The Dialogus de oratoribus is a short work attributed to Tacitus, in dialogue form, on the art of rhetoric. Its date of composition is unknown, though its dedication to Lucius Fabius Justus places its publication around 102 AD.
The dialogue itself, set in the 70s AD, follows the tradition of Cicero's speeches on philosophical and rhetorical arguments.It is set in the home of Curiatius Maternus, one of the speakers, to whom two leading lawyers of the day, Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus, have come to discuss a recent event; the fourth speaker, Lucius Vipstanus Messalla, arrives later. All four men are attested historical personages. The beginning of the work is a speech in defence of eloquence and poetry. It then deals with the decadence of oratory, for which the cause is said to be the decline of the education, both in the family and in the school, of the future orator. The education is not as accurate as it once was; the teachers are not prepared and a useless rhetoric often takes the place of the general culture.
After a lacuna, the Dialogus ends with a speech delivered by Maternus reporting what some believe is Tacitus's opinion. Maternus thinks that great oratory was possible with the freedom from any power, more precisely in the anarchy, that characterized the Roman Republic during the civil wars. It became anachronistic and impracticable in the quiet and ordered society that resulted from the institution of the Roman Empire. The peace, warranted by the Empire, should be accepted without regret for a previous age that was more favorable to the wide spread of literacy and the growth of great personality.
Some believe that at the base of all of Tacitus's work is the acceptance of the Empire as the only power able to save the state from the chaos of the civil wars. The Empire reduced the space of the orators and of the political men, but there is no viable alternative to it. Nevertheless, Tacitus does not accept the imperial government apathetically, and he shows, as in the Agricola the remaining possibility of making choices that are dignified and useful to the state.
The date of publication of the Dialogus is uncertain, but it was probably written after the Agricola and the Germania. Many characteristics set it apart from the other works of Tacitus, so much so that its authenticity may be questioned, even if it is always grouped with the Agricola and the Germania in the manuscript tradition. The way of speaking in the Dialogus seems closer to the model of Cicero, refined but not prolix, which inspired the teaching of Quintilian; it lacks the incongruities that are typical of Tacitus's major historical works. It may have been written when Tacitus was young; its dedication to Fabius Iustus would thus give the date of publication, but not the date of writing. More probably, the unusually classical style may be explained by the fact that the Dialogus is a work of rhetoric. For this genre the structure, the language, and the style of Cicero were the usual models.
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin language. The beginning of Latin literature dates to 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome. Latin literature would flourish for the next six centuries. The classical era of Latin literature can be roughly divided into the following periods: Early Latin literature, The Golden Age, The Imperial Period and Late Antiquity.
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman educator and rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usually referred to as Quintilian, although the alternate spellings of Quintillian and Quinctilian are occasionally seen, the latter in older texts.
Classical Latin is the form of Latin language recognized as a standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In some later periods, it was regarded as good or proper Latin, with later versions viewed as debased, degenerate, vulgar, or corrupted. The word Latin is now taken by default to mean "Classical Latin". For example, modern Latin textbooks almost exclusively teach Classical Latin. Cicero and his contemporaries of the late republic used lingua latina and sermo latinus versions of the Latin language. Conversely, the Greeks used Vulgar Latin in their vernacular, written as latinitas, or "Latinity" when combined. It was also called sermo familiaris, sermo urbanus, and in rare cases sermo nobilis. Besides latinitas, it was mainly called latine, or latinius.
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Alfred Gudeman was an American-German classical scholar.
Cicero's Brutus is a history of Roman oratory. It is written in the form of a dialogue, in which Brutus and Atticus ask Cicero to describe the qualities of all the leading Roman orators up to their time. Cicero then attempts to propose a reconstruction of Roman history. Although it is written in the form of a dialogue, the majority of the talking is done by Cicero with occasional intervention by Brutus and Atticus. The work was probably composed in 46 BC, with the purpose of defending Cicero's own oratory. He begins with an introductory section on Greek oratory of the Attic, Asiatic, and Rhodian schools, before discussing Roman orators, beginning with Lucius Junius Brutus, "The Liberator", though becoming more specific from the time of Marcus Cornelius Cethegus.
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De Oratore is a dialogue written by Cicero in 55 BC. It is set in 91 BC, when Lucius Licinius Crassus dies, just before the Social War and the civil war between Marius and Sulla, during which Marcus Antonius Orator, the other great orator of this dialogue, dies. During this year, the author faces a difficult political situation: after his return from exile in Dyrrachium, his house was destroyed by the gangs of Clodius in a time when violence was common. This was intertwined with the street politics of Rome.
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PubliusCornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature, and is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics.
Titus Cassius Severus was an ancient Roman rhetor from the gens Cassia. He lived during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula. Cassius Severus, a fearless fighter for freedom of speech, was sharply eloquent against the new governmental order, which finally saw him exiled and his works banned after his death.
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A Dialogue Concerning Oratorical Partitions is a rhetorical treatise, written by Cicero. According to the method of the Middle Academy, the treatise is sometimes described as a "catechism of rhetoric," for it is presented in the form of questions and answers. Cicero wrote it as a handbook for his young son, Marcus, and structured the text as a dialogue between the two of them.
The Asiatic style or Asianism refers to an Ancient Greek rhetorical tendency that arose in the third century BC, which, although of minimal relevance at the time, briefly became an important point of reference in later debates about Roman oratory.
Marcus Cornelius Nigrinus Curiatius Maternus was a Roman senator and general during the reign of Domitian. He was suffect consul during the nundinium of September–October AD 83 with Lucius Calventius Sextius Carminius Vetus. Although some experts consider him a rival with Trajan as heir apparent to the emperor Nerva, he is primarily known from inscriptions.
Lucius Fabius Justus was a Roman senator active in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD, who occupied a number of offices in the imperial service. He also served as suffect consul in 102, replacing Lucius Licinius Sura as the colleague of the consul who opened the year, Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus; both Justus and Servianus closed their nundinium at the end of April.