On invention/Book 1

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On invention by Marcus Tullius Cicero
Book 1
Translation by C. D. Yonge (1853)

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I Have often and deeply resolved this question in my mind, whether fluency of language has been beneficial or injurious to men and to cities, with reference to the cultivation of the highest order of eloquence. For when I consider the disasters of our own republic, and when I call to mind also the ancient calamities of the most important states, I see that it is by no means the most insignificant portion of their distresses which has originated from the conduct of the most eloquent men. But, at the same time, when I set myself to trace back, by the aid of written memorials and documents, affairs which, by reason of their antiquity, are removed back out of the reach of any personal recollection, I perceive also that many cities have been established, many wars extinguished, many most enduring alliances and most holy friendships have been cemented by deliberate wisdom much assisted and facilitated by eloquence. And as I have been, as I say, considering all this for some time, reason itself especially induces me to think that wisdom without eloquence is but of little advantage to states, but that eloquence without wisdom is often most mischievous, and is never advantageous to them.

If then any one, neglecting all the most virtuous and honourable considerations of wisdom and duty, devotes his whole attention to the practice of speaking, that man is training himself to become useless to himself, and a citizen mischievous to his country; but a man who arms himself with eloquence in such a manner as not to oppose the advantage of his country, but to be able to contend in behalf of them, he appears to me to be one who both as a man and a citizen will be of the greatest service to his own and the general interests, and most devoted to his country.

And if we are inclined to consider the origin of this thing which is called eloquence, whether it be a study, or an art, or some peculiar sort of training or some faculty given us by nature, we shall find that it has arisen from most honourable causes, and that it proceeds on the most excellent principles.


For there was a time when men wandered at random over the fields, after the fashion of beasts, and supported life on the food of beasts; nor did they do anything by means of the reasoning powers of the mind; but almost everything by bodily strength. No attention was as yet paid to any considerations of the religious reverence due to the gods, or of the duties which are owed to mankind: no one had ever seen any legitimate marriages, no one had beheld any children whose parentage was indubitable; nor had any one any idea what great advantage there might be in a system of equal law. And so, owing to error and ignorance, cupidity, that blind and rash sovereign of the mind, abused its bodily strength, that most pernicious of servants, for the purpose of gratifying itself. At this time then a man,(1) a great and a wise man truly was he, perceived what materials there were, and what great fitness there was in the minds of men for the most important affairs, if any one could only draw it out, and improve it by education. He, laying down a regular system, collected men, who were previously dispersed over the fields and hidden in habitations in the woods into one place, and united them, and leading them on to every useful and honourable pursuit, though, at first, from not being used to it they raised an outcry against it; he gradually, as they became more eager to listen to him on account of his wisdom and eloquence, made them gentle and civilized from having been savage and brutal. And it certainly seems to me that no wisdom which was silent and destitute of skill in speaking could have had such power as to turn men on a sudden from their previous customs, and to lead them to the adoption of a different system of life. And, moreover, after cities had been established how could men possibly have been induced to learn to cultivate integrity and to maintain justice, and to be accustomed willingly to obey others, and to think it right not only to encounter toil for the sake of the general advantage, but even to run the risk of losing their lives, if men had not been able to persuade them by eloquence of the truth of those principles which they had discovered by philosophy? Undoubtedly no one, if it had not been that he was influenced by dignified and sweet eloquence, would ever have chosen to condescend to appeal to law without violence, when he was the most powerful party of the two as far as strength went; so as to allow himself now to be put on a level with those men among whom he might have been preeminent, and of his own free will to abandon a custom most pleasant to him, and one which by reason of its antiquity had almost the force of nature.

And this is how eloquence appears to have originated at first, and to have advanced to greater perfection; and also, afterwards, to have become concerned in the most important transactions of peace and war, to the greatest advantage of mankind. But after that a certain sort of complaisance, a false copyist of virtue, without any consideration for real duty, arrived at some fluency of language, then wickedness, relying on ability, began to overturn cities, and to undermine the principles of human life.


And, since we have mentioned the origin of the good done by eloquence, let us explain also the beginning of this evil.

It appears exceedingly probable to me that was a time when men who were destitute of eloquence and wisdom, were not accustomed to meddle with affairs of state, and when also great and eloquent men were not used to concern themselves about private causes; but, while the most important transactions were managed by the most eminent and able men, I think that there were others also, and those not very incompetent, who attended to the trifling disputes of private individuals; and as in these disputes it often happened that men had recourse to lies, and tried by such means to oppose the truth, constant practice in speaking encouraged audacity, so that it became unavoidable that those other more eminent men should, on account of the injuries sustained by the citizens, resist the audacious and come to the assistance of their own individual friends.

Therefore, as that man had often appeared equal in speaking, and sometimes even superior, who having neglected the study of wisdom, had laboured to acquire nothing except eloquence, it happened that in the judgment of the multitude he appeared a man worthy to conduct even the affairs of the state. And hence it arose, and it is no wonder that it did, when rash and audacious men had seized on the helm of the republic, that great and terrible disasters occurred. Owing to which circumstances, eloquence fell under so much odium and unpopularity that the ablest men, (like men who seek a harbour to escape from some violent tempest) devoted themselves to any quiet pursuit, as a refuge from a life of sedition and tumult. So that other virtuous and honourable pursuits appear to me to have become popular subsequently from having been cultivated in tranquillity by excellent men, but that this pursuit having been abandoned by most of them, grew out of fashion and obsolete at the very time when it should have been more eagerly retained and more anxiously encouraged and strengthened.

For the more scandalously the temerity and audacity of foolish and worthless men was violating a most honourable and virtuous system, to the excessive injury of the republic, the more studiously did it become others to resist them, and to consult the welfare of the republic.


And this principle which I have just laid down did not escape the notice of Cato, nor of Laelus, nor of their pupil, as I may fairly call him, Africanus, nor of the Gracchi the grandson of Africanus; men in whom there was consummate virtue and authority increased by their consummate virtue and eloquence, which might serve as an ornament to these qualities, and as a protection to the republic. Wherefore, in my opinion at least, men ought not the less to devote themselves to eloquence, although some men both in private and public affairs misuse it in a perverse manner; but I think rather that they should apply themselves to it with the more eagerness, in order to prevent wicked men from getting the greatest power to the exceeding injury of the good, and the common calamity of all men; especially as this is the only thing which is of the greatest influence on all affairs both public and private; and as it is by this same quality that life is rendered safe, and honourable, and illustrious, and pleasant. For it is from this source that the most numerous advantages accrue to the republic, if only it be accompanied by wisdom, that governor of all human affairs. From this source it is that praise and honour and dignity flow towards all those who have acquired it; from this source it is that the most certain and the safest defence is provided for their friends. And, indeed, it appears to me, that it is on this particular that men, who in many points are weaker and lower than the beasts, are especially superior to them, namely, in being able to speak.

Wherefore, that man appears to me to have acquired an excellent endowment, who is superior to other men in that very thing in which men are superior to beasts. And if this art is acquired not by nature only, not by mere practice, but also by a sort of regular system of education, it appears to me not foreign to our purpose to consider what those men say who have left us some precepts on the subject of the attainment of it.

But, before we begin to speak of oratorical precepts, I think we must say something of the nature of the art itself; of its duty, of its end, of its materials, and of its divisions. For when we have ascertained those points, then each man's mind will, with the more ease and readiness, be able to comprehend the system itself, and the path which leads to excellence in it.


There is a certain political science which is made up of many and important particulars. A very great and extensive portion of it is artificial eloquence, which men call rhetoric. For we do not agree with those men who think that the knowledge of political science is in no need of and has no connexion with eloquence; and we most widely disagree with those, on the other hand, who think that all political ability is comprehended under the skill and power of a rhetorician. On which account we will place this oratorical ability in such a class as to assert that it is a part of political science. But the duty of this faculty appears to be to speak in a manner suitable to persuading men; the end of it is to persuade by language. And there is difference between the duty of this faculty and its end; that with respect to the duty we consider what ought to be done; with respect to the end we consider what is suitable to the duty. Just as we say, that it is the duty of a physician to prescribe for a patient in a way calculated to cure him; and that his end is to cure him by his prescriptions. And so we shall understand what we are to call the duty of an orator; and also what we are to call his end; since we shall call that his duty which he ought to do, and we shall term that his end for the sake of which he is bound to do his duty.

We shall call that the material of the art, on which the whole art, and all that ability which is derived from art, turns. Just as if we were to call diseases and wounds the material of medicine, because it is about them that all medical science is concerned. And in like manner, we call those subjects with which oratorical science and ability is conversant the materials of the art of rhetoric. And these subjects some have considered more numerous, and others less so. For Gorgias the Leontine, who is almost the oldest of all rhetoricians, considered that an orator was able to speak in the most excellent manner of all men on every subject. And when he says this he seems to be supplying an infinite and boundless stock of materials to this art. But Aristotle, who of all men has supplied the greatest number of aids and ornaments to this art, thought that the duty of the rhetorician was conversant with three kinds of subjects; with the demonstrative, and the deliberative, and the judicial.

The demonstrative is that which concerns itself with the praise or blame of some particular individual; the deliberative is that which, having its place in discussion and in political debate, comprises a deliberate statement of one's opinion; the judicial is that which, having its place in judicial proceedings, comprehends the topics of accusation and defence; or of demand and refusal. And, as our own opinion at least inclines, the art and ability of the orator must be understood to be conversant with these tripartite materials.


For Hermagoras, indeed, appears neither to attend to what he is saying, nor to understand what he is promising; for he divides the materials of an orator into the cause, and the examination. The cause he defines to be a thing which has in itself a controversy of language united with the interposition of certain characters. And that part, we too say, is assigned to the orator; for we give him those three parts which we have already mentioned,—the judicial, the deliberative, and the demonstrative. But the examination he defines to be that thing which has in itself a controversy of language, without the interposition of any particular characters; in this way .—"Whether there is anything good besides honesty?"— "Whether the senses may be trusted?"—"What is the shape of the world?"—"What is the size of the sun?" But I imagine that all men can easily see that all such questions are far removed from the business of an orator; for it appears the excess of insanity to attribute those subjects, in which we know that the most sublime genius of philosophers has been exhausted with infinite labour, as if they were inconsiderable matters, to a rhetorician or an orator.

But if Hermagoras himself had had any great acquaintance with these subjects, acquired with long study and training, then it would be supposed that he, from relying on his own knowledge, had laid down some false principles respecting the duty of an orator, and had explained not what his art could effect, but what he himself could do. But as it is, the character of the man is such, that any one would be much more inclined to deny him any knowledge of rhetoric, than to grant him any acquaintance with philosophy. Nor do I say this because the book on the art which he published appears to me to have been written with any particular incorrectness, (for, indeed, he appears to me to have shown very tolerable ingenuity and diligence in arranging topics which he had collected from ancient writings on the subject, and also to have advanced some new theories himself,) but it is the least part of the business of an orator to speak concerning his art, which is what he has done: his business is rather to speak from his art, which is what we all see that this Hermagoras was very little able to do. And so that, indeed, appears to us to be the proper materials of rhetoric, which we have said appeared to be such to Aristotle.


And these are the divisions of it, as numerous writers have laid them down: Invention; Arrangement; Elocution; Memory; Delivery. Invention, is the conceiving of topics either true or probable, which may make one's cause appear probable; Arrangement, is the distribution of the topics which have been thus conceived with regular order; Elocution, is the adaptation of suitable words and sentences to the topics so conceived; Memory, is the lasting sense in the mind of the matters and words corresponding to the reception of these topics. Delivery, is a regulating of the voice and body in a manner suitable to the dignity of the subjects spoken of and of the language employed.

Now, that these matters have been briefly defined, we may postpone to another time those considerations by which we may be able to elucidate the character and the duty and the object of this art; for they would require a very long argument, and they have no very intimate connexion with the definition of the art and the delivery of precepts relating to it. But we consider that the man who writes a treatise on the art of rhetoric ought to write about two other subjects also; namely, about the materials of the art, and about its divisions. And it seems, indeed, that we ought to treat of the materials and divisions of this art at the same time. Wherefore, let us first consider what sort of quality invention ought to be, which is the most important of all the divisions, and which applies to every description of cause in which an orator can be engaged.


Every subject which contains in itself any controversy existing either in language or in disputation, contains a question either about a fact, or about a name, or about a class, or about an action. Therefore, that investigation out of which a cause arises we call a stating of a case. A stating of a case is the first conflict of causes arising from a repulse of an accusation; in this way. "You did so and so;"—"I did not do so;" —or, "it was lawful for me to do so." When there is a dispute as to the fact, since the cause is confirmed by conjectures, it is called a conjectural statement. But when it is a dispute as to a name, because the force of a name is to be defined by words, it is then styled a definitive statement. But when the thing which is sought to be ascertained is what is the character of the matter under consideration, because it is a dispute about violence, and about the character of the affair; it is called a general statement. But when the cause depends on this circumstance, either that that man does not seem to plead who ought to plead, or that he does not plead with that man with whom he ought to plead, or that he does not plead before the proper people, at the proper time, in accordance with the proper law, urging the proper charge, and demanding the infliction of the proper penalty, then it is called a statement by way of demurrer; because the arguing of the case appears to stand in need of a demurrer and also of some alteration. And some one or other of these sorts of statement must of necessity be incidental to every cause. For if there be any one to which it is not incidental, in that there can be no dispute at all; on which account it has no right even to be considered a cause at all.

And a dispute as to fact may be distributed over every sort of time. For as to what has been done, an inquiry can be instituted in this way—"whether Ulysses slew Ajax;" and as to what is being done, in this way—"whether the people of Tregellae are well affected towards the Roman people; "and as to what is going to happen, in this way—" if we leave Carthage uninjured, whether any inconvenience will accrue to the republic."

It is a dispute about a name, when parties are agreed as to the fact, and when the question is by what name that which has been done is to be designated. In which class of dispute it is inevitable on that account that there should be a dispute as to the name; not because the parties are not agreed about the fact, not because the fact is not notorious, but because that which has been done appears in a different light to different people, and on that account one calls it by one name and another by another. Wherefore, in disputes of this kind the matter must be defined by words, and described briefly; as, for instance, if any one has stolen any sacred vessel from a private place, whether he is to be considered a sacrilegious person, or a simple thief. For when that is inquired into, it is necessary to define both points—what is a thief, and what is a sacrilegious person,—and to show by one's own description that the matter which is under discussion ought to be called by a different name from that which the opposite party apply to it.


The dispute about kind is, when it is agreed both what has been done, and when there is no question as to the name by which it ought to be designated; and nevertheless there is a question of what importance the matter is, and of what sort it is, and altogether of what character it is; in this way,—whether it be just or unjust; whether it be useful or useless; and as to all other circumstances with reference to which there is any question what is the character of that which has been done, without there being any dispute as to its name. Hermagoras assigned four divisions to this sort of dispute: the deliberative, the demonstrative, the judicial, and the one relating to facts. And, as it seems to us, this was no ordinary blunder of his, and one which it is incumbent on us to reprove; though we may do so briefly, lest, if we were to pass it over in silence, we might be thought to have had no good reason for abandoning his guidance; or if we were to dwell too long on this point, we might appear to have interposed a delay and an obstacle to the other precepts which we wish to lay down.

If deliberation and demonstration are kinds of causes, then the divisions of any one kind cannot rightly be considered causes; for the same matter may appear to be a class to one person, and a division to another; but it cannot appear both a class and a division to the same person. But deliberation and demonstration are kinds of argument; for either there is no kind of argument at all, or there is the judicial kind alone, or there are all three kinds, the judicial and the demonstrative and the deliberative. Now, to say there is no kind of argument at the same time that he says that there are many arguments, and is giving precepts for them, is foolishness. How, too, is it possible that there should be one kind only, namely the judicial, when deliberation and demonstration in the first place do not resemble one another, and are exceedingly different from the judicial kind, and have each their separate object to which they ought to be referred. It follows, then, that there are three kinds of arguments. Deliberation and demonstration cannot properly be considered divisions of any kind of argument. He was wrong, therefore, when he said that they were divisions of a general statement of the case.


But if they cannot properly be considered divisions of a kind of argument, much less can they properly be considered divisions of a division of an argument. But all statement of the case is a division of an argument. For the argument is not adapted to the statement of the case, but the statement of the case is adapted to the argument. But demonstration and deliberation cannot be properly considered divisions of a kind of argument, because they are separate kinds of arguments themselves. Much less can they properly be considered divisions of that division, as he calls them. In the next place, if the statement of the case, both itself as a whole, and also any portion of that statement, is a repelling of an accusation, then that which is not a repelling of an accusation is neither a statement of a case, nor a portion of a statement of a case; but if that which is not a repelling of an attack is not a statement of a case, nor a portion of a statement of a case, then deliberation and demonstration are neither a statement of a case, nor a portion of a statement of a case. If, therefore, a statement of a case, whether it be the whole statement or some portion of it, be a repelling of an accusation, then deliberation and demonstration are neither a statement of a case, nor any portion of such statement. But he himself asserts that it is a repelling of an accusation. He must therefore assert also that demonstration and deliberation are neither a statement of a case, nor a portion of such a statement. And he will be pressed by the same argument whether he calls the statement of a case the original assertion of his cause by the accuser, or the first speech in answer to such accusation by the advocate of the defence. For all the same difficulties will attend him in either case.

In the next place a conjectural argument cannot, as to the same portion of it, be at the same time both a conjectural one and a definitive one. Again, a definitive argument cannot, as to the same portion of it, be at the same time both a definitive argument and one in the form and character of a demurrer. And altogether, no statement of a case, and no portion of such a statement, can at one and the same time both have its own proper force and also contain the force of another kind of argument. Because each kind of argument is considered simply by its own merits, and according to its own nature; and if any other kind be united with it, then it is the number of statements of a case that is doubled, and not the power of the statement that is increased.

But a deliberative argument, both as to the same portion of it and also at the same time, very frequently has a statement of its case both conjectural, and general, and definitive and in the nature of a demurrer; and at times it contains only one statement, and at times it contains many such. Therefore it is not itself a statement of the case, nor a division of such statement: and the same thing must be the case with respect to demonstration. These, then, as I have said before, must be considered kinds of argument, and not divisions of any statement of the subject.


This statement of the case then, which we call the general one, appears to us to have two divisions,—one judicial and one relating to matters of fact. The judicial one is that in which the nature of right and wrong, or the principles of reward and punishment, are inquired into. The one relating to matters of fact is that in which the thing taken into consideration is what is the law according to civil precedent, and according to equity; and that is the department in which lawyers are considered by us to be especially concerned.

And the judicial kind is itself also distributed under two divisions,—one absolute, and one which takes in something besides as an addition, and which may be called assumptive. The absolute division is that which of itself contains in itself an inquiry into right and wrong. The assumptive one is that which of itself supplies no firm ground for objection, but which takes to itself some topics for defence derived from extraneous circumstances. And its divisions are four,—concession, removal of the accusation from oneself, a retorting of the accusation, and comparison. Concession when the person on his trial does not defend the deed that has been done, but entreats to be pardoned for it: and this again is divided into two parts,—purgation and deprecation. Purgation is when the fact is admitted, but when the guilt of the fact is sought to be done away. And this may be on three grounds,—of ignorance, of accident, or of necessity. Deprecation is when the person on his trial confesses that he has done wrong, and that he has done wrong on purpose, and nevertheless entreats to be pardoned. But this kind of address can be used but very rarely.

Removal of the accusation from oneself is when the person on his trial endeavours by force of argument and by influence to remove the charge which is brought against him from himself to another, so that it may not fix him himself with any guilt at all. And that can be done in two ways,—if either the cause of the deed, or the deed itself, is attributed to another. The cause is attributed to another when it is said that the deed was done in consequence of the power and influence of another; but the deed itself is attributed to another when it is said that another either might have done it, or ought to have done it. The retorting of an accusation takes place when what is done is said to have been lawfully done because another had previously provoked the doer wrongfully. Comparison is, when it is argued that some other action has been a right or an advantageous one, and then it is contended that this deed which is now impeached was committed in order to facilitate the accomplishment of that useful action.

In the fourth kind of statement of a case, which we call the one which assumes the character of a demurrer, that sort of statement contains a dispute, in which an inquiry is opened who ought to be the accuser or pleader, or against whom, or in what manner, or before whom, or under what law, or at what time the accusation ought to be brought forward; or when something is urged generally tending to alter the nature of, or to invalidate the whole accusation. Of this kind of statement of a case Hermagoras is considered the inventor: not that many of the ancient orators have not frequently employed it, but because former writers on the subject have not taken any notice of it, and have not entered it among the number of statements of cases. But since it has been thus invented by Hermagoras, many people have found fault with it, whom we considered not so much to be deceived by ignorance (for indeed the matter is plain enough) as to be hindered from admitting the truth by some envy or fondness for detaction.


We have now then mentioned the different kinds of statements of cases, and their several divisions. But we think that we shall be able more conveniently to give instances of each kind, when we are furnishing a store of arguments for each kind. For so the system of arguing will be more clear, when it can be at once applied both to the general classification and to the particular instance.

When the statement of the case is once ascertained, then it is proper at once to consider whether the argument be a simple or a complex one; and if it be a complex one, whether it is made up of many subjects of inquiry, or of some comparison. That is a simple statement which contains in itself one plain question, in this way:—"Shall we declare war against the Corinthians, or not?" That is a complex statement consisting of several questions in which many inquiries are made, in this way:—"Whether Carthage shall be destroyed, or whether it shall be restored to the Carthaginians, or whether a colony shall be led thither." Comparison is a statement in which inquiry is raised in the way of contest, which course is more preferable, or which is the most preferable course of all, in this way:—"Whether we had better send an army into Macedonia against Philip, to serve as an assistance to our allies; or whether we had better retain it in Italy, in order that we may have as numerous forces as possible to oppose to Hannibal." In the next place, we must consider whether the dispute turns on general reasoning, or on written documents; for a controversy with respect to written documents, is one which arises out of the nature of the writing.


And of that there are five kinds which have been separated from statements of cases. For when the language of the writing appears to be at variance with the intention of the writer, then two laws or more seem to differ from one another, and then, too, that which has been written appears to signify two things or more. Then also, from that which is written, something else appears to be discovered also, which is not written; and also the effect of the expressions used is inquired into, as if it were in the definitive statement of the case, in which it has been placed. Wherefore, the first kind is that concerning the written document and the intention of it; the second arises from the laws which are contrary to one another; the third is ambiguous; the fourth is argumentative; the fifth we call definitive.

But reason applies when the whole of the inquiry does not turn on the writing, but on some arguing concerning the writing. But, then, when the kind of argument has been duly considered, and when the statement of the case has been fully understood; when you have become aware whether it is simple or complex, and when you have ascertained whether the question turns on the letter of the writing or on general reasoning; then it is necessary to see what is the question, what is the reasoning, what is the system of examining into the excuses alleged, what means there are of establishing one's own allegations; and all these topics must be derived from the original statement of the case. What I call "the question" is the dispute which arises from the conflict of the two statements in this way. "You have not done this lawfully;" "I have done it lawfully." And this is the conflict of arguments, and on this the statement of the case hinges. It arises, therefore, from that kind of dispute which we call "the question," in this way:—" Whether he did so and so lawfully." The reasoning is that which embraces the whole cause; and if that be taken away, then there is no dispute remaining behind in the cause. In this way, in order that for the sake of explaining myself more clearly, I may content myself with an easy and often quoted instance. If Orestes be accused of matricide, unless he says this, "I did it rightfully, for she had murdered my father," he has no defence at all. And if his defence be taken away, then all dispute is taken away also. The principle of his argument then is that she murdered Agamemnon. The examination of this defence is then a dispute which arises out of the attempts to invalidate or to establish this argument. For the argument itself may be considered sufficiently explained, since we dwelt upon it a little while ago. "For she," says he, "had murdered my father." "But," says the adversary, " for all that it was not right for your mother to be put to death by you who were her son; for her act might have been punished without your being guilty of wickedness."


From this mode of bringing forward evidence, arises that last kind of dispute which we call the judication, or examination of the excuses alleged. And that is of this kind: whether it was right that his mother should be put to death by Orestes, because she had put to death Orestes's father?

Now proof by testimony is the firmest sort of reasoning that can be used by an advocate in defence, and it is also the best adapted for the examination of any excuse which may be alleged. For instance, if Orestes were inclined to say that the disposition of his mother had been such towards his father, towards himself and his sisters, towards the kingdom, and towards the reputation of his race and family, that her children were of all people in the world the most bound to inflict punishment upon her. And in all other statements of cases, examinations of excuses alleged are found to be carried on in this manner. But in a conjectural statement of a case, because there is no express evidence, for the fact is not admitted at all, the examination of the defence put forward cannot arise from the bringing forward of evidence. Wherefore, it is inevitable that in this case the question and the judication must be the same thing. As "it was done," "it was not done." The question is whether it was done.

But it must invariably happen that there will be the same number of questions, and arguments, and examinations, and evidences employed in a cause, as there are statements of the case or divisions of such statements. When all these things are found in a cause, then at length each separate division of the whole cause must be considered. For it does not seem that those points are necessarily to be first noticed, which have been the first stated; because you must often deduce those arguments which are stated first, at least if you wish them to be exceedingly coherent with one another and to be consistent with the cause, from those arguments which are to be stated subsequently. Wherefore, when the examination of the excuses alleged, and all those arguments which require to be found out for the purpose of such examination have been diligently found out by the rules of art, and handled with due care and deliberation, then at length we may proceed to arrange the remaining portions of our speech. And these portions appear to us to be in all six; the exordium, the relation of the fact, the division of the different circumstances and topics, the bringing forward of evidence, the finding fault with the action which has been done, and the peroration.

At present, since the exordium ought to be the main thing of all, we too will first of all give some precepts to lead to a system of opening a case properly.


An exordium is an address bringing the mind of the hearer into a suitable state to receive the rest of the speech; and that will be effected if it has rendered him well disposed towards the speaker, attentive, and willing to receive information. Wherefore, a man who is desirous to open a cause well, must of necessity be beforehand thoroughly acquainted with the nature and kind of cause which he has to conduct. Now the kinds of causes are five; one honourable, one astonishing, one low, one doubtful, one obscure. The kind of cause which is called honourable, is such an one as the disposition of the hearer favours at once, without waiting to hear our speech. The kind that is astonishing, is that from which the mind of those who are about to hear us has been alienated. The kind which is low, is one which is disregarded by the hearer, or which does not seem likely to be carefully attended to. The kind which is doubtful, is that in which either the examination into the excuses alleged is doubtful, or the cause itself, being partly honourable and partly discreditable; so as to produce partly good-will and partly disinclination. The kind which is obscure, is that in which either the hearers are slow, or in which the cause itself is entangled in a multitude of circumstances hard to be thoroughly acquainted with. Wherefore, since there are so many kinds of causes, it is necessary to open one's case on a very different system in each separate kind. Therefore, the exordium is divided into two portions, first of all a beginning, and secondly language calculated to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers. The beginning is an address, in plain words, immediately rendering the hearer well disposed towards one, or inclined to receive information, or attentive The language calculated to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers, is an address which employs a certain dissimulation, and which by a circuitous route as it were obscurely creeps into the affections of the hearer

In the kind of cause which we have called astonishing, if the hearers be not positively hostile, it will be allowable by the beginning of the speech to endeavour to secure their good-will. But if they be excessively alienated from one, then it will be necessary to have recourse to endeavours to insinuate oneself into their good graces. For if peace and good-will be openly sought for from those who are enemies to one, they not only are not obtained, but the hatred which they bear one is even inflamed and increased. But in the kind of cause which I have called low, for the sake of removing his contempt it will be indispensable to render the hearer attentive. The kind of cause which has been styled doubtful, if it embraces an examination into the excuses alleged, which is also doubtful, must derive its exordium from that very examination; but if it have some things in it of a creditable nature, and some of a discreditable character, then it will be expedient to try and secure the good-will of the hearer, so that the cause may change its appearance, and seem to be an honourable one. But when the kind of cause is the honourable kind, then the exordium may either be passed over altogether, or if it be convenient, we may begin either with a relation of the business in question, or with a statement of the law, or with any other argument which must be brought forward in the course of our speech, and on which we most greatly rely; or if we choose to employ an exordium, then we must avail ourselves of the good-will already existing towards us, in order that that which does exist may be strengthened.


In the kind of cause which I have called obscure, it will be advisable to render the hearers inclined to receive instruction by a carefully prepared exordium. Now, since it has been already explained what effect is to be sought to be produced by the exordium, it remains for us to show by what arguments all such effects may be produced.

Good-will is produced by dwelling on four topics:—on one derived from our own character, from that of our adversaries, from that of the judges, and from the cause itself. From our own character, if we manage so as to speak of our own actions and services without arrogance; if we refute the charges which have been brought against us, and any other suspicions in the least discreditable which it may be endeavoured to attach to us; if we dilate upon the inconveniences which have already befallen us, or the difficulties which are still impending over us; if we have recourse to prayers and to humble and suppliant entreaty. From the character of our adversaries, if we are able to bring them either into hatred, or into unpopularity, or into contempt. They will be brought into hatred, if any action of theirs can be adduced which has been lascivious, or arrogant, or cruel, or malignant. They will be made unpopular, if we can dilate upon their violent behaviour, their power, their riches, their numerous kinsmen, their wealth, and their arrogant and intolerable use of all these sources of influence; so that they may appear rather to trust to these circumstances than to the merits of their cause. They will be brought into contempt, if sloth, or negligence, or idleness, or indolent pursuits, or luxurious tranquillity can be alleged against them. Good-will will be procured, derived from the character of the hearers themselves, if exploits are mentioned which have been performed by them with bravery, or wisdom, or humanity; so that no excessive flattery shall appear to be addressed to them; and if it is plainly shown how high and honourable their reputation is, and how anxious is the expectation with which men look for their decision and authority. Or from the circumstances themselves, if we extol our own cause with praises, and disparage that of the opposite party by contemptuous allusions.

But we shall make our hearers attentive, if we show that the things which we are going to say and to speak of are important, and unusual, and incredible; and that they concern either all men, or those who are our present hearers, or some illustrious men, or the immortal gods, or the general interests of the republic. And if we promise that we will in a very short time prove our own cause; and if we explain the whole of the examination into the excuses alleged, or the different examinations, if there be more than one.

We shall render our hearers willing to receive information, if we explain the sum total of the cause with plainness and brevity, that is to say, the point on which the dispute hinges. For when you wish to make a hearer inclined to receive information you must also render him attentive. For he is above all men willing to receive information who is prepared to listen with the greatest attention.


The next thing which it seems requisite to speak of, is, how topics intended to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers ought to be handled. We must then use such a sort of address as that when the kind of cause which we are conducting is that which I have called astonishing; that is to say, as I have stated before, when the disposition of the hearer is adverse to one. And that generally arises from one of three causes: either if there be any thing discreditable in the cause itself, or if any such belief appears to have been already instilled into the hearer by those who have spoken previously; or if one is appointed to speak at a time when those who have got to listen to one are wearied with hearing others. For sometimes when one is speaking, the mind of the hearer is alienated from one no less by this circumstance than by the two former.

If the discreditable nature of one's cause excites the ill-will of one's hearers, or if it be desirable to substitute for the man on whom they look unfavourably another man to whom they are attached; or, for the matter they regard with dislike, another matter of which they approve; or if it be desirable to substitute a person for a thing, or a thing for a person, in order that the mind of the hearer may be led away from that which he hates to that which he loves; and if your object is to conceal from view the fact that you are about to defend that person or action which you are supposed to be going to defend; and then, when the hearer has been rendered more propitious, to enter gradually on the defence, and to say that those things at which the opposite party is indignant appear scandalous to you also; and then, when you have propitiated him who is to listen to you, to show that none of all those things at all concern you, and to deny that you are going to say anything whatever respecting the opposite party whether it be good or bad; so as not openly to attack those men who are loved by your hearers, and yet doing it secretly as far as you can to alienate from them the favourable disposition of your hearers; and at the same time to mention the judgment of some other judges in a similar case, or to quote the authority of some others as worthy of imitation; and then to show that it is the very same point, or one very like it, or one of greater or less importance, (as the case may make it expedient,) which is in question at present.

If the speech of your adversaries appears to have made an impression on your hearers, which is a thing which will be very easily ascertained by a man who understands what are the topics by which an impression is made; then it is requisite to promise that you will speak first of all on that point which the opposite party consider their especial stronghold, or else to begin with a reference to what has been said by the adversary, and especially to what he said last; or else to appear to doubt, and to feel some perplexity and astonishment as to what you had best say first, or what argument it is desirable to reply to first—for when a hearer sees the man whom the opposite party believe to be thrown into perplexity by their speech prepared with unshaken firmness to reply to it, he is generally apt to think that he has assented to what has been said without sufficient consideration, rather than that the present speaker is confident without due grounds. But if fatigue has alienated the mind of the hearer from your cause, then it is advantageous to promise to speak more briefly than you had been prepared to speak; and that you will not imitate your adversary.

If the case admit of it, it is not disadvantageous to begin with some new topic, or with some one which may excite laughter; or with some argument which has arisen from the present moment; of which kind are any sudden noise or exclamation; or with something which you have already prepared, which may embrace some apologue, or fable, or other laughable circumstance. Or, if the dignity of the subject shall seem inconsistent with jesting, in that case it is not disadvantageous to throw in something sad, or novel, or terrible. For as satiety of food and disgust is either relieved by some rather bitter taste, or is at times appeased by a sweet taste; so a mind weary with listening is either reinstated in its strength by astonishment, or else is refreshed by laughter


And these are pretty nearly the main things which it appeared desirable to say separately concerning the exordium of a speech, and the topics which an orator should use for the purpose of insinuating himself into the good grace of his hearers. And now it seems desirable to lay down some brief rules which may apply to both in common.

An exordium ought to have a great deal of sententiousness and gravity in it, and altogether to embrace all things which have a reference to dignity; because that is the most desirable effect to be produced which in the greatest degree recommends the speaker to his hearer. It should contain very little brilliancy, or wit, or elegance of expression, because from these qualities there always arises a suspicion of preparation and artificial diligence: and that is an idea which above all others takes away credit from a speech, and authority from a speaker.

But the following are the most ordinary faults to be found in an exordium, and those it is above all things desirable to avoid. It must not be vulgar, common, easily changed, long, unconnected, borrowed, nor must it violate received rules. What I mean by vulgar, is one which may be so adapted to numerous causes as to appear to suit them all. That is common, which appears to be able to be adapted no less to one side of the argument than to the other. That is easily changed, which with a slight alteration may be advanced by the adversary on the other side of the question. That is long, which is spun out by a superfluity of words or sentences far beyond what is necessary. That is unconnected, which is not derived from the cause itself, and is not joined to the whole speech as a limb is to the body. That is borrowed, which effects some other end than that which the kind of cause under discussion requires; as if a man were to occupy himself in rendering his hearer inclined to receive information, when the cause requires him only to be well disposed towards the speaker: or, if a man uses a formal beginning of a speech, when what the subject requires is an address by which the speaker may insinuate himself into the good graces of his hearer. That is contrary to received rules, which effects no one of those objects for the sake of which the rules concerning exordiums have been handed down. This is the sort of blunder which renders him who hears it neither well disposed to one, nor inclined to receive information, nor attentive; or (and that indeed is the most disastrous effect of all) renders him of a totally contrary disposition. And now we have said enough about the exordium.


Narration is an explanation of acts that have been done, or of acts as if they have been done. There are three kinds of narration. One kind is that in which the cause itself and the whole principle of the dispute is contained. Another is that in which some digression, unconnected with the immediate argument, is interposed, either for the sake of criminating another, or of instituting a comparison, or of provoking some mirth not altogether unsuitable to the business under discussion, or else for the sake of amplification. The third kind is altogether foreign to civil causes, and is uttered or written for the sake of entertainment, combined with its giving practice, which is not altogether useless. Of this last there are two divisions, the one of which is chiefly conversant about things, and the other about persons. That which is concerned in the discussion and explanation of things has three parts, fable, history, and argument. Fable is that in which statements are expressed which are neither true not probable, as is this—

"Huge winged snakes, join'd by one common yoke."

History is an account of exploits which have been performed, removed from the recollection of our own age; of which sort is the statement, "Appius declared war against the Carthaginians." Argument is an imaginary case, which still might have happened. Such is this in Terence—

"For after Sosia became a man."

But that sort of narration which is conversant about persons, is of such a sort that in it not only the facts themselves, but also the conversations of the persons concerned and their very minds can be thoroughly seen, in this way—

"And oft he came to me with mournful voice,
What is your aim, your conduct what? Oh why
Do you this youth with these sad arts destroy?
Why does he fall in love? Why seeks he wine,
And why do you from time to time supply
The means for such excess? You study dress
And folly of all kinds; while he, if left
To his own natural bent, is stern and strict,
Almost beyond the claims of virtue."

In this kind of narration there ought to be a great deal of cheerfulness wrought up out of the variety of circumstances; out of the dissimilarity of dispositions; out of gravity, lenity, hope, fear, suspicion, regret, dissimulation, error, pity, the changes of fortune, unexpected disaster, sudden joy, and happy results. But these embellishments may be derived from the precepts which will hereafter be laid down about elocution.

At present it seems best to speak of that kind of narration which contains an explanation of the cause under discussion.


It is desirable then that it should have three qualities; that it should be brief, open, and probable. It will be brief, if the beginning of it is derived from the quarter from which it ought to be; and if it is not endeavoured to be extracted from what has been last said, and if the speaker forbears to enumerate all the parts of a subject of which it is quite sufficient to state the total result;—for it is often sufficient to say what has been done, and there is no necessity for his relating how it was done;—and if the speaker does not in his narration go on at a greater length than there is any occasion for, as far as the mere imparting of knowledge is concerned; and if he does not make a digression to any other topic; and if he states his case in such a way, that sometimes that which has not been said may be understood from that which has been said; and if he passes over not only such topics as may be injurious, but those too which are neither injurious nor profitable; and if he repeats nothing more than once; and if he does not at once begin with that topic which was last mentioned;—and the imitation of brevity takes in many people, so that, when they think that they are being brief, they are exceedingly prolix, while they are taking pains to say many things with brevity, not absolutely to say but few things and no more than are necessary. For to many men a man appears to speak with brevity who says, "I went to the house; I called out the servant; he answered me; I asked for his master; he said that he was not at home." Here, although he could not have enumerated so many particulars more concisely, yet, because it would have been enough to say, "He said that he was not at home," he is prolix on account of the multitude of circumstances which he mentions. Wherefore, in this kind of narration also it is necessary to avoid the imitation of brevity, and we must no less carefully avoid a heap of unnecessary circumstances than a multitude of words.

But a narration will be able to be open, if those actions are explained first which have been done first, and if the order of transactions and times is preserved, so that the things are related as they have been done, or as it shall seem that they may have been done. And in framing this narration, it will be proper to take care that nothing be said in a confused or distorted manner; that no digression be made to any other subject; that the affair may not be traced too far back, nor carried too far forward; that nothing be passed over which is connected with the business in hand; and altogether the precepts which have been laid down about brevity, must be attended to in this particular also. For it often happens that the truth is but little understood, more by reason of the prolixity of the speaker, than of the obscurity of the statement. And it is desirable to use clear language, which is a point to be dwelt upon when we come to precepts for elocution.


A narration will be probable, if in it those characteristics are visible which are usually apparent in truth; if the dignity of the persons mentioned is preserved; if the causes of the actions performed are made plain; if it shall appear that there were facilities for performing them; if the time was suitable; if there was plenty of room; if the place is shown to have been suitable for the transaction which is the subject of the narration; if the whole business, in short, be adapted to the nature of those who plead, and to the reports bruited about among the common people, and to the preconceived opinions of those who hear. And if these principles be observed, the narration will appear like the truth.

But besides all this, it will be necessary to take care that such a narration be not introduced when it will he a hindrance, or when it will be of no advantage; and that it be not related in an unseasonable place, or in a manner which the cause does not require. It is a hindrance, when the very narration of what has been done comes at a time that the hearer has conceived great displeasure at something, which it will be expedient to mitigate by argument, and by pleading the whole cause carefully. And when this is the case, it will be desirable rather to scatter the different portions of the transactions limb by limb as it were over the cause, and, as promptly as may be, to adapt them to each separate argument, in order that there may be a remedy at hand for the wound, and that the defence advanced may at once mitigate the hatred which has arisen.

Again, a narration is of no advantage when, after our case has once been set forth by the opposite party, it is of no importance to relate it a second time or in another manner; or when the whole affair is so clearly comprehended by the hearers, as they believe at least that it can do us no good to give them information respecting it in another fashion. And when this is the case, it is best to abstain from any narration altogether. It is uttered in an unseasonable place, when it is not arranged in that part of the speech in which the case requires it; and concerning this kind of blunder we will speak when we come to mention the arrangement of the speech. For it is the general arrangement of the whole that this affects. It is not related in the manner which the cause requires, when either that point which is advantageous to the opposite party is explained in a clear and elegant manner, or when that which may be of benefit to the speaker is stated in an obscure or careless way. Wherefore, in order that this fault may be avoided, everything ought to be converted by the speaker to the advantage of his own cause, by passing over all things which make against it which can he passed over; by touching lightly on those points which are beneficial to the adversary, and by relating those which are advantageous to himself carefully and clearly. And now we seem to have said enough about narration. Let us now pass on in regular order to the arrangement of the different topics.


An arrangement of the subjects to be mentioned in an argument, when properly made, renders the whole oration clear and intelligible. There are two parts in such a division; each of which is especially connected with the opening of the cause, and with the arrangement of the whole discussion. One part is that which points out what are the particulars as to which one is in agreement with the opposite party, and also what remains in dispute; and from this there is a certain definite thing pointed out to the hearer, as that to which he should direct his attention. The other part is that in which the explanation of those matters on which we are about to speak, is briefly arranged and pointed out. And this causes the hearer to retain certain things in his mind, so as to understand that when they have been discussed the speech will be ended. At present it seems desirable to mention briefly how it is proper to use each kind of arrangement. And this arrangement points out what is suitable and what is not suitable; its duty is to turn that which is suitable to the advantage of its own side, in this way:—"I agree with the opposite party as to the fact, that a mother has been put to death by her son." Again, on the other side:—"We are both agreed that Agamemnon was slain by Clytaemnestra." For in saying this each speaker has laid down that proposition which was suitable, and nevertheless has consulted the advantage of his own side.

In the next place, what the matter in dispute is must be explained, when we come to mention the examination into the excuses which are alleged. And how that is managed has been already stated.

But the arrangement which embraces the properly distributed explanation of the facts, ought to have brevity, completeness, conciseness. Brevity is when no word is introduced which is not necessary. This is useful in this sort of speaking, because it is desirable to arrest the attention of the hearer by the facts themselves and the real divisions of the case, and not by words or extraneous embellishments of diction. Completeness is that quality by which we embrace every sort of argument which can have any connexion with the case concerning which we have got to speak; and in this division we must take care not to omit any useful topic, not to introduce any such too late, out of its natural place, for that is the most pernicious and discreditable error of all. Conciseness in arrangement is preserved if the general classes of facts are clearly laid down, and are not entangled in a promiscuous manner with the subordinate divisions. For a class is that which embraces many subordinate divisions, as, "an animal." A subordinate division is that which is contained in the class, as "a horse." But very often the same thing may be a class to one person, and a subordinate division to another. For "man" is a subordinate division of " animal," but a class as to "Theban," or "Trojan."


And I have been more careful in laying down this definition, in order that after it has been clearly comprehended with reference to the general arrangement, a conciseness as to classes or genera may be preserved throughout the arrangement. For he who arranges his oration in this manner—"I will prove that by means of the covetousness and audacity and avarice of our adversaries, all sorts of evils have fallen on the republic," fails to perceive that in this arrangement of his, when he intended to mention only classes, he has joined also a mention of a subordinate division. For covetousness is the general class under which all desires are comprehended; and beyond all question avarice is a subordinate division of that class.

We must therefore avoid, after having mentioned a universal class, then, in the same arrangement, to mention along with it any one of its subordinate divisions, as if it were something different and dissimilar. And if there are many subordinate divisions to any particular class, after that has been simply explained in the first arrangement of the oration, it will be more easily and conveniently arranged when we come to the subsequent explanation in the general statement of the case after the division. And this, too, concerns the subject of conciseness, that we should not undertake to prove more things than there is any occasion for; in this way:— "I will prove that the opposite party were able to do what we accuse them of; and had the inclination to do it; and did it." It is quite enough to prove that they did it. Or when there is no natural division at all in a cause, and when it is a simple question that is under discussion, though that is a thing which cannot be of frequent occurrence, still we must use careful arrangement. And these other precepts also, with respect to the division of subjects which have no such great connexion with the practice of orators; precepts which come into use in treatises in philosophy, from which we have transferred hither those which appeared to be suitable to our purpose, of which we found nothing in the other arts. And in all these precepts about the division of our subjects, it will throughout our whole speech be found that every portion of them must be discussed in the same order as that in which it has been originally stated; and then, when everything has been properly explained, let the whole be summed up, and summed up so that nothing be introduced subsequently besides the conclusion. The old man in the Andria of Terence arranges briefly and conveniently the subjects with which he wishes his freedman to become acquainted:—

"And thus the life and habits of my son,
And my designs respecting his career,
And what I wish your course towards both to be,
Will be quite plain to you."

And accordingly, as he has proposed in his original arrangement, he proceeds to relate, first the life of his son—

"For when, O Sosia, he became a man,
He was allow'd more liberty."

Then comes his own design—

"And now I take great care."

After that, what he wishes Sosia to do; what he put last in his original arrangement he now mentions last—

"And now the part is yours." ...

As, therefore, in this instance, he came first to the portion which he had mentioned first, and so, when he had discussed them all, made an end of speaking, we too ought to advance to each separate portion of our subject, and when we had finished every part, to sum up. Now it appears desirable to proceed in regular order to lay down some precepts concerning the confirmation of our arguments, as the regular order of the subject requires.


Confirmation is that by means of which our speech proceeding in argument adds belief, and authority, and corroboration to our cause. As to this part there are certain fixed rules which will be divided among each separate class of causes. But it appears to be not an inconvenient course to disentangle what is not unlike a wood, or a vast promiscuous mass of materials all jumbled together; and after that to point out how it may be suitable to corroborate each separate kind of cause, after we have drawn all our principles of argumentation from this source. All statements are confirmed by some argument or other, either by that which is derived from persons, or by that which is deduced from circumstances. Now we consider that these different things belong to persons, a name, nature, a way of life, fortune, custom, affection, pursuits, intentions, actions, accidents, orations. A name is that which is given to each separate person, so that each is called by his own proper and fixed appellation. To define nature itself is difficult, but to enumerate those parts of it which we require for the laying down of these precepts is more easy.

And these refer partly to that portion of things which is divine, and partly to that which is mortal. Now of things which are mortal one part is classed among the race of men, and one among the race of brutes: and the race of men is distinguished by sex, whether they be male or female; and with respect to their nation, and country, and kindred, and age; with respect to their nation, whether a man be a Greek or a barbarian; with respect to their country, whether a man be an Athenian or a Lacedaemonian; with respect to their kindred, from what ancestors a man is descended, and who are his relations; with respect to his age, whether he is a boy, or a youth, or a full grown man, or an old man. Besides these things, those advantages or disadvantages which come to a man by nature, whether in respect of his mind or his body, are taken into consideration, in this manner:—whether he be strong or weak; whether he be tall or short; whether he be handsome or ugly; whether he be quick in his motions or slow; whether he be clever or stupid; whether he have a good memory, or whether he be forgetful; whether he be courteous, fond of doing kindnesses, modest, patient, or the contrary. And altogether all these things which are considered to be qualities conferred by nature on men's minds or bodies, must be taken into consideration when defining nature. For those qualities which are acquired by industry relate to a man's condition, concerning which we must speak hereafter.


With reference to a man's way of life it is proper to consider among what men, and in what manner, and according to whose direction he has been brought up; what teachers of the liberal sciences he has had; what admonitors to encourage him to a proper course of life; with what friends he is intimate; in what business, or employment, or gainful pursuit he is occupied; in what manner he manages his estate, and what are his domestic habits. With reference to his fortune we inquire whether he is a slave or free man; whether he is wealthy or poor; whether he is a private individual or a man in office; if he be in office, whether he has become so properly or improperly; whether he is prosperous, illustrious, or the contrary; what sort of children he has. And if we are inquiring about one who is no longer alive, then we must consider also by what death he died.

But when we speak of a man's habitual condition, we mean his constant and absolute completeness of mind or body, in some particular point—as for instance, his perception of virtue, or of some art, or else some science or other. And we include also some personal advantages not given to him by nature, but procured by study and industry. By affection, we mean a sudden alteration of mind or body, arising from some particular cause, as joy, desire, fear, annoyance, illness, weakness, and other things which are found under the same class. But study is the assiduous and earnest application of the mind, applied to some particular object with great good-will, as to philosophy, poetry, geometry, or literature. By counsel, we mean a carefully considered resolution to do or not to do something. But actions, and accidents, and speeches will be considered with reference to three different times; what a man has done, what has happened to him, or what he has said; or what he is doing, or what is happening to him, or what he is saying; or what he is going to do, what is about to happen to him, or what speech he is about to deliver. And all these things appear to be attributable to persons.


But of the considerations which belong to things, some are connected with the thing itself which is the subject of discussion; some are considered in the performance of the thing; some are united with the thing itself; some follow in the accomplishment of the thing. Those things are connected with the thing itself which appear always to be attached to the thing and which cannot be separated from it. The first of such things is a brief exposition of the whole business, which contains the sum of the entire matter, in this way—"The slaying of a parent;" "the betrayal of a country." Then comes the cause of this general fact; and we inquire by what means, and in what manner, and with what view such and such a thing has been done. After that we inquire what was done before this action under consideration was done, and all the steps which preceded this action. After that, what was done in the very execution of this action. And last of all, what has been done since.

But with reference to the performance of an action, which was the second topic of those which were attributed to things, the place, and the time, and the manner, and the opportunity, and the facilities will be inquired into. The place is taken into consideration in which the thing was done; with reference to the opportunity which the doer seems to have had of executing the business; and that opportunity is measured by the importance of the action, by the interval which has elapsed, by the distance, by the nearness, by the solitude of the place, or by the frequented character of it, by the nature of the spot itself, and by the neighbourhood of the whole region. And it is estimated also with reference to these characteristics, whether the place be sacred or not, public or private, whether it belongs or has belonged to some one else, or to the man whose conduct is under consideration.

But the time is, that, I mean, which we are speaking of at the present moment, (for it is difficult to define it in a general view of it with any exactness,) a certain portion of eternity with some fixed limitation of annual or monthly, or daily or nightly space. In reference to this we take into consideration the things which are passed, and those things which, by reason of the time which has elapsed since, have become so obsolete as to be considered incredible, and to be already classed among the number of fables; and those things also which, having been performed a long time ago and at a time remote from our recollection, still affect us with a belief that they have been handed down truly, because certain memorials of those facts are extant in written documents; and those things which have been done lately, so that most people are able to be acquainted with them. And also those things which exist at the present moment, and which are actually taking place now, and which are the consequences of former actions. And with reference to those things it is open to us to consider which will happen sooner, and which later. And also generally in considering questions of time, the distance or proximity of the time is to be taken into account: for it is often proper to measure the business done with the time occupied in doing it; and to consider whether a business of such and such magnitude, or whether such and such a multitude of things, can be performed in that time. And we should take into consideration the time of year, and of the month, and of the day, and of the night, and the watches, and the hours, and each separate portion of any one of these times.


An occasion is a portion of time having in it a suitable opportunity for doing or avoiding to do some particular thing. Wherefore there is this difference between it and time. For, as to genus, indeed, they are both understood to be identical; but in time some space is expressed in some manner or other, which is regarded with reference to years, or to a year, or to some portion of a year; but in an occasion, besides the space of time implied in the word, there is indicated an especial opportunity of doing something. As therefore the two are identical in genus, it is some portion and species, as it were, in which the one differs, as we have said, from the other.

Now occasion is distributed into three classes, public, common, and singular. That is a public occasion, which the whole city avails itself of for some particular cause; as games, a day of festival, or war. That is a common occasion, which happens to all men at nearly the same time; as the harvest, the vintage, summer, or winter. That is a singular occasion which, on account of some special cause, happens at times to some private individuals; as for instance, a wedding, a sacrifice, a funeral, a feast, sleep.

But the manner, also, is inquired into; in what manner, how, and with what design the action was done? Its parts are, the doer knowing what he was about, and not knowing. But the degree of his knowledge is measured by these circumstances, whether the doer did his action secretly, openly, under compulsion, or through persuasion. The fact of the absence of knowledge is brought forward as an excuse, and its parts are actual ignorance, accident, necessity. It is also attributed to agitation of mind; that is, to annoyance, to passion, to love, and to other feelings of a similar class. Facilities, are those circumstances owing to which a thing is done more easily, or without which a thing cannot be done at all.


And it is understood that there is added to the general consideration of the whole matter, the consideration what is greater than, and what is less than, and what is like the affair which is under discussion; and what is equally important with it, and what is contrary to it, and what is negatively opposed to it, and the whole classification of the affair, and the divisions of it, and the ultimate result. The cases of greater and less, and equally important, are considered with reference to the power, and number, and form of the business; as if we were regarding the stature of a human body.

Now what is similar arises out of a species admitting of comparisons. Now what admits of comparisons is estimated by a nature which may be compared with it, and likened to it. What is contrary, is what is placed in a different class, and is as distant as possible from that thing to which it is called contrary; as cold is from heat, and death from life. But that is negatively opposed to a thing which is separated from the thing by an opposition which is limited to a denial of the quality; in this way, "to be wise," and "not to be wise. That is a genus which embraces several species, as "Cupidity." That is a species which is subordinate to a genus, as "Love," "Avarice." The Result is the ultimate termination of any business; in which it is a common inquiry, what has resulted from each separate fact; what is resulting from it; what is likely to result from it. Wherefore, in order that that which is likely to happen may be more conveniently comprehended in the mind with respect to this genus, we ought first to consider what is accustomed to result from every separate circumstance; in this manner:—From arrogance, hatred usually results; and from insolence, arrogance.

The fourth division is a natural consequence from those qualities, which we said were usually attributed to things in distinction from persons. And with respect to this, those circumstances are sought which ensue from a thing being done. In the first place, by what name it is proper that that which has been done should be called. In the next place, who have been the chief agents in, or originators of that action; and last of all, who have been the approvers and the imitators of that precedent and of that discovery. In the next place, whether there is any regular usage established with regard to that case, or whether there is any regular rule bearing on that case, or any regular course of proceeding, any formal decision, any science reduced to rules, any artificial system. In the next place, whether its nature is in the habit of being ordinarily displayed, or whether it is so very rarely, and whether it is quite unaccustomed to be so. After that, whether men are accustomed to approve of such a case with their authority, or to be offended at such actions; and with what eyes they look upon the other circumstances which are in the habit of following any similar conduct, either immediately or after an interval. And in the very last place, we must take notice whether any of those circumstances which are rightly classed under honesty or utility ensue. But as to these matters it will be necessary to speak more clearly when we come to mention the deliberative kind of argument. And the circumstances which we have now mentioned are those which are usually attributed to things as opposed to persons.


But all argumentation, which can be derived from those topics which we have mentioned, ought to be either probable or unavoidable. Indeed, to define it in a few words, argumentation appears to be an invention of some sort, which either shows something or other in a probable manner, or demonstrates it in an irrefutable one. Those things are demonstrated irrefutably which can neither be done nor proved in any other manner whatever than that in which they are stated; in this manner:—"If she has had a child, she has lain with a man." This sort of arguing, which is conversant with irrefutable demonstration, is especially used in speaking in the way of dilemma, or enumeration, or simple inference.

Dilemma is a case in which, whichever admission you make you are found fault with. For example:—"If he is a worthless fellow, why are you intimate with him? If he is an excellent man, why do you accuse him ?" Enumeration is a statement in which, when many matters have been stated and all other arguments invalidated, the one which remains is inevitably proved; in this manner:—"It is quite plain that he was slain by this man, either because of his enmity to him, or some fear, or hope, which he had conceived, or in order to gratify some friend of his; or, if none of these alternatives are true, then that he was not slain by him at all; for a great crime cannot be undertaken without a motive. But he had no quarrel with him, nor fear of him, nor hope of any advantage to be gained by his death, nor did his death in the least concern any friend of his. It remains, therefore, that he was not slain by him at all." But a simple inference is declared from a necessary consequence, in this way:—"If you say that I did that at that time, at that time I was beyond the sea; it follows, that I not only did not do what you say I did, but that it was not even possible for me to have done it." And it will be desirable to look to this very carefully, in order that this sort of inference may not be refuted in any manner, so that the proof may not only have some sort of argument in it, and some resemblance to an unavoidable conclusion, but that the very argument itself may proceed on irrefutable reasons.

But that is probable which is accustomed generally to take place, or which depends upon the opinion of men, or which contains some resemblance to these properties, whether it be false or true. In that description of subject, the most usual probable argument is something of this sort:—"If she is his mother, she loves her son." "If he is an avaricious man, he neglects his oath." But in the case which depends mainly on opinion, probable arguments are such as this: "That there are punishments prepared in the shades below for impious men."—" That those men who give their attention to philosophy do not think that there are gods."


But resemblance is chiefly seen in things which are contrary to one another, or equal to one another, and in those things which fall under the same principle. In things contrary to one another, in this manner:—"For if it is right that those men should be pardoned who have injured me unintentionally, it is also fitting that one should feel no gratitude towards those who have benefited me because they could not help it."

In things equal to one another, in this way:—"For as a place without a harbour cannot be safe for ships, so a mind without integrity cannot be trustworthy for a man's friends." In those things which fall under the same principle a probable argument is considered in this way:—"For if it be not discreditable to the Rhodians to let out their port dues, then it is not discreditable even to Hermacreon to rent them. Then these arguments are true, in this manner:—" Since there is a scar, there has been a wound." Then they are probable, in this way:—"If there was a great deal of dust on his shoes, he must have come off a journey." But (in order that we may arrange this matter in certain definite divisions) every probable argument which is assumed for the purpose of discussion, is either a proof, or something credible, or something already determined; or something which may be compared with something else.

That is a proof which falls under some particular sense, and which indicates something which appears to have proceeded from it, which either existed previously, or was in the thing itself, or has ensued since, and, nevertheless, requires the evidence of testimony, and a more authoritative confirmation,—as blood, flight, dust, paleness, and other tokens like these. That is a credible statement which, without any witness being heard, is confirmed in the opinion of the hearer; in this way:—There is no one who does not wish his children to be free from injury, and happy. A case decided beforehand, is a matter approved of by the assent, or authority, or judgment of some person or persons. It is seen in three kinds of decision;—the religious one, the common one, the one depending on sanction. That is a religious one, which men on their oaths have decided in accordance with the laws. That is a common one, which all men have almost in a body approved of and adopted; in this manner:—"That all men should rise up on the appearance of their elders; That all men should pity suppliants." That depends on sanction, which, as it was a doubtful point what ought to be considered its character, men have established of their own authority, as, for instance, the conduct of the father of Gracchus, whom the Roman people made consul after his censorship, because he had done nothing in his censorship without the knowledge of his colleague.

But that is a decision admitting of comparisons, which in a multitude of different circumstances contains some principle which is alike in all. Its parts are three,—representation collation, example. A Representation is a statement demonstrating some resemblance of bodies or natures; Collation is a statement comparing one thing with another, because of their likeness to one another; Example is that which confirms or invalidates a case by some authority, or by what has happened to some man, or under some especial circumstances. Instances of these things, and descriptions of them, will be given amid the precepts for oratory. And the source of all confirmations has been already explained as occasion offered, and has been demonstrated no less clearly than the nature of the case required. But how each separate statement, and each part of a statement, and every dispute ought to be handled,—whether we refer to verbal discussion or to writings,—and what arguments are suitable for each kind of discussion, we will mention, speaking separately of each kind, in the second book. At present we have only dropped hints about the numbers, and moods, and parts of arguing in an irregular and promiscuous manner; hereafter we will digest (making careful distinctions between and selections from each kind of cause) what is suitable for each kind of discussion, culling it out of this abundance which we have already displayed.

And indeed every sort of argument can be discovered from among these topics; and that, when discovered, it should be embellished, and separated in certain divisions, is very agreeable, and highly necessary, and is also a thing which has been greatly neglected by writers on this art. Wherefore at this present time it is desirable for us to speak of that sort of instruction, in order that perfection of arguing may be added to the discovery of proper arguments. And all this topic requires to be considered with great care and diligence, because there is not only great usefulness in this matter, but there is also extreme difficulty in giving precepts.


All argumentation, therefore, is to be carried on either by induction, or by ratiocination. Induction is a manner of speaking which, by means of facts which are not doubtful, forces the assent of the person to whom it is addressed. By which assent it causes him even to approve of some points which are doubtful, on account of their resemblance to those things to which he has assented; as in the Aeschines of Socrates, Socrates shows that Aspasia used to argue with Xenophon's wife, and with Xenophon himself. "Tell me, I beg of you, O you wife of Xenophon, if your neighbour has better gold than you have, whether you prefer her gold or your own?" "Hers," says she. "Suppose she has dresses and other ornaments suited to women, of more value than those which you have, should you prefer your own or hers?" "Hers, to be sure," answered she. "Come, then," says Aspasia, "suppose she has a better husband than you have, should you then prefer your own husband or hers?" On this the woman blushed.

But Aspasia began a discourse with Xenophon himself. "I ask you, O Xenophon," says she, "if your neighbour has a better horse than yours is, whether you would prefer your own horse or his?" " His," says he. " Suppose he has a better farm than you have, which farm, I should like to know, would you prefer to possess?" "Beyond all doubt," says he, "that which is the best." "Suppose he has a better wife than you have, would you prefer his wife?" And on this Xenophon himself was silent. Then spake Aspasia,—"Since each of you avoids answering me that question alone which was the only one which I wished to have answered, I will tell you what each of you are thinking of; for both you, O woman, wish to have the best husband, and you, O Xenophon, most exceedingly desire to have the most excellent wife. Wherefore, unless you both so contrive matters that there shall not be on the whole earth a more excellent man or a more admirable woman, then in truth you will at all times desire above all things that which you think to be the best thing in the world, namely, that you, O Xenophon, may be the husband of the best possible wife; and you, O woman, that you may be married to the most excellent husband possible." After they had declared their assent to these far from doubtful propositions, it followed, on account of the resemblance of the cases, that if any one had separately asked them about some doubtful point, that also would have been admitted as certain, on account of the method employed in putting the question.

This was a method of instruction which Socrates used to a great extent, because he himself preferred bringing forward no arguments for the purpose of persuasion, but wished rather that the person with whom he was disputing should form his own conclusions from arguments with which he had furnished himself, and which he was unavoidably compelled to approve of from the grounds which he had already assented to.


And with reference to this kind of persuasion, it appears to me desirable to lay down a rule, in the first place, that the argument which we bring forward by way of simile, should be such that it is impossible to avoid admitting it. For the premise on account of which we intend to demand that that point which is doubtful shall be conceded to us, ought not to be doubtful itself. In the next place, we must take care that that point, for the sake of establishing which the induction is made, shall be really like those things which we have adduced before as matters admitting of no question. For it will be of no service to us that something has been already admitted, if that for the sake of which we were desirous to get that statement admitted be unlike it; so that the hearer may not understand what is the use of those original inductions, or to what result they tend.

For the man who sees that, if he is correct in giving his assent to the thing about which he is first asked, that thing also to which he does not agree must unavoidably be admitted by him, very often will not allow the examination to proceed any further, either by not answering at all, or by answering wrongly. Wherefore it is necessary that he should, by the method in which the inquiry is conducted, be led on without perceiving it, from the admissions which he has already made, to admit that which he is not inclined to admit; and at last he must either decline to give an answer, or he must admit what is wanted, or he must deny it. If the proposition be denied, then we must either show its resemblance to those things which have been already admitted, or we must employ some other induction. If it be granted, then the argumentation may be brought to a close. If he keeps silence, then an answer must be extracted; or, since silence is very like a confession, it may be as well to bring the discussion to a close, taking the silence to be equivalent to an admission.

And so this kind of argumentation is threefold. The first part consists of one simile, or of several; the second, of that which we desire to have admitted, for the sake of which the similes have been employed; the third proceeds from the conclusion which either establishes the admissions which have been made, or points out what may be established from it.


But because it will not appear to some people to have been explained with sufficient clearness, unless we submit some instance taken from the civil class of causes, it seems desirable to employ some example of this sort; not because the rules to be laid down differ, or because it is expedient to employ such differently in this sort of discussion from what we should in ordinary discourse; but in order to satisfy the desire of those men, who, though they may have seen something in one place, are unable to recognise it in another unless it be proved. Therefore, in this cause which is very notorious among the Greeks, that of Epaminondas, the general of the Thebans, who did not give up his army to the magistrate who succeeded him in due course of law; and when he himself had retained his army a few days contrary to law, he utterly defeated the Lacedaemonians; the accuser might employ an argumentation by means of induction, while defending the letter of the law in opposition to its spirit, in this way:—

"If, O judges, the framer of the law had added to his law what Epaminondas says that he intended, and had subjoined this exception: 'except where any one has omitted to deliver up his army for the advantage of the republic;' would you have endured it? I think not. And if you yourselves, (though such a proceeding is very far from your religious habits and from your wisdom,) for the sake of doing honour to this man, were to order the same exception to be subjoined to the law, would the Theban people endure that such a thing should be done? Beyond all question it would not endure it. Can it possibly then appear to you that that which would be scandalous if it were added to a law, should be proper to be done just as if it had been added to the law? I know your acuteness well; it cannot seem so to you, O judges. But if the intention of the framer of the law cannot be altered as to its expressions either by him or by you, then beware lest it should be a much more scandalous thing that that should be altered in fact, and by your decision, which cannot be altered in one single word."

And we seem now to have said enough for the present respecting induction. Next, let us consider the power and nature of ratiocination.


Ratiocination is a sort of speaking, eliciting something probable from the fact under consideration itself, which being explained and known of itself, confirms itself by its own power and principles.

Those who have thought it profitable to pay diligent attention to this kind of reasoning, have differed a little in the manner in which they have laid down rules, though they were aiming at the same end as far as the practice of speaking went. For some of them have said that there are five divisions of it, and some have thought that it had no more parts than could be arranged under three divisions. And it would seem not useless to explain the dispute which exists between these parties, with the reasons which each allege for it; for it is a short one, and not such that either party appears to be talking nonsense. And this topic also appears to us to be one that it is not at all right to omit in speaking.

Those who think that it ought to be arranged in five divisions, say that first of all it is desirable to explain the sum of the discussion, in this way:—Those things are better managed which are done on some deliberate plan, than those which are conducted without any steady design, This they call the first division. And then they think it right that it should be further proved by various arguments, and by as copious statements as possible; in this way:—"That house which is governed by reason is better appointed in all things, and more completely furnished, than that which is conducted at random, and on no settled plan;—that army which is commanded by a wise and skilful general, is governed more suitably in all particulars than that which is managed by the folly and rashness of any one. The same principle prevails with respect to sailing; for that ship performs its voyage best which has the most experienced pilot."

When the proposition has been proved in this manner, and when two parts of the ratiocination have proceeded, they say, in the third part, that it is desirable to assume, from the mere intrinsic force of the proposition, what you wish to prove; in this way:—"But none of all those things is managed better than the entire world." In the fourth division they adduce besides another argument in proof of this assumption, in this manner:—"For both the rising and setting of the stars preserve some definite order, and their annual commutations do not only always take place in the same manner by some express necessity, but they are also adapted to the service of everything, and their daily and nightly changes have never injured anything in any particular from being altered capriciously." And all these things are a token that the nature of the world has been arranged by no ordinary wisdom. In the fifth division they bring forward that sort of statement, which either adduces that sort of fact alone which is compelled in every possible manner, in this way:—"The world, therefore, is governed on some settled plan;" or else, when it has briefly united both the proposition and the assumption, it adds this which is derived from both of them together, in this way:—"But if those things are managed better which are conducted on a settled plan, than those which are conducted without such settled plan; and if nothing whatever is managed better than the entire world; therefore it follows that the world is managed on a settled plan." And in this way they think that such argumentation has five divisions.


But those who affirm that it has only three divisions, do not think that the argumentation ought to be conducted in any other way, but they find fault with this arrangement of the divisions. For they say that neither the proposition nor the assumption ought to be separated from their proofs; and that a proposition does not appear to be complete, nor an assumption perfect, which is not corroborated by proof. Therefore, they say that what those other men divide into two parts, proposition and proof, appears to them one part only, namely proposition. For if it be not proved, the proposition has no business to make part of the argumentation. In the same way they say that that which those other men call the assumption, and the proof of the assumption, appears to them to be assumption only. And the result is, that the whole argumentation being treated in the same way, appears to some susceptible of five divisions, and to others of only three; so that the difference does not so much affect the practice of speaking, as the principles on which the rules are to be laid down.

But to us that arrangement appears to be more convenient which divides it under five heads; and that is the one which all those who come from the school of Aristotle, or of Theophrastus, have chiefly followed. For as it is chiefly Socrates and the disciples of Socrates who have employed that former sort of argumentation which goes on induction, so this which is wrought up by ratiocination has been exceedingly practiced by Aristotle, and the Peripatetics, and Theophrastus; and after them by those rhetoricians who are accounted the most elegant and the most skilful. And it seems desirable to explain why that arrangement is more approved of by us, that we may not appear to have adopted it capriciously; at the same time we must be brief in the explanation, that we may not appear to dwell on such subjects longer than the general manner of laying down rules requires.


If in any sort of argumentation it is sufficient to use a proposition by itself, and if it is not requisite to add proof to the proposition; but if in any sort of argumentation a proposition is of no power unless proof be added to it; then proof is something distinct from the proposition. For that which can he joined to a thing or separated from it, cannot possibly be the same thing with that to which it is joined or from which it is separated. But there is a certain kind of argumentation in which the proposition does not require confirmatory proof, and also another kind in which it is of no use at all without such proof, as we shall show. Proof, then, is a thing different from a proposition. And we will demonstrate that point which we have promised to show in this way:—The proposition which contains in itself something manifest, because it is unavoidable that that should be admitted by all men, has no necessity for our desiring to prove and corroborate it.

It is a sort of statement like this:—"If on the day on which that murder was committed at Rome, I was at Athens, I could not have been present at that murder." Because this is manifestly true, there is no need to adduce proof of it; wherefore, it is proper at once to assume the fact, in this way:—"But I was at Athens on that day." If this is not notorious, it requires proof; and when the proof is furnished the conclusion must follow:—"Therefore I could not have been present at the murder." There is, therefore, a certain kind of proposition which does not require proof. For why need one waste time in proving that there is a kind which does require proof; for that is easily visible to all men. And if this be the case, from this fact, and from that statement which we have established, it follows that proof is something distinct from a proposition. And if it is so, it is evidently false that argumentation is susceptible of only three divisions.

In the same manner it is plain that there is another sort of proof also which is distinct from assumption. For if in some sort of argumentation it is sufficient to use assumption, and if it is not requisite to add proof to the assumption; and if, again, in some sort of argumentation assumption is invalid unless proof be added to it; then proof is something separate and distinct from assumption. But there is a kind of argumentation in which assumption does not require proof; and a certain other kind in which it is of no use without proof; as we shall show. Proof, then, is a thing distinct from assumption. And we will demonstrate that which we have promised to in this manner.

That assumption which contains a truth evident to all men has no need of proof. That is an assumption of this sort:— "If it be desirable to be wise, it is proper to pay attention to philosophy." This proposition requires proof. For it is not self-evident. Nor is it notorious to all men, because many think that philosophy is of no service at all, and some think that it is even a disservice. A self-evident assumption is such as this:—"But it is desirable to be wise." And because this is of itself evident from the simple fact, and is at once perceived to be true, there is no need that it be proved. Wherefore, the argumentation may be at once terminated:—"Therefore it is proper to pay attention to philosophy." There is, therefore, a certain kind of assumption which does not stand in need of proof; for it is evident that is a kind which does. Therefore, it is false that argumentation is susceptible of only a threefold division.


And from these considerations that also is evident, that there is a certain kind of argumentation in which neither proposition nor assumption stands in need of proof, of this sort, that we may adduce something undoubted and concise, for the sake of example. "If wisdom is above all things to be desired, then folly is above all things to be avoided; but wisdom is to be desired above all things, therefore folly is above all things to be avoided." Here both the assumption and the proposition are self-evident, on which account neither of them stands in need of proof. And from all these facts it is manifest that proof is at times added, and at times is not added. From which it is palpable that proof is not contained in a proposition, nor in an assumption, but that each being placed in its proper place, has its own peculiar force fixed and belonging to itself. And if that is the case, then those men have made a convenient arrangement who have divided argumentation into five parts.

Are there five parts of that argumentation which is carried on by ratiocination? First of all, proposition, by which that topic is briefly explained from which all the force of the ratiocination ought to proceed. Then the proof of the proposition, by which that which has been briefly set forth being corroborated by reasons, is made more probable and evident. Then assumption, by which that is assumed which, proceeding from the proposition, has its effect on proving the case. Then the proof of the assumption, by which that which has been assumed is confirmed by reasons. Lastly, the summing up, in which that which results from the entire argumentation is briefly explained. So the argumentation which has the greatest number of divisions consists of these five parts.

The second sort of argumentation has four divisions; the third has three. Then there is one which has two; which, however, is a disputed point. And about each separate division it is possible that some people may think that there is room for a discussion.


Let us then bring forward some examples of those matters which are agreed upon. And in favour of those which are doubtful, let us bring forward some reasons. Now the argumentation which is divided into five divisions is of this sort:—It is desirable, O judges, to refer all laws to the advantage of the republic, and to interpret them with reference to the general advantage, and according to the strict wording according to which they are drawn up. For our ancestors were men of such virtue and such wisdom, that when they were drawing up laws, they proposed to themselves no other object than the safety and advantage of the republic; for they were neither willing themselves to draw up any law which could be injurious; and if they had drawn up one of such a character, they were sure that it would be rejected when its tendency was perceived. For no one wishes to preserve the laws for the sake of the laws, but for the sake of the republic; because all men believe that the republic is best managed by means of laws. It is desirable, therefore, to interpret all written laws with reference to that cause for the sake of which it is desirable that the laws should be preserved. That is to say, since we are servants of the republic, let us interpret the laws with reference to the advantage and benefit of the republic. For as it is not right to think that anything results from medicine except what has reference to the advantage of the body, since it is for the sake of the body that the science of medicine has been established; so it is desirable to think that nothing proceeds from the laws except what is for the advantage of the republic, since it is for the sake of the republic that laws were instituted.

Therefore, while deciding on this point, cease to inquire about the strict letter of the law, and consider the law (as it is reasonable to do) with reference to the advantage of the republic. For what was more advantageous for the Thebans than for the Lacedaemonians to be put down? What object was Epaminondas, the Theban general, more bound to aim at than the victory of the Thebans? What had he any right to consider more precious or more dear to him, than the great glory then acquired by the Thebans, than such an illustrious and magnificent trophy ? Surely, disregarding the letter of the law, it became him to consider the intention of the framer of the law. And this now has been sufficiently insisted on, namely, that no law has ever been drawn up by any one, that had not for its object the benefit of the commonwealth. He then thought that it was the very extremity of madness, not to interpret with reference to the advantage of the republic that which had been framed for the sake of the safety of the republic. And it is right to interpret all laws with reference to the safety of the republic; and if he was a great instrument of the safety of the republic, certainly it is quite impossible that he by one and the same action should have consulted the general welfare, and yet should have violated the laws.


But argumentation consists of four parts, when we either advance a proposition, or claim an assumption without proof. That it is proper to do when either the proposition is understood by its own merits, or when the assumption is self-evident and is in need of no proof. If we pass over the proof of the proposition, the argumentation then consists of four parts, and is conducted in this manner:—" O judges, you who are deciding on your oaths, in accordance with the law, ought to obey the laws; but you cannot obey the laws unless you follow that which is written in the law. For what more certain evidence of his intention could the framer of a law leave behind him, than that which he himself wrote with great care and diligence? But if there were no written documents, then we should be very anxious for them, in order that the intention of the framer of the law might be ascertained; nor should we permit Epaminondas, not even if he were beyond the power of this tribunal, to interpret to us the meaning of the law; much less will we now permit him, when the law is at hand, to interpret the intention of the lawgiver, not from that which is most clearly written, but from that which is convenient for his own cause. But if you, O judges, are bound to obey the laws, and if you are unable to do so unless you follow what is written in the law; what can hinder your deciding that he has acted contrary to the laws?"

But if we pass over the proof of the assumption, again, the argumentation will be arranged under four heads, in this manner:—"When men have repeatedly deceived us, having pledged their faith to us, we ought not to give credit to any thing that they say. For if we receive any injury in consequence of their perfidy, there will be no one except ourselves whom we shall have any right to accuse. And in the first place, it is inconvenient to be deceived; in the next place, it is foolish; thirdly, it is disgraceful. But the Carthaginians have before this deceived us over and over again. It is therefore the greatest insanity to rest any hopes on their good faith, when you have been so often deceived by their treachery."

When the proof both of the proposition and of the assumption is passed over, the argumentation becomes threefold only, in this way:—" We must either live in fear of the Carthaginians if we leave them with their power undiminished, or we must destroy their city. And certainly it is not desirable to live in fear of them. The only remaining alternative then is to destroy their city."


But some people think that it is both possible and advisable at times to pass over the summing up altogether; when it is quite evident what is effected by ratiocination. And then if that be done they consider that the argumentation is limited to two divisions; in this way:—"If she has had a child she is not a virgin. But she has had a child." In this case they say it is quite sufficient to state the proposition and assumption; since it is quite plain that the matter which is here stated is such as does not stand in need of summing up. But to us it seems that all ratiocination ought to be terminated in proper form, and that that defect which offends them is above all things to be avoided, namely, that of introducing what is self-evident into the summing up.

But this will be possible to be effected if we come to a right understanding of the different kinds of summing up. For we shall either sum up in such a way as to unite together the proposition and the assumption, in this way:—"But if it is right for all laws to be referred to the general advantage of the republic, and if this man ensured the safety of the republic, undoubtedly he cannot by one and the same action have consulted the general safety and yet have violated the laws,"—or thus, in order that the opinion we advocate may be established by arguments drawn from contraries, in this manner.—"It is then the very greatest madness to build hopes on the good faith of those men by whose treachery you have been so repeatedly deceived;"—or so that that inference alone be drawn which is already announced, in this manner:—"Let us then destroy their city ;"—or so that the conclusion which is desired must necessarily follow from the assertion which has been established, in this way:—"If she has had a child, she has lain with a man. But she has had a child." This then is established. "Therefore she has lain with a man. If you are unwilling to draw this inference, and prefer inferring what follows: "Therefore she has committed incest; you will have terminated your argumentation, but you will have missed an evident and natural summing up.

Wherefore in long argumentations it is often desirable to draw inferences from combinations of circumstances, or from contraries. And briefly to explain that point alone which is established; and in those in which the result is evident, to employ arguments drawn from consequences. But if there are any people who think that argumentation ever consists of one part alone, they will be able to say that it is often sufficient to carry on an argumentation in this way .—"Since she has had a child, she has lain with a man." For they say that this assertion requires no proof, nor assumption, nor proof of an assumption, nor summing up. But it seems to us that they are misled by the ambiguity of the name. For argumentation signifies two things under one name; because any discussion respecting anything which is either probable or necessary is called argumentation; and so also is the systematic polishing of such a discussion.

When then they bring forward any statement of this kind—"Since she has had a child, she has lain with a man," they bring forward a plain assertion; not a highly worked up argument; but we are speaking of the parts of a highly worked up argument.


That principle then has nothing to do with this matter. And with the help of this distinction we will remove other obstacles which seem to be in the way of this classification; if any people think that it is possible that at times the assumption may be omitted, and at other times the proposition; and if this idea has in it anything probable or necessary, it is quite inevitable that it must affect the hearer in some great degree. And if it were the only object in view, and if it made no difference in what manner that argument which had been projected was handled, it would be a great mistake to suppose that there is such a vast difference between the greatest orators and ordinary ones.

But it will be exceedingly desirable to infuse variety into our speech, for in all cases sameness is the mother of satiety. That will be able to be managed if we not always enter upon our argumentation in a similar manner. For in the first place it is desirable to distinguish our orations as to their kinds; that is to say, at one time to employ induction, and at another ratiocination. In the next place, in the argumentation itself, it is best not always to begin with the proposition, nor in every case to employ all the five divisions, nor always to work up the different parts in the same manner; but it is permissible sometimes to begin with the assumption, sometimes with one or other of the proofs, sometimes with both; sometimes to employ one kind of summing up, and sometimes another. And in order that this variety may be seen, let us either write, or in any example whatever let us exercise this same principle with respect to those things which we endeavour to prove, that our task may be as easy as possible.

And concerning the parts of the argumentation it seems to us that enough has been said. But we wish to have it understood that we hold the doctrine that argumentations are handled in philosophy in many other manners, and those too at times obscure ones, concerning which, however, there is still some definite system laid down. But still those methods appear to us to be inconsistent with the practice of an orator. But as to those things which we think belong to orators, we do not indeed undertake to say that we have attended to them more carefully than others have, but we do assert that we have written on them with more accuracy and diligence. At present let us go on in regular order to the other points, as we originally proposed.


Reprehension is that by means of which the proof adduced by the opposite party is invalidated by arguing, or is disparaged, or is reduced to nothing. And this sort of argument proceeds from the same source of invention which confirmation employs, because whatever the topics may be by means of which any statement can be confirmed, the very same may be used in order to invalidate it. For nothing is to be considered in all these inventions, except that which has been attributed to persons or to things. Wherefore, it will be necessary that the invention and the high polish which ought to be given to argumentation must be transferred to this part of our oration also from those rules which have been already laid down. But in order that we may give some precepts with reference to this part also, we will explain the different methods of reprehension; and those who observe them will more easily be able to do away with or invalidate those statements which are made on the opposite side.

All argumentation is reprehended when anything, whether it be one thing only, or more than one of those positions which are assumed, is not granted; or if, though they are granted, it is denied that the conclusion legitimately follows from them; or if it is shown that the very kind of argumentation is faulty; or if in opposition to one form and reliable sort of argumentation another is employed which is equally firm and convincing. Something of those positions which have been assumed is not granted when either that thing which the opposite party says is credible is denied to be such, or when what they think admits of a comparison with the present case is shown to be unlike it; or when what has been already decided is either turned aside as referring to something else or is impeached as having been erroneously decided; or when that which the opposite party have called a proof is denied to be such; or if the summing up is denied in some one point or in every particular; or if it is shown that the enumeration of matters stated and proved is incorrect; or if the simple conclusion is proved to contain something false. For everything which is assumed for the purpose of arguing on, whether as necessary or as only probable, must inevitably be assumed from these topics, as we have already pointed out.


What is assumed as something credible is invalidated, if it is either manifestly false, in this way:—"There is the one who would not prefer riches to wisdom." Or on the opposite side something credible may be brought against it in this manner:—"Who is there who is not more desirous of doing his duty than of acquiring money?" Or it may be utterly and absolutely incredible, as if some one, who it is notorious is a miser, were to say that he had neglected the acquisition of some large sum of money for the sake of performing some inconsiderable duty. Or if that which happens in some circumstances, and to some persons, were asserted to happen habitually in all cases and to everybody; in this way:—"Those men who are poor have a greater regard for money than for duty." "It is very natural that a murder should have been committed in that which is a desert place." How could a man be murdered in a much frequented place? Or if a thing which is done seldom is asserted never to be done at all; as Curius asserts in his speech in behalf of Fulvius, where he says, " No one can fall in love at a single glance, or as he is passing by."

But that which is assumed as a proof may be invalidated by a recurrence to the same topics as those by which it is sought to be established. For in a proof the first thing to be shown is that it is true; and in the next place, that it is one especially affecting the matter which is under discussion, as blood is a proof of murder; in the next place, that that has been done which ought not to have been; or that has not been done which ought to have been; and last of all, that the person accused was acquainted with the law and usages affecting the matter which is the subject of inquiry. For all these circumstances are matters requiring proof; and we will explain them more carefully, when we come to speak about conjectural statements separately. Therefore, each of these points in a reprehension of the statement of the adversary must be laboured, and it must be shown either that such and such a thing is no proof, or that it is an unimportant proof, or that it is favourable to oneself rather than to the adversary, or that it is altogether erroneously alleged, or that it may be diverted so as to give grounds to an entirely different suspicion.


But when anything is alleged as a proper object of comparison, since that is a class of argument which turns principally on resemblance, in reprehending the adversary it will be advisable to deny that there is any resemblance at all to the case with which it is attempted to institute the comparison. And that may be done, if it be proved to be different in genus, or in nature, or in power, or in magnitude, or in time or place, or with reference to the person affected, or to the opinions generally entertained of it. And if it be shown also in what classification that which is brought forward on account of the alleged resemblance, and in what place too the whole genus with reference to which it is brought forward, ought to be placed. After that it will be pointed out how the one thing differs from the other; from which we shall proceed to show that a different opinion ought to be entertained of that which is brought forward by way of comparison, and of that to which it is sought to be compared. And this sort of argument we especially require when that particular argumentation which is carried on by means of induction is to be reprehended. If any previous decision be alleged, since these are the topics by which it is principally established, the praise of those who have delivered such decision; the resemblance of the matter which is at present under discussion to that which has already been the subject of the decision referred to; that not only the decision is not found fault with because it is mentioned, but that it is approved of by every one; and by showing too, that the case which has been already decided is a more difficult and a more important one than that which is under consideration now. It will be desirable also to invalidate it by arguments drawn from the contrary topics, if either truth or probability will allow us to do so. And it will be necessary to take care and notice whether the matter which has been decided has any real connexion with that which is the present subject of discussion; and we must also take care that no case is adduced in which any error has been committed, so that it should seem that we are passing judgment on the man himself who has delivered the decision referred to.

It is desirable further to take care that they do not bring forward some solitary or unusual decision when there have been many decisions given the other way. For by such means as this the authority of the decision alleged can be best invalidated. And it is desirable that those arguments which are assumed as probable should be handled in this way.


But those which are brought forward as necessary, if they are only imitations of a necessary kind of argumentation and are not so in reality, may be reprehended in this manner. In the first place, the summing up, which ought to take away the force of the admissions you have made, if it be a correct one, will never be reprehended; if it be an incorrect one it may be attacked by two methods, either by conversion or by the invalidating one portion of it. By conversion, in this way:—

"For if the man be modest, why should you
Attack so good a man? And if his heart
And face be seats of shameless impudence,
Then what avails your accusation
Of one who views all fame with careless eye?"

In this case, whether you say that he is a modest man or that he is not, he thinks that the unavoidable inference is that you should not accuse him. But that may be reprehended by conversion thus:—"But indeed, he ought to be accused; for if he be modest, accuse him, for he will not treat your imputations against him lightly; but if he has a shameless disposition of mind, still accuse him, for in that case he is not a respectable man."

And again, the argument may be reprehended by an invalidating of the other part of it—"But if he is a modest man, when he has been corrected by your accusation he will abandon his error." An enumeration of particulars is understood to be faulty if we either say that something has been passed over which we are willing to admit, or if some weak point has been included in it which can be contradicted, or if there is no reason why we may not honestly admit it. Something is passed over in such an enumeration as this:—"Since you have that horse, you must either have bought it, or have acquired it by inheritance, or have received it as a gift, or he must have been born on your estate; or, if none of these alternatives of the case, you must have stolen it. But you did not buy it, nor did it come to you by inheritance, nor was it foaled on your estate, nor was it given to you as a present; therefore you must certainly have stolen it."

This enumeration is fairly reprehended, if it can be alleged that the horse was taken from the enemy, as that description of booty is not sold. And if that be alleged, the enumeration is disproved, since that matter has been stated which was passed over in such enumeration.


But it will also be reprehended in another manner if any contradictory statement is advanced: that is to say, just by way of example, if, to continue arguing from the previous case, it can be shown that the horse did come to one by inheritance; or if it should not be discreditable to admit the last alternative; as if a person, when his adversaries said,—"You were either laying an ambush against the owner, or you were influenced by a friend, or you were carried away by covetousness," were to confess that he was complying with the entreaties of his friend.

But a simple conclusion is reprehended if that which follows does not appear of necessity to cohere with that which has gone before. For this very proposition, "If he breathes, he is alive;" "If it is day, it is light," is a proposition of such a nature that the latter statement appears of necessity to cohere with the preceding one. But this inference, "If she is his mother, she loves him;" "If he has ever done wrong, he will never be chastised," ought to be reprehended in such a manner as to show that the latter proposition does not of necessity cohere with the former

Inferences of this kind, and all other unavoidable conclusions, and indeed all argumentation whatever, and its reprehension too, contains some greater power and has a more extensive operation than is here explained. But the knowledge of this system is such that it cannot be added to any portion of this art; not that it does of itself separately stand in need of a long time, and of deep and arduous consideration. Wherefore those things shall be explained by us at another time, and when we are dealing with another subject, if opportunity be afforded us. At present we ought to be contented with these precepts of the rhetoricians given for the use of orators. When, therefore, any one of these points which are assumed is not granted, the whole statement is invalidated by these means.


But when, though these things are admitted, a conclusion is not derived from them, we must consider these points too; whether any other conclusion is obtained, or whether anything else is meant; in this way:—If, when any one says that he is gone to the army, and any one chooses to use this mode of arguing against him; "If you had come to the army you would have been seen by the military tribunes; but you were not seen by them; therefore you did not go to the army." On this case, when you have admitted the proposition, and the assumption, you have got to invalidate the conclusion; for some other inference has been drawn, and not the one which was inevitable.

And at present, indeed, in order that the case might be more easily understood, we have brought forward an example pregnant with a manifest and an enormous error; but it often happens that an error when stated obscurely is taken for a truth; when either you do not recollect exactly what admissions you have made, or perhaps you have granted something as certain which is extremely doubtful. If you have granted something which is doubtful on that side of the question which you yourself understand, then if the adversary should wish to adapt that part to the other part by means of inference, it will be desirable to show, not from the admission which you have made, but from what he has assumed, that an inference is really established; in this manner:—"If you are in need of money, you have not got money. If you have not got money, you are poor. But you are in need of money, for if it were not so you would not pay attention to commerce; therefore you are poor." This is refuted in this way:—"When you said, if you are in need of money you have not got money, I understood you to mean, 'If you are in need of money from poverty, then you have not got money ;' and therefore I admitted the argument. But when you assumed, 'But you are in need of money,' I understood you to mean, 'But you wish to have more money.' But from these admissions this result, 'Therefore you are poor,' does not follow. But it would follow if I had made this admission to you in the first instance, that any one who wished to have more money, had no money at all."


But many often think that you have forgotten what admissions you made, and therefore an inference which does not follow legitimately is introduced into the summing up as if it did follow; in this way:—"If the inheritance came to him, it is probable that he was murdered by him." Then they prove this at considerable length. Afterwards they assume, But the inheritance did come to him. Then the inference is deduced; Therefore he did murder him. But that does not necessarily follow from what they had assumed. Wherefore it is necessary to take great care to notice both what is assumed, and what necessarily follows from those assumptions. But the whole description of argumentation will be proved to be faulty on these accounts; if either there is any defect in the argumentation itself, or if it is not adapted to the original intention. And there will be a defect in the argumentation itself, if the whole of it is entirely false, or common, or ordinary, or trifling, or made up of remote suppositions; if the definition contained in it be faulty, if it be controverted, if it be too evident, if it be one which is not admitted, or discreditable, or objected to, or contrary, or inconstant, or adverse to one's object.

That is false in which there is evidently a lie; in this manner:—"That man cannot be wise who neglects money. But Socrates neglected money; therefore he was not wise." That is common which does not make more in favour of our adversaries than of ourselves; in this manner:—"Therefore, O judges, I have summed up in a few words, because I had truth on my side." That is ordinary which, if the admission be now made, can be transferred also to some other case which is not easily proved; in this manner:—"If he had not truth on his side, O judges, he would never have risked committing himself to your decision." That is trifling which is either uttered after the proposition, in this way:—"If it had occurred to him, he would not have done so;" or if a man wishes to conceal a matter manifestly disgraceful under a trifling defence, in this manner:—

"Then when all sought your favour, when your hand
Wielded a mighty sceptre, I forsook you;
But now when all fly from you, I prepare
Alone, despising danger, to restore you."


That is remote which is sought to a superfluous extent, in this manner:—"But if Publius Scipio had not given his daughter Cornelia in marriage to Tiberius Gracchus, and if he had not had the two Gracchi by her, such terrible seditions would never have arisen. So that all this distress appears attributable to Scipio." And like this is that celebrated complaint—

"Oh that the woodman's axe had spared the pine
That long on Pelion's lofty summit grew."[1]

For the cause is sought further back than is at all necessary. That is a bad definition, when it either describes common things in this manner—"He is seditious who is a bad and useless citizen;" for this does not describe the character of a seditious man more than of an ambitious one,—of a calumniator, than of any wicked man whatever, in short. Or when it says anything which is false; in this manner:—"Wisdom is a knowledge how to acquire money." Or when it contains something which is neither dignified nor important; in this way:—"Folly is a desire of inordinate glory." That, indeed, is one folly; but this is defining folly by a species, not by its whole genus. It is controvertible when a doubtful cause is alleged, for the sake of proving a doubtful point; in this manner:—

"See how the gods who rule the realms above
And shades below, and all their motions sway,
Themselves are all in tranquil concord found."

That is self-evident, about which there is no dispute at all. As if any one while accusing Orestes were to make it quite plain that his mother had been put to death by him. That is a disputable definition, when the very thing which we are amplifying is a matter in dispute. As if any one, while accusing Ulysses, were to dwell on this point particularly, that it is a scandalous thing that the bravest of men, Ajax, should have been slain by a most inactive man. That is discreditable which either with respect to the place in which it is spoken, or to the man who utters it, or to the time at which it is uttered, or to those who hear it, or to the matter which is the subject of discussion, appears scandalous on account of the subject being a discreditable one. That is an offensive one, which offends the inclinations of those who hear it; as if any one were to praise the judiciary law of Caepio before the Roman knights, who are themselves desirous of acting as judges.


That is a contrary definition, which is laid down in opposition to the actions which those who are the hearers of the speech have done; as if any one were to be speaking before Alexander the Great against some stormer of a city, and were to say that nothing was more inhuman than to destroy cities, when Alexander himself had destroyed Thebes. That is an inconsistent one, which is asserted by the same man in different senses concerning the same case; as if any one, after he has said that the man who has virtue is in need of nothing whatever for the purpose of living well, were afterwards to deny that any one could live well without good health; or that he would stand by a friend in difficulty out of good-will towards him, for that then he would hope that some good would accrue to himself by so doing.

That is an adverse definition, which in some particular is an actual injury to one's own cause; as if any one were to extol the power, and resources, and prosperity of the enemy, while encouraging his own soldiers to fight. If some part of the argumentation is not adapted to the object which is or ought to be proposed to one, it will be found to be owing to some one of these defects. If a man has promised a great many points and proved only a few; or if, when he is bound to prove the whole, he speaks only of some portion; in this way:—The race of women is avaricious; for Eriphyle sold the life of her husband for gold. Or if he does not speak in defence of that particular point which is urged in accusation; as if any one when accused of corruption were to defend himself by the statement that he was brave; as Amphion does in Euripides, and so too in Pacuvius, who, when his musical knowledge is found fault with, praises his knowledge of philosophy. Or if a part of conduct be found fault with on account of the bad character of the man; as if any one were to blame learning on account of the vices of some learned men. Or if any one while wishing to praise somebody were to speak of his good fortune, and not of his virtue; or if any one were to compare one thing with another in such a manner as to think that he was not praising the one unless he was blaming the other; or if he were to praise the one in such a manner as to omit all mention of the other.

Or if, when an inquiry is being carried on respecting one particular point, the speech is addressed to common topics, as if any one, while men are deliberating whether war shall be waged or not, were to devote himself wholly to the praises of peace, and not to proving that that particular war is inexpedient. Or if a false reason for anything be alleged, in this way:—Money is good because it is the thing which, above all others, makes life happy. Or if one is alleged which is invalid, as Plautus says:—

"Sure to reprove a friend for evident faults
Is but a thankless office, still 'tis useful,
And wholesome for a youth of such an age;
And so this day I will reprove my friend
Whose fault is palpable."
&mdash'Plautus, Frinummus, Act i. sc 2, l.1.

Or in this manner, if a man were to say, "Avarice is the greatest evil; for the desire of money causes great distress to numbers of people." Or it is unsuitable, in this manner:—"Friendship is the greatest good, for there are many pleasures in friendship."


The fourth manner of reprehension was stated to be that by which, in opposition to a solid argumentation, one equally, or still more solid, has been advanced. And this kind of argumentation is especially employed in deliberations when we admit that something which is said in opposition to us is reasonable, but still prove that that conduct which we are defending is necessary; or when we confess that the line of conduct which they are advocating is useful, and prove that what we ourselves are contending for is honourable. And we have thought it necessary to say thus much about reprehension; now we will lay down some rules respecting the conclusion.

Hermagoras places digression next in order, and then the ultimate conclusion. But in this digression he considers it proper to introduce some inferential topics, unconnected with the cause and with the decision itself, which contain some praise of the speaker himself, or some vituperation of the adversary, or else may lead to some other topic from which he may derive some confirmation or reprehension, not by arguing, but by expanding the subject by some amplification or other. If any one thinks that this is a proper part of an oration, he may follow Hermagoras. For precepts for embellishing, and praising, and blaming, have partly been already given by us, and partly will be given hereafter in their proper place. But we do not think it right that this part should be classed among the regular divisions of a speech, because it appears improper that there should be digressions, except to some common topics, concerning which subject we must speak subsequently. But it does not seem desirable to handle praise and vituperation separately, but it seems better that they should be considered as forming part of the argumentation itself. At present we will treat of the conclusion of an oration.


The conclusion is the end and terminating of the whole oration. It has three parts,—enumeration, indignation, and complaint. Enumeration is that by which matters which have been related in a scattered and diffuse manner are collected together, and, for the sake of recollecting them, are brought under our view. If this is always treated in the same manner, it will be completely evident to every one that it is being handled according to some artificial system; but if it be done in many various ways, the orator will be able to escape this suspicion, and will not cause such weariness. Wherefore it will be desirable to act in the way which most people adopt, on account of its easiness; that is, to touch on each topic separately, and in that manner briefly to run over all sorts of argumentation; and also (which is, however, more difficult) to recount what portions of the subject you previously mentioned in the arrangement of the subject, as those which you promised to explain; and also to bring to the recollection of your hearers the reasonings by which you established each separate point, and then to ask of those who are hearing you what it is which they ought to wish to be proved to them; in this way:—"We proved this; we made that plain;" and by this means the hearer will recover his recollection of it, and will think that there is nothing besides which he ought to require.

And in these kinds of conclusions, as has been said before, it will be serviceable both to run over the arguments which you yourself have employed separately, and also (which is a matter requiring still greater art) to unite the opposite arguments with your own; and to show how completely you have done away with the arguments which were brought against you. And so, by a brief comparison, the recollection of the hearer will be refreshed both as to the confirmation which you adduced, and as to the reprehension which you employed. And it will be useful to vary these proceedings by other methods of pleading also. But you may carry on the enumeration in your own person, so as to remind your hearers of what you said, and in what part of your speech you said each thing; and also you may bring on the stage some other character, or some different circumstance, and then make your whole enumeration with reference to that. If it is a person, in this way:—"For if the framer of the law were to appear, and were to inquire of you why you doubted, what could you say after this, and this, and this has been proved to you?" And in this case, as also in our own character, it will be in our power to run over all kinds of argumentation separately: and at one time to refer all separate genera to different classes of the division; and at another to ask of the hearer what he requires; and at another to adopt a similar course by a comparison of one's own arguments and those of the opposite party.

But a different class of circumstance will be introduced if an enumerative oration be connected with any subject of this sort,—law, place, city, or monument, in this manner:—"What if the laws themselves could speak? Would not they also address this complaint to you? What more do you require, O judges, when this, and this, and this has been already made plain to you?" And in this kind of argument it is allowable to use all these same methods. But this is given as a common precept to guide one in framing an enumeration, that out of every part of the argument, since the whole cannot be repeated over again, that is to be selected which is of the greatest weight, and that each point is to be run over as briefly as possible, so that it shall appear to be only a refreshing of the recollection of the hearers, not a repetition of the speech.


Indignation is a kind of speech by which the effect produced is, that great hatred is excited against a man, or great dislike of some proceeding is originated. In an address of this kind we wish to have this understood first, that it is possible to give vent to indignation from all those topics which we have suggested in laying down precepts for the confirmation of a speech. For any amplifications whatever and every sort of indignation may be expressed, derived from those circumstances which are attributed to persons and to things; but still we had better consider those precepts which can be laid down separately with respect to indignation.

The first topic is derived from authority, when we relate what a great subject of anxiety that affair has been to the immortal gods, or to those whose authority ought to carry the greatest weight with it. And that topic will be derived from prophecies, from oracles, from prophets, from tokens, from prodigies, from answers, and from other things like these. Also from our ancestors, from kings, from states, from nations, from the wisest men, from the senate, the people, the framers of laws. The second topic is that by which it is shown with amplification, by means of indignation, whom that affair concerns,—whether it concerns all men or the greater part of men, (which is a most serious business ;) or whether it concerns the higher classes, such as those men are on whose authority the indignation which we are professing is grounded, (which is most scandalous;) or whether it affects those men who are one's equals in courage, and fortune, and personal advantages, (which is most iniquitous;) or whether it affects our inferiors, (which is most arrogant.)

The third topic is that which we employ when we are inquiring what is likely to happen, if every one else acts in the same manner. And at the same time we point out if this man is permitted to act thus, that there will be many imitators of the same audacity; and then from that we shall be able to point out how much evil will follow.

The fourth topic is one by the use of which we show that many men are eagerly looking out to see what is decided, in order that they may be able to see by the precedent of what is allowed to one, what will be allowed to themselves also in similar circumstances.

The fifth topic is one by the use of which we show that everything else which has been badly managed, as soon as the truth concerning them is ascertained, may be all set right; that this thing, however, is one which, if it be once decided wrongly, cannot be altered by any decision, nor set right by any power.

The sixth topic is one by which the action spoken of is proved to have been done designedly and on purpose; and then we add this argument, that pardon ought not to be granted to an intentional crime.

The seventh topic is one which we employ when we say that any deed is foul, and cruel, and nefarious, and tyrannical; that it has been effected by violence or by the influence of riches,—a thing which is as remote as possible from the laws and from all ideas of equal justice.


An eighth topic is one of which we avail ourselves to demonstrate that the crime which is the present subject of discussion is not a common one,—not one such as is often perpetrated. And, that is foreign to the nature of even men in a savage state, of the most barbarous nations, or even of brute beasts. Actions of this nature are such as are wrought with cruelty towards one's parents, or wife, or husband, or children, or relations, or suppliants; next to them, if anything has been done with inhumanity towards a man's elders, —towards those connected with one by ties of hospitality,—towards one's neighbours or one's friends,—to those with whom one has been in the habit of passing one's life,—to those by whom one has been brought up,—to those by whom one has been taught,—to the dead,—to those who are miserable and deserving of pity,—to men who are illustrious, noble, and who have been invested with honours and offices,—to those who have neither had power to injure another nor to defend themselves, such as boys, old men, women: by all which circumstances indignation is violently excited, and will be able to awaken the greatest hatred against a man who has injured any of these persons.

The ninth topic is one by which the action which is the subject of the present discussion is compared with others which are admitted on all hands to be offences. And in that way it is shown by comparison how much more atrocious and scandalous is the action which is the present subject of discussion.

The tenth topic is one by which we collect all the circumstances which have taken place in the performance of this action, and which have followed since that action, with great indignation at and reproach of each separate item; and by our description we bring the case as far as possible before the eyes of the judge before whom we are speaking, so that that which is scandalous may appear quite as scandalous to him as if he himself had been present to see what was done.

The eleventh topic is one which we avail ourselves of when we are desirous to show that the action has been done by him whom of all men in the world it least became to do it; and by whom indeed it ought to have been prevented if any one else had endeavoured to do it.

The twelfth topic is one by means of which we express our indignation that we should be the first people to whom this has happened, and that it has never occurred in any other instance.

The thirteenth topic is when insult is shown to have been added to injury; and by this topic we awaken hatred against pride and arrogance.

The fourteenth topic is one which we avail ourselves of to entreat those who hear us to consider our injuries as if they affected themselves; if they concern our children, to think of their own; if our wives have been injured, to recollect their own wives; if it is our aged relations who have suffered, to remember their own fathers or ancestors.

The fifteenth topic is one by which we say that those things which have happened to us appear scandalous even to foes and enemies; and, as a general rule, indignation is derived from one or other of these topics.


But complaint will usually take its origin from things of this kind. Complaint is a speech seeking to move the pity of the hearers. In this it is necessary in the first place to render the disposition of the hearer gentle and merciful, in order that it may the more easily be influenced by pity. And it will be desirable to produce that effect by common topics, such as those by which the power of fortune over all men is shown, and the weakness of men too is displayed; and if such an argument is argued with dignity and with impressive language, then the minds of men are greatly softened, and prepared to feel pity, while they consider their own weakness in the contemplation of the misfortunes of another.

Then the first topic to raise pity is that by which we show how great the prosperity of our clients was, and how great their present misery is.

The second is one which is divided according to different periods; according to which it is shown in what miseries they have been, and still are, and are likely to be hereafter.

The third topic is that by which each separate inconvenience is deplored; as, for instance, in speaking of the death of a man's son, the delight which the father took in his childhood, his love for him, his hope of him, the comfort he derived from him, the pains he took in his bringing up, and all other instances of the same sort, may be mentioned so as to exaggerate the complaint.

The fourth topic is one in which all circumstances which are discreditable or low or mean are brought forward; all circumstances which are unworthy of a man's age, or birth, or fortune, or former honours or services; all the disasters which they have suffered or are liable to suffer.

The fifth topic is that by using which all disadvantages are brought separately before the eyes of the hearer, so that he who hears of them may seem to see them, and by the very facts themselves, and not only by the description of them, may be moved to pity as if he had been actually present.

The sixth topic is one by which the person spoken of is shown to be miserable, when he had no reason to expect any such fate; and that when he was expecting something else, he not only failed to obtain it, but fell into the most terrible misfortunes.

The seventh is one by which we suppose the fact of a similar mischance befalling the men who are listening to us, and require of them when they behold us to call to mind their own children, or their parents, or some one for whom they are bound to entertain affections.

The eighth is one by which something is said to have been done which ought not to have been done; or not to have been done which ought to have been. In this manner:—"I was not present, I did not see him, I did not hear his last words, I did not receive his last breath. Moreover, he died amid his enemies, he lay shamefully unburied in an enemy's country, being torn to pieces by wild beasts, and was deprived in death of even that honour which is the due of all men."

The ninth is one by which our speech is made to refer to things which are void both of language and sense; as if you were to adapt your discourse to a horse, a house, or a garment; by which topics the minds of those who are hearing, and who have been attached to any one, are greatly moved.

The tenth is one by which want, or weakness, or the desolate condition of any one is pointed out.

The eleventh is one in which is contained a recommendation to bury one's children, or one's parents, or one's own body, or to do any other such thing.

The twelfth is one in which a separation is lamented when you are separated from any one with whom you have lived most pleasantly,—as from a parent, a son, a brother, an intimate friend.

The thirteenth is one used when we complain with great indignation that we are ill-treated by those by whom above all others we least ought to be so,—as by our relations, or by friends whom we have served, and whom we have expected to be assistants to us; or by whom it is a shameful thing to be ill-treated,—as by slaves, or freedmen, or clients or suppliants.

The fourteenth is one which is taken as an entreaty, in which those who hear us are entreated, in a humble and suppliant oration, to have pity on us.

The fifteenth is one in which we show that we are complaining not only of our own fortunes, but of those who ought to be dear to us.

The sixteenth is one by using which we show that our hearts are full of pity for others; and yet give tokens at the same time that it will be a great and lofty mind, and one able to endure disaster if any such should befal us. For often virtue and splendour, in which there is naturally great influence and authority, have more effect in exciting pity than humility and entreaties. And when men's minds are moved it will not be right to dwell longer on complaints; for, as Apollonius the rhetorician said, "Nothing dries quicker than a tear."

But since we have already, as it seems, said enough of all the different parts of a speech, and since this volume has swelled to a great size, what follows next shall be stated in the second book.


  1. Translator notes that the Latin lines are from the Medea of Ennius, translated from the first lines of Euripides' Medea.