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On the Ideal Orator

Translated by James M. May and Jakob Wisse

Publication Date - 08 March 2001

ISBN: 9780195091984

384 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


In On the Ideal Orator, (De oratore), Cicero, the greatest Roman orator and prosewriter of his day, gives his mature views on rhetoric, oratory, and philosophy. Cast in the lively, literary form of a dialogue, this classic work presents a daring view of the orator as the master of all language communication while still emphasizing his role at the heart of Roman society and politics. Cicero's conception of the ideal orator represents his own original synthesis of the positions of the philosophers and the rhetoricians in the age-old quarrel between these disciplines.
The first translation of De oratore in over fifty years, this volume is ideal for courses on Cicero and on the history of rhetoric/oratory. James May and Jakob Wisse provide an accurate and accessible translation which is based on--and contributes to--recent advances in our understanding of De oratore and of the many aspects of ancient rhetoric, philosophy, and history relevant to it. Their translation reflects the many variations of Cicero's style, which are essential ingredients of the work. The volume includes extensive annotation, based on current scholarship and offering significant original contributions as well. It is also enhanced by a full introduction covering all important aspects of both the work and its historical background; appendices on Cicero's works, figures of thought and speech, and alternate manuscript readings; a glossary of terms from rhetoric and Roman life and politics; and a comprehensive index of names and places.

Table of Contents

    1. The Roman background: politics and culture
    1.1. Orators in politics
    1.2. Greeks and Romans
    2. De oratore in Cicero's life
    3. The subject: the ideal orator
    4. Form I: Dialogue technique
    5. Form II: "Rhetorical" techniques and the way to read De oratore
    6. Background I: The quarrel between rhetoricians and philosophers, and Cicero's position in it
    6.1. Brief history of the quarrel
    6.2. The issues in the quarrel: Cicero's position
    7. Background II: Traditional rhetoric and Cicero's alternative
    7.1. Preliminary questions
    7.2. The basic systems and Cicero's choice
    7.3. The individual activities
    8. Background III: Cicero's "sources"
    9. This translation
    10. The text
    11. Synopsis of the work
    Further Readings and Bibliography
    Translation: On The Ideal Orator
    Book 1
    Book 2
    Book 3
    Appendix A. Cicero's Works
    Appendix B. Figures of Thought and Speech
    Appendix C. List of Readings
    Index of Places and Names
    General Index