Cicero's de Oratore and Horace's Ars Poetica

By George Converse Fiske; Mary A. Grant | Go to book overview
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ϕύσις, μελέτη, ἐτιστήμη

The well-worn commonplace as to the respective weight to be assigned to ϕύ στς (natura), μελέτη (exercitatio, diligentia), and 1ἐτιστήμη (doctrina), plays an important part in the τέξναι ῥητορικαί. I have summarized in a general way the development of the commonplace in my previous article (pp. 67-68), and will content myself here with emphasizing the importance that this commonplace holds as a determining conception for the disposition of the professional arts and sciences under the rubrics τέχνη and τεχεχίτης It the basis of such a division lies the conception that in the productions of the poet and orator two factors are equally involved, the art and the personality of the artist. In the personality of the artist there is an interplay of three things, ϕπιοστ or natura, his natural gifts, practice (μελέτη), and ἐπτστήμη (wisdom). This last, apart from the τέχνη, enters into the product. According to Barwick,1 Heraclides, perhaps influenced by a passage in Plato Phaedrus, brought these qualities into relation with the rubric on τεχνίης. Neoptolemus, who certainly bulks large among Horace's sources for the Ars Poetica, divided his work into the two rubrics τέχνη and τεχνίτης, as Jensen has proved.2

Naturally more copious formulations of the respective contributions of these three qualities to "successful virtuosity" as Professor Shorey phrases 1ἕit,3 were common. In such fuller formulations we have other concomitant qualities associated with the central trinity. The formulations of Cicero and of Horace in the Ars Poetica are nearer to these later and fuller

Op. cit., p. 58
Op. cit., p. 103.
Θύσις, υελέτη, ἐπιστήμη in the Transactions of the American Philological Association, XL ( 1909), pp. 185-201.


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