Rhetoric

Cicero: Philippics

The Philippics (Latin: Philippicae) are a series of speeches delivered by Cicero in 44-43 BCE attacking Mark Anthony. Their name reflects the fact that they were modelled on speeches of the great Athenian orator Demosthenes against King Philip of Macedon in the 4th Century BCE.

The Philippics were delivered in the period following the assassination of Julius Caesar, when Cicero emerged as a leader of the senatorial party, despite his exclusion from the assassination plot itself. Several of the speeches sought to exploit the emergence of Octavian as a potential rival to Mark Anthony for leadership of the Caesarian party. However, after Octavian and Mark Anthony formed the second triumvirate, Anthony insisted on Cicero's inclusion in the  proscriptions being drawn up against their political opponents. When Cicero was caught and executed, Anthony notoriously ordered the hands that wrote the Philippics cut off.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: Philippics, translated by Walter Ker. Multiple formats, Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Latin Library: Philippicae. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L189 - Cicero - Philippics. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: The fourteen orations against Marcus Antonius (Philippics), translated by C. D. Yonge (1903). HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: In M. Antonium Philippicae. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Philippics - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Cicero - Philippicae.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Cicero on Rhetoric

Orator - Brutus - On the Orator.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Quintilian: Institutes of Oratory

The Institutes of Oratory (Latin: Institutio Oratoria)  is a treatise by Quintilian on the education of an orator. The earliest books consider a child's earliest schooling and entry into rhetorical training.  Books 3-7 to consider the technical details of the subject while books 8 to 11 deal with style and delivery. Book 10 is notable for a discussion of the whole of Greek and Latin literature, considered from the rhetorician's point of view. Book 12 concludes the work with a picture of the ideal orator as Cato's 'vir bonus dicendi peritus', a good man who knows how to speak.

Quintilian, a Spanish-born teacher of rhetoric who benefited from the patronage of several emperors, published the Institutes about 95 CE. Pliny the Younger was among his pupils.

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Free online texts

Biblioteca Augustana: Institutionis oratoriae libri duodecim. Latin text, HTML format.

Eserver: Institutes of Oratory, translated by John Selby Watson. HTML format with additional secondary resources edited by Lee Honeycutt.

Gutenberg: M. Fabi Quintiliani institutionis oratoriae liber decimus. Latin text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Quintilian's Institutes of oratory; or, Education of an orator, translated by John Selby Watson (1875). Multiple formats.

Lacus Curtius: Institutio Oratoria, translated by H. E. Butler (1920-22). HTML format.

Latin Library: Institutiones. Latin text, HTML format.

Loebulus. L124N - Quintilian I: Institutio Oratoria Books 1-3. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.
Loebulus. L125N - Quintilian II: Institutio Oratoria Books 4-6. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.
Loebulus. L126N - Quintilian III: Institutio Oratoria Books 7-9. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.
Loebulus.. L127N - Quintilian IV: Institutio Oratoria Books 10-12. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Perseus: Institutio Oratoria, translated by H.E. Butler. HTML and XML formats.

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Cicero: Orator

Orator, not to be confused with On the Orator, is a treatise by Cicero, setting out the qualities required by the ideal orator, along with a plan for his education. Cicero singles out Demosthenes as the greatest of Greek models, because of his mastery of the plain, the grand and the middle styles.

Orator at Amazon: United States.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker, translated by E. Jones. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero Vol. IV, translated by C.D. Yonge (1851). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Orator. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: Orator. Latin text, HTML and XML format.

Wikisource: Orator. Latin text, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero.

Wikipedia: Cicero - Orator.

Continue reading "Cicero: Orator" »


Cicero: Brutus

The Brutus or De claris oratibus is a dialogue by Cicero, surviving in somewhat fragmentary condition, on the history of oratory in Greece and Rome.  The setting is a conversation between Cicero, his friend Atticus, and Marcus Junius Brutus, the later assassin of Caesar. Cicero comments on Greek oratory which he divides into Attic, Asianic and Rhodian schools, before considering Roman statesmen from the legendary Brutus the Liberator onwards.

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Free online texts

Attalus: Brutus, a History of Famous Orators, translated by E. Jones (1776). HTML format.

Gutenberg: Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker, translated by E. Jones. Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Brutus. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: Brutus. Latin text, HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Brutus. Latin text, multiple formats.

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Cicero: On the Orator

On the Orator (Latin: De Oratore) is a dialogue by Cicero on the qualities of the ideal public speaker. Addressed to his brother Quintus, it was written in 55 BCE during a period of absence from public life under the first triumvirate. It was set a generation earlier in 91 BCE, on the eve of the Social War. The dramatis personae are prominent statesmen of the time:  Lucius Licinius Crassus, Quintus Mucius Scaevola, Marcus Antonius Orator, Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Publius Sulpicius Rufus

On the Orator at Amazon: United States

Free online texts

Internet Archive: De Oratore Books I & II, translated by E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham . Public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: On Oratory and Orators, translated by J.S. Watson (1860). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: De Oratore. Latin text, HTML format.

Perseus: De Oratore, edited by A.S. Wilkins (1902). HTML and XML formats.

Pomona College: De Oratore Books I to III, translated by J.S. Watson, formatted by C. Chinn. HTML format.

Wikisource: On Oratory, translated by William Guthrie (1822). Multiple formats. Partial text.

Other Resources

Academia.edu: The Stoicism of the Ideal Orator: Cicero's Hellenistic Ideal, by Brandon Inabinet.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Raphael Woolf on Cicero - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cicero, by Edward Clayton.

Silva Rhetoricae: Outline of De Oratore.

University of Cologne: Cicero De Oratore I and Greek Philosophical Tradition, by Eckart Schütrumpf.

Wikipedia: De Oratore

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Gorgias

Plato: Phaedrus - Scaevola advocates Plato's portrait of Socrates in this dialogue as a model.

Aristotle: Rhetoric.

Latin resources: Learn to read Latin texts in the original.


Aristotle: Rhetoric

The Rhetoric (Greek: Ῥητορική; Latin: Ars Rhetorica) by Aristotle is a treatise on the art of persuasion, examining how a public speaker can produce a range of effects, including a favourable impression of his own character, and various emotions, as well as winning assent to arguments. As so often with Aristotle, the Rhetoric was foundational for the discipline, setting the agenda down to early modern times. 

The Rhetoric at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Loebulus. L193 - Aristotle -- The "Art" of Rhetoric. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Internet Archive: The Rhetoric of Aristotle, translated by Richard Claverhouse Jebb (1908). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Rhetoric, translated by W. Rhys Roberts. HTML and TXT formats.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by W.D. Ross (1959). English text, translated by J.H. Freese (1926). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Rhetoric, multiple translations, multiple formats.

Other Resources

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Stage Directions: Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: Rhetoric, public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Rhetoric, by Christof Rapp.

The Rhetoric at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Gorgias, Phaedrus - Key dialogues on rhetoric.

Aristotle: The Topics, Sophistical Refutations - logical works relevant to art of rhetoric.

Aristotle: The Poetics - his other significant work on aesthetics.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Aristotle: Sophistical Refutations

 The Sophistical Refutations (Greek: Σοφιστικοὶ Ἔλεγχοι; Latin: De Sophisticis Elenchis) is the final work of the Organon, the traditional collection of Aristotle's logical writings. Like the preceding Topics, its subject matter concerns aspects of logic that are significant for the art of rhetoric, in this case, the identification of fallacies.

The Sophistical Refutations at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Free online texts

Loebulus. L400 - Aristotle -- On Sophistical Refutations. On Coming-to-be and Passing Away. On the Cosmos. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Poesia Latina: Sophistical Elenchi - Greek text, HTML format.

University of Adelaide: On Sophistical Refutations. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Sophistical Elenchi, translated by O.F. Owen. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

ChangingMinds.org: Aristotle's 13 Fallacies.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Aristotle's Logical Works - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle: Logic, by Louis F. Groarke.

Librivox: Sophistical Elenchi - public domain audiobook.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Aristotle's Logic, by Robin Smith.

Wikipedia: Sophistical Refutations.

The Sophistical Refutations at Amazon.com, .uk, .fr, .de, .ca.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

 Aristotle's Organon: The Categories, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics, and Sophistical Refutations.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.


Plato: Gorgias

Gorgias - Wikimedia Commons

The Gorgias (Greek: Γοργίας) is a dialogue by Plato depicting a debate between Socrates and a prominent sophist. It is set at the home of Callicles, where Socrates and his friend Chaerephon are invited to an audience with Gorgias after he has given a speech. The discussion centres on the nature of the art of rhetoric, which Socrates criticises because it does not teach how to use the skills it imparts justly.

The Gorgias at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany

Free Online  Texts

Gutenberg: Gorgias by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Gorgias, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Online text.

Perseus: Greek text (ed. John Burnet, 1903). English text, translated by W.R.M. Lamb. HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Gorgias, translated by Benjamin Jowett (1871). Multiplfe formats.

Other Resources

Approaching Plato: A Guide to the Early and Middle Dialogues

Archelogos: Gorgias, commentary by Robin Waterfield.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Virtue Meets its Match: Plato's Gorgias - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Gorgias - short biography of the historical sophist.

Leo Strauss Center: Plato, Gorgias, autumn 1963 - Leo Strauss lecture series audio and transcript.

Librivox: Gorgias - audiobook.

PhilPapers: Plato - Gorgias - open access papers.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Callicles and Thrasymachus.

Wikipedia: Gorgias

The Great Conversation: Further Reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.


Plato: Phaedrus

The Phaedrus (Greek Φαῖδρος) is a dialogue by Plato which includes discussions of the nature of love and of the art of rhetoric. The treatment of the latter subject includes one of Plato's most significant discussions of the uses and limitations of writing as a form of communication. Together with the examination of poetry in the Ion, this is of special interest for media studies and the understanding of the transition from an oral to a literate culture in classical Greece.

The Phaedrus at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free Online Texts

Gutenberg: Phaedrus by Plato, translated by Benjamin Jowett, multiple formats.

Liberty Fund: Plato, The Dialogues of Plato, vol. 1, translated into English with Analyses and Introductions (Charmides, Lysis, Laches, Protagoras, Euthydemus, Cratylus, Phaedrus, Ion, Symposium), by B. Jowett, M.A. in Five Volumes. 3rd edition revised and corrected (Oxford University Press, 1892). Multiple formats

Loebulus. L036 - Plato -- Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text, edited by John Burnet (1903). English text, translated by Harold Fowler (1925). HTML and XML formats.

Wikisource: Phaedrus, translated by Benjamin Jowett. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

Approaching Plato: A Guide to the Early and Middle Dialogues

Dale E. Burrington: Guides to the Socratic Dialogues.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Wings of Desire: Plato's Erotic Dialogues - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Frisbee Sheffield on Platonic Love - podcast by philosopher Peter Adamson.

Librivox: Phaedrus - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Plato - Phaedrus - open access papers.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato on Friendship and Eros, by C.D.C. Reeve.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry, by Charles L. Griswold.

Wikipedia: Phaedrus (dialogue) .

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: LysisSymposium - Plato's other major erotic dialogues.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Plato's Dialogues are listed.


Tacitus: Dialogue on Orators

The Dialogue on Orators (Latin: Dialogus de oratoribus) is a work on rhetoric attributed to Tacitus. Although this has been questioned, the concluding speech by Maternus accepting the necessity of the empire in spite of the resulting decline of oratory seems in keeping with the tone of Tacitus' other work.

The Dialogue on Orators at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Online Texts

Loebulus. L035 - Tacitus -- Dialogus, Agricola, Germania. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Latin and English.

Wikisource: Dialogue on Orators, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb, 1876. Online, downloadable as PDF/MOBI/EPUB

Other resources

Librivox: A Dialogue Concerning Oratory - Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Dialogus de Oratoribus.

The Great conversation: further reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Tacitus: The Annals.

Tacitus: The Histories.

Tacitus: The Agricola - presents its subject as an example of ho to deal with the circumscribed opportunities of public life in the empire.

Tacitus: The Germania.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.