Primary Sources

Cicero, Marcus T. De Orator. Vol. 1. Trans. E.N. Moor. London: Aethuen and, 1892. Internet

            Archive. Web. 25 Jan. 2014. <>.

The translation is old, but the format and searchability of the online book is impeccable. The book can be viewed either as a full text online, or as a pdf and can also be downloaded. Both versions can be easily searched.

Cicero, Marcus T. De Orator. Trans. E. W. Sutton. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1942. Internet

            Archive. Web. 25 Jan. 2014. <>.

This translation is still quite dated, but I love that it has the original language on one side and English on the other. Also, it has helpful footnotes for confusing passages. The searchability is great. It is available as a pdf, or full text online and can be downloaded.

“Cicero, De Oratore, Book 2.” Pomona. Trans. J. S. Watson. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.


There is absolutely no information about the date of the translation, and the website’s face is unreachable from the page, so there is no access to knowing who is publishing or sponsoring this translation. However, with that said, the text is easily searchable, well formatted, and has a list of extensive footnotes that relate both to translation issues as well as clarifying the text or explaining a cultural note etc.

Secondary Sources:

Fjelstad, Per. “Restraint and Emotion in Cicero’s De Oratore.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 36.1

(2003): 39-47. Project MUSE. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.

Per Fjelstad, in his article “Restraint and Emotion in Cicero’s De Oratore” (2003) contends that the conflicting theories of the emotional display of the orator presented in Cicero’s De Oratore suggest possibilities suitable for appropriate contexts rather than act as limitations or present challenge’s to each other’s validity. Fjelstad develops this idea through a close reading of the text in which he examines the movements, organization, and rhetorical devices, but most elaborately the contexts, in which each theory is presented and established, as well as the interpretations of other classical scholars regarding the relationship between the theories, most notably Augustine, showing that different situations called for different displays of emotion. His purpose is to illustrate a larger theory of rhetoric as a philosophical art and ground this overarching theory in a pillar of rhetorical understandings: the teachings and works of Cicero. Fjelstad maintains a scholarly approach, tone, and method, assuming background knowledge as well as familiarity with the principles of rhetoric as well as with the works of Cicero.


Hall, Jon. “Social Evasion and Aristocratic Manners in Cicero’s De Oratore.” The American

            Journal of Philology 117.1 (1996): 95-120. JSTOR. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.

Jon Hall, in his article “Social Evasion and Aristocratic Manners in Cicero’s De Oratore” (1996), argues that contrary to popular scholarly interpretation, De Oratore does not, in fact, merely depict idealized characters remote from everyday realities, but rather characters who face practice problems of everyday aristocratic interaction, and in this sense, it captures the true flavor of ancient Roman manners. Hall begins with a portrayal of social manners in several scenes and closely reads selected scenes that highlight social manners; he then proceeds to compare the manners presented in the text with manners reveals in Cicero’s own correspondences via letters to other aristocracy, providing both cultural history as well as revealing the similarities between the manners exhibited in the letters with the manners found in De Oratore. Hall’s purpose is to present a new understanding of both the characters, the context, and even the purpose of De Oratore that has formerly been unrealized by basing interpretations on the text alone, interpretations that, according to Hall, do not give due to the realities of ancient Roman aristocracy. Though Hall writes for a scholarly audience interested in classical rhetoric, his tone is accessible to those outside of the field as well.

Mendelson, Michael. “Everything Must Be Argued: Rhetorical Theory and Pedagogical Practice

in Cicero’s De Oratore.” Journal of Education 179.1 (1997): 15-33.EBSCO Host. Web.

26 Jan. 2014.

Prus, Robert. “Creating, Sustaining, and Contesting Definitions of Reality: Marcus Tullius

Cicero as a Pragmatist Theorist and Analytic Ethnographer.” Qualitative Sociology

            Review 6.2 (2010): n. pag. Directory of Open Access Journals. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.

Zerba, Michelle. “Love, Envy, and Pantomimic Morality in Cicero’s De Oratore.” Classical

            Philology 97.4 (2002): 299-321. JSTOR. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.

Michelle Zerba, in her article, “Love, Envy, and Pantomimic Morality in Cicero’s De Oratore” (2002) argues that De Oratore performs a “pantomimic” morality (the juxtaposition of envy and love- a form of morality that attempts to mask its awareness of advantage behind the ruse of love and service) and demonstrates how this morality is produced by a competition for preeminence despite values of undying love and service. Zerba develops this idea by summarizing and closely reading three instances in the dialogue that create or display tensions between the characters, paying close attention to the interplay of characters and their acceptance or rejection of each other’s claims, all the while reading such tensions in light of greater themes in the dialogue, love and envy, showing how the interaction of the characters in the text point to an unspoken morality. Her purpose is to reveal a meta-commentary laden within De Oratore that exposes the moral tensions of Classical Greek society as well as to offer another reading of De Oratore, as a dramatized social performance that is then able to perform an ideology it textually censures. Zerba initiates a scholarly relationship with those informed in the field of classical rhetoric, assuming a familiarity with both De Oratore as well as the current critical conversations which have surrounded the ancient piece, but provides enough summary and background that a scholar outside of the field may appreciate and understand her argument.

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