The Ancient Library

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"Hos inter sumtus sestertia Quintiliano Ut multum duo sufficient; res nulla minoris Constabit patri quam films. Unde igitur tot Quintilianus habet saltus,"

and then proceeds to ascribe his singular prosperity to the influence of good luck. On the other hand, Pliny, in a letter inscribed " Quintiliano suo " (vi. 32, comp. 6), makes him a present of 50,000 ses­terces, about 400/. sterling, as a contribution towards the outfit of a daughter about to be married, assign­ing as a reason for his liberality " Te porro, animo beatissimum, modicum facultatibus, scio." Passing over the untenable supposition that Pliny may have been addressing some Quintilian different from the rhetorician, or that the estates indicated above (may have been acquired at a later period, we must 'observe that Juvenal here employs a tone of de­clamatory exaggeration, and that he speaks with evident, though suppressed bitterness of the good fortune of Quintilian, probably in consequence of the flattery lavished by the latter on the hated Domitian (e. g. prooem. lib. iv.) ; we must bear in mind also, that although the means of Quintilian may not have been so ample as to render an act of generosity on the part of a rich and powerful pupil in any way unacceptable, still the handsome income which he enjoyed (100,000 sesterces «= 800£, Suet. Vesp. 18) must have appeared boundless wealth when compared with the indigence of the troops of half-starved grammarians who thronged the metro­polis, and whose miseries are so forcibly depicted in the piece where the above lines are found.

The epistle of Pliny has suggested another diffi­culty. Quintilian, in the preface to his sixth book, laments in very touching language the death of his only son, whose improvement had been one of his chief inducements to undertake the work. He is thus led on to enter into details regarding his family bereavements: first of all he lost his wife, at the age of nineteen, who left behind her two boys ; the younger died when five years old, the elder at ten ; but there is no allusion to a daughter, and indeed his words clearly imply that two child­ren only had been born to him, both of whom he had -lost. Hence we are driven to the supposition that he must have married a second time, that the lady was the daughter of a certain Tutilius (Plin. L c.), and that the offspring of this union was the girl whose approaching marriage with Nonius Celer called forth the gift of Pliny. It will be seen too that Quintilian, at the lowest computation, must have been nearly fifty when he was left childless, consequently he must have been so far advanced in life when his daughter became marriageable, that it is impossible to believe that he amassed a fortune subsequent to that event.

The great work of Quintilian is a complete system of rhetoric in twelve books, entitled De Tnstitutione Oratorio, Libri XII., or sometimes, Institutiones Oratoriae, dedicated to his friend Marcellus Victorius, himself a celebrated orator, and a favourite at court. (Stat. Sitv. iv. 4.) It was written during the reign of Domitian, while the author was discharging his duties as preceptor to the sons of the emperor's niece (Prooem. lib. iv. x. 1. § 9). In a short preface to his bookseller Trypho, he acquaints us that he commenced this undertaking after he had retired from his labours as a public instructor (probably in A. d. 89), and that he finished his task in little more than two


years. This period appears, at first sight, short for the completion of a performance so compre­hensive and so elaborate, but we may reasonably believe that his professional career had rendered him so familiar with the subject, and that in his capacity as a lecturer he must have so frequently enlarged upon all its different branches, that little would be necessary except to digest and arrange the materials already accumulated. Indeed, it appears that two books upon rhetoric had been already published under his name, but without his sanction ; being, in fact, notes taken down by some of his pupils, of conversations which he had held with them.

In an introductory chapter addressed to Mar­cellus, he briefly indicates the plan which he had followed, and the distribution of the different parts. The first book contains a dissertation on the preliminary training requisite before a youth can enter directly upon the studies necessary to mould an accomplished orator (ea quae simt ante officium rhetoris), and presents us with a carefully sketched outline of the method to be pursued in educating children, from the time they leave the cradle until they pass from the hands of the gram­marian. In the second book we find an expo­sition of the first principles of rhetoric, together with an investigation into the nature or essence of the art (.prima apud rlietorem elementa et quae de ipsa rhetoricae substantia quaeruntur). The five following are devoted to invention and arrange­ment (inventio* dispositio) ; the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh to composition (including the proper use of the figures of speech) and delivery, com­prised under the general term elocutio, and the last is occupied with what the author considers by far the most important portion of his project (parte?n operis destinati longe gravissimam), an inquiry, namely, into various circumstances not included in a course of scholastic discipline, but essential to the formation of a perfect public speaker ; such as his manners—his moral cha­racter, — the principles by which he must be guided in undertaking, in preparing, and in con­ducting causes, — the peculiar style of eloquence which he may adopt with greatest advantage — the collateral studies to be pursued — the age at which it is most suitable to commence pleading — the necessity of retiring before the powers begin to fail—and various other kindred topics.

This production bears throughout the impress of a clear, sound judgment, keen discrimination, and pure taste, improved by extensive reading, deep reflection, and long practice. The diction is highly polished, and very graceful. The fastidious critic may, indeed, detect here and there an obscure, affected phrase, or a word employed in a sense not authorised by the purest models of Latinity, but these blemishes, although significant of the age to which the treatise belongs, are by no means so numerous or so glaring as seriously to injure its general beauty. In copiousness, perspicuity, and technical accuracy, it is unquestionably superior to the essay on the same subject ascribed to Cicero, although each possesses its peculiar merits, which are fully expounded in the laborious comparison instituted by Campanus. The sections which possess the greatest interest for general readers are those chapters in the first book which relate to elementary education, and the commencement of the tenth book, which furnishes us with a com-

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