The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Institutes of Oratory, The

Edition of 1920. See also Institutio Oratoria on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

INSTITUTES OF ORATORY, The (‘De institutione oratoria’), of Quintilian, composed after his retirement from active life, took more than two years to write (89-91), but was withheld for a few years until the urging of his friends compelled its publication, the circumstances of which are given in a foreword addressed to his publisher, the bookseller Trypho. The work itself, consisting of 12 books and dealing with the whole education of the future orator, was dedicated to Vitorius Marcellus (the same to whom Statius addressed the fourth book of his ‘Silvae’), whose son Geta showed talent. Quintilian probably also had in mind his own elder son. He repeatedly attacks the ordinary handbooks of rhetoric, while his own theory is based on his own experience and the best views of different authorities, especially Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Cæcillus, Chrysippus, Cicero (upon whom his exposition is mainly founded and from whom he seldom differs and then only with reluctance), Cornuficius and Celsus. Quintilian insists that the orator must be of good moral character as well as versed in rhetorical accomplishments. His illustrations are drawn mainly from the classical writers and he attacks the style of his own day, at the same time warning the pupils also against the early writers. Especially interesting is the 10th book, which treats of literary criticism as regards the Latin and Greek prose writers and poets useful to the orator. The chief manuscripts of the ‘Institutiones’ date from the 10th and 11th centuries. A large and annotated edition is that of G. L. Spalding (Vols. I-IV, Leipzig 1798-1816), C. G. Zumpt (Vol. V, 1829) and E. Bonnell (Vol. VI, containing lexicon and indices, 1834), but the principal edition is that of C. Halm (Leipzig 1868), revised by F. Meister (Prague 1886-87). Book X has been separately edited by J. E. B. Mayor (pt. I, London 1872), E. Bonnell and F. Meister (5th ed., Berlin 1882), G. T. A. Krüger and G. Krüger (3d ed., Leipzig 1888) and W. Peterson (Oxford 1891). The ‘Institutiones’ have been translated several times into several of the continental languages and an English translation by J. S. Watson (2 vols., London 1902-03), with notes based on Spalding, appears in the ‘Bohn Classical Library’.