Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Preface &
Index to Book 1


To Trypho, eminent book seller in Rome.


The object and intention of the work, § 1-3. To whom dedicated, 6. Unauthorized publications under the name of Quintilian, 7. The professions of the rhetorician and philosopher were formerly united, 9-10. The perfect orator, 17. Partition of the work, 21, 22. Further observations on teaching and speaking, 23-27.

Book 1

Chapter 1

Remarks on the capacities of boys in general, § l-3. Of nurses, 4, 5. Of parents, slaves, and poedagogia , 6-11. Of learning Greek and Latin, 12-14. Of the proper age for beginning to learn, 15-19. Of the proper method of teaching children, 20-24. Of learning the alphabet, and of writing, 25-29. Of learning to read, of subjects for writing, of learning by heart, and of improving the pronunciation, 30-37.

Chapter 2

Considerations on public and private education; public education to be preferred; alleged corruption of morals in public schools; equal corruption at home, § 1-8. Reply to the objection that a pupil receives less attention from a master in a school than from a domestic tutor, 9-16. Emulation, friendship, incitements to masters and pupils, and other advantages of public education, 17-31.

Chapter 3

Disposition and abilities of a pupil to be ascertained, § 1-3. Precociousness not desirable, 3-5. On the management of pupils, 6, 7. On relaxation and play, 8-13. On corporal punishment, 14-18.

Chapter 4

Of grammar, § 1-6. Remarks on certain letters and derivations of words, 7-12. Changes in words, 13-17. Of the parts of speech, 18-21. Some observations on nouns and verbs, 22-29.

Chapter 5

Necessity of correctness in speaking and writing, § 1. On single words, 2, 3. Choice of words, 4. Barbarisms, 5-10. Barbarisms in poets and other writers, 11-17. Faults in pronunciation, 17, 18. On the aspiration, 19-21. The accents, 22-24. On ending a word with an acute accent, 25-30. Legitimate accentuation, 31-33. On the solecism, 34-37. Different kinds of solecisms, 38-41. No dual number in Latin, 42-44. Solecisms in various parts of speech, 45-51. Figures of speech, 52-54. On foreign words, 55-57. Greek words, 58-64. Compound words, 65-70. Words proper, metaphorical, common, new, 71, 72.

Chapter 6

Of language, § 1-3. Analogy, 4-11. Departures from it, 12-27. Etymology 28-33. Abuses of it, 34-38. Old words, 39-41. Authority, 42. Custom, 43-45.

Chapter 7

Of orthography, § 1. Distinction of words of doubtful signification, 2-6. Composition with prepositions, 7-9. On the letter k, 10. Orthography subservient to custom; antique spelling,11-27. Difference between spelling and pronunciation, 28, 29. Necessity of judgment, 30-32. Quintilian defends his remarks on this subject, 33-35.

Chapter 8

Of reading, § 1-4. Authors to be read, Greek and Latin, 4-12. Duty of the grammarian, 13-17. Of lectures on historical reading, 18-21.

Chapter 9

Commencement of composition, § 1. aesop's fables, 2. Sentences, chrioe, ethologioe , 3, 4. Narratives from the poets, 5.

Chapter 10

Of other studies preliminary to that of rhetoric, § 1. Necessity of them, 2-8. Authority of the ancients in favor of learning music, 9-16. Union of music with grammar, 17-21. Utility of music to the orator, 22-30. What sort of music to be studied, 31-33. Utility of geometry, 34-37. Geometrica. proof, 38-45. Astronomy; examples of the benefit attending a knowledge of it, 46-49.

Chapter 11

Instruction to be received from the actor, § 1-3. He should correct faults of pronunciation, 4-8. He should give directions as to look and gesture, 9-11. Passages from plays should be recited by the pupil, 12, 13. Passages also from speeches, 14. Exercises of the palaestra to be practised, 15-19.

Chapter 12

No fear to be entertained lest boys should be engaged in too many studies, if judgment be used; examples of the number of things to which the human mind can attend at once, § 1-7. Boys endure study with spirit and patience, 8-11. Abundance of time for all necessary acquirements, 12-15. Unreasonable pretexts for not pursuing study, 16-19.

Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:5/21/2004