Ad Herennium. In this section you will learn about the rhetorical work. Ad Herennium c. Herennium, is the oldest rhetorical treatise in Latin and one of the most studied books in European history.

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For they, from fear of appearing to know too little, have gone in quest of notions irrelevant to the art, in order that the art might seem more difficult to understand. The deliberative consists in the discussion of policy and embraces persuasion and dissuasion. Style is the adaptation of suitable words and sentences to the matter devised. Memory is the firm retention in the mind of the matter, words, and arrangement. Delivery is the graceful regulation of voice, countenance, and gesture.

All these faculties we can acquire by three means: Theory, Imitation, and Practice. Imitation stimulates us to attain, in accordance with a studied method, the effectiveness of certain models in speaking. Practice is assiduous exercise and experience in speaking.

The Narration or Statement of Facts sets forth the events that have occurred or might have occurred. Proof is the presentation of our arguments, together with their corroboration. The kinds of causes are four: honourable, discreditable, doubtful, and petty.

Its purpose is to enable us to have hearers who are attentive, receptive, and well-disposed. If our cause is of the petty kind, we shall make our hearers attentive.

But if we do not wish to use the Direct Opening, we must begin our speech with a law, a written document, or some argument supporting our cause. We shall have attentive hearers by promising to discuss important, new, and unusual matters, or such as appertain to the commonwealth, or to the hearers themselves, or to the worship of the immortal gods; by bidding them listen attentively; and by enumerating the points we are going to discuss.

From the discussion of the person of our adversaries we shall secure goodwill by bringing them into hatred, unpopularity, or contempt. We shall make our adversaries unpopular by setting forth their violent behaviour, their dominance, factiousness, wealth, lack of self-restraint, high birth, clients, hospitality, club allegiance, or marriage alliances, and by making clear that they rely more upon these supports than upon the truth.

We shall bring our adversaries into contempt by presenting their idleness, cowardice, sloth, and luxurious habits. From the discussion of the person of our hearers goodwill is secured if we set forth the courage, wisdom, humanity, and nobility of past judgements they have rendered, and if we reveal what esteem they enjoy and with what interest their decision is awaited.

From the discussion of the facts themselves we shall render the hearer well-disposed by extolling our own cause with praise and by contemptuously disparaging that of our adversaries. Next, when we have for a time enlarged upon this idea, we shall show that nothing of the kind has been committed by us.

Or we shall set forth the judgement rendered by others in an analogous case, whether that cause be of equal, or less, or greater importance; then we shall gradually approach our own cause and establish the analogy. The same result is achieved if we deny an intention to discuss our opponents or some extraneous matter and yet, by subtly inserting the words, 29 do so.

Or we shall promise to speak otherwise than as we have prepared, and not to talk as others usually do; we shall briefly explain what the other speakers do and what we intend to do. But though this three-fold advantage — that the hearers constantly show themselves attentive, receptive, and well-disposed to us — is to be secured throughout the discourse, it must in the main be won by the Introduction to the cause. In the Introduction of a cause we must make sure that our style is temperate and that the words are in current use, 36 so that the discourse seems unprepared.

That Introduction, again, is faulty which the opponent can turn to his own use against you. And again that is faulty which has been composed in too laboured a style, or is too long; and that which does not appear to have grown out of the cause itself in such a way as to have an intimate connection with the Statement of Facts; and, finally, that which fails to make the hearer well-disposed or receptive or attentive.

But it is in practice exercises that these types will be worked out. Furthermore, we must guard against repeating immediately what we have said already, as in the following: "Simo came from Athens to Megara in the evening; when he came to Megara, he laid a trap for the maiden: after laying the trap he ravished her then and there. Here we must see that our language is not confused, 56 involved, or unfamiliar, that we do not shift to another subject, that we do not trace the affair back to its remotest beginning, nor carry it too far forward, and that we do not omit anything pertinent.

If the matter is true, all these precautions must none the less be observed in the Statement of Facts, for often the truth cannot gain credence otherwise. And if the matter is fictitious, these measures will have to be observed all the more scrupulously.

But did he have the right to commit the deed, and was he justified in committing it? That is in dispute. The number ought not to exceed three; for otherwise, besides the danger that we may at some time include in the speech more or fewer points than we enumerated, 66 it instils in the hearer the suspicion of premeditation and artifice, 67 and this robs the speech of conviction. The Exposition consists in setting forth, briefly and completely, the points we intend to discuss.

Others make these Types of Issue four. The Issue is determined by the joining of the primary plea of the defence with the charge of the plaintiff. Ulysses appears, perceives that Ajax is dead, draws the bloody weapon from corpse. He accuses Ulysses of a capital crime. Here the truth is sought by conjecture. The controversy will concern the fact. By sheer chance the ship was driven safely to harbour.

The invalid has come into possession of the ship, and the former owner claims it. The Senate decreed that if Saturninus should propose that law before the people he would appear to be doing so against the common weal. Saturninus proceeded with his motion.

His colleagues interposed a veto; nevertheless he brought the lot-urn down for the vote. Caepio is brought to trial for treason. For example, if some one is accused of embezzlement, alleged to have removed silver vessels belonging to the state from a private place, he can say, when he has defined theft and embezzlement, that in his case the action ought to be one for theft and not embezzlement. For example, a law reads: "If a man is raving mad, authority over his person and property shall belong to his agnates, or to the members of his gens.

His defenders bring tablets into the jail, write his will in his presence, witnesses duly attending. The penalty is exacted of him. His testamentary heirs enter upon their inheritance. Here no one specific law is adduced, and yet many laws are adduced, which for the basis for a reasoning by analogy to prove that Malleolus had or had not the right to make a will.

It is a Legal Issue established from Analogy. Now let me discuss the Juridical Issue. Of this Issue there are two subtypes, one called Absolute, the other Assumptive. For example, a certain mime abused the poet Accius by name on the stage. Accius sues him on the ground of injuries. The player makes no defence except to maintain that it was permissible to name a person under whose name dramatic works were given to be performed on the stage.

The Acknowledgement includes the Exculpation and the Plea for Mercy. He came away with consent to lead his army out on condition that he abandon his baggage. He considered it better to lose his baggage than his army.

He led out his army and left the baggage behind. He is charged with treason. Thus Orestes for the sake of clarity, to adhere to this particular action confesses that he slew his mother. Unless he had advanced a Justifying Motive for the act, he will have ruined his defence. He therefore advances one; were it not interposed, there would not even be an action. This, then, is the proper method of finding the Point to Adjudicate.

Once the Point to Adjudicate is found, the complete economy of the entire speech ought to be directed to it. If there are several Types of Issue or their subdivisions in one cause, there will also be several Points to Adjudicate, but all these, too, will be determined by a like method. Now, since this Book has grown to sufficient length, it will be more convenient in turn to expound other matters in a second Book, so that the great amount of material may not tire you and slacken your attention.

See Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Fabricius, 2. The scheme is Aristotelian Rhet. The better tradition indicates that originally rhetoric was concerned with the judicial kind, and was later extended to the other two fields.

For a study of the three genera see D. Hinks, Class.


Chapter 4 – Ad Herennium: The Art of Memory

The Rhetorica remained the most popular book on rhetoric during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was also translated extensively into European vernacular languages and continued to serve as the standard schoolbook text on rhetoric during the Renaissance. The work focuses on the practical applications and examples of rhetoric. It is also the first book to teach rhetoric in a highly structured and disciplined form. Its discussion of elocutio style is the oldest surviving systematic treatment of Latin style, and many of the examples are of contemporary Roman events. However, according to some analysts, teaching oratory in Latin was inherently controversial because oratory was seen as a political tool, which had to be kept in the hands of the Greek-speaking upper class.


Ad C. Herennium de ratione dicendi (Rhetorica ad Herennium)




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