The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4

Part 8 out of 11

the judicial class of causes, we will proceed in regular order to
give topics and rules for the deliberative and demonstrative class
of arguments; not that there is any cause which is not at all times
conversant with some statement of the case or other; but because there
are nevertheless some topics peculiar to these causes, not separated
from the statement of the case, but adapted to the objects which are
more especially kept in view by these kinds of argumentation.

For it seems desirable that in the judicial kind the proper end
is equity; that is to say, some division of honesty. But in the
deliberative kind Aristotle thinks that the proper object is
expediency; we ourselves, that it is expediency and honesty combined.
In the demonstrative kind it is honesty only. Wherefore, in this kind
of cause also, some kinds of argumentation will be handled in a common
manner, and in similar ways to one another. Some will be discussed
more separately with reference to their object, which is what we must
always keep in view in every kind of speech. And we should have no
objection to give an example of each kind of statement of the case, if
we did not see that, as obscure things are made more plain by speaking
of them, so also things which are plain are sometimes made more
obscure by a speech. At present let us go on to precepts of

LII. Of matters to be aimed at there are three classes; and on the
other hand there is a corresponding number of things to be avoided.
For there is something which of its own intrinsic force draws us to
itself, not catching us by any idea of emolument, but alluring us by
its own dignity. Of this class are virtue, science, truth. And there
is something else which seems desirable, not on account of its own
excellence or nature, but on account of its advantage and of the
utility to be derived from it--such as money. There are also some
things formed of parts of these others in combination, which allure us
and draw us after them by their own intrinsic character and dignity,
and which also hold out some prospect of advantage to us, to induce
us to seek it more eagerly, as friendship, and a fair reputation;
and from these their opposites will easily be perceived, without our
saying anything about them.

But in order that the principle may be explained in the more simple
way, the rules which we have laid down shall be enumerated briefly.
For those which belong to the first kind of discussion are called
honourable things; those which belong to the second, are called useful
things; but this third thing, because it contains some portion of what
is honourable, and because the power of what is honourable is the more
important part, is perceived to be altogether a compound kind, made up
of a twofold division; still it derives its name from its better part,
and is called honourable. From this it follows, that there are these
parts in things which are desirable,--what is honourable, and what is
useful. And these parts in things which are to be avoided,--what is
dishonourable, and what is useless. Now to these two things there
are two other important circumstances to be added,--necessity and
affection: the one of which is considered with reference to force, the
other with reference to circumstances and persons. Hereafter we will
write more explicitly about each separately. At present we will
explain first the principles of what is honourable.

LIII. That which either wholly or in some considerable portion of it
is sought for its own sake, we call honourable: and as there are two
divisions of it, one of which is simple and the other twofold, let us
consider the simple one first. In that kind, then, virtue has embraced
all things under one meaning and one name; for virtue is a habit
of the mind, consistent with nature, and moderation, and reason.
Wherefore, when we have become acquainted with all its divisions, it
will be proper to consider the whole force of simple honesty.

It has then four divisions--prudence, justice, fortitude, and
temperance. Prudence is the knowledge of things which are good, or
bad, or neither good nor bad. Its parts are memory, intelligence,
and foresight. Memory is that faculty by which the mind recovers the
knowledge of things which have been. Intelligence is that by which it
perceives what exists at present. Foresight is that by which anything
is seen to be about to happen, before it does happen. Justice is a
habit of the mind which attributes its proper dignity to everything,
preserving a due regard to the general welfare. Its first principles
proceed from nature. Subsequently some practices became established by
universal custom, from a consideration of their utility; afterwards
the fear of the laws and religion sanctioned proceedings which
originated in nature, and had been approved of by custom.

Natural law is that which has not had its origin in the opinions of
men, but has been implanted by some innate instinct, like religion,
affection, gratitude, revenge, attention to one's superiors, truth.
Religion is that which causes men to pay attention to, and to respect
with fixed ceremonies, a certain superior nature which men call
divine nature. Affection is that feeling under the influence of which
kindness and careful attention is paid to those who are united to us
by ties of blood, or who are devoted to the service of their country.
Gratitude is that feeling in which the recollection of friendship,
and of the services which we have received from another, and the
inclination to requite those services, is contained. Revenge is that
disposition by which violence and injury, and altogether everything
which can be any injury to us, is repelled by defending oneself from
it, or by avenging it. Attention is that feeling by which men obey
when they think those who are eminent for worth or dignity, worthy of
some special respect and honour. Truth is that by which those things
which are, or which have been previously, or which are about to
happen, are spoken of without any alteration.

LIV. Conventional law is a principle which has either derived its
origin in a slight degree from nature, and then has been strengthened
by habit, like religion; or, if we see any one of those things which
we have already mentioned as proceeding from nature strengthened by
habit; or, if there is anything to which antiquity has given the
force of custom with the approbation of everybody: such as covenants,
equity, cases already decided. A covenant is that which is agreed upon
between two parties; equity is that which is equally just for every
one; a case previously decided is one which has been settled by the
authoritative decision of some person or persons entitled to pronounce

Legal right is that which is contained in that written form which is
delivered to the people to be observed by them.

Fortitude is a deliberate encountering of danger and enduring of
labour. Its parts are magnificence, confidence, patience, and
perseverance. Magnificence is the consideration and management of
important and sublime matters with a certain wide-seeing and splendid
determination of mind. Confidence is that feeling by which the mind
embarks in great and honourable courses with a sure hope and trust in
itself. Patience is a voluntary and sustained endurance, for the
sake of what is honourable or advantageous, of difficult and painful
labours. Perseverance is a steady and lasting persistence in a
well-considered principle.

Temperance is the form and well-regulated dominion of reason over lust
and other improper affections of the mind. Its parts are continence,
clemency, and modesty. Continence is that by which cupidity is kept
down under the superior influence of wisdom. Clemency is that by which
the violence of the mind, when causelessly excited to entertain hatred
against some one else, is restrained by courtesy. Modesty is that
feeling by which honourable shame acquires a valuable and lasting
authority. And all these things are to be sought for themselves, even
if no advantage is to be acquired by them. And it neither concerns our
present purpose to prove this, nor is it agreeable to our object of
being concise in laying down our rules.

But the things which are to be avoided for their own sake, are not
those only which are the opposites to these; as indolence is to
courage, and injustice to justice; but those also which appear to
be near to and related to them, but which, in reality, are very far
removed from them. As, for instance, diffidence is the opposite to
confidence, and is therefore a vice; audacity is not the opposite of
confidence, but is near it and akin to it, and, nevertheless, is also
a vice. And in this manner there will be found a vice akin to every
virtue, and either already known by some particular name--as audacity,
which is akin to confidence; pertinacity, which is bordering on
perseverance; superstition, which is very near religion,--or in
some cases it has no fixed name. And all these things, as being the
opposites of what is good, we class among things to be avoided. And
enough has now been said respecting that class of honourable things
which is sought in every part of it for itself alone.

LV. At present it appears desirable to speak of that in which
advantage is combined with honour, and which still we style simply
honourable. There are many things, then, which allure us both by their
dignity and also by the advantage which may be derived from them:
such as glory, dignity, influence, friendship. Glory is the fact of
a person's being repeatedly spoken of to his praise; dignity is the
honourable authority of a person, combined with attention and honour
and worthy respect paid to him. Influence is a great abundance of
power or majesty, or of any sort of resource. Friendship is a desire
to do service to any one for the sake of the person himself to whom
one is attached, combined with a corresponding inclination on his part
towards oneself. At present, because we are speaking of civil causes,
we add the consideration of advantage to friendship, so that it
appears a thing to be sought for the sake of the advantage also:
wishing to prevent those men from blaming us who think that we are
including every kind of friendship in our definition.

But although there are some people who think that friendship is only
to be desired on account of the advantage to be derived from it; some
think it is to be desired for itself alone; and some, that it is to be
desired both for its own sake and for the sake of the advantage to be
derived from it. And which of these statements is the most true, there
will be another time for considering. At present it may be laid down,
as far as the orator is concerned, that friendship is a thing to be
desired on both accounts. But the consideration of the different
kinds of friendship, (since they are partly formed on religious
considerations, and partly not; and because some friendships are old,
and some new; and because some originated in kindness shown by our
friends to us, and some in kindness shown by ourselves to them; and
because some are more advantageous, and others less,) must have
reference partly to the dignity of the causes in which it originates,
partly to the occasion when it arises, and also to the services done,
the religious motives entertained, and its antiquity.

LVI. But the advantages consist either in the thing itself, or in
extraneous circumstances; of which, however, by far the greater
portion is referable to personal advantage; as there are some
things in the republic which, so to say, refer to the person of the
state,--as lands, harbours, money, fleets, sailors, soldiery, allies;
by all which things states preserve their safety and their liberty.
There are other things also which make a thing more noble looking,
and which still are less necessary; as the splendid decorating and
enlarging of a city, or an extraordinary amount of wealth, or a great
number of friendships and alliances. And the effect of all these
things is not merely to make states safe and free from injury, but
also noble and powerful. So that there appears to be two divisions of
usefulness,--safety and power. Safety is the secure and unimpaired
preservation of a sound state. Power is a possession of things
suitable to preserving what is one's own, and to acquiring what
belongs to another. And in all those things which have been already
mentioned, it is proper to consider what is difficult to be done, and
what can be done with ease. We call that a thing easy to be done,
which can be done without great labour, or expense, or annoyance, or
perhaps without any labour, expense, or annoyance at all, and in the
shortest possible time. But that we call difficult to be done which,
although it requires labour, expense, trouble and time, and has every
possible characteristic of difficulty about it, or, at all events, the
most numerous and most important ones, still, when these difficulties
are encountered, can be completed and brought to an end.

Since, then, we have now discussed what is honourable and what is
useful, it remains for us to say a little of those things which we
have said are attached to these other things; namely, affection and

LVII. I think, then, that necessity means that which cannot be
resisted by any power; that which cannot be softened nor altered. And
that this may be made more plain, let us examine into the meaning of
it by the light of examples, so as to see what its character and how
great its power is. "It is necessary that anything made of wood must
be capable of being burnt with fire. It is necessary that a mortal
body should at some time or other die." And it is so necessary, that
that power of necessity which we were just now describing requires it;
which cannot by any force whatever be either resisted, or weakened,
or altered. Necessities of this kind, when they occur in oratory, are
properly called necessities; but if any difficult circumstances arise,
then we shall consider in the previous examination whether it, the
thing in question, be possible to be done. And it seems to me, that
I perceive that there are some kinds of necessity which admit of
additions, and some which are simple and perfect in themselves. For
we say in very different senses:--"It is necessary for the people of
Casilinum to surrender themselves to Hannibal;" and, "It is necessary
that Casilinum should come into the power of Hannibal." In the one
case, that is, in the first case, there is this addition to the
proposition:--"Unless they prefer perishing by hunger." For if they
prefer that, then it is not necessary for them to surrender. But in
the latter proposition such an addition has no place; because whether
the people of Casilinum choose to surrender, or prefer enduring hunger
and perishing in that manner, still it is necessary that Casilinum
must come into the power of Hannibal. What then can be effected by
this division of necessity? I might almost say, a great deal, when the
topic of necessity appears such as may be easily introduced. For when
the necessity is a simple one, there will be no reason for our making
long speeches, as we shall not be able by any means to weaken it; but
when a thing is only necessary provided we wish to avoid or to obtain
something, then it will be necessary to state what advantage or what
honour is contained in that addition. For if you will take notice,
while inquiring what this contributes to the advantage of the state,
you will find that there is nothing which it is necessary to do,
except for the sake of some cause which we call the adjunct. And,
in like manner, you will find that there are many circumstances of
necessity to which a similar addition cannot be made; of such sort
are these:--"It is necessary that mortal men should die;" without
any addition:--"It is not necessary for men to take food;" with this
exception,--"Unless they have an objection to dying of hunger."

Therefore, as I said before, it will be always proper to take into
consideration the character of that exception which is added to the
original proposition. For it will at all times have this influence,
that either the necessity must be explained with reference to what is
honourable, in this manner:--"It is necessary, if we wish to live
with honour;" or with reference to safety, in this manner:--"It is
necessary, if we wish to be safe;" or with reference to convenience,
in this manner:--"It is necessary, if we are desirous to live without

LVIII. And the greatest necessity of all appears to be that which
arises from what is honourable; the next to it is that which arises
from considerations of safety; the third and least important is that
which has ideas of convenience involved in it. But this last can
never be put in comparison with the two former. But it is often
indispensable to compare these together; so that although honour is
more precious than safety, there is still room to deliberate which one
is to consult in the greatest degree. And as to this point, it appears
possible to give a settled rule which may be of lasting application.
For in whatever circumstances it can happen by any possibility that
while we are consulting our safety, that slight diminution of honesty
which is caused by our conduct may be hereafter repaired by virtue and
industry, then it seems proper to have a regard for our safety. But
when that does not appear possible, then we must think of nothing but
what is honourable. And so in a case of that sort when we appear to be
consulting our safety, we shall be able to say with truth that we
are also keeping our eyes fixed on what is honourable, since without
safety we can never attain to that end. And in these circumstances it
will be desirable to yield to another, or to put oneself in another's
place, or to keep quiet at present and wait for another opportunity.
But when we are considering convenience, it is necessary to consider
this point also,--whether the cause, as far as it has reference to
usefulness, appears of sufficient importance to justify us in taking
anything from splendour or honour. And while speaking on this topic,
that appears to me to be the main thing, that we should inquire what
that is which, whether we are desirous of obtaining or avoiding it,
is something necessary; that is to say, what is the character of the
addition; in order that, according as the matter is found to be, so we
may exert ourselves, and consider the most important circumstances as
being also the most necessary.

Affection is a certain way of looking at circumstances either with
reference to the time, or to the result, or management of affairs, or
to the desires of men, so that they no longer appear to be such as
they were considered previously, or as they are generally in the habit
of being considered. "It appears a base thing to go over to the enemy;
but not with the view which Ulysses had when he went over. And it is a
useless act to throw money into the sea; but not with the design
which Aristippus had when he did so." There are, therefore, some
circumstances which may be estimated with reference to the time at
which and the intention with which they are done; and not according to
their own intrinsic nature. In all which cases we must consider what
the times require, or what is worthy of the persons concerned; and we
must not think merely what is done, but with what intention, with what
companions, and at what time, it is done. And from these divisions of
the subject, we think that topics ought to be taken for delivering
one's opinion.

LIX. But praise and blame must be derived from those topics which
can be employed with respect to persons, and which we have already
discussed. But if any one wishes to consider them in a more separate
manner, he may divide them into the intention, and the person of the
doer, and extraneous circumstances. The virtue of the mind is that
concerning the parts of which we have lately spoken; the virtues
of the body are health, dignity, strength, swiftness. Extraneous
circumstances are honour, money, relationship, family, friends,
country, power, and other things which are understood to be of a
similar kind. And in all these, that which is of universal validity
ought to prevail here; and the opposites will be easily understood as
to their description and character.

But in praising and blaming, it will be desirable to consider not
so much the personal character of, or the extraneous circumstances
affecting the person of whom one is speaking, as how he has availed
himself of his advantages. For to praise his good fortune is folly,
and to blame it is arrogance; but the praise of a man's natural
disposition is honourable, and the blame of it is a serious thing.

Now, since the principles of argumentation in every kind of cause have
been set forth, it appears that enough has been said about invention,
which is the first and most important part of rhetoric. Wherefore,
since one portion of my work has been brought down to its end from the
former book; and since this book has already run to a great length,
what remains shall be discussed in subsequent books.

[_The two remaining books are lost_.]


This work was composed by Cicero soon after the battle of Pharsalia,
and it was intended by him to contain the plan of what he himself
considered to be the most perfect style of eloquence. In his Epistles
to his Friends (vi. 18.) he tells Lepta that he firmly believed that
he had condensed all his knowledge of the art of oratory in what he
had set forth in this book.

I. I have, O Brutus, hesitated a long time and often as to whether
it was a more difficult and arduous business to refuse you, when
constantly requesting the same favour, or to do what you desired me to
do. For to refuse a man to whom I was attached above all men, and whom
I knew also to be most entirely devoted to me, especially when he was
only asking what was reasonable, and desiring what was honourable to
me, appeared to me to be very harsh conduct; and to undertake a matter
of such importance as was not only difficult for any man to have the
ability to execute in an adequate manner, but hard even to think of
in a way suited to its importance, appeared to me to be scarcely
consistent with the character of a man who stood in awe of the reproof
of wise and learned men. For what is there more important than, when
the dissimilarity between good orators is so great, to decide which is
the best sort and as it were the best form of eloquence?

However, since you repeat your entreaties, I will attempt the task,
not so much from any hope that I entertain of accomplishing it, as
from my willingness to attempt it. For I had rather that you should
find fault with my prudence in thus complying with your eager desire,
than with my friendship in refusing to attempt it.

You ask me then, and indeed you are constantly asking me, what kind
of eloquence I approve of in the highest degree, and which sort of
oratory I consider that to which nothing can be added, and which I
therefore think the highest and most perfect kind. And in answering
this question I am afraid lest, if I do what you wish, and give you an
idea of the orator whom you are asking for, I may check the zeal of
many, who, being discouraged by despair, will not make an attempt at
what they have no hope of succeeding in. But it is good for all men to
try everything, who have ever desired to attain any objects which are
of importance and greatly to be desired. But if there be any one who
feels that he is deficient either in natural power, or in any eminent
force of natural genius, or that he is but inadequately instructed in
the knowledge of important sciences, still let him hold on his course
as far as he can. For if a man aims at the highest place, it is very
honourable to arrive at the second or even the third rank. For in
the poets there is room not only for Homer (to confine myself to the
Greeks), or for Archilochus, or Sophocles, or Pindar, but there is
room also for those who are second to them, or even below the second.
Nor, indeed, did the nobleness of Plato in philosophical studies deter
Aristotle from writing; nor did Aristotle himself, by his admirable
knowledge and eloquence, extinguish the zeal in those pursuits of all
other men.

II. And it is not only the case that eminent men have not been
deterred by such circumstances from the highest class of studies, but
even those artists have not renounced their art who have been unable
to equal the beauty of the Talysus[58] which we have seen at Rhodes,
or of the Coan Venus. Nor have subsequent sculptors been so far
alarmed at the statue of the Olympian Jove, or of the Shield-bearer,
as to give up trying what they could accomplish, or how far they could
advance; and, indeed, there has been so vast a multitude of those men,
and each of them has obtained so much credit in his own particular
walk, that, while we admire the most perfect models, we have also
approbation to spare for those who come short of them.

But in the case of orators--I mean Greek orators--it is a marvellous
thing how far one is superior to all the rest. And yet when
Demosthenes flourished there were many illustrious orators, and so
there were before his time, and the supply has not failed since. So
that there is no reason why the hopes of those men, who have devoted
themselves to the study of eloquence, should be broken, or why
their industry should languish. For even the very highest pitch of
excellency ought not to be despaired of; and in perfect things those
things are very good which are next to the most perfect.

And I, in depicting a consummate orator, will draw a picture of such
an one as perhaps never existed. For I am not asking who he was, but
what that is than which nothing can be more excellent. And perhaps the
perfection which I am looking for does not often shine forth, (indeed
I do not know whether it ever has been seen,) but still in some degree
it may at times be discoverable, among some nations more frequently,
and among others more sparingly. But I lay down this position, that
there is nothing of any kind so beautiful which has not something more
beautiful still from which it is copied,--as a portrait is from a
person's face,--though it can neither be perceived by the eyes or
ears, or by any other of the senses; it is in the mind only, and by
our thoughts, that we embrace it. Therefore, though we have never seen
anything of any kind more beautiful than the statues of Phidias and
than those pictures which I have named, still we can imagine something
more beautiful. Nor did that great artist, when he was making the
statue of Jupiter or of Minerva, keep in his mind any particular
person of whom he was making a likeness; but there dwelt in his mind
a certain perfect idea of beauty, which he looked upon, and fixed
his eyes upon, and guided his art and his hand with reference to the
likeness of that model.

III. As therefore there is in forms and figures something perfect and
superexcellent, the appearance of which is stamped in our minds so
that we imitate it, and refer to it everything which falls under our
eyes; so we keep in our mind an idea of perfect eloquence, and seek
for its resemblance with our ears.

Now Plato, that greatest of all authors and teachers, not only of
understanding, but also of speaking, calls those forms of things
ideas; and he affirms that they are not created, but that they
exist from everlasting, and are kept in their places by reason and
intelligence: that all other things have their rising and setting,
their ebb and flow, and cannot continue long in the same condition.
Whatever there is, therefore, which can become a subject of discussion
as to its principle and method, is to be reduced to the ultimate form
and species of its class.

And I see that this first beginning of mine is derived not from the
discussions of orators, but from the very heart of philosophy, and
that it is old-fashioned and somewhat obscure, and likely to incur
some blame, or at all events to provoke some surprise. For men will
either wonder what all this has to do with that which is the subject
of our inquiry, and they will be satisfied with understanding the
nature of the facts, so that it may not seem to be without reason that
we have traced their origin so far back; or else they will blame
us for hunting out for unaccustomed paths, and abandoning those in
ordinary use.

But I am aware that I often appear to say things which are novel, when
I am in reality saying what is very old, only not generally known.
And I confess that I have been made an orator, (if indeed I am one at
all,) or such as I am, not by the workshops of the rhetoricians, but
by the walks of the Academy. For that is the school of manifold and
various discourses, in which first of all there are imprinted the
footsteps of Plato. But the orator is to a great extent trained and
assisted by his discussions and those of other philosophers. For all
that copiousness, and forest, as it were, of eloquence, is derived
from those men, and yet is not sufficient for forensic business;
which, as these men themselves used to say, they left to more rustic
muses. Accordingly this forensic eloquence, being despised and
repudiated by philosophy, has lost many great and substantial helps;
but still, as it is embellished with flowery language and well-turned
periods, it has had some popularity among the people, and has had no
reason to fear the judgment or prejudice of a few. And so popular
eloquence has been lost to learned men, and elegant learning to
eloquent ones.

IV. Let this then be laid down among the first principles, (and it
will be better understood presently,)--that the eloquent man whom we
are looking for cannot be rendered such without philosophy. Not indeed
that there is everything necessary in philosophy, but that it is of
assistance to an orator as the wrestling-school is to an actor; for
small things are often compared with great ones. For no one can
express wide views, or speak fluently on many and various subjects,
without philosophy. Since also, in the Phaedrus of Plato, Socrates says
that this is what Pericles was superior to all other orators in, that
he had been a pupil of Anaxagoras the natural philosopher. And it was
owing to him, in his opinion, (though he had learnt also many other
splendid and admirable accomplishments,) that he was so copious and
imaginative, and so thoroughly aware--which is the main thing in
eloquence--by what kinds of speeches the different parts of men's
minds are moved.

And we may draw the same conclusion from the case of Demosthenes; from
whose letters it may be gathered what a constant pupil of Plato's
he was. Nor, indeed, without having studied in the schools of
philosophers, can we discern the genus and species of everything; nor
explain them by proper definitions; nor distribute them into their
proper divisions; nor decide what is true and what is false; nor
discern consequences, perceive inconsistencies, and distinguish what
is doubtful. Why should I speak of the nature of things, the knowledge
of which supplies such abundance of topics to oratory? or of life, and
duty, and virtue, and manners? for what of all these things can be
either spoken of or understood without a long study of those matters?

V. To these numerous and important things there are to be added
innumerable ornaments, which at that time were only to be derived from
those men who were accounted teachers of oratory. The consequence is,
that no one applies himself to that genuine and perfect eloquence,
because the study requisite for understanding those matters is
different from that which enables me to speak of them; and because it
is necessary to go to one class of teachers to understand the things,
and to another to learn the proper language for them. Therefore Marcus
Antonius, who in the time of our fathers was considered to be the most
eminent of all men alive for eloquence, a manly nature very acute and
eloquent, in that one treatise which he has left behind him, says that
he has seen many fluent speakers, but not one eloquent orator, in
truth, he had in his mind a model of eloquence which in his mind he
saw, though he could not behold it with his eyes. But he, being a man
of the most acute genius, (as indeed he was,) and feeling the want of
many things both in himself and other men, saw absolutely no one who
had fairly a right to be called eloquent. But if he did not think
either himself or Lucius Crassus eloquent, then he certainly must
have had in his mind some perfect model of eloquence; and as that
had nothing wanting, he felt himself unable to include those who had
anything or many things wanting in that class.

Let us then, O Brutus, if we can, investigate the nature of this man
whom Antonius never beheld, or who perhaps has never even existed; and
if we cannot imitate and copy him exactly, (which indeed Antonius said
was scarcely possible for a god to do,) still we may perhaps be able
to explain what he ought to be like.

VI. There are altogether three different kinds of speaking, in each of
which there have been some eminent men; but very few (though that is
what we are now looking for) who have been equally eminent in all. For
some have been grandiloquent men, (if I may use such an expression,)
with an abundant dignity of sentiments and majesty of language,
--vehement, various, copious, authoritative; well adapted and prepared
to make an impression on and effect a change in men's feelings: an
effect which some have endeavoured to produce by a rough, morose,
uncivilized sort of speaking, not elaborated or wrought up with any
care; and others employ a smooth, carefully prepared, and well rounded
off style.

On the other hand, there are men neat, acute, explaining everything,
and making matters clearer, not nobler, polished up with a certain
subtle and compressed style of oratory; and in the same class there
are others, shrewd, but unpolished, and designedly resembling rough
and unskilful speakers; and some who, with the same barrenness and
simplicity, are still more elegant, that is to say, are facetious,
flowery, and even slightly embellished.

But there is another class, half-way between these two, and as it were
compounded of both of them, endowed neither with the acuteness of the
last-mentioned orators, nor with the thunder of the former; as a sort
of mixture of both, excelling in neither style; partaking of both, or
rather indeed (if we would adhere to the exact truth) destitute of all
the qualifications of either. Those men go on, as they say, in one
uniform tenor of speaking, bringing nothing except their facility and
equalness of language; or else they add something, like reliefs on a
pedestal, and so they embellish their whole oration, with trifling
ornaments of words and ideas.

VII. Now, whoever have by themselves arrived at any power in each of
these styles of oratory, have gained a great name among orators; but
we must inquire whether they have sufficiently effected what we want.
For we see that there have been some men who have been ornate and
dignified speakers, being at the same time shrewd and subtle arguers.
And I wish that we were able to find a model of such an orator among
the Latins. It would be a fine thing not to be forced to have recourse
to foreign instances, but to be content with those of our own country.
But though in that discourse of mine which I have published in the
Brutus, I have attributed much credit to the Latins,--partly
to encourage others, and partly out of affection for my own
countrymen,--I still recollect that I by far prefer Demosthenes to all
other men, inasmuch as he adapted his energy to that eloquence which
I myself feel to be such, and not to that which I have ever had any
experience of in any actual instance. He was an orator than whom
there has never existed one more dignified, nor more wise, nor more
temperate. And therefore it is well that we should warn those men
whose ignorant conversation is getting to have some notoriety and
weight, who wish either to be called Attic speakers, or who really
wish to speak in the Attic style, to fix their admiration on this man
above all others, than whom I do not think Athens itself more Attic.
For by so doing they may learn what Attic means, and may measure
eloquence by his power and not by their own weakness; for at present
every one praises just that which he thinks that he himself is able
to imitate. But still I think it not foreign to my present subject to
remind those who are endowed with but a weak judgment, what is the
peculiar merit of the Attic writers.

VIII. The prudence of the hearers has always been the regulator of
the eloquence of the orators. For all men who wish to be approved of,
regard the inclination of those men who are their hearers, and form
and adapt themselves entirely which of the Greek rhetoricians
ever drew any of his rules from Thucydides? Oh, but he is praised
universally. I admit that, but it is on the ground that he is a wise,
conscientious, dignified relater of facts, not that he was pleading
causes before tribunals, but that he was relating wars in a history.
Therefore, he was never accounted an orator; nor, indeed, should we
have ever heard of his name if he had not written a history, though he
was a man of eminently high character and of noble birth. But no one
ever imitates the dignity of his language or of his sentiments, but
when they have used some disjointed and unconnected expressions, which
they might have done without any teacher at all, then they think that
they are akin to Thucydides. I have met men too who were anxious to
resemble Xenophon, whose style is, indeed, sweeter than honey, but as
unlike as possible to the noisy style of the forum.

X Let us then return to the subject of laying a foundation for
the orator whom we desire to see, and of furnishing him with that
eloquence which Antonius had never found in any one. We are, O Brutus,
undertaking a great and arduous task, but I think nothing difficult to
a man who is in love. But I am and always have been in love with your
genius, and your pursuits, and your habits. Moreover, I am every day
more and more inflamed not only with regret,--though I am worn away
with that while I am wishing to enjoy again our meetings and our daily
association, and your learned discourse,--but also with the admirable
reputation of your incredible virtues, which, though different in
their kind, are united by your prudence. For what is so different or
remote from severity as courtesy? And yet who has ever been considered
either more conscientious or more agreeable than you? And what is
so difficult as, while deciding disputes between many people, to be
beloved by all of them? Yet you attain this end, of dismissing in a
contented and pacified frame of mind the very parties against whom you
decide. Therefore, while doing nothing from motives of interest
you still contrive that all that you do should be acceptable. And
therefore, of all the countries on earth, Gaul[59] is now the only one
which is not affected by the general conflagration, while you yourself
enjoy your own virtues in peace, knowing that your conduct is
appreciated in this bright Italy, and surrounded as you are by the
flower and strength of the citizens.

And what an exploit is that, never, amid all your important
occupations, to interrupt your study of philosophy! You are always
either writing something yourself or inviting me to write something.
Therefore, I began this work as soon as I had finished my Cato, which
I should never have meddled with, being alarmed at the aspect of the
times, so hostile to virtue, if I had not thought it wicked not to
comply with your wishes, when you were exhorting me and awaking in me
the recollection of that man who was so dear to me, and I call you to
witness that I have only ventured to undertake this subject after many
entreaties on your part, and many refusals on mine. For I wish that
you should appear implicated in this fault, so that if I myself should
appear unable to support the weight of such a subject, you may bear
the blame of having imposed such a burden on me, and I only that
of having undertaken it. And then the credit of having had such a
commission given me by you, will make amends for the blame which the
deficiency of my judgment will bring upon me.

XI. But in everything it is very difficult to explain the form (that
which is called in Greek [Greek: charaktaer]) of perfection, because
different things appear perfection to different people. I am delighted
with Ennius, says one person, because he never departs from the
ordinary use of words. I love Pacuvius, says another, all his verses
are so ornamented and elaborate while Ennius is often so careless.
Another is all for Attius. For there are many different opinions, as
among the Greeks, nor is it easy to explain which form is the most
excellent. In pictures one man is delighted with what is rough harsh
looking, obscure, and dark, others care only for what is neat cheerful
and brilliant. Why should you, then give any precise command or
formula, when each is best in its own kind, and when there are many
kinds? However, these difficulties have not repelled me from this
attempt, and I have thought that in everything there is some point of
absolute perfection even though it is not easily seen, and, that it
can be decided on by a man who understands the matter.

But since there are many kinds of speeches, and those different, and
as they do not all fall under one form, the form of panegyric, and of
declamation, and of narration, and of such discourses as Isocrates has
left us in his panegyric, and many other writers also who are called
sophists; and the form also of other kinds which have no connexion
with forensic discussion, and of the whole of that class which is
called in Greek [Greek: epideiktikon], and which is made up as it were
for the purpose of being looked at--for the sake of amusement, I
shall omit at the present time. Not that they deserve to be entirely
neglected; for they are as it were the nursery of the orator whom we
wish to draw; and concerning whom we are endeavouring to say something
worth hearing.

XII. From this form is derived fluency of words; from it also the
combination and rhythm of sentences derives a freer licence. For
great indulgence is shown to neatly turned sentences; and rhythmical,
steady, compact periods are always admissible. And pains are taken
purposely, not disguisedly, but openly and avowedly, to make one word
answer to another, as if they had been measured together and were
equal to each other. So that words opposed to one another may be
frequently contrasted, and contrary words compared together, and that
sentences may be terminated in the same manner, and may give the same
sound at their conclusion; which, when we are dealing with actual
causes, we do much more seldom, and certainly with more disguise. But,
in his Panathenaic oration, Isocrates avows that he diligently kept
that object in view; for he composed it not for a contest in a court
of justice, but to delight the ears of his hearers.

They say that Thrasymachus of Chalcedon, and Gorgias of Leontini,
were the first men who taught this science; after him Theodorus of
Byzantium, and many others whom Socrates in the Phaedrus calls [Greek:
logodaidaloi]; who have said many things very tolerably clever, but
which seem as if they had arisen at the moment, trifling, and like
animals which change their colour, and too minutely painted. And this
is what makes Herodotus and Thucydides the more admirable; for though
they lived at the same time with those men whom I have named, still
they kept aloof as far as possible from such amusements, or I should
rather say from such follies. For one of them flows on like a tranquil
river, without any attempts at facetiousness; the other is borne on
in a more impetuous course, and relates warlike deeds in a warlike
spirit; and they are the first men by whom, as Theophrastus says,
history was stirred up to dare to speak in a more fluent and adorned
style than their predecessors had ventured on.

XIII. Isocrates lived in the age next to theirs; who is at all times
praised by us above all other orators of his class, even though you,
O Brutus, sometimes object in a jesting though not in an unlearned
spirit. But you will very likely agree with me when you know why I
praise him. For as Thrasymachus appeared to him to be too concise with
his closely measured rhythm, and Gorgias also, though they are the
first who are said to have laid down any rules at all for the harmony
of sentences; and as Thucydides was somewhat too abrupt and not
sufficiently round, if I may use such an expression; he was the first
who adopted a system of dilating his ideas with words, and filling
them up with better sounding sentences; and as by his own practice he
formed those men who were afterwards accounted the most eminent men in
speaking and writing, his house got to be reckoned a perfect school
of eloquence. Therefore, as I, when I was praised by our friend Cato,
could easily bear to be blamed by the rest; so Isocrates appears to
have a right to despise the judgment of other men, while he has the
testimony of Plato to pride himself on. For, as you know, Socrates is
introduced in almost the last page of the Phaedrus speaking in these
words:--"At present, O Phaedrus, Isocrates is quite a young man; but
still I delight in telling the expectations which I have of him."
"What are they?" says he. "He appears to me to be a man of too lofty
a genius to be compared to Lysias and his orations: besides, he has a
greater natural disposition for virtue; so that it will not be at all
strange if, when he has advanced in age, he will either surpass all
his contemporaries who turn their attention to eloquence, and in this
kind of oratory, to the study of which he is at present devoted, as if
they were only boys; or, if he is not content with such a victory, he
will then feel some sort of divine inspiration prompting him to desire
greater things. For there is a deep philosophy implanted by nature
in this man's mind." This was the augury which Socrates forms of him
while a young man. But Plato writes it of him when he has become an
old man, and when he is his contemporary, and a sort of attacker of
all the rhetoricians. And Isocrates is the only one whom he admires.
And let those men who are not fond of Isocrates allow me to remain in
error in the company of Socrates and Plato.

That then is a delightful kind of oratory, free, fluent, shrewd in
its sentiments, sweet sounding in its periods, which is found in that
demonstrative kind of speaking which we have mentioned. It is the
peculiar style of sophists; more suitable for display than for actual
contest; appropriate to schools and exhibitions; but despised in and
driven from the forum. But because eloquence is first of all trained
by this sort of food, and afterwards gives itself a proper colour and
strength, it appeared not foreign to our subject to speak of what is
as it were the cradle of an orator. However, all this belongs to the
schools, and to display: let us now descend into the battle-field and
to the actual struggle.

XIV. As there are three things which the orator has to consider; what
he is saying; and in what place, and in what manner he is saying each
separate thing; it seems on all accounts desirable to explain what is
best as to each separate subject, though in rather a different
manner from that in which it is usually explained in laying down the
principles of the science. We will give no regular rules, (for that
task we have not undertaken,) but we will present an outline and
sketch of perfect eloquence; nor will we occupy ourselves in
explaining by what means it is acquired, but only what sort of thing
it appears to us to be.

And let us discuss the two first divisions very briefly. For it is
not so much that they have not an important reference to the highest
perfection, as that they are indispensable, and almost common to
other studies also. For to plan and decide on what you will say are
important points, and are as it were the mind in the body; still they
are parts of prudence rather than of eloquence; and yet what matter is
there in which prudence is not necessary? This orator, then, whom we
wish to describe as a perfect one, must know all the topics suited to
arguments and reasons of this class. For since whatever can possibly
be the subject of any contest or controversy, gives rise to the
inquiry whether it exists, and what it is, and what sort of thing it
is; while we endeavour to ascertain whether it exists, by tokens; what
it is, by definitions; what sort of thing it is, by divisions of right
and wrong; and in order to be able to avail himself of these topics
the orator,--I do not mean any ordinary one, but the excellent one
whom I am endeavouring to depict,--always, if he can, diverts the
controversy from any individual person or occasion. For it is in his
power to argue on wider grounds concerning a genus than concerning
a part; as, whatever is proved in the universal, must inevitably be
proved with respect to a part. This inquiry, then, when diverted from
individual persons and occasions to a discussion of a universal genus,
is called a thesis. This is what Aristotle trained young men in, not
after the fashion of ordinary philosophers, by subtle dissertations,
but in the way of rhetoricians, making them argue on each side,
in order that it might be discussed with more elegance and more
copiousness; and he also gave them topics (for that is what he called
them) as heads of arguments, from which every sort of oration might be
applied to either side of the question.

XV. This orator of ours then (for what we are looking for is not some
declaimer out of a school, or some pettifogger from the forum, but a
most accomplished and perfect orator), since certain topics are given
to him, will run through all of them; he will use those which are
suitable to his purpose according to their class; he will learn also
from what source those topics proceed which are called common. Nor
will he make an imprudent use of his resources, but he will weigh
everything, and make a selection. For the same arguments have not
equal weight at all times, or in all causes. He will, therefore,
exercise his judgment, and he will not only devise what he is to say,
but he will also weigh its force. For there is nothing more fertile
than genius, especially of the sort which has been cultivated by
study. But as fertile and productive corn-fields bear not only corn,
but weeds which are most unfriendly to corn, so sometimes from those
topics there are produced arguments which are either trifling, or
foreign to the subject, or useless; and the judgment of the orator has
great room to exert itself in making a selection from them. Otherwise
how will he be able to stop and make his stand on those arguments
which are good and suited to his purpose? or how to soften what is
harsh, and to conceal what cannot be denied, and, if it be possible,
entirely to get rid of all such topics? or how will he be able to
lead men's minds away from the objects on which they are fixed, or
to adduce any other argument which, when opposed to that of his
adversaries, may be more probable than that which is brought against

And with what diligence will he marshal the arguments with which he
has provided himself? since that is the second of his three objects.
He will make all the vestibule, if I may so say, and the approach to
his cause brilliant; and when he has got possession of the minds of
his hearers by his first onset, he will then invalidate and exclude
all contrary arguments; and of his own strongest arguments some he
will place in the van, some he will employ to bring up the rear, and
the weaker ones he will place in the centre.

And thus we have described in a brief and summary manner what this
perfect orator should be like in the two first parts of speaking. But,
as has been said before, in these parts, (although they are weighty
and important,) there is less skill and labour than in the others.

XVI. But when he has found out what to say, and in what place he is to
say it, then comes that which is by far the most important division of
the three, the consideration of the manner in which he is to say it.
For that is a well-known saying which our friend Carneades used to
repeat:--"That Clitomachus said the same things, but that Charmadas
said the same things in the same manner." But if it is of so much
consequence in philosophy even, how you say a thing, when it is the
matter which is looked at there rather than the language, what can we
think must be the case in causes in which the elocution is all in all?
And I, O Brutus, knew from your letters that you do not ask what sort
of artist I think a consummate orator ought to be, as far as devising
and arranging his arguments; but you appeared to me to be asking
rather what kind of eloquence I considered the best. A very difficult
matter, and, indeed, by the immortal gods! the most difficult of all
matters. For as language is a thing soft and tender, and so flexible
that it follows wherever you turn it, so also the various natures
and inclinations of men have given rise to very different kinds of

Some men love a stream of words and great volubility, placing all
eloquence in rapidity of speech. Others are fond of distinct and
broadly marked intervals, and delays, and taking of breath. What can
be more different? Yet in each kind there is something excellent.
Some labour to attain a gentle and equable style, and a pure and
transparent kind of eloquence; others aim at a certain harshness and
severity in their language, a sort of melancholy in their speech:
and as we have just before divided men, so that some wish to appear
weighty, some light, some moderate, so there are as many different
kinds of orators as we have already said that there are styles of

XVII. And since I have now begun to perform this duty in a more ample
manner than you did require it of me, (for though the question which
you put to me has reference only to the kind of oration, I have
also in my answer given you a brief account of the invention and
arrangement of arguments,) even now I will not speak solely of the
manner of making a speech, but I will touch also on the manner of
conducting an action. And so no part whatever will be omitted: since
nothing need be said in this place of memory, for that is common to
many arts.

But the way in which it is said depends on two things,--on action
and on elocution. For action is a sort of eloquence of the body,
consisting as it does of voice and motion. Now there are as many
changes of voice as there are of minds, which are above all things
influenced by the voice. Therefore, that perfect orator which our
oration has just been describing, will employ a certain tone of voice
regulated by the way in which he wishes to appear affected himself,
and by the manner also in which he desires the mind of his hearer to
be influenced. And concerning this I would say more if this was the
proper time for laying down rules concerning it, or if this was what
you were inquiring about. I would speak also of gesture, with which
expression of countenance is combined. And it is hardly possible to
express of what importance these things are, and what use the orator
makes of them. For even people without speaking, by the mere dignity
of their action, have often produced all the effect of eloquence; and
many really eloquent men, by their ungainly delivery have been thought
ineloquent. So that it was not without reason that Demosthenes
attributed the first, and second, and third rank to action. For if
eloquence without action is nothing, but action without eloquence is
of such great power, then certainly it is the most important part of

XVIII. He, then, who aims at the highest rank in eloquence, will
endeavour with his voice on the stretch to speak energetically; with
a low voice, gently, with a sustained voice, gravely, and with a
modulated voice, in a manner calculated to excite compassion.

For the nature of the voice is something marvellous, for all its great
power is derived from three sounds only, the grave sound, the sharp
sound, and the moderate sound, and from these comes all that sweet
variety which is brought to perfection in songs. But there is also
in speaking a sort of concealed singing, not like the peroration of
rhetoricians from Phrygia or Caria, which is nearly a chant, but that
sort which Demosthenes and Aeschines mean when the one reproaches the
other with the affected modulation of his voice. Demosthenes says even
more, and often declares that Aeschines had a very sweet and clear
voice. And in this that point appears to me worth noting, with
reference to the study of aiming at sweetness in the voice. For nature
of herself, as if she were modulating the voices of men, has placed
in every one one acute tone, and not more than one, and that not more
than two syllables back from the last, so that industry may be guided
by nature when pursuing the object of delighting the ears. A good
voice also is a thing to be desired, for it is not naturally implanted
in us, but practice and use give it to us. Therefore, the consummate
orator will vary and change his voice, and sometimes straining it,
sometimes lowering it, he will go through every degree of tone.

And he will use action in such a way that there shall be nothing
superfluous in his gestures. His attitude will be erect and lofty, the
motion of the feet rare, and very moderate, he will only move across
the tribune in a very moderate manner, and even then rarely, there
will be no bending of the neck, no clenching of the fingers, no rise
or fall of the fingers in regular time, he will rather sway his whole
body gently, and employ a manly inclination of his side, throwing out
his arm in the energetic parts of his speech, and drawing it back in
the moderate ones. As to his countenance, which is of the greatest
influence possible next to the voice, what dignity and what beauty
will be derived from its expression! And when you have accomplished
this, then the eyes too must be kept under strict command, that there
may not appear to be anything unsuitable, or like grimace. For as the
countenance is the image of the mind, so are the eyes the informers as
to what is going on within it. And their hilarity or sadness will be
regulated by the circumstances which are under discussion.

XIX. But now we must give the likeness of this perfect orator and of
this consummate eloquence, and his very name points out that he excels
in this one particular, that is to say, in oratory and that other
eminent qualities are kept out of sight in him. For it is not by his
invention, or by his power of arrangement, or by his action, that
he has embraced all these points, but in Greek he is called [Greek:
raetor], and in Latin "eloquent," from speaking. For every one claims
for himself some share in the other accomplishments which belong to an
orator, but the greatest power in speaking is allowed to be his alone.
For although some philosophers have spoken with elegance, (since
Theophrastus[60] derived his name from his divine skill in speaking,
and Aristotle attacked Isocrates himself, and they say that the Muses
as it were spoke by the mouth of Xenophon; and far above all men who
have ever written or spoken, Plato is preeminent both for sweetness
and dignity,) still their language has neither the vigour nor the
sting of an orator or a forensic speaker. They are conversing with
learned men whose minds they wish to tranquillize rather than to
excite, and so they speak on peaceful subjects which have no connexion
with any violence, and for the sake of teaching, not of charming, so
that even in the fact of their aiming at giving some pleasure by their
diction, they appear to some people to be doing more than is necessary
for them to do.

It is not difficult, therefore, to distinguish between this kind of
speaking and the eloquence which we are now treating of. For the
address of philosophers is gentle, and fond of retirement, and not
furnished with popular ideas or popular expressions, not fettered by
any particular rhythm, but allowed a good deal of liberty. It has
in it nothing angry, nothing envious, nothing energetic, nothing
marvellous, nothing cunning, it is as it were a chaste, modest,
uncontaminated virgin. Therefore it is called a discourse rather than
an oration. For although every kind of speaking is an oration, still
the language of the orator alone is distinguished by this name as its
own property.

It appears more necessary to distinguish between it and the copy of
it by the sophists, who wish to gather all the same flowers which the
orator employs in his causes. But they differ from him in this that,
as their object is not to disturb men's minds, but rather to appease
them, and not so much to persuade as to delight, and as they do it
more openly than we do and more frequently, they seek ideas which are
neat rather than probable, they often wander from the subject, they
weave fables into their speeches, they openly borrow terms from other
subjects, and arrange them as painters do a variety of colours, they
put like things by the side of like, opposite things by the side of
their contraries, and very often they terminate period after period in
similar manners.

XX. Now history is akin to this side of writing, in which the authors
relate with elegance, and often describe a legion, or a battle,
and also addresses and exhortations are intermingled, but in them
something connected and fluent is required, and not this compressed
and vehement sort of speaking. And the eloquence which we are looking
for must be distinguished from theirs nearly as much as it must from
that of the poets.

For even the poets have given room for the question, what the point
is in which they differ from the orators, formerly it appeared to be
chiefly rhythm and versification, but of late rhythm has got a great
footing among the orators. For whatever it is which offers the ears
any regular measure, even if it be ever so far removed from verse,
(for that is a fault in an oration,) is called "number" by us,
being the same thing that in Greek is called [Greek: ruthmos]. And,
accordingly, I see that some men have thought that the language of
Plato and Democritus, although it is not verse, still, because it
is borne along with some impetuosity and employs the most brilliant
illustration that words can give, ought to be considered as poetry
rather than the works of the comic poets, in which, except that they
are written in verse, there is nothing else which is different from
ordinary conversation. Nor is that the principal characteristic of
a poet, although he is the more to be praised for aiming at the
excellences of an orator, when he is more fettered by verse. But,
although the language of some poets is grand and ornamented, still
I think that they have greater licence than we have in making
and combining words, and I think too that they often, in their
expressions, pay more attention to the object of giving pleasure to
their leaders than to their subject. Nor, indeed, does the fact of
there being one point of resemblance between them, (I mean judgment
and the selection of words,) make it difficult to perceive their
dissimilarity on other points. But that is not doubtful, and if there
be any question in the matter, still this is certainly not necessary
for the object which is proposed to be kept in view.

The orator, therefore, now that he has been separated from the
eloquence of philosophers, and sophists, and historians, and poets,
requires an explanation from us to show what sort of person he is to

XXI. The eloquent orator, then, (for that is what, according to
Antonius, we are looking for) is a man who speaks in the forum and
in civil causes in such a manner as to prove, to delight, and to
persuade. To prove, is necessary for him; to delight, is a proof of
his sweetness, to persuade, is a token of victory. For that alone of
all results is of the greatest weight towards gaining causes. But
there are as many kinds of speaking as there are separate duties of an
orator. The orator, therefore, ought to be a man of great judgment and
of great ability, and he ought to be a regulator, as it were, of this
threefold variety of duty. For he will judge what is necessary for
every one, and he will be able to speak in whatever manner the cause
requires. But the foundation of eloquence, as of all other things, is
wisdom. For as in life, so in a speech, nothing is more difficult than
to see what is becoming. The Greeks call this [Greek: prepon], we call
it "decorum." But concerning this point many admirable rules are laid
down, and the matter is well worth being understood. And it is owing
to ignorance respecting it that men make blunders not only in life,
but very often in poems, and in speeches.

But the orator must consider what is becoming not only in his
sentences, but also in his words. For it is not every fortune, nor
every honour, nor every authority, nor every age, or place, or time,
nor every hearer who is to be dealt with by the same character of
expressions or sentiments. And at all times, in every part of a speech
or of life, we must consider what is becoming, and that depends partly
on the facts which are the subject under discussion, and also on the
characters of those who are the speakers and of those who are the
hearers. Therefore this topic, which is of very wide extent and
application, is often employed by philosophers in discussions on duty,
not when they are discussing abstract right, for that is but one thing
and the grammarians also too often employ it when criticising the
poets, to show their eloquence in every division and description of
cause. For how unseemly is it, when you are pleading before a single
judge about a gutter, to use high sounding expressions and general
topics, but to speak with a low voice and with subtle arguments in a
cause affecting the majesty of the Roman people.

XXII. This applies to the whole genus. But some persons err as to
the character either of themselves, or of the judges, or of their
adversaries and not only in actual fact, but often in word. Although
there is no force in a word without a fact, still the same fact is
often either approved of, or rejected, according as this or that
expression is employed respecting it. And in every case it is
necessary to take care how far it may be right to go, for although
everything has its proper limit, still excess offends more than
falling short. And that is the point in which Apelles said that those
painters made a blunder, who did not know what was enough.

There is here, O Brutus, an important topic, which does not escape
your notice, and which requires another large volume. But for the
present question this is enough, when we say that this is becoming,
(an expression which we always employ in all words and actions, both
great and small)--when, I say, we say that this is becoming and
that that is not becoming, and when it appears to what extent each
assertion is meant to be applicable, and when it depends on something
else, and is quite another matter whether you say that a thing is
becoming or proper, (for to say a thing is proper, declares the
perfection of duty, which we and all men are at all times to regard
to say a thing is becoming, as to say that it is fit as it were, and
suitable to the time and person: which is often very important both
in actions and words, and in a person's countenance and gestures
and gait;)--and, on the other hand, when we say that a thing is
unbecoming, (and if a poet avoids this as the greatest of faults, [and
he also errs if he puts an honest sentiment in the mouth of a wicked
man, or a wise one in the mouth of a fool,] or if that painter saw
that, when Calchas was sad at the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and Ulysses
still more so, and Menelaus in mourning, that Agamemnon's head
required to be veiled altogether, since it was quite impossible to
represent such grief as his with a paint brush; if even the actor
inquires what is becoming, what must we think that the orator ought to
do?) But as this is a matter of so much importance, the orator must
take care what he does in his causes, and in the different parts of
them; that is plain, that not only the different parts of an oration,
but that even whole causes are to be dealt with in different styles of

XXIII. It follows that the characteristics and forms of each class
must be sought for. It is a great and difficult task, as we have often
said before; but it was necessary for us to consider at the beginning
what we would discuss; and now we must set our sails in whatever
course we are borne on. But first of all we must give a sketch of the
man whom some consider the only orator of the Attic style.

He is a gentle, moderate man, imitating the usual customs, differing
from those who are not eloquent in fact rather than in any of his
opinions. Therefore those who are his hearers, even though they
themselves have no skill in speaking, still feel confident that they
could speak in that manner. For the subtlety of his address appears
easy of imitation to a person who ventures on an opinion, but nothing
is less easy when he comes to try it; for although it is not a style
of any extraordinary vigour, still it has some juice, so that even
though it is not endowed with the most extreme power, it is still, if
I may use such an expression, in perfect health. First of all, then,
let us release it from the fetters of rhythm. For there is, as you
know, a certain rhythm to be observed by an orator, (and of that we
will speak presently,) proceeding on a regular system; but though it
must be attended to in another kind of oratory, it must be entirely
abandoned in this. This must be a sort of easy style, and yet not
utterly without rules, so that it may seem to range at freedom, not to
wander about licentiously. He should also guard against appearing to
cement his words together; for the hiatus formed by a concourse
of open vowels has something soft about it, and indicates a not
unpleasing negligence, as if the speaker were anxious more about the
matter than the manner of his speech. But as to other points, he must
take care, especially as he is allowed more licence in these two,--I
mean the rounding of his periods, and the combination of his words;
for those narrow and minute details are not to be dealt with
carelessly. But there is such a thing as a careful negligence; for as
some women are said to be unadorned to whom that very want of ornament
is becoming, so this refined sort of oratory is delightful even when
unadorned. For in each case a result is produced that the thing
appears more beautiful, though the cause is not apparent. Then every
conspicuous ornament will be removed, even pearls; even curling-irons
will be put away; and all medicaments of paint and chalk, all
artificial red and white, will be discarded; only elegance and
neatness will remain. The language will be pure and Latin; it will be
arranged plainly and clearly, and great care will be taken to see what
is becoming.

XXIV. One quality will be present, which Theophrastus calls the fourth
in his praises of oratory;--full of ornament, sweetness, and fluency.
Clever sentiments, extracted from I know not what secret store, will
be brought out, and will exert their power in the speeches of this
perfect orator. There will be a moderate use of what I may call
oratorical furniture; for there is to a certain degree what I may call
our furniture, consisting of ornaments partly of things and partly of
words. But the ornaments consisting of words are twofold: one kind
consisting of words by themselves, the other consisting of them in
combination. The simple embellishment is approved of in the case of
proper and commonly employed words, which either sound very well,
or else are very explanatory of the subject; in words which do not
naturally belong to the subject,--it is either metaphorical, or
borrowed from some other quarter; or else it is derived from the
subject, whether it is a new term, or an old one grown obsolete; but
even old and almost obsolete terms may be proper ones, only that we
seldom employ them. But words when well arranged have great ornament
if they give any neatness, which does not remain if the words are
altered while the sense remains. For the embellishments of sentiments
which remain, even if you alter the language in which they are
expressed, are many, but still there are but few of them which are
worth remarking.

Therefore a simple orator, provided he is elegant and not bold in the
matter of making words, and modest in his metaphors, and sparing in
his use of obsolete terms, and humble in the rest of his ornaments of
words and sentences, will perhaps indulge in a tolerably frequent use
of that kind of metaphor which is common in the ordinary conversation,
not only of city people, but even of rustics; since they too are in
the habit of saying, "that the vines sparkle with jewels," "that the
fields are thirsty," "that the corn-fields are rejoicing," "that the
crops are luxuriant." Now there is not one of these expressions which
is not somewhat bold; but the thing is either like that which you use
metaphorically; or else, if it has no name of its own, the expression
which you use appears to have been borrowed for the sake of teaching,
not of jesting. And this quiet sort of orator will use this ornament
with rather more freedom than the rest; and yet he will not do it with
as much licence as if he were practising the loftiest kind of oratory.

XXV. Therefore that unbecomingness (and what that is may be understood
from the definition we have given of what is becoming) is visible here
also, when some sublime expression is used metaphorically, and is used
in a lowly style of oration, though it might have been becoming in
a different one. But the neatness which I have spoken of, which
illuminates the arrangement of language by these lights which the
Greeks, as if they were some gestures of the speech, call [Greek:
schaemata], (and the same word is applied by them also to the
embellishments of sentences,) is employed by the refined orator (whom
some men call the Attic orator, and rightly too, if they did not mean
that he was the only one) but sparingly. For, as in the preparation of
a feast, a man while on his guard against magnificence, is desirous to
be thought not only economical but also elegant, he will choose what
is best for him to use. For there are many kinds of economy suited to
this very orator of whom I am speaking; for the ornaments which I have
previously been mentioning are to be avoided by this acute orator,--I
mean the comparing like with like, and the similarly sounding and
equally measured ends of sentences, and graces hunted out as it were
by the alteration of a letter; so that it may not be visible that
neatness has been especially aimed at, and so that the orator may not
be detected in having been hunting for means of pleasing the ears of
his audience.

Again, if repetitions of the same expressions require a sort of
vehemence and loudness of voice, they will then be unsuited to the
simple style of oratory. The orator may use other embellishments
promiscuously; only let him relax and separate the connexion of the
words, and use as ordinary expressions as possible, and as gentle
metaphors. Let him even avail himself of those lights of sentiments,
as long as they are not too brilliant. He will not make the republic
speak; nor will he raise the dead from the shades below; nor will he
collect together a number of particulars in one heap, and so fold them
in one embrace. Such deeds belong to more vigorous beings, nor are
they to be expected or required from this man of whom we are giving a
sketch; for he will be too moderate not only in his voice, but also
in his style. But there are many embellishments which will suit his
simple style, although he will use even them in a strict manner; for
that is his character.

He will have besides this, action, not tragic, nor suited to the
stage, but he will move his body in a moderate degree, trusting a
great deal to his countenance; not in such a way as people call making
faces but in a manner sufficient to show in a gentlemanlike manner in
what sense he means what he is saying to be understood.

XXVI. Now in this kind of speech sallies of wit are admissible, and
they carry perhaps only too much weight in an oration. Of them there
are two kinds,--facetiousness and raillery,--and the orator will
employ both; but he will use the one in relating anything neatly, and
the other in darting ridicule on his adversaries. And of this latter
kind there are more descriptions than one; however, it is a different
thing that we are discussing now. Nevertheless we may give this
warning,--that the orator ought to use ridicule in such a way as
neither to indulge in it too often, that it may not seem like
buffoonery; nor in a covertly obscure manner, that it may not seem
like the wit of a comedian; nor in a petulant manner, lest it should
seem spiteful; nor should he ridicule calamity, lest that should seem
inhuman; nor crime, lest laughter should usurp the place which hatred
ought to occupy; nor should he employ this weapon when unsuitable to
his own character, or to that of the judges, or to the time; for all
such conduct would come under the head of unbecoming.

The orator must also avoid using jests ready prepared, such as do not
arise out of the occasion, but are brought from home; for they are
usually frigid. And he must spare friendships and dignities. He will
avoid such insults as are not to be healed; he will only aim at his
adversaries, and not even always at them, nor at all of them, nor in
every manner. And with these exceptions, he will employ his sallies of
wit and his facetiousness in such a manner as I have never found any
one of those men do who consider themselves Attic speakers, though
there is nothing more Attic than that practice.

This is the sketch which I conceive to be that of a plain orator, but
still of a great one, and one of a genius very kindred to the Attic;
since whatever is witty or pleasant in a speech is peculiar to the
Attics. Not, however, that all of them are facetious: Lysias is said
to be tolerably so, and Hyperides; Demades is so above all others.
Demosthenes is considered less so, though nothing appears to me to be
more well-bred than he is; but he was not so much given to raillery as
to facetiousness. And the former is the quality of a more impetuous
disposition; the latter betokens a more refined art.

XXVII. There is another style more fertile, and somewhat more
forcible than this simple style of which we have been speaking; but
nevertheless tamer than the highest class of oratory, of which I shall
speak immediately. In this kind there is but little vigour, but there
is the greatest possible quantity of sweetness; for it is fuller
than the plain style, but more plain than that other which is highly
ornamented and copious.

Every kind of ornament in speaking is suitable to this style; and in
this kind of oratory there is a great deal of sweetness. It is a style
in which many men among the Greeks have been eminent; but Demetrius
Phalereus, in my opinion, has surpassed all the rest; and while his
oratory proceeds in calm and tranquil flow, it receives brilliancy
from numerous metaphors and borrowed expressions, like stars.

I call them metaphors, as I often do, which, on account of their
similarity to some other idea, are introduced into a speech for
the sake of sweetness, or to supply a deficiency in a language. By
borrowed expressions I mean those in which, for the proper word,
another is substituted which has the same sense, and which is derived
from some subsequent fact. And though this too is a metaphorical
usage; still Ennius employed it in one manner when he said, "You are
orphaning the citadel and the city;" and he would have used it in a
different manner if he had used the word "citadel," meaning "country."
Again, when he says that "horrid Africa trembles with a terrible
tumult," he uses "Africa" for "Africans." The rhetoricians call this
"hypallage," because one word as it were is substituted for another.
The grammarians call it "metonymia," because names are transferred.
But Aristotle classes them all under metaphor, and so he does the
misuse of terms which they call [Greek: katachraesis]. As when we call
a mind "minute" instead of "little," and misuse words which are near
to others in sense; if there is any necessity for so doing, or any
pleasure, or any particular becomingness in doing so. When many
metaphors succeed one another uninterruptedly the sort of oration
becomes entirely changed. Therefore the Greeks call it [Greek:
allaegoria], rightly as to name; but as to its class he speaks
more accurately who calls all such usages metaphors. Phalereus is
particularly fond of these usages, and they are very agreeable; and
although there is a great deal of metaphor in his speaking, yet there
is no one who makes a more frequent use of the metonymia.

The same kind of oratory, (I am speaking of the moderate and temperate
kind), admits of all sorts of figures of expressions, and of many also
of ideas. Discussions of wide application and extensive learning
are explained in it, and common topics are treated without any
impetuosity. In a word, orators of this class usually come from the
schools of philosophers, and unless the more vigorous orator, whom I
am going to speak of presently, is at hand to be compared with them,
the one whom I am now describing will be approved of. For there is
a remarkable and flowery and highly-coloured and polished style of
oratory, in which every possible elegance of expression and idea is
connected together. And it is from the fountain of the sophist that
all this has flowed into the forum; but still, being despised by the
subtle arguers, and rejected by dignified speakers, it has taken its
place in the moderate kind of oratory of which I am speaking.

XXVIII. The third kind of orator is the sublime, copious, dignified,
ornate speaker, in whom there is the greatest amount of grace. For he
it is, out of admiration for whose ornamented style and copiousness of
language nations have allowed eloquence to obtain so much influence
in states; but it was only this eloquence, which is borne along in an
impetuous course, and with a mighty noise, which all men looked up
to, and admired, and had no idea that they themselves could possibly
attain to. It belongs to this eloquence to deal with men's minds, and
to influence them in every imaginable way. This is the style which
sometimes forces its way into and sometimes steals into the senses;
which implants new opinions in men, and eradicates others which have
been long established. But there is a vast difference between this
kind of orator and the preceding ones. A man who has laboured at the
subtle and acute style, in order to be able to speak cunningly and
cleverly, and who has had no higher aim, if he has entirely attained
his object, is a great orator, if not a very great one; he is far from
standing on slippery ground, and if he once gets a firm footing, is
in no danger of falling. But the middle kind of orator, whom I have
called moderate and temperate, if he has only arranged all his own
forces to his satisfaction, will have no fear of any doubtful or
uncertain chances of oratory; and even if at any time he should not be
completely successful, which may often be the case, still he will be
in no great danger, for he cannot fall far. But this orator of ours,
whom we consider the first of orators, dignified, vehement, and
earnest, if this is the only thing for which he appears born, or if
this is the only kind of oratory to which he applies himself, and if
he does not combine his copiousness of diction with those other two
kinds of oratory, is very much to be despised. For the one who speaks
simply, inasmuch as he speaks with shrewdness and sense, is a wise
man; the one who employs the middle style is agreeable; but this
most copious speaker, if he is nothing else, appears scarcely in his
senses. For a man who can say nothing with calmness, nothing with
gentleness; who seems ignorant of all arrangement and definition and
distinctness, and regardless of wit, especially when some of his
causes require to be treated in that matter entirely, and others in a
great degree; if he does not prepare the ears of his hearers before he
begins to work up the case in an inflammatory style, he seems like a
madman among people in their senses, or like a drunken man among sober

XXIX. We have then now, O Brutus, the orator whom we are looking for;
but only in our mind's eye. For if I had had hold of him in my hand,
even he himself, with all his eloquence, should never have persuaded
me to let him go. But, in truth, that eloquent man whom Antonius never
saw is now discovered. Who then is he? I will define him in a few
words, and then describe him at length. For he is an eloquent man who
can speak of low things acutely, and of great things with dignity, and
of moderate things with temper.

Such a man you will say there never was. Perhaps there never was; for
I am only discussing what I wish to see, and not what I have seen.
And I come back to that sketch and idea of Plato's which I mentioned
before; and although we do not see it, yet we can comprehend it in
our mind. For I am not looking for an eloquent man, or for any other
mortal or transitory thing; but for that particular quality which
whoever is master of is an eloquent man; and that is nothing but
abstract eloquence, which we are not able to discern with any eyes
except those of the mind. He then will be an eloquent man, (to repeat
my former definition,) who can speak of small things in a lowly
manner, of moderate things in a temperate manner, and of great things
with dignity. The whole of the cause in which I spoke for Caecina
related to the language or an interdict: we explained some very
involved matters by definitions; we praised the civil law; we
distinguished between words of doubtful meaning. In a discussion on
the Manilian law it was requisite to praise Pompey; and accordingly,
in a temperate speech, we arrived at a copiousness of ornament. The
whole question, of the rights of the people was contained in the
cause of Rabinius; and accordingly we indulged in every conceivable
amplification. But these styles require at times to be regulated and
restrained. What kind of argument is there which is not found in my
five books of impeachment of Verres? or in my speech for Avitus? or in
that for Cornelius? or in the other numerous speeches in defence of
different men? I would give instances, if I did not believe them to
be well known, and that those who wanted them could select them for
themselves; for there is no effort of an orator of any kind, of which
there is not in our speeches, if not a perfect example, at least some
attempt at and sketch of. If we cannot arrive at perfection, at all
events we see what is becoming.

Nor are we at present speaking of ourselves, but of eloquence, in
which we are so far from having a high opinion of our own proficiency,
that we are so hard to please and exacting, that even Demosthenes
himself does not satisfy us. For he, although he is eminent above all
men in every description of oratory, still he does not always satisfy
my ears; so greedy and capacious are they, and so unceasingly desiring
something vast and infinite.

XXX. But still, since you became thoroughly well acquainted with this
orator, in company with his devoted admirer Pammenes, when you were
at Athens, and as you never put him down out of your hands, though,
nevertheless, you are often reading my works, you see forsooth that he
accomplishes many things, and that we attempt many things;--that he
has the power, we the will to speak in whatever manner the cause
requires. But he was a great man, for he came after great men, and he
had consummate orators for his contemporaries. We should have done a
great deal if we had been able to arrive at the goal which we proposed
to ourselves in a city in which, as Antonius says, no eloquent man had
been ever heard before. But, if Crassus did not appear to Antonius to
be eloquent, or if he did not think he was so himself, certainly Cotta
would never have seemed so to him, nor Sulpicius, nor Hortensius.
For Cotta never said anything sublime, Sulpicius never said anything
gently, Hortensius seldom spoke with dignity. Those former men were
much more suited to every style; I mean Crassus and Antonius. We feel,
therefore, that the ears of the city were not much accustomed to this
varied kind of eloquence, and to an oratory so equally divided
among all sorts of styles. And we, such as we were, and however
insignificant were our attempts, were the first people to turn the
exceeding fondness of the people for listening to this kind of

What an outcry was there when, as quite a young man I uttered that
sentence about the punishment of parricides! and even a long time
afterwards we found that it had scarcely entirely worn off. "For what
is so common, as breath to living people, the earth to the dead, the
sea to people tossed about by the waves, or the shore to shipwrecked
mariners?--they live while they are let live, in such a way as to be
unable to breathe the air of heaven; they die so that their bones do
not touch the earth; they are tossed about by the waves without ever
being washed by them; and at last they are cast up by them in such a
manner, that when dead they are not allowed a resting-place even on
the rocks." And so on. For all this is the language of a young man,
extolled not on account of any real merit or maturity of judgment, as
for the hopes and expectations which he gave grounds for. From the
same turn of mind came that more polished invective,--"the wife of
her son-in-law; the mother-in-law of her son, the invader of her
daughter's bed." Not, however, that this ardour was always visible
in us, so as to make us say everything in this manner. For that very
juvenile exuberance of speech in defence of Roscius has many weak
passages in it, and some merry ones, such as also occur in the speech
for Avitus, for Cornelius, and many others. For no orator has ever,
even in the Greek language, written as many speeches as I have. And my
speeches have the variety which I so much approve of.

XXXI. Should I permit Homer, and Ennius, and the rest of the poets,
and especially the tragic poets, to forbear displaying the same
vehemence on every occasion, and constantly to change their language,
and sometimes even to come near to the ordinary language of daily
conversation; and never myself descend from that fierce style of
vehement expression? But why do I cite poets of godlike genius? We
have seen actors, than whom nothing could be more admirable of their
kind, who have not only given great satisfaction in the representation
of the most different characters, and also in their own, but we have
seen even a comedian gain great applause in tragedies, and a tragedian
in comedies;--and shall not I attempt the same thing? When I say I, O
Brutus, I mean you also; for, as for myself, all that can be done has
been done. But will you plead every cause in the same manner, or are
there some kind of causes which you will reject? or will you employ
the same uninterrupted vehemence in the same causes without any

Demosthenes, indeed, whose bust of brass I lately saw between the
images of yourself and your ancestors, (a proof, I suppose, of your
fondness for him,) when I was with you at your Tusculan villa, does
not yield at all to Lysias in acuteness, nor in shrewdness and
cleverness to Hyperides, nor in gentleness or brilliancy of language
to Aeschines. Many of his orations are very closely argued, as
that against Leptines; many are wholly dignified, as some of the
Philippics; many are of varied style, as those against Aeschines,
the one about the false embassy, and the one also, against the same
Aeschines in the cause of Ctesiphon. As often as he pleases he adopts
the middle style, and, departing from his dignified tone, he indulges
in that lower one. But when he raises the greatest outcry on the part
of his hearers, and makes the greatest impression by his speech, is
when he employs the topics of dignity.

However, let us leave Demosthenes for awhile, since it is a class that
we are inquiring about, and not an individual. Let us rather explain
the effect and nature of the thing; that is, of Eloquence. And let
us recollect what we have just said, that we are not going to say
anything for the sake of giving rules; but that we are going to speak
so as to be thought people expressing an opinion rather than teaching.
Though we often do advance further, because we see that you are not
the only person who will read this; you who, in fact, know all this
much better than we ourselves who appear to be teaching you; but it is
quite certain that this book will be extensively known, if not from
the recommendation which its being my work will give it, at all
events, because of its appearing under the sanction of your name, by
being dedicated to you.

XXXII. I think, then, that it belongs to a perfectly eloquent man, not
only to have the ability, which is his peculiar province, of speaking
copiously and with the assertion of large principles, but also to
possess its neighbouring and contiguous science of dialectics:
although an oration appears one thing and a discussion another; nor is
talking the same thing as speaking; though each belongs to discussing.
Let then the system of discussing and talking belong to the logicians;
but let the province of the orators be to speak and to embellish their
speeches. Zeno, that great man, who founded the school of the Stoics,
was in the habit of showing with his hand what was the difference
between these arts; for when he had compressed his fingers and made a
fist, he said that dialectics were like that; but when he had opened
his fingers and expanded his hand, he said that eloquence was like
his open palm. And even before him Aristotle, in the beginning of
his Rhetoric, said, that the art of eloquence in one portion of it
corresponded to dialectics; so that they differ from one another in
this, that the system of speaking is more wide, that of talking more
contracted. I wish, then, that this consummate orator should be
acquainted with the entire system of talking, as far as it can be
applied to speaking; and that (as indeed you, who have a thorough
acquaintance with these arts, are well aware) has a twofold method of
teaching. For Aristotle himself has given many rules for arguing:
and those who followed him, and who are called dialecticians, have
delivered many very difficult rules. Therefore I think, that the man
who is tempted by the glory of eloquence, is not utterly ignorant
of those things; but that he has been brought up either in that old
school, or in the school of Chrysippus. Let him first acquaint himself
with the meaning and nature and classes of words, both single and
combined; then let him learn in how many ways each word is used; then
how it is decided, whether a thing is false or true; then what
results from each proposition; then to what argument each result is
a consequence, and to what it is contrary; and, as many things are
stated in an ambiguous manner, he must also learn how each of them
ought to be distinguished and explained. This is what must be acquired
by an orator; for those things are constantly occurring; but, because
they are in their own nature less attractive, it is desirable to
employ some brilliancy of eloquence in explaining them.

XXXIII. And since in all things which are taught in any regular method
and system, it is first of all necessary to settle what each thing is,
(unless it is agreed by those who are discussing the point, what the
thing really is which is being discussed; nor otherwise is it possible
to discuss anything properly, or ever to get to the end of the
discussion,) we must often have recourse to words to explain our
meaning about each thing; and we must facilitate the understanding of
an involved and obscure matter by definition; since definition is a
kind of speech which points out in the most concise possible manner
what that is which is the subject of discussion. Then, as you know,
when the genus of each thing has been explained, we must consider what
are the figures or divisions of that genus, so that our whole speech
may be arranged with reference to them.

This faculty, then, will exist in the eloquent man whom we are
endeavouring to describe, so that he shall be able to define a thing;
and shall do it in the same close and narrow terms which are commonly
employed in those very learned discussions; but he shall be more
explanatory and more copious, and he shall adopt his definition more
to the ordinary judgment and usual intelligence of mankind. And again,
when circumstances require it, he shall divide and arrange the whole
genus into certain species, so that none shall be omitted and none
be superfluous. But when he shall do this, or how, is nothing to
the present question; since, as I have said before, I am here only
expressing an opinion, not giving a lesson.

Nor, indeed, must he be learned only in dialectics, but he must have
all the topics of philosophy familiar to him and at his fingers' ends.
For nothing respecting religion, or death, or affection, or love for
one's country, or good fortune, or bad fortune, or virtues, or vices,
or duty, or pain, or pleasure, or the different motions of the mind,
or mistakes, all which topics frequently occur in causes, but are
treated usually in a very meagre manner, can be discussed and
explained in a dignified and lofty and copious manner without that
knowledge which I have mentioned.

XXXIV. I am speaking at present concerning the subject matter of a
speech, not about the kind of speaking requisite. For I would rather
that an orator should first have a subject to speak of worthy of
learned ears, before he considers in what words or in what manner he
is to speak of everything; and, in order to make him grander, and in
some sense loftier (as I have said above about Pericles,) I should
wish him not to be utterly ignorant of physical science; and then,
when he descends again from heavenly matters to human affairs, he will
have all his words and sentiments of a more sublime and magnificent
character: and while he is acquainted with those divine laws, I do not
wish him to be ignorant of those of men. He must be a master of civil
law, which forensic debates are in daily need of. For what is more
shameful than for a man to undertake the conduct of legal and civil
disputes, while ignorant of the statutes and of civil law? He must be
acquainted also with the history of past ages and the chronology of
old time, especially, indeed, as far as our own state is concerned;
but also he must know the history of despotic governments and of
illustrious monarchs; and that toil is made easier for us by the
labours of our friend Atticus, who has preserved and made known the
history of former times in such a way as to pass over nothing worth
knowing, and yet to comprise the annals of seven hundred years in one
book. For not to know what happened before one was born, is to be
a boy all one's life. For what is the life of a man unless by a
recollection of bygone transactions it is united to the times of
his predecessors? But the mention of antiquity and the citation of
examples give authority and credit to a speech, combined with the
greatest pleasure to the hearers.

XXXV. Let him, therefore, come to his causes prepared in this kind of
way; and he will in the first place be acquainted with the different
kinds of causes. For he will be thoroughly aware that nothing can be
doubted except when either the fact or the language gives rise
to controversy. But the fact is doubted as to its truth, or its
propriety, or its name. Words give rise to dispute if they are
ambiguous or inconsistent. For it ever appears to be the case, that
one thing is meant and another expressed; then that is one kind of
ambiguity which arises from the words which are employed; and in this
we see that two things are meant, which is a property of all ambiguous

As there are not many different kinds of causes, so also the rules for
arguments to be used in them are few. Two kinds of topics are given
from which they may be derived; one from the circumstances themselves,
the others assumed. The handling, then, of the matters themselves
makes the speech better; for the matters themselves are usually easy
to be acquainted with. For what remains afterwards, which at least
belongs to art, except to begin the speech in such a manner that the
hearer may be conciliated, or have his attention roused, or may be
made eager to learn? then after that to explain with brevity, and
probability, and clearness, so that it may be understood what is the
question under discussion; to establish his own arguments; to overturn
those of the opposite party; and to do all that, not in an irregular
and confused manner, but with separate arguments, concluded in such
a manner, that everything may be established which is a natural
consequence of those principles which are assumed for the confirmation
of each point: and after everything else is done, then to wind up with
a peroration which shall inflame or cool the hearers, as the case may

Now, how the consummate orator handles each separate division of his
subject, it is hard to explain in this place; nor, indeed, are they
handled at all times in the same manner. But since I am not seeking a
pupil to teach, but a model to approve of, I will begin by praising
the man who sees what is becoming. For this is above all others the
wisdom which the eloquent man wants, namely--to be the regulator of
times and persons. For I do not think that a man ought to speak in the
same manner at all times, or before all people, or against every one,
or in defence of every one, or to every one.

XXXVI. He, then, will be an eloquent man who can adapt his speech to
whatever is becoming. And when he has settled that point, then he
will say everything as it ought to be said; nor will he speak of rich
subjects in a meagre manner, nor of great subjects in a petty manner,
and vice versa; but his oration will be equal to, and corresponding
to, his subject; his exordium will be moderate, not inflamed with
exaggerated expressions, but acute in its sentiments, either in the
way of exciting his hearers against his adversary, or in recommending
himself to them. His relations of facts will be credible, explained
clearly, not in historical language, but nearly in the tone of every
day conversation. Then if his cause is but a slight one, so also
will the thread of his argument be slight, both in asserting and in
refuting. And it will be maintained in such a way, that there will be
just as much force added to the speech as is added to the subject.
But when a cause offers in which all the force of eloquence can be
displayed, then the orator will give himself a wider scope, then he
will influence and sway men's minds, and will move them just as he
pleases, that is to say, just as the nature of the cause and the
occasion requires.

But all that admirable embellishment of his will be of a twofold
character; on account of which it is that eloquence gains such great
honour. For as every part of a speech ought to be admirable, so that
no word should be let drop by accident which is not either grave or
dignified; so also there are two parts of it which are especially
brilliant and lively: one of which I place in the question of the
universal genus, which (as I have said before) the Greeks call [Greek
Thesis]; the other is shown in amplifying and exaggerating matters,
and is called by the same people [Greek auxaesis]. And although that
ought to be spread equally over the whole body of the oration, still
it is most efficacious in dealing with common topics; which are called
common, because they appear to belong to many causes, but still ought
to be considered as peculiar to some individual ones.

But that division of a speech which refers to the universal genus
often contains whole causes; for whatever that is on which there is,
as it were, a contest and dispute, which in Greek is called [Greek
krinomenon], that ought to be expressed in such a manner that it may
be transferred to the general inquiry and be spoken of the whole
genus; except when a doubt is raised about the truth; which is
often endeavoured to be ascertained by conjecture. But it shall be
discussed, not in the fashion of the Peripatetics (for it is a very
elegant exercise of theirs, to which they are habituated ever since
the time of Aristotle), but with rather more vigour; and common topics
will be applied to the subject in such a manner, that many things will
be said gently in behalf of accused persons, and harshly against the

But in amplifying matters, and, on the other hand, in discarding them,
there is nothing which oratory cannot effect. And that must be done
amid the arguments, as often as any opportunity is afforded one,
of either amplifying or diminishing: and may be done to an almost
infinite extent in summing up.

XXXVII. There are two things, which, when well handled by an orator,
make eloquence admirable. One of which is, that which the Greeks call
[Greek: haethikon], adapted to men's natures, and manners, and to
all their habits of life; the other is, that which they call [Greek:
pathaetikon], by which men's minds are agitated and excited, which
is the especial province of oratory. The former one is courteous,
agreeable, suited to conciliate good-will; the latter is violent,
energetic, impetuous, by which causes are snatched out of the fire,
and when it is hurried on rapidly it cannot by any means be withstood.
And by the use of this kind of oratory we, who are but moderate
orators, or even less than that, but who have at all times displayed
great energy, have often driven our adversaries from every part of
their case. That most consummate orator, Hortensius, was unable to
reply to me, on behalf of one of his intimate friends; that most
audacious of men, Catiline, was dumb when impeached in the senate by
me. When Curio, the father, attempted in a private cause of grave
importance to reply to me, he suddenly sat down, and said, that he was
deprived of his memory by poison. Why need I speak of the topics used
to excite pity? which I have employed to the greater extent, because,
even if there were many of us employed in one cause, still all men at
all times yielded me the task of summing up; and it was owing not so
much to my ability as to my sensibility, that I appeared to excel so
much in that part. And those qualities of mine, of whatever sort they
are, and I am ashamed that they are not of a higher class, appear in
my speeches: although my books are without that energy, on account
of which those same speeches appear more excellent when they are
delivered than when they are read.

XXXVIII. Nor is it by pity alone that it is desirable to move the
minds of the judges, (though we have been in the habit of using that
topic ourselves in so piteous a manner that we have even held an
infant child by the hand while summing up; and in another cause, when
a man of noble birth was on his trial, we lifted up his little son,
and filled the forum with wailing and lamentations;) but we must also
endeavour to cause the judge to be angry, to appease him to make him
feel ill-will, and favour, to move him to contempt or admiration, to
hatred or love, to inspire him with desire or disgust, with hope
or fear, with joy or pain; in all which variety the speeches of
prosecutors will supply instances of the sterner kinds, and my
speeches in defence will furnish examples of the softer ones. For
there is no means by which the mind of the hearer can be either
excited or softened, which has not been tried by me; I would say,
brought to perfection, if I thought it was the case; nor should I fear
the imputation of arrogance while speaking the truth. But, as I
have said before, it is not any particular force of genius, but an
exceeding energy of disposition which inflames me to such a degree
that I cannot restrain myself; nor would any one who listens to a
speech ever be inflamed, if the speech which reached his ears was not
itself a fiery one.

I would use examples from my own works if you had not read them; I
would use them from the works of others, if I could find any; or
Greek examples, if it were becoming to do so. But there are very few
speeches of Crassus extant, and those are not forensic speeches.
There is nothing extant of Antonius's, nothing of Cotta's, nothing of
Sulpicius's. Hortensius spoke better than he wrote. But we must form
our own opinions as to the value of this energy which we are looking
for, since we have no instance to produce; or if we are still on the
look out for examples, we must take them from Demosthenes, and we must
cite them from that passage in the speech on the trial of Ctesiphon,
where he ventures to speak of his own actions and counsels and
services to the republic. That oration in truth corresponds so much
to that idea which is implanted in our minds that no higher eloquence
need be looked for.

XXXIX. But now there remains to be considered the form and character
of the eloquence which we are searching for; and what it ought to be
like may be understood from what has been said above. For we have
touched upon the lights of words both single and combined, in which
the orator will abound so much that no expression which is not either
dignified or elegant will ever fall from his mouth. And there will be
frequent metaphors of every sort; because they, on account of their
resemblance to something else, move the minds of the hearers, and turn
them this way and that way; and the very agitation of thought when
operating in quick succession is a pleasure of itself.

And those other lights, if I may so call them, which are derived from
the arrangement of words, are a great ornament to a speech. For they
are like those things which are called decorations in the splendid
ornamenting of a theatre or a forum; not because they are the only
ornaments, but because they are the most excellent ones. The principle
is the same in the case of these things which are the lights, and as
one may say, the decorations of oratory: when words are repeated and
reiterated, or are put down with slight alterations; or when the
sentences are often commenced with the same word, or end with the same
word; or both begin and end alike; or when the same word occurs in the
same place in consecutive sentences; or when one word is repeated in
different senses; or when sentences end with similar sounds; or when
contrary circumstances are related in many contrary manners; or when
the speech proceeds by gradations; or when the conjunctions are taken
away and each member of the sentence is uttered unconnectedly; or when
we pass over some points and explain why we do so; or when we of our
own accord correct ourselves, as if we blamed ourselves; or if we use
any exclamation of admiration, or complaint; or when the same noun is
often repeated in different cases.

But the ornaments of sentiments are more important; and because
Demosthenes employs them very frequently, some people think that that
is the principal thing which makes his eloquence so admirable. And
indeed there is hardly any topic treated by him without a careful
arrangement of his sentences; nor indeed is speaking anything else
except illuminating all, or at least nearly all, one's sentences with
a kind of brilliancy: and as you are thoroughly aware of all this,
O Brutus, why need I quote names or instances. I only let the place
where they occur be noted.

XL. If then that consummate orator whom we are looking for, should say
that he often treats one and the same thing in many different manners;
and dwells a long time on the same idea; and that he often extenuates
some point, and often turns something into ridicule; that he
occasionally appears to change his intention and vary his sentiments;
that he proposes beforehand the points which he wishes to prove; that
when he has completed his argument on any subject he terminates it;
that he often recals himself back, and repeats what he has already
said; that he winds up his arguments with fresh reasons; that he beats
down the adversary with questions; again, that he himself answers
questions which as it were he himself has put; that he sometimes
wishes to be understood as meaning something different from what he
says; that he often doubts what he had best say, or how he had best
say it; that he arranges what he has to say under different heads;
that he leaves out or neglects some points; while there are some
which he fortifies beforehand; that he often throws the blame on his
adversary for the very thing for which he himself is found fault with;
that he often appears to enter into deliberation with his hearers, and
sometimes even with his adversary; that he describes the conversation
and actions of men; that he introduces some dumb things, as speaking;
that he diverts men's minds from the subject under discussion; that he
often turns the discussion into mirth and laughter; that he sometimes
preoccupies ground which he sees is attached; that he adduces
comparisons; that he cites precedents; that he attributes one thing
to one person and another to another; that he checks any one who
interrupts him; that he says that he is keeping back something; that
he adds threatening warnings of what his hearers must beware of; that
he often takes a bolder licence; that he is sometimes even angry; that
he sometimes utters reproaches, deprecates calamity, uses the language
of supplication, and does away with unfavourable impressions; that he
sometimes departs a very little from his subject, to express wishes or
to utter execrations, or to make himself a friend of those men before
whom he is speaking.

He ought also to aim at other virtues, if I may so call them, in
speaking; at brevity, if the subject requires it. He will often, also,
by his speech, bring the matter before people's eyes; and often extol
it beyond what appears possible; his meaning will be often more
comprehensive than his speech; he will often assume a cheerful
language, and often give an imitation of life and nature.

XLI. In this kind of speaking, for you may look upon oratory as a vast
wood, all the importance of eloquence ought to shine forth. But these
qualities, unless they are well arranged and as it were built up
together and connected by suitable language, can never attain that
praise which we wish that it should.

And as I was aware that it would be necessary for me to speak on this
point next, although I was influenced by the considerations which
I had mentioned before, still I was more disturbed by those which
follow. For it occurred to me, that it was possible that men should be
found, I do not mean envious men, with whom all places are full, but
even favourers of my glory, who did not think that it became a man
with reference to whose services the senate had passed such favourable
votes with the approbation of the whole Roman people, as they never
did in the case of any one else, to write so many books about the
method of speaking. And if I were to give them no other answer than
that I was unwilling to refuse the request of Marcus Brutus, it would
be a reasonable excuse, as T might well wish to satisfy a man who was
my greatest friend and a most excellent man, and who only asked what
was right and honourable. But if I were to profess (what I wish that I
could) that I was about to give rules, and paths, as it were, to lead
to eloquence those who are inclined to study oratory, what man who set
a proper value on things would find fault with me? For who has ever
doubted that eloquence has at all times been of the very highest
estimation in our republic, among all the accomplishments of peace,
and of our domestic life in the city; and that next to it is the
knowledge of the law? and that the one had in it the greatest amount
of influence, and credit, and protection; and the other contains rules
for prosecutions and defence; and this latter would often of its own
accord beg for assistance from eloquence; but if it were refused,
would scarcely be able to maintain its own rights and territories.

Why then has it been at all times an honourable thing to teach civil
law, and why have the houses of the most eminent professors of this
science been at all times crowded with pupils? And yet if any one
attempts to excite people to the study of oratory, or to assist the
youth of the city in that pursuit, should he be blamed? For, if it be
a vicious thing to speak in an elegant manner, then let eloquence be
expelled altogether from the state. But if it not only is an ornament
to those who possess it, but the whole republic also, then why is it
discreditable to learn what it is honourable to know; of, why should
it be anything but glorious to teach what it is most excellent to be
acquainted with?

XLII. But the one is a, common study, and the other a novel one. I
admit that; but there is a reason for both these facts. For it was
sufficient to listen to the lawyers giving their answers, so that
they who acted as instructors set aside no particular time for that
purpose, but were at one and the same time satisfying the wants both
of their pupils and their clients. But the other men, as they devoted
all their time, when at home, to acquiring a correct understanding of
the causes entrusted to them, and arranging the arguments which they
were to employ; all their time when in the forum to pleading the
cause, and all the rest of their time in recruiting their own
strength; what time had they for giving rules or lessons? and I do not
know whether most of our orators have not excelled more in genius than
in learning; therefore, they have been able to speak better than they
could teach, while our ability is perhaps just the contrary.

But there is no dignity in teaching.--Certainly not, if it is done as
if one kept a school; but if a man teaches by warning, by exhorting,
by asking questions, by giving information, sometimes by reading with
his pupils and hearing them read, then I do not know, if by teaching
anything you can sometimes make men better, why you should be
unwilling to do it. Is it honourable to teach a man what are the
proper words to alienate consecrated property with, and not honourable
to teach him those by which consecrated property may be maintained and

"But," men say, "many people profess law who know nothing about it;
but even the very men who have acquired eloquence conceal their
attainment of it, because wisdom is a thing agreeable to men, but
eloquence is suspected by them." Is it possible then for eloquence to
escape notice, or does that which a man conceals cease to exist? Or is
there any danger of any one thinking with respect to an important and
glorious art that it is a discreditable thing to teach others that
which it was very honourable to himself to learn? But perhaps others
may be better hands at concealment; I have always openly avowed that I
have learnt the art. For what could I have done, having left my home
when very young, and crossed the sea for the sake of those studies;
and having had my house full of the most learned men, and when there
were perhaps some indications of learning in my conversation; and when
my writings were a good deal read; could I then have concealed the
fact of my having learnt it? How could I justify myself except by
showing that I had made some progress in those studies?

XLIII. And as this is the case still, the things which have been
already mentioned, have had more dignity in the discussion of them
than those which have got to be discussed. For we are now to speak
about the arrangement of words, and almost about the counting and
measuring of syllables. And, although these things are, as it appears
to me, necessary, yet there is more show in the execution than in
the teaching of them. Now that is true of everything, but it has a
peculiar force with respect to this pursuit. For in the case of all
great arts, as in that of trees, it is the height which delights us,
but we take no pleasure in the roots or trunks; though the one cannot
exist without the other. But as for me, whether it is that that
well-known verse which forbids a man

"To fear to own the art he practises,"

does not allow me to conceal that I take delight in it; or whether it
is your eagerness which has extorted this volume from me; still it was
worth while to make a reply to those whom I suspected of being likely
to find fault with me.

But if the circumstances which I have mentioned had no existence,
still who would be so harsh and uncivilised as not to grant me this
indulgence, so that, when my forensic labours and my public exertions
were interrupted, I might devote my time to literature rather than to
inactivity of which I am incapable, or to melancholy which I resist?
For it was a love of letters which formerly led me into the courts of
justice and the senate-house, and which now delights me when I am at
home. Nor am I occupied only with such subjects as are contained in
this book, but with much more weighty and important, ones; and if
they are brought to perfection, then my private literary labours will
correspond to my forensic exertions. However, at present let us return
to the discussion we had commenced.

XLIV. Our words then must be arranged either so that the last may as
correctly as possible be consistent with the first, and also so that
our first expressions may be as agreeable as possible; or so that the
very form of our sentences and their neatness may be well rounded off;
or so that the whole period may end in a musical and suitable manner.
And, in the first place, let us consider what kind of thing that is
which above all things requires our diligence, so that a regular
structure as it were may be raised, and yet that this may be effected
without any labour. For the labour would be not only infinite, but
childish. As in Lucilius, Scaevola is represented as attacking Albucius
very sensibly:

"How neatly all your phrases are arranged;


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