Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 by Cicero

Part 9 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Like tesselated pavement, or a box
Inlaid with deftly wrought mosaic."

The care taken in the construction must not be too visible. But still
a practised pen will easily perfect this manner of arranging its
phrases. For as the eye does in reading, so in speaking, the eye will
see beforehand what follows, so that the combination of the last words
of a sentence with the first may not leave the whole sentence either
gaping or harsh. For sentiments ever so agreeable or dignified offend
the ears if they are set down in ill-arranged sentences; for the
judgment of the ears is very fastidious. And the Latin language is so
particular on this point, that no one can be so ignorant as to leave
quantities of open vowels. Though this is a point on which men blame
Theopompus, because he was so ostentatious in his avoidance of such
letters, although his master Isocrates did the same; but Thucydides
did not; nor did that other far superior writer, Plato. And he did
this not only in those conversations which are called Dialogues, when
it ought to have been done designedly; but even in that oration[61]
addressed to the people, in which it is customary at Athens for those
men to be extolled who have been slain in fighting for their country.
And that oration was so greatly approved of that it was, as you know,
appointed to be recited every year; and in that there is a constant
succession of open vowels, which Demosthenes avoided in a great degree
as vicious.

XLV. However, the Greeks must judge of that matter for themselves. We
are not allowed to use our words in that manner, not even if we wish
to; and this is shown even by those unpolished speeches of Cato. It is
shown by all the poets except those who sometimes had recourse to a
hiatus in order to finish their verse; as Naevius--

"Vos, qui accolitis Istrum fluvium, atque Algidam."

And again--

"Quam nunquam vobis Graii atque Barbari."

But Ennius does so only once--

"Scipio invicte."

And we too have written,--

"Hinc motu radiantis Etesiae in vada ponti."

For our countrymen would not have endured the frequent use of such a
liberty, though the Greeks even praise it. But why should I talk about
vowels? even without counting vowels, they often used contractions for
the sake of brevity, so as to say--

Multi' modis for imdtis modis.
Vas' argenteis for vasis argenteis.
Palmi et crinibus for palmis et crinibus.
Tecti' fractis for tectis fractis.

And what would be a greater liberty than to contract even men's names,
so as to make them more suitable to verse? For as they contracted
_duellum_ into _bellum_, and _duis_ into _bis_, so they called
_Duellius_ (the man I mean who defeated the Carthaginians in a naval
action) _Bellius_, though his ancestors were always called _Duellii_.
Moreover, they often contract words, not in obedience to any
particular usage, but only to please the ear. For how was it that
Axilla was made Ala, except by the flight of the larger letter? and so
the elegant usage of Latin conversation takes this letter _x_ out of
_maxilla_, and _taxilla_, and _vexillum_, and _paxillum_.

They also joined words by uniting them at their pleasure; so as to
say--_sodes_ for _si audes_, _sis_ for _si vis_. And in this word
_capsis_ there are no less than three[62] words. So _ain_ for _aisne,
nequire_ for _non quire, malle_ for _magis velle, nolle_ for _son
velle_. And again, we often say _dein_ for _deinde_, and _exin_ for
_exinde_. Well, need I give any more instances? Cannot we see easily
from whence it arises that we say _cum illis_, but we do not say _cum
nobis_, but _nobiscum_? because if it were said in the other way, the
letters would clash in a discordant manner; as they would have clashed
a minute ago if I had not put _autem_ between them. This is the origin
of our saying _mecum_ and _tecum_, not _cum me_, and _cum te_, so that
they too might be like _nobiscum_ and _vobiscum_.

XLVI. And some men find fault with all this; men who are rather late
in mending antiquity; for they wish us, instead of saying _Deum atque
hominum fidem_, to say _Deorum_. Very likely it may be right, but were
our ancestors ignorant of all this, or was it usage that gave them
this liberty? Therefore the same poet who had used these uncommon

"Patris mei mecum factum pudet," for meorum factorum,


"Texitur: exitium examen rapit," for exitiorum,

does not say "_liberum_" as many of us do say in such an expression as
_cupidos liberum_, or in _liberum loco_, but, as these men approve,

"Neque tuum unquam in gremium extollas liberorum ex te genus."

And again he says,--

"Namque aesculapi liberorum...."

And another of these poets says in his Chryses, not only

"Cives, antiqui amici majorum meum,"

which was common enough; but he says, with a much more unmusical

"Consilium, augurium, atque extum interpretes."

And again he goes on--

"Postquam prodigium horriferum, putentfum pavos,"

which are not at all usual contractions in a string of words which are
all neuter. Nor should I much like to say _armum judicium_, though the
expression occurs in that same poet,--

"Nihilne ad te de judicio armum accidit?"

instead of _armorum_. But I do venture (following the language of the
censor's returns) to say _jabrum_ and _procum_, instead of _fabrorum_
and _procorum_. And I actually never by any chance say _duorum virorum
judicium_, or _triumvirorum capitalium_, or _decemvirorum litibus

And Attius said--

"Video sepulchra dua duorum corporam."

And at another time he has said,--

"Mulier una duum virum."

I know which is proper; but sometimes I speak according to the licence
of the present fashion, so far as to say _Proh Deum_, or _Proh
Deorum_; and at other times I speak as I am forced to, when I say
_trium virum_, not _virorum_, and _sestertium nummum_, not _nummorum_;
because with respect to these words there is no variety of usage.

XLVII. What am I to say is the reason why they forbid us to say
_nosse, judicasse_, and enjoin us to use _novisse_ and _judicavisse_?
as if we did not know that in words of this kind it is quite correct
to use the word at full length, and quite in accordance with usage to
use it in its contracted form. And so Terence does use both forms, and

"Eho, tu cognatum tuum non noras?"

And afterwards he has,--

"Stilphonem, inquam, noveras?"

_Siet_ is the word at full length; _sit_ is the contracted form. One
may use either; and so we find in the same passage,--

"Quam cara sint, quae post carendo intelligunt,
Quamque attinendi magni dominatus sient."

Nor should I find fault with

"Scripsere alii rem."

I am aware that _scripserunt_ is the more correct form; but I
willingly comply with a fashion which is agreeable to the ears.

"Idem campus habet,"

says Eunius; and in another place he has given us,--

"In templis isdem;"

but _eisdem_ would be more regular; but yet it would not have been
so musical: and _iisdem_ would have sounded ill. But custom has
sanctioned our departing from strict rules for the sake of
euphony; and I should prefer saying _pomeridianas quadrigas_ to
_postmeridianas_, and _mehercule_ to _mehercules. Non scire_ already
appears a barbarism; _nescire_ is sweeter. The word _meridiem_ itself,
why is it not _medidiem_?

I suppose because it sounded worse. There is one preposition, _abs_,
which has now only an existence in account books; but in all other
conversation of every sort is changed: for we say _amovit_, and
_abegit_, and _abstulit_, so that you cannot now tell whether _ab_ is
the correct form or _abs_. What shall we say if even _abfugit_ has
seemed inadmissible, and if men have discarded _abfer_ and preferred
_aufer_? and that preposition is found in no word whatever except
these two verbs. There were the words _noti_, and _navi_, and _nari_,
and when _in_ was forced to be prefixed to them, it seemed more
musical to say _ignoti, ignavi, ignari_, than to adhere to the strict
rules. Men say _ex usu_ and _republica_, because in the one phrase a
vowel followed the preposition, and in the other there would have been
great harshness if you had not removed the consonant, as in _exegit,
edixit, effecit, extulit, edidit_. And sometimes the preposition has
sustained an alteration, regulated by the first letter of the verb to
which it is added, as _suffugit, summutavit, sustulit_.

XLVIII. What are we to say of compound words? How neat is it to
say _insipientem_, not _insapientem_; _iniquum_, not _incequum_;
_tricipitem_, not _tricapitem_; _concisum_, not concoesum! and,
because of this last instance, some people wish also to say
_pertisum_; but the same fashion which regulates the other changes,
has not sanctioned this one. But what can be more elegant than this,
which is not caused by nature, but by some regular usage?--we say
_inclytus_, with the first letter short; _insanus_, with the first
letter long; _inkumanus_, with a short letter; _infelix_, with a long
one: and, not to detain you with many examples, in those words in
which the first letters are those which occur in _sapiente_ and
_felice_, it is used long; in all others it is short. And so, too, we
have _composuit, consuevit, concrvpuit, confecit_. Consult the truth,
it will reprove you; refer the matter to your ears, they will sanction
the usage. Why so? Because they will say that that sound is the most
agreeable one to them; and an oration ought to consult that which
gives pleasure to the ears. Moreover, I myself, as I knew that our
ancestors spoke so as never to use an aspirate except before a vowel,
used to speak in this way: _pulcros, Cetegos, triumpos, Cartaginem_;
when at last, and after a long time, the truth was forced upon me by
the admonition of my own ears, I yielded to the people the right of
settling the rule of speaking; and was contented to reserve to myself
the knowledge of the proper rules and reasons for them. Still we say
_Orcivii_, and _Matones_ and _Otones, Coepiones, sepulchra, coronas,
lacrymas_, because that pronunciation is always sanctioned by the
judgment of our ears.

Ennius always used _Burrum_, never _Pyrrhum_: he says,--

"Vi patefecerunt Bruges;"

not _Phryges_; and so the old copies of his poems prove, for they had
no Greek letters in them. But now those words have two; and though
when they wanted to say _Phrygum_ and _Phrygibus_, it was absurd
either to use a Greek character in the barbarous cases only, or else
in the nominative case alone to speak Greek, still we say _Phrygum_
and _Phrygibus_ for the sake of harmonizing our ears. Moreover (at
present it would seem like the language of a ploughman, though
formerly it was a mark of politeness) our ancestors took away the last
letter of those words in which the two last letters were the same, as
they are in _optumus_, unless the next word began with a vowel. And
so they avoided offending the ear in their verse; as the modern poets
avoid it now in a different manner. For we used to say,--

"Qui est omnibu' princeps," not "omnibus princeps;"


"Vita illa, dignu' locoquc," not "dignus."

But if unlettered custom is such an artist of euphony, what must we
think is required by scientific art and systematic learning?

I have put all this more briefly than if I were discussing this matter
by itself; (for this topic is a very extensive one, concerning the use
and nature of words;) but still I have been more prolix than the plan
I originally proposed to myself required.

XLIX. But because the choice of subjects and words is in the
department of prudence, but of sounds and rhythm it is the ears that
are the judges; because the one is referable to one's understanding,
the other only to one's pleasure; therefore in the one case it is
reason and in the other sensation that has been the inventor of the
system. For it was necessary for us either to disregard the pleasure
of those men by whom we wished to be approved of; or else it was
necessary to discover a system by which to gain their good-will.

There are then two things which soothe the ears; _sound_ and _rhythm_.
Concerning rhythm we will speak presently; at this moment we are
inquiring into sound. As I said before, words must be selected which
as much as possible shall sound well; but they must not be, like the
words of a poet, sought purely for sound, but taken from ordinary

"Qua ponto a Helles"

is an extravagant expression; but

"Auratua aries Colehorum"

is a verse illuminated with splendid names. But the next verse is
polluted by ending with a most inharmonious letter;

"Frugifera et ferta arva Asiae tenet."

Let us therefore use the propriety of words of our own language,
rather than the brilliancy of the Greeks; unless perchance we are
ashamed of speaking in such a way as this--

"Qua tempestate Paris Helenam,"

and the rest of that sentence. Let us, I say, pursue that plan and
avoid harshness of sound.

"Habeo istam ego perterricrepam....
Versutiloquas malitias."

Nor is it enough to have one's words arranged in a regular system, but
the terminations of the sentences must be carefully studied, since we
have said that that is a second sort of judgment of the ears. But the
harmonious end of a sentence depends on the arrangement itself, which
is so of its own accord, if I may so express myself, or on some
particular class of words in which there is a certain neatness; and
whether such words have cases the terminations of which are similar,
or whether one word is matched with another which resembles it, or
whether contrary words are opposed to one another, they are harmonious
of their own nature, even if nothing has been done on purpose. In the
pursuit of this sort of neatness Gorgias is reported to have been the
leader; and of this style there is an example in our speech in defence
of Milo: "For this law, O judges, is not a written one, but a natural
one, one which we have not learnt, or received from others, or
gathered from books; but which we have extracted, and pressed out,
and imbibed from nature itself; it is one in which we have not been
educated, but born; we have not been brought up in it, but imbued with
it. For these sentences are such that, because they are referred to
the principles to which they ought to be referred, we see plainly that
harmony was not the thing that was sought in them, but that which
followed of its own accord. And this is also the case when contraries
are opposed to one another; as those phrases are by which not only a
harmonious sentence, but even a verse is made.

"Eam, quam nihil accusas, damnas."

A man would say _condemnas_ if he wished to avoid making a verse.

"Bene quam meritam esse autumas, dicis male mereri.
Id, quod scis, prodest nihil; id, quod nescis, obest."

The very relation of the contrary effects makes a verse that would be
harmonious in a narration.

"Quod scis, nihil prodest; quod nescis, multum obest."

These things, which the Greeks call [Greek: antitheta], as in them
contraries are opposed to contraries, of sheer necessity produce
oratorical rhythm; and that too without any intention on the part of
the orator that they should do so.

This was a kind of speaking in which the ancients used to take
delight, even before the time of Isocrates; and especially Gorgias;
in whose orations his very neatness generally produces an harmonious
rhythm. We too frequently employ this style; as in the fourth book of
our impeachment of Verres:--"Compare this peace with that war; the
arrival of this praetor with the victory of that general; the debauched
retinue of this man, with the unconquerable army of the other; the
lust of this man with the continence of that one; and you will say
that Syracuse was founded by the man who in reality took it; and was
stormed by this one, who in reality received it in an admirable and
settled condition."

This sort of rhythm then must be well understood.

L. We must now explain that third kind of an harmonious and
well-arranged speech, and say of what character it is; and what sort
of ears those people have who do not understand its character, or
indeed what there is in them that is like men at all, I do not know.
My ears delight in a well-turned and properly finished period of
words, and they like conciseness, and disapprove of redundancy. Why
do I say my ears? I have often seen a whole assembly raise a shout of
approval at hearing a musical sentence. For men's ears expect that
sentences shall be strung together of well-arranged words. This was
not the case in the time of the ancients. And indeed it was nearly the
only thing in which they were deficient: for they selected their words
carefully, and they gave utterance to dignified and sweet sounding
ideas; but they paid little attention to arranging them or filling
them up. "This is what delights me," one of them would say. What are
we to say if an old primitive picture of few colours delights some men
more than this highly finished one? Why, I suppose, the style which
succeeds must be studied again; and this latter style repudiated.

People boast of the names of the ancients. But antiquity carries
authority with it in precedents, as old age does in the lives of
individuals; and it has indeed very great weight with me myself. Nor
am I more inclined to demand from antiquity that which it has not,
than to praise that which it has; especially as I consider what it has
as of more importance than what it has not. For there is more good in
well chosen words and ideas in which they excel, than in the rounding
off of phrases in which they fail. It is after their time that the
working up of the termination of a sentence has been introduced; which
I think that those ancients would have employed, if it had been known
and employed in their day; as since it has been introduced we see that
all great orators have employed it.

LI. But it looks like envy when what we call "number," and the Greeks
[Greek: ruthmos] is said to be employed in judicial and forensic
oratory. For it appears like laying too many plots for the charming
of people's ears if rhythm is also aimed at by the orator in his
speeches. And relying on this argument those critics themselves utter
broken and abrupt sentences, and blame those men who deliver well
rounded and neatly turned discourses. If they blame them because their
words are ill adapted and their sentiments are trifling, they are
right; but if their arguments are sound, their language well chosen,
then why should they prefer a lame and halting oration to one which
keeps pace with the sentiments contained in it? For this rhythm which
they attack so has no other effect except to cause the speaker to
clothe his ideas in appropriate language; and that was done by the
ancients also, not unusually by accident, and often by nature; and
those speeches of theirs which are exceedingly praised, are so
generally because they are concisely expressed. And it is now near
four hundred years since this doctrine has been established among the
Greeks; we have only lately recognised it. Therefore was it allowable
for Ennius, despising the ancient examples, to say:--

"In verses such as once the Fauns
And ancient poets sang:"

and shall it not be allowed me to speak of the ancients in the same
manner? especially as I am not going to say, "Before this man ..." as
he did; nor to proceed as he did, "We have ventured to open ..." For I
have read and heard of some speakers whose orations were rounded off
in an almost perfect manner. And those who cannot do this are not
content with not being despised; they wish even to be praised for
their inability. But I do praise those men, and deservedly too, whose
imitators they profess to be; although I see something is wanting in
them. But these men I do not praise at all, who imitate nothing of the
others except their defects, and are as far removed as possible from
their good qualities.

But if their own ears are so uncivilised and barbarous, will not the
authority of even the most learned men influence them? I say nothing
of Isocrates, and his pupils Ephorus and Naucrates; although those men
who are themselves consummate orators ought also to be the highest
authorities on making and ornamenting a speech. But who of all men
was ever more learned, or more acute, or a more accurate judge of
the discovery of, or decision respecting all things than Aristotle?
Moreover, who ever took more pains to oppose Isocrates? Aristotle
then, while he warns us against letting verses occur in our speeches,
enjoins us to attend to rhythm. His pupil Theodectes, one of the most
polished of writers, (as Aristotle often intimates,) and a great
artist, both felt and enjoined the same thing. And Theophrastus is
more distinct still in laying down the same rule.

Who then can endure those men who do not agree with such authorities
as these? Unless indeed they are ignorant that they ever gave any such
rules. And if that is the case, (and I really believe it is,) what
then? Have they no senses of their own to be guided by? Have they no
natural idea of what is useless? None of what is harsh, cramped, lame,
or superfluous? When verses are being repeated, the whole theatre
raises an outcry if there is one syllable too few or too many.
Not that the mob knows anything about feet or metre; nor do they
understand what it is that offends them, or know why or in what it
offends them. But nevertheless nature herself has placed in our ears a
power of judging of all superfluous length and all undue shortness in
sounds, as much as of grave and acute syllables.

LII. Do you wish then, O Brutus, that we should give a more accurate
explanation of this whole topic, than those men themselves have done
who have delivered these and other rules to us? Or may we be content
with those which have been delivered by them? But why do I ask whether
you wish this? when I know from your letters, written in a most
scholar-like spirit, that you wish for it above all things. First of
all, then, the origin of a well-adapted and rhythmical oration shall
be explained, then the cause of it, then its nature, and last of all
its use.

For they who admire Isocrates above all things, place this among his
very highest panegyrics, that he was the first person who added rhythm
to prose writing. For they say that, as he perceived that orators were
listened to with seriousness, but poets with pleasure, he then aimed
at rhythm so as to use it in his orations both for the sake of giving
pleasure, and also that variety of sound might prevent weariness. And
this is said by them in some degree correctly, but not wholly so. For
we must confess that no one was ever more thoroughly skilled in that
sort of learning than Isocrates; but still the original inventor of
rhythm was Thrasymachus; all whose writings are even too carefully
rhythmical. For, as I said a little while ago, the principle of things
like one another being placed side by side, sentence after sentence
being ended in a similar manner, and contraries being compared
with contraries, so that, even if one took no pains about it, most
sentences would end musically, was first discovered by Gorgias; but he
used it without any moderation. And that is, as I have said before
one of the three divisions of arrangement. Both of these men were
predecessors of Isocrates; so that it was in his moderation, not in
his invention, that he is superior to them. For he is more moderate in
the way in which he inverts or alters the sense of words; and also in
his attention to rhythm. But Gorgias is a more insatiable follower of
this system, and (even according to his own admission) abuses these
elegances in an unprecedented way; but Isocrates (who while a young
man had heard Gorgias when he was an old man in Thessaly) put all
these things under more restraint. Moreover he himself, as he advanced
in age, (and he lived nearly a hundred years,) relaxed in his ideas of
the exceeding necessity for rhythm; as he declares in that book which
he wrote to Philip of Macedon, when he was a very old man, in which he
says that he is less attentive to rhythm than he had formerly been.
And so he had corrected not only his predecessors, but himself also.

LIII. Since, then, we have those men whom we have mentioned as the
authors and originators of a well-adapted oration, and since its
origin has been thus explained, we must now seek for the cause.
And that is so evident, that I marvel that the ancients were not
influenced by it; especially when, as is often the case, they often by
chance made use of well-rounded and well-arranged periods. And when
they had produced their impression on the minds and ears of men, so as
to make it very plain that what chance had effected had been received
with pleasure, certainly they ought to have taken note of what had
been done, and have imitated themselves; for the ears, or the mind by
the report of the ears, contains in itself a natural measurement
of all sounds. That is how it distinguishes between long and short
sounds; and always watches for well-wrought and moderate periods. It
feels that some are mutilated and curtailed, as it were, and with
those it is offended, as if it were defrauded of its due; others it
feels to be too long, and running out to an immoderate length, and
those the ears reject even more than the first; for as in most cases,
so especially in this kind of thing, it happens that what is in excess
is much more offensive than that which errs on the side of deficiency.

As, therefore, poetry and verse was invented by the nicety of the ear,
and the careful observation of clever men; so it has been noticed in
oratory, much later, indeed, but still in deference to the promptings
of the same nature, that there are some certain rules and bounds,
within which words and paragraphs ought to be confined.

Since, therefore, we have thus shown the cause, we will now, if you
please, explain the nature of it; for that was the third division; and
that involves a discussion which has no reference to the original plan
of this treatise, but which belongs rather to the arcana of the art.
For the question may be asked, what is the rhythm of a speech; and
where it is placed; and in what it originates; and whether it is one
thing, or two, or more; and on what principles it is arranged; and for
what purpose; and how and in what part it is situated, and in what way
it is employed so as to give any pleasure.

But as in most cases, so also in this one, there are two ways of
looking at the question; one of which is longer, the other shorter,
and at the same time plainer.

LIV. But in the longer way the first question is, whether there
actually is any such thing as a rhythmical oration at all; (for some
persons do not think that there is, because there is not in oratory
any positive rule, as there is in verses, and because the people who
assert that there is that rhythm cannot give any reason why there is.)
In the next place, if there is rhythm in an oration, what sort of
rhythm it is; and whether it is of more than one kind; and whether it
consists of poetical rhythm, or of some other kind; and if it consists
of poetical rhythm, of which poetical rhythm, (for some think that
there is but one sort of poetical rhythm, while others think there are
many kinds.) In the next place, the question arises, whatever sorts of
rhythm there may be, whether one or more, whether they are common to
every kind of oratory, (since there is one kind used in narrating,
another kind in persuading, and another in teaching,) or whether the
different kinds are all adapted equally to every sort of oratory. If
the different kinds are common to each kind of oratory, what are they?
If there is a difference, then what is the difference, and why is the
rhythm less visible in a speech than in a verse? Besides, there is a
question whether what is rhythmical in a speech is made so solely by
rhythm, or also by some especial arrangement of words, or by the kind
of words employed; or whether each division has its component parts,
so that rhythm consists of intervals, arrangement of words, while the
character of the words themselves is visible being a sort of shape
and light of the speech; and whether arrangement is not the principal
thing of all, and whether it is not by that that rhythm is produced,
and those things which I have called the forms and light of a speech,
and which, as I have said, the Greeks call [Greek: schaemata]. But
that which is pleasant when uttered by the voice, and that which is
made perfect by careful regulation, and brilliant by the nature of the
words employed, are not one and the same thing, although they are both
akin to rhythm, because each is perfect of itself; but an arrangement
differs from both, and is wholly dependent on the dignity or sweetness
of the language employed.

These are the main questions which arise out of an inquiry into the
nature of oratory.

LV. It is, then, not hard to know that there is a certain rhythm in a
speech: for the senses decide that. And it is absurd not to admit an
evident fact, merely because we cannot find out why it happens. And
verse itself was not invented by _a priori_ reasoning, but by nature
and the senses, and these last were taught by carefully digested
reason what was the fact; and accordingly it was the careful noticing
and observation of nature which produced art.

But in verses the matter is more evident. For although there are some
kinds of verse which, if they be not chanted, appear but little to
differ from prose; and this is especially the case in all the very
best of those poets who are called [Greek: lyriloi] by the Greeks;
for when you have stripped them of the singing, the language remains
almost naked. And some of our countrymen are like them. Like that line
in Thyestes:--

"Quemnam te esse dicam, qui tarda in senectute" ...

And so on; for except when the flute-player is at hand to accompany
them, those verses are very like prose. But the iambics of the common
poets are, on account of their likeness to ordinary conversation, very
often in such a very low style, that sometimes it is hardly possible
to discover any metre, or even rhythm in them. And it may easily be
understood that there is more difficulty in discovering the rhythm in
an oration than in verses.

Altogether there are two things which season oratory--the sweetness of
the language, and the sweetness of the rhythm. In the language is the
material, and in the rhythm the polish. But, as in other things,
the older inventions are the children of necessity rather than of
pleasure; so also has it happened in this, that oratory was for many
ages naked and unpolished, aiming only at expressing the meaning
conceived in the mind of the speaker, before any system of rhythm for
the sake of tickling the ears was invented.

LVI. Therefore Herodotus also, and his age, and the age preceding him,
had no idea of rhythm, except at times by chance, as it seems. And the
very ancient writers have left us no rules at all about rhythm, though
they have given us many precepts about oratory. For that which is the
more easy and the more necessary will always be the first thing
known. Therefore, words used in a metaphorical sense, or inverted, or
combined, were easily invented because they were derived from ordinary
use, and from daily conversation. But rhythm was not drawn from a
man's own house, nor had it any connexion of relationship to oratory.
And therefore it was later in being noticed and observed, bringing as
it did the last touch and lineaments to oratory. But if there is
one style of oratory narrow and concise, and another more vague and
diffuse, that must clearly be owing, not to the nature of letters,
but to the difference between long and short paragraphs; because an
oration made up and compounded of these two kinds is sometimes
steady, sometimes fluent, and so each character must be kept up by
corresponding rhythm. For that circuitous way of speaking, which we
have often mentioned already, goes on more impetuously, and hurries
along, until it can arrive at its end, and come to a stop. It is quite
plain, therefore, that oratory ought to be confined to rhythm, and
kept clear of metre.

But the next question is, whether this rhythm is poetical, or whether
it is of some other kind. There is, then, no rhythm whatever that
is not poetical; because the different kinds of rhythm are clearly
defined. For all rhythm is one of three kinds. For the foot which
is employed in rhythm is divided into three classes; so that it is
necessary that one part of the foot must be either equal to the other
part, or as large again, or half as large again. Accordingly, the
dactyl is of the first class, the paeon of the last, the iambic of the
second. And how is it possible to avoid such feet in an oration?
And then when they are arranged with due consideration rhythm is
unavoidably produced.

But the question arises, what rhythm is to be employed; either
absolutely, or in preference to others. But that every kind of rhythm
is at times suitable to oratory, may be seen from this,--that in
speaking we often make a verse without intending it, (which, however,
is a great fault, but we do not notice it, nor do we hear what we say
ourselves;) and as for iambics, whether regular or Hipponactean, those
we can scarcely avoid, for our common conversation often consists of
iambics. But still the hearer easily recognises those verses, for they
are the most usual ones. But at times we unintentionally let fall
others which are less usual, but which still are verses; and that is a
faulty style of oratory, and one which requires to be guarded against
with great care.

Hieronymus, a Peripatetic of the highest character, out of all the
numerous compositions of Isocrates, picked out about thirty verses,
chiefly iambics, but some also anapaests. And what can be worse?
Though in picking them out he acted in an unfair manner, for he took
away sometimes the first syllable in the first word of a sentence; and
again, he sometimes added to the last word the first syllable of the
following sentence. And in this way he made that sort of anapaest which
is called the Aristophanic anapaest. And such accidents as these
cannot be guarded against, nor do they signify. But still this critic,
in the very passage in which he finds this fault with him, (as I
noticed when I was examining his work very closely,) himself makes
an iambic without knowing it. This, then, may be considered as an
established point, that there is rhythm also in prose, and that
oratorical is the same as the poetical rhythm.

LVII. It remains, therefore, for us to consider what rhythm occurs
most naturally in a well-arranged oration. For some people think that
it is the iambic rhythm, because that is the most like a speech,
on which account it happens that it is most frequently employed in
fables, because of its resemblance to reality--because the dactylic
hexameter rhythm is better suited to a lofty and magniloquent subject
But Ephorus himself, an inconsiderable orator, though coming from an
excellent school, inclines to the paeon, or dactyl, but avoids the
spondee and trochee. For because the paeon has three short syllables
and the dactyl two, he thinks that the words come more trippingly
off on account of the shortness and rapidity of utterance of the
syllables; and that a contrary effect is produced by the spondee and
trochee, because the one consists of long syllables and the other of
short ones; so that a speech made up of the one is too much hurried,
it made up of the other is too slow; and neither is well, regulated.
But those accents are all in the wrong, and Ephorus is wholly in
fault. For those who pass over the paeon, do not perceive that a most
delicate, and at the same time most dignified rhythm is passed over by
them. But Aristotle's opinion is very different, for he considers that
the heroic rhythm is a grander one than is admissible in prose, and
that an iambic is too like ordinary conversation. Accordingly, he does
not approve of a style which is lowly and abject, or of one which is
too lofty and, as it were, on stilts: but still he wishes for one full
of dignity, in order to strike those who hear it with the greater
admiration. But he calls a trochee, which occupies the same time as a
choreus, [Greek: kordax], because its contracted and brief character
is devoid of dignity. Accordingly, he approves of the paeon; and says
that all men employ it, but that all men are not themselves aware when
they do employ it; and that there is a third or middle way between
those two, but that those feet are formed in such a way, that in every
one of them there is either a time, or a time and a half, or two
times. Therefore, those men of whom I have spoken have considered
convenience only, and disregarded dignity. For the iambic and the
dactyl are those which are most usually employed in verse; and,
therefore, as we avoid verses in making speeches, so also a recurrence
of these feet must be avoided. For oratory is a different thing from
poetry, nor are there any two things more contrary to one another than
that is to verses. But the paeon is that foot which, of all others, is
least adapted to verse, on which account oratory admits it the more
willingly. But Ephorus will not even admit that the spondee, which he
condemns, is equivalent to the dactyl, which he approves of. For he
thinks that feet ought to be measured by their syllables, not by their
quantity; and he does the same in regard to the trochee, which in its
quantity and times is equivalent to an iambic; but which is a fault in
an oration, if it be placed at the end, because a sentence ends better
with a long syllable.

And all this, which is also contained in Aristotle, is said by
Theophrastus and Theodectes about the paeon. But my opinion is, that
all feet ought to be jumbled together and confused, as it were, in an
oration; and that we could not escape blame if we were always to use
the same feet; because an oration ought to be neither metrical, like
a poem, nor inharmonious, like the conversation of the common people.
The one is so fettered by rules that it is manifest that it is
designedly arranged as we see it; the other is so loose as to appear
ordinary and vulgar; so that you are not pleased with the one, and you
hate the other.

Let oratory then be, as I have said above, mingled and regulated with
a regard to rhythm; not prosaic, nor on the other hand sacrificed
wholly to rhythm; composed chiefly of the paeon, (since that is the
opinion of the wisest author on the subject,) with many of the other
feet which he passes over intermingled with it.

LVIII. But what feet ought to be mingled with others, like purple,
must be now explained; and we must also show to what kind of speech
each sort of foot and rhythm is the best adapted. For the iambic is
most frequent in those orations which are composed in a humble and
lowly style; but the paeon is suited to a more dignified style; and the
dactyl to both. Therefore, in a varied and long-continued speech these
feet should be mingled together and combined. And in this way the fact
of the orator aiming at pleasing the senses, and the careful attempt
to round off the speech, will be the less visible, and they will at
all times be less apparent if we employ dignified expressions and
sentiments. For the hearers observe these two things, and think them
agreeable: (I mean, expressions and sentiments.) And while they listen
to them with admiring minds, the rhythm escapes their notice; and even
if it were wholly wanting they would still be delighted with those
other things.

Nor indeed is the rhythm, I mean in a speech, (for the case as to
verse is very different,) so exacting that nothing may ever be
expressed except according to rule; for then it would be a poem. But
every oration which does not halt or if I may so say, fluctuate, and
which proceeds on with an equal and consistent pace, is considered
rhythmical. And it is considered rhythmical in the delivery; not
because it consists wholly of some regular rhythm; but because it
comes as near to a musical rhythm as possible: on which account it is
more difficult to make a speech than to make verses; because these
last have certain definite rules which it is necessary to follow; but,
in speaking, there is nothing settled, except that the speech must
not be intemperate, or too compressed, or prosaic, or too fluent.
Therefore there are no regular bars in it as a flute-player has; but
the whole principle and system of an oration is regulated by general
rules of universal application; and they are judged of on the
principle of pleasing the ear.

LIX. But people often ask, whether in every portion of a paragraph it
is necessary to have a regard to rhythm, or whether it is sufficient
to do so at the beginning and end of a sentence. For many people think
that it is sufficient for a sentence to end and be wound up in a
rhythmical manner. But although that is the main point, it is not the
only one; for the sounding of the periods is only to be laid aside,
not to be thrown away. And therefore, as men's ears are always on the
watch for the end of a sentence, and are greatly influenced by that,
that certainly ought never to be devoid of rhythm; but harmony ought
to pervade the whole sentence from beginning to end; and the whole
ought to proceed from the beginning so naturally that the end shall be
consistent with every previous part. But that will not be difficult
to men who have been trained in a good school, who have written many
things, and who have made also all the speeches which they have
delivered without written papers like written speeches. For the
sentence is first composed in the mind; and then words come
immediately: and then they are immediately sent forth by the mind,
than which nothing is more rapid in its movements; so that each falls
into its proper place. And then their regular order is settled by
different terminations in different sentences; and all the expressions
at the beginning and in the middle of the sentence ought to be
composed with reference to the end. For sometimes the torrent of an
oration is rapid; sometimes its progress is moderate; so that from the
very beginning one can see how one wishes to come to the end. Nor is
it in rhythm more than in the other embellishments of a speech that we
behave exactly as poets do; though still, in an oration, we avoid all
resemblance to a poem.

LX. For there is in both oratory and poetry, first of all the
material, then the execution. The material consists in the words,
the execution in the arrangement of the words. But there are three
divisions of each,--of words there is the metaphorical, the new, and
the old-fashioned; for of appropriate words we say nothing at
present; but of arrangement there are those which we have mentioned,
composition, neatness, and rhythm. But the poets are the most free
and frequent in the use of each; for they use words in a metaphorical
sense not only more frequently, but also more daringly; and they use
old-fashioned words more willingly, and new ones more freely. And the
case with respect to rhythm is the same; in which they are obliged
to comply with a kind of necessity: but still these things must be
understood as being neither too different, nor yet in any respect
united. Accordingly we find that rhythm is not the same in an oration
as in a poem; and that that which is pronounced to be rhythmical in an
oration is not always effected by a strict attention to the rules of
rhythm; but sometimes either by neatness, or by the casual arrangement
of the words.

Accordingly, if the question is raised as to what is the rhythm of an
oration, it is every sort of rhythm; but one sort is better and more
suitable than another. If the question is, what is the place of this
rhythm? it is in every portion of the words. If you ask where it has
arisen; it has arisen from the pleasure of the ears. If the principle
is sought on which the words are to be arranged; that will be
explained in another place, because that relates to practice, which
was the fourth and last division which we made of the subject. If
the question is, when; always: if, in what place; it consists in
the entire connexion of the words. If we are asked, What is the
circumstance which causes pleasure? we reply, that it is the same
as in verse; the method of which is determined by art; but the ears
themselves define it by their own silent sensations, without any
reference to principles of art.

LXI. We have said enough of the nature of it. The practice follows;
and that we must discuss with greater accuracy. And in this discussion
inquiry has been made, whether it is in the whole of that rounding of
a sentence which the Greeks call [Greek: periodos], and which we call
"_ambitus_" or "_circuitus_," or "_comprehensio_" or "_continuatio_"
or "_circumscriptio_," or in the beginning only, or in the end, or
in both, that rhythm must be maintained? And, in the next place, as
rhythm appears one thing and a rhythmical sentence another, what is
the difference between them? and again, whether it is proper for
the divisions of a sentence to be equal in every sort of rhythm, or
whether we should make some shorter and some longer; and if so, when,
and why, and in what parts; whether in many or in one; whether in
unequal or equal ones; and when we are to use one, and when the other;
and what words may be most suitably combined together, and how; or
whether there is absolutely no distinction; and, what is most material
to the subject of all things, by what system oratory may be made
rhythmical. We must also explain from whence such a form of words has
arisen; and we must explain what periods it may be becoming to make,
and we must also discuss their parts and sections, if I may so call
them; and inquire whether they have all one appearance and length, or
more than one; and if many, in what place; or when we may use them,
and what kinds it is proper to use; and, lastly, the utility of the
whole kind is to be explained, which indeed is of wider application;
for it is adapted not to any one particular thing, but to many.

And a man may, without giving replies on each separate point, speak of
the entire genus in such a way that his answer may appear sufficient
as to the whole matter. Leaving, therefore, the other kinds out of the
question, we select this one, which is conversant with actions and the
forum, concerning which we will speak.

Therefore in other kinds, that is to say, in history and in that kind
of argument which we call [Greek: epideiktikon], it seems good
that everything should be said after the example of Isocrates and
Theopompus, with that sort of period and rounding of a sentence that
the oration shall run on in a sort of circle, until it stops in
separate, perfect, and complete sentences. Therefore after this
_circumscriptio_, or _continuatio_, or _comprehensio_, or _ambitus_,
if we may so call it, was once introduced, there was no one of any
consideration who ever wrote an oration of that kind which was
intended only to give pleasure, and unconnected with judicial
proceedings or forensic contests, who did not reduce almost all his
sentences to a certain set form and rhythm. For, as his hearers are
men who have no fear that their own good faith is being attempted to
be undermined by the snare of a well-arranged oration, they are even
grateful to the orator for studying so much to gratify their ears.

LXII. But this kind of oratory is neither to be wholly appropriated
to forensic causes, nor is it entirely to be repudiated. For if
you constantly employ it, when it has produced weariness then even
unskilful people can recognise its character. Besides, it takes away
the indignation which is intended to be excited by the pleading; it
takes away the manly sensibility of the pleader; it wholly puts an
end to all truth and good faith. But since it ought to be employed at
times, first of all, we should see in what place; secondly, how long
it is to be maintained; and lastly, in how many ways it may be varied.
We must, then, employ a rhythmical oratory, if we have occasion either
to praise anything in an ornate style,--as we ourselves spoke in the
second book of our impeachment of Verres concerning the praise of
Sicily; and in the senate, of my own consulship; or a narration must
be delivered which requires more dignity than indignation,--as in the
fourth book of that same impeachment we spoke concerning the Ceres of
Enna, the Diana of Segeste, and the situation of Syracuse. Often
also when employed in amplifying a case, an oration is poured forth
harmoniously and volubly with the approbation of all men. That perhaps
we have never quite accomplished; but we have certainly very often
attempted it; as our perorations in many places show that we have, and
indeed that we have been very eager to effect it. But this is most
effective when the hearer is already blockaded, as it were, and taken
prisoner by the speaker. For he then no longer thinks of watching and
guarding against the orator, but he is already on his side; and wishes
him to proceed, admitting the force of his eloquence, and never
thinking of looking for anything with which to find fault.

But this style is not to be maintained long; I do not mean in the
peroration which it concludes, but in the other divisions of the
speech. For when the orator has employed those topics which I have
shown to be admissible, then the whole of his efforts must be
transferred to what the Greeks call, I know not why, [Greek: kommata]
and [Greek: kola], and which we may translate, though not very
correctly, "incisa" and "membra." For there cannot be well-known
names given to things which are not known; but when we use words in a
metaphorical sense, either for the sake of sweetness or because of the
poverty of the language, this result takes place in every art, that
when we have got to speak of that which, on account of our ignorance
of its existence, had no name at all previously, necessity compels
us either to coin a new word, or to borrow a name from something
resembling it.

LXIII. But we will consider hereafter in what way sentences ought to
be expressed in short clauses or members. At present we must explain
in how many ways those different conclusions and terminations may be
changed. Rhythm flows in from the beginning, at first more rapidly,
from the shortness of the feet employed, and afterwards more slowly as
they increase in length. Disputes require rapidity; slowness is better
suited to explanations. But a period is terminated in many ways; one
of which has gained especial favour in Asia, which is called the
_dichoreus_, when the two last feet are _chorei_, consisting each of
one long and one short syllable; for we must explain that the same
feet have different names given them by different people. Now that
dichoreus is not inherently defective as part of a clause, but in the
rhythm of an orator there is nothing so vicious as to have the same
thing constantly recurring. By itself now and then it sounds very
well, on which account we have the more reason to guard against
satiety. I was present when Caius Carbo, the son of Caius, a tribune
of the people, uttered these words in the assembly of the people:

"O Maree Druse, patrem appello."

Here are two clauses, each of two feet. Then he gave us some more

"Tu dicere solebas, sacram esse rempublicam."

Here each clause consists of three feet. Then comes the conclusion:

"Quicunque eam violavissent ab omnibus esse ei poenas persolutas."

Here is the dichoreus;--for it does not signify whether the last
syllable is long or short. Then comes,

"Patris dictum sapiens, temeritas filii comprobavit."

And this last dichoreus excited such an outcry as to be quite
marvellous. I ask, was it not the rhythm which caused it? Change the
order of the words; let them stand thus:

"Comprobavit filii temeritas:"

there will be no harm in that, though _temeritas_ consists of three
short syllables and one long one; which Aristotle considers as the
best sort of word to end a sentence, in which I do not agree with him.
But still the words are the same, and the meaning is the same. That is
enough for the mind, but not enough for the ears. But this ought not
to be done too often. For at first rhythm is acknowledged; presently
it wearies; afterwards, when the ease with which it is produced is
known, it is despised.

LXIV. But there are many little clauses which sound rhythmically and
agreeably. For there is the cretic, which consists of a long syllable,
then a short one, then a long; and there is its equivalent the paeon;
which is equal in time, but longer by one syllable; and which is
considered a very convenient foot to be used in prose, as it is of two
kinds. For it consists either of one long syllable and three short
ones, which rhythm is admirable at the beginning of a sentence, but
languid at the end; or of three short syllables and then the long one,
which the ancients consider the most musical foot of the two: I do not
object to it; though there are other feet which I prefer. Even the
spondee is not utterly to be repudiated; although, because it consists
of two long syllables, it appears somewhat dull and slow; still it
has a certain steady march not devoid of dignity; but much more is it
valuable in short clauses and periods; for then it makes up for the
fewness of the feet by its dignified slowness. But when I am speaking
of these feet as occurring in clauses, I do not speak of the one
foot which occurs at the end; I add (which however is not of much
consequence) the preceding foot, and very often even the foot before
that. Even the iambic, which consists of one short and one long
syllable; or that foot which is equal to the choreus, having three
short syllables, being therefore equal in time though not in the
number of syllables; or the dactyl, which consists of one long and two
short syllables, if it is next to the last foot, joins that foot very
trippingly, if it is a choreus or a spondee. For it never makes any
difference which of these two is the last foot of a sentence. But
these same three feet end a sentence very badly if one of them is
placed at the end, unless the dactyl comes at the end instead of a
cretic; for it does not signify whether the dactyl or the cretic comes
at the end, because it does not signify even in verse whether the last
syllable of all is long or short. Wherefore, whoever said that that
paeon was more suitable in which the last syllable was long, made a
great mistake; since it has nothing to do with the matter whether the
last syllable is long or not. And indeed the paeon, as having more
syllables than three, is considered by some people as a rhythm, and
not a foot at all. It is, as is agreed upon by all the ancients,
Aristotle, Theophrastus, Theodectes, and Ephorus, the most suitable
of all for an oration, either at the beginning or in the middle; they
think that it is very suitable for it at the end also; in which place
the cretic appears to me to be better. But a dochmiac consists of
five syllables, one short, two long, one short, and one long; as
thus:--_[)A]m[=i]c[=o]s t[)e]n[=e]s_; and is suitable for any part
of the speech, as long as it is used only once. If repeated or often
renewed it then makes the rhythm conspicuous and too remarkable. If
we use these changes, numerous and varied as they are, it will not be
seen how much of our rhythm is the result of study, and we shall avoid
wearying our hearers.

LXV. And because it is not only rhythm which makes a speech
rhythmical, but since that effect is produced also by the arrangement
of the words, and by a kind of neatness, as has been said before, it
may be understood by the arrangement when words are so placed that
rhythm does not appear to have been purposely aimed at, but to have
resulted naturally, as it is said by Crassus:--

"Nam ubi libido dominatur innocentiae leve praesidium est."

For here the order of the words produces rhythm without any apparent
design on the part of the orator. Therefore, the suitable and
rhythmical sentences which occur in the works of the ancients, I mean
Herodotus, and Thucydides, and all the writers of that age, were
produced, not by any deliberate pursuit of rhythm, but by the
arrangement of the words. For there are some forms of oratory in which
there is so much neatness, that rhythm unavoidably follows. For when
like is referred to like, or contrary opposed to contrary, or when
words which sound alike are compared to other words, whatever sentence
is wound up in that manner must usually sound rhythmically. And of
this kind of sentence we have already spoken and given instances, so
that this abundance of kinds enables a man to avoid always ending a
sentence in the same manner.

Nor are these rules so strict and precise that we are unable to relax
them when we wish to. It makes a great difference whether an oration
is rhythmical--that is to say, like rhythm--or whether it consists of
nothing but rhythm. If it is the latter, that is an intolerable fault;
if it is not the former, then it is unconnected, and barbarous, and

LXVI. But since it is not only not a frequent occurrence, but actually
even a rare one, that we ought to speak in compressed and rhythmical
periods, in serious or forensic causes, it appears to follow that we
ought to consider what these clauses and short members which I have
spoken of are. For in serious causes they occupy the greater part of
the speech. For a full and perfect period consists of four divisions,
which we call members, so as to fill the ears, and not be either
shorter or longer than is just sufficient. Although each of those
defects does happen sometimes, or indeed often, so that it is
necessary either to stop abruptly, or else to proceed further, lest
our brevity should appear to have cheated the ears of our hearers, or
our prolixity to have exhausted them. But I prefer a middle course;
for I am not speaking of verse, and oratory is not so much confined. A
full period, then, consists of four divisions, like hexameter verses.
In each of these verses, then, there are visible the links, as it
were, of the connected series which we unite in the conclusion. But if
we choose to speak in a succession of short clauses, we stop, and when
it is necessary, we easily and frequently separate ourselves from that
sort of march which is apt to excite dislike; but nothing ought to
be so rhythmical as this, which is the least visible and the most
efficacious. Of this kind is that sentence which was spoken by

"Missos faciant patronos; ipsi prodeant."

If he had not paused before "ipsi prodeant," he would have at once
seen that an iambic had escaped him,--"prodeant ipsi" would sound in
every respect better. But at present I am speaking of the whole kind.

"Cur clandestinis consiliis nos oppugnant?
Cur de perfugis nostris copias comparant inter nos?"

The first two are such sentences as the Greeks call [Greek: kommata],
and we "incisa." The third is such as they term [Greek: kolon], and we
"membrum." Then comes a short clause; for a perfect conclusion is made
up of two verses, that is to say members, and falls into spondees. And
Crassus was very much in the habit of employing this termination, and
I myself have a good opinion of this style of speaking.

LXVII. But those sentiments which are delivered in short clauses, or
members, ought to sound very harmoniously, as in a speech of mine you
will find:--

"Domus tibi deerat? at habebas. Pecunia superabat? at egebas."

These four clauses are as concise as can be; but then come the two
following sentences uttered in members:--

"Incurristi amens in columnas: in alienos insanus insanisti."

After these clauses everything is sustained by a longer class of
sentences, as if they were erected on these as their pedestal:--

"Depressam, caecam, jacentem domum pluris, quam te, et quam fortunas
tuas, aestimasti."

It is ended with a dichoreus; but the next sentence terminates with a
double spondee. For in those feet which speakers should use at times
like little daggers, the very brevity makes the feet more free. For we
often must use them separately, often two together, and a part of a
foot may be added to each foot, but not often in combinations of
more than three. But an oration when delivered in brief clauses and
members, is very forcible in serious causes, especially when you
are accusing or refuting an accusation, as in my second Cornelian

"O callidos homines! O rem excogitatam! O ingenia metuenda!"

Hitherto this is spoken in members. After that we spoke in short
clauses. Then again in members:--

"Testes dare volumus."

At last comes the conclusion, but one made up of two members, than
which nothing can be more concise:--

"Quem, quaeso, nostrum fefellit, ita vos esse facturos?"

Nor is there any style of speaking more lively or more forcible than
that which strikes with two or three words, sometimes with single
words; very seldom with more than two or three, and among these
various clauses there is occasionally inserted a rhythmical period.
And Hegesias, who perversely avoided this usage, while seeking to
imitate Lysias, who is almost a second Demosthenes, dividing his
sentences into little bits, was more like a dancer than an orator. And
he, indeed, errs not less in his sentences than in his single words,
so that a man who knows him has no need to look about for some
one whom he may call foolish. But I have cited those sentences of
Crassus's and my own, in order that whoever chose might judge by his
own ears what was rhythmical even in the most insignificant portions
of a speech. And since we have said more about rhythmical oratory
than any one of those who have preceded us, we will now speak of the
usefulness of that style.

LXVIII. For speaking beautifully and like an orator is, O Brutus,
nothing else (as you, indeed, know better than any one) except
speaking with the most excellent sentiments and in the most carefully
selected language. And there is no sentiment which produces any fruit
to an orator, unless it is expressed in a suitable and polished
manner. Nor is there any brilliancy of words visible unless they
are carefully arranged; and rhythm it is which sets off both these
excellences. But rhythm (for it is well to repeat this frequently) is
not only not formed in a poetical manner, but even avoids poetry, and
is as unlike it as possible. Not but that rhythm is the same thing,
not only in the writings of orators and poets, but even in the
conversation of every one who speaks, and in every imaginable sound
which we can measure with our ears. But it is the order of the feet
which makes that which is uttered appear like an oration or like
a poem. And this, whether you choose to call it composition, or
perfection, or rhythm, must be employed if a man wishes to speak
elegantly, not only (as Aristotle and Theophrastus say) that the
discourse may not run on interminably like a river, but that it may
come to a stop as it ought, not because the speaker wants to take
breath, or because the copyist puts down a stop, but because it is
compelled to do so by the restrictions of rhythm, and also because a
compact style has much greater force than a loose one. For as we see
athletes, and in a similar manner gladiators, act cautiously, neither
avoiding nor aiming at anything with too much vehemence, (for
over-vehement motions can have no rule;) so that whatever they do in
a manner advantageous for their contest, may also have a graceful and
pleasing appearance; in like manner oratory does not strike a heavy
blow, unless the aim was a well-directed one; nor does it avoid the
attack of the adversary successfully, unless even when turning aside
the blow it is aware of what is becoming. And therefore the speeches
of those men who do not end their sentences rhythmically seem to me
like the motions of those whom the Greeks call [hapalaistrous]. And it
is so far from being the case, (as those men say who, either from a
want of proper instructors, or from the slowness of their intellect,
or from an unwillingness to exert due industry, have not arrived at
this skill,) that oratory is enervated by too much attention to the
arrangement of words, that without it there can be no energy and no

LXIX. But the matter is one which requires much practice, lest we
should do anything like those men who, though they have aimed at this
style, have not attained it; so that we must not openly transpose our
words in order to make our language sound better; a thing which Lucius
Coelius Antipater, in the opening of his history of the Punic War,
promises not to do unless it should be absolutely necessary. Oh the
simple man! to conceal nothing from us; and at the same time wise,
inasmuch as he is prepared to comply with necessity. But still this is
being too simple. But in writing or in sober discussion the excuse of
necessity is not admissible, for there is no such thing as necessity;
and if there were, it would still be necessary not to admit it. And
this very man who demands this indulgence of Laelius, to whom he is
writing, and to whom he is excusing himself, uses this transposition
of words, and yet does not fill up and conclude his sentences any the
more skilfully. Among others, and especially among the Asiatics, who
are perfect slaves to rhythm, you may find many superfluous words
inserted, as if on purpose to fill up vacancies in rhythm. There
are men also, who through that fault, which originated chiefly with
Hegesias, by breaking up abruptly, and cutting short their rhythm,
have fallen into an abject style of speaking, very much like that of
the Sicilians. There is a third kind adopted by those brothers, the
chiefs of the Asiatic rhetoricians, Hierocles and Maecles, men who are
not at all to be despised, in my opinion at least. For although they
do not quite keep to the real form of oratory and to the principles
of the Attic orators, still they make amends for this fault by their
ability and fluency. Still there was no variety in them, because
nearly all their sentences were terminated in one manner.

But a man who avoids all these faults, so as neither to transpose
words in such a manner that every one must see that it is done on
purpose, nor cramming in unnecessary words, as if to fill up leaks,
nor aiming at petty rhythm, so as to mutilate and emasculate his
sentences, and who does not always stick to one kind of rhythm without
any variation, such a man avoids nearly every fault. For we have said
a good deal on the subject of perfections, to which these manifest
defects are contrary.

LXX. But how important a thing it is to speak harmoniously, you may
know by experience if you dissolve the carefully-contrived arrangement
of a skilful orator by a transposition of his words; for then the
whole thing would be spoilt, as in this instance of our language in
the Cornelian oration, and in all the following sentences:--

"Neque me divitiae movent, quibus omnes Africanos et Laelios milt,
venalitii mercatoresque superarunt."

Change the order a little, so that the sentence shall stand,

"Multi superarunt mercatores venalitiique,"

and the whole effect is lost. And the subsequent sentences:

"Neque vestis, ant caelatum aurum et argentum, quo nostros veteres
Marcellos Maximosque multi eunuchi e Syria aegyptoque vicerunt."

Alter the order of the words, so that they shall stand,

"Vicerunt eunuchi e Syria aegyptoque."

Take this third sentence:--

"Neque vero ornamenta ista villarum, quibus Lucium Paullum et Lucium
Mummium, qui rebus his urbem Italiamque omnem referserunt, ab aliquo
video perfacile Deliaco aut Syro potuisse superari."

Place the words thus:--

"Potuisse superari ab aliquo Syro aut Deliaco."

Do you not see that by making this slight change in the order of the
words, the very same words (though the sense remains as it was before)
lose all their effect the moment they are disjoined from those which
were best suited to them?

Or if you take any carelessly-constructed sentence of any unpolished
orator, and reduce it into proper shape, by making a slight alteration
in the order of his words, then that will be made harmonious which
was before loose and unmethodical Come now, take a sentence from the
speech of Gracchus before the censors:--

"Obesse non potest, quin ejusdem hominis sit, probos improbare, qui
improbos probet."

How much better would it have been if he had said,

"Quin ejusdem hominis sit, qui improbos probet, probos improbare!"

No one ever had any objection to speaking in this manner; and no one
was ever able to do so who did not do it. But those who have spoken in
a different manner have not been able to arrive at this excellence.
And so on a sudden they have set up for orators of the Attic school.
As if Demosthenes was a man of Tralles; but even his thunderbolts
would not have shone so if they had not been pointed by rhythm.

LXXI. But if there be any one who prefers a loose style of oratory,
let him cultivate it; keeping in view this principle,--if any one were
to take to pieces the shield of Phidias, he would destroy the beauty
of the collective arrangement, not the exquisite workmanship of each
fragment: and as in Thucydides I only miss the roundness of his
periods; all the graces of style are there. But these men, when
they compose a loose oration, in which there is no matter, and no
expression which is not a low one, appear to me to be taking to
pieces, not a shield, but, as the proverb says, (which, though but a
low one, is still very apt,) only a broom. And in order that there may
be no mistake as to their contempt of this style which I am praising,
let them write something either in the style of Isocrates, or in that
which Aeschines or Demosthenes employs, and then I will believe that
they have not shrunk from this style out of despair of being able to
arrive at it, but that they have avoided it deliberately on account of
their bad opinion of it: or else I will find a man myself who may be
willing to be bound by this condition,--either to say or write, in
whichever language you please, in the style which those men prefer.
For it is easier to disunite what is connected than to connect what is
disjointedly strung together.

However, the fact is, (to be brief in explaining my real opinion,) to
speak in a well-arranged and suitable manner without good ideas is to
act like a madman. But to speak in a sententious manner, without any
order or method in one's language, is to behave like a child: but
still it is childishness of that sort, that those who employ it cannot
be considered stupid men, and indeed may often be accounted wise men.
And if a man is contented with that sort of character, why let him
speak in that way. But the eloquent man, who, if his subject will
allow it, ought to excite not only approbation, but admiration and
loud applause, ought to excel in everything to such a degree, that
he should think it discreditable that anything should be beheld or
listened to more gladly than his speech.

You have here, O Brutus, my opinion respecting an orator. If you
approve of it, follow it; or else adhere to your own, if you have
formed any settled opinion on the subject. And I shall not be offended
with you, nor will I affirm that this opinion of mine which I have
asserted so positively in this book is more correct than yours; for it
is possible not only that my opinion should be different from yours,
but even that my own may be different at different times. And not
only in this matter, which has reference to gaining the assent of the
common people and to the pleasure of the ears, which are two of the
most unimportant points as far as judgment is concerned; but even in
the most important affairs, I have never found anything firmer to take
hold of, or to guide my judgment by, than the extremity of probability
as it appeared to me, when actual truth was hidden or obscure.

But I wish that you, if you do not approve entirely of the things
which I have urged in this treatise, would believe either that I
proposed to myself a work of too great difficulty for me to accomplish
properly, or else that, while wishing to comply with your request, I
undertook the impudent task of writing this, from being ashamed to
refuse you.



* * * * *


This treatise was written a short time before the events which gave
rise to the first Philippic. Cicero obtained an honorary lieutenancy,
with the intention of visiting his son at Athens; on his way towards
Rhegium he spent an evening at Velia with Trebatius, where he began
this treatise, which he finished at sea, before he arrived in Greece.
It is little more than an abstract of what had been written by
Aristotle on the same subject, and which Trebatius had begged him to
explain to him; and Middleton says, that as he had not Aristotle's
essay with him, he drew this up from memory, and he appears to have
finished it in a week, as it was the nineteenth of July that he was
at Velia, and he sent this work to Trebatius from Rhegium on the
twenty-seventh. He himself apologizes to Trebatius in the letter which
accompanied it, (Ep. Fam. vii. 19,) for its obscurity, which however,
he says, was unavoidably caused by the nature of the subject.

I. We had begun to write, O Caius Trebatius, on subjects more
important and more worthy of these books, of which we have published a
sufficient number in a short time, when your request recalled me from
my course. For when you were with me in my Tusculan villa, and when
each of us was separately in the library opening such books as were
suited to our respective tastes and studies, you fell on a treatise of
Aristotle's called the Topics; which he has explained in many books;
and, excited by the title, you immediately asked me to explain to you
the doctrines laid down in those books. And when I had explained them
to you, and told you that the system for the discovery of arguments
was contained in them, in order that we might arrive, without making
any mistake, at the system on which they rested by the way discovered
by Aristotle, you urged me, modestly indeed, as you do everything,
but still in a way which let me plainly see your eagerness to be
gratified, to make you master of the whole of Aristotle's method.
And when I exhorted you, (not so much for the sake of saving myself
trouble, as because I really thought it advantageous for you
yourself,) either to read them yourself, or to get the whole system
explained to you by some learned rhetorician, you told me that you had
already tried both methods. But the obscurity of the subject deterred
you from the books; and that illustrious rhetorician to whom you had
applied answered you, I suppose, that he knew nothing of these rules
of Aristotle. And this I was not so much surprised at, namely, that
that philosopher was not known to the rhetorician, inasmuch as he is
not much known even to philosophers, except to a very few.

And such ignorance is the less excusable in them, because they
not only ought to have been allured by those things which he has
discovered and explained, but also by the incredible richness and
sweetness of his eloquence. I could not therefore remain any longer in
your debt, since you often made me this request, and yet appeared to
fear being troublesome to me, (for I could easily see that,) lest I
should appear unjust to him who is the very interpreter of the law.
In truth, as you had often written many things for me and mine, I was
afraid that if I delayed obliging you in this, it would appear very
ungrateful or very arrogant conduct on my part. But while we were
together, you yourself are the best witness of how I was occupied; but
after I left you, on my way into Greece, when neither the republic
nor any friends were occupying my attention, and when I could not
honourably remain amid the armies, (not even if I could have done so
safely,) as soon as I came to Velia and beheld your house and your
family, I was reminded of this debt; and would no longer be wanting
to your silent request. Therefore, as I had no books with me, I have
written these pages on my voyage, from memory; and I have sent them to
you while on my journey, in order that by my diligence in obeying your
commands, I might rouse you to a recollection of my affairs, although
you do not require a reminder. But, however, it is time to come to the
object which we have undertaken.

II. As every careful method of arguing has two divisions,--one of
discovering, one of deciding,--Aristotle was, as it appears to me, the
chief discoverer of each. But the Stoics also have devoted some pains
to the latter, for they have diligently considered the methods of
carrying on a discussion by that science which they call dialectics;
but the art of discovering arguments, which is called topics, and
which was more serviceable for practical use, and certainly prior in
the order of nature, they have wholly disregarded. But we, since both
parts are of the greatest utility, and since we intend to examine
each if we have time, will now begin with that which is naturally the

As therefore the discovery of those things which are hidden is easy,
if the place where they are hidden is pointed out and clearly marked;
so, when we wish to examine any argument, we ought to know the
topics,--for so they are called by Aristotle, being, as it were,
seats from which arguments are derived. Therefore we may give as a
definition, that a topic is the seat of an argument, and that an
argument is a reason which causes men to believe a thing which would
otherwise be doubtful. But of those topics in which arguments are
contained, some dwell on that particular point which is the subject of
discussion; some are derived from external circumstances. When derived
from the subject itself, they proceed at times from it taken as a
whole, at times from its parts, at times from some sign, and at others
from things which are disposed in some manner or other towards the
subject under discussion; but those topics are derived from external
circumstances which are at a distance and far removed from the same

But a definition is employed with reference to the entire matter under
discussion which unfolds the matter which is the subject of inquiry as
if it had been previously enveloped in mystery. The formula of that
argument is of this sort: "Civil law is equity established among men
who belong to the same city, for the purpose of insuring each man in
the possession of his property and rights: and the knowledge of this
equity is useful: therefore the knowledge of civil law is useful."
Then comes the enumeration of the parts, which is dealt with in this
manner: "If a slave has not been declared free either by the censor,
or by the praetor's rod, or by the will of his master, he is not free:
but none of those things is the case: therefore he is not free." Then
comes the sign; when some argument is derived from the meaning of a
word, in this way:--As the Aelian Sentian law orders an assiduus[63] to
support an assiduus, it orders a rich man to support a rich man, for a
rich man is an assiduus, called so, as Aelius says, from _asse dando_.

III. Arguments are also derived from things which bear some kind of
relation to that which is the object of discussion. But this kind is
distributed under many heads; for we call some connected with one
another either by nature, or by their form, or by their resemblance to
one another, or by their differences, or by their contrariety to
one another, or by adjuncts, or by their antecedents, or by their
consequents, or by what is opposed to each of them, or by causes, or
by effects, or by a comparison with what is greater, or equal, or

Arguments are said to be connected together which are derived from
words of the same kind. But words are of the same kind which,
originating from one word, are altered in various ways; as, "_sapiens,
sapienter, sapientia_." The connexion of these words is called [Greek:
suxugia]; from which arises an argument of this kind: "If the land is
common, every one has a right to feed his cattle on it."

An argument is derived from the kind of word, thus: "Since all the
money has been bequeathed to the woman, it is impossible that
that ready money which was left in the house should not have been
bequeathed. For the species is never separated from the genus as long
as it retains its name: but ready money retains the name of money:
therefore it is plain that it was bequeathed."

An argument is derived from the species, which we may sometimes name,
in order that it may be more clearly understood; in this manner: "If
the money was bequeathed to Fabia by her husband, on the supposition
that she was the mother of his family; if she was not his wife, then
nothing is due to her." For the wife is the genus: there are two kinds
of wife; one being those mothers of a family which become wives by
_coemptio_; the other kind are those which are only considered wives:
and as Fabia was one of those last, it appears that nothing was
bequeathed to her.

An argument is derived from similarity, in this way: "If those houses
have fallen down, or got into disrepair, a life-interest in which is
bequeathed to some one, the heir is not bound to restore or to repair
them, any more than he is bound to replace a slave, if a slave, a
life-interest in whom has been bequeathed to some one, has died."

An argument is derived from difference, thus: "It does not follow, if
a man has bequeathed to his wife all the money which belonged to him,
that therefore he bequeathed all which was down in his books as due to
him; for there is a great difference whether the money is laid up in
his strong box, or set down as due in his accounts."

An argument is derived from contraries, thus: "That woman to whom her
husband has left a life-interest in all his property, has no right, if
his cellars of wine and oil are left full, to think that they belong
to her; for the use of them is what has been bequeathed to her, and
not the misuse: and they are contrary to one another."

IV. An argument is derived from adjuncts, thus: "If a woman has made
a will who has never given up her liberty by marriage, it does not
appear that possession ought to be given by the edict of the praetor
to the legatee under that will; for it is added, that in that case
possession would seem proper to be given by that same edict, according
to the wills of slaves, or exiles, or infants."

Arguments are derived from antecedents, and consequents, and
contradictories, in this way. From antecedents: "If a divorce has been
caused by the fault of the husband, although the woman has demanded
it, still she is not bound to leave any of her dowry for her

From consequents: "If a woman having married a man with whom she had
no right of intermarriage, has demanded a divorce, since the children
who have been born do not follow their father, the father has no right
to keep back any portion of the woman's dowry."

From contradictories: "If the head of a family has left to his wife in
reversion after his son the life-interest in the female slaves, and
has made no mention of any other reversionary heir, if the son dies,
the woman shall not lose her life-interest. For that which has once
been given to any one by will, cannot be taken away from the
legatee to whom it has been given without his consent; for it is a
contradiction for any one to have a right to receive a thing, and yet
to be forced to give it up against his will."

An argument is derived from efficient causes, in this way: "All men
have a right to add to a common party wall, a wall extending its whole
length, either solid or on arches; but if any one in demolishing the
common wall should promise to pay for any damages which may arise from
his action, he will not be bound to pay for any damage sustained or
caused by such arches: for the damage has been done, not by the party
which demolished the common wall, but in consequence of some fault in
the work, which was built in such a manner as to be unable to support

An argument is derived from what has been done, in this way: "When a
woman becomes the wife of a man, everything which has belonged to
the woman now becomes the property of the husband under the name of

But in the way of comparison there are many kinds of valid arguments;
in this way: "That which is valid in a greater affair, ought to be
valid in a less: so that, if the law does not regulate the limits in
the city, still more will it not compel any one to turn off the water
in the city." Again, on the other hand: "Whatever is valid in a
smaller matter ought to be valid also in a greater one. One may
convert the preceding example." Also, "That which is valid in a
parallel case ought to be valid in this which is a parallel case." As,
"Since the usurpation of a farm depends on a term of two years, the
law with respect to houses ought to be the same." But in the law
houses are not mentioned, and so they are supposed to come under the
same class as all other things, the property in which is determined by
one year's use. Equity then must prevail, which requires similar laws
in similar cases.[64]

But those arguments which are derived from external circumstances
are deduced chiefly from authority. Therefore the Greeks call
argumentations of that kind [Greek: atechuoi], that is, devoid of
art. As if you were to answer in this way:--"In the case of some one
building a roof for the purpose of covering a common wall, Publius
Scaevola asserted that there was no right of carrying that roof so
far that the water which ran off it should run on to any part of any
building which did not belong to the owner of the roof. This I affirm
to be law."

V. By these topics then which have been explained, a means of
discovering and proving every sort of argument is supplied, as if they
were elements of argument. Have we then said enough up to this point?
I think we have, as far at least as you, an acute man and one deeply
skilled in law, are concerned. But since I have to deal with a man who
is very greedy when the feast in question is one of learning, I will
prosecute the subject so that I will rather put forth something more
than is necessary, than allow you to depart unsatisfied. As, then,
each separate one of those topics which I have mentioned has its own
proper members, I will follow them out as accurately as I can; and
first of all I will speak of the definition itself.

Definition is a speech which explains that which is defined. But of
definitions there are two principal kinds: one, of those things which
exist; the other, of those which are understood. The things which I
call existing are those which can be seen or touched; as a farm, a
house, a wall, a gutter, a slave, an ox, furniture, provisions, and so
on; of which kind of things some require at times to be defined by us.
Those things, again, I say have no existence, which are incapable of
being touched or proved, but which can be perceived by the mind
and understood; as if you were to define usucaption, guardianship,
nationality, or relationship; all, things which have no body, but
which nevertheless have a certain conformation plainly marked out and
impressed upon the mind, which I call the notion of them. They often
require to be explained by definition while we are arguing about them.

And again, there are definitions by partition, and others by division:
by partition, when the matter which is to be defined is separated, as
it were, into different members; as if any one were to say that civil
law was that which consists of laws, resolutions of the senate,
precedents, the authority of lawyers, the edicts of magistrates,
custom, and equity. But a definition by division embraces every form
which comes under the entire genus which is defined; in this way:
"Alienation is the surrender of anything which is a man's private
property, or a legal cession of it to men who are able by law to avail
themselves of such cession."

VI. There are also other kinds of definitions, but they have no
connexion with the subject of this book; we have only got to say what
is the manner of expressing a definition. This, then, is what the
ancients prescribe: that when you have taken those things which are
common to the thing which you wish to define with other things, you
must pursue them till you make out of them altogether some peculiar
property which cannot be transferred to anything else. As this: "An
inheritance is money." Up to this point the definition is common, for
there are many kinds of money. Add what follows: "which by somebody's
death comes to some one else." It is not yet a definition, for
money belonging to the dead can be possessed in many ways without
inheritance. Add one word, "lawfully." By this time the matter will
appear distinguished from general terms, so that the definition may
stand thus:--"An inheritance is money which by somebody's death has
lawfully come to some one else." It is not enough yet. Add, "without
being either bequeathed by will, or held as some one else's property."
The definition is complete. Again, take this:--"Those are _gentiles_
who are of the same name as one another." That is insufficient. "And
who are born of noble blood." Even that is not enough. "Who have never
had any ancestor in the condition of a slave." Something is still
wanting. "Who have never parted with their franchise." This, perhaps,
may do. For I am not aware that Scaevola, the pontiff, added anything
to this definition. And this principle holds good in each kind of
definition, whether the thing to be defined is something which exists,
or something which is understood.

VII. But we have shown now what is meant by partition, and by
division. But it is necessary to explain more clearly wherein
they differ. In partition, there are as it were members; as of a
body--head, shoulders, hands, sides, legs, feet, and so on. In
division there are forms which the Greeks call [Greek: ideae]; our
countrymen who treat of such subjects call them species. And it is not
a bad name, though it is an inconvenient one if we want to use it in
different cases. For even if it were Latin to use such words, I
should not like to say _specierum_ and _speciebus_. And we have often
occasion to use these cases. But I have no such objection to saying
_formarum_ and _formis_; and as the meaning of each word is the same,
I do not think that convenience of sound is wholly to be neglected.

Men define genus and species or form in this manner:--"Genus is
a notion relating to many differences. Species is a notion, the
difference of which can be referred to the head and as it were
fountain of the genus." I mean by notion that which the Greeks call
sometimes [Greek: _ennoia_], and sometimes [Greek: _enoprolaepsis_].
It is knowledge implanted and previously acquired of each separate
thing, but one which requires development. Species, then, are those
forms into which genus is divided without any single one being
omitted; as if any one were to divide justice into law, custom, and
equity. A person who thinks that species are the same things as parts,
is confounding the art; and being perplexed by some resemblance,
he does not distinguish with sufficient acuteness what ought to be
distinguished. Often, also, both orators and poets define by metaphor,
relying on some verbal resemblance, and indeed not without giving a
certain degree of pleasure. But I will not depart from your examples
unless I am actually compelled to do so.

Aquillius, then, my colleague and intimate friend, was accustomed,
when there was any discussion about shores, (all of which you lawyers
insist upon it are public,) to define them to men who asked to whom
that which was shore belonged, in this way: "Wherever the waves
dashed;" that is, as if a man were to define youth as the flower of
a man's age, or old age as the setting of life. Using a metaphor, he
departs from the words proper to the matter in hand and to his own
art. This is enough as to definition. Let us now consider the other

VIII. But we must employ partition in such a manner as to omit no part
whatever. As if you wish to partition guardianship, you would act
ignorantly if you were to omit any kind. But if you were partitioning
off the different formulas of stipulations or judicial decisions, then
it is not a fault to omit something in a matter which is of boundless
extent. But in division it is a fault; for there is a settled number
of species which are subordinate to each genus. The distribution of
the parts is often more interminable still, like the drawing streams
from a fountain. Therefore in the art of an orator, when the genus
of a question is once laid down, the number of its species is added
absolutely; but when rules are given concerning the embellishments of
words and sentences, which are called [Greek: _schaemata_], the case
is different; for the circumstances are more infinite: so that it may
be understood from this also what the difference is which we assert to
exist between partition and division. For although the words appear
nearly equivalent to one another still, because the things are
different, the expressions are also established as not synonymous to
one another.

Many arguments are also derived from observation, and that is when
they are deduced from the meaning of a word, which the Greeks call
[Greek: _etumologia_]; or as we might translate it, word for word,
_veriloquium_. But we, while avoiding the novel appearance of a word
which is not very suitable, call this kind of argument _notatio_,
because words are the notes by which we distinguish things. And
therefore Aristotle calls the same source of argument [Greek:
_sunbolou_], which is equivalent to the Latin _nota_. But when it is
known what is meant we need not be so particular about the name. In
a discussion then, many arguments are derived from words by means
of observation; as when the question is asked, what is a
_postliminium_--(I do not mean what are the objects to which this word
applies, for that would be division, which is something of this sort:
"_Postliminium_ applies to a man, a ship, a mule with panniers, a
horse, a mare who is accustomed to be bridled")--but when the meaning
of the word itself, _postliminium_, is asked, and when the word itself
is observed. And in this our countryman, Servius, as it seems, thinks
that there is nothing to be observed except _post_, and he insists
upon it that _liminium_ is a mere extension of the word; as in
_finitimus, legitimus, ceditimus, timus_ has no more meaning than
_tullius_ has in _meditullius_.

But Scaevola, the son of Publius Scaeaevola, thinks the word is a
compound one, so that it is made up of _post_ and _limen_. So that
those things which have been alienated from us, when they have come
into the possession of our enemies, and, as it were, departed from
their own threshold, then when they have returned behind that same
threshold, appear to have returned _postliminio_. By which definition
even the cause of Mancinus may be defended by saying that he returned
_postliminio_,--that he was not surrendered, inasmuch as he was not
received. For that no surrender and no gift can be understood to have
taken place if there has been no reception of it.

IX. We next come to that topic which is derived from those things
which are disposed in some way or other to that thing which is the
subject of discussion. And I said just now that it was divided into
many parts. And the first topic is derived from combination, which the
Greeks call [Greek: sizugia], being a kindred thing to observation,
which we have just been discussing, as, if we were only to understand
that to be rain-water which we saw to have been collected from rain,
Mucius would come, who, because the words _pluna_ and _pluendo_ were
akin, would say that all water ought to be kept out which had been
increased by raining. But when an argument is derived from a genus,
then it will not be necessary to trace it back to its origin, we may
often stop on this side of that point, provided that which is deduced
is higher than that for which it is deduced, as, "Rain water in its
ultimate genus is that which descends from heaven and is increased by
showers," but in reference to its more proximate sense, under which
the right of keeping it off is comprised, the genus is, mischievous
rain water. The subordinate species of that genus are waters which
injure through a natural defect of the place, or those which are
injurious on account of the works of man: for one of these kinds may
be restrained by an arbitrator, but not the other.

Again, this argumentation is handled very advantageously, which is
derived from a species when you pursue all the separate parts by
tracing them back to the whole, in this way "If that is _dolus malus_
when one thing is aimed at, and another pretended," we may enumerate
the different modes in which that can be done, and then under some one
of them we may range that which we are trying to prove has been done
_dolo malo_. And that kind of argument is usually accounted one of the
most irrefragable of all.

X. The next thing is similarity, which is a very extensive topic, but
one more useful for orators and for philosophers than for men of
your profession. For although all topics belong to every kind of
discussion, so as to supply arguments for each, still they occurs more
abundantly in discussions on some subjects, and more sparingly in
others. Therefore the genera are known to you, but when you are to
employ them the questions themselves will instruct you. For there are
resemblances which by means of comparisons arrive at the point they
aim at, in this manner. "If a guardian is bound to behave with good
faith, and a partner, and any one to whom you have entrusted anything,
and any one who has undertaken a trust then so ought an agent." This
argument, arriving at the point at which it aims by a comparison of
many instances, is called induction, which in Greek is called [Greek:
_ipago_]. and it is the kind of argument which Socrates employed a
great deal in his discourses.

Another kind of resemblance is obtained by comparison, when one thing
is compared to some other single thing, and like to like, in this way
"As if in any city there is a dispute as to boundaries because the
boundaries of fields appear more extensive than those of cities, you
may find it impossible to bring an arbitrator to settle the question
of boundaries, so if rain water is injurious in a city, since the
whole matter is one more for country magistrates, you may not be
able to bring an arbitrator to settle the question of keeping off
rain-water" Again, from the same topic of resemblance, examples are
derived, as, "Crassus in Cunus's trial used many examples, speaking of
the man who by his will had appointed his heir in such a manner, that
if he had had a son born within ten months of his death, and that son
had died before coming into possession of the property held in trust
for him, the revisionary heir would succeed to the inheritance.
And the enumeration of precedents which Crassus brought forward
prevailed". And you are accustomed to use this style of argument very
frequently in replies. Even fictitious examples have all the force of
real ones, but they belong rather to the orator than to you lawyers,
although you also do use them sometimes, but in this way. "Suppose a
man had given a slave a thing which a slave is by law incapable of
receiving, is it on that account the act of the man who received it?
or has he, who gave that present to his slave on that account taken
any obligations on himself?" And in this kind of argument orators and
philosophers are allowed to make even dumb things talk, so that the
dead man be raised from the shades below, or that anything which
intrinsically is absolutely impossible, may, for the sake of adding
force to the argument, or diminishing, be spoken of as real and that
figure is called hyperbole. And they may say other marvellous things,
but theirs is a wider field. Still, out of the same topics, as I have
said before, arguments are derived for the most important and the most
trivial inquiries.

XI After similarity there follows difference between things, which is
as different as possible from the preceding topic, still it is the
same art which finds out resemblances and dissimilarities. These are
instances of the same sort--"If you have contracted a debt to a woman,
you can pay her without having recourse to a trustee, but what you
owe to a minor, whether male or female; you cannot pay in the same

The next topic is one which is derived from contraries. But the genera
of contraries are several. One is of such things as differ in the same
kind; as wisdom and jolly. But those things are said to be in the same
kind, which, when they are proposed, are immediately met by certain
contraries, as if placed opposite to them: as slowness is contrary to
rapidity, and not weakness. From which contraries such arguments as
these are deduced:--"If we avoid folly, let us pursue wisdom; and if
we avoid wickedness, let us pursue goodness." These things, as they
are contrary qualities in the same class, are called opposites. For
there are other contraries, which we may call in Latin, _privantia_,
and which the Greeks call [Greek: _steraetika_]. For the preposition
_in_ deprives the word of that force which it would have if _in_ were
not prefixed; as, "dignity, indignity--humanity, inhumanity," and
other words of the same kind, the manner of dealing with which is
the same as that of dealing with other kinds which I have called
opposites. For there are also other kinds or contraries; as those
which are compared to something or other; as, "twofold and simple;
many and few; long and short; greater and less." There are also those
very contrary things which are called negatives, which the Greeks call
[Greek: _steraetika_]: as, "If this is the case, that is not." For
what need is there for an instance? only let it be understood that in
seeking for an argument it is not every contrary which is suitable to
be opposed to another.

XII. But I gave a little while ago an instance drawn from adjuncts;
showing that many things are added as accessories, which ought to
be admitted, if we decided that possession ought to be given by the
praetor's edict, in compliance with the will which that person made
who had no right whatever to make a will. But this topic has more
influence in conjectural causes, which are frequent in courts, of
justice, when we are inquiring either what is, or what has been, or
what is likely to be, or what possibly may happen. And the form of the
topic itself is as follows. But this topic reminds us to inquire what
happened before the transaction of which we are speaking, or at the
same time with the transaction, or after the transaction. "This has
nothing to do with the law, you had better apply to Cicero," our
friend Gallus used to say, if any one brought him any cause which
required an inquiry into matters of fact. But you will prefer that no
topic of the art which I have begun to treat of should be omitted
by me, lest if you should think that nothing was to be written here
except what had reference to yourself, you should seem to be too
selfish. This then is for the most part an oratorical topic; not only
not much suited to lawyers, but not even to philosophers. For the
circumstances which happened before the matter in question are
inquired into, such as any preparation, any conferences, any place,
any prearranged convivial meeting. And the circumstances which
happened at the same time with the matter in question, are the noise
of footfalls, the noise of men, the shadow of a body, or anything of
that sort. The circumstances subsequent to the matter in question are,
blushing, paleness, trepidation, or any other tokens of agitation
or consciousness; and besides these, any such fact as a fire
extinguished, a bloody sword, or any circumstance which can excite a
suspicion of such an act.

XIII. The next topic is one peculiar to dialecticians; derived from
consequents, and antecedents, and inconsistencies; and this one is
very different from that drawn from differences. For adjuncts, of
which we were speaking just now, do not always exist, but consequents
do invariably. I call those things consequents which follow an
action of necessity. And the same rule holds as to antecedents and
inconsistencies; for whatever precedes each thing, that of necessity
coheres with that theme; and whatever is inconsistent with it is of
such a nature that it can never cohere with it. As then this topic is
distributed in three divisions, into consequence, antecession, and
inconsistency, there is one single topic to help us find the argument,
but a threefold way of dealing with it. For what difference does it
make, when you have once assumed that the ready money is due to the
woman to whom all the money has been bequeathed, whether you conclude
your argument in this way:--"If coined money is money, it has been
bequeathed to the woman; but coined money is money; therefore it has
been bequeathed to her;"--or in this way: "If ready money has not been
bequeathed to her, then ready money is not money; but ready money is
money; therefore it has been bequeathed to her;"--or in this way: "The
cases of money not having been bequeathed, and of ready money not
having been bequeathed, are identical; but money was bequeathed
to her; therefore ready money was bequeathed to her?" But the
dialecticians call that conclusion of the argument in which, when you
have first made an assumption, that which is connected with it follows
as a consequence of the assumption, the first mood of the conclusion;
and when, because you have denied the consequence, it follows that
that also to which it was a consequence must be denied also, that is
the second mood. But when you deny some things in combination, (and
then another negation is added to them,) and from these things you
assume something, so that what remains is also done away with, that is
called the third mood of the conclusion. From this are derived those
results of the rhetoricians drawn from contraries, which they call
enthymemes. Not that every sentence may not be legitimately called
an enthymeme; but, as Homer on account of his preeminence has
appropriated the general name of poet to himself as his own among all
the Greeks; so, though every sentence is an enthymeme, still, because
that which is made up of contraries appears the most acute argument of
the kind, that alone has possessed itself of the general name as its
own peculiar distinction. Its kinds are these:--"Can you fear this
man, and not fear that one?"--"You condemn this woman, against whom
you bring no accusation; and do you say that this other one deserves
punishment, whom you believe to deserve reward?"--"That which you do
know is no good; that which you do not know is a great hindrance to

XIV. This kind of disputing is very closely connected with the mode
of discussion adopted by you lawyers in reply, and still more closely
with that adopted by philosophers, as they share with the orators
in the employment of that general conclusion which is drawn from
inconsistent sentences, which is called by dialecticians the third
mood, and by rhetoricians an enthymeme. There are many other
moods used by the rhetoricians, which consist of disjunctive
propositions:--"Either this or that is the case; but this is the case;
then that is not the case." And again:--"Either this or that is the
case; but this is not the case; then that is the case." And these
conclusions are valid, because in a disjunctive proposition only one
alternative can be true. And from those conclusions which I have
mentioned above, the former is called by the dialecticians the
fourth mood, and the latter the fifth. Then they add a negation of
conjunctive propositions; as, "It is not both this and that; but it is
this; therefore it is not that." This is the sixth mood. The seventh
is, "It is not both this and that; but it is not this; therefore it is
that." From these moods innumerable conclusions are derived, in which
nearly the whole science of dialectics consists. But even those which
I have now explained are not necessary for this present discussion.

XV. The next topic is drawn from efficient circumstances which are
called causes; and the next from the results produced by these
efficient causes. I have already given instances of these, as of the
other topics, and those too drawn from civil law; but these have a
wider application.

There are then two kinds of causes; one which of its own force to a
certainty produces that effect which is subordinate to it; as, "Fire
burns;" the other is that which has no nature able to produce the
effect in question, though still that effect cannot be produced
without it; as, if any one were to say, that "brass was the cause of a
statue; because a statue cannot be made without it." Now of this kind
of causes which are indispensable to a thing being done, some are
quiet some passive, some, as it were, senseless; as, place, time,
materials, tools, and other things of the same sort. But some exhibit
a sort of preparatory process towards the production of the effect
spoken of; and some of themselves do contribute some aid to it;
although it is not indispensable; as meeting may have supplied
the cause to love; love to crime. From this description of causes
depending on one another in infinite series, is derived the doctrine
of fate insisted on by the Stoics. And as I have thus divided the
genera of causes, without which nothing can be effected, so also the
genera of the efficient causes can be divided in the same manner. For
there are some causes which manifestly produce the effect, without any
assistance from any quarter; others which require external aid; as for
instance, wisdom alone by herself makes men wise; but whether she is
able alone to make men happy is a question.

XVI. Wherefore, when any cause efficient as to some particular end has
inevitably presented itself in a discussion, it is allowable without
any hesitation to conclude that what that cause must inevitably effect
is effected. But when the cause is of such a nature that it does not
inevitably effect the result, then the conclusion which follows is
not inevitable And that description of causes which has an inevitable
effect does not usually engender mistakes; but this description,
without which a thing cannot take place, does often cause perplexity.
For it does not follow, because sons cannot exist without parents,
that there was therefore any unavoidable cause in the parents to have
children. This, therefore, without which an effect cannot be produced,
must be carefully separated from that by which it is certainly
produced. For that is like--

"Would that the lofty pine on Pelion's brow
Had never fall'n beneath the woodman's axe!"

For if the beam of fir had never fallen to the ground, that Argo
would not have been built; and yet there was not in the beams any
unavoidably efficient power. But when

"The fork'd and fiery bolt of Jove"

was hurled at Ajax's vessel, that ship was then inevitably burnt.

And again, there is a difference between causes, because some are such
that without any particular eagerness of mind, without any expressed
desire or opinion, they effect what is, as it were, their own work;
as for instance, "that everything must die which has been born." But
other results are effected either by some desire or agitation of mind,
or by habit, or nature, or art, or chance. By desire, as in your case,
when you read this book; by agitation, as in the case of any one who
fears the ultimate issue of the present crisis; by habit, as in the
case of a man who gets easily and rapidly in a passion; by nature, as
vice increases every day; by art, as in the case of a man who paints
well; by chance, as in the case of a man who has a prosperous voyage.
None of these things are without some cause, and yet none of them are
wholly owing to any single cause. But causes of this kind are not
necessary ones.

XVII. But in some of these causes there is a uniform operation, and in
others there is not. In nature and in art there is uniformity; but
in the others there is none. But still of those causes which are not

Book of the day: