Tools

[Cicero]

conquestionem, feminis plangore et capitis ictu, nonnumquam sedato et constanti gestu, maesto et conturbato vultu uti oportebit.

Non sum nescius quantum susceperim negotii qui motus corporis exprimere verbis et imitari scriptura conatus sim voces. Verum nec hoc confisus sum posse fieri ut de his rebus satis commode scribi posset, nec, si id fieri non posset, hoc quod feci fore inutile putabam, propterea quod hic admonere voluimus quid oporteret; reliqua trademus exercitationi. Hoc tamen scire oportet, pronuntiationem bonam id proficere,1 ut res ex animo agi videatur.

28XVI. Nunc ad thesaurum inventorum atque ad omnium partium rhetoricae custodem, memoriam, transeamus.

Memoria utrum habeat quiddam artificiosi, an omnis ab natura proficiscatur, aliud dicendi tempus magis idoneum dabitur. Nunc proinde atque constet in hac re multum valere artem et praeceptionem, ita de ea re loquemur. Placet enim nobis esse artificium

  • 1proficere M: perficere other MSS. Mx.
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Ad Herennium, III

one ought to slap one’s thigha and beat one’s head, and sometimes to use a calm and uniform gesticulation and a sad and disturbed expression.

I am not unaware how great a task I have undertaken in trying to express physical movements in words and portray vocal intonations in writing. True, I was not confident that it was possible to treat these matters adequately in writing. Yet neither did I suppose that, if such a treatment were impossible, it would follow that what I have done here would be useless, for it has been my purpose merely to suggest what ought to be done. The rest I shall leave to practice. This, nevertheless, one must remember: good delivery ensures that what the orator is saying seems to come from his heart.

28XVI. Now let me turn to the treasure-house of the ideas supplied by Invention, to the guardian of all the parts of rhetoric, the Memory.b

The question whether memory has some artificial quality, or comes entirely from nature, we shall have another, more favourable, opportunity to discuss. At present I shall accept as proved that in this matter art and method are of great importance, and shall treat the subject accordingly. For my part, I am

  • aCf. Quintilian, 11. 3. 123: “Slapping the thigh, which, it is believed, Cleon [see Plutarch, Nicias 8] was the first to introduce at Athens, is in common use; it is becoming as a sign of indignation and also excites the hearer. Cicero [Brutus 80. 278] misses this in Calidius.” In Lucian, Rhetor. Praeceptor 19, the young learner is satirically encouraged to make use of this gesture.
  • bOn ancient mnemonics see Helga Hajdu, Das mnemotechnische Schrifttum des Mittelalters (Vienna, Amsterdam, and Leipzig, 1936), pp. 11–33, and L. A. Post, Class. Weekly 25 (1932). 105–110; on Memory in oral literature, J. A. Notopoulos, Trans. Am. Philol. Assn. 69 (1938). 465–493. The rhetorical interest in memoria appears early, among the sophists, who valued its uses in the learning of commonplaces and for improvisation. Our author’s mnemonic system is the oldest extant. Whether such pictorial methods were widely used by the orators we do not know, but the theory persists to this day. See also Longinus, in Spengel-Hammer 1 (2). 197–206; Cicero, De Oratore 2. 85. 350–88. 360; and esp. Quintilian’s historical and critical treatment, 11. 2. 1–51.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-rhetorica_ad_herennium.1954