Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Index to Book 12


Importance of the remaining portion of the work. Quintilian goes farther than Cicero in forming the Orator.

Chapter 1

A great orator must be a good man, according to Cato's definition, § 1, 2. A bad man cannot be a consummate orator, as he is deficient in wisdom, 3-5. The mind of a bad man is too much distracted with cares and remorse, 6, 7. A bad man will not speak with the same authority and effect on virtue and morality as a good man, 8-13. Objections to this opinion answered, 14-22. A bad man may doubtless speak with great force, but he would make nearer approaches to perfect eloquence if he were good man, 23-32. Yet we must be able to conceive arguments on either side of a question, 33-35. A good man may sometimes be justified in misleading those whom he addresses, for the attainment of some good object, 36-45.

Chapter 2

An orator must study to maintain a high moral character, § 1, 2. Tendencies to virtue implanted by nature may be strengthened by cultivation, 3-9. Division of philosophy into three parts, natural, moral, and dialectic; remarks on the last kind, 10-14. On moral philosophy, 15-20. On natural philosophy, 21-23. Observations on the different sects of philosophers; an orator need not attach himself to any sect in particular, but may be content with learning what is good wherever it is to be found, 24-31.

Chapter 3

Proofs that a knowledge of the civil law is necessary to an orator.

Chapter 4

The mind of an orator must be stored with examples and precedents.

Chapter 5

Necessity of firmness and presence of mind to an orator, § 1-4. Natural advantages to be cultivated, 5, 6.

Chapter 6

At what age an orator should begin to plead in public.

Chapter 7

What sort of causes an orator should chiefly undertake, § 1-7. What remuneration he may reasonably receive for his services, 8-12.

Chapter 8

The orator must study a cause well before he ventures to plead it; he must examine all documents connected with it, and thoroughly weigh the statements of his client.

Chapter 9

Applause not to be too eagerly sought, § 1-7. Invectives to be but sparingly introduced into a speech, 8-13. How far an orator should prepare himself by writing his speech; he must qualify himself to reply extempore to objections that may be suddenly started, 14-21.

Chapter 10

Of different styles of oratory; comparison of the varieties in eloquence with those in painting and sculpture, § 1-9. Characters of several Latin orators, 10, 11. Merits of Cicero, 12-15. Styles of the Attic, Asiatic, and Rhodian orators, 16-19. Remarks on the true merits of Attic eloquence, and on those who injudiciously affected it, 20-26. The Romans were excelled by the Greeks only in delivery; cause of the inferiority of the Romans in this respect, 27-34. The Romans exhorted to cultivate force of thought and brilliancy of language, 35-39. Folly of those who would reject all ornament, 40-48. Whether a difference should be made in the styles of speaking and writing, 49-57. Of the simple, grand, and florid styles, 58-68. Many varieties and mixtures of these styles, 69-72. Of corrupt taste in eloquence, 73-76. A good style may be acquired by study and practice; but we must carry no fancied excellence to excess, 77-80.

Chapter 11

The orator must leave off speaking in public before he fails through old age, § 1-4. How his time may be employed after he has retired, 5-7. Quintilian hastens to conclude his work; he shows that students have ample time for acquiring all the qualifications, as far as nature will allow, that he has specified, 8-20. He proves, from the examples of great men, how much may be done, and observes that even moderate attainments in eloquence are attended with very great advantages, 21-29. Exhortation to diligence, and conclusion, 30, 31.

Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:4/23/2004