Alexander and Herennius

In the following table, the arrangement of two ancient rhetorical handbooks is compared. The Greek Rhetoric for Alexander, attributed to Aristotle but perhaps written by Anaximenes, is contemporary with Aristotle's Rhetoric but continues an older tradition (Kennedy, New History 50). The Latin Rhetoric for Herennius, attributed to Cicero but written by an unknown author ca. 85-80 BCE (New History 122), shows remarkably little substantive change between Greek and early Latin models.

In the Alexander, the body is organized according to the kinds of oratory. This means that invention is divided between topics and proofs, topics being considered distinct to different kinds of speech, while proofs are general in nature. The first and most comprehensive treatment of topics is given to deliberative rhetoric, perhaps reflecting the influence of the school of Isocrates.

In the Herennius, the body is mainly organized according to the parts of the speech, a still more ancient tradition. Yet the kinds of oratory are accommodated as well, with judicial speech given pride of place. This allows proofs and topics (largely displaced in judicial rhetoric by stases) to be addressed together at the place in the speech where they would ordinarily occur, a more natural treatment, while brief treatments of deliberative and epideictic are appended as an afterthought.

Finally, note that style is considered as belonging to invention in Alexander, which has only invention and arrangement as formal canons. On the other hand, style is discussed as the last of five canons in Herrenius.

Rhetoric for Alexander Rhetoric for Herennius
Salutation 1420a - 1421b Preface I.1
I. Kinds of Oratory 1421b I. General Headings I.2-3
A. Kinds
B. Species
A. Causes of Oratory
B. Canons ("faculties")
C. Competencies
D. Parts of Speech
II. Invention 1421b - 1428a II. Invention I.4 - III.15
A. Topics
1. Parliamentary (=Deliberative)
a. Lines of Argument
(Justice, Legality, Expedience, Honor etc.)
b. Subjects
(Ritual, legislation, constitution,
treaties, war, peace, finance)
2. Ceremonial (=Epideictic)
3. Forensic (=Judicial)
4. Investigational (exetasis)
5. Summation
1421b -1428a A. Parts of Judicial Speech
1. Definition of Parts of Speech
2. Introduction
3. Narration
4. Division
5. Proof and Refutation
a. Issues (=Topics/Stases)
b. Arguments (=Proofs)
6. Conclusion
B. Proofs
1. Direct (words/actions/persons)
a. Probability
b. Example
c. Token
d. Consideration (enthymeme)
e. Maxim
f. Sign
g. Refutation
h. Differences between forms of proof
2. Supplementary
a. Opinion of the speaker
b. Evidence (voluntary)
c. Evidence under torture
d. Oath
1428a - 1432b
C. Other Expedients (=Style)
1. Anticipation
2. Postulates
3. Recapitulation
4. Irony
5. Agreeable style, length
6. Diction (putting words together)
7. Twofold statements
8. Clarity
9. Parallelisms
a. Antithesis
b. Parisosis
c. Paromoeosis
1432b - 1436a B. The Deliberative Speech III.1 - 9
C. The Epideictic Speech III.10 - 15
III. Arrangement
A. Arrangement of parliamentary speeches
1. [Exhortation]
a. Introduction
b. Exposition (=narration)
c. Confirmation (=proof)
d. Anticipation (=refutation)
e. Recapitulation (and peroration)
5. Dissuasion
B. Of ceremonial (epideictic) speeches
C. Of forensic speeches
D. Of "investigational" speeches
1436a - 1445b III. Arrangement III.16 - 18
No Coverage of Memory and Delivery IV. Delivery III.19 - 27
V. Memory III.28 - 40
VI. Style IV.1 - 69
IV. Closing Remarks (on character) 1445b - 1447b Epilogue IV.70
Addendum on Politics


Chiron, P. "Relative Dating of the Rhetoric to Alexander and Aristotle's Rhetoric: A Methodology and Hypothesis." Rhetorica, vol. 29, no. 3, 2011, pp. 236-262.

Piazza, Francesca. "Pisteis in Comparison: Examples and Enthymemes in the Rhetoric to Alexander and in Aristotle's Rhetoric." Rhetorica, vol. 29, no. 3, 2011, pp. 305.

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