The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4
by Cicero
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For they who admire Isocrates above all things, place this among his very highest panegyrics, that he was the first person who added rhythm to prose writing. For they say that, as he perceived that orators were listened to with seriousness, but poets with pleasure, he then aimed at rhythm so as to use it in his orations both for the sake of giving pleasure, and also that variety of sound might prevent weariness. And this is said by them in some degree correctly, but not wholly so. For we must confess that no one was ever more thoroughly skilled in that sort of learning than Isocrates; but still the original inventor of rhythm was Thrasymachus; all whose writings are even too carefully rhythmical. For, as I said a little while ago, the principle of things like one another being placed side by side, sentence after sentence being ended in a similar manner, and contraries being compared with contraries, so that, even if one took no pains about it, most sentences would end musically, was first discovered by Gorgias; but he used it without any moderation. And that is, as I have said before one of the three divisions of arrangement. Both of these men were predecessors of Isocrates; so that it was in his moderation, not in his invention, that he is superior to them. For he is more moderate in the way in which he inverts or alters the sense of words; and also in his attention to rhythm. But Gorgias is a more insatiable follower of this system, and (even according to his own admission) abuses these elegances in an unprecedented way; but Isocrates (who while a young man had heard Gorgias when he was an old man in Thessaly) put all these things under more restraint. Moreover he himself, as he advanced in age, (and he lived nearly a hundred years,) relaxed in his ideas of the exceeding necessity for rhythm; as he declares in that book which he wrote to Philip of Macedon, when he was a very old man, in which he says that he is less attentive to rhythm than he had formerly been. And so he had corrected not only his predecessors, but himself also.

LIII. Since, then, we have those men whom we have mentioned as the authors and originators of a well-adapted oration, and since its origin has been thus explained, we must now seek for the cause. And that is so evident, that I marvel that the ancients were not influenced by it; especially when, as is often the case, they often by chance made use of well-rounded and well-arranged periods. And when they had produced their impression on the minds and ears of men, so as to make it very plain that what chance had effected had been received with pleasure, certainly they ought to have taken note of what had been done, and have imitated themselves; for the ears, or the mind by the report of the ears, contains in itself a natural measurement of all sounds. That is how it distinguishes between long and short sounds; and always watches for well-wrought and moderate periods. It feels that some are mutilated and curtailed, as it were, and with those it is offended, as if it were defrauded of its due; others it feels to be too long, and running out to an immoderate length, and those the ears reject even more than the first; for as in most cases, so especially in this kind of thing, it happens that what is in excess is much more offensive than that which errs on the side of deficiency.

As, therefore, poetry and verse was invented by the nicety of the ear, and the careful observation of clever men; so it has been noticed in oratory, much later, indeed, but still in deference to the promptings of the same nature, that there are some certain rules and bounds, within which words and paragraphs ought to be confined.

Since, therefore, we have thus shown the cause, we will now, if you please, explain the nature of it; for that was the third division; and that involves a discussion which has no reference to the original plan of this treatise, but which belongs rather to the arcana of the art. For the question may be asked, what is the rhythm of a speech; and where it is placed; and in what it originates; and whether it is one thing, or two, or more; and on what principles it is arranged; and for what purpose; and how and in what part it is situated, and in what way it is employed so as to give any pleasure.

But as in most cases, so also in this one, there are two ways of looking at the question; one of which is longer, the other shorter, and at the same time plainer.

LIV. But in the longer way the first question is, whether there actually is any such thing as a rhythmical oration at all; (for some persons do not think that there is, because there is not in oratory any positive rule, as there is in verses, and because the people who assert that there is that rhythm cannot give any reason why there is.) In the next place, if there is rhythm in an oration, what sort of rhythm it is; and whether it is of more than one kind; and whether it consists of poetical rhythm, or of some other kind; and if it consists of poetical rhythm, of which poetical rhythm, (for some think that there is but one sort of poetical rhythm, while others think there are many kinds.) In the next place, the question arises, whatever sorts of rhythm there may be, whether one or more, whether they are common to every kind of oratory, (since there is one kind used in narrating, another kind in persuading, and another in teaching,) or whether the different kinds are all adapted equally to every sort of oratory. If the different kinds are common to each kind of oratory, what are they? If there is a difference, then what is the difference, and why is the rhythm less visible in a speech than in a verse? Besides, there is a question whether what is rhythmical in a speech is made so solely by rhythm, or also by some especial arrangement of words, or by the kind of words employed; or whether each division has its component parts, so that rhythm consists of intervals, arrangement of words, while the character of the words themselves is visible being a sort of shape and light of the speech; and whether arrangement is not the principal thing of all, and whether it is not by that that rhythm is produced, and those things which I have called the forms and light of a speech, and which, as I have said, the Greeks call [Greek: schaemata]. But that which is pleasant when uttered by the voice, and that which is made perfect by careful regulation, and brilliant by the nature of the words employed, are not one and the same thing, although they are both akin to rhythm, because each is perfect of itself; but an arrangement differs from both, and is wholly dependent on the dignity or sweetness of the language employed.

These are the main questions which arise out of an inquiry into the nature of oratory.

LV. It is, then, not hard to know that there is a certain rhythm in a speech: for the senses decide that. And it is absurd not to admit an evident fact, merely because we cannot find out why it happens. And verse itself was not invented by a priori reasoning, but by nature and the senses, and these last were taught by carefully digested reason what was the fact; and accordingly it was the careful noticing and observation of nature which produced art.

But in verses the matter is more evident. For although there are some kinds of verse which, if they be not chanted, appear but little to differ from prose; and this is especially the case in all the very best of those poets who are called [Greek: lyriloi] by the Greeks; for when you have stripped them of the singing, the language remains almost naked. And some of our countrymen are like them. Like that line in Thyestes:—

"Quemnam te esse dicam, qui tarda in senectute" ...

And so on; for except when the flute-player is at hand to accompany them, those verses are very like prose. But the iambics of the common poets are, on account of their likeness to ordinary conversation, very often in such a very low style, that sometimes it is hardly possible to discover any metre, or even rhythm in them. And it may easily be understood that there is more difficulty in discovering the rhythm in an oration than in verses.

Altogether there are two things which season oratory—the sweetness of the language, and the sweetness of the rhythm. In the language is the material, and in the rhythm the polish. But, as in other things, the older inventions are the children of necessity rather than of pleasure; so also has it happened in this, that oratory was for many ages naked and unpolished, aiming only at expressing the meaning conceived in the mind of the speaker, before any system of rhythm for the sake of tickling the ears was invented.

LVI. Therefore Herodotus also, and his age, and the age preceding him, had no idea of rhythm, except at times by chance, as it seems. And the very ancient writers have left us no rules at all about rhythm, though they have given us many precepts about oratory. For that which is the more easy and the more necessary will always be the first thing known. Therefore, words used in a metaphorical sense, or inverted, or combined, were easily invented because they were derived from ordinary use, and from daily conversation. But rhythm was not drawn from a man's own house, nor had it any connexion of relationship to oratory. And therefore it was later in being noticed and observed, bringing as it did the last touch and lineaments to oratory. But if there is one style of oratory narrow and concise, and another more vague and diffuse, that must clearly be owing, not to the nature of letters, but to the difference between long and short paragraphs; because an oration made up and compounded of these two kinds is sometimes steady, sometimes fluent, and so each character must be kept up by corresponding rhythm. For that circuitous way of speaking, which we have often mentioned already, goes on more impetuously, and hurries along, until it can arrive at its end, and come to a stop. It is quite plain, therefore, that oratory ought to be confined to rhythm, and kept clear of metre.

But the next question is, whether this rhythm is poetical, or whether it is of some other kind. There is, then, no rhythm whatever that is not poetical; because the different kinds of rhythm are clearly defined. For all rhythm is one of three kinds. For the foot which is employed in rhythm is divided into three classes; so that it is necessary that one part of the foot must be either equal to the other part, or as large again, or half as large again. Accordingly, the dactyl is of the first class, the paeon of the last, the iambic of the second. And how is it possible to avoid such feet in an oration? And then when they are arranged with due consideration rhythm is unavoidably produced.

But the question arises, what rhythm is to be employed; either absolutely, or in preference to others. But that every kind of rhythm is at times suitable to oratory, may be seen from this,—that in speaking we often make a verse without intending it, (which, however, is a great fault, but we do not notice it, nor do we hear what we say ourselves;) and as for iambics, whether regular or Hipponactean, those we can scarcely avoid, for our common conversation often consists of iambics. But still the hearer easily recognises those verses, for they are the most usual ones. But at times we unintentionally let fall others which are less usual, but which still are verses; and that is a faulty style of oratory, and one which requires to be guarded against with great care.

Hieronymus, a Peripatetic of the highest character, out of all the numerous compositions of Isocrates, picked out about thirty verses, chiefly iambics, but some also anapaests. And what can be worse? Though in picking them out he acted in an unfair manner, for he took away sometimes the first syllable in the first word of a sentence; and again, he sometimes added to the last word the first syllable of the following sentence. And in this way he made that sort of anapaest which is called the Aristophanic anapaest. And such accidents as these cannot be guarded against, nor do they signify. But still this critic, in the very passage in which he finds this fault with him, (as I noticed when I was examining his work very closely,) himself makes an iambic without knowing it. This, then, may be considered as an established point, that there is rhythm also in prose, and that oratorical is the same as the poetical rhythm.

LVII. It remains, therefore, for us to consider what rhythm occurs most naturally in a well-arranged oration. For some people think that it is the iambic rhythm, because that is the most like a speech, on which account it happens that it is most frequently employed in fables, because of its resemblance to reality—because the dactylic hexameter rhythm is better suited to a lofty and magniloquent subject But Ephorus himself, an inconsiderable orator, though coming from an excellent school, inclines to the paeon, or dactyl, but avoids the spondee and trochee. For because the paeon has three short syllables and the dactyl two, he thinks that the words come more trippingly off on account of the shortness and rapidity of utterance of the syllables; and that a contrary effect is produced by the spondee and trochee, because the one consists of long syllables and the other of short ones; so that a speech made up of the one is too much hurried, it made up of the other is too slow; and neither is well, regulated. But those accents are all in the wrong, and Ephorus is wholly in fault. For those who pass over the paeon, do not perceive that a most delicate, and at the same time most dignified rhythm is passed over by them. But Aristotle's opinion is very different, for he considers that the heroic rhythm is a grander one than is admissible in prose, and that an iambic is too like ordinary conversation. Accordingly, he does not approve of a style which is lowly and abject, or of one which is too lofty and, as it were, on stilts: but still he wishes for one full of dignity, in order to strike those who hear it with the greater admiration. But he calls a trochee, which occupies the same time as a choreus, [Greek: kordax], because its contracted and brief character is devoid of dignity. Accordingly, he approves of the paeon; and says that all men employ it, but that all men are not themselves aware when they do employ it; and that there is a third or middle way between those two, but that those feet are formed in such a way, that in every one of them there is either a time, or a time and a half, or two times. Therefore, those men of whom I have spoken have considered convenience only, and disregarded dignity. For the iambic and the dactyl are those which are most usually employed in verse; and, therefore, as we avoid verses in making speeches, so also a recurrence of these feet must be avoided. For oratory is a different thing from poetry, nor are there any two things more contrary to one another than that is to verses. But the paeon is that foot which, of all others, is least adapted to verse, on which account oratory admits it the more willingly. But Ephorus will not even admit that the spondee, which he condemns, is equivalent to the dactyl, which he approves of. For he thinks that feet ought to be measured by their syllables, not by their quantity; and he does the same in regard to the trochee, which in its quantity and times is equivalent to an iambic; but which is a fault in an oration, if it be placed at the end, because a sentence ends better with a long syllable.

And all this, which is also contained in Aristotle, is said by Theophrastus and Theodectes about the paeon. But my opinion is, that all feet ought to be jumbled together and confused, as it were, in an oration; and that we could not escape blame if we were always to use the same feet; because an oration ought to be neither metrical, like a poem, nor inharmonious, like the conversation of the common people. The one is so fettered by rules that it is manifest that it is designedly arranged as we see it; the other is so loose as to appear ordinary and vulgar; so that you are not pleased with the one, and you hate the other.

Let oratory then be, as I have said above, mingled and regulated with a regard to rhythm; not prosaic, nor on the other hand sacrificed wholly to rhythm; composed chiefly of the paeon, (since that is the opinion of the wisest author on the subject,) with many of the other feet which he passes over intermingled with it.

LVIII. But what feet ought to be mingled with others, like purple, must be now explained; and we must also show to what kind of speech each sort of foot and rhythm is the best adapted. For the iambic is most frequent in those orations which are composed in a humble and lowly style; but the paeon is suited to a more dignified style; and the dactyl to both. Therefore, in a varied and long-continued speech these feet should be mingled together and combined. And in this way the fact of the orator aiming at pleasing the senses, and the careful attempt to round off the speech, will be the less visible, and they will at all times be less apparent if we employ dignified expressions and sentiments. For the hearers observe these two things, and think them agreeable: (I mean, expressions and sentiments.) And while they listen to them with admiring minds, the rhythm escapes their notice; and even if it were wholly wanting they would still be delighted with those other things.

Nor indeed is the rhythm, I mean in a speech, (for the case as to verse is very different,) so exacting that nothing may ever be expressed except according to rule; for then it would be a poem. But every oration which does not halt or if I may so say, fluctuate, and which proceeds on with an equal and consistent pace, is considered rhythmical. And it is considered rhythmical in the delivery; not because it consists wholly of some regular rhythm; but because it comes as near to a musical rhythm as possible: on which account it is more difficult to make a speech than to make verses; because these last have certain definite rules which it is necessary to follow; but, in speaking, there is nothing settled, except that the speech must not be intemperate, or too compressed, or prosaic, or too fluent. Therefore there are no regular bars in it as a flute-player has; but the whole principle and system of an oration is regulated by general rules of universal application; and they are judged of on the principle of pleasing the ear.

LIX. But people often ask, whether in every portion of a paragraph it is necessary to have a regard to rhythm, or whether it is sufficient to do so at the beginning and end of a sentence. For many people think that it is sufficient for a sentence to end and be wound up in a rhythmical manner. But although that is the main point, it is not the only one; for the sounding of the periods is only to be laid aside, not to be thrown away. And therefore, as men's ears are always on the watch for the end of a sentence, and are greatly influenced by that, that certainly ought never to be devoid of rhythm; but harmony ought to pervade the whole sentence from beginning to end; and the whole ought to proceed from the beginning so naturally that the end shall be consistent with every previous part. But that will not be difficult to men who have been trained in a good school, who have written many things, and who have made also all the speeches which they have delivered without written papers like written speeches. For the sentence is first composed in the mind; and then words come immediately: and then they are immediately sent forth by the mind, than which nothing is more rapid in its movements; so that each falls into its proper place. And then their regular order is settled by different terminations in different sentences; and all the expressions at the beginning and in the middle of the sentence ought to be composed with reference to the end. For sometimes the torrent of an oration is rapid; sometimes its progress is moderate; so that from the very beginning one can see how one wishes to come to the end. Nor is it in rhythm more than in the other embellishments of a speech that we behave exactly as poets do; though still, in an oration, we avoid all resemblance to a poem.

LX. For there is in both oratory and poetry, first of all the material, then the execution. The material consists in the words, the execution in the arrangement of the words. But there are three divisions of each,—of words there is the metaphorical, the new, and the old-fashioned; for of appropriate words we say nothing at present; but of arrangement there are those which we have mentioned, composition, neatness, and rhythm. But the poets are the most free and frequent in the use of each; for they use words in a metaphorical sense not only more frequently, but also more daringly; and they use old-fashioned words more willingly, and new ones more freely. And the case with respect to rhythm is the same; in which they are obliged to comply with a kind of necessity: but still these things must be understood as being neither too different, nor yet in any respect united. Accordingly we find that rhythm is not the same in an oration as in a poem; and that that which is pronounced to be rhythmical in an oration is not always effected by a strict attention to the rules of rhythm; but sometimes either by neatness, or by the casual arrangement of the words.

Accordingly, if the question is raised as to what is the rhythm of an oration, it is every sort of rhythm; but one sort is better and more suitable than another. If the question is, what is the place of this rhythm? it is in every portion of the words. If you ask where it has arisen; it has arisen from the pleasure of the ears. If the principle is sought on which the words are to be arranged; that will be explained in another place, because that relates to practice, which was the fourth and last division which we made of the subject. If the question is, when; always: if, in what place; it consists in the entire connexion of the words. If we are asked, What is the circumstance which causes pleasure? we reply, that it is the same as in verse; the method of which is determined by art; but the ears themselves define it by their own silent sensations, without any reference to principles of art.

LXI. We have said enough of the nature of it. The practice follows; and that we must discuss with greater accuracy. And in this discussion inquiry has been made, whether it is in the whole of that rounding of a sentence which the Greeks call [Greek: periodos], and which we call "ambitus" or "circuitus," or "comprehensio" or "continuatio" or "circumscriptio," or in the beginning only, or in the end, or in both, that rhythm must be maintained? And, in the next place, as rhythm appears one thing and a rhythmical sentence another, what is the difference between them? and again, whether it is proper for the divisions of a sentence to be equal in every sort of rhythm, or whether we should make some shorter and some longer; and if so, when, and why, and in what parts; whether in many or in one; whether in unequal or equal ones; and when we are to use one, and when the other; and what words may be most suitably combined together, and how; or whether there is absolutely no distinction; and, what is most material to the subject of all things, by what system oratory may be made rhythmical. We must also explain from whence such a form of words has arisen; and we must explain what periods it may be becoming to make, and we must also discuss their parts and sections, if I may so call them; and inquire whether they have all one appearance and length, or more than one; and if many, in what place; or when we may use them, and what kinds it is proper to use; and, lastly, the utility of the whole kind is to be explained, which indeed is of wider application; for it is adapted not to any one particular thing, but to many.

And a man may, without giving replies on each separate point, speak of the entire genus in such a way that his answer may appear sufficient as to the whole matter. Leaving, therefore, the other kinds out of the question, we select this one, which is conversant with actions and the forum, concerning which we will speak.

Therefore in other kinds, that is to say, in history and in that kind of argument which we call [Greek: epideiktikon], it seems good that everything should be said after the example of Isocrates and Theopompus, with that sort of period and rounding of a sentence that the oration shall run on in a sort of circle, until it stops in separate, perfect, and complete sentences. Therefore after this circumscriptio, or continuatio, or comprehensio, or ambitus, if we may so call it, was once introduced, there was no one of any consideration who ever wrote an oration of that kind which was intended only to give pleasure, and unconnected with judicial proceedings or forensic contests, who did not reduce almost all his sentences to a certain set form and rhythm. For, as his hearers are men who have no fear that their own good faith is being attempted to be undermined by the snare of a well-arranged oration, they are even grateful to the orator for studying so much to gratify their ears.

LXII. But this kind of oratory is neither to be wholly appropriated to forensic causes, nor is it entirely to be repudiated. For if you constantly employ it, when it has produced weariness then even unskilful people can recognise its character. Besides, it takes away the indignation which is intended to be excited by the pleading; it takes away the manly sensibility of the pleader; it wholly puts an end to all truth and good faith. But since it ought to be employed at times, first of all, we should see in what place; secondly, how long it is to be maintained; and lastly, in how many ways it may be varied. We must, then, employ a rhythmical oratory, if we have occasion either to praise anything in an ornate style,—as we ourselves spoke in the second book of our impeachment of Verres concerning the praise of Sicily; and in the senate, of my own consulship; or a narration must be delivered which requires more dignity than indignation,—as in the fourth book of that same impeachment we spoke concerning the Ceres of Enna, the Diana of Segeste, and the situation of Syracuse. Often also when employed in amplifying a case, an oration is poured forth harmoniously and volubly with the approbation of all men. That perhaps we have never quite accomplished; but we have certainly very often attempted it; as our perorations in many places show that we have, and indeed that we have been very eager to effect it. But this is most effective when the hearer is already blockaded, as it were, and taken prisoner by the speaker. For he then no longer thinks of watching and guarding against the orator, but he is already on his side; and wishes him to proceed, admitting the force of his eloquence, and never thinking of looking for anything with which to find fault.

But this style is not to be maintained long; I do not mean in the peroration which it concludes, but in the other divisions of the speech. For when the orator has employed those topics which I have shown to be admissible, then the whole of his efforts must be transferred to what the Greeks call, I know not why, [Greek: kommata] and [Greek: kola], and which we may translate, though not very correctly, "incisa" and "membra." For there cannot be well-known names given to things which are not known; but when we use words in a metaphorical sense, either for the sake of sweetness or because of the poverty of the language, this result takes place in every art, that when we have got to speak of that which, on account of our ignorance of its existence, had no name at all previously, necessity compels us either to coin a new word, or to borrow a name from something resembling it.

LXIII. But we will consider hereafter in what way sentences ought to be expressed in short clauses or members. At present we must explain in how many ways those different conclusions and terminations may be changed. Rhythm flows in from the beginning, at first more rapidly, from the shortness of the feet employed, and afterwards more slowly as they increase in length. Disputes require rapidity; slowness is better suited to explanations. But a period is terminated in many ways; one of which has gained especial favour in Asia, which is called the dichoreus, when the two last feet are chorei, consisting each of one long and one short syllable; for we must explain that the same feet have different names given them by different people. Now that dichoreus is not inherently defective as part of a clause, but in the rhythm of an orator there is nothing so vicious as to have the same thing constantly recurring. By itself now and then it sounds very well, on which account we have the more reason to guard against satiety. I was present when Caius Carbo, the son of Caius, a tribune of the people, uttered these words in the assembly of the people:

"O Maree Druse, patrem appello."

Here are two clauses, each of two feet. Then he gave us some more periods:

"Tu dicere solebas, sacram esse rempublicam."

Here each clause consists of three feet. Then comes the conclusion:

"Quicunque eam violavissent ab omnibus esse ei poenas persolutas."

Here is the dichoreus;—for it does not signify whether the last syllable is long or short. Then comes,

"Patris dictum sapiens, temeritas filii comprobavit."

And this last dichoreus excited such an outcry as to be quite marvellous. I ask, was it not the rhythm which caused it? Change the order of the words; let them stand thus:

"Comprobavit filii temeritas:"

there will be no harm in that, though temeritas consists of three short syllables and one long one; which Aristotle considers as the best sort of word to end a sentence, in which I do not agree with him. But still the words are the same, and the meaning is the same. That is enough for the mind, but not enough for the ears. But this ought not to be done too often. For at first rhythm is acknowledged; presently it wearies; afterwards, when the ease with which it is produced is known, it is despised.

LXIV. But there are many little clauses which sound rhythmically and agreeably. For there is the cretic, which consists of a long syllable, then a short one, then a long; and there is its equivalent the paeon; which is equal in time, but longer by one syllable; and which is considered a very convenient foot to be used in prose, as it is of two kinds. For it consists either of one long syllable and three short ones, which rhythm is admirable at the beginning of a sentence, but languid at the end; or of three short syllables and then the long one, which the ancients consider the most musical foot of the two: I do not object to it; though there are other feet which I prefer. Even the spondee is not utterly to be repudiated; although, because it consists of two long syllables, it appears somewhat dull and slow; still it has a certain steady march not devoid of dignity; but much more is it valuable in short clauses and periods; for then it makes up for the fewness of the feet by its dignified slowness. But when I am speaking of these feet as occurring in clauses, I do not speak of the one foot which occurs at the end; I add (which however is not of much consequence) the preceding foot, and very often even the foot before that. Even the iambic, which consists of one short and one long syllable; or that foot which is equal to the choreus, having three short syllables, being therefore equal in time though not in the number of syllables; or the dactyl, which consists of one long and two short syllables, if it is next to the last foot, joins that foot very trippingly, if it is a choreus or a spondee. For it never makes any difference which of these two is the last foot of a sentence. But these same three feet end a sentence very badly if one of them is placed at the end, unless the dactyl comes at the end instead of a cretic; for it does not signify whether the dactyl or the cretic comes at the end, because it does not signify even in verse whether the last syllable of all is long or short. Wherefore, whoever said that that paeon was more suitable in which the last syllable was long, made a great mistake; since it has nothing to do with the matter whether the last syllable is long or not. And indeed the paeon, as having more syllables than three, is considered by some people as a rhythm, and not a foot at all. It is, as is agreed upon by all the ancients, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Theodectes, and Ephorus, the most suitable of all for an oration, either at the beginning or in the middle; they think that it is very suitable for it at the end also; in which place the cretic appears to me to be better. But a dochmiac consists of five syllables, one short, two long, one short, and one long; as thus:—Ămīcōs tĕnēs; and is suitable for any part of the speech, as long as it is used only once. If repeated or often renewed it then makes the rhythm conspicuous and too remarkable. If we use these changes, numerous and varied as they are, it will not be seen how much of our rhythm is the result of study, and we shall avoid wearying our hearers.

LXV. And because it is not only rhythm which makes a speech rhythmical, but since that effect is produced also by the arrangement of the words, and by a kind of neatness, as has been said before, it may be understood by the arrangement when words are so placed that rhythm does not appear to have been purposely aimed at, but to have resulted naturally, as it is said by Crassus:—

"Nam ubi libido dominatur innocentiae leve praesidium est."

For here the order of the words produces rhythm without any apparent design on the part of the orator. Therefore, the suitable and rhythmical sentences which occur in the works of the ancients, I mean Herodotus, and Thucydides, and all the writers of that age, were produced, not by any deliberate pursuit of rhythm, but by the arrangement of the words. For there are some forms of oratory in which there is so much neatness, that rhythm unavoidably follows. For when like is referred to like, or contrary opposed to contrary, or when words which sound alike are compared to other words, whatever sentence is wound up in that manner must usually sound rhythmically. And of this kind of sentence we have already spoken and given instances, so that this abundance of kinds enables a man to avoid always ending a sentence in the same manner.

Nor are these rules so strict and precise that we are unable to relax them when we wish to. It makes a great difference whether an oration is rhythmical—that is to say, like rhythm—or whether it consists of nothing but rhythm. If it is the latter, that is an intolerable fault; if it is not the former, then it is unconnected, and barbarous, and languid.

LXVI. But since it is not only not a frequent occurrence, but actually even a rare one, that we ought to speak in compressed and rhythmical periods, in serious or forensic causes, it appears to follow that we ought to consider what these clauses and short members which I have spoken of are. For in serious causes they occupy the greater part of the speech. For a full and perfect period consists of four divisions, which we call members, so as to fill the ears, and not be either shorter or longer than is just sufficient. Although each of those defects does happen sometimes, or indeed often, so that it is necessary either to stop abruptly, or else to proceed further, lest our brevity should appear to have cheated the ears of our hearers, or our prolixity to have exhausted them. But I prefer a middle course; for I am not speaking of verse, and oratory is not so much confined. A full period, then, consists of four divisions, like hexameter verses. In each of these verses, then, there are visible the links, as it were, of the connected series which we unite in the conclusion. But if we choose to speak in a succession of short clauses, we stop, and when it is necessary, we easily and frequently separate ourselves from that sort of march which is apt to excite dislike; but nothing ought to be so rhythmical as this, which is the least visible and the most efficacious. Of this kind is that sentence which was spoken by Crassus:—

"Missos faciant patronos; ipsi prodeant."

If he had not paused before "ipsi prodeant," he would have at once seen that an iambic had escaped him,—"prodeant ipsi" would sound in every respect better. But at present I am speaking of the whole kind.

"Cur clandestinis consiliis nos oppugnant? Cur de perfugis nostris copias comparant inter nos?"

The first two are such sentences as the Greeks call [Greek: kommata], and we "incisa." The third is such as they term [Greek: kolon], and we "membrum." Then comes a short clause; for a perfect conclusion is made up of two verses, that is to say members, and falls into spondees. And Crassus was very much in the habit of employing this termination, and I myself have a good opinion of this style of speaking.

LXVII. But those sentiments which are delivered in short clauses, or members, ought to sound very harmoniously, as in a speech of mine you will find:—

"Domus tibi deerat? at habebas. Pecunia superabat? at egebas."

These four clauses are as concise as can be; but then come the two following sentences uttered in members:—

"Incurristi amens in columnas: in alienos insanus insanisti."

After these clauses everything is sustained by a longer class of sentences, as if they were erected on these as their pedestal:—

"Depressam, caecam, jacentem domum pluris, quam te, et quam fortunas tuas, aestimasti."

It is ended with a dichoreus; but the next sentence terminates with a double spondee. For in those feet which speakers should use at times like little daggers, the very brevity makes the feet more free. For we often must use them separately, often two together, and a part of a foot may be added to each foot, but not often in combinations of more than three. But an oration when delivered in brief clauses and members, is very forcible in serious causes, especially when you are accusing or refuting an accusation, as in my second Cornelian speech:—

"O callidos homines! O rem excogitatam! O ingenia metuenda!"

Hitherto this is spoken in members. After that we spoke in short clauses. Then again in members:—

"Testes dare volumus."

At last comes the conclusion, but one made up of two members, than which nothing can be more concise:—

"Quem, quaeso, nostrum fefellit, ita vos esse facturos?"

Nor is there any style of speaking more lively or more forcible than that which strikes with two or three words, sometimes with single words; very seldom with more than two or three, and among these various clauses there is occasionally inserted a rhythmical period. And Hegesias, who perversely avoided this usage, while seeking to imitate Lysias, who is almost a second Demosthenes, dividing his sentences into little bits, was more like a dancer than an orator. And he, indeed, errs not less in his sentences than in his single words, so that a man who knows him has no need to look about for some one whom he may call foolish. But I have cited those sentences of Crassus's and my own, in order that whoever chose might judge by his own ears what was rhythmical even in the most insignificant portions of a speech. And since we have said more about rhythmical oratory than any one of those who have preceded us, we will now speak of the usefulness of that style.

LXVIII. For speaking beautifully and like an orator is, O Brutus, nothing else (as you, indeed, know better than any one) except speaking with the most excellent sentiments and in the most carefully selected language. And there is no sentiment which produces any fruit to an orator, unless it is expressed in a suitable and polished manner. Nor is there any brilliancy of words visible unless they are carefully arranged; and rhythm it is which sets off both these excellences. But rhythm (for it is well to repeat this frequently) is not only not formed in a poetical manner, but even avoids poetry, and is as unlike it as possible. Not but that rhythm is the same thing, not only in the writings of orators and poets, but even in the conversation of every one who speaks, and in every imaginable sound which we can measure with our ears. But it is the order of the feet which makes that which is uttered appear like an oration or like a poem. And this, whether you choose to call it composition, or perfection, or rhythm, must be employed if a man wishes to speak elegantly, not only (as Aristotle and Theophrastus say) that the discourse may not run on interminably like a river, but that it may come to a stop as it ought, not because the speaker wants to take breath, or because the copyist puts down a stop, but because it is compelled to do so by the restrictions of rhythm, and also because a compact style has much greater force than a loose one. For as we see athletes, and in a similar manner gladiators, act cautiously, neither avoiding nor aiming at anything with too much vehemence, (for over-vehement motions can have no rule;) so that whatever they do in a manner advantageous for their contest, may also have a graceful and pleasing appearance; in like manner oratory does not strike a heavy blow, unless the aim was a well-directed one; nor does it avoid the attack of the adversary successfully, unless even when turning aside the blow it is aware of what is becoming. And therefore the speeches of those men who do not end their sentences rhythmically seem to me like the motions of those whom the Greeks call [hapalaistrous]. And it is so far from being the case, (as those men say who, either from a want of proper instructors, or from the slowness of their intellect, or from an unwillingness to exert due industry, have not arrived at this skill,) that oratory is enervated by too much attention to the arrangement of words, that without it there can be no energy and no force.

LXIX. But the matter is one which requires much practice, lest we should do anything like those men who, though they have aimed at this style, have not attained it; so that we must not openly transpose our words in order to make our language sound better; a thing which Lucius Coelius Antipater, in the opening of his history of the Punic War, promises not to do unless it should be absolutely necessary. Oh the simple man! to conceal nothing from us; and at the same time wise, inasmuch as he is prepared to comply with necessity. But still this is being too simple. But in writing or in sober discussion the excuse of necessity is not admissible, for there is no such thing as necessity; and if there were, it would still be necessary not to admit it. And this very man who demands this indulgence of Laelius, to whom he is writing, and to whom he is excusing himself, uses this transposition of words, and yet does not fill up and conclude his sentences any the more skilfully. Among others, and especially among the Asiatics, who are perfect slaves to rhythm, you may find many superfluous words inserted, as if on purpose to fill up vacancies in rhythm. There are men also, who through that fault, which originated chiefly with Hegesias, by breaking up abruptly, and cutting short their rhythm, have fallen into an abject style of speaking, very much like that of the Sicilians. There is a third kind adopted by those brothers, the chiefs of the Asiatic rhetoricians, Hierocles and Maecles, men who are not at all to be despised, in my opinion at least. For although they do not quite keep to the real form of oratory and to the principles of the Attic orators, still they make amends for this fault by their ability and fluency. Still there was no variety in them, because nearly all their sentences were terminated in one manner.

But a man who avoids all these faults, so as neither to transpose words in such a manner that every one must see that it is done on purpose, nor cramming in unnecessary words, as if to fill up leaks, nor aiming at petty rhythm, so as to mutilate and emasculate his sentences, and who does not always stick to one kind of rhythm without any variation, such a man avoids nearly every fault. For we have said a good deal on the subject of perfections, to which these manifest defects are contrary.

LXX. But how important a thing it is to speak harmoniously, you may know by experience if you dissolve the carefully-contrived arrangement of a skilful orator by a transposition of his words; for then the whole thing would be spoilt, as in this instance of our language in the Cornelian oration, and in all the following sentences:—

"Neque me divitiae movent, quibus omnes Africanos et Laelios milt, venalitii mercatoresque superarunt."

Change the order a little, so that the sentence shall stand,

"Multi superarunt mercatores venalitiique,"

and the whole effect is lost. And the subsequent sentences:

"Neque vestis, ant caelatum aurum et argentum, quo nostros veteres Marcellos Maximosque multi eunuchi e Syria aegyptoque vicerunt."

Alter the order of the words, so that they shall stand,

"Vicerunt eunuchi e Syria aegyptoque."

Take this third sentence:—

"Neque vero ornamenta ista villarum, quibus Lucium Paullum et Lucium Mummium, qui rebus his urbem Italiamque omnem referserunt, ab aliquo video perfacile Deliaco aut Syro potuisse superari."

Place the words thus:—

"Potuisse superari ab aliquo Syro aut Deliaco."

Do you not see that by making this slight change in the order of the words, the very same words (though the sense remains as it was before) lose all their effect the moment they are disjoined from those which were best suited to them?

Or if you take any carelessly-constructed sentence of any unpolished orator, and reduce it into proper shape, by making a slight alteration in the order of his words, then that will be made harmonious which was before loose and unmethodical Come now, take a sentence from the speech of Gracchus before the censors:—

"Obesse non potest, quin ejusdem hominis sit, probos improbare, qui improbos probet."

How much better would it have been if he had said,

"Quin ejusdem hominis sit, qui improbos probet, probos improbare!"

No one ever had any objection to speaking in this manner; and no one was ever able to do so who did not do it. But those who have spoken in a different manner have not been able to arrive at this excellence. And so on a sudden they have set up for orators of the Attic school. As if Demosthenes was a man of Tralles; but even his thunderbolts would not have shone so if they had not been pointed by rhythm.

LXXI. But if there be any one who prefers a loose style of oratory, let him cultivate it; keeping in view this principle,—if any one were to take to pieces the shield of Phidias, he would destroy the beauty of the collective arrangement, not the exquisite workmanship of each fragment: and as in Thucydides I only miss the roundness of his periods; all the graces of style are there. But these men, when they compose a loose oration, in which there is no matter, and no expression which is not a low one, appear to me to be taking to pieces, not a shield, but, as the proverb says, (which, though but a low one, is still very apt,) only a broom. And in order that there may be no mistake as to their contempt of this style which I am praising, let them write something either in the style of Isocrates, or in that which Aeschines or Demosthenes employs, and then I will believe that they have not shrunk from this style out of despair of being able to arrive at it, but that they have avoided it deliberately on account of their bad opinion of it: or else I will find a man myself who may be willing to be bound by this condition,—either to say or write, in whichever language you please, in the style which those men prefer. For it is easier to disunite what is connected than to connect what is disjointedly strung together.

However, the fact is, (to be brief in explaining my real opinion,) to speak in a well-arranged and suitable manner without good ideas is to act like a madman. But to speak in a sententious manner, without any order or method in one's language, is to behave like a child: but still it is childishness of that sort, that those who employ it cannot be considered stupid men, and indeed may often be accounted wise men. And if a man is contented with that sort of character, why let him speak in that way. But the eloquent man, who, if his subject will allow it, ought to excite not only approbation, but admiration and loud applause, ought to excel in everything to such a degree, that he should think it discreditable that anything should be beheld or listened to more gladly than his speech.

You have here, O Brutus, my opinion respecting an orator. If you approve of it, follow it; or else adhere to your own, if you have formed any settled opinion on the subject. And I shall not be offended with you, nor will I affirm that this opinion of mine which I have asserted so positively in this book is more correct than yours; for it is possible not only that my opinion should be different from yours, but even that my own may be different at different times. And not only in this matter, which has reference to gaining the assent of the common people and to the pleasure of the ears, which are two of the most unimportant points as far as judgment is concerned; but even in the most important affairs, I have never found anything firmer to take hold of, or to guide my judgment by, than the extremity of probability as it appeared to me, when actual truth was hidden or obscure.

But I wish that you, if you do not approve entirely of the things which I have urged in this treatise, would believe either that I proposed to myself a work of too great difficulty for me to accomplish properly, or else that, while wishing to comply with your request, I undertook the impudent task of writing this, from being ashamed to refuse you.



* * * * *


This treatise was written a short time before the events which gave rise to the first Philippic. Cicero obtained an honorary lieutenancy, with the intention of visiting his son at Athens; on his way towards Rhegium he spent an evening at Velia with Trebatius, where he began this treatise, which he finished at sea, before he arrived in Greece. It is little more than an abstract of what had been written by Aristotle on the same subject, and which Trebatius had begged him to explain to him; and Middleton says, that as he had not Aristotle's essay with him, he drew this up from memory, and he appears to have finished it in a week, as it was the nineteenth of July that he was at Velia, and he sent this work to Trebatius from Rhegium on the twenty-seventh. He himself apologizes to Trebatius in the letter which accompanied it, (Ep. Fam. vii. 19,) for its obscurity, which however, he says, was unavoidably caused by the nature of the subject.

I. We had begun to write, O Caius Trebatius, on subjects more important and more worthy of these books, of which we have published a sufficient number in a short time, when your request recalled me from my course. For when you were with me in my Tusculan villa, and when each of us was separately in the library opening such books as were suited to our respective tastes and studies, you fell on a treatise of Aristotle's called the Topics; which he has explained in many books; and, excited by the title, you immediately asked me to explain to you the doctrines laid down in those books. And when I had explained them to you, and told you that the system for the discovery of arguments was contained in them, in order that we might arrive, without making any mistake, at the system on which they rested by the way discovered by Aristotle, you urged me, modestly indeed, as you do everything, but still in a way which let me plainly see your eagerness to be gratified, to make you master of the whole of Aristotle's method. And when I exhorted you, (not so much for the sake of saving myself trouble, as because I really thought it advantageous for you yourself,) either to read them yourself, or to get the whole system explained to you by some learned rhetorician, you told me that you had already tried both methods. But the obscurity of the subject deterred you from the books; and that illustrious rhetorician to whom you had applied answered you, I suppose, that he knew nothing of these rules of Aristotle. And this I was not so much surprised at, namely, that that philosopher was not known to the rhetorician, inasmuch as he is not much known even to philosophers, except to a very few.

And such ignorance is the less excusable in them, because they not only ought to have been allured by those things which he has discovered and explained, but also by the incredible richness and sweetness of his eloquence. I could not therefore remain any longer in your debt, since you often made me this request, and yet appeared to fear being troublesome to me, (for I could easily see that,) lest I should appear unjust to him who is the very interpreter of the law. In truth, as you had often written many things for me and mine, I was afraid that if I delayed obliging you in this, it would appear very ungrateful or very arrogant conduct on my part. But while we were together, you yourself are the best witness of how I was occupied; but after I left you, on my way into Greece, when neither the republic nor any friends were occupying my attention, and when I could not honourably remain amid the armies, (not even if I could have done so safely,) as soon as I came to Velia and beheld your house and your family, I was reminded of this debt; and would no longer be wanting to your silent request. Therefore, as I had no books with me, I have written these pages on my voyage, from memory; and I have sent them to you while on my journey, in order that by my diligence in obeying your commands, I might rouse you to a recollection of my affairs, although you do not require a reminder. But, however, it is time to come to the object which we have undertaken.

II. As every careful method of arguing has two divisions,—one of discovering, one of deciding,—Aristotle was, as it appears to me, the chief discoverer of each. But the Stoics also have devoted some pains to the latter, for they have diligently considered the methods of carrying on a discussion by that science which they call dialectics; but the art of discovering arguments, which is called topics, and which was more serviceable for practical use, and certainly prior in the order of nature, they have wholly disregarded. But we, since both parts are of the greatest utility, and since we intend to examine each if we have time, will now begin with that which is naturally the first.

As therefore the discovery of those things which are hidden is easy, if the place where they are hidden is pointed out and clearly marked; so, when we wish to examine any argument, we ought to know the topics,—for so they are called by Aristotle, being, as it were, seats from which arguments are derived. Therefore we may give as a definition, that a topic is the seat of an argument, and that an argument is a reason which causes men to believe a thing which would otherwise be doubtful. But of those topics in which arguments are contained, some dwell on that particular point which is the subject of discussion; some are derived from external circumstances. When derived from the subject itself, they proceed at times from it taken as a whole, at times from its parts, at times from some sign, and at others from things which are disposed in some manner or other towards the subject under discussion; but those topics are derived from external circumstances which are at a distance and far removed from the same subject.

But a definition is employed with reference to the entire matter under discussion which unfolds the matter which is the subject of inquiry as if it had been previously enveloped in mystery. The formula of that argument is of this sort: "Civil law is equity established among men who belong to the same city, for the purpose of insuring each man in the possession of his property and rights: and the knowledge of this equity is useful: therefore the knowledge of civil law is useful." Then comes the enumeration of the parts, which is dealt with in this manner: "If a slave has not been declared free either by the censor, or by the praetor's rod, or by the will of his master, he is not free: but none of those things is the case: therefore he is not free." Then comes the sign; when some argument is derived from the meaning of a word, in this way:—As the Aelian Sentian law orders an assiduus[63] to support an assiduus, it orders a rich man to support a rich man, for a rich man is an assiduus, called so, as Aelius says, from asse dando.

III. Arguments are also derived from things which bear some kind of relation to that which is the object of discussion. But this kind is distributed under many heads; for we call some connected with one another either by nature, or by their form, or by their resemblance to one another, or by their differences, or by their contrariety to one another, or by adjuncts, or by their antecedents, or by their consequents, or by what is opposed to each of them, or by causes, or by effects, or by a comparison with what is greater, or equal, or less.

Arguments are said to be connected together which are derived from words of the same kind. But words are of the same kind which, originating from one word, are altered in various ways; as, "sapiens, sapienter, sapientia." The connexion of these words is called [Greek: suxugia]; from which arises an argument of this kind: "If the land is common, every one has a right to feed his cattle on it."

An argument is derived from the kind of word, thus: "Since all the money has been bequeathed to the woman, it is impossible that that ready money which was left in the house should not have been bequeathed. For the species is never separated from the genus as long as it retains its name: but ready money retains the name of money: therefore it is plain that it was bequeathed."

An argument is derived from the species, which we may sometimes name, in order that it may be more clearly understood; in this manner: "If the money was bequeathed to Fabia by her husband, on the supposition that she was the mother of his family; if she was not his wife, then nothing is due to her." For the wife is the genus: there are two kinds of wife; one being those mothers of a family which become wives by coemptio; the other kind are those which are only considered wives: and as Fabia was one of those last, it appears that nothing was bequeathed to her.

An argument is derived from similarity, in this way: "If those houses have fallen down, or got into disrepair, a life-interest in which is bequeathed to some one, the heir is not bound to restore or to repair them, any more than he is bound to replace a slave, if a slave, a life-interest in whom has been bequeathed to some one, has died."

An argument is derived from difference, thus: "It does not follow, if a man has bequeathed to his wife all the money which belonged to him, that therefore he bequeathed all which was down in his books as due to him; for there is a great difference whether the money is laid up in his strong box, or set down as due in his accounts."

An argument is derived from contraries, thus: "That woman to whom her husband has left a life-interest in all his property, has no right, if his cellars of wine and oil are left full, to think that they belong to her; for the use of them is what has been bequeathed to her, and not the misuse: and they are contrary to one another."

IV. An argument is derived from adjuncts, thus: "If a woman has made a will who has never given up her liberty by marriage, it does not appear that possession ought to be given by the edict of the praetor to the legatee under that will; for it is added, that in that case possession would seem proper to be given by that same edict, according to the wills of slaves, or exiles, or infants."

Arguments are derived from antecedents, and consequents, and contradictories, in this way. From antecedents: "If a divorce has been caused by the fault of the husband, although the woman has demanded it, still she is not bound to leave any of her dowry for her children."

From consequents: "If a woman having married a man with whom she had no right of intermarriage, has demanded a divorce, since the children who have been born do not follow their father, the father has no right to keep back any portion of the woman's dowry."

From contradictories: "If the head of a family has left to his wife in reversion after his son the life-interest in the female slaves, and has made no mention of any other reversionary heir, if the son dies, the woman shall not lose her life-interest. For that which has once been given to any one by will, cannot be taken away from the legatee to whom it has been given without his consent; for it is a contradiction for any one to have a right to receive a thing, and yet to be forced to give it up against his will."

An argument is derived from efficient causes, in this way: "All men have a right to add to a common party wall, a wall extending its whole length, either solid or on arches; but if any one in demolishing the common wall should promise to pay for any damages which may arise from his action, he will not be bound to pay for any damage sustained or caused by such arches: for the damage has been done, not by the party which demolished the common wall, but in consequence of some fault in the work, which was built in such a manner as to be unable to support itself."

An argument is derived from what has been done, in this way: "When a woman becomes the wife of a man, everything which has belonged to the woman now becomes the property of the husband under the name of dowry."

But in the way of comparison there are many kinds of valid arguments; in this way: "That which is valid in a greater affair, ought to be valid in a less: so that, if the law does not regulate the limits in the city, still more will it not compel any one to turn off the water in the city." Again, on the other hand: "Whatever is valid in a smaller matter ought to be valid also in a greater one. One may convert the preceding example." Also, "That which is valid in a parallel case ought to be valid in this which is a parallel case." As, "Since the usurpation of a farm depends on a term of two years, the law with respect to houses ought to be the same." But in the law houses are not mentioned, and so they are supposed to come under the same class as all other things, the property in which is determined by one year's use. Equity then must prevail, which requires similar laws in similar cases.[64]

But those arguments which are derived from external circumstances are deduced chiefly from authority. Therefore the Greeks call argumentations of that kind [Greek: atechuoi], that is, devoid of art. As if you were to answer in this way:—"In the case of some one building a roof for the purpose of covering a common wall, Publius Scaevola asserted that there was no right of carrying that roof so far that the water which ran off it should run on to any part of any building which did not belong to the owner of the roof. This I affirm to be law."

V. By these topics then which have been explained, a means of discovering and proving every sort of argument is supplied, as if they were elements of argument. Have we then said enough up to this point? I think we have, as far at least as you, an acute man and one deeply skilled in law, are concerned. But since I have to deal with a man who is very greedy when the feast in question is one of learning, I will prosecute the subject so that I will rather put forth something more than is necessary, than allow you to depart unsatisfied. As, then, each separate one of those topics which I have mentioned has its own proper members, I will follow them out as accurately as I can; and first of all I will speak of the definition itself.

Definition is a speech which explains that which is defined. But of definitions there are two principal kinds: one, of those things which exist; the other, of those which are understood. The things which I call existing are those which can be seen or touched; as a farm, a house, a wall, a gutter, a slave, an ox, furniture, provisions, and so on; of which kind of things some require at times to be defined by us. Those things, again, I say have no existence, which are incapable of being touched or proved, but which can be perceived by the mind and understood; as if you were to define usucaption, guardianship, nationality, or relationship; all, things which have no body, but which nevertheless have a certain conformation plainly marked out and impressed upon the mind, which I call the notion of them. They often require to be explained by definition while we are arguing about them.

And again, there are definitions by partition, and others by division: by partition, when the matter which is to be defined is separated, as it were, into different members; as if any one were to say that civil law was that which consists of laws, resolutions of the senate, precedents, the authority of lawyers, the edicts of magistrates, custom, and equity. But a definition by division embraces every form which comes under the entire genus which is defined; in this way: "Alienation is the surrender of anything which is a man's private property, or a legal cession of it to men who are able by law to avail themselves of such cession."

VI. There are also other kinds of definitions, but they have no connexion with the subject of this book; we have only got to say what is the manner of expressing a definition. This, then, is what the ancients prescribe: that when you have taken those things which are common to the thing which you wish to define with other things, you must pursue them till you make out of them altogether some peculiar property which cannot be transferred to anything else. As this: "An inheritance is money." Up to this point the definition is common, for there are many kinds of money. Add what follows: "which by somebody's death comes to some one else." It is not yet a definition, for money belonging to the dead can be possessed in many ways without inheritance. Add one word, "lawfully." By this time the matter will appear distinguished from general terms, so that the definition may stand thus:—"An inheritance is money which by somebody's death has lawfully come to some one else." It is not enough yet. Add, "without being either bequeathed by will, or held as some one else's property." The definition is complete. Again, take this:—"Those are gentiles who are of the same name as one another." That is insufficient. "And who are born of noble blood." Even that is not enough. "Who have never had any ancestor in the condition of a slave." Something is still wanting. "Who have never parted with their franchise." This, perhaps, may do. For I am not aware that Scaevola, the pontiff, added anything to this definition. And this principle holds good in each kind of definition, whether the thing to be defined is something which exists, or something which is understood.

VII. But we have shown now what is meant by partition, and by division. But it is necessary to explain more clearly wherein they differ. In partition, there are as it were members; as of a body—head, shoulders, hands, sides, legs, feet, and so on. In division there are forms which the Greeks call [Greek: ideae]; our countrymen who treat of such subjects call them species. And it is not a bad name, though it is an inconvenient one if we want to use it in different cases. For even if it were Latin to use such words, I should not like to say specierum and speciebus. And we have often occasion to use these cases. But I have no such objection to saying formarum and formis; and as the meaning of each word is the same, I do not think that convenience of sound is wholly to be neglected.

Men define genus and species or form in this manner:—"Genus is a notion relating to many differences. Species is a notion, the difference of which can be referred to the head and as it were fountain of the genus." I mean by notion that which the Greeks call sometimes [Greek: ennoia], and sometimes [Greek: enoprolaepsis]. It is knowledge implanted and previously acquired of each separate thing, but one which requires development. Species, then, are those forms into which genus is divided without any single one being omitted; as if any one were to divide justice into law, custom, and equity. A person who thinks that species are the same things as parts, is confounding the art; and being perplexed by some resemblance, he does not distinguish with sufficient acuteness what ought to be distinguished. Often, also, both orators and poets define by metaphor, relying on some verbal resemblance, and indeed not without giving a certain degree of pleasure. But I will not depart from your examples unless I am actually compelled to do so.

Aquillius, then, my colleague and intimate friend, was accustomed, when there was any discussion about shores, (all of which you lawyers insist upon it are public,) to define them to men who asked to whom that which was shore belonged, in this way: "Wherever the waves dashed;" that is, as if a man were to define youth as the flower of a man's age, or old age as the setting of life. Using a metaphor, he departs from the words proper to the matter in hand and to his own art. This is enough as to definition. Let us now consider the other points.

VIII. But we must employ partition in such a manner as to omit no part whatever. As if you wish to partition guardianship, you would act ignorantly if you were to omit any kind. But if you were partitioning off the different formulas of stipulations or judicial decisions, then it is not a fault to omit something in a matter which is of boundless extent. But in division it is a fault; for there is a settled number of species which are subordinate to each genus. The distribution of the parts is often more interminable still, like the drawing streams from a fountain. Therefore in the art of an orator, when the genus of a question is once laid down, the number of its species is added absolutely; but when rules are given concerning the embellishments of words and sentences, which are called [Greek: schaemata], the case is different; for the circumstances are more infinite: so that it may be understood from this also what the difference is which we assert to exist between partition and division. For although the words appear nearly equivalent to one another still, because the things are different, the expressions are also established as not synonymous to one another.

Many arguments are also derived from observation, and that is when they are deduced from the meaning of a word, which the Greeks call [Greek: etumologia]; or as we might translate it, word for word, veriloquium. But we, while avoiding the novel appearance of a word which is not very suitable, call this kind of argument notatio, because words are the notes by which we distinguish things. And therefore Aristotle calls the same source of argument [Greek: sunbolou], which is equivalent to the Latin nota. But when it is known what is meant we need not be so particular about the name. In a discussion then, many arguments are derived from words by means of observation; as when the question is asked, what is a postliminium—(I do not mean what are the objects to which this word applies, for that would be division, which is something of this sort: "Postliminium applies to a man, a ship, a mule with panniers, a horse, a mare who is accustomed to be bridled")—but when the meaning of the word itself, postliminium, is asked, and when the word itself is observed. And in this our countryman, Servius, as it seems, thinks that there is nothing to be observed except post, and he insists upon it that liminium is a mere extension of the word; as in finitimus, legitimus, ceditimus, timus has no more meaning than tullius has in meditullius.

But Scaevola, the son of Publius Scaeaevola, thinks the word is a compound one, so that it is made up of post and limen. So that those things which have been alienated from us, when they have come into the possession of our enemies, and, as it were, departed from their own threshold, then when they have returned behind that same threshold, appear to have returned postliminio. By which definition even the cause of Mancinus may be defended by saying that he returned postliminio,—that he was not surrendered, inasmuch as he was not received. For that no surrender and no gift can be understood to have taken place if there has been no reception of it.

IX. We next come to that topic which is derived from those things which are disposed in some way or other to that thing which is the subject of discussion. And I said just now that it was divided into many parts. And the first topic is derived from combination, which the Greeks call [Greek: sizugia], being a kindred thing to observation, which we have just been discussing, as, if we were only to understand that to be rain-water which we saw to have been collected from rain, Mucius would come, who, because the words pluna and pluendo were akin, would say that all water ought to be kept out which had been increased by raining. But when an argument is derived from a genus, then it will not be necessary to trace it back to its origin, we may often stop on this side of that point, provided that which is deduced is higher than that for which it is deduced, as, "Rain water in its ultimate genus is that which descends from heaven and is increased by showers," but in reference to its more proximate sense, under which the right of keeping it off is comprised, the genus is, mischievous rain water. The subordinate species of that genus are waters which injure through a natural defect of the place, or those which are injurious on account of the works of man: for one of these kinds may be restrained by an arbitrator, but not the other.

Again, this argumentation is handled very advantageously, which is derived from a species when you pursue all the separate parts by tracing them back to the whole, in this way "If that is dolus malus when one thing is aimed at, and another pretended," we may enumerate the different modes in which that can be done, and then under some one of them we may range that which we are trying to prove has been done dolo malo. And that kind of argument is usually accounted one of the most irrefragable of all.

X. The next thing is similarity, which is a very extensive topic, but one more useful for orators and for philosophers than for men of your profession. For although all topics belong to every kind of discussion, so as to supply arguments for each, still they occurs more abundantly in discussions on some subjects, and more sparingly in others. Therefore the genera are known to you, but when you are to employ them the questions themselves will instruct you. For there are resemblances which by means of comparisons arrive at the point they aim at, in this manner. "If a guardian is bound to behave with good faith, and a partner, and any one to whom you have entrusted anything, and any one who has undertaken a trust then so ought an agent." This argument, arriving at the point at which it aims by a comparison of many instances, is called induction, which in Greek is called [Greek: ipago]. and it is the kind of argument which Socrates employed a great deal in his discourses.

Another kind of resemblance is obtained by comparison, when one thing is compared to some other single thing, and like to like, in this way "As if in any city there is a dispute as to boundaries because the boundaries of fields appear more extensive than those of cities, you may find it impossible to bring an arbitrator to settle the question of boundaries, so if rain water is injurious in a city, since the whole matter is one more for country magistrates, you may not be able to bring an arbitrator to settle the question of keeping off rain-water" Again, from the same topic of resemblance, examples are derived, as, "Crassus in Cunus's trial used many examples, speaking of the man who by his will had appointed his heir in such a manner, that if he had had a son born within ten months of his death, and that son had died before coming into possession of the property held in trust for him, the revisionary heir would succeed to the inheritance. And the enumeration of precedents which Crassus brought forward prevailed". And you are accustomed to use this style of argument very frequently in replies. Even fictitious examples have all the force of real ones, but they belong rather to the orator than to you lawyers, although you also do use them sometimes, but in this way. "Suppose a man had given a slave a thing which a slave is by law incapable of receiving, is it on that account the act of the man who received it? or has he, who gave that present to his slave on that account taken any obligations on himself?" And in this kind of argument orators and philosophers are allowed to make even dumb things talk, so that the dead man be raised from the shades below, or that anything which intrinsically is absolutely impossible, may, for the sake of adding force to the argument, or diminishing, be spoken of as real and that figure is called hyperbole. And they may say other marvellous things, but theirs is a wider field. Still, out of the same topics, as I have said before, arguments are derived for the most important and the most trivial inquiries.

XI After similarity there follows difference between things, which is as different as possible from the preceding topic, still it is the same art which finds out resemblances and dissimilarities. These are instances of the same sort—"If you have contracted a debt to a woman, you can pay her without having recourse to a trustee, but what you owe to a minor, whether male or female; you cannot pay in the same manner."

The next topic is one which is derived from contraries. But the genera of contraries are several. One is of such things as differ in the same kind; as wisdom and jolly. But those things are said to be in the same kind, which, when they are proposed, are immediately met by certain contraries, as if placed opposite to them: as slowness is contrary to rapidity, and not weakness. From which contraries such arguments as these are deduced:—"If we avoid folly, let us pursue wisdom; and if we avoid wickedness, let us pursue goodness." These things, as they are contrary qualities in the same class, are called opposites. For there are other contraries, which we may call in Latin, privantia, and which the Greeks call [Greek: steraetika]. For the preposition in deprives the word of that force which it would have if in were not prefixed; as, "dignity, indignity—humanity, inhumanity," and other words of the same kind, the manner of dealing with which is the same as that of dealing with other kinds which I have called opposites. For there are also other kinds or contraries; as those which are compared to something or other; as, "twofold and simple; many and few; long and short; greater and less." There are also those very contrary things which are called negatives, which the Greeks call [Greek: steraetika]: as, "If this is the case, that is not." For what need is there for an instance? only let it be understood that in seeking for an argument it is not every contrary which is suitable to be opposed to another.

XII. But I gave a little while ago an instance drawn from adjuncts; showing that many things are added as accessories, which ought to be admitted, if we decided that possession ought to be given by the praetor's edict, in compliance with the will which that person made who had no right whatever to make a will. But this topic has more influence in conjectural causes, which are frequent in courts, of justice, when we are inquiring either what is, or what has been, or what is likely to be, or what possibly may happen. And the form of the topic itself is as follows. But this topic reminds us to inquire what happened before the transaction of which we are speaking, or at the same time with the transaction, or after the transaction. "This has nothing to do with the law, you had better apply to Cicero," our friend Gallus used to say, if any one brought him any cause which required an inquiry into matters of fact. But you will prefer that no topic of the art which I have begun to treat of should be omitted by me, lest if you should think that nothing was to be written here except what had reference to yourself, you should seem to be too selfish. This then is for the most part an oratorical topic; not only not much suited to lawyers, but not even to philosophers. For the circumstances which happened before the matter in question are inquired into, such as any preparation, any conferences, any place, any prearranged convivial meeting. And the circumstances which happened at the same time with the matter in question, are the noise of footfalls, the noise of men, the shadow of a body, or anything of that sort. The circumstances subsequent to the matter in question are, blushing, paleness, trepidation, or any other tokens of agitation or consciousness; and besides these, any such fact as a fire extinguished, a bloody sword, or any circumstance which can excite a suspicion of such an act.

XIII. The next topic is one peculiar to dialecticians; derived from consequents, and antecedents, and inconsistencies; and this one is very different from that drawn from differences. For adjuncts, of which we were speaking just now, do not always exist, but consequents do invariably. I call those things consequents which follow an action of necessity. And the same rule holds as to antecedents and inconsistencies; for whatever precedes each thing, that of necessity coheres with that theme; and whatever is inconsistent with it is of such a nature that it can never cohere with it. As then this topic is distributed in three divisions, into consequence, antecession, and inconsistency, there is one single topic to help us find the argument, but a threefold way of dealing with it. For what difference does it make, when you have once assumed that the ready money is due to the woman to whom all the money has been bequeathed, whether you conclude your argument in this way:—"If coined money is money, it has been bequeathed to the woman; but coined money is money; therefore it has been bequeathed to her;"—or in this way: "If ready money has not been bequeathed to her, then ready money is not money; but ready money is money; therefore it has been bequeathed to her;"—or in this way: "The cases of money not having been bequeathed, and of ready money not having been bequeathed, are identical; but money was bequeathed to her; therefore ready money was bequeathed to her?" But the dialecticians call that conclusion of the argument in which, when you have first made an assumption, that which is connected with it follows as a consequence of the assumption, the first mood of the conclusion; and when, because you have denied the consequence, it follows that that also to which it was a consequence must be denied also, that is the second mood. But when you deny some things in combination, (and then another negation is added to them,) and from these things you assume something, so that what remains is also done away with, that is called the third mood of the conclusion. From this are derived those results of the rhetoricians drawn from contraries, which they call enthymemes. Not that every sentence may not be legitimately called an enthymeme; but, as Homer on account of his preeminence has appropriated the general name of poet to himself as his own among all the Greeks; so, though every sentence is an enthymeme, still, because that which is made up of contraries appears the most acute argument of the kind, that alone has possessed itself of the general name as its own peculiar distinction. Its kinds are these:—"Can you fear this man, and not fear that one?"—"You condemn this woman, against whom you bring no accusation; and do you say that this other one deserves punishment, whom you believe to deserve reward?"—"That which you do know is no good; that which you do not know is a great hindrance to you."

XIV. This kind of disputing is very closely connected with the mode of discussion adopted by you lawyers in reply, and still more closely with that adopted by philosophers, as they share with the orators in the employment of that general conclusion which is drawn from inconsistent sentences, which is called by dialecticians the third mood, and by rhetoricians an enthymeme. There are many other moods used by the rhetoricians, which consist of disjunctive propositions:—"Either this or that is the case; but this is the case; then that is not the case." And again:—"Either this or that is the case; but this is not the case; then that is the case." And these conclusions are valid, because in a disjunctive proposition only one alternative can be true. And from those conclusions which I have mentioned above, the former is called by the dialecticians the fourth mood, and the latter the fifth. Then they add a negation of conjunctive propositions; as, "It is not both this and that; but it is this; therefore it is not that." This is the sixth mood. The seventh is, "It is not both this and that; but it is not this; therefore it is that." From these moods innumerable conclusions are derived, in which nearly the whole science of dialectics consists. But even those which I have now explained are not necessary for this present discussion.

XV. The next topic is drawn from efficient circumstances which are called causes; and the next from the results produced by these efficient causes. I have already given instances of these, as of the other topics, and those too drawn from civil law; but these have a wider application.

There are then two kinds of causes; one which of its own force to a certainty produces that effect which is subordinate to it; as, "Fire burns;" the other is that which has no nature able to produce the effect in question, though still that effect cannot be produced without it; as, if any one were to say, that "brass was the cause of a statue; because a statue cannot be made without it." Now of this kind of causes which are indispensable to a thing being done, some are quiet some passive, some, as it were, senseless; as, place, time, materials, tools, and other things of the same sort. But some exhibit a sort of preparatory process towards the production of the effect spoken of; and some of themselves do contribute some aid to it; although it is not indispensable; as meeting may have supplied the cause to love; love to crime. From this description of causes depending on one another in infinite series, is derived the doctrine of fate insisted on by the Stoics. And as I have thus divided the genera of causes, without which nothing can be effected, so also the genera of the efficient causes can be divided in the same manner. For there are some causes which manifestly produce the effect, without any assistance from any quarter; others which require external aid; as for instance, wisdom alone by herself makes men wise; but whether she is able alone to make men happy is a question.

XVI. Wherefore, when any cause efficient as to some particular end has inevitably presented itself in a discussion, it is allowable without any hesitation to conclude that what that cause must inevitably effect is effected. But when the cause is of such a nature that it does not inevitably effect the result, then the conclusion which follows is not inevitable And that description of causes which has an inevitable effect does not usually engender mistakes; but this description, without which a thing cannot take place, does often cause perplexity. For it does not follow, because sons cannot exist without parents, that there was therefore any unavoidable cause in the parents to have children. This, therefore, without which an effect cannot be produced, must be carefully separated from that by which it is certainly produced. For that is like—

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