Anonymous: Rhetorica ad Herennium

Anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
•    Oldest surviving complete rhetoric manual in Latin
•    Divided into four books, covering all five canons
o    I & II: Invention (stasis theory and forensic oratory)
o    III: Arrangement, Delivery, Memory
o    IV: Style
•    Author attacks Greek rhetoric—borrowing examples to illustrate rhetorical principles
o    Author argues that the rhetorician should create own examples
Book III
•    Deliberative speech: choice between two or several courses of action is considered
•    Advantage in political deliberation has two aspects: security and honor
o    Security: provide plan to avoid danger
•    Divided further into might and craft
o    Honor: right and praiseworthy
•    Divided into wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance
•    A well-furnished memory, or experienced verse matters, is wisdom
•    Praiseworthy and right should never be separated
•    Nothing ought to be deemed honorable which doesn’t produce safety
•    Fortune favors the brave—not he who is safe in the present, but he who lives honorably
•    Qualities of character (rest on our judgment and thought): wisdom, justice, courage, temperance
•    Function of intro: to jog memory—must be attuned to audiences knowledge of subject
•    Invention—the most difficult part of rhetoric
•    Two kinds of arrangement: arising from principles of rhetoric and accommodated to particular circumstances
•    Arrangement for proof and refutation arguments:
o    Strongest arguments placed at beginning and end
o    Medium force arguments in the middle
o    What’s said at the end is easily committed to memory—give something useful, fresh, and strong
•    The guardian of all parts of rhetoric: memory
•    2 kinds of memory: natural and artificial
o    Natural: imbedded in our minds, born simultaneously with thought
o    Artificial: strengthened by training and system of discipline
•    Artificial and natural memory strengthen each other
•    Artificial memory includes backgrounds—scenes natural or artificial set off se we can grasp them with natural memory
•    Should desire to memorize large numbers of items, equip ourselves with number of backgrounds
o    That way we can repeat anything in any direction
•    We are more likely to remember something that’s interesting to us
•    Author disagrees with Greek practice of listing images that correspond to words
o    Why should we rob anybody of making connections and seeking things out for oneself
•    223: “Nor have I included memorization of words to enable us to get very by rote, but rather as an exercise whereby to strengthen that other kind of memory, the memory of matter, which is of practical use”
•    A ready memory is very useful, and we must strive to acquire so useful a faculty
Favorite moment
225: “You might rehearse in your mind each of the first four divisions, and—what is especially necessary—fortify your knowledge of them with exercise”


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July 2008
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