Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Oratore [On the Orator]

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

The three books that comprise

De oratore


On the





), 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 the courts and in public life, described from the vantage point of one who himself was a highly skilled practitioner…

1954 words

Citation: May, James. "De Oratore". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 December 2013 [, accessed 23 June 2024.]

13352 De Oratore 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.