Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period : 330 B.C.-A.D. 400

By Stanley E. Porter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
DELIVERY AND MEMORY

Thomas H. Olbricht

Pepperdine University, California, USA

According to the Rhetorica ad Herennium, published about 80 BC, the five parts of rhetoric are: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.1 Aristotle in The Rhetoric discussed the first three, but focused on invention. “There are three things which require special attention in regard to speech: first, the sources of proofs, secondly, style; and thirdly, the arrangement of the parts of the speech.”2 He mentioned delivery briefly in book 3 in the section on style. On the other parts he recognized predecessors, but in regard to delivery he wrote that it “is of the greatest importance, but has not yet been treated by anyone”.3 A contemporary of Aristotle, Theophrastus, wrote a significant treatise which is no longer extant. Concerning the emergence of the five part canon of rhetoric, Harry Caplan wrote,

The pre-Aristotelian rhetoric, represented by the Rhet. ad AUxandrum,
treated the first three (without classifying them); Aristotle would add
Delivery …, and his pupil Theophrastus did so. When precisely in the
Hellenistic period Memory was added as a fifth division by the Rhodian
or the Pergamene school, we do not know.4

Aristotle believed that both poetry and rhetoric are concerned with delivery, implying that both were to be presented orally. He focused first on voice, pointing out that by the emotion in the voice different

1Rhet. ad Her. 1:3. Though the Rhetorica ad Herennium placed memory before
delivery, I will follow the now traditional order.

2 Arist. Rh. 3:1. This and subsequent translations are from J. H. Freese, Aristotle,
The Art of Rhetoric
(LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959), p. 345.

3 Arist. Rh. 3:3. He only discussed delivery for about a page and a half, sections
4—7. See R. L. Enos, Greek Rhetoric before Aristotle (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland
Press, 1993) and T. Cole, The Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1991).

4 H. Caplan, Rhetorica Ad Herennium (LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1954), p. 6.

-159-

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