From Peithô's Web

C.D. Yonge translation

Index       Previous Previous sectionNext Section Next

With atin inks to The atin ibrary

Book I chapters 42-55

XLII. Reprehension is that by means of which the proof adduced by the opposite party is invalidated by arguing, or is disparaged, or is reduced to nothing. And this sort of argument proceeds from the same source of invention which confirmation employs, because whatever the topics may be by means of which any statement can be confirmed, the very same may be used in order to invalidate it. For nothing is to be considered in all these inventions, except that which has been attributed to persons or to things. Wherefore, it will be necessary that the invention and the high polish which ought to be given to argumentation must be transferred to this part of our oration also from those rules which have been already laid down. But in order that we may give some precepts with reference to this part also, we will explain the different methods of reprehension; and those who observe them will more easily be able to do away with or invalidate those statements which are made on the opposite side.

All argumentation is reprehended when anything, whether it be one thing only, or more than one of those positions which are assumed, is not granted; or if, though they are granted, it is denied that the conclusion legitimately follows from them; or if it is shown that the very kind of argumentation is faulty; or if in opposition to one form and reliable sort of argumentation another is employed which is equally firm and convincing. Something of those positions which have been assumed is not granted when either that thing which the opposite party says is credible is denied to be such, or when what they think admits of a comparison with the present case is shown to be unlike it; or when what has been already decided is either turned aside as referring to something else or is impeached as having been erroneously decided; or when that which the opposite party have called a proof is denied to be such; or if the summing up is denied in some one point or in every particular; or if it is shown that the enumeration of matters stated and proved is incorrect; or if the simple conclusion is proved to contain something false. For everything which is assumed for the purpose of arguing on, whether as necessary or as only probable, must inevitably be assumed from these topics, as we have already pointed out.

XLIII. What is assumed as something credible is invalidated, if it is either manifestly false, in this way:--"There is the one who would not prefer riches to wisdom." Or on the opposite side something credible may be brought against it in this manner:--"Who is there who is not more desirous of doing his duty than of acquiring money?" Or it may be utterly and absolutely incredible, as if some one, who it is notorious is a miser, were to say that he had neglected the acquisition of some large sum of money for the sake of performing some inconsiderable duty. Or if that which happens in some circumstances, and to some persons, were asserted to happen habitually in all cases and to everybody; in this way: --"Those men who are poor have a greater regard for money than for duty." "It is very natural that a murder should have been committed in that which is a desert place." How could a man be murdered in a much frequented place? Or if a thing which is done seldom is asserted never to be done at all; as Curius asserts in his speech in behalf of Fulvius, where he says, " No one can fall in love at a single glance, or as he is passing by."

But that which is assumed as a proof may be invalidated by a recurrence to the same topics as those by which it is sought to be established. For in a proof the first thing to be shown is that it is true; and in the next place, that it is one especially affecting the matter which is under discussion, as blood is a proof of murder; in the next place, that that has been done which ought not to have been; or that has not been done which ought to have been; and last of all, that the person accused was acquainted with the law and usages affecting the matter which is the subject of inquiry. For all these circumstances are matters requiring proof; and we will explain them more carefully, when we come to speak about conjectural statements separately. Therefore, each of these points in a reprehension of the statement of the adversary must be laboured, and it must be shown either that such and such a thing is no proof, or that it is an unimportant proof, or that it is favourable to oneself rather than to the adversary, or that it is altogether erroneously alleged, or that it may be diverted so as to give grounds to an entirely different suspicion.

XLIV. But when anything is alleged as a proper object of comparison, since that is a class of argument which turns principally on resemblance, in reprehending the adversary it will be advisable to deny that there is any resemblance at all to the case with which it is attempted to institute the comparison. And that may be done, if it be proved to be different in genus, or in nature, or in power, or in magnitude, or in time or place, or with reference to the person affected, or to the opinions generally entertained of it. And if it be shown also in what classification that which is brought forward on account of the alleged resemblance, and in what place too the whole genus with reference to which it is brought forward, ought to be placed. After that it will be pointed out how the one thing differs from the other; from which we shall proceed to show that a different opinion ought to be entertained of that which is brought forward by way of comparison, and of that to which it is sought to be compared. And this sort of argument we especially require when that particular argumentation which is carried on by means of induction is to be reprehended. If any previous decision be alleged, since these are the topics by which it is principally established, the praise of those who have delivered such decision; the resemblance of the matter which is at present under discussion to that which has already been the subject of the decision referred to; that not only the decision is not found fault with because it is mentioned, but that it is approved of by every one; and by showing too, that the case which has been already decided is a more difficult and a more important one than that which is under consideration now. It will be desirable also to invalidate it by arguments drawn from the contrary topics, if either truth or probability will allow us to do so. And it will be necessary to take care and notice whether the matter which has been decided has any real connexion with that which is the present subject of discussion; and we must also take care that no case is adduced in which any error has been committed, so that it should seem that we are passing judgment on the man himself who has delivered the decision referred to.

It is desirable further to take care that they do not bring forward some solitary or unusual decision when there have been many decisions given the other way. For by such means as this the authority of the decision alleged can be best invalidated. And it is desirable that those arguments which are assumed as probable should be handled in this way.

XLV. But those which are brought forward as necessary, if they are only imitations of a necessary kind of argumentation and are not so in reality, may be reprehended in this manner. In the first place, the summing up, which ought to take away the force of the admissions you have made, if it be a correct one, will never be reprehended; if it be an incorrect one it may be attacked by two methods, either by conversion or by the invalidating one portion of it. By conversion, in this way :--

"For if the man be modest, why should you
Attack so good a man? And if his heart
And face be seats of shameless impudence,
Then what avails your accusation
Of one who views all fame with careless eye?"

In this case, whether you say that he is a modest man or that he is not, he thinks that the unavoidable inference is that you should not accuse him. But that may be reprehended by conversion thus:--" But indeed, he ought to be accused; for if he be modest, accuse him, for he will not treat your imputations against him lightly; but if he has a shameless disposition of mind, still accuse him, for in that case he is not a respectable man."

And again, the argument may be reprehended by an invalidating of the other part of it--" But if he is a modest man, when he has been corrected by your accusation he will abandon his error." An enumeration of particulars is understood to be faulty if we either say that something has been passed over which we are willing to admit, or if some weak point has been included in it which can be contradicted, or if there is no reason why we may not honestly admit it. Something is passed over in such an enumeration as this:--" Since you have that horse, you must either have bought it, or have acquired it by inheritance, or have received it as a gift, or he must have been born on your estate; or, if none of these alternatives of the case, you must have stolen it. But you did not buy it, nor did it come to you by inheritance, nor was it foaled on your estate, nor was it given to you as a present; therefore you must certainly have stolen it."

This enumeration is fairly reprehended, if it can be alleged that the horse was taken from the enemy, as that description of booty is not sold. And if that be alleged, the enumeration is disproved, since that matter has been stated which was passed over in such enumeration.

XLVI. But it will also be reprehended in another manner if any contradictory statement is advanced: that is to say, just by way of example, if, to continue arguing from the previous case, it can be shown that the horse did come to one by inheritance; or if it should not be discreditable to admit the last alternative; as if a person, when his adversaries said,-- "You were either laying an ambush against the owner, or you were influenced by a friend, or you were carried away by covetousness," were to confess that he was complying with the entreaties of his friend.

But a simple conclusion is reprehended if that which follows does not appear of necessity to cohere with that which has gone before. For this very proposition, "If he breathes, he is alive;" "If it is day, it is light," is a proposition of such a nature that the latter statement appears of necessity to cohere with the preceding one. But this inference, "If she is his mother, she loves him;" "If he has ever done wrong, he will never be chastised," ought to be reprehended in such a manner as to show that the latter proposition does not of necessity cohere with the former

Inferences of this kind, and all other unavoidable conclusions, and indeed all argumentation whatever, and its reprehension too, contains some greater power and has a more extensive operation than is here explained. But the knowledge of this system is such that it cannot be added to any portion of this art; not that it does of itself separately stand in need of a long time, and of deep and arduous consideration. Wherefore those things shall be explained by us at another time, and when we are dealing with another subject, if opportunity be afforded us. At present we ought to be contented with these precepts of the rhetoricians given for the use of orators. When, therefore, any one of these points which are assumed is not granted, the whole statement is invalidated by these means.

XLVII. But when, though these things are admitted, a conclusion is not derived from them, we must consider these points too; whether any other conclusion is obtained, or whether anything else is meant; in this way:--If, when any one says that he is gone to the army, and any one chooses to use this mode of arguing against him; "If you had come to the army you would have been seen by the military tribunes; but you were not seen by them; therefore you did not go to the army." On this case, when you have admitted the proposition, and the assumption, you have got to invalidate the conclusion; for some other inference has been drawn, and not the one which was inevitable.

And at present, indeed, in order that the case might be more easily understood, we have brought forward an example pregnant with a manifest and an enormous error; but it often happens that an error when stated obscurely is taken for a truth; when either you do not recollect exactly what admissions you have made, or perhaps you have granted something as certain which is extremely doubtful. If you have granted something which is doubtful on that side of the question which you yourself understand, then if the adversary should wish to adapt that part to the other part by means of inference, it will be desirable to show, not from the admission which you have made, but from what he has assumed, that an inference is really established; in this manner:--"If you are in need of money, you have not got money. If you have not got money, you are poor. But you are in need of money, for if it were not so you would not pay attention to commerce; therefore you are poor." This is refuted in this way: --"When you said, if you are in need of money you have not got money, I understood you to mean, 'If you are in need of money from poverty, then you have not got money ;' and therefore I admitted the argument. But when you assumed, 'But you are in need of money,' I understood you to mean, 'But you wish to have more money.' But from these admissions this result, 'Therefore you are poor,' does not follow. But it would follow if I had made this admission to you in the first instance, that any one who wished to have more money, had no money at all."

XLVIII. But many often think that you have forgotten what admissions you made, and therefore an inference which does not follow legitimately is introduced into the summing up as if it did follow; in this way:--"If the inheritance came to him, it is probable that he was murdered by him." Then they prove this at considerable length. Afterwards they assume, But the inheritance did come to him. Then the inference is deduced; Therefore he did murder him. But that does not necessarily follow from what they had assumed. Wherefore it is necessary to take great care to notice both what is assumed, and what necessarily follows from those assumptions. But the whole description of argumentation will be proved to be faulty on these accounts; if either there is any defect in the argumentation itself, or if it is not adapted to the original intention. And there will be a defect in the argumentation itself, if the whole of it is entirely false, or common, or ordinary, or trifling, or made up of remote suppositions; if the definition contained in it be faulty, if it be controverted, if it be too evident, if it be one which is not admitted, or discreditable, or objected to, or contrary, or inconstant, or adverse to one's object.

That is false in which there is evidently a lie; in this manner:--"That man cannot be wise who neglects money. But Socrates neglected money; therefore he was not wise." That is common which does not make more in favour of our adversaries than of ourselves; in this manner:--"Therefore, O judges, I have summed up in a few words, because I had truth on my side." That is ordinary which, if the admission be now made, can be transferred also to some other case which is not easily proved; in this manner:--"If he had not truth on his side, O judges, he would never have risked committing himself to your decision." That is trifling which is either uttered after the proposition, in this way:--"If it had occurred to him, he would not have done so; " or if a man wishes to conceal a matter manifestly disgraceful under a trifling defence, in this manner:--

"Then when all sought your favour, when your hand
Wielded a mighty sceptre, I forsook you;
But now when all fly from you, I prepare
Alone, despising danger, to restore you."

XLIX. That is remote which is sought to a superfluous extent, in this manner:-- "But if Publius Scipio had not given his daughter Cornelia in marriage to Tiberius Gracchus, and if he had not had the two Gracchi by her, such terrible seditions would never have arisen. So that all this distress appears attributable to Scipio." And like this is that celebrated complaint--

"Oh that the woodman's axe had spared the pine
That long on Pelion's lofty summit grew."

[Translator notes that the Latin lines are from the Medea of Ennius, translated from the first lines of Euripides' Medea.] For the cause is sought further back than is at all necessary. That is a bad definition, when it either describes common things in this manner--"He is seditious who is a bad and useless citizen;" for this does not describe the character of a seditious man more than of an ambitious one,--of a calumniator, than of any wicked man whatever, in short. Or when it says anything which is false; in this manner:-- "Wisdom is a knowledge how to acquire money." Or when it contains something which is neither dignified nor important; in this way:--"Folly is a desire of inordinate glory." That, indeed, is one folly; but this is defining folly by a species, not by its whole genus. It is controvertible when a doubtful cause is alleged, for the sake of proving a doubtful point; in this manner:--

" See how the gods who rule the realms above
And shades below, and all their motions sway,
Themselves are all in tranquil concord found."

That is self-evident, about which there is no dispute at all. As if any one while accusing Orestes were to make it quite plain that his mother had been put to death by him. That is a disputable definition, when the very thing which we are amplifying is a matter in dispute. As if any one, while accusing Ulysses, were to dwell on this point particularly, that it is a scandalous thing that the bravest of men, Ajax, should have been slain by a most inactive man. That is discreditable which either with respect to the place in which it is spoken, or to the man who utters it, or to the time at which it is uttered, or to those who hear it, or to the matter which is the subject of discussion, appears scandalous on account of the subject being a discreditable one. That is an offensive one, which offends the inclinations of those who hear it; as if any one were to praise the judiciary law of Caepio before the Roman knights, who are themselves desirous of acting as judges.

L. That is a contrary definition, which is laid down in opposition to the actions which those who are the hearers of the speech have done; as if any one were to be speaking before Alexander the Great against some stormer of a city, and were to say that nothing was more inhuman than to destroy cities, when Alexander himself had destroyed Thebes. That is an inconsistent one, which is asserted by the same man in different senses concerning the same case; as if any one, after he has said that the man who has virtue is in need of nothing whatever for the purpose of living well, were afterwards to deny that any one could live well without good health; or that he would stand by a friend in difficulty out of good-will towards him, for that then he would hope that some good would accrue to himself by so doing.

That is an adverse definition, which in some particular is an actual injury to one's own cause; as if any one were to extol the power, and resources, and prosperity of the enemy, while encouraging his own soldiers to fight. If some part of the argumentation is not adapted to the object which is or ought to be proposed to one, it will be found to be owing to some one of these defects. If a man has promised a great many points and proved only a few; or if, when he is bound to prove the whole, he speaks only of some portion; in this way:--The race of women is avaricious; for Eriphyle sold the life of her husband for gold. Or if he does not speak in defence of that particular point which is urged in accusation; as if any one when accused of corruption were to defend himself by the statement that he was brave; as Amphion does in Euripides, and so too in Pacuvius, who, when his musical knowledge is found fault with, praises his knowledge of philosophy. Or if a part of conduct be found fault with on account of the bad character of the man; as if any one were to blame learning on account of the vices of some learned men. Or if any one while wishing to praise somebody were to speak of his good fortune, and not of his virtue; or if any one were to compare one thing with another in such a manner as to think that he was not praising the one unless he was blaming the other; or if he were to praise the one in such a manner as to omit all mention of the other.

Or if, when an inquiry is being carried on respecting one particular point, the speech is addressed to common topics, as if any one, while men are deliberating whether war shall be waged or not, were to devote himself wholly to the praises of peace, and not to proving that that particular war is inexpedient. Or if a false reason for anything be alleged, in this way:--Money is good because it is the thing which, above all others, makes life happy. Or if one is alleged which is invalid, as Plautus says:--

"Sure to reprove a friend for evident faults
Is but a thankless office, still 'tis useful,
And wholesome for a youth of such an age;
And so this day I will reprove my friend
          Whose fault is palpable."
            --Plautus, Frinummus, Act i. sc 2, l.1.

Or in this manner, if a man were to say, "Avarice is the greatest evil; for the desire of money causes great distress to numbers of people." Or it is unsuitable, in this manner:-- "Friendship is the greatest good, for there are many pleasures in friendship."

LI. The fourth manner of reprehension was stated to be that by which, in opposition to a solid argumentation, one equally, or still more solid, has been advanced. And this kind of argumentation is especially employed in deliberations when we admit that something which is said in opposition to us is reasonable, but still prove that that conduct which we are defending is necessary; or when we confess that the line of conduct which they are advocating is useful, and prove that what we ourselves are contending for is honourable. And we have thought it necessary to say thus much about reprehension; now we will lay down some rules respecting the conclusion.

Hermagoras places digression next in order, and then the ultimate conclusion. But in this digression he considers it proper to introduce some inferential topics, unconnected with the cause and with the decision itself, which contain some praise of the speaker himself, or some vituperation of the adversary, or else may lead to some other topic from which he may derive some confirmation or reprehension, not by arguing, but by expanding the subject by some amplification or other. If any one thinks that this is a proper part of an oration, he may follow Hermagoras. For precepts for embellishing, and praising, and blaming, have partly been already given by us, and partly will be given hereafter in their proper place. But we do not think it right that this part should be classed among the regular divisions of a speech, because it appears improper that there should be digressions, except to some common topics, concerning which subject we must speak subsequently. But it does not seem desirable to handle praise and vituperation separately, but it seems better that they should be considered as forming part of the argumentation itself. At present we will treat of the conclusion of an oration.

LII. The conclusion is the end and terminating of the whole oration. It has three parts,--enumeration, indignation, and complaint. Enumeration is that by which matters which have been related in a scattered and diffuse manner are collected together, and, for the sake of recollecting them, are brought under our view. If this is always treated in the same manner, it will be completely evident to every one that it is being handled according to some artificial system; but if it be done in many various ways, the orator will be able to escape this suspicion, and will not cause such weariness. Wherefore it will be desirable to act in the way which most people adopt, on account of its easiness; that is, to touch on each topic separately, and in that manner briefly to run over all sorts of argumentation; and also (which is, however, more difficult) to recount what portions of the subject you previously mentioned in the arrangement of the subject, as those which you promised to explain; and also to bring to the recollection of your hearers the reasonings by which you established each separate point, and then to ask of those who are hearing you what it is which they ought to wish to be proved to them; in this way:--" We proved this; we made that plain;" and by this means the hearer will recover his recollection of it, and will think that there is nothing besides which he ought to require.

And in these kinds of conclusions, as has been said before, it will be serviceable both to run over the arguments which you yourself have employed separately, and also (which is a matter requiring still greater art) to unite the opposite arguments with your own; and to show how completely you have done away with the arguments which were brought against you. And so, by a brief comparison, the recollection of the hearer will be refreshed both as to the confirmation which you adduced, and as to the reprehension which you employed. And it will be useful to vary these proceedings by other methods of pleading also. But you may carry on the enumeration in your own person, so as to remind your hearers of what you said, and in what part of your speech you said each thing; and also you may bring on the stage some other character, or some different circumstance, and then make your whole enumeration with reference to that. If it is a person, in this way:--"For if the framer of the law were to appear, and were to inquire of you why you doubted, what could you say after this, and this, and this has been proved to you?" And in this case, as also in our own character, it will be in our power to run over all kinds of argumentation separately: and at one time to refer all separate genera to different classes of the division; and at another to ask of the hearer what he requires; and at another to adopt a similar course by a comparison of one's own arguments and those of the opposite party.

But a different class of circumstance will be introduced if an enumerative oration be connected with any subject of this sort,--law, place, city, or monument, in this manner:--"What if the laws themselves could speak? Would not they also address this complaint to you? What more do you require, O judges, when this, and this, and this has been already made plain to you?" And in this kind of argument it is allowable to use all these same methods. But this is given as a common precept to guide one in framing an enumeration, that out of every part of the argument, since the whole cannot be repeated over again, that is to be selected which is of the greatest weight, and that each point is to be run over as briefly as possible, so that it shall appear to be only a refreshing of the recollection of the hearers, not a repetition of the speech.

LIII. Indignation is a kind of speech by which the effect produced is, that great hatred is excited against a man, or great dislike of some proceeding is originated. In an address of this kind we wish to have this understood first, that it is possible to give vent to indignation from all those topics which we have suggested in laying down precepts for the confirmation of a speech. For any amplifications whatever and every sort of indignation may be expressed, derived from those circumstances which are attributed to persons and to things; but still we had better consider those precepts which can be laid down separately with respect to indignation.

The first topic is derived from authority, when we relate what a great subject of anxiety that affair has been to the immortal gods, or to those whose authority ought to carry the greatest weight with it. And that topic will be derived from prophecies, from oracles, from prophets, from tokens, from prodigies, from answers, and from other things like these. Also from our ancestors, from kings, from states, from nations, from the wisest men, from the senate, the people, the framers of laws. The second topic is that by which it is shown with amplification, by means of indignation, whom that affair concerns,--whether it concerns all men or the greater part of men, (which is a most serious business ;) or whether it concerns the higher classes, such as those men are on whose authority the indignation which we are professing is grounded, (which is most scandalous;) or whether it affects those men who are one's equals in courage, and fortune, and personal advantages, (which is most iniquitous;) or whether it affects our inferiors, (which is most arrogant.)

The third topic is that which we employ when we are inquiring what is likely to happen, if every one else acts in the same manner. And at the same time we point out if this man is permitted to act thus, that there will be many imitators of the same audacity; and then from that we shall be able to point out how much evil will follow.

The fourth topic is one by the use of which we show that many men are eagerly looking out to see what is decided, in order that they may be able to see by the precedent of what is allowed to one, what will be allowed to themselves also in similar circumstances.

The fifth topic is one by the use of which we show that everything else which has been badly managed, as soon as the truth concerning them is ascertained, may be all set right; that this thing, however, is one which, if it be once decided wrongly, cannot be altered by any decision, nor set right by any power.

The sixth topic is one by which the action spoken of is proved to have been done designedly and on purpose; and then we add this argument, that pardon ought not to be granted to an intentional crime.

The seventh topic is one which we employ when we say that any deed is foul, and cruel, and nefarious, and tyrannical; that it has been effected by violence or by the influence of riches,--a thing which is as remote as possible from the laws and from all ideas of equal justice.

LIV. An eighth topic is one of which we avail ourselves to demonstrate that the crime which is the present subject of discussion is not a common one,--not one such as is often perpetrated. And, that is foreign to the nature of even men in a savage state, of the most barbarous nations, or even of brute beasts. Actions of this nature are such as are wrought with cruelty towards one's parents, or wife, or husband, or children, or relations, or suppliants; next to them, if anything has been done with inhumanity towards a man's elders, --towards those connected with one by ties of hospitality,-- towards one's neighbours or one's friends,--to those with whom one has been in the habit of passing one's life,--to those by whom one has been brought up,--to those by whom one has been taught,--to the dead,--to those who are miserable and deserving of pity,--to men who are illustrious, noble, and who have been invested with honours and offices,--to those who have neither had power to injure another nor to defend themselves, such as boys, old men, women: by all which circumstances indignation is violently excited, and will be able to awaken the greatest hatred against a man who has injured any of these persons.

The ninth topic is one by which the action which is the subject of the present discussion is compared with others which are admitted on all hands to be offences. And in that way it is shown by comparison how much more atrocious and scandalous is the action which is the present subject of discussion.

The tenth topic is one by which we collect all the circumstances which have taken place in the performance of this action, and which have followed since that action, with great indignation at and reproach of each separate item; and by our description we bring the case as far as possible before the eyes of the judge before whom we are speaking, so that that which is scandalous may appear quite as scandalous to him as if he himself had been present to see what was done.

The eleventh topic is one which we avail ourselves of when we are desirous to show that the action has been done by him whom of all men in the world it least became to do it; and by whom indeed it ought to have been prevented if any one else had endeavoured to do it.

The twelfth topic is one by means of which we express our indignation that we should be the first people to whom this has happened, and that it has never occurred in any other instance.

The thirteenth topic is when insult is shown to have been added to injury; and by this topic we awaken hatred against pride and arrogance.

The fourteenth topic is one which we avail ourselves of to entreat those who hear us to consider our injuries as if they affected themselves; if they concern our children, to think of their own; if our wives have been injured, to recollect their own wives; if it is our aged relations who have suffered, to remember their own fathers or ancestors.

The fifteenth topic is one by which we say that those things which have happened to us appear scandalous even to foes and enemies; and, as a general rule, indignation is derived from one or other of these topics.

LV. But complaint will usually take its origin from things of this kind. Complaint is a speech seeking to move the pity of the hearers. In this it is necessary in the first place to render the disposition of the hearer gentle and merciful, in order that it may the more easily be influenced by pity. And it will be desirable to produce that effect by common topics, such as those by which the power of fortune over all men is shown, and the weakness of men too is displayed; and if such an argument is argued with dignity and with impressive language, then the minds of men are greatly softened, and prepared to feel pity, while they consider their own weakness in the contemplation of the misfortunes of another.

Then the first topic to raise pity is that by which we show how great the prosperity of our clients was, and how great their present misery is.

The second is one which is divided according to different periods; according to which it is shown in what miseries they have been, and still are, and are likely to be hereafter.

The third topic is that by which each separate inconvenience is deplored; as, for instance, in speaking of the death of a man's son, the delight which the father took in his childhood, his love for him, his hope of him, the comfort he derived from him, the pains he took in his bringing up, and all other instances of the same sort, may be mentioned so as to exaggerate the complaint.

The fourth topic is one in which all circumstances which are discreditable or low or mean are brought forward; all circumstances which are unworthy of a man's age, or birth, or fortune, or former honours or services; all the disasters which they have suffered or are liable to suffer.

The fifth topic is that by using which all disadvantages are brought separately before the eyes of the hearer, so that he who hears of them may seem to see them, and by the very facts themselves, and not only by the description of them, may be moved to pity as if he had been actually present.

The sixth topic is one by which the person spoken of is shown to be miserable, when he had no reason to expect any such fate; and that when he was expecting something else, he not only failed to obtain it, but fell into the most terrible misfortunes.

The seventh is one by which we suppose the fact of a similar mischance befalling the men who are listening to us, and require of them when they behold us to call to mind their own children, or their parents, or some one for whom they are bound to entertain affections.

The eighth is one by which something is said to have been done which ought not to have been done; or not to have been done which ought to have been. In this manner:--" I was not present, I did not see him, I did not hear his last words, I did not receive his last breath. Moreover, he died amid his enemies, he lay shamefully unburied in an enemy's country, being torn to pieces by wild beasts, and was deprived in death of even that honour which is the due of all men."

The ninth is one by which our speech is made to refer to things which are void both of language and sense; as if you were to adapt your discourse to a horse, a house, or a garment; by which topics the minds of those who are hearing, and who have been attached to any one, are greatly moved.

The tenth is one by which want, or weakness, or the desolate condition of any one is pointed out.

The eleventh is one in which is contained a recommendation to bury one's children, or one's parents, or one's own body, or to do any other such thing.

The twelfth is one in which a separation is lamented when you are separated from any one with whom you have lived most pleasantly,--as from a parent, a son, a brother, an intimate friend.

The thirteenth is one used when we complain with great indignation that we are ill-treated by those by whom above all others we least ought to be so,--as by our relations, or by friends whom we have served, and whom we have expected to be assistants to us; or by whom it is a shameful thing to be ill-treated,--as by slaves, or freedmen, or clients or suppliants.

The fourteenth is one which is taken as an entreaty, in which those who hear us are entreated, in a humble and suppliant oration, to have pity on us.

The fifteenth is one in which we show that we are complaining not only of our own fortunes, but of those who ought to be dear to us.

The sixteenth is one by using which we show that our hearts are full of pity for others; and yet give tokens at the same time that it will be a great and lofty mind, and one able to endure disaster if any such should befal us. For often virtue and splendour, in which there is naturally great influence and authority, have more effect in exciting pity than humility and entreaties. And when men's minds are moved it will not be right to dwell longer on complaints; for, as Apollonius the rhetorician said, "Nothing dries quicker than a tear."

But since we have already, as it seems, said enough of all the different parts of a speech, and since this volume has swelled to a great size, what follows next shall be stated in the second book.

Cicero, tr. C.D. Yonge

Index       Previous Previous sectionNext Section Next

Peithô's Web