Monday, March 21, 2011

Cicero, De Inventione

Cicero, De Inventione, C. D. Yonge transl. (online)
These essays on rhetoric were composed by Cicero when he was about one and twenty years of age, and he mentions them afterwards in his more elaborate treatise De Oratore, (Lib. i. e. 2,) as unworthy of his more mature age, and more extended experiences.This treatise originally consisted of four books, of which only two have come down to us.
Book I: V. But Aristotle…three kinds of subjects; with the demonstrative, and the deliberative, and the judicial. …The demonstrative is that which concerns itself with the praise or blame of some particular individual; the deliberative is that which, having its place in discussion and in political debate, comprises a deliberate statement of one's opinion; the judicial is that which, having its place in judicial proceedings, comprehends the topics of accusation and defence; or of demand and refusal.
VII. And these are the divisions of it, as numerous writers have laid them down: Invention; Arrangement; Elocution; Memory; Delivery. Invention, is the conceiving of topics either true or probable, which may make one's cause appear probable; Arrangement, is the distribution of the topics which have been thus conceived with regular order; Elocution, is the adaptation of suitable words and sentences to the topics so conceived; Memory, is the lasting sense in the mind of the matters and words corresponding to the reception of these topics. Delivery, is a regulating of the voice and body in a manner suitable to the dignity of the subjects spoken of and of the language employed.
Wherefore, let us first consider what sort of quality invention ought to be, which is the most important of all the divisions…

VIII. When there is a dispute as to the fact, since the cause is confirmed by conjectures, it is called a conjectural statement. But when it is a dispute as to a name, because the force of a name is to be defined by words, it is then styled a definitive statement. …as, for instance, if any one has stolen any sacred vessel from a private place, whether he is to be considered a sacrilegious person, or a simple thief. For when that is inquired into, it is necessary to define both points--what is a thief, and what is a sacrilegious person,--and to show by one's own description that the matter which is under discussion ought to be called by a different name from that which the opposite party apply to it.
IX. And its divisions are four, --concession, removal of the accusation from oneself, a retorting of the accusation, and comparison. Concession when the person on his trial does not defend the deed that has been done, but entreats to be pardoned for it: and this again is divided into two parts,--purgation and deprecation. Purgation is when the fact is admitted, but when the guilt of the fact is sought to be done away. And this may be on three grounds,--of ignorance, of accident, or of necessity. Deprecation is when the person on his trial confesses that he has done wrong, and that he has done wrong on purpose, and nevertheless entreats to be pardoned.
Removal of the accusation from oneself is when the person on his trial endeavours by force of argument and by influence to remove the charge which is brought against him from himself to another, so that it may not fix him himself with any guilt at all. And that can be done in two ways,--if either the cause of the deed, or the deed itself, is attributed to another. The retorting of an accusation takes place when what is done is said to have been lawfully done because another had previously provoked the doer wrongfully. Comparison is, when it is argued that some other action has been a right or an advantageous one, and then it is contended that this deed which is now impeached was committed in order to facilitate the accomplishment of that useful action.
XIV. From this mode of bringing forward evidence, arises that last kind of dispute which we call the judication, or examination of the excuses alleged.
Wherefore, when the examination of the excuses alleged,… six; the exordium, the relation of the fact, the division of the different circumstances and topics, the bringing forward of evidence, the finding fault with the action which has been done, and the peroration.
At present, since the exordium ought to be the main thing of all, we too will first of all give some precepts to lead to a system of opening a case properly.
XV. An exordium is an address bringing the mind of the hearer into a suitable state to receive the rest of the speech; and that will be effected if it has rendered him well disposed towards the speaker, attentive, and willing to receive information. Wherefore, a man who is desirous to open a cause well, must of necessity be beforehand thoroughly acquainted with the nature and kind of cause [case] which he has to conduct. Now the kinds of causes are five; one honourable, one astonishing, one low, one doubtful, one obscure. The kind of cause which is called honourable, is such an one as the disposition of the hearer favours at once, without waiting to hear our speech. The kind that is astonishing, is that from which the mind of those who are about to hear us has been alienated. The kind which is low, is one which is disregarded by the hearer, or which does not seem likely to be carefully attended to. The kind which is doubtful, is that in which either the examination into the excuses alleged is doubtful, or the cause itself, being partly honourable and partly discreditable; so as to produce partly good-will and partly disinclination. The kind which is obscure, is that in which either the hearers are slow, or in which the cause itself is entangled in a multitude of circumstances hard to be thoroughly acquainted with.
Therefore, the exordium is divided into two portions, first of all a beginning, and secondly language calculated to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers. The beginning is an address, in plain words, immediately rendering the hearer well disposed towards one, or inclined to receive information, or attentive. The language calculated to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers, is an address which employs a certain dissimulation, and which by a circuitous route as it were obscurely creeps into the affections of the hearer.
In the kind of cause which we have called astonishing, if the hearers be not positively hostile, it will be allowable by the beginning of the speech to endeavour to secure their good-will. But if they be excessively alienated from one, then it will be necessary to have recourse to endeavours to insinuate oneself into their good graces. For if peace and good-will be openly sought for from those who are enemies to one, they not only are not obtained, but the hatred which they bear one is even inflamed and increased.
But in the kind of cause which I have called low, for the sake of removing his contempt it will be indispensable to render the hearer attentive.
The kind of cause which has been styled doubtful, if it embraces an examination into the excuses alleged, which is also doubtful, must derive its exordium from that very examination; but if it have some things in it of a creditable nature, and some of a discreditable character, then it will be expedient to try and secure the good-will of the hearer, so that the cause may change its appearance, and seem to be an honourable one.
But when the kind of cause is the honourable kind, then the exordium may either be passed over altogether, or if it be convenient, we may …avail ourselves of the good-will already existing towards us, in order that that which does exist may be strengthened.
XVI. In the kind of cause which I have called obscure, it will be advisable to render the hearers inclined to receive instruction by a carefully prepared exordium..
Good-will is produced by dwelling on four topics:--on one derived from our own character, from that of our adversaries, from that of the judges, and from the cause itself. From our own character, if we manage so as to speak of our own actions and services without arrogance; if we refute the charges…, and any other suspicions in the least discreditable which it may be endeavoured to attach to us; if we dilate upon the inconveniences which have already befallen us... From the character of our adversaries... They will be brought into hatred, if any action of theirs can be adduced which has been lascivious, or arrogant, or cruel, or malignant…if we can dilate upon their violent behaviour, their power, their riches, their numerous kinsmen,.... They will be brought into contempt, if sloth, or negligence, or idleness, or indolent pursuits, or luxurious tranquillity can be alleged against them. Good-will will be procured, derived from the character of the hearers themselves, if exploits are mentioned which have been performed by them with bravery, or wisdom, or humanity; …and if it is plainly shown how high and honourable their reputation is, and how anxious is the expectation with which men look for their decision and authority.
But we shall make our hearers attentive, if we show that the things which we are going to say and to speak of are important, and unusual, and incredible; and that they concern either all men, or those who are our present hearers…And if we promise that we will in a very short time prove our own cause; and if we explain the whole of the examination into the excuses.
We shall render our hearers willing to receive information, if we explain the sum total of the cause with plainness and brevity.. For when you wish to make a hearer inclined to receive information you must also render him attentive. For he is above all men willing to receive information who is prepared to listen with the greatest attention.
XVII. The next thing which it seems requisite to speak of, is, how topics intended to enable the orator to work his way into the good graces of his hearers ought to be handled. We must then use such a sort of address as that when the kind of cause which we are conducting is that which I have called astonishing; that is to say, as I have stated before, when the disposition of the hearer is adverse to one. And that generally arises from one of three causes: either if there be any thing discreditable in the cause itself, or if any such belief appears to have been already instilled into the hearer by those who have spoken previously; or if one is appointed to speak at a time when those who have got to listen to one are wearied with hearing others. For sometimes when one is speaking, the mind of the hearer is alienated from one no less by this circumstance than by the two former.
If the discreditable nature of one's cause excites the ill-will of one's hearers, …substitute a person for a thing… in order that the mind of the hearer may be led away from that which he hates to that which he loves; and if your object is to conceal from view the fact that you are about to defend that person …then, when the hearer has been rendered more propitious, … enter gradually on the defence, … say that those things at which the opposite party is indignant appear scandalous to you also; and then, when you have propitiated him who is to listen to you, …show that none of all those things at all concern you, and .. deny that you are going to say anything whatever respecting the opposite party whether it be good or bad …(so as not openly to attack those men who are loved by your hearers, and yet doing it secretly as far as you can to alienate from them the favourable disposition of your hearers); and at the same time to mention the judgment of some other judges in a similar case,…
If the speech of your adversaries appears to have made an impression on your hearers, …then it is requisite to promise that you will speak first of all on that point which the opposite party consider their especial stronghold, or else to begin with a reference to what has been said by the adversary, and especially to what he said last; or else to appear to doubt, and to feel some perplexity and astonishment as to what you had best say first, or what argument it is desirable to reply to first--for when a hearer sees the man whom the opposite party believe to be thrown into perplexity by their speech prepared with unshaken firmness to reply to it, he is generally apt to think that he has assented to what has been said without sufficient consideration, rather than that the present speaker is confident without due grounds. But if fatigue has alienated the mind of the hearer from your cause, then it is advantageous to promise to speak more briefly than you had been prepared to speak; and that you will not imitate your adversary.
If the case admit of it, it is not disadvantageous to begin with some new topic, or with some one which may excite laughter; or with some argument which has arisen from the present moment; of which kind are any sudden noise or exclamation; or with something which you have already prepared, which may embrace some apologue, or fable, or other laughable circumstance. Or, if the dignity of the subject shall seem inconsistent with jesting, in that case it is not disadvantageous to throw in something sad, or novel, or terrible. For as satiety of food and disgust is either relieved by some rather bitter taste, or is at times appeased by a sweet taste; so a mind weary with listening is either reinstated in its strength by astonishment, or else is refreshed by laughter
XVIII. And these are pretty nearly the main things which it appeared desirable to say separately concerning the exordium of a speech, and the topics which an orator should use for the purpose of insinuating himself into the good grace of his hearers. And now it seems desirable to lay down some brief rules which may apply to both in common.
An exordium ought to have a great deal of sententiousness and gravity in it, … embrace all things which have a reference to dignity…which in the greatest degree recommends the speaker to his hearer. It should contain very little brilliancy, or wit, or elegance of expression, …arises a suspicion of preparation and artificial diligence: and that is an idea which above all others takes away … authority from a speaker.
But the following are the most ordinary faults to be found in an exordium, and those it is above all things desirable to avoid. It must not be vulgar, common, easily changed, long, unconnected, borrowed, nor must it violate received rules. What I mean by vulgar, is one which may be so adapted to numerous causes as to appear to suit them all. That is common, which appears to be able to be adapted no less to one side of the argument than to the other. That is easily changed, which with a slight alteration may be advanced by the adversary on the other side of the question.
XIX. Narration is an explanation of acts that have been done, or of acts as if they have been done. There are three kinds of narration. One kind is that in which the cause itself and the whole principle of the dispute is contained. Another is that in which some digression, unconnected with the immediate argument, is interposed, either for the sake of criminating another, or of instituting a comparison, or of provoking some mirth…
XX. It is desirable then that it should have three qualities; that it should be brief, open, and probable. It will be brief, if the beginning of it is derived from the quarter from which it ought to be; and if it is not endeavoured to be extracted from what has been last said, and … it is often sufficient to say what has been done, and there is no necessity for his relating how it was done;--… passes over not only such topics as may be injurious, but those too which are neither injurious nor profitable.
But a narration will be able to be open, if those actions are explained first which have been done first, …things are related as they have been done, or as it shall seem that they may have been done. …nothing be said in a confused or distorted manner; that no digression …the affair may not be traced too far back, nor carried too far forward; that nothing be passed over which is connected with the business in hand;
XXI. A narration will be probable, if in it those characteristics are visible which are usually apparent in truth; if the dignity of the persons mentioned is preserved; if the causes of the actions performed are made plain; if it shall appear that there were facilities for performing them; …if the time was suitable; if there was plenty of room; if the place is shown to have been suitable for the transaction which is the subject of the narration; if the whole business, in short, be adapted …to the preconceived opinions of those who hear.
But besides all this, it will be necessary to take care that such a narration be not introduced when it will he a hindrance, or when it will be of no advantage; and that it be not related in an unseasonable place, or in a manner which the cause does not require. It is a hindrance, …when the very narration of what has been done comes at a time that the hearer has conceived great displeasure at something, which it will be expedient to mitigate by argument, and by pleading the whole cause carefully. And when this is the case, it will be desirable rather to scatter the different portions of the transactions limb by limb as it were over the cause, and, as promptly as may be, to adapt them to each separate argument, in order that there may be a remedy at hand for the wound.
XXII. An arrangement of the subjects to be mentioned in an argument... One part is that which points out what are the particulars as to which one is in agreement with the opposite party, and also what remains in dispute; (and from this there is a certain definite thing pointed out to the hearer, as that to which he should direct his attention) ….explanation of those matters on which we are about to speak, is briefly arranged and pointed out. And this causes the hearer to retain certain things in his mind, so as to understand that when they have been discussed the speech will be ended.
But the arrangement ...ought to have brevity, completeness. Completeness is that quality by which we embrace every sort of argument which can have any connexion with the case concerning which we have got to speak; and in this division we must take care not to omit any useful topic, not to introduce any such too late, out of its natural place, for that is the most pernicious and discreditable error of all.
XXIII. we should not undertake to prove more things than there is any occasion for; in this way:-- "I will prove that the opposite party were able to do what we accuse them of; and had the inclination to do it; and did it." It is quite enough to prove that they did it.
XXIV. Confirmation is that by means of which our speech proceeding in argument adds belief, and authority, and corroboration to our cause.
XXVI. Who what when where why.
XXVII. But the manner, also, is inquired into; in what manner, how, and with what design the action was done? Its parts are, the doer knowing what he was about, and not knowing. But the degree of his knowledge is measured by these circumstances, whether the doer did his action secretly, openly, under compulsion, or through persuasion. The fact of the absence of knowledge is brought forward as an excuse, and its parts are actual ignorance, accident, necessity. It is also attributed to agitation of mind;
XXIX. But all argumentation, … ought to be either probable or unavoidable. Indeed, to define it in a few words, argumentation appears to be an invention of some sort, which either shows something or other in a probable manner, or demonstrates it in an irrefutable one.
Dilemma is a case in which, whichever admission you make you are found fault with. For example:--"If he is a worthless fellow, why are you intimate with him? If he is an excellent man, why do you accuse him ?" Enumeration is a statement in which, when many matters have been stated and all other arguments invalidated, the one which remains is inevitably proved; in this manner:--"It is quite plain that he was slain by this man, either because of his enmity to him, or some fear, or hope, which he had conceived, or in order to gratify some friend of his; or, if none of these alternatives are true, then that he was not slain by him at all; for a great crime cannot be undertaken without a motive. But he had no quarrel with him, nor fear of him, nor hope of any advantage to be gained by his death, nor did his death in the least concern any friend of his. It remains, therefore, that he was not slain by him at all."
But that is probable which is accustomed generally to take place, or which depends upon the opinion of men, or which contains some resemblance to these properties, whether it be false or true. In that description of subject, the most usual probable argument is something of this sort:--"If she is his mother, she loves her son." "If he is an avaricious man, he neglects his oath." But in the case which depends mainly on opinion, probable arguments are such as this: "That there are punishments prepared in the shades below for impious men."--" That those men who give their attention to philosophy do not think that there are gods."
XXXI. All argumentation, therefore, is to be carried on either by induction, or by ratiocination. Induction is a manner of speaking which, by means of facts which are not doubtful, forces the assent of the person to whom it is addressed. By which assent it causes him even to approve of some points which are doubtful, on account of their resemblance to those things to which he has assented;
This was a method of instruction which Socrates used to a great extent, because he himself preferred bringing forward no arguments for the purpose of persuasion, but wished rather that the person with whom he was disputing should form his own conclusions from arguments with which he had furnished himself, and which he was unavoidably compelled to approve of from the grounds which he had already assented to.
XXXIV. Ratiocination is a sort of speaking, eliciting something probable from the fact under consideration itself...
XLII. Reprehension is that by means of which the proof adduced by the opposite party is invalidated by arguing, or is disparaged, or is reduced to nothing.
XLIV. But when anything is alleged as a proper object of comparison, since that is a class of argument which turns principally on resemblance, in reprehending the adversary it will be advisable to deny that there is any resemblance at all to the case with which it is attempted to institute the comparison. And that may be done, if it be proved to be different in genus, or in nature, or in power, or in magnitude, or in time or place, or with reference to the person affected, or to the opinions generally entertained of it. And if it be shown also in what classification that which is brought forward on account of the alleged resemblance, and in what place too the whole genus with reference to which it is brought forward, ought to be placed. After that it will be pointed out how the one thing differs from the other; from which we shall proceed to show that a different opinion ought to be entertained of that which is brought forward by way of comparison, and of that to which it is sought to be compared. And this sort of argument we especially require when that particular argumentation which is carried on by means of induction is to be reprehended. If any previous decision be alleged, since these are the topics by which it is principally established, the praise of those who have delivered such decision; the resemblance of the matter which is at present under discussion to that which has already been the subject of the decision referred to; that not only the decision is not found fault with because it is mentioned, but that it is approved of by every one; and by showing too, that the case which has been already decided is a more difficult and a more important one than that which is under consideration now. It will be desirable also to invalidate it by arguments drawn from the contrary topics, if either truth or probability will allow us to do so. And it will be necessary to take care and notice whether the matter which has been decided has any real connexion with that which is the present subject of discussion; and we must also take care that no case is adduced in which any error has been committed, so that it should seem that we are passing judgment on the man himself who has delivered the decision referred to.
It is desirable further to take care that they do not bring forward some solitary or unusual decision when there have been many decisions given the other way. For by such means as this the authority of the decision alleged can be best invalidated. And it is desirable that those arguments which are assumed as probable should be handled in this way.
XLVI. But it will also be reprehended in another manner if any contradictory statement is advanced: that is to say, just by way of example, if, to continue arguing from the previous case, it can be shown that the horse did come to one by inheritance; or if it should not be discreditable to admit the last alternative; as if a person, when his adversaries said,-- "You were either laying an ambush against the owner, or you were influenced by a friend, or you were carried away by covetousness," were to confess that he was complying with the entreaties of his friend.
But a simple conclusion is reprehended if that which follows does not appear of necessity to cohere with that which has gone before. For this very proposition, "If he breathes, he is alive;" "If it is day, it is light," is a proposition of such a nature that the latter statement appears of necessity to cohere with the preceding one. But this inference, "If she is his mother, she loves him;" "If he has ever done wrong, he will never be chastised," ought to be reprehended in such a manner as to show that the latter proposition does not of necessity cohere with the former
Inferences of this kind, and all other unavoidable conclusions, and indeed all argumentation whatever, and its reprehension too, contains some greater power and has a more extensive operation than is here explained. But the knowledge of this system is such that it cannot be added to any portion of this art; not that it does of itself separately stand in need of a long time, and of deep and arduous consideration. Wherefore those things shall be explained by us at another time, and when we are dealing with another subject, if opportunity be afforded us. At present we ought to be contented with these precepts of the rhetoricians given for the use of orators. When, therefore, any one of these points which are assumed is not granted, the whole statement is invalidated by these means.
LII. The conclusion is the end and terminating of the whole oration. It has three parts,--enumeration, indignation, and complaint. Enumeration is that by which matters which have been related in a scattered and diffuse manner are collected together, and, for the sake of recollecting them, are brought under our view.
LIII. Indignation is a kind of speech by which the effect produced is, that great hatred is excited against a man, or great dislike of some proceeding is originated.
LV. But complaint will usually take its origin from things of this kind. Complaint is a speech seeking to move the pity of the hearers. In this it is necessary in the first place to render the disposition of the hearer gentle and merciful, in order that it may the more easily be influenced by pity.

(Book II is a series of examples of principles set forth in Book I; Books III and IV are lost.)


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