previous next

Prosographia.

Prosographia is a forme of speech by which as well the very person of a man as of a fained, is by his form, stature, maners, studies, doings, affections, and such other circumstances serving to the purpose so described, that it may appeare a plaine and lively picture painted in tables, and set before the eies of the hearer. The circumstances by which such descriptions be made are many, ye tthe most principal and most usuall are these, parentage, nation, countrey, kind, age, education, discipline, habite of body, fortune, condition, nature of mind, studie, former deedes, apparell, & c. By these and such like circumstances the whole man is lively painted and portraited as wel his mind as his body, and as aswel his qualities as his quantity: as for example, we may by the circumstances of age describe an old man
The description of old age.
in this manner, “with crooked limmes, and trembling jointes, his head white, his eies hollow, his sight dimmes, his hearing thicke, his handes shaking, his legges bowing, his colour pale, his skin wrinkled, weake of memory childish yet covetous, suspicious, testy, greedy of newes, credulous, misliking of the present world, and praising the former times” Eccles. 12.: also by this form great persons are described, as emperours, princes, bishops, noble captains, holy patriarks, grave judges, & great authors. By this figure Cicero painteth out Ebucius, and against Verres, he describeth Theomastus, in his oration for Roscius, Chrisogomus, and in his oration for
Action.
Quintius he painteth out Nevius with Quintius by an Antithesis. The desciption of fained persons doth properly belong to poets, & is seldom or never used of orators: by this figure diverse historiographers do most lively describe noble captains, Kinges & Emperours to looke upon.

The use of this figure.

1. To delight.
This figure pertaineth to many purposes, as to praise, to dispraise, to delight, and to engrave in perpetuall memory,
2. To praise.
the
3. To record.
descriptions of great persons.

The Caution.

1. Aptnes.
The chiefest regard herein ought to be concerning the aptnes
2. Truth.
and truth of the circumstances.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: