Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Index to Book 5


Some rhetoricians have thought that the only duty of an orator is to teach; others have called this his chief duty. The necessity for this book.

Chapter 1

Inartificial proofs. Eloquence not inefficient in regard to them.

Chapter 2

Previous judgments. The authority of those who deliver them to be considered. Similitude in cases; how to be refuted.

Chapter 3

Of public report.

Chapter 4

Of evidence exacted by torture.

Chapter 5

Of the refutation of written testimony.

Chapter 6

On offering to take an oath, and receiving that of the opposite party, § 1, 2. Arguments on the subject, 3-5. Judgment of the experienced respecting it, 6.

Chapter 7

Written evidence; how to be refuted, § 1, 2. Modes of proceeding with regard to witnesses that appear in person, 3-6. An intimate knowledge of the cause necessary, 7, 8. How voluntary witnesses should be produced, 9-11. Caution requisite in respect to them, 12-14. How a pleader must act with regard to a witness whom he knows to be adverse or favourable to the accused, 15-19. How he must act in regard to one whose disposition he does not know, 20, 21. Of the interrogation of witnesses, 22-32. Of the collision between written and oral testimony, 32-34. Of supernatural testimony, 36-37.

Chapter 8

Artificial proofs too much neglected, § 1-3. There are certain particulars common to all kinds of proofs, 4-7.

Chapter 9

Difference of signs, indications, or circumstantial evidence, from proofs, § 1, 2. Of conclusive signs or indications, 3-7. Inconclusive signs are of weight when supported by others, 8-11. Of mere appearances, 12-14. Of prognostics, 15, 16.

Chapter 10

Of the different names given to arguments among the Greeks and Latins, § 1-8. Various significations of the word argument, 9-11. In every cause there must be something that does not require proof, 12-14. Of credibilities, 15-19. Of sources from which arguments are drawn, 20-22. From the character of individuals, 23-31. From circumstances, as motives, place, time, manner, 32-48. Opportunities and means, 49-52. Arguments from definition, 53-61. Remarks on Cicero's method; argument and definition assisted by division, 62-70. Arguments from commencement, increase, and event, 71, 72. From dissimilitude, opposition, consequentiality, 73-79. From causes and effects, 80-85. From comparison, 86-89. Too many subdivisions under this head, 90-94. Arguments from supposition, 95-99. Precepts not to be followed too superstitiously; examples, 100-108. An orator must take care what he proposes to be proved, an example, 109-118. Utility of rules, 119-121. Necessity and advantages of study and practice, 122-125.

Chapter 11

Of examples and instances, § 1-5. Of the efficiency, and various species, of examples, 6-16. Of examples from the fables of the poets, 17, 18. From the fables of aesop, and proverbs, 19-21. Comparison, 22-25. Caution necessary with respect to it, 26-29. Too much subdivision in it, 30, 31. Comparison of points of law, 32, 33. Analogy, 34, 35. Authority, 36-41. Authority of the gods, 42. Of the judge, and of the adverse party, 43. Examples and authority not to be numbered among inartificial proof, 44.

Chapter 12

How far we may use doubtful grounds of argument, § 1-3. Some arguments to be urged in a body, some singly 4, 5. Some to be carefully supported, and referred to particular points in our case 6, 7. Not to be too numerous, 8. Arguments from the characters of persons, 9-13. In what order arguments should be advanced, 14. Quintilian states summarily what others have given at greater length, 15-17. Argument too much neglected in the exercises of the schools, 17-23.

Chapter 13

Refutation twofold, § 1. Why it is more difficult to defend than to accuse, 2, 3. Deprecation not to be adopted without some ground of defense, 4-6. Nothing to be gained by silence in regard to matters that cannot be defended, 7-11. We may attack some of our adversary's arguments in a body, some singly, 12-14. What arguments may be easily refuted, 15, 16. What arguments of our adversary may be turned to our advantage, 17, 18. Many will fall under conjecture, definition, quality, 19-21. Some of the adversary's arguments may be treated as unworthy of notice, 22. Precedents, which he assumes to be applicable to his case we must endeavor to prove inapplicable, 23, 24. We may repeat the statements of the adversary so as to weaken them, 25-27. We may sometimes expose the whole charge, sometimes particular parts of it, 28. How we make arguments common to both sides adverse to us; how discrepancies in the pleading of the adversary are to be exposed, 29-33. Some faults easily shown, 34, 35. Not to neglect arguments of our adversary, and not to be too anxious to refute them all, 36, 37. How far we should spare our adversary personally, 38-44. Some pleaders, in endeavoring to expose their adversaries, give occasion against themselves, 45-48. Sometimes, however, we may represent that there are contradictions in his statements, 49, 50. A pleader ought to appear confident of the justice of his cause, 51, 52. Order which we must observe in supporting our own arguments and refuting those of the opposite party, 53-55. We must support our proofs and refutations by the power of eloquence, 56-58. Foolish dispute between Theodorus and Apollodorus, 59, 60.

Chapter 14

Of the enthymeme and its parts, § 1-4. Of the epicheirema and its parts, 5-9. Not always of the same form, 10-13. The epicheirema of the orators is the syllogism of the philosophers, 14-16. All the parts of it not always necessary to be specified, 17-19. Three modes of opposing this form of argument, 20-23. How the enthymeme differs from the syllogism, 24-26. We must not crowd our speech with rhetorical forms of argument, 27-32. We must not leave our arguments unembellished, 33-35.

Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:4/6/2004