Marcus Tullius Cicero: De Oratore [On the Orator]

(2014 words)
  • James May (St. Olaf College)

The three books that comprise De oratore (On the [Ideal] Orator), Marcus Tullius Cicero’s finest and most important rhetorical work, were begun in 55 BC and completed in the following year. Written ostensibly to fulfill his brother Quintus’ request that he publish something “more polished and mature” on the subject than his youthful De inventione (“the sketchy and unsophisticated work that found its way out of my notebooks when I was a boy, or rather a youth” [1.5]), Cicero’s treatise has as its focal point not the typical, conventional rules concerning the art of oratory, but rather the orator himself, i.e., the type of person ideally suited for service in …

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Citation:
May, James. "De Oratore". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 December 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13352, accessed 17 April 2014.]