Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/778

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QUINTANA—QUINTILIAN

QUINTANA, MANUEL JOSÉ (1772–1857), Spanish poet and man of letters, was born at Madrid on the 11th of April 1772, and after completing his studies at Salamanca was called to the bar. In 1801 he produced a tragedy, El Duque de Visco, founded on M. G. Lewis's Castle Spectre; his Pelayo (1805), written on a patriotic theme, was more successful. The first volume of his Vidas de Espafloles célebres (1807–33), containing lives of Spanish patriots, stirred the public imagination and secured Quintana the post of secretary to the Cortes during the French invasion. His proclamations and odes fanned the national enthusiasm into flame. But he was ill rewarded for his services, for on the return of Ferdinand VII. he was imprisoned at Pamplona from 1814 to 1820. He was finally given a small post in the civil service, became tutor to Queen Isabella, and was nominated senator. Though publicly “ crowned ” as the representative poet of Spain (1855), he seems to have lived in poverty. He died on the frth of March 1857. His poems, thirty-four in number, are inspired by philanthropy and patriotism; the style is occasionally gallicized, and the thought is not profound, but his nobility of sentiment and resounding rhetoric attract every generation of Spaniards.

See an excellent monograph by E. Pifieyro, Manuel José Quintana, ensayo crilico y biográfico (Paris, 1892).


QUINTESSENCE, in ancient and scholastic philosophy, the name given to the fifth immaterial element, over and above the four material elements, air, water, earth and fire, which Aristotle assumed to be permeating the whole world, and called oizcriaz in medieval philosophy this was called quinta essenlia, the fifth essence, and by many was considered material and therefore capable of extraction. The ancient Indian philosophers also contain the same idea of a fifth element; thus there were five Sanskrit elements (bhulas), earth, wind, fire, water and aether. In the history of chemistry the name was applied, by analogy, to the most concentrated extract of a substance.


QUINTILIAN [Marcus Fabius Quitilianus] (c. A.D. 35–95), Roman rhetorician, was born at Calagurris in Spain. Concerning his family and his life but few facts remain. His father taught rhetoric, with no great success, at Rome, and Quintilian must have come there at an early age to reside, and must have there grown up to manhood. The years from 61 to 68 he spent in Spain, probably attached in some capacity to the retinue of the future emperor Galba, with whom he returned to the capital. For at least twenty years after the accession of Galba he was at the head of the foremost school of oratory in Rome, and may fairly be called the Isocrates of his time. He also gained some, but not a great, repute as a pleader in the courts. His greatest speech appears to have been a defence of the queen Berenice, on what charge is not known. He appears to have been wealthy for a professional man. Vespasian created for him a professorial chair of rhetoric, liberally endowed with public money, and from this time he was unquestionably, as Martial calls him, “ the supreme controller of the restless youth.” About the year 88 Quintilian retired from teaching and from pleading, to compose his great work on the training of the orator (Institutio Oratoria). After two years' retirement he was entrusted by Domitian with the education of two grand-nephews, whom he destined as successors to his throne. Quintilian gained the titular rank of consul, and probably died not long before the accession of Nerva (A.D. 96). A wife and two children died early.

Such is the scanty record that remains of Quintilian's uneventful life. But it is possible to determine with some accuracy his relation to the literature and culture of his time, which he powerfully influenced. His career brings home to us the vast change which in a few generations had passed over Roman taste, feeling and society. In the days of Cicero rhetorical teaching had been entirely in the hands of the Greeks. The Greek language, too, was in the main the vehicle of instruction in rhetoric. The first attempt to open a Latin rhetorical school, in 94 B.C., was crushed by authority, and not until the time of Augustus was there any professor of the art who had been born to the full privileges of a Roman citizen. The appointment of Quintilian as professor by the chief of the state marks the last stage in the emancipation of rhetorical teaching from the old Roman prejudices.

During the hundred years or more which elapsed between the death of Cicero and the birth of Quintilian education all over the Roman Empire had spread enormously, and the education of the time found its end and climax in rhetoric. Mental culture was for the most part acquired, not for its own sake, but as a discipline to develop skill in speaking, the paramount qualification for a public career. Rome, Italy and the provinces alike resounded with rhetorical exercitations, which were promoted on all sides by professorships, first of Greek, later also of Latin rhetoric, endowed from municipal funds. The mock contests of the future orators roused a vast amount of popular interest. In Gaul, Spain and Africa these pursuits were carried on with even greater energy than at Rome. The seeds of the existing culture, such as it was, bore richer fruit on the fresh soil of the western provinces than in the exhausted lands of Italy and the East. While Quintilian lived, men born in Spain dominated the Latin schools and the Latin literature, and he died just too soon to see the first provincial, also of Spanish origin, ascend the imperial throne.

As an orator, a teacher and an author, Quintilian set himself to stem the current of popular taste which found its expression in what we are wont to call silver Latin. In his youth the influence of the younger Seneca was dominant. But the chief teacher of Quintilian was a man of another type, one whom he ventures to class with the old orators of Rome. This was Domitius Afer, a rhetorician of Nimes, who rose to the consulship. Quintilian, however, owed more to the dead than to the living. His great model was Cicero, of whom he speaks at all times with unbounded eulogy, and Whose faults he could scarce bring himself to mention; nor could he well tolerate to hear them mentioned by others. The reaction against the Ciceronian oratory which had begun in Cicero's own lifetime had acquired overwhelming strength after his death. Quintilian failed to check it, as another teacher of rhetoric, equally an admirer of Cicero, had failed-the historian Livy. Seneca the elder, a clear-sighted man who could see in Cicero much to praise, and was not blind to the faults of his own age, condemned the old style as lacking in power, while Tacitus, in his Dialogue on Orators, includes Cicero among the men of rude and “ unkempt ” antiquity. The great movement for the poetization of Latin prose which was begun by Sallust ran its course till it culminated in the monstrous style of F ronto. In the courts judges, juries and audiences alike demanded what was startling, quaint or epigrammatic, and the speakers practised a thousand tricks to satisfy the demand. Oratory became above all things an art whose last thought was to conceal itself. It is not surprising that Quintilian's forensic efforts won for him no lasting reputation among his countrymen.

The Institutio Oratoria is one long protest against the tastes of the age. Starting with the maxim of Cato the Censor that the orator is “ the good man who is skilled in speaking, ” Quintilian takes his future orator at birth and shows how this goodness of character and skill in speaking may be best produced. No detail of training in infancy, boyhood or youth is too petty for his attention. The parts of the work which relate to general education are of great interest and importance. Quintilian postulates the widest culture; there is no form of knowledge from which something may not be extracted for his purpose; and he is fully alive to the importance of method in education. He ridicules the fashion of the day, which hurried over preliminary cultivation, and allowed men to grow grey while declaiming in the schools, where nature and reality were forgotten. Yet he develops all the technicalities of rhetoric with a fulness to which we find no parallel in ancient literature. Even in this portion of the work the illustrations are so apposite and the style so dignined and yet sweet that the modern reader, whose initial interest in rhetoric is of necessity faint, is carried along with much less fatigue than is necessary to master most parts of the rhetorical writings of Aristotle and Cicero. Quinti1ian's literary sympathies are extraordinarily wide. When