Quintilian: Declamationes Minores

(1471 words)

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 …

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Bernstein, Neil. "Declamationes Minores". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 February 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=34883, accessed 01 February 2015.]