Marcus Fabius Quintilianus - Institutio Oratoria

I regularly have to write many scientific papers. I have a decent bookshelf full of books on this topic. It was great my surprise though when I started reading Quintilian on how to organize a speech. I think that this book might well replace all the other, wordy, recipe-ish modern books.

Quintilian divides Oratory in three main types (p.397):
  1. Panegyric: p. 465-481.
  2. Deliberative (deliberativum): p. 483ss
  3. Forensic (iudiciale): (III, viii, 1) - 515ss
The forensic (iudiciale) kind of oratory is divided by Quintilian into five parts (III, viii - p.515):
  1. exordium (proemium)
  2. statement of facts (narratio)
  3. proof (probatio)
  4. refutation (refutatio)
  5. peroration (peroratio)
Furthermore, the parts of a (forensic) discourse are four for Quintilian (Irwin, 1929):
  1. Proemium or Exordium (IV, i - p.7-49): Purpose, procure the goodwill
  2. Narratio or Statement of Facts 
    1. Confirmatio: Verification (IV, III) - optional 
    2. Propositio - optional 
    3. Partitio - optional 
  3. Causae or Proofs: (constructive (proof) and destructive (refutation))
  4. Peroratio
  • Exordium (gr. proemium): It's the commencement of a discourse. The term was borrowed from the lyre players who perform an amenable prelude in order to win the favor of the audience. I might have whatever it takes "in order that the judge may give favorable hearing to our defence" (IV, ii, 27)
    • The sole purpose of the exordium is to prepare our audience in such a way that they will be disposed to lend a ready ear to the rest of our speech (IV, i, 5, p.9) by making the audience well-disposed/good will, attentive, and ready to receive instruction:
      • How to secure good will: from (1) persons, (2) case, (3) other
        1. Persons: (1) client, (2) lawyer, (3) opponent's advocate, (4) opponent - (IV, i, 4-7, p. 9ff)
          1. From Client (p.12): following points will be lightly touched, "not run to death":
            1. emphasize his worth
            2. commend his weakness
            3. set forth his merits
            4. sex, age, and situation (women, old men, children)
          2. From Lawyer (p.11)
            1. Create  impression that been forced to take case by force, honor. Avoid showing impression of meanness, spite, ambition, abusive, malignant, proud, or slanderous toward any individual.
          3. Against an opponent's advocate (p.11):
            1. speak of him in honorific terms: pretend to fear eloquence so that turns suspect to the judge.
            2. speak badly of him
          4. Against opponent (p.12): 
            1. power by envy; meannes by contempt; guilt by hatred.
        • Tricks for acquiring good will (p.23) and make people ready to receive instruction:
          1. rethorical expression of willing, detestation, entreaty, or anxiety. (p.23) if the judges thinks the case to be novel, important, scandalous, or sets a precedent.
          2. Stir hope, fear, admonition, entreaty, falsehood.
          3. Create the impression that the we won't keep them long but will stik to the point.
          4. Provide a brief and lucid summary (p.25).
    • Lenght of the Exordium: 
      • IMP: Should only indicate the points on which the orator proposes to speak.
      • Shouldn't expound, but propound.
    • On how to secure good will in different cases. Quintilian proposes that there are 6 kinds of causes (p.26-28):
      1. the honourable
      2. the mean
      3. the ambiguous or doubtful
      4. the extraordinary
      5. the obscure
      6. the scandalous
    • Parts of the Exordium. Some propose that it has 2 parts:
      • introduction:
      • insinuation:
    • Method to compose an Exordium (IV, i, 52 / p.35) consider: 
      1. ...what you have to say
      2. ...before whom
      3. whose defense
      4. ...against whom
      5. what time and place
      6. ...under what circumstances you have to speak
      7. ...what is the popular opinion on the subject
      8. ...what the prepossessions of the judge
      9. ...what we should deprecate or desire
    • e.g.
      • Might include the rebuttal of some allegations before going to the SoF. (IV, ii, 26) e.g. 
      • No fancy, or old words.
      • Indicates "what the completed picture is like to be".
      • Transition to Statement of Facts (IV, i, 79): Must be enunciated, although not abruptly. If the audience isn't notified, the first part of SoF is lost since the judge will not notice the transition. 
  • Narratio (Statement of Facts - SoF): Indicates the nature of the subject on which the audience/judge will have to give judgment.
      • Definition: it "consists in the persuasive exposition of that which either has been done, or is supposed to have been done, or, [as Apollodorus puts it], is a speech instructing the audience as to the nature of the case in dispute".
      • Importance: " there is no portion of a speech at which the judge is more attentive".
      • Length: if the case is brief, a short summary will do, the SoF isn't necessary. In a trial, only one part does it. A single sentence might be enough, "I say that Horatius stole the book". 
      • Qualities: Isocrates points that it should have these three qualities "lucid (clearness), brief, and plausible (credible, probable). 
        • Lucidity and clearness: 1) set forth our story in appropriate words, significant, free from meanness, not farfetched, nor unusual. 2) give a distinct account of facts, persons, times, places and causes. Give the impression of absolute truth (IV, ii, 39).
        • Brief: we might strive for conciseness (free from superfluous matter) , not brevity (omits things to be stated). So not saying less, bit not saying more than occasion demands.(IV, ii, 43). 
          • Avoid repetitions, tautologies, and diffuseness. SoF must be expeditious.
          • Conversely, guard against the obscurity which results from excessive abridgment. 
          • Say just what is necessary and sufficient. However, not the bare minimum to convey our meaning; for our brevity must not be devoid of elegance. Pleasure beguiles the attention, just as a picturesque and easy journey tires us less than a difficult shortcut." (IV, ii, 45-46). Too brief a statement becomes a confession. "Next we must put forth all our art either to shorten it or to render it less tedious"
          • Use interjections as a method to avoid tedium: e.g. something like "you have heard what happened before: now learns what follows". It provides a sense of closing previous remarks and prepares audience for a fresh start.
          • If SoF is long, add a summary at the end of as a reminder.
        • Credible (IV, ii, 52): 1) say nothing contrary to nature, 2) assign reasons and motives for the facts, 3) make the actors keep with the facts. "we must take care, first that our fiction is within the bounds of possibility, secondly that it is consistent with the persons, dates and places involved and thirdly that it presents a character and sequence that are not beyond belief"(IV, ii, 89).
          • Of course, avoid contradiction and inconsistency in the SoF.
      • Artifices
        • Digression (excursio), apostrophe (iudice sermo), argumentation. But these should be avoided in the SoF (IV, ii, 103-107)
        • Appeal to emotions: Cicero says that: "should be characterised by passages which will charm and excite admiration or expectation, and marked by unexpected turns, conversations between persons and appeals to every kind of emotion
        • Utmost adornment of grace and charm. How?
          • Choice of words (IV, ii, 117): 1) words: should be clear, not pompous but "steeped with meaning", 2) rhythm: unobtrusive but as attractive as possible, 3) figures: not from poetry, not contrary to current usage, 4) variety: designed to designed to relieve tedium, frequently changed to "relax the strain of attention".
          • Avoid repetitions, escape monotony of rhythm and stereotypes. 
        • Do not exhaust all of the emotional stock in the SoF.
        • Authority of speaker: it the reward of the manner of life, and style of eloquence. "everything must seem to spring from the case itself rather than the art of the orator", "the moment it is detected it ceases to be art." Don't be the slave of applause. (IV, ii, 127)
        • Repetition: touch lightly on some facts. It might be needed, but not always.
    • Confirmatio (Verification) (IV, iii). Digression: Sometimes it might be advantageous to digress on some topic after finishing the SoF. But it should be very brief, and not act as a wedge of a train of thought that otherwise must be kept continuous. Extremely cautious not to divert the attention gained by the SoF. It should be avoided most of the times. 
      • It involves emotional appeal.
      • The digressions might be given by: indignation (real or fictitious), pity, hatred, rebuke, excuse, conciliation, rebut invective, emotional 
      • Must eb part of the "texture of speech".
    • Propositio (IV, iv): it deals with 1) the definition of the charges, 2) enumeration of the charges, 3) rebuttals of charges against us, 4). It serves to " when we start to verify our statements he may realise that he has reached a fresh stage where he must begin to listen with renewed attention" (IV, iv, 9)
    • Partitito (IV, v): "enumeration in order of our own propositions, those of our adversary or both".
      • Purpose: to explain what we are going to say
      • Length: should be lucid, and clear, and brief
      • Resolution:
        • "Redundance as a rule occurs through our dividing into species when it would be sufficient to divide into genera, or through the addition of species after stating the genus." (IV, v, 27). e.g. "'I will speak of virtue, justice and abstinence.' But justice and abstinence are species of tile genus virtue." (genus = general, formed by species, formed by many differentia)
        • "avoid excessive minuteness and any suggestion of articulated structure in our partition". 
        • "If our divisions are too small, they cease to be limbs and become fragments, and ... detract from the authority of our speech. ... those who are ambitious enhance the nicety and tile exhaustive nature of their division, introduce what is superfluous and subdivide things which naturally form a single whole. The result of their labours is, ... to diminish their importance, and after all is done and they have split up their argument into a thousand tiny compartments" (IV, V, 24-25)
      • Figures: “It has almost escaped me,” “I had forgotten,” or “You do well to remind me.”
  • Proofs (Causae): (IV, v)
    • Genus: Proofs
      • Genera: inartificial and artificial proofs
        • Species (of artificial proofs)
          1. indications (indicium): tekmeria (necessary), eikos (credible), semeion (not impossible).
          2. arguments: enthymeme, epicheireme, apodeixis
          3. examples: paradeigma (example: rethorical induction (epagoge)), parabolé (comparison), similes...
    • Artificial Proofs (V, viii): "wholly the work of art"
      1. Indications (indicium)
        1. tekmeria: these are indication from which there is no getting away (V, ix, 5). Some can be reversed, some cannot.
          • Future: > wounded man, will die.
          • Present: > high wind at sea, there must be waves.
          • Past: >  pregnant woman had intercourse.
        2. eikota: involve probabilities (non necessaria). Might not remove doubt by themselves but in conjunction with other indications.
        3. semeion (signumvestigium): sign, trace, symptoms such as weather related. "The force of such indications depends on the amount of extraneous support which they receive" (V, ix, 9).
      2. Arguments: 
        • Definitions
          • "is a process of reasoning which provides proof and enables one thing to be inferred from another and confirms facts which are uncertain by reference to facts which are certain"; "a method of proving what is not certain by means of what is certain".
          • "is that which provides proof" 
          • A warrant of credibility.
        • Sources of certainties 
          1. what is perceived by the senses.
          2. those things about which there is general agreement.
          3. things established by law or current usage.
        • Degrees of credibility: "it is with credibility that the great majority of arguments are concerned"
          1. highest: what usually happens: "father loves son"
          2. highly probable (propensius): "man in good health will be alive tomorrow".
          3. nothing against: 
        • Types of arguments:
          1. Enthymemata: Conclusion from incompatibles, or incomplete syllogism. 
          2. Epycheiremata: conclusion from consequents
          3. Apodeixis: A clear proof like those of the geometricians.
        • Places or Regions of Arguments (loci communes or koinoi topoi) (V, x, 20)
          1. Persons
          2. Things (and its accidents)
            1. causes, 
            2. place and 
            3. time 
              1. preceding, 
              2. contemporary and 
              3. subsequent), 
            4. from resources 
              1. instruments
            5. from manner 
            6. definition: genus, species, difference, property, elimination, division, beginnings, increase, consummation, likes, unlikes, contradictions, consequents, efficients, effects, results, and comparison
to be continued...

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