De Oratore ("On the Orator") is a dialogue written by Cicero in 55 BCE. It is set in 91 BCE, when Lucius Licinius Crassus dies, just before the Social War and the civil war between Marius and Sulla, during which Marcus Antonius Orator, the other great orator of this dialogue, dies. During this year, the author faces a difficult political situation: after his return from exile in Dyrrachium (modern Albania), his house was destroyed by the gangs of Clodius in a time when violence was common. This was intertwined with the street politics of Rome.
Amidst the moral and political decadence of the state, Cicero wrote De Oratore to describe the ideal orator and imagine him as a moral guide of the state. He did not intend De Oratore as merely a treatise on rhetoric, but went beyond mere technique to make several references to philosophical principles. Cicero understood that the power of persuasion—the ability to verbally manipulate opinion in crucial political decisions—was a key issue. The power of words in the hands of a man without scruples or principles would endanger the whole community.
As a consequence, moral principles can be taken either by the examples of noble men of the past or by the great Greek philosophers, who provided ethical ways to be followed in their teaching and their works. The perfect orator shall be not merely a skilled speaker without moral principles, but both an expert of rhetorical technique and a man of wide knowledge in law, history, and ethical principles. De Oratore is an exposition of issues, techniques, and divisions in rhetoric; it is also a parade of examples for several of them and it makes continuous references to philosophical concepts to be merged for a perfect result.
Read more about De Oratore: Choice of The Historical Background of The Dialogue, Book II
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... drew heavily from Cicero's celebrated treatise De Officiis ("The Duties of a Gentleman"), well known throughout the Middle Ages and even more so from his De Oratore ... points out that the question put forth by De Oratore, namely, can rhetoric be taught or is it an inborn gift, parallels that of The Courtier ... The genre is also the same in The Courtier and De Oratore a comfortable, informal, open-ended discussion, in Ciceronian rhetoric called sermo (conversation), in which participants, set out the various sides of ...
... Orator ad Brutum (1885) and Brutus de claris oratoribus (1886), text with notes in Latin on the works by Cicero ... Virgiliana Die grammatischen Schriften des Galliers Virgilius Maro, auf Grund einer erstmaligen Vergleichung der Handschrift von Amiens und einer erneuten der Handschriften von Paris ... Tulli Ciceronis De Oratore (1893), an edition of Cicero's De oratore, full text downloadable ...