Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory.Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book IV Chapter 2.
In book 4 chapter 2 Quintilian considers the idea of a statement of facts in a case. The speaker may or may not wish to emphasize certain facts. This is the content of the narrative. At this time the speaker presents the facts of the case before the judge. The full statement of facts is not always required (Quintilian IV.2.4). Most often this full statement is not needed because the facts are well known or very easily admitted. This does not mean that the facts are not laid out, but that they are readily accepted. In general, a more complete statement is needed. “For my part, besides resting on the authority of eminent rhetoricians, I am myself of opinion that there are two kinds of statements in judicial causes: the one sort being an exposition of the cause itself, and the other of the circumstances connected with it” (Quintilian IV.2.11). Quintilian gives a number of examples in which some parts of a case receive no explanation and others are dealt with in full.
Some consider that a statement of facts must always follow immediately after the exordium (Quintilian IV.2.24). Depending on the actual case this may or may not be necessary. There is method to the actual statement of the case (Quintilian IV.2.31). “A statement of a case is an account of a thing done or supposed to have been done, which account is adapted to persuade. . .” (Quintilian IV.2.31). It is stated clearly and lucidly (Quintilian IV.2.36). Excessive noise or bombast is not desirable (Quintilian IV.2.37). Quintilian gives examples of a concise but full presentation.
The presentation of facts need not depend entirely on outside sources, but may rest upon the speaker’s reasoned judgment (Quintilian IV.2.52).
In a case when the facts may harm the speaker’s case, Quintilian observes that avoidance is not always wise (Quintilian IV.2.66). Silence may indicate guilt. Rather, the case contrary to the adversary is made, often emphasizing motive.
In instances of conjecture, where the desire is to establish the actual facts, the circumstances are often very important (Quintilian IV.2.81). Again, making a case contrary to the adversary is very important. If evidence must be invented, it must be plausible evidence (Quintilian IV.2.89). Quintilian continues to speak of what he considers appropriate ways to invent evidence.
The cases to be documented and defended must above all be clearly understood and stated (Quintilian IV.2.103). If possible, facts should be phrased in such a way as to incite agreement (Quintilian IV.2.109).