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Seminar ResMA/MA Latin: Quintilianus' Institutio oratoria



Is an orator allowed to use his eloquence to defend something which is morally entirely unacceptable or should he himself remain a person of integrity? Assuming he has integrity and wants to communicate nothing but the truth, is there any use in stirring up his audience’s emotions and embellishing what could be said even in a few words? Can an emotive performance be an essential contribution to the process of communicating knowledge? Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria is not only a handbook or compilation of rhetorical strategies; it is rather also concerned with the aesthetic and ethic dimensions of an orator’s duties and the question of how young people have to be educated in order to meet the requirements of becoming an “orator perfectus”. The treatise eventually proves to be a compelling and entertaining discussion of these questions. In the seminar we will read and discuss some of the passages which have turned out to be crucial for aesthetic theory up to the present day.


Quintiliani Institutionis Oratoriae libri XII, 2 vols, ed. M. Winterbottom, Oxford 1970 (OCT)


This course is a concentrated seminar. Classes two times a week in block 2.


Antje Wessels