Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 online

. (page 29 of 51)
Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 29 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

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

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

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

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

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 both, 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 we 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 befall 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.

* * * * *


I. Some men of Crotona, when they were rich in all kinds of resources,
and when they were considered among the most prosperous people in
Italy, were desirous to enrich the temple of Juno, which they regarded
with the most religious veneration, with splendid pictures. Therefore
they hired Zeuxis of Heraclea at a vast price, who was at that time
considered to be far superior to all other painters, and employed
him in that business. He painted many other pictures, of which some
portion, on account of the great respect in which the temple is held,
has remained to within our recollection; and in order that one of his
mute representations might contain the preeminent beauty of the female
form, he said that he wished to paint a likeness of Helen. And the men
of Crotona, who had frequently heard that he excelled all other men in
painting women, were very glad to hear this; for they thought that if
he took the greatest pains in that class of work in which he had the
greatest skill, he would leave them a most noble work in that temple.

Nor were they deceived in that expectation: for Zeuxis immediately
asked of them what beautiful virgins they had; and they immediately
led him into the palaestra, and there showed him numbers of boys of
the highest birth and of the greatest beauty. For indeed, there was a
time when the people of Crotona were far superior to all other cities
in the strength and beauty of their persons; and they brought home
the most honourable victories from the gymnastic contests, with the
greatest credit. While, therefore, he was admiring the figures of the
boys and their personal perfection very greatly; "The sisters," say
they, "of these boys are virgins in our city, so that how great their
beauty is you may infer from these boys." "Give me, then," said he,
"I beg you, the most beautiful of these virgins, while I paint the
picture which I promised you, so that the reality may be transferred
from the breathing model to the mute likeness." Then the citizens of
Crotona, in accordance with a public vote, collected the virgins into
one place, and gave the painter the opportunity of selecting whom he
chose. But he selected five, whose names many poets have handed down
to tradition, because they had been approved by the judgment of the
man who was bound to have the most accurate judgment respecting
beauty. For he did not think that he could find all the component
parts of perfect beauty in one person, because nature has made nothing
of any class absolutely perfect in every part. Therefore, as if nature
would not have enough to give to everybody if it had given everything
to one, it balances one advantage bestowed upon a person by another

II. But since the inclination has arisen in my mind to write a
treatise on the art of speaking, we have not put forth any single
model of which every portion was necessarily to be copied by us, of
whatever sort they might be; but, having collected together all the
writers on the subject into one place, we have selected what each
appears to have recommended which may be most serviceable, and we have
thus culled the flower from various geniuses. For of those who are
worthy of fame or recollection, there is no one who appears either to
have said nothing well, or everything admirably. So that it seemed
folly either to forsake the sensible maxims brought forward by any
one, merely because we are offended at some other blunder of his, or,
on the other hand, to embrace his faults because we have been tempted
by some sensible precept which he has also delivered.

But if in other pursuits also men would select all that was found most
sensible from many sources, instead of devoting themselves to one
fixed leader, they would err less on the side of arrogance; they
would not persist so much in error, and they would make less enormous
mistakes through ignorance. And if we had as deep an acquaintance with
this art as he had with that of painting, perhaps this work of ours
might appear as admirable in its kind as his picture did. For we have
had an opportunity of selecting from a much more copious store of
models than he had. He was able to make his selection from one city,
and from that number of virgins only which existed at that time and
place; but we have had opportunity of making our selection from all
the men who have ever lived from the very first beginning of this
science, being reduced to a system up to the present day, and taking
whatever we thought worth while from all the stores which lay open
before us.

And Aristotle, indeed, has collected together all the ancient writers
on this art, from the first writer on the subject and inventor of it,
Tisias, and has compiled with great perspicuity the precepts of each
of them, mentioning them by name, after having sought them out with
exceeding care; and he has disentangled them with great diligence
and explained their difficulties; and he has so greatly excelled the
original writers themselves in suavity and brevity of diction, that no
one is acquainted with their precepts from their own writings, but all
who wish to know what maxims they have laid down, come back to him as
to a far more agreeable expounder of their meaning.

And he himself has set before us himself and those too who had lived
before his time, in order that we might be acquainted with the method
of others, and with his own. And those who have followed him, although
they have expended a great deal of labour on the most profound and
important portions of philosophy, as he himself also, whose example
they were following, had done, have still left us many precepts on the
subject of speaking. And other masters of this science have also come
forward, taking their rise, as it were in other springs, who have also
been of great assistance in eloquence, as far at least as artificial
rules can do any good. For there lived at the same time as Aristotle,
a great and illustrious rhetorician, named Isocrates, though we have
not entirely discovered what his system was.

But we have found many lessons respecting their art from his pupils
and from those who proceeded immediately afterwards from this school.

III. From these two different families, as it were, the one of which,
while it was chiefly occupied with philosophy, still devoted some
portion of its attention to the rhetorical science, and the other was
wholly absorbed in the study and teaching of eloquence, but both kinds
of study were united by their successors, who brought to the aid of
their own pursuits those things which appeared to have been profitably
said by either of them, and those and the others their predecessors
are the men whom we and all our countrymen have proposed to ourselves
as models, as far as we were able to make them so, and we have also
contributed something from our own stores to the common stock.

But if the things which are set forth in these books deserved to
be selected with such great eagerness and care as they were, then
certainly, neither we ourselves nor others will repent of our
industry. But if we appear either rashly to have passed over some
doctrine of some one worth noticing, or to have adopted it without
sufficient elegance, in that case when we are taught better by some
one, we will easily and cheerfully change our opinion. For what is
discreditable is, not the knowing little, but the persisting foolishly
and long in what one does not understand, because the one thing is
attributed to the common infirmity of man, but the other to the
especial fault of the individual.

Wherefore we, without affirming anything positively, but making
inquiry at the same time, will advance each position with some doubt,
lest while we gain this trifling point of being supposed to have
written this treatise with tolerable neatness, we should lose that
which is of the greater importance, the credit, namely, of not
adopting any idea rashly and arrogantly. But this we shall endeavour
to gain both at present and during the whole course of our life with
great care, as far as our abilities will enable us to do so. But at
present, lest we should appear to be too prolix, we will speak of the
other points which it seems desirable to insist on.

Therefore, while we were explaining the proper classification of this
art, and its duties, and its object, and its subject matter, and its
divisions, the first book contained an account of the different kinds
of disputes, and inventions, and statements of cases, and decisions.
After that, the parts of a speech were described, and all necessary
precepts for all of them were laid down. So that we not only discussed
other topics in that book with tolerable distinctness, we spoke
at that same time in a more scattered manner of the topics of
confirmation and reprehension; and at present we think it best to give
certain topics for confirming and reprehending, suited to every class
of causes. And because it has been explained with some diligence in
the former book, in what manner argumentations ought to be handled, in
this book it will be sufficient to set forth the arguments which have
been discovered for each kind of subject simply, and without any
embellishment, so that, in this book, the arguments themselves may be
found, and in the former, the proper method of polishing them. So that
the reader must refer the precepts which are now laid down, to the
topics of confirmation and reprehension.

IV. Every discussion, whether demonstrative, or deliberative, or
judicial, must be conversant with some kind or other of statement of
the case which has been explained in the former book; sometimes with
one, sometimes with several. And though this is the case, still as
some things can be laid down in a general way respecting everything,
there are also other rules and different methods separately laid down
for each particular kind of discussion. For praise, or blame, or the
statement of an opinion, or accusation, or denial, ought all to effect
different ends. In judicial investigations the object of inquiry is,
what is just, in demonstrative discussion the question is what is
honourable, in deliberations, in our opinion, what we inquire is, what
is honourable and at the same time expedient. For the other writers
on this subject have thought it right to limit the consideration of
expediency to speeches directed to persuasion or dissuasion.

Those kinds of discussions then whose objects and results are
different, cannot be governed by the same precepts. Not that we are
saying now that the same statement of the case is not admissible in
all of them, but some kinds of speech arise from the object and kind
of the discussion, if it refers to the demonstration of some kind of
life, or to the delivery of some opinion. Wherefore now, in explaining
controversies, we shall have to deal with causes and precepts of a
judicial kind, from which many precepts also which concern similar
disputes will be transferred to other kinds of causes without much
difficulty. But hereafter we will speak separately of each kind.

At present we will begin with the conjectural statement of a case
of which this example may be sufficient to be given - A man overtook
another on his journey as he was going on some commercial expedition,
and carrying a sum of money with him, he, as men often do entered into
conversation with him on the way, the result of which was, that they
both proceeded together with some degree of friendship, so that when
they had arrived at the same inn, they proposed to sup together and to
sleep in the same apartment. Having supped, they retired to rest in
the same place. But when the innkeeper (for that is what is said to
have been discovered since, after the man had been detected in another
crime) had taken notice of one of them, that is to say, of him who had
the money, he came by night, after he had ascertained that they were
both sound asleep, as men usually are when tired, and took from its
sheath the sword of the one who had not the money, and which sword he
had lying by his side and slew the other man with it and took away
his money, and replaced the bloody sword in the sheath, and returned
himself to his bed.

But the man with whose sword the murder had been committed, rose
long before dawn and called over and over again on his companion; he
thought that he did not answer because he was overcome with sleep; and
so he took his sword and the rest of the things which he had with him,
and departed on his journey alone. The innkeeper not long afterwards
raised an outcry that the man was murdered, and in company with some
of his lodgers pursued the man who had gone away. They arrest him on
his journey, draw his sword out of its sheath, and find it bloody, the
man is brought back to the city by them, and put on his trial. On this
comes the allegation of the crime, "You murdered him," and the denial,
"I did not murder him," and from this is collected the statement of
the case. The question in the conjectural examination is the same as
that submitted to the judges, "Did he murder him, or not?"

V. Now we will set forth the topics one portion of which applies to
all conjectural discussion. But it will be desirable to take notice of
this in the exposition of these topics and of all the others, and to
observe that they do not all apply to every discussion. For as every
man's name is made up of some letters, and not of every letter, so it
is not every store of arguments which applies to every argumentation,
but some portion which is necessary applies to each. All conjecture,
then, must be derived either from the cause of an action, or from the
person, or from the case itself.

The cause of an action is divided into impulsion and ratiocination.
Impulsion is that which without thought encourages a man to act in
such and such a manner, by means of producing some affection of
the mind, as love, anger, melancholy, fondness for wine, or indeed
anything by which the mind appears to be so affected as to be unable
to examine anything with deliberation and care, and to do what it does
owing to some impulse of the mind, rather than in consequence of any
deliberate purpose.

But ratiocination is a diligent and careful consideration of whether
we shall do anything or not do it. And it is said to have been in
operation, when the mind appears for some particular definite reason
to have avoided something which ought not to have been done, or to
have adopted something which ought to have been done, so that if
anything is said to have been done for the sake of friendship, or of
chastising an enemy, or under the influence of fear, or of a desire
for glory or for money, or in short, to comprise everything under
one brief general head, for the sake of retaining, or increasing, or
obtaining any advantage; or, on the other hand, for the purpose of
repelling, or diminishing, or avoiding any disadvantage; - for those
former things must fall under one or other of those heads, if either
any inconvenience is submitted to for the purpose of avoiding any
greater inconvenience, or of obtaining any more important advantage;
or if any advantage is passed by for the sake of obtaining some
other still greater advantage, or of avoiding some more important

This topic is as it were a sort of foundation of this statement of the
case; for nothing that is done is approved of by any one unless some
reason be shown why it has been done. Therefore the accuser, when he
says that anything has been done in compliance with some impulse,
ought to exaggerate that impulse, and any other agitation or affection
of the mind, with all the power of language and variety of sentiments
of which he is master, and to show how great the power of love is, how
great the agitation of mind which arises from anger, or from any one
of those causes which he says was that which impelled any one to do
anything. And here we must take care, by an enumeration of examples of
men who have done anything under the influence of similar impulse, and
by a collation of similar cases, and by an explanation of the way in
which the mind itself is affected, to hinder its appearing marvellous
if the mind of a man has been instigated by such influence to some
pernicious or criminal action.

VI. But when the orator says that any one has done such and such
an action, not through impulse, but in consequence of deliberate
reasoning, he will then point out what advantage he has aimed at,

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 29 of 51)