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Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker.   By: (106 BC - 43 BC)

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Now first translated into English by E. Jones


As the following Rhetorical Pieces have never appeared before in the English language, I thought a Translation of them would be no unacceptable offering to the Public. The character of the Author (Marcus Tullius Cicero) is so universally celebrated, that it would be needless, and indeed impertinent, to say any thing to recommend them.

The first of them was the fruit of his retirement, during the remains of the Civil War in Africa; and was composed in the form of a Dialogue. It contains a few short, but very masterly sketches of all the Speakers who had flourished either in Greece or Rome, with any reputation of Eloquence, down to his own time; and as he generally touches the principal incidents of their lives, it will be considered, by an attentive reader, as a concealed epitome of the Roman history . The conference is supposed to have been held with Atticus, and their common friend Brutus, in Cicero's garden at Rome, under the statue of Plato, whom he always admired, and usually imitated in his dialogues: and he seems in this to have copied even his double titles , calling it Brutus, or the History of famous Orators . It was intended as a supplement , or fourth book , to three former ones, on the qualifications of an Orator.

The second, which is intitled The Orator , was composed a very short time afterwards (both of them in the 61st year of his age) and at the request of Brutus. It contains a plan, or critical delineation, of what he himself esteemed the most finished Eloquence, or style of Speaking. He calls it The Fifth Part, or Book , designed to complete his Brutus , and the former three on the same subject. It was received with great approbation; and in a letter to Lepta, who had complimented him upon it, he declares, that whatever judgment he had in Speaking, he had thrown it all into that work, and was content to risk his reputation on the merit of it. But it is particularly recommended to our curiosity, by a more exact account of the rhetorical composition , or prosaic harmony of the ancients, than is to be met with in any other part of his works.

As to the present Translation, I must leave the merit of it to be decided by the Public; and have only to observe, that though I have not, to my knowledge, omitted a single sentence of the original, I was obliged, in some places, to paraphrase my author, to render his meaning intelligible to a modern reader. My chief aim was to be clear and perspicuous: if I have succeeded in that , it is all I pretend to. I must leave it to abler pens to copy the Eloquence of Cicero. Mine is unequal to the task.


When I had left Cilicia, and arrived at Rhodes, word was brought me of the death of Hortensius. I was more affected with it than, I believe, was generally expected. For, by the loss of my friend, I saw myself for ever deprived of the pleasure of his acquaintance, and of our mutual intercourse of good offices. I likewise reflected, with Concern, that the dignity of our College must suffer greatly by the decease of such an eminent augur. This reminded me, that he was the person who first introduced me to the College, where he attested my qualification upon oath; and that it was he also who installed me as a member; so that I was bound by the constitution of the Order to respect and honour him as a parent. My affliction was increased, that, in such a deplorable dearth of wife and virtuous citizens, this excellent man, my faithful associate in the service of the Public, expired at the very time when the Commonwealth could least spare him, and when we had the greatest reason to regret the want of his prudence and authority. I can add, very sincerely, that in him I lamented the loss, not (as most people imagined) of a dangerous rival and competitor, but of a generous partner and companion in the pursuit of same... Continue reading book >>

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