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Cicero was Roman; a successful lawyer, interested in philosophy, the best orator in the republic, and a strong supporter of Roman Republic. He was labeled as the enemy of the state by Marc Anthony and Caesar Octavian after Julius Caesar was murdered. Read more about him here.



(Cicero, Orator 42)Edit

Sokrates prophesizes these things about (Isokrates when he was) a young man, but Plato wrote them about (him when he was) older and indeed, though an attacker of all rhetoricians, this one alone he admires. Let those who do not have regard for Isokrates along with Sokrates and with Plato, allow me, too, to be in error. There is, then, a pleasant type of speech and loose and flowing, clever in (its expression of) ideas, resonant in its words, in that epideictic genre, which we said was peculiar to the sophists, more appropriate for a ceremony than for a contest, dedicated to gymnasia and to the palestra, spurned and banned from the forum. But because eloquence herself, brought up on the nutriments of this genre, later takes on (her proper) color and strength, it was not out of place to speak about the cradle, as it were, of an orator. But these things belong to schools and ceremony; let us rather come back to the battle-line and the fight.

(Cicero, Orator 207-209)Edit

Therefore in the other genres, that is in history and in that which we call epideictic, it is acceptable for all things to be said in the Isokratean and Theopompean manner with that enclosure and rounded circuit, so that the speech runs as if enclosed in a circle, until it concludes in individual, complete, and separate sentences. Therefore, ever since this enclosure, or grasping round, or joining in a series, or circuit, if one may so speak, was born, no one who was of any account has written an oration of that type which is composed for enjoyment and remote from the law-courts and the contention of the forum, without reducing virtually all his sentences to strict order and measure.

For, since the hearer is one who does not fear that his trust is being assailed by the wiles of an artful speech, he even is grateful to the orator who serves the pleasure of his ears. This type of speaking, however, is neither to be adopted in its entirety for cases argued in the forum nor entirely rejected. For if you should use it always, it both brings satiety and its nature is recognized even by the inexperienced. Further, it takes away the toil of delivering the speech, it removes the human feeling of the hearer, it destroys completely veracity and persuasiveness.

(Cicero, Brutus 32-35)Edit

Therefore, when those whom we mentioned a little while ago were old, Isokrates came to prominence, whose home was open as a school, so to speak, for all of Greece and a workshop of speech. He was a great orator and a perfect teacher, although he avoided the sunlight of the forum and nourished inside his walls that glory which no one, in my opinion at least, has since achieved. He both wrote a great deal himself and taught others, outstandingly; and just as he did other things better than those who preceded him, so he first understood that even in prose some order and rhythm ought to be observed, as long as you avoid making verse.

For before his time there was not a building-up, as it were, of words, and a rhythmical closure, or, if there ever was, it did not appear that this had been sought by deliberate effort. Which may perhaps be grounds for praise; in any case, at that time it happened more by nature and, sometimes, by chance, than either by any deliberate art or by observation. For nature herself bounds and encompasses a thought with a certain enclosure, and when the thought is bound together with well-fitted words, for the most part it also has a rhythmical cadence. For even the ears themselves judge what is complete, what lacking, and the grouping together of words is limited, as it were by a necessity, by the breath of the speaker, in which not only to fail, but even to have difficulty is shameful.

At that time lived Lysias, himself not indeed engaged in public cases, but an outstandingly simple and elegant writer, whom you might now almost dare to call a perfect orator. For you could easily call Demosthenes perfect, and one from whom nothing at all is lacking. In those pleadings which he wrote, nothing could have been cleverly contrived, nothing, if I may so speak, cunningly, nothing expertly, which he did not see; nothing could have been said subtly, nothing concisely, nothing tersely, by which anything of his could be made more polished; nothing grand, moreover, nothing passionate, nothing adorned with weight of words or thoughts, by which a single thing would be more elevated.