The Rhetorical Juvenilia of Cicero and the artes dictaminis

Author: Alessio, Gian Carlo
Title: The Rhetorical Juvenilia of Cicero and the artes dictaminis
Review/Collection: in: Cox, V. & Ward, J. O. (Ed.), The Rhetoric of Cicero in its Medieval and Early Renaissance Commentary Tradition (Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition, 2)
Place edition: Leiden & Boston
Editor: Brill
Year edition: 2006
Keywords: Héritage - Fortuna - Legacy, Rhétorique - Retorica - Rhetorics
Description: The relevance of Ciceronian rhetorical doctrine to the teaching and practice of the ars dictaminis has traditionally been regarded as marginal, despite the allusions to Ciceronian rhetoric we find in medieval dictamina textbooks. This view, however, needs modification. It is important to recognize, first, that for the theorists of the ars dictaminis as for all other practitioners of medieval communication theory down to the advent of humanism, the principal sources for classical rhetorical doctrine were the De inventione and the Rhetorica ad Herennium. Second, it must be noted that the theorists of the ars dictaminis used their classical sources selectively. Their utilization of classical rhetorical doctrine is, in fact, limited to those partes orationis still recognizably present within the structure of the letter (exordium, narratio and, more rarely, conclusio), and, more generally, to what might be regarded as functional to the needs of dictamen as a primarily stylistic art oriented towards the production of written texts. Elocutio was consequently privileged as the portion of classical doctrine most relevant to the ars dictaminis, while those parts of classical rhetoric that related to forensic and deliberative discourse were generally regarded as dispensable [Author].
Author initials: Alessio 2006