Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Preface to Marcellus Victorius
Quintilian wrote this after a 20 year history of teaching young people. He wrote reluctantly but was challenged again due to contradictions in authors who addressed oratory. Because oratory is a skill which involves great breadth of preparation, he will address as much of that study as possible. This is a difficult topic. (“We are to form, then, the perfect orator, who cannot exist unless as a good man, and we require in him, therefore, not only consummate ability in speaking, but every excellence of mind” (Quintilian Preface 9). Morality is of great importance. It is through effective oratory that a good man influences a good society. The true orator is, then, truly “wise, accomplished also in science and in every qualification for speaking” (Quintilian Preface 18). As he closes his introduction Quintilian notes that some people are not of a disposition to become competent orators regardless of the amount of practice.