Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory



Quintilian to Trypho1

Wishing Health

You have prevailed on me, by your daily importunity, to proceed at once to publish the books on the education of an orator, which I had addressed to my friend Marcellus, for, for my own part, I thought that they were not yet sufficiently advanced towards perfection. On the composition of them, as you know, I spent little more than two years while distracted by so many other occupations, and this time was devoted not much to the labor of writing as to that of research for the almost boundless work which I had undertaken and to the perusal of authors, who are innumerable. Following, besides, the advice of Horace, who, in his Art of Poetry, recommends that publication should not be hurried and that a work should be retained till the ninth year, I allowed time for reconsidering them, in order that when the ardor of invention had cooled, I might judge of them, on a more careful re-perusal, as a mere reader. Yet if they are so much demanded, as you say, let us give our sails to the winds and pray for success as we loose our cable. But much also depends on your faithfulness and care, that they may come into the hands of the public in as correct a state as possible.

1 An eminent bookseller at Rome, mentioned by Martial,iv. 72; xiii 3.

Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:5/2/2004