Declamations, practice speeches on fictitious themes, were an integral component of the rhetorical training of elite Roman young men (Bonner, Bloomer 2011, and Walker). They represented the culmination of a rhetorical education that began with the progymnasmata (preliminary exercises), which offered practice in basic rhetorical skills such as developing a narrative, making a comparison, and elaborating a description. After gaining practice with the various elements of a speech, students gradually proceeded to deliver controversiae, fully formed speeches for or against a party in a fictional law case. The theme presents schematic details of events prior to the trial, while the declamation itself purports to be the speech of …
Bernstein, Neil. "Declamationes Minores". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 February 2013; last revised .
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=34883, accessed 27 May 2015.]