' LXXV. Hoc Crassus non 
putat nisi perfidia accidere posse, ego autem saepis- 
sime video in causis aUquid mah facere homines 
minime malos. Quid, illud quod supra dixi, solere 
me cedere, et, ut planius dicam, fugere ea quae 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxiv. 300— Ixxv. 303 

ignore the caution and nervousness in pleading a 
case that I assigned to myself ; for neither Themis- 
tocles nor Crassus attributed any competence to me, 

301 but indicated competence of their own, The fact is Precaution 
that in actions at law there are a great many precau- ^^aging 
tions that you have to take in every part of your one's own 
speech so as not to make a sHp and run your head '^^^' 
against some obstacle : frequently a witness does no 
damage, or less damage, if he is not challenged ; the 
defendant implores us and his supporters urge us to 
attack him, to abuse him, and finally to cross-examine 

him, but I pay no attention, I won't give way to them 
or obhge them — though all the same I do not get 
any praise for this, as ill-informed persons are more 
capable of criticizing one*s fooHsh assertions than 

302 one's wise omissions. In this department, how much 
harm is done if you fall foul of a witness who has lost 
his temper, and is no fool, and a person of considera- 
tion ! His anger suppHes him with the wish to injure 
you, his abiUty with the power to do so, and his past 
record with influence. And even if Crassus does not 
make this mistake, it does not follow that it is not 
made by many people and frequently ; and for my 
part I always think nothing more disgraceful than 
when some statement or reply or question made by 
a speaker is foUowed by the remark ' He's done for 
it ! ' ' Done for his opponent ? ' * Oh no,' they say, 

303 * done for himself and his client.' LXXV. Crassus 
holds the view that this can only happen through 
treachery, but I myself quite often see definite harm 
done in law-suits by persons who are not in the least 
malicious. Come, in regard to what I said previously, 
that I make a practice of giving way on, or to put 
it more plainly running away from, points that tell 



valde causam meam premerent, cum id non faciunt 
alii versanturque in hostium castris ac sua praesidia 
dimittunt, mediocriteme causis nocent cum aut 
adversariorum adiumenta confirmant aut ea quae 

304 sanare nequeunt exulcerant ? Quid, cum personarum 
quas defendunt rationem non habent, si quae sunt in 
eis invidiosa non mitigant extenuando sed laudando 
et efFerendo invidiosiora faciunt, quantum est in eo 
tandem mali ? Quid, si in homines caros iudicibusque 
iucundos sine ulla praemunitione orationis acerbius 
et contumeliosius invehare, nonne a te iudices 

305 abalienes ? Quid, si quae vitia aut incommoda 
sunt in aliquo iudice uno aut pluribus, ea tu in 
adversariis exprobrando non intellegas te in iudices 
invehi, mediocrene peccatum est ? Quid, si cum 
pro altero dicas, Htem tuam facias aut laesus 
efferare iracundia, causam relinquas, nihilne noceas ? 
In quo ego non quo Hbenter male audiam sed quia 
causam non hbenter reUnquo nimium patiens et 
lentus existimor ; ut cum te ipsum, Sulpici, obiur- 
gabam quod ministratorem peteres, non adversarium ; 
ex quo etiam illud assequor, ut si quis mihi maledicat 

306 petulans aut plane insanus esse videatur. In ipsis 
autem argumentis si quid posueris aut aperte falsum 
aut ei quod dixeris dicturusve sis contrarium aut 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxv. 303-306 

heavily against my case : well, when other people 
do not do this, and roam about inside the enemy's 
camp and disband their own forces, is the damage 
they do to their cases inconsiderable — when they 
either strengthen their opponents' supports or aggra- 

304 vate sores which they are unable to heal .? Come, 
when they take no account of the characters of the 
people they are defending, if they do not mitigate 
any unpopular traits in them by minimizing their 
importance but increase their unpopularity by prais- 
ing and parading them, how much harm pray is there 
in this ? Come, if without any preparatory forti- 
fication of your position you deliver a rather bitter 
and insulting attack on persons held in esteem and 
popular with the court, do you not set the bench 

305 against you ? Come, if you taunt your opponents 
with vices or faiUngs that are present in one or in 
several of the judges without reahzing that you are 
delivering an attack on the bench, is it a trifling 
mistake that you have committed ? Come, if when 
speaking on behalf of a client you make yourself 
morally responsible, or when provoked lose your 
temper and let yourself go, losing sight of your case, 
are you not doing any harm ? This is a matter in 
which I myself am considered too tolerant and gentle, 
not because I Uke being abused but because I do not 
like abandoning my case — for instance, when I 
taunted you yourself, Sulpicius, for attacking your 
assistant and not your opponent ; and this method 
also secures me the result that if somebody abuses 
me, he appears to be making a wanton attack, or 

306 else to be quite ofF his head. Then if your actual 
arguraents include something that is obviously un- 
true, or inconsistent with what you have said or are 



genere ipso remotum ab usu iudiciorum ac foro, 
nihilne noceas ? Quid multa ? Omnis cura mea 
solet in hoc versari semper — dicam enim saepius — 
si possim, ut boni efficiam aliquid dicendo, sin id 
minus, ut certe ne quid mali. 

307 LXXVI, Itaque nunc illuc redeo, Catule, in quo 
tu me paulo ante laudabas, ad ordinem collocationem- 
que rerum ac locorum ; cuius ratio est duplex, 
altera quam afFert natura causarum, altera quae 
oratorum iudicio et prudentia comparatur : nam ut 
aliquid ante rem dicamus, deinde ut rem exponamus, 
post ut eam probemus nostris praesidiis^ confirmandis, 
contrariis refutandis, deinde ut concludamus atque 

308 ita peroremus, hoc dicendi natura ipsa praescribit ; ut 
vero statuamus ea quae probandi et docendi causa 
dicenda sunt quemadmodum componamus, id est vel 
maxime proprium oratoris prudentiae. Multa enim 
occurrunt argumenta, multa, quae in dicendo pro- 
futura videantur ; sed eorum partim ita levia sunt 
ut contemnenda sint, partim, etiam si quid habent 
adiumenti, sunt nonnunquam eiusmodi ut insit in eis 
aliquid viti, neque tanti sit illud quod prodesse 

309 videatur ut cum ahquo malo coniungatur ; quae 
autem utilia sunt atque firma, si ea tamen, ut saepe 
fit, valde multa sunt, ea quae ex eis aut levissima 

* [praesidiis] Vassis. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxv. 306— Ixxvi. 309 

going to say, or intrinsically out of keeping with the 
practice of the courts and with public hfe, would you 
be doing no harm ? In short, the whole of my efforts 
are always regularly devoted to this — for I will go 
on repeating it — if possible to do some good by speak- 
ing, or if that is not possible, at all events not to 
do any harm. 

307 LXXVI. " Accordingly I now return to the point Arr»iig«. 
in respect of which, Catulus, you were praising me ™®°*' 
just now, the question of the order and arrangement 

of one's facts and topics. In respect of this there are 
two rules of procedure, one arising from the nature 
of the cases and the other contributed by the discre- 
tion and the wisdom of the speakers : for to make 
some prefatory remarks, then to set out our case, 
afterwards to prove it by estabhshing our own points 
with arguments in their favour and refuting our 
adversary's points, then to wind up our case and so 
to come to our conclusion — this is the procedure 

308 enjoined by the very nature of oratory ; but to decide 
how to arrange the statements that have to be made 
for the purpose of estabhshing and explaining our 
case — that is in the highest degree a task for pro- 
fessional skill. For many arguments occur to us, and 
many considerations that appear hkely to be of use 
to us in speaking ; but some of these are so un- 
important as not to deserve notice, and some, even 
if they ofFer some amount of assistance, are occasion- 
ally of such a nature that they contain some flaw and 
that the amount of assistance they seem to provide 
is not of such value as to be used in conjunction with 

309 a definitely detrimental point ; while if nevertheless, 
as frequently happens, there are numerous advan- 
tages and strong arguments, in my judgement those 



sunt aut aliis gravioribus consimilia, secerni arbitror 
oportere atque ex oratione removeri : equidem 
cum colligo argumenta causarum, non tam ea 

310 numerare soleo quam expendere. LXXVII. Et 
quoniam, quod saepe iam dixi, tribus rebus homines 
ad nostram sententiam perducimus, aut docendo aut 
conciliando aut permovendo, una ex tribus his rebus 
res prae nobis est ferenda, ut nihil aliud nisi docere 
velle videamur, reliquae duae, sicuti sanguis in 
corporibus, sic illae in perpetuis orationibus fusae 
esse debebunt. Nam et principia et ceterae partes 
orationis, de quibus paulo post pauca dicemus, 
habere hanc vim magnopere debent, ut ad eorum 
mentes apud quos agetur movendas pertinere 

311 possint ; sed his partibus orationis quae, et si nihil 
docent argumentando, persuadendo tamen et com- 
movendo proficiunt plurimum, quanquam maxime 
proprius est locus et in exordiendo et in perorando, 
digredi tamen ab eo quod proposueris atque agas 
permovendorum animorum causa saepe utile est ; 

312 itaque vel re narrata et exposita saepe datur ad 
commovendos animos digrediendi locus, vel argu- 
mentis nostris confirmatis vel contrariis refutatis vel 
utroque loco vel omnibus, si habet eam causa 
dignitatem atque copiam, recte id fieri potest ; 
eaeque causae sunt ad augendum et ad ornandum 

• §§ 326, 333. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxvi. 309— Ixxvii. 312 

among them that are the least weighty or that closely 
resemble others that are weightier ought to be dis- 
carded and left out of the speech : in my own case 
when I am collecting arguments for my cases I make 
it my practice not so much to count them as to weigh 

310 them. LXXVII. And because (as I have repeatedly 
said already) there are three methods of bringing 
people to hold our opinion, instruction or persuasion 
or appeal to their emotions, one of these three 
methods we must openly display, so as to appear to 
wish solely to impart instruction, whereas the two re- 
maining methods should be interfused throughout the 
whole of the structure of our speeches like the blood 
in our bodies. For as for the exordium and the other 
divisions of a speech, about which we shall make a 
few remarks a Uttle later," it is essential that they 
should have the power of being able to exert this 

311 influence in stirring the minds of the audience ; but piaces for 
in regard to the portions of a speech that in spite of g^^onV' 
proving no point by means of argument, nevertheless 

have a very great effect in persuading and arousing 
emotion, although the most appropriate place for 
them is in the introduction and the conclusion, never- 
theless it is often useful to digress from the subject 
one has put forward and is deaUng with, for the pur- 

312 pose of arousing emotion ; and accordingly very 
often either a place is given to a digression devoted to 
exciting emotion after we have related the facts and 
stated our case, or this can rightly be done after we 
have established our own arguments or refuted those 
of our opponents, or in both places, or in aU the parts 
of the speech, if the case is one of this importance and 
extent ; and the cases that are the weightiest and 
fuUest for ampUfication and embelUshment are those 



gravissimae atque plenissimae quae plurimos exitus 
dant ad eiusmodi digressionem, ut eis locis uti liceat 
quibus animorum impetus eorum qui audiunt aut 

313 impellantur aut reflectantur. Atque etiam in illo 
reprehendo eos qui quae minime firma sunt ea 
prima collocant ; in quo illos quoque errare arbitror 
quijsi quando — id quod mihi nunquam placuit — plures 
adhibent patronos, ut in quoque eorum minimum 
putant esse, ita eum primum volunt dicere : res enim 
hoc postulat, ut eorum exspectationi qui audiunt 
quam celerrime succurratur ; cui si initio satisfactum 
non sit, multo plus sit in reliqua causa laborandum, 
male enim se res habet quae non statim ut dici 

314 coepta est mehor fieri videtur. Ergo ut in oratore 
optimus quisque, sic in oratione firmissimum quod- 
que sit primum, dum illud tamen in utroque tene- 
atur, ut ea quae excellent serventur etiam ad 
perorandum si quae erunt mediocria — nam vitiosis 
nusquam esse oportet locum — ^in mediam turbam 

315 atque in gregem coniciantur. Hisce omnibus rebus 
consideratis tum denique id quod primum est dicen- 
dum postremum soleo cogitare, quo utar exordio ; 
nam si quando id primum invenire volui, nuUum mihi 
occurrit nisi aut exile aut nugatorium aut vulgare 
aut commune. LXXVIII. Principia autem dicendi 
semper cum accurata et acuta et instructa sententiis, 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxvii. 312— Ixxviii. 315 

that give the greatest number of openings for a 
digression of this kind, so allowing the employment 
of the topics which either stimulate or curb the 

313 emotions of the audience. And in regard to arrange- strongest 
ment I also censure the people who place their ^^iuM 
weakest points first ; and I think a mistake is also come flrst j 
made in this respect by those who on occasions when 

they have several supporters to bring forward — a 
thing which I have never approved of doing — ask the 
particular one among them whom they think least 
influential to speak first ; for the situation demands 
that the anticipation of the audience should be grati- 
fied as quickly as possible, and if it is not satisfied at 
the start, a great deal more work has to be put in 
during the remainder of the proceedings, for a case 
is in a bad way which does not seem to become 

314 stronger as soon as it begins to be stated. Con- 
sequently as in the choice of speaker the best man 
on each occasion should come first, so in arrangement 
of the speech the strongest point should come first, 
provided nevertheless that in both cases the rule be 
kept to reserve one's outstanding resources to the 
actual peroration, while collecting into a general 
medley in the middle any points of moderate import- 
ance — bad points must not be given a place any- 

315 where. Well, not till I have attended to all these tactfui 
matters, then finally my practice is to consider last t°on°^'^'^ 
of all the thing that has to come first in the speech — 
what introduction to employ : for whenever I have 
chosen to begin by ascertaining this, nothing has 
occurred to me that was not either bald or trifling or 
hackneyed or undistinctive. LXXVIII. But one's 
opening remarks, though they should always be care- 

fully framed and pointed and epigrammatic and 



apta verbis, tum vero causarum propria esse debent ; 
prima est enim quasi cognitio et commendatio ora- 
tionis in principio, quaeque continuo eum qui audit 

316 permulcere atque allicere debet. In quo admirari 
soleo non equidem istos qui nullam huic rei operam 
dederunt, sed hominem in primis disertum atque 
eruditum, PhiHppum, qui ita solet surgere ad dicen- 
dum ut quod primum verbum habiturus sit nesciat ; et 
ait idem, cum brachium concalefecerit, tum se solere 
pugnare ; neque attendit eos ipsos unde hoc simile 
ducat primas illas hastas ita iactare leniter ut et 
venustati vel maxime serviant et rehquis viribus suis 

317 consulant. Neque est dubium quin exordium di- 
cendi vehemens et pugnax non saepe esse debeat, sed 
si in ipso illo gladiatorio vitae certamine quo ferro 
decemitur tamen ante congressum multa fiunt quae 
non ad vulnus sed ad speciem valere videatur, quanto 
hoc magis in oratione est spectandum, in qua non vis 
potius quam delectatio postulatur ! Nihil est denique 
in natura rerum omnium quod se universum pro- 
fundat et* totum repente evolvat — sic omnia quae 
fiunt quaeque aguntur acerrime lenioribus principiis 

318 natura ipsa praetexuit. Haec autem in dicendo non 
extrinsecus ahcunde quaerenda sed ex ipsis visceribus 
causae sumenda sunt ; idcirco tota causa pertemptata 

* Kayaer : et quod. 

DE ORATORE, 11. Ixxviii. 315-318 

suitably expressed, must at the same time be appro- 
priate to the case in hand ; for the opening passage 
contains the first impression and the introduction of 
the speech, and this ought to charm and attract the 

316 hearer straight away. This is a point in respect of 
which I am constantly surprised, not indeed at people 
who have given no attention to oratory, but at Philip, 
a person of outstanding and accompUshed eloquence, 
whose habit it is to get up to make a speech without 
knowing what is to be the first word he will utter ; 
what he says about it is that his way is to warm up 
his biceps first and then start fighting — not observing 
that even the professionals from whom he derives 
this metaphor when throwing the spear deliver their 
first throws gently, so as to make their movements 
as graceful as possible and also to economize the re- 

317 mainder of their strength. Nor is there any doubt 
that the opening passage of a speech ought not as a 
rule to be of a forcible, fighting character ; but if in 
an actual fight to the death between gladiators, where 
the decision is made by the steel, nevertheless before 
closing a number of strokes are made that seem not 
to be intended to inflict a wound but to be done for 
the sake of appearance, how much more proper is it 
for this to be taken into consideration in making a 
speech, where what is asked for is not so much force 
as entertainment ! In conclusion, nothing exists in 
the physical universe that emerges as a whole and 
develops completely all in a moment : so true is it 
that all processes and actions of extreme rapidity 
have been provided by Nature herself with more 

318 gentle commencements. But the opening passage in 
a speech must not be drawn from some outside source 
but from the very heart of the case ; consequently 



atque perspecta, locis omnibus inventis atque instructis 

319 considerandum est quo principio sit utendum. Sic ut^ 
facile reperientur — sumentur enim ex eis rebus quae 
erunt uberrimae vel in argumentis vel in eis partibus 
ad quas dixi digredi saepe oportere — ita momenti 
aliquid afFerent, cum erunt paene ex intima defen- 
sione deprompta et apparebit ea non modo non esse 
communia nec in alias causas posse transferri sed 
penitus ex ea causa quae tiun* agatur effloruisse. 

320 LXXIX. Omne autem principium aut rei totius 
quae agetur significationem habere debebit aut 
aditum ad causam et communitionem aut quoddam 
ornamentum et dignitatem ; sed oportet, ut aedibus 
ac templis vestibula et aditus, sic causis principia pro 
portione rerum praeponere ; itaque in parvis atque 
infrequentibus causis ab ipsa re est exordiri saepe 

321 commodius ; sed cum erit utendum principio, quod 
plerumque erit, aut ex reo aut ex adversario aut ex 
re aut ex eis apud quos agetur sententias duci licebit. 
Ex reo — ^reos appello quorum res est — quae signifi- 
cent bonvun virum, quae liberalem, quae calamitosum, 

^ Warmington : et. • tum otn. edd. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxviii. 318— Ixxix. 321 

our case must first be thoroughly considered and ex- 
amined as a whole, and all our topics thought out 
and arranged, before we consider what opening to 

319 employ. In this way just as openings will be easily 
discovered — for they will be taken from the subjects 
that will prove most fertile either in the argumenta- 
tive passages or in the digressions upon which I said 
we must frequently enter — , so also they will con- 
tribute an element of movement, as they will be 
taken from almost the most essential part of the 
defence, and it will be felt not merely that they are 
not generahties and capable of being transferred into 
another case, but that they are essentially the natural 
outcome of the case under consideration. LXXIX. 

320 Every introduction will have to contain either a 
statement of the whole of the matter that is to be 
put forward, or an approach to the case and a prepara- 
tion of the ground, or eke to possess some element 
of ornament and dignity ; but the opening passage 
put at the beginning of a case should be in due propor- 
tion to the importance of the facts, just as a forecourt 
or an entrance should be properly proportioned to 
the mansion or temple to which it belongs ; and 
consequently in petty cases and ones not attracting 
much attention it is often more suitable to start 

321 straight away with the actual charge ; whereas when 
it is proper to employ a formal opening, as will mostly 
be the case, it will be possible to draw subjects either 
from one's client or from one's opponent or from the 
charge or from the members of the court before 
whom it is to be brought. Points drawn from one's 
client — by clients I mean the persons concerned in 
the matter — are considerations showing him to be a 
man of high character, a gentleman, a victim of mis- 



quae misericordia dignum, quae valeant contra falsam 
criminationem ; ex adversario eisdem ex locis fere 

322 contraria ; ex re, si crudelis, si nefanda, si praeter 
opinionem, si immerito, si misera, si ingrata, si in- 
digna, si nova, si quae restitui sanarique non possit ; 
ex eis autem apud quos agetur, ut benevolos beneque 
existimantes efficiamus, quod agendo efficitur melius 
quam rogando. Est id quidem in totam orationem 
confundendum nec minime in extremam ; sed tamen 

323 multa principia ex eo genere gignuntur. Nam et 
attentum monent Graeci ut principio faciamus iu- 
dicem et docilem, quae sunt utilia, sed non prin- 
cipii magis propria quam reliquarum partium ; 
faciliora etiam in principiis, quod et attenti tum 
maxime sunt cum omnia exspectant et dociles magis 
in initiis esse possunt ; illustriora enim sunt quae 
in principiis quam quae in mediis causis dicuntur aut 

324 arguendo aut refellendo. Maximam autem copiam 
principiorum ad iudicem aut alliciendum aut inci- 
tandum ex eis locis trahemus qui ad motus animorum 
conficiendos inerunt in causa, quos tamen totos 
explicare in principio non oportebit, sed tantum 
impelli iudicem primo leviter, ut iam inclinato re- 

325 liqua incumbat oratio. LXXX. Connexum autem 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxix. 321— Ixxx. 325 

fortune deserving of compassion, and any facts that 
will tell against a false charge ; from one's opponent, 
more or less the contrary assertions derived from the 

322 same topics ; from the matter charged, in case it 
is cruel or outrageous or improbable or undeserved 
or pitiable or showing ingratitude or unworthy or un- 
precedented or not admitting of compensation or 
remedy ; from the members of the court, considera- 
tions designed to make them favourable and well- 
disposed towards us, which is better achieved by 
developing our case than by making a request for 
goodwill. Conciliation of the audience must indeed 
permeate the whole of the speech, and especially the 
peroration, but nevertheless this class of considera- 
tion does supply a great many modes of opening. 

323 For the Greeks advise us to use the opening passage narration of 
for securing the attention of the judge and making gtanoes* 
him receptive, and these are valuable things, though 

they do not belong more to the introduction than to 
the other parts of a speech ; moreover they are easier 
in the introduction, because the audience are most 
attentive when they have the whole of the speech to 
look forward to, and also they are more receptive at 
the start, for statements made at the beginning, 
whether aimed at proof or at refutation, stand out 
clearer than those made in the middle of a case. 

324 But we shall derive our greatest supply of openings 
designed either to concihate or to stimulate the judge 
from topics contained in the case that are calculated 
to produce emotions, though it will not be proper to 
develop these fuUy at the start, but only to give a 
sHght preliminary impulsion to the judge, so that the 
remainder of our speech may find him already biassed 

325 in our direction. LXXX. But the opening passage 



ita sit principium consequenti orationi ut non tam- 
quam citharoedi prooemium affictum aliquid sed co- 
haerens cum omni corpore membrum esse videatur. 
Nam non nulli, cum illud meditati ediderunt, 
sic ad reliqua transeunt ut audientiam fieri sibi non 
velle videantur. Atque eiusmodi illa prolusio debet 
esse, non ut Samnitium, qui vibrant hastas ante pug- 
nam quibus in pugnando nihil utuntur, sed ut ipsis 
sententiis quibus proluserint vel pugnare possint. 

326 Narrare vero rem quod breviter iubent, si brevitas 
appellanda est cum verbum nuUum redundat, brevis 
est L. Crassi oratio ; sin tum est brevitas cum 
tantum verborum est quantum necesse est, aliquando 
id opus est, sed saepe obest vel maxime in narrando, 
non solum quod obscuritatem afFert sed etiam quod 
eam virtutem quae narrationis est maxima, ut 
iucunda et ad persuadendum accommodata sit, tolht. 
Videant illa 

nam is postquam excessit ex ephebis . . • 

327 quam longa est narratio ! Mores adolescentis ipsius 
et servilis percontatio, mors Chrysidis, vultus et 
forma et lamentatio sororis, reliqua pervarie iucun- 
deque narrantur. Quodsi hanc brevitatem quae- 
sisset : 

" Terence, Andria 51. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxx. 325-327 

should be so closely connected with the speech that 
follows as to appear to be not an appendage, like 
the prelude to a piece of music, but an integral 
part of the whole structure. For some musicians 
play their prelude after due practice, but pass on 
to the remainder of the work in such a manner 
as to seem not really to want to be listened to. 
Also the preliminary passage must not be hke the 
skirmishing of Samnite gladiators, who before a fight 
brandish their spears which they are not going to 
make any use of in the actual encounter, but must 
be of such a character as to enable the combatants 
to employ in the real encounter the very ideas which 
they have made play with in the introduction. 

326 " As for their rule that the narration of the case 
must be brief, if the term brevity may be used to 
denote the absence of a single word that is superfluous, 
Lucius Crassus's style has brevity ; but if brevity 
means employing only the absolutely essential mini- 
mum of words, this is required occasionally, but often 
it is actually very detrimental in stating the facts of 
the case, not only because it causes obscurity but 
also because it does away with a quality that is 
the greatest merit in narrative, that of entertaining 
and convincing. Let people consider the passage 

For ever since the day he came of age . . ." 

327 what a long story it is ! The young man's own 
character, the slave's inquiry, the death of Chrysis, 
her sister's face and figure and her mourning, and all 
the rest of it — all agreeably narrated in every variety 
of style ! Whereas if he had really sought for brevity 
in this style : 



EfFertur, imus, ad sepulcrum venimus, 
In ignem imposita est, 

fere^ decem versiculis totum conficere potuisset; 
quamquam hoc ipsum ' efFertur, imus ' concisum est 
ita ut non brevitati servitum sit sed magis venustati. 

328 Quodsi nihil fuisset nisi * in ignem imposita est,' 
tamen res tota cognosei facile potuisset ; sed et 
festivitatem habet narratio distincta personis et 
interpuncta sermonibus, et est et probabilius quod 
gestum esse dicas cum quemadmodum actum sit 
exponas, et multo apertius ad intellegendum est si 
constituitur aliquando ac non ista brevitate percur- 

329 ritur. Apertam enim narrationem tam esse oportet 
quam cetera, sed hoc magis in hac elaborandum est, 
quod et difficilius est non esse obsciu-um in re nar- 
randa quam aut in principio aut in argumentando 
aut in perorando, et maiore etiam periculo haec 
pars orationis obscura est quam ceterae, vel quia, 
si quo alio in loco est dictum quid obscurius, tantum 
id perit quod ita dictum est, narratio obscura totam 
occaecat orationem, vel quod alia possis, semel si 
obscurius dixeris, dicere alio loco planius, narrationis 
unus est in causa locus. Erit autem perspicua 
narratio si verbis usitatis, si ordine temporum ser- 

330 vato, si non interrupte narrabitur. LXXXI. Sed 
quando utendum sit aut non sit narratione, id est 

* fere om. codd. opt. 

" Terence, Andria 117. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxx. 327— Ixxxi. 330 

The funeral — we start, we reach the tomb, 
The corpse is placed upon the pyre — " 

he could have completed the whole affair in a matter 
of ten verses ! although the actual phrase ' The 
funeral — we start,' though very concise, neverthe- 
less achieves not brevity but rather grace of style. 

328 Supposing it had merely run ' She was placed on the 
p^rre,' the whole of the facts could have been easily 
understood nevertheless ; but the narrative gains 
Hvehness when it brings in several characters and is 
broken up with speeches, and also one's statement 
of what took place is both more convincing when one 
explains how it was done and much clearer to under- 
stand if occasionally a halt is called and the story 

329 does not run right on with that curt brevity. The 
narrative ought to be as clear as all the other parts of 
the speech, but more pains must be taken to achieve 
clarity in this part because in narrating the facts of 
the case it is more difficult to avoid obscurity than in 
either the introduction or the proof or the peroration, 
and also obscurity is even more dangerous in this part 
of a speech than in the others, either because an ob- 
scure expression in any other place only causes the 
point obscurely expressed to be lost, but obscurity in 
the narrative blacks out the entire speech, or else 
because, whereas with other points if you have ex- 
pressed them rather obscurely at one time you can 
express them more clearly in another place, there is 
only one place in a case for the narration. But clear- 
ness in the narration will be attained if it employs 
ordinary language, and if it keeps to the chrono- 
logical order of events and is not broken by digres- 

330 sions. LXXXI. But when to use and when not to 
use narrative is a matter for consideration : narra- 



consilii ; neque enim si nota res est nec dubium quid 
gestum sit narrare oportet nec si adversarius nar- 
ravit, nisi si refellemus; ac si quando erit narran- 
dum, nec illa quae suspicionem et crimen efficient 
contraque nos erunt acriter persequemur et quic- 
quid potuerit detrahemus, ne illud quod Crassus, 
si quando fiat, perfidia, non stultitia fieri putat, ut 
causae noceamus accidat. Nam ad summam totius 
causae pertinet, caute an contra demonstrata res 
sit, quod omnis orationis reliquae fons est narratio. 

331 Sequitur ut causa ponatur, in quo videndum est 
quid in controversiam veniat ; tum suggerenda sunt 
firmamenta causae coniuncte et infirmandis con- 
trariis et tuis confirmandis. Namque una in causis 
ratio quaedam est eius orationis quae ad probandam 
argumentationem valet, ea autem et confirmationem 
et reprehensionem quaerit ; sed quia neque repre- 
hendi quae contra dicuntur possunt nisi tua con- 
firmes, neque haec confirmari nisi illa reprehendas, 
idcirco haec et natura et utilitate et tractatione con- 

332 iuncta sunt. Omnia autem concludenda sunt ple- 
rumque vel^ rebus augendis vel inflammando iudice 
vel mitigando ; omniaque cum superioribus orationis 

^ vel add. Reid. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxi. 330-332 

tive should not be employed if the facts are known 
and there is no doubt what occurred, nor yet if 
they have been narrated by our opponent, unless 
we are going to refute his account of them ; and 
on occasions when narrative is necessary we shall 
not lay very great stress on points that will cause 
suspicion and occasion accusation, and will tell 
against us, and we shall minimize anything that 
might have had this efFect, for fear lest it may result 
in our injuring our own case — a thing which if it ever 
does occur is in Crassus's opinion invariably due to 
treachery and not to folly. For it touches the main 
issue of the whole suit whether the case has been set 
out with circumspection or the opposite, because the 
narrative is the fountain head from which the whole 
remainder of the speech flows. 

331 " Next comes the statement of the case, a section in ruies for 
which the precise point at issue must be envisaged ; g^^^^Moof 
and then the case must be supported by proofs, ofcaseand 
which is effected by conjointly demolishing your °°''° "^'°''' 
opponent's arguments and establishing your own. 

For in cases at law the pleading that serves to prove 
the line adopted may be said to have only a single 
principle, though it aims at both proof and refutation ; 
but inasmuch as it is neither possible to refute state- 
ments made against you unless you prove your own, 
nor to prove your own statements without refuting 
your opponent's, it follows that these proceedings are 
connected together not only by nature but also in 
respect of their value for your case and the method 

332 of handling them. But all these arguments must as 
a rule be rounded ofF either by enlarging on your 
points or by arousing the feelings of the judge or 
calming them down ; and all of them both in the 



locis tum maxime extremo ad mentes iudicum quam 
maxime permovendas et ad utilitatem nostram vo- 
candas conferenda sunt. 

333 Neque sane iam causa videtur esse cur secerna- 
mus ea praecepta quae de suasionibus tradenda 
sunt aut laudationibus, sunt enim pleraque com- 
munia ; sed tamen suadere aliquid aut dissuadere 
gravissimae mihi personae videtur esse, nam et sapi- 
entis est consilium explicare suum de maximis rebus 
et honesti et diserti, ut mente providere, auctoritate 
probare, oratione persuadere possis. LXXXII. At- 
que haec in senatu minore apparatu agenda sunt ; 
sapiens enim est consilium multisque aliis dicendi 
relinquendus locus, vitanda etiam ingeni ostenta- 

334 tionis suspicio : contio capit omnem vim orationis et 
gravitatem, varietatemque desiderat. Ergo in sua- 
dendo nihil est optabiHus quam dignitas ; nam qui 
utilitatem petit, non quid maxime velit suasor sed 
quid interdum magis sequatur videt. Nemo est 
enim, praesertim in tam clara civitate, quin putet 
expetendam maxime dignitatem, sed vincit utilitas 
plerumque cum subest ille timor ea neglecta ne 

335 dignitatem quidem posse retineri. Controversia 
autem est inter hominum sententias aut in illo, utrum 
sit utilius, aut etiam cum id convenit certatur 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxi. 332— Ixxxii. 335 

earlier parts of the speech and most of all at the 
end must be direeted towards influencing the minds 
of the judges as much as possible and attracting them 
in the direction of our advantage. 

333 " Again, there seems to be no reason why we should Advisory 
keep separate the rules that are to be imparted on speoches on 
the subject of advisory speeches or of panegyrics, as atrairs: 
they are for the most part common to both ; but 
nevertheless to give advice for or against a course of 

action does seem to me to be a task for a person of 
the greatest weight of character, for to expound one's 
advice on matters of high importance calls for both 
wisdom and ability and eloquence, to enable one to 
make an intelligent forecast, give an authoritative 
proof and employ persuasive eloquence. LXXXII. 
And these ends can be achieved with less apparatus 
in the Senate, as that is a wise deliberative body, and 
one should leave room for many others to speak, 
beside avoiding any suspicion of a display of talent, 

334 whereas a public meeting permits of the full employ- 
ment of powerful and weighty oratory, and requires 
variety. Consequently in an advisory speech nothing 
is more desirable than dignity ; for a man who 
demands mere expediency does not see his advisers 
main purpose but only his more immediate aim for 
the time being. For there is nobody, especially in 
a famous state like ours, who does not think that 
moral worth is the highest object of ambition, but for 
the most part expediency vidns the day when there 
is a covert fear lest if expediency be neglected worth 

335 will also have to be abandoned. But difFerences of 
opinion arise either on the question which of two 
alternatives is more expedient, or even supposing 
there is agreement about this, it is disputed whether 



utrum honestati potius an utilitati consulendum sit ; 
quae quia pugnare inter se saepe videntur, qui utili- 
tatem defendet enumerabit commoda pacis, opum, 
potentiae, vectigalium, praesidi militum, ceterarum 
rerum quarum fructum utilitate metimur, itemque 
incommoda contrariorum : qui ad dignitatem im- 
pellet, maiorum exempla quae erant vel cum peri- 
culo gloriosa coUiget, posteritatis immortalem me- 
moriam augebit, utilitatem ex laude nasci defendet 

336 semperque eam cum dignitate esse coniunctam. Sed 
quid fieri possit aut non possit quidque etiam sit 
necesse aut non sit in utraque re maxime est quae- 
rendum ; inciditur enim omnis iam deliberatio si 
intellegitur non posse fieri aut si necessitas afFertur, 
et qui id docuit non videntibus aliis, is plurimum 

337 vidit. Ad consilium autem de republica dandum 
caput est nosse rempublicam, ad dicendum vero 
probabiliter nosse mores civitatis, qui quia crebro 
mutantur, genus quoque orationis est saepe mutan- 
dum ; et quamquam una fere vis est eloquentiae, 
tamen quia summa dignitas est populi, gravissima 
causa rei publicae, maximi motus multitudinis, genus 
quoque dicendi grandius quoddam et illustrius esse 
adhibendum videtur ; maximaque pars orationis ad- 
movenda est ad animorum motus non numquam aut 

* Aristotle, Rhet. I. iv. 2. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxii. 335-337 

the chief consideration should be integrity or expedi- 
ency ; and as these two considerations often seem to 
conflict, the champion of expediency will reel ofF a 
list of the advantages of peace and wealth and power 
and revenue and mihtary strength and all the other 
things whose value we measure by expediency, and 
also the disadvantages of their opposites, whereas 
one who urges us on the path of moral worth will 
collect examples of our ancestors' achievements that 
were glorious even though involving danger, and will 
magnify the value of an undying memory with pos- 
terity and maintain that glory engenders advantage 

336 and moral worth is invariably Hnked with it. But 
in both departments it is of the greatest importance 
to inquire what is possible and what is impossible 
of achievement, and also what is inevitable or the 
reverse ; for all debate is at once cut short by the 
reahzation that a thing is impossible or if it is proved 
to be inevitable, and the philosopher " who taught 
this truth, which others did not discern, showed the 

337 greatest insight. But the chief essential for giving 
counsel on affairs of state is a knowledge of the con- 
stitution of the state, whereas the thing that is essen- 
tial for persuasive speaking is a knowledge of the 
national character ; and as this frequently alters, it 
is often necessary also to alter the style of speaking 
employed ; and although the fundamental nature of 
eloquence practically does not vary, nevertheless in 
view of the exalted dignity of the nation, the supreme 
importance of pohtics, and the violent passions of 
the crowd, it would seem that an oratorical style of 
more than average grandeur and brilhance is re- 
quired ; and the greatest part of a speech must occa- 
sionally be directed to arousing the emotions of the 



cohortatione aut commemoratione aliqua aut in spem 
aut in metum aut ad cupiditatem aut ad gloriam 
concitandos, saepe etiam a temeritate, iracundia, spe, 
iniuria, invidia, crudelitate revocandos. LXXXIII. 

338 Fit autem ut, quia maxima quasi oratoris scaena 
videatur contionis esse, natura ipsa ad ornatius 
dicendi genus excitemur ; habet enim multitudo 
vim quandam talem ut, quemadmodum tibicen sine 
tibiis canere, sic orator sine multitudine audiente 

339 eloquens esse non possit. Et cum sint populares 
multi variique lapsus, vitanda est acclamatio adversa 
populi, quae aut orationis peccato aliquo excitatur si 
aspere, si arroganter, si turpiter, si sordide, si quo 
animi vitio dictum esse aliquid videtur, aut hominum 
offensione vel invidia, quae aut iusta est aut ex 
criminatione atque fama, aut res si displicet, aut si 
est in aliquo motu suae cupiditatis aut metus mul- 
titudo. His quattuor causis totidem medicinae op- 
ponuntur : tum obiurgatio, si est auctoritas ; tum 
admonitio, quasi lenior obiurgatio ; tum promissio si 
audierint probaturos ; tum deprecatio, quod est 

340 infirmum sed nonnunquam utile. Nullo autem loco 
plus facetiae prosunt et celeritas et breve ahquod 
dictum nec sine dignitate et cum lepore ; nihil 
enim tam facile quam multitudo a tristitia et saepe 
ab acerbitate commode et breviter et acute et hilare 
dicto deducitur. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxii. 337— Ixxxiii. 340 

audience, by means of exhortation or of some form of 
reminder, to either hope or fear or desire or ambition, 
and often also to calling them back from rashness, 
anger or hope and from injustice, envy or cruelty. 

338 LXXXIII. But as the orator's chief stage seems the styie 
to be the platform at a public meeting, it naturally for^^buc^ 
results that we are stimulated to employ the more speaking. 
ornate kind of oratory ; for the effect produced by 
numbers is of such a kind that a speaker can no 

more be eloquent without a large audience than a 

339 flute-player can perform without a flute. And as 
there are a number of different ways of falHng foul 
of the public, one must be careful not to arouse the 
disapproving outcries of the people, who are aroused 
either by some error in the speech, if a remark is 
thought to be harsh or arrogant or base or mean or 
to show some fault of character, or by personal 
annoyance or disUke that is either deserved or arises 
from slander and rumour, or if the subject is un- 
popular, or if the pubUc is in a state of excitement 
arising out of some desire or alarm that it feels. 
These four causes of unpopularity can be met by 
as many remedies : sometimes by reproof, if one 
possesses authority, sometimes by admonition, which 
may be caUed a gentle form of reproof, sometimes 
by promising that if they wiU hear us out they wiU 
agree with us, and sometime, by apology, which is 
not a strong Une to take, but is sometimes useful. 

340 And in no other place is there more to be gained by 
using facetious turns and a rapid style and epigram- 
matic remarks expressed in a dignified and attractive 
way ; for nothing is so easy as to divert a crowd from 
gloominess and often from bitter feeUng by means of 
a neat and terse and pointed and amusing phrase. 



LXXXIV. Exposui fere ut potui vobis in utroque 
genere causarum quae sequi solerem, quae fugere, 
quae spectare quaque omnino in causis ratione ver- 

341 sari. Nec illud tertium laudationum genus est 
difficile quod ego initio quasi a praeceptis nostris 
secreveram ; sed et quia multa sunt orationum 
genera et graviora et maioris copiae de quibus nemo 
fere praeciperet, et quod nos laudationibus non ita 
multum uti soleremus, totum hunc segregabam 
locum. Ipsi enim Graeci magis legendi et delecta- 
tionis aut hominis alicuius ornandi quam utilitatis 
huius forensis causa laudationes scriptitaverunt ; 
quorum sunt libri quibus Themistocles, Aristides, 
Agesilaus, Epaminondas, Philippus, Alexander ahi- 
que laudantur ; nostrae laudationes quibus in foro 
utimur aut testimonii brevitatem habent nudam 
atque inornatam aut scribuntur ad funebrem con- 
tionem, quae ad orationis laudera minime accom- 
modata est. Sed tamen, quoniam est utendum 
aliquando, nonnunquam etiam scribendum, velut 
Q. Tuberoni Africanum avunculum laudanti scripsit 
C. Laehus vel ut nosmet ipsi omandi causa Grae- 
corum more si quos velimus laudare possimus, sit a 

342 nobis quoque tractatus hic locus. Perspicuum est 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxiv. 340-842 

LXXXIV. " I have practically completed giving 
you an account, to the best of my ability, of the rules 
that I am accustomed to follow, and the faults which 
I try to avoid and the objects which I have in view in 
both kinds of cases, and generally of the method that 

341 I adopt in law-suits. Nor is there any difficulty about PanegTrios. 
the third class, consisting of panegyrics, which I had 
excluded from our set of instructions at the outset. 

But there are a great many kinds of oratory that are 
both more dignified and wider in scope, which virtu- 
ally nobody lays down rules about, and also we 
Romans do not much practise the custom of 
panegyrics, so consequently I put this department 
entirely on one side. For the Greeks themselves 
have constantly thrown ofF masses of panegyrics, 
designed more for reading and for entertainment, or 
for giving a laudatory account of some person, than 
for the practical purposes of public life with which 
we are now concemed : there are Greek books con- 
taining panegyrics of Themistocles, Aristides, Agesi- 
laus, Epaminondas, Philip, Alexander and others ; 
whereas our Roman commendatory speeches that we 
make in the forum have either the bare and un- 
adorned brevity of evidence to a person's character 
or are written to be delivered as a funeral speech, 
which is by no means a suitable occasion for parading 
one's distinction in rhetoric. But nevertheless, as 
laudatory speeches must be delivered occasionally 
and sometimes even written out, either as Gaius 
LaeUus wrote a panegyric for Quintus Tubero to 
deliver on his uncle Africanus, or in order that we 
ourselves may be able if we wish to praise certain 
persons in an honorific speech in the Greek manner, 

342 let us also treat of this topic. Well then, it is clear 

Q 457 


igitur alia esse in homine optanda, alia laudanda ; 
genus, forma, vires, opes, divitiae, cetera quae for- 
tuna^ dat aut extrinsecus aut corpori, non habent in 
se veram laudem, quae deberi virtuti uni putatur ; 
sed tamen quod ipsa virtus in earum rerum usu ac 
moderatione maxime cernitur, tractanda in lauda- 
tionibus etiam haec sunt naturae et fortunae bona, 
in quibus est summa laus non extulisse se in 
potestate, non fuisse insolentem in pecunia, non se 
praetulisse aliis propter abundantiam fortunae, ut 
opes et copiae non superbiae videantur ac Ubidini 
sed bonitati ac moderationi facultatem et materiam 

343 dedisse. Virtus autem, quae est per se ipsa lauda- 
bilis et sine qua nihil laudari potest, tamen habet 
plures partes, quarum alia est alia ad laudationem 
aptior. Sunt enim aliae virtutes quae videntur in 
moribus hominum et quadam comitate ac beneficentia 
positae, aliae quae in ingeni aUqua facultate aut 
animi magnitudine ac robore ; nam clementia, ius- 
titia, benignitas, fides, fortitudo in periculis com- 

344 munibus iucunda est auditu in laudationibus, omnes 
enim hae virtutes non tam ipsis qui eas habent quam 
generi hominum fructuosae putantur : sapientia et 
magnitudo animi qua omnes res humanae tenues ac 
pro nihilo putantur et in excogitando vis quaedam 
ingeni et ipsa eloquentia admirationis habent non 
minus, iucunditatis minus ; ipsos enim magis viden- 
tur quos laudamus quam illos apud quos laudamus 

* Wilkint : ceteraque quae aut cetera quaeque. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxiv. S42-344 

that the qualities that are desirable in a person are 
not the same as those that are praiseworthy : family, 
good looks, bodily strength, resources, riches and 
the rest of the external or personal gifts of fortune 
do not in themselves contain any true ground for 
praise, which is held to be due to virtue alone ; but 
nevertheless, as it is in the employment and wise 
management of these that virtue itself is very largely 
discerned, a panegyric must also treat of these goods 
of nature and of fortune in which the highest praise 
is not to have been pufFed up in office or insolent 
in wealth, or to have put oneself in front of others 
because of fortune's bounty — so that wealth and 
riches may seem to have provided opportunity and 
occasion not for pride and licence but for beneficence 

343 and temperance. But virtue, which is praiseworthy 
in itself and is a necessary element in anything that 
can be praised, nevertheless contains several divisions, 
one of which is more fit to be praised than another. 
For there are some virtues that are manifested as 
qualities of people's behaviour and by a sort of kind- 
ness and beneficence, while others consist in intel- 
lectual abiUty or in highmindedness and strength of 
character ; inasmuch as mercy, justice, kindness, 
fidehty, courage in common dangers are acceptable 

344 topics in a panegyric, since all these virtues are 
thought to be beneficial not so much to their 
possessors as to the human race in general, whereas 
wisdom, and magnanimity that counts all human 
fortunes slight and worthless, and strength and 
originahty of intellect, and eloquence itself are not 
less admired it is true but give less pleasure, because 
they seem to grace and to safeguard the subjects of 
our panegyrics themselves rather than the persons 



ornare ac tueri. Sed tamen in laudando iungenda 
sunt etiam haec genera virtutum, ferunt enim aures 
hominum cum illa quae iucunda et grata, tiun 
etiam illa quae mirabilia sunt in virtute laudari. 

345 LXXXV. Et quoniam singularum virtutum sunt 
certa quaedam officia ac munera et sua cuique virtuti 
laus propria debetur, erit explicandum in laude iusti- 
tiae quid cum fide, quid cum aequabilitate, quid 
cum eiusmodi aliquo officio is qui laudabitur fecerit, 
itemque in ceteris res gestae ad cuiusque virtutis 

346 genus et vim et nomen accommodabuntur. Gratis- 
sima autem laus eorum factorum habetur quae sus- 
cepta videntur a viris fortibus sine emolumento ac 
praemio ; quae vero etiam cum labore ac periculo 
ipsorum, haec habent uberrimam copiam ad laudan- 
dum, quod et dici omatissime possunt et audiri 
facillime ; ea enim denique virtus esse videtur 
praestantis viri quae est fructuosa aliis, ipsi aut 
laboriosa aut periculosa aut certe gratuita. Magna 
etiam illa laus et admirabilis videri solet tulisse casus 
sapienter adversos, non fractum esse fortuna, re- 

847 tinuisse in rebus asperis dignitatem ; neque tamen 
illa non ornant, habiti honores, decreta virtutis 
praemia, res gestae iudiciis hominum comprobatae ; 
in quibus etiam felicitatem ipsam deorum immor- 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxiv. 344— Ixxxv. 347 

before whom they are delivered. But nevertheless 
virtues of these kinds also should be introduced in 
a panegyric, since an audience will accept the be- 
stowal of praise on the aspects of virtue that call for 
admiration as well as on those that give pleasure 
and gratification, 

345 LXXXV. " And since particular virtues have their 
own definite duties and functions and each virtue has 
an appropriate form of commendation that is due to 
it, in giving praise for justice it will be necessary to 
recite actions of the subject of our panegyric that 
exhibited fidelity and fairness, and any right con- 
duct of that nature ; and similarly under the other 
heads our account of his actions will be fitted in to 
each successive class and meaning and designation of 

346 virtue. But the most welcome praise is that be- 
stowed on deeds that appear to have been performed 
by brave men without profit or reward ; while those 
that also involve toil and personal danger supply 
very fertile topics for panegyric, because they admit 
of being narrated in a most eloquent style and of 
obtaining the readiest reception from the audience ; 
for it is virtue that is profitable to others, and either 
toilsome or dangerous or at all events not profitable 
to its possessor, that is deemed to mark a man of 
outstanding merit. Also it is customarily recognized 
as a great and admirable distinction to have borne 
adversity wisely, not to have been crushed by mis- 
fortune, and not to have lost dignity in a difficult 

347 situation ; and distinction is also conferred by offices 
fiUed, rewards of merit bestowed, and achievements 
honoured by the judgement of mankind ; in these 
matters moreover it is proper to a panegyric to 
attribute what is merely good fortune to the verdict 



talium iudicio tribui laudationis est. Sumendae 
autem res erunt aut magnitudine praestabiles aut 
novitate primae aut genere ipso singulares ; neque 
enim parvae neque usitatae neque vulgares admira- 

348 tione aut omnino laude dignae videri solent. Est 
etiam cum ceteris praestantibus viris comparatio in 
laudatione praeclara. De quo genere libitum est 
mihi paulo plura quam ostenderam dicere, non tam 
propter usum forensem, qui est a me omni hoc ser- 
mone tractatus, quam ut hoc videretis, si laudationes 
essent in oratoris officio, quod nemo negat, oratori 
virtutum omnium cognitionem sine qua laudatio 

349 effici non possit esse necessariam. lam vituperandi 
praecepta contrariis ex vitiis sumenda esse perspicuum 
est ; simul est illud ante oculos, nec bonum virum 
proprie et copiose laudari sine virtutum nec impro- 
bum notari ac vituperari sine vitiorum cognitione 
satis insignite atque aspere posse. Atque his locis et 
laudandi et vituperandi saepe nobis est utendum in 
omni genere causarum. 

350 Habetis, de inveniendis rebus disponendisque quid 
sentiam ; adiungam etiam de memoria, ut labore 
Crassum levem neque ei quidquam ahud de quo 
disserat relinquam nisi ea quibus haec exomentur. 

LXXXVI. Perge vero, inquit Crassus, libenter 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxv. 347— Ixxxvi. 350 

of divine wisdom. And one must select achieve- 
ments that are of outstanding importance or unpre- 
cedented or unparalleled in their actual character ; 
for small achievements or those that are not unusual 
or out of the ordinary are not as a rule felt to be speci- 

348 ally admirable or to deserve praise at all. Moreover 
a splendid hne to take in a paneygric is to compare 
the subject with all other men of high distinction. 
And the spirit has moved me to enlarge rather more 
fuUy on this class of topic than I had promised to do, 
not so much for the purpose of its employment in the 
courts, which has been my subject in the whole of 
this discourse, as to bring home to you the fact that 
if the functions of a speaker include the delivery of 
panegyrics, which nobody denies, a speaker is bound 
to possess, as an indispensable means for the con- 
struction of a panegyric, a knowledge of all the virtues. 

349 Then, it is clear that the rules for assigning blame 
have to be developed out of the vices that are the 
opposites of these virtues ; at the same time it is 
obvious that it is impossible either to praise a good 
man appropriately and fully without a knowledge of 
the virtues or to brand and blame a wicked man in a 
sufficiently impressive and crushing manner without a 
knowledge of the vices. And these topics of praise 
and blame we shall frequently have occasion to em- 
ploy in every class of law-suit. 

360 " I have given you my view in regard to the dis- 
covery and the arrangement of topics ; I will also add 
something on the subject of memory, in order to 
lighten the task of Crassus and to leave him nothing 
eke to discuss except the method of elaborating 
these subjects." 

LXXXVI. " Oh, pray continue," said Crassus, " I 



enim te cognitum iam artificem aliquandoque evolu- 
tum illis integumentis dissimulationis tuae nudatum- 
que perspicio ; et quod mihi nihil aut quod non 
multum relinquis, percommode facis, estque mihi 

351 lam istuc quantum tibi ego reliquerim, inquit 
Antonius, erit in tua potestate : si enim vere me^ 
agere volueris, omnia tibi rehnquo ; sin dissimulare, 
tu quemadmodum his satisfacias videris. Sed, ut ad 
rem redeam, non sum tanto ego, inquit, ingenio 
quanto Themistocles fuit, ut obUvionis artem quam 
memoriae malim ; gratiamque habeo Simonidi ilU 
Cio quem primum ferunt artem memoriae protulisse. 

352 Dicunt enim cum cenaret Crannone in Thessaha 
Simonides apud Scopam fortunatum hominem et 
nobilem cecinissetque id carmen quod in eum scrip- 
sisset, in quo multa ornandi causa poetarum more in 
Castorem scripta et Pollucem fuissent, nimis illum 
sordide Simonidi dixisse se dimidium eius ei quod 
pactus esset pro illo carmine daturum : reliquum a 
suis Tyndaridis quos aeque laudasset peteret si ei 

353 videretur. Paulo post esse ferunt nuntiatum Simo- 
nidi ut prodiret : iuvenes stare ad ianuam duos 
quosdam qui eum magnopere evocarent ; surrexisse 
iUum, prodisse, vidisse neminem ; hoc interim spatio 
conclave iUud ubi epularetur Scopas concidisse ; ea 
ruina ipsum cum cognatis oppressum suis interusse ; 

* me add. Rackham. 

• See § 299. 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxvi. 350-353 

am delighted to see you at last known as a master of 
the theory, finally unmasked and stripped of the veil 
of your pretended ignorance ; and it is extremely 
obliging of you to leave Uttle or nothing to me, and I 
am grateful for it." 

351 " Oh, as for that," said Antony, " the amount I Memory; 
shall have left to you will be for you to decide ; if you S^; 
want complete candour, what I leave to you is the the pigeon- 
whole subject, but if you want me to keep up the pre- niethod. 
tence, it is for you to consider how you may satisfy 

our friends here. But to return to the subject," he 
continued," I am notmyself as clever asThemistocIes" 
was, so as to prefer the science of forgetting to that 
of remembering ; and I am grateful to the famous 
Simonides of Ceos, who is said to have first invented 

352 the science of mnemonics. There is a story that 
Simonides was dining at the house of a wealthy noble- 
man named Scopas at Crannon in Thessaly, and 
chanted a lyric poem which he had composed in 
honour of his host, in which he followed the custom of 
the poets by including for decorative purposes a long 
passage referring to Castor and PoIIux ; whereupon 
Scopas with excessive meanness told him he would 
pay him half the fee agreed on for the poem, and if 
he liked he might apply for the balance to his sons 
of Tyndaraus, as they had gone halves in the pane- 

353 gyric. The story runs that a Uttle later a message 
was brought to Simonides to go outside, as two young 
men were standing at the door who earnestly re- 
quested him to come out ; so he rose from his seat 
and went out, and could not see anybody ; but in the 
interval of his absence the roof of the hall where 
Scopas was giving the banquet fell in, crushing Scopas 
himself and his relations underneath the ruins and 



quos cum humare vellent sui neque possent obtritos 
internoscere ullo modo, Simonides dicitur ex eo quod 
meminisset quo eorum loco quisque cubuisset de- 
monstrator uniuscuiusque sepeliendi fuisse ; hac tum 
re admonitus invenisse fertur ordinem esse maxime 

354 qui memoriae lumen afFerret. Itaque eis qui hanc 
partem ingeni exercerent locos esse capiendos et ea 
quae memoria tenere vellent effingenda animo atque 
in eis locis collocanda : sic fore ut ordinem rerum 
locorum ordo conservaret, res autem ipsas rerum 
effigies notaret, atque ut locis pro cera, simulacris pro 

355 litteris uteremur. LXXXVII. Qui sit autem oratori 
memoriae fructus, quanta utilitas, quanta vis, quid 
me attinet dicere ? tenere quae didiceris in acci- 
pienda causa, quae ipse cogitaris ? omnes fixas esse 
in animo sententias ? omnem descriptum verborum 
apparatum ? ita audire vel eum unde discas vel eum 
cui respondendum sit ut illi non infundere in aures 
tuas orationem sed in animo videantur inscribere ? 
Itaque soli qui memoria vigent sciunt quid et quate- 
nus et quomodo dicturi sint, quid responderint, quid 
supersit : eidemque multa ex aliis causis aliquando a 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxvi. 353— Ixxxvii. 355 

killing them ; and when their friends wanted to 
bury them but were altogether unable to know 
them apart as they had been completely crushed, 
the story goes that Simonides was enabled by his 
recollection of the place in which each of them had 
been reclining at table to identify them for separate 
interment ; and that this circumstance suggested to 
him the discovery of the truth that the best aid to 
clearness of memory consists in orderly arrangement. 

354 He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty 
must select localities and form mental images of the 
facts they vdsh to remember and store those images 
in the localities, vdth the result that the arrangement 
of the localities will preserve the order of the facts, 
and the images of the facts will designate the facts 
themselves, and we shall employ the localities and 
images respectively as a wax writing tablet and the 

355 letters written on it. LXXXVII. But what business 
is it of mine to specify the value to a speaker and 
the usefulness and effectiveness of memory ? of re- 
taining the information given you when you were 
briefed and the opinions you yourself have formed ? 
of having all your ideas firmly planted in your 
mind and all your resources of vocabulary neatly 
arranged ? of giving such close attention to the 
instructions of your client and to the speech of the 
opponent you have to answer that they may seem 
not just to pour what they say into your ears but to 
imprint it on your mind ? Consequently only people 
with a powerful memory know what they are going to 
say and for how long they are going to speak and in 
what style, what points they have already answered 
and what still remains ; and they also can remember 
from other cases many arguments which they have 



366 se acta, multa ab aliis audita meminerunt. Quare 
confiteor equidem huius boni naturam esse principem, 
sicut earum rerum de quibus ante locutus sum 
omnium : sed haec ars tota dicendi, sive artis imago 
quaedam et similitudo est, habet hanc vim, non ut 
totum ahquid cuius in ingeniis nostris pars nuUa sit 
pariat et procreet, verum ut ea quae sunt orta iam in 

357 nobis et procreata educet atque confirmet ; verum- 
tamen neque tam acri memoria fere quisquam est ut 
non dispositis notatisque rebus ordinem verborum 
omnium aut sententiarum complectatur neque vero 
tam hebeti ut nihil hac consuetudine et exercitatione 
adiuvetur. Vidit enim hoc prudenter sive Simonides 
sive ahus quis invenit, ea maxime animis effingi 
nostris quae essent a sensu tradita atque impressa ; 
acerrimum autem ex omnibus nostris sensibus esse 
sensimi videndi ; quare faciUime animo teneri posse 
ea quae perciperentur auribus aut cogitatione si 
etiam commendatione oculorum animis traderentur ; 
ut res caecas et ab aspectus iudicio remotas con- 
formatio quaedam et imago et figura ita notaret ut 
ea quae cogitando complecti vix possemus intuendo 

358 quasi teneremus. His autem formis atque corpori- 
bus, sicut omnibus quae sub aspectum veniunt sede^ 
opus est, etenim corpus intellegi sine loco non potest. 
Quare (ne in re nota et pervulgata multus et insolens 

* v.l. veniunt admonetur memoria nostra atque exer- 
citatur sede. 

* After ' view ' some inferior mss. insert ' serve to prompt 
and stimulate our memory.' 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxvii. 355-358 

previously advanced and many which they have 

356 heard from other people. And consequently for 
my own part I confess that the chief source of this 
endowment, as of all the things I have spoken of 
before, is nature ; but the efficacy of the whole 
of this science, or perhaps I should say pseudo- 
science, of rhetoric, is not that it wholly originates 
and engenders something no part of which is already 
present in our minds, but that it fosters and 
strengthens things that have already sprung to birth 

357 within us ; though nevertheless hardly anybody 
exists who has so keen a memory that he can retain 
the order of all the words or sentences without having 
arranged and noted his facts, nor yet is anybody so 
dull-witted that habitual practice in this will not give 
him some assistance. It has been sagaciously dis- 
cerned by Simonides or else discovered by some 
other person, that the most complete pictures are 
formed in our minds of the things that have been 
cpnveyed to them and imprinted on them by the 
senses, but that the keenest of all our senses is the 
sense of sight, and that consequently perceptions 
received by the ears or by reflexion can be most 
easily retained in the mind if they are also conveyed 
to our minds by the mediation of the eyes, with the 
result tliat things not seen and not lying in the field 
of visual discernment are earmarked by a sort of out- 
Une and image and shape so that we keep hold of as 
it were by an act of sight things that we can scarcely 

358 embrace by an act of thought. But these forms and 
bodies, Uke all the things that come under our view *» 
require an abode, inasmuch as a material object 
without a locality is inconceivable. Consequently (in 
order that I may not be proUx and tedious on a sub- 



sim) locis est utendum multis, illustribus, explicatis, 
modicis intervallis ; imaginibus autem agentibus, 
acribus, insignitis, quae occurrere celeriterque per- 
cutere animum possint ; quam facultatem et exer- 
citatio dabit, ex qua consuetudo gignitur, et similium 
verborum conversa et immutata casibus aut traducta 
ex parte ad genus notatio et unius verbi imagine 
totius sententiae informatio pictoris cuiusdam summi 
ratione et modo formarum varietate locos distin- 

359 guentis. LXXXVIII. Sed verborum memoria, quae 
minus est nobis necessaria, maiore imaginum varie- 
tate distinguitur ; multa enim sunt verba quae quasi 
articuli connectunt membra orationis quae formari 
similitudine nulla possunt ; eorum fingendae nobis 
sunt imagines quibus semper utamur ; rerum me- 
moria propria est oratoris ; eam singulis personis bene 
positis notare possumus ut sententias imaginibus, 

360 ordinem locis comprehendamus. Neque verum est 
quod ab inertibus dicitur, opprimi memoriam imagi- 
num pondere et obscurari etiam id quod per se 
natura tenere potuisset ; vidi enim ego summos 
homines et divina prope memoria, Athenis Char- 
madam, in Asia, quem vivere hodie aiunt, Scepsium 
Metrodorum, quorum uterque tanquam htteris in 
cera sic se aiebat imaginibus in eis locis quos haberet 
quae meminisse vellet perscribere. Quare hac 

" The phrase denotes what we call ' perspective.' 
* Cato's rule was Rem tene, verba sequentur. 
' Prepositions and conjunctions are specially meant 


DE ORATORE, 11. Ixxxvii. S58— Ixxxviii. 360 

ject that is well known and familiar) one must employ 
a large number of localities which must be clear and 
defined and at moderate intervals apart, and image&. 
that are effective and sharply outHned and distinctive, 
with the capacity of encountering and speedily pene- 
trating the mind ; the ability to use these will be 
supplied by practice, which engenders habit, and by 
marking off similar words with an inversion and altera- 
tion of their cases or a transference from species to 
genus, and by representing a whole concept by the 
image of a single word, on the system and method 
of a consummate painter distinguishing the positions 
of objects by modifying their shapes.** LXXXVIII. 

359 But a memory for words, which for us is less essential,* 
is given distinctness by a greater variety of images ; 
for there are many words '^ which serve as joints 
connecting the Hmbs of the sentence, and these 
cannot be formed by any use of simile — of these we 
have to model images for constant employment ; but 
a memory for things is the special property of the 
orator — this we can imprint on our minds by a skilful 
arrangement of the several masks that represent 
them, so that we may grasp ideas by means of images 

360 and their order by means of locaUties. Nor is it true, 
as unscientific people assert, that memory is crushed 
beneath a weight of images and even what might 
have been retained by nature unassisted is obscured ; 
for I have myself met eminent people with almost 
superhuman powers of memory, Charmadas at Athens 
and Metrodorus of Scepsis in Asia, who is said to be 
still Uving, each of whom used to say that he wrote 
down things he wanted to remember in certain ' locaU- 
ties ' in his possession by means of images, just as if 
he were inscribing letters on wax. It follows that 



exercitatione non eruenda memoria est si est nuUa 
naturalis, sed certe si latet evocanda est. 

361 Habetis sermonem bene longum hominis utinam 
non impudentis ! Illud quidem certe, non nimis vere- 
cundi, qui quidem cum te, Catule, tum etiam 
L. Crasso audiente de dicendi ratione tam multa di- 
xerim ; nam istorum aetas minus me fortasse movere 
debuit. Sed mihi ignoscetis profecto, si modo quae 
causa me ad hanc insolitam mihi loquacitatem im- 
pulerit acceperitis. 

362 LXXXIX. Nos vero, inquit Catulus, etenim pro 
me hoc et pro meo fratre respondeo, non modo tibi 
ignoscimus sed te dihgimus magnamque tibi habe- 
mus gratiam ; et cum humanitatem et facilitatem 
agnoscimus tuam, tum admiramur istam scientiam et 
copiam. Equidem etiam hoc me assecutum puto, 
quod magno sum levatus errore et illa admiratione 
Uberatus quod multis cum ahis semper admirari 
solebam unde esset illa tanta tua in causis divinitas ; 
nec enim te ista attigisse arbitrabar quae diligen- 
tissime cognosse et undique collegisse usuque doctum 
partim correxisse video, partim comprobasse ; neque 

363 eo minus eloquentiam tuam et multo magis virtutem 

"8 59 

DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxviii. 360— Ixxxix. 363 

this practice cannot be used to draw out the memory 
If no memory has been given to us by nature, but it 
can undoubtedly summon it to come forth if it is 
in hiding. 

361 " There is a fairly long lecture for you from a person Conciusion : 
whom I hope you will not think conceited ! Though ^o^^pH- 
not over-modest I am sure you must think me, for mentedand 
having discoursed at such length on the theory of to^g^iwak on 
rhetoric before an audience including not only you, ornaments 
Catulus, but also Lucius Crassus — for no doubt I was oebate ' 
right in not troubling so much about hearers of the ^■'aft^** 
age of our friends here. But I am sure you will for- noon. 
give me if only I explain to you the motive that has 

urged me on to a talkativeness for me unusual." 

362 LXXXIX. " Oh, as for us," said Catulus, " inas- 
much as I am making this answer for myself and for 
my brother, not only do we forgive you but we hold 
you in high esteem and are extremely grateful to 
you ; and we recognize your courtesy and kindness, 
and also are fiUed with admiration for the knowledge 
and the fluency that you have displayed. For my 
ovm part I feel I have scored the further advantage 
that I have been cured of a great mistake and have 
been set free from the wonder that I spoke of," as to 
a matter that has always been a constant puzzle to 
me and many others as well, — where you obtained 
the mastery, amounting to genius, which you display 
in law-suits ; in fact I used to imagine that you had 
never embarked on the subjects that you have been 
dealing with, to which I now see that you have given 
the most diligent study, collecting them from all 
sources and employing the teaching of experience 

363 partly to correct and partly to confirm them ; nor do 
I feel less admiration for your eloquence, and much 



et diligentiam admiror et simul gaudeo iudicium 
animi mei comprobari quod semper statui neminem 
sapientiae laudem et eloquentiae sine summo studio 
et labore et doctrina consequi posse. Sed tamen 
quidnam est quod dixisti fore ut tibi ignosceremus 
si cognossemus quae te causa in sermonem impu- 
lisset ? Quae est enim alia causa nisi quod nobis et 
horum adolescentium studio, qui te attentissime 
audierunt, morem gerere voluisti ? 
364 Tum ille : Adimere, inquit, omnem recusationem 
Crasso volui quem ego paulo ante sentiebam^ vel 
pudentius vel invitius, nolo enim dicere de tam suavi 
homine fastidiosius, ad hoc genus sermonis accedere. 
Quid enim poterit dicere ? Consularem se esse 
hominem et censorium ? Eadem nostra causa est. 
An aetatem afferet ? Quadriennio minor est. An se 
haec nescire ? Quae ego sero, quae cursim arripui, 
quae subsicivis operis, ut aiunt, iste a puero, summo 
studio, summis doctoribus. Nihil dicam de ingenio, 
cui par nemo fuit ; etenim me dicentem qui audiret, 
nemo unquam tam sui despiciens fuit quin speraret 
aut mehus aut eodem modo se posse dicere : Crasso 
dicente nemo tam arrogans, qui simiUter se unquam 
dicturum esse confideret. Quam ob rem ne frustra 
hi tales viri venerint, te aHquando, Crasse, audiamus. 
^ Kayser: sciebam. 

" Actually three, see p. xiii n. a; but 140 b.c. would be 
spoken of as the /ouW/i year after 143. 


DE ORATORE, II. Ixxxix. 363-364 

more admiration for your energy and industry, and 
at the same time I rejoice in the confirmation of my 
own conviction, which I have always held, that no 
one can achieve high distinction for wisdom and 
eloquence without a very great amount of zeal 
and industry and study. But all the same, what 
exactly did you mean by saying that we should 
forgive you if we knew the motive that had led you 
to deliver a discourse ? What other motive can it 
be except a desire to obhge us and to satisfy the 
interest of these young people, who have given you 
a most attentive hearing ? " 
364 " Oh," he replied, " I wanted to deprive Crassus 
of all excuse for crying ofF, having noticed a httle 
earher that he was too modest, or too reluctant — for 
in regard to such an agreeable person I will not say 
too fastidious — about entering on this kind of debate. 
For what will he be able to say ? That he is a person 
who has held the offices of consul and of censor ? We 
can make the same plea. Or will he adduce his age ? 
He is four" years our junior. Or that he does not 
know these subjects ? Why, I took them up late and 
casually and as an occupation for odd moments, as 
the phrase is, whereas our friend has studied them 
from boyhood with the greatest industry and under 
the best masters. I will say nothing about his ability, 
which nobody has ever rivalled : in fact whereas no 
one who has heard me speaking has ever held so low 
an opinion of himself as not to hope he was capable of 
speaking better, or at all events as well, when Crassus 
speaks nobody was ever so conceited as to beheve 
that he would ever speak as well. Therefore, so that 
these distinguished gentlemen may not have come 
here to no purpose, let us at last, Crassus, hear you." 



865 XC. Tum ille : Ut ita ista esse concedam, inquit, 
Antoni, quae sunt longe secus, quid mihi tandem 
hodie aut cuiquam homini quod dici possit reliquisti ? 
Dicam enim vere, amicissimi homines, quod sentio : 
saepe ego doctos homines, quid dico saepe ? immo 
nonnunquam, saepe enim qui potui, qui puer in 
forum venerim neque inde unquam diutius quam 
quaestor abfuerim ? sed tamen audivi, ut heri dice- 
bam, et Athenis cum essem doctissimos viros et in 
Asia istum ipsum Scepsium Metrodorum cum de 
his ipsis rebus disputaret ; neque vero mihi quisquam 
copiosius unquam visus est neque subtilius in hoc 
genere dicendi quam iste hodie esse versatus : quod 
si esset ahter et aliquid intellegerem ab Antonio prae- 
termissum, non essem tam inurbanus et paene in- 
humanus ut in eo gravarer quod vos cupere sentirem. 

366 Tum Sulpicius : An ergo, inquit, obUtus es, Crasse, 
Antonium ita partitum esse tecum ut ipse instru- 
mentum oratoris exponeret, tibi eius distinctionem 
atque ornatum relinqueret ? 

Hic ille : Primum quis Antonio permisit, inquit, 
ut et partes faceret et utram vellet prior ipse 
sumeret? Deinde, si ego recte intellexi cum valde 
hbenter audirem, mihi coniuncte est visus de utraque 
re dicere. 

IUe vero, inquit Cotta, ornamenta orationis non 


DE ORATORE, 11. xc. 365-366 

365 XC. " Granted, Antonius," rejoined Crassus, " that 
I allow something to be the case which is in reaUty 
quite otherwise, what pray have you to-day left to 
me, or to anybody, that can possibly be said ? For, 
my very good friends, I will give you my true opinion : 
I have heard learned persons often — why do I say 
' often ' ? rather let me say ' occasionally,' for how 
could I possibly have heard them often, having gone 
to the bar as I did while a mere lad, and having never 
had a longer absence from it than my period of office 
as quaestor ? but be that as it may, I have, as I 
was saying yesterday, heard very learned men, both 
when I was at Athens, and in Asia your Metrodorus 
of Scepsis himself, discussing these very subjects ; 
but nevertheless I have never thought that anybody 
discoursed with greater fuUness or with greater 
penetration in this class of debate than our friend 
here to-day ; and even if this were not the case, and 
if I detected some point that Antonius had passed 
over, I should not be so uncivil and I may say so 
inhuman as to make a difficulty about what I feel to 
be your strong desire." 

366 " Have you then forgotten, Crassus," rejoined 
Sulpicius, " the apportionment arranged with you by 
Antonius, for him to expound the speaker's stock-in- 
trade himself while he left its elaboration and embel 
Ushment to you ? " 

Hereupon, " In the first place," said Crassus, 
" who gave Antonius leave to divide the subject up 
into shares and himself to have the first choice ? 
And next, if I understood him rightly, listening as I 
was with great pleasure, he seemed to me to be 
discussing both the two subjects conjointly." 

" As a matter of fact," said Cotta, " he did not 



attigit neque eam laudem ex qua eloquentia nomen 
suum invenit. 

Verba igitur, inquit Crassus, mihi reliquit An- 
tonius, rem ipse sumpsit. 
367 Tum Caesar : Si quod difficilius est id tibi reliquit, 
est nobis, inquit, causa cur te audire cupiamus : sin 
quod facilius, tibi causa non est cur recuses. 

Et Catulus : Quid quod dixisti, inquit, Crasse, si 
hodie apud te maneremus te morem nobis esse 
gesturum, nihilne ad fidem tuam putas pertinere ? 

Tum Cotta ridens : Possem tibi, inquit, Crasse, 
concedere ; sed vide ne quid Catulus attulerit re- 
Ugionis : hoc opus censorium est, id autem com- 
mittere vide^ quam homini censorio conveniat. 

Agite vero, inquit,* ut vultis. Sed nunc quidem, 
quoniam est id temporis, surgendum censeo et re- 
quiescendum : post meridiem, si ita vobis est com- 
modum, loquemur ahquid, nisi forte in crastinum 
differre mavultis. 

Omnes se vel statim vel si ipse post meridiem 
mallet, quam primum tamen audire velle dixerunt. 

* Reid: vides. ■ v.l. ille inquit. 


DE ORATORE, II. xc. 366-367 

touch on the embellishment of oratory, nor the 
accomplishment from which eloquence has derived 
its name." 

" If that is so," said Crassus, " Antony left the 
words to me and took the matter for himself." 
367 " If he left you the harder part," interposed Caesar, 
" we have good reason for wanting to hear you, and 
if the part he left you is the easier one, you have no 
reason for refusing." 

And Catulus said, " What about your promise, 
Crassus, that if we stayed on at your house to-day 
you would gratify our wish ? Don't you think you 
are bound in honour to do so ? " 

" I might possibly give way to you, Crassus," re- 
joined Cotta with a smile, " but mind we don't have 
Catulus introducing a point of moral obUgation ; this 
is a job for a censor's attention, but mind how it can 
be proper for a former censor to commit it." 

" Oh well," said Crassus, " do as you please. But 
now, seeing what the time is, I move that the house 
do adjourn for a rest ; and if it is agreeable to you we 
will say something in the afternoon, unless perhaps 
you would prefer to postpone it till to-morrow." 

They all said they wanted to hear him at once, or 
at all events, if he Mmself preferred the afternoon, as 
early as possible. 



Book I, § 41 (p. 30). qui aut interdicto . . . temere irruisse». 
In legal disputes as to possession the interdictum was a pre- 
Jiminary order of the praetor intended to secure for one of 
the litigants interim possession of the disputed property, so 
as to make him defendant in the subsequent real action and 
cast the burden of proof upon the other as plaintilF. Con- 
sertio manus was the stage in the real action at which the 

f)arties simulated the physical struggle of lawless times, by 
aying hands together upon the property and making claim 
and counterclaim to the ownership. In the case of land this 
formality took place out of court. 

Book I, § 42 (pp. 30-32). Agerent enim tecum lege . . . non 
liceret. Legis actiones, of five types, were the remedies at 
the earliest stage of developed Roman legal procedure : they 
involved a rigid and elaborate ritual, in which the sHghtest 
slip was fatal to the blunderer's case. Sacramentum was 
one of these types, involving a pecuniary deposit by each 
litigant. The winner of the action recovered his sacramen- 
tum, while the loser's was forfeited to the State. 

Book I, § 178 (p. 122). defendehamus . . . praestare debere. 
By this time Roman Law had apparently evolved the rule 
that a vendor of immovable property warrants the purchaser 
against all such material defects in his title as he does not 
disclose. The English rule is the same. 

Book I, § 180 (p. 124). antequam in suam tutelam venisset. 
A boy emerged from guardianship at the age of fourteen. 
In this famous causa Guriana a testator had left his estate 
to his expected posthumous child, with a gift over to Curius 
in the event of such child dying under age. After all no 
child was born. Was the condition of death under aee 
fulfilled by the default of birth ? Crassus successfuUy 
maintained the affirmative, and Curius took under the wilL 

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Greek Elegy and Iambus with the Anacbeontea. J. M. 

Edmonds. 2 Vols. 
Gheek Mathematical Wohks. Ivor Thomas. 2 Vols. 
Herodes. Cf. Theophhastus : Chahacters. 
Herodotus. A. D. Godley. 4 Vols. 
Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns. H. G. Evelyn White. 
Hippochates and the Fragments of Hehacleitus. W. H. S. 

Jones and E. T. Withington. 4 Vols. 
Homeh : Iliad. A. T. Murray. 2 Vols. 
HoMER : Odyssey. A. T. Murray. 2 Vols. 
IsAEUS. E. S. Forster. 

IsocRATES. George Norlin and LaRue Van Hook. 3 Vols. 
St. John Damascene : Bahlaam and Ioasaph. Rev. G. R. 

Woodward, Harold Mattingly and D. M. Lang. 
Josephus. 9 Vols. Vols. I-IV. H. St. J. Thackeray. Vol. 

V. H. St. J. Thackeray and Ralph Marcus. Vols. VI 

and VII. Ralph Marcus. Vol. VIII. Ralph Marcus and 

AUen Wikgren. Vol. IX. L. H. Feldman. 
JuLiAN. Wilmer Cave Wright. 3 Vols. 
LoNGUs : Daphnis and Chloe. Thornley'8 translation re- 

vised by J. M. Edmonds ; and Pahthenius. S. Gaselee. 
LuciAN. 8 Vols. Vols. I-V. A. M. Harmon. Vol. VI. K. 

Kilburn. Vols. VII and VIII. M. D. Macleod. 
Lycophhon. C/. Callimachus. 
Lyha Ghaeca. J. M. Edmonds. 3 Vols. 
Lysias. W. R. M. Lamb. 
Manetho. W. G. Waddell; Ptolemy : Tethabiblos. F. E. 

Mabcus Auhelius. C. R. Haines. 
Menandeh. F. G. AUinson. 
Minoh Attic Ohatohs. 2 Vols. K. J. Maidment and 

J. O. Burtt 
NoMNOs : DioNYSLACA. W. H. D. Rouse. 3 Vols. 



Oppian, Colluthus, Thyphiodohus. A. W. Mair. 

Papyhi. Non-Litehahy Selections. A. S. Hunt and C. C. 

Edgar. 2 Vols. Litehahy Selections (Poetry). D. L. 

Pahthenius. Cf. LONGUS. 
Pausanias : Deschiption op Gheece. W. H. S. Jones. 5 

Vols. and Companion Vol. arranged by R. E. Wycherley. 
Philo. 10 Vols. Vols. I-V. F. H. Colson and Rev. G. H. 

Whitaker. Vols. VI-X. F. H. Colson. General Index. 

Rev. J. W. Earp. 

Two Supplementary Vols. Translation only from an 
Armenian Text. Ralph Marcus. 
Philosthatus : The Life of Apollonius or Tyana. F. C. 

Conybeare. 2 Vols. 
Philosthatus : Imaoines ; Callisthatus : Deschiptions. 

A. Fairbanks. 


Wilmer Cave Wright. 
PiNDAH. Sir J. E. Sandys. 
Plato : Chabmides, Alcibiades, Hippahchus, The Lovehs, 

Theages, Minos and Epinomis. W. R. M. Lamb. 
Plato : Chatylus, Pahmenides, Gheateh Hippias, Lesseh 

HippiAS. H. N. Fowler. 
Plato : Euthyphho, Apology, Cbito, Phaedo, Phaedhus. 

H. N. Fowler. 
Plato : Laches, Photaooras, Meno, Euthydemus. 

W. R. M. Lamb. 
Plato : Laws. Rev. R. G. Bury. 2 Vols. 
Plato : Lysis, Symposium, Gohgias. W. R. M. Lamb. 
Plato : Republic. Paul Shorey. 2 Vols, 
Plato : Statesman, Philebus. H. N. Fowler ; Ion. 

W. R. M. Lamb. 
Plato : Theaetetus and Sophist. H. N. Fowler. 
Plato : TiMAEus, Cbitias, Clitopho, Menexenus, Epi- 

STULAE. Rev. R. G. Bury. 
Plotinus. A. H. Armstrong. 6 Vols. Vols. I-II. 
Plutahch : MoHALiA. 15 Vols. Vols. I-V. F. C. Babbitt. 

Vol. VI. W. C. Helmbold. Vol. VII. P. H. De Lacy and 

B. Einarson. Vol. IX. E. L. Minar, Jr., F. H. Sandbach, 
W. C. Helmbold. Vol. X. H. N. Fowler. Vol. XI. L. 
Pearson, F. H. Sandbach. Vol. XII. H. Cherniss, W. C. 
Helmbold. Vol. XIV. P. H. De Lacy and B. Einarson. 

Plutahch : The Pahallel Lives. B. Perrin. 11 Vols. 
PoLYBnjB. W. R. Paton. 6 Vols. 


Phocopius : Histohy of the Wahs. H. B. Dewing. 7 Vols. 
Ptolemy : Tethabiblos. Cf. Manetho. 
QuiNTus Smyhnaeus. A. S. Way. Verse trans. 
Sextus Empihicus. Rev. R. G. Bury. 4 Vols. 
SoPHocLEs. F. Storr. 2 Vols. Verse trans. 
Sthabo : Geoohaphy. Horace L. Jones. 8 Vols. 
Theophhastus : Chahactehs. J. M. Edmonds ; Hehodes 

etc. A. D. Knox. 
Theophhastus : Enquihy into Plants. Sir Arthur Hort. 

2 Vols. 
Thucydides. C. F. Smith. 4 Vols. 
Thyphiodohus. Cf. Oppian. 
Xenophon : Anabasis. C. L. Brownson. 
Xenophon : Cyhopaedia. Walter Miller. 2 Vols. 
Xenophon : Hellenica. C. L. Brownson. 2 Vols. 
Xenophon : Memohabilia and Oeconomicus. E. C. Mar- 

chant. Symposium and Apology. O. J Todd. 
Xenophon : Schipta Minoha. E. C. Marchant and G. W. 




Ahistides : Ohations. C. A. Behr. 

Hebodianus. C. R. Whittaker. 

Libanius : Selected Wohks. A. F. Norman. 

MusAEus : Heho and Leandeh. T. Gelzer and C. H. 

Theophhastus : De Causis Plantahum. G. K. K. Link and 

B. Einarson. 


Asconius : Commentahies on Ciceho'3 Ohations. G. W 

Benedict : The Rule. P. Me^rvaert 
Justin-Thoous. R. Moss. 
Manilius. G. P. Gould. 
PuNY : Lettehs. B. Radice.