Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Citing Quintilian

Traditionally, classical scholars have cited passages of Quintilian according to book, chapter, and section, with the book number given in Roman numerals followed by chapter and section numbers in Arabic numerals. For example, Quintilian's famous definition of the perfect orator as being a "good man skilled in speaking" appears in the very first section of Chapter 1 in Book 12, and would be cited as XII.1.1. However, in recent years, I have noticed that many classical scholars have begun using Arabic numerals for all three parts of the citation, so that this section would be shown as 12.1.1.


Regardless of which system of in-text citation you use, you can reference this web site in the MLA Works Cited section of your publications by using the following entry:

Quintilian. Institutes of Oratory. Ed. Lee Honeycutt. Trans. John Selby Watson. 2006. Iowa State. . <http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/>.

As you will notice, today's date is automatically inserted as the access date, so you can simply copy and paste this citation into your Works Cited page.


For citations under the guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style, you would use a slightly different entry:

Quintilian. 2006. Institutes of Oratory. Ed. Lee Honeycutt. Trans. John Selby Watson. http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/ (accessed ).


For the style guide of the American Psychological Association, the format is similar to that of Chicago, though addition of Watson's original publication date might be helpful to readers:

Quintilian. (2006). Institutes of oratory. L. Honeycutt, Ed., (J.S. Watson, Trans.). Retrieved , from http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/ (Original work published 1856).

In-text citation would then look something like this:

Quintilian (1856/2006), for one, cautioned against dictation, fearing it not only eradicated the editorial function of slower manual writing but also disrupted the silent reflection necessary for good writing.

You would then cite any specific passage using the book, chapter, and section method described above:

In short, to mention once and for all the strongest argument against dictation, privacy is rendered impossible by it, and no one can doubt that a spot free from witnesses and the deepest possible silence are the most desirable for persons engaged in writing (10.3.22).

Linking for Electronic Publications

If your work is to appear in an HTML-based publication, you can link your in-text citations to a specific section by using anchor tags within your hypertext links, as in the following example:

Stephen omits detailed material that would only perplex a twelfth-century reader and which relates little to rhetoric between IO 1.4.7 and 1.4.11, including (in the same chapter) the general statement about the learning of letters at 1.4.12 quare discat-quibus cognatio.

The HTML code behind the first of these links is as follows:

<a href="http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/1/chapter4.html#7">1.4.7</a>

Each and every numbered section of the site has been fitted with an anchor tag to allow direct access down to the section level. Want to link to a different section, say 10.5.21? Simply change the code accordingly:

<a href="http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/10/chapter5.html#21">10.5.21</a>

If you should experience any technical problems while using the site, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address below. I will do my best to respond to your problems in a timely manner.

Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:2/22/07