previous next

Quintiliānus, Marcus Fabius

A celebrated Roman rhetorician, born about A.D. 35 at Calagurris in Spain. After he had received his training as an orator at Rome, he returned home about A.D. 59, but again visited Rome in A.D. 68 in the suite of Galba. He there began to practise as an advocate, and also gave instruction in rhetoric. In this latter capacity he achieved such fame that he was able to open a school of rhetoric in the reign of Vespasian, and received a salary from the State. After twenty years' work he retired from his public duties in A.D. 90, and after some time devoted himself to the education of the grandchildren of Domitilla, Domitian's sister, for which he was rewarded by the emperor with the rank of consul. Though materially prosperous, his happiness was disturbed by the loss of his young wife and his two sons. He died between A.D. 97 and 100.

Of his works on rhetoric, composed in his later years, we possess the one that is more important, that on the training of an orator (De Institutione Oratoria) in twelve books. This he wrote in two years; but it was not until after repeated revision that he published it, just before the death of Domitian in the year 96. He dedicated it to his friend, the orator Victorius Marcellus, that he might use it for the education of his son Geta. This work gives a complete course of instruction in rhetoric, including all that is necessary for training in practical elocution, from the preliminary education of boyhood and earliest youth to the time of appearance in public. It describes a perfect orator, who, according to Quintilian, should be not only skilful in rhetoric, but also of good moral character, and concludes with practical advice. Especially interesting is the first book, which gives the principles of training and instruction, and the tenth book, for its criticisms on the Greek and Latin prose authors and poets recommended to the orator for special study. Many of these criticisms, however, are not original. Quintilian's special model, and his main authority, is Cicero, whose classical style, as opposed to the style of his own time exemplified in Seneca, he imitates successfully in his work. A collection of school exercises (Declamationes) which bears his name is probably not by him, but by one of his pupils, though Ritter accepts many of them as genuine.

The most important MS. of the Institutiones is the Codex Ambrosianus of the eleventh century. Other complete MSS. are much later—of the fifteenth century—and are full of interpolations. Early editions of Quintilian are those of Gibson (Oxford, 1693), Burmann (Leyden, 1720), and Gesner (Göttingen, 1738). A great edition is that of Spalding, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1798-1816), to which a fifth volume was added by Zumpt (1829), and a sixth containing a lexicon and indices by Bonnell (1834). The chief edition is that of Halm (Leipzig, 1868), revised by Meister (Prague, 1886). Book X. has been separately edited by Herzog (3d ed., Leipzig, 1833), Schneidewin (Helmst., 1831); Bonnell and Meister (3d ed., Berlin, 1882); G. T. Krüger and G. Krüger (Leipzig, 1888), and J. E. B. Mayor (Pt. i., Camb., 1892). An excellent index is that in the Lemaire edition (Paris, 1821). There is a good German translation by Bossler and Baur, revised by Meister (Prague, 1886); and an English version by Watson, with notes based on Spalding, and may be found in the Bohn Classical Library. The Declamationes are edited by Ritter (1884).

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