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EN 1006 Lecture Notes - Inventio, Pronuntiatio, Elocutio

Course Code
EN 1006
Rosita Georgieva

of 5
Lecture 6 Notes
Rhetorical Strategies Part II – Issue Theory and Parts of Oration
1. Key Terms in Classical Rhetoric covered by Aristotle and ps.-Cicero
--Some of them started by Aristotle but elaborated and developed by other rhetoricians
The topoi – teach us where to look for arguments
Issue theory (and its four divisions) -- how to approach a certain issue or problem
The 6 parts of oration – provide us with the very structure of oratory
The 5 canons of rhetoric/oratory – the requirements for delivering a successful speech
The Five Canons or Officia (duties) of Oratory:
invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery
Invention (inventio)
Inventio is the Latin term for “invention” and “discovery”; it is mainly about discovering
arguments; about figuring out what to say;
Arrangement (dispositio)
--about a good organizational strategy; about the effective arrangement of the various
parts of a written or spoken discourse
Style (elocutio);
Style -- the unique, individual way in which human beings use language to express their
thoughts and feelings
three levels of style were known in the classical period:
low or plain style – meant to instruct
middle or forcible style – to move
high or florid style – to charm
Style involves how you put words and sentences together; how you consider tone,
diction, decorum, grammar, punctuation, and a choice of words that concerns:
correctness, purity (use of native words vs. foreign), simplicity, clearness,
appropriateness, etc.
Memory (memoria)
Concerns the use of memory in finding material for argument; the bigger the storage of
knowledge in your head, the easier you will speak
Delivery (pronuntiatio)
-- The very presentation of the material how you manage your voice (pitch, volume,
emphasis, pausing) and whether you speak clearly, what kind of gestures, eye and
facial expressions you use, good pronunciation and articulation, the physical
outlook of your presentation, etc.
Topoi and Topical Invention
The Greek word “topos” (singular) and “topoi” (plural) translates into English as
In rhetoric, topos is the place where one looks for arguments and possible ways of
explaining ideas and developing their subject
Aristotle identified two types of topoi:
common topics: those common to any subject or genre of oratory; that could be used
for any occasion or speech
special topics: those specific to a certain subject matter or genre; for example, those
used exclusively in the court of law, in the forum, or in ceremonial speeches)
Common Topics
Where can we find arguments or starting points of invention?
Aristotle lists several examples of common topics including:
● Definition
● Comparison
● Magnitude
● Inflection
Special Topics
--Important topics in judicial oratory include:
Just vs. injust
Good vs. bad
Happy vs. unhappy
Lawful vs. unlawful
Written law vs. tradition
Individual vs. community
Intentional vs. unintentional
(these are issues to think about when we write about, for example, about today’s
health care, how the health system may be an advantage for an individual but not for the
community; then we use the individual vs. community special topic)
--In deliberative oratory:
Persuasion vs. dissuasion
expedient vs. honorable
words vs. deeds
--In epideictic:
Noble vs. ignoble
Praise vs, blame
2. The Greco-Roman World and Rhetoric
What was the status of Hellenic rhetoric after the 4th c. BC?
--due to the loss of civic independence the judicial and deliberative oratories lost
their power in the Greek world, while the ceremonial still flourished: festival and
wedding speeches and funeral orations.
--there was a great enthusiasm for the Greek language, literature, and rhetorical
education among the educated Romans
--a public quarrel between rhetoric and philosophy in the mid-2nd c. BC.
--The rhetorical theories developed mainly in Greece; the Roman rhetoric focused
on how to develop practical use out of the theories or how to Latinize rhetoric
-- The generation of Cicero, the author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium, known as ps.
Cicero, Quintillian, and Tacitus, produced in Latin technical treatises, rhetorical
essays, and oratories; greatly influenced by the works of Isocrates and Aristotle.
--Roman education: the spread of literacy, of grammar and rhetoric; specialized
training in law or medicine
--the History of Rome; from a republic to an empire
--Legal system: advocacy evolving out of patronage system; expert jurists, advocates,
judges, and politician-magistrates
-- diverse class system: citizens, freedmen, slaves, etc.