Speech Genres in the Twelfth-Century Latin Historical Epics of Italy

Henry Bayerle, Oxford College of Emory University

1. Speech Genres and Rhetorical Analysis

The purpose of this paper is to describe the speeches of Medieval Latin historical epic in terms of speech genre. Generic expectations informed the reading and writing of poetry in Antiquity, as Francis Cairns illustrated in 1972 in his Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry. Shared knowledge provided ancient readers a system of logical connections that made explicit explanation unnecessary; modern scholars must therefore know the genre of a particular piece to understand the ways in which it was read. Cairns used the word genre to describe not only the form of entire literary works, such as epic, lyric, elegy, or epistle, but also the content of works and parts of works. [1] Thus it is possible to view individual speeches within ancient Latin epic as belonging to separate classes of literature.
The speeches of Homeric epic have often been cited as early examples of rhetorical practice in oratory. Modern attempts to classify these speeches according to genre date back to the nineteenth century. At the same time as Cairns was approaching Latin poetry with a new understanding of the importance of rhetoric and genre, Gilbert Highet produced a detailed study and classification of the speeches of Vergil’s Aeneid. [2] Highet advanced the study of epic speeches by describing characterization through speeches and Vergil’s use of Homeric models. Though he applied the terminology of rhetorical manuals in his analysis, he felt it necessary to refute any suggestion that Vergil might be a mere rhetorician rather than a poet. In discussing ancient comments on Mercury’s warning to Aeneas in Book Four of the Aeneid, he wrote:

It is repugnant to the sense of poetry to have these few lines classified into arguments designed to persuade Aeneas, in spite of his undoubted courage, to take flight from his home; and yet Servius does so… [3]

This modern anxiety about ascribing the use of rhetoric to an epic poet did not affect ancient critics, who, as Joseph Farrell reasonably argued, did not necessarily imply a hierarchical relationship between poetry and rhetoric or indeed anything negative when they suggested that a poet could serve as a model for orators. [4] Farrell may be right to claim that Highet was “tilting against a straw man” since few modern Latinists would argue that Vergil is a mere rhetorician and no poet.

Reviews of The Speeches in Vergil’s Aeneid bore out this concern about a bias against rhetorical analysis. While many admired Highet’s industry, Francis A. Sullivan’s reservations are typical. Though he conceded the book “was fortunate to have as its author Gilbert Highet,” whose scholarship managed to wring some interesting points out of a boring topic, he essentially rejected Highet’s project by concluding that the speeches were “spontaneous outpourings” that “defy sober analysis.” [5]
Others have studied the speeches of Silver Latin epic. Wolfgang Tasler analyzed the speeches in Lucan’s Pharsalia and Martin Helzle used speeches from several different poems to describe characterization in epic. [6] Neither used Highet’s systematic approach; this makes for less cumbersome reading yet also leads to methodological problems. As Christiane Reitz remarked, Helzle’s conclusions about characterization through speech are compromised when they are based on the comparison of speeches uttered in different situations and with different intentions. [7]
William Dominik next described Latin epic speeches in terms of speech genre. [8] He classified all of the speeches of Statius’ poem using a taxonomy of genres similar to that of Highet. Reception was again mixed. Stephen Newmayr predicted that the book was “sure to become standard reference works of immense value.” [9] D. E. Hill found all potentially interesting topics treated summarily. His final judgment was entirely negative: “The immense labour involved in devising the classifications and statistics is, sadly, not rewarded here by any commensurate progress in appreciation or understanding of the epic.” [10]
Medievalists too have expressed doubts about the usefulness of a rhetorical approach to poetry. Peter Dronke complained that the excessively rigid tracing of the history of topoi associated with Ernst Robert Curtius often fails to do justice to the creative genius of individual poets. [11]
Finally, it must be admitted that any generic typing of speeches is bound to be arbitrary, as modern scholars using pragmatics to study literature have understood at least as long as Bakhtin’s work has been readily available in translation. [12]
Aware of these doubts and limitations, I still maintain that, if it is at all possible to discuss the ways in which medieval poets created character through speech, such discussions must be based on an understanding of the occasions and goals of individual speeches, which itself implies some system of classification. I therefore hope to create and use a typology to classify the speeches of medieval Latin historical epic not as an end in itself but to show how medieval epic poets responded to models from Roman epic and to aid understanding of the characterization through speech.

2. Taxonomies of Epic Speeches

Ancient rhetoricians posited three main genres of speech: demonstrative, deliberative, and judicial. This approach, codified by the time Aristotle wrote his Rhetoric, [13] was prevalent in Rome and accessible to the Middle Ages in the description of the Rhetorica ad Herennium:

Tria genera sunt causarum, quae recipere debet orator: demonstrativum, deliberativum, iudiciale. Demonstrativum est, quod tribuitur in alicuius certae personae laudem vel vituperationem. Deliberativum est in consultatione, quod habet in se suasionem et dissuasionem. Iudiciale est, quod positum est incontroversia et quod habet accusationem aut petitionem cum defensione. [14]

Modern scholars have created more detailed taxonomies for the purposes of analyzing repeated patterns and topoi in speeches in ancient Greek and Latin epic: Anton Fingerle for Homeric epic, Gilbert Highet for Vergil’s Aeneid, and William Dominik for the Thebaid of Statius. [15] The qualitative differences between these three systems are not great. Fingerle and Highet both have sixteen categories of speeches and Dominik has seventeen. Below I list Dominik’s seventeen categories as a starting point because they reflect his careful examination of the applicability of the taxonomies of his predecessors.

1. Apostrophes
2. Challenges
3. Threats
4. Taunts
5. Commands
6. Deliberative Speeches
7. Descriptive Speeches
8. Narrative Speeches
9. Speeches of Encouragement
10. Forensic orations
11. Speeches of Mourning and Consolation
12. Oracular and Prophetic speeches
13. Praise and Blame speeches
14. Prayers
15. Questions
16. Responsions
17. Soliloquies

More important than the slight differences in taxonomies are the differences in the way the three scholars placed actual speeches into the various categories. Dominik correctly questioned Highet’s classification of the private speeches of Anna to Dido (Aeneid 4.31–53), Aeneas to Dido (Aeneid 4.333–361), and Latinus to Turnus (Aeneid 12.19–45) as ‘political and legalistic,’ since they are not spoken before an assembly. [16] This criticism highlights the importance of occasion in the analysis of speeches.

Dominik himself attempted to apply the three Aristotelian genera to the speeches of Latin epic, with mixed results. He properly pointed out that the genus iudiciale refers to courtroom speeches which justify or explain the past actions of others. [17] Because the Aeneid and the Thebaid contain no trial scenes, strictly speaking, neither poem contains orations of this genre. Some diplomatic speeches contain references to past deeds to support a petition, but their goal is not judicial. In spite of this justified criticism of Highet, Dominik too neglected occasion in his discussion of the cohortatio, a speech of encouragement uttered by a military commander to his troops. The occasion of the cohortatio is the battlefield, yet Dominik incorrectly classified some deliberative speeches as cohortationes even though they are uttered in assemblies in city centers. [18] This distinction is important when comparing speeches of different characters. It is possible to reach erroneous conclusions if one fails to pay attention to the occasion when using speaking style to describe character since different conventions apply to different speech genres.
Some ancient and medieval rhetoricians attempted to classify speeches according to their goal or purpose. [19] Modern linguists have used speech-act theory to express more exactly the illocutionary force of an utterance. In my approach I refer to the description of speech acts developed by J. L. Austin and the taxonomy designed by J. R. Searle to classify speeches:

Representatives: Commit the speaker to something’s being the case.
Directives: Attempts by the speaker to get the hearer to do something.
Commissives: Commit the speaker to some future action.
Expressives: Express a psychological state.
Declaratives: Saying makes it so, e.g. “I quit” and “I appoint you chairman.” [20]

3 Taxonomy of Speeches in the Twelfth-Century Latin Historical Epic

My taxonomy classifies the speeches of four historical epics of twelfth-century Italy: William of Apulia’s Gesta Roberti Wiscardi; the Liber Maiolichinus de gestis Pisanorum illustribus, ascribed to Henry of Pisa, more accurately known as the Liber Maiorichinus; the anonymous De bello urbis Comensis, also known as the Liber Cumanus; and the anonymous Carmen de gestis Frederici I. imperatoris in Lombardia, also known as the Gesta Frederici.
There are no apostrophes or soliloquies in the Medieval Latin epics of my corpus. All of the other kinds of speeches discussed by Highet and Dominik do occur in the medieval poems, but I have found it convenient to group them into a smaller number of categories. I explain the reasons for my choices in the sections for each category of speech. In addition to their relation to traditional genres, categories are defined by illocutionary force, occasion, and addressee. In Aristotelian terms, the first genre is demonstrative and genres (2) through (5) are deliberative.
GenreIllocutionary ForceOccasionAddressee
1. Vaunts/Taunts/Threats: representativebattlefieldenemies
2. Diplomatic Speeches directiveformal meetingspersons of a foreign political entity
3. Persuasionsdirective unspecifiedpersons of the same political entity
4. PrayersdirectiveunspecifiedGod
5. Cohortationesdirectivebattlefieldpersons of the same political entity
6. Responses commissiveunspecifiedunspecified
7. Prophetic Speeches representativeunspecifiedunspecified
8. Narrative Speeches representativeunspecifiedunspecified
9. Commands directive unspecifiedpersons of inferior status
10. Lamentsexpressiveunspecifiednone

4 Demonstrative Speeches and Medieval Latin Epic: Praise and Blame Speeches

The genus demonstrativum, one of the three Aristotelian genres of speech, is defined in the Rhetorica ad Herennium as a kind of speech in which praise or blame is attributed to another person: Demonstrativum est, quod tribuitur in alicuius certae personae laudem vel vituperationem (Ad Her. 1.2.2). As a description of either the positive or negative characteristics of a person, race, or political entity this genre has a representative illocutionary force.
There are no formal laudationes or vituperationes in the twelfth-century Latin historical epics, but several shorter vaunts, taunts, and challenges represent the informal branch of the genre. Nevertheless I will trace the development of formal speeches of praise and blame because these speeches provide topoi for several other speech genres of medieval Latin epic, especially the deliberative genres of diplomatic speeches, persuasions, prayers, and cohortationes.
The Rhetorica ad Herennium divides the loci communes of praise into three categories: laus igitur potest esse rerum externarum, corporis, et animi. (Ad. Her. 3.6.10). The author defines res externae as those things which befall a person by chance, for example, genus, educatio, divitiae, potestates, gloriae, civitas, and amicitiae. The laus corporis praises the physical attributes of a person’s body, such as velocitas, vires, dignitas, and valetudo. Further details of description of the human physique can be found under the heading effictio (4.49.63). The laus animi praises those qualities of one’s character that rest upon our judgment and thought: prudentia, iustitia, fortitudo, and modestia. [21]
Formal speeches of praise are rare in ancient epic, but vituperations are useful on the battlefield and in debates. The most famous vituperation of the Aeneid is the speech in which Numanus contrasts the effeminate traits of the Trojans with native Italian fortitude:

non pudet obsidione iterum ualloque teneri,
bis capti Phryges, et morti praetendere muros?
en qui nostra sibi bello conubia poscunt!
quis deus Italiam, quae uos dementia adegit?
non hic Atridae nec fandi fictor Vlixes:
durum a stirpe genus natos ad flumina primum
deferimus saeuoque gelu duramus et undis;
uenatu inuigilant pueri siluasque fatigant,
flectere ludus equos et spicula tendere cornu.
at patiens operum paruoque adsueta iuuentus
aut rastris terram domat aut quatit oppida bello.
omne aeuum ferro teritur, uersaque iuuencum
terga fatigamus hasta, nec tarda senectus
debilitat uiris animi mutatque uigorem:
canitiem galea premimus, semperque recentis
comportare iuuat praedas et uiuere rapto.
uobis picta croco et fulgenti murice uestis,
desidiae cordi, iuuat indulgere choreis,
et tunicae manicas et habent redimicula mitrae.
o uere Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges, ite per alta
Dindyma, ubi adsuetis biforem dat tibia cantum.
tympana uos buxusque uocat Berecyntia Matris
Idaeae; sinite arma uiris et cedite ferro.

Aeneid 9.598–620 [22]

This speech is a particularly important source of vocabulary and topoi later speeches of all genres that contain a vituperative element. Some of the most frequently used words and phrases (underlined above) are: Non pudet (588), dementia (601), and desidia cordi (615). Numanus begins with a vituperatio animis by claiming that the Trojans should be ashamed to hide behind walls and suggesting that they must be mad to imagine they, having been twice defeated, could defeat the Rutulians. He then proceeds to praise his own native Italians in all three categories (external circumstances, physical attributes, and character) as a durum genus (603) who pursue the masculine activities of hunting, horsemanship, and farming and retain their uigor into old age. Finally, Numanus returns to his vituperation of the Trojans, calling them Phrygian women and claiming that they prefer music and dancing choreis tibia, tympana to the arms of war.

5. Vaunts and Taunts in the Twelfth-Century Historical Epics

The twelfth-century Latin historical epics contain no formal speeches of praise or blame but their characters do utter numerous vaunts and taunts. The topoi of taunts arise so naturally from the context of warfare that no ancient model need be cited. In their simplest form, taunts express a wish for the death of the addressor’s opponent or telling him that he will not escape alive. Thus imperial soldiers in the Gesta Frederici shout “Misero mors Mediolano!” (Gesta Frederici 2310) [23] and the Duke of Catalonia says to his Muslim enemies in the Liber Maiorichinus:
nostris quoniam te viribus offers
Integer haud poteris nostros evadere nisus

Liber Maiorichinus 1735–1736 [24]

In the Liber Cumanus, the soldiers of Como utter a similar taunt:

Non evadetis, iniqui
Tempus adest vestrum completum, solvite colla

Liber Cumanus 1638–39 [25]
Such vaunts and taunts have commissive and declarative elements since they express implicit or explicit threats of future violent action. [26] Nevertheless Dominik is right to categorize vaunts as self-praise and taunts as blame, since they also have a representative illocutionary force. [27] Like formal vituperations, they are a declaration of superiority.
The relationship between words and deeds in the formal branch of demonstrative rhetoric is illustrated by the Ascanius’ response to Numanus’ vituperation: he sends an arrow through the head of Numanus and silences him, thereby proving him wrong. A physical act thus takes the place of a speech as response. Similar exchanges occur in scenes containing vaunts and taunts. The representative nature of vaunts and taunts is all the more evident in medieval epic where the relationship between words and deeds is not just a two-way street in which words bring about deeds and deeds reinforces words but also a expression of past, present, and future truth. [28]
This absolutist mind set also produces a genre of praise relatively unknown to its ancient models, the praise of the valor of the enemy. Praise is rare in epic. While the teikhoskopia in Book II of the Iliad expresses an appreciation of the Greeks, it does not convey any idea of absolute superiority that will inevitably lead to victory. In the Liber Maiorichinus, the Muslim king of Majorca understands that the Pisans cannot be defeated: “Rebar et hos homines,” ait, “at iam credo leones” (Liber Maiorichinus 1734). [29] This kind of praise reinforces the representative aspect of Pisan vaunts. In their crusading spirit they know that God will grant them victory. Unlike Aeneas, whose limited vision and repeated failure to understand prophecies deny him full knowledge of the implications of his deeds, and who in the most optimistic of readings only understands his identity after undergoing a long series of trials, the Pisans realize from the start that they are right and God will bring about the deeds described by their words.
In taunts some topoi from the Numanus speech appear, such as references to past defeats of the addressee. In the Liber Cumanus, the soldiers of Como shout:

Ite quater victi, miseri nunc ite Raimundi.
Non sumus ut vos victi, vel de gente Raimundi.

Liber Cumanus 895–896 [30]
The words quater victi, which echo the label Numanus applies to the Trojans (bis victi, Aeneid 9.599) are followed by a minimalist version of the contrast between weak addressees and brave addressors.
As in Numanus’ vituperation, medieval Latin taunts may contain praise of one’s own religion (laus cultus). In the Liber Maiorichinus, the Pisans respond to the taunts of the Moors:

Convicia vestre mineque
Nos sub Rege poli non cogunt ulla timere.
Venimus a patria summo sub principe Christo,
Cuius ob auxilium Balee superabimus urbem,
Qui servos Sathane gravibus vincere catenis
Et gladiis nostris penitus dabit esse necandos.
Illesumque, canes, comitem scitote Pirenum,
Et vestre vicina fore tempora cladis.

Liber Maiorichinus 3094–3101 [31]

Self-praise is also implicit in a later taunt in which the Pisans contrast their enemies’ love of gold with their own immunity to bribery:

Vos perdat et aurum
cunctipotens vestrum, qui tam perversa putatis.
carius est etenim vos tali morte resolvi
nobis, quam Balee pretiosa vel optima queque.

Liber Maiorichinus 3489–3492 [32]

Taunts in the Gesta Roberti are equally disparaging and also can display a comic aspect. On seeing the imposter Michel the citizens of Durazzo laugh and say:

iste solebat
crateras mensis plenos deffere Lieo
et de pincernis erat inferioribus unus.

Gesta Roberti 4.269–271 [33]
The most elaborate taunt in the epics of my study is uttered by bandits who block Frederick’s way in a pass in the Gesta Frederici:

Non datur hac transire tibi, rex ruffe, furoris
Teutonici ductor, cursum mutare necesse est.
Non sinit externas huc gressum ferre catervas
Adua, que patriam defendit ab hoste sacratam.
I procul hinc tecumque acies averte rapaces!
I procul et nostras non ingrediaris in horas!
Non sine morte tua nostri damnove cruoris
Mediolanensis patrie violabis honorem.

Gesta Frederici 2086–2093 [34]

This speech, which approaches the scope of a formal vituperatio, is announced as a taunt by the verba loquendi “voce lacessit.” These same words appear before Turnus’ taunt of the phantom Aeneas in Book Ten of the Aeneid. [35] The speech here opens with a vituperatio corporis, referring to his unfortunate red hair (rex ruffe, 2086) and a vituperatio gentis, calling Frederick furoris Teutonici ductor (2086–2087). This last insult is emphasizes the foreignness of Frederick who, as a German Emperor asserting his rights in Italy, was viewed by some as an interloper. The word furor was often used to describe Germans in Italian literature of the twelfth century and also raises doubts about Frederick’s claim to be a new Aeneas since it represents the opposite of pietas in Vergilian symbolism. [36] Next the imperial troops are reviled as foreign (externas) and rapacious (rapaces). The self-laudatory element is limited to the claim that the River Adda has the power to defend the patria sacrata against foreign invaders. [37]

6. Deliberative Speeches and the Medieval Ars Dictaminis

Deliberative speeches concern persuasion: Deliberativum est in consultatione, quod habet in se suasionem et dissuasionem (Ad Her. 1.2.2). [38] They constitute by far the most common of the three Aristotelian speech genres in epic; Dominik estimates that over one-third of the speeches in the Thebaid fall into this category. [39] Technically these speeches must have a political assembly as their occasion; I include under this heading all directive speeches (i.e., those designed to make the addressees do something) that use the mode of persuasion, namely diplomatic speeches, persuasions, prayers, and cohortationes. These four deliberative sub-genres differ in occasion and in the relative social levels of their addressors and addressees.
These kinds of deliberative speech also share the trait of having a formal structure based on the rhetorical training received by all of the authors of Roman epic. The six-part structure prescribed by Roman rhetoricians for deliberative orations is used by Highet and Dominik to analyze the speeches of the Aeneid and the Thebaid. The basic structure is described in Rhetorica ad Herennium 1.4 and Cicero’s De Inventione 1.19:

1. Exordium (or Prooemium), an introduction intended to win attention and sympathy.
2. Narratio, a survey of the situation providing the facts necessary to support the proposal of the speech.
3. Partitio or Divisio, a statement of issues involved and plan to cover them.
4. Confirmatio, a presentation of the reasons for adopting proposal.
5. Reprehensio (or Confutatio or Refutatio), a rebuttal of the opponent’s arguments.
6. Peroratio or Conclusio, the conclusion. [40]

Dominik analyzed several of the formal deliberative speeches of the Thebaid to show how they reflect the five-part structure described by Quintilian, which combines parts (3) and (4) of the Ciceronian model into one part called the probatio, which includes the propositio. Without going into detail about how rhetoric functions in individual speeches, he summarized their content; Evadne’s appeal to Theseus (12.546–86) fits into the paradigm in the following way:

1. Prooemium (12.546–48)
2. Narratio (12.548–69)
3. Probatio (12. 569–73, 12.579–82)
4. Refutatio (12.573–79)
5. Peroratio (12.583–86) [41]

The deliberative speeches of the medieval Latin epics also reflect this basic plan since they were inspired to a large degree by models in ancient epic, especially those of Vergil. However, those medieval epic speeches which have a readily visible formal structure owe more to the revised model found in the medieval manuals on letter-writing, the artes dictaminis. James Murphy has argued that a five-part model became standard in Italy by 1135, when the anonymous author of the Rationes dictandi published in Bologna refers to the following “Approved Format” for letters:

1. salutatio
2. captatio benivolentiae
3. narratio
4. petitio
5. conclusio [42]

If anything, this literary offshoot of Roman oratory facilitated the application of traditional rhetoric to the speeches of written poetry, since the boundary between written and oral was blurred by the perception of letters as a way of making an absent person’s voice present. As Martin Camargo writes of the dictatores, “That they apparently felt no incongruity in transferring precepts designed for an oral, forensic context to written texts is probably due to their perception of the letter as a species of oration.” [43]

Further evidence of the application of dictaminal principles to epic poetry can be seen in Thomas of Capua’s (1185–1239) description of Vergil as the paradigmatic writer of the metrical branch of the art in his Ars dictaminis of the early thirteenth century.

Dictaminum vero genera tria sunt, a veteribus definita: prosaicum scilicet, metricum et rhythmicum; prosaicum ut Cassiodori metricum ut Virgilii, rhythmicum ut Primatis. [44]

Thus it is not surprising to find the influence of these manuals in the composition of epic speeches in twelfth-century Latin epic.

7. The Standard Five-Part Model of the Ars Dictaminis

To describe the standard five-part model I will use the anonymous Rationes dictandi of Bologna, since it was the first ars dictaminis to set forth the model and has been considered the best representative of the art in early twelfth-century Italy. [45]

1. The Salutatio

The most noticeable change in the evolution of the ancient oratorical model into the ars dictaminis is the expansion and division of the exordium into two separate sections, the salutatio designed to win attention, and the captatio benivolentiae which formalizes the function of gaining good will. [46] The salutation receives the most attention in artes dictaminis. [47] The author of the Rationes dictandi states: “Salutatio est oratio salutis affectum indicans a personarum situ non discordans.” [48] As this definition indicates, the social status of the addressee relative to that of the addressor is the most important factor in determining which greeting to use in the medieval art. The exordia in the speeches of Vergil’s and Statius’ epics also show an awareness of relative social standing and vary according to the tone of the speaker. According to Highet, when Ilioneus greets Latinus he need only use a simple address since he is acting as the representative of Aeneas who is Latinus’ superior in dignity (Aeneid 7.213). [49] Turnus expresses his scorn and hatred of Drances in the debate of the Latins by addressing him with a mere vocative, “Drance” (11.378). [50]
The salutations prescribed by the medieval artes dictaminis to indicate relative social standing and tone are far more explicit and elaborate than any exordium in ancient epic. Instead of describing them in detail, a typical ars dictaminis provides long lists of sample salutations that can constitute more than half of the entire body of the manual. [51]
The organizing principle shared by all is a division according to three kinds of relationship between the addressor and the addressee: letters can be addressed to superiors, to equals, or to inferiors. [52]
In the Gesta Frederici, Frederick is normally addressed as a superior. In their first speech to him the Milanese use a greeting appropriate for an emperor:

Inclite dux regum, servator maxime legum,
Rex Romane tuo, salve, dignissime regno!

Gesta Frederici 94–95 [53]

The envoys of Tortona addresses Frederick in a similar way:

Rex pie, quem magno celestis rector honore
Pretulit et multas voluit regnare per urbes…

Gesta Frederici 407–408 [54]
Sometimes the salutatio is not reported directly; instead the narrator simply states that the addressor greeted the addressee and then said, followed by the speech in direct discourse.

Rolando genitus, postquam pervenit ad ipsum
Atque salutavit: “Comitum clarissime,” dixit…

Liber Maiorichinus 264–265 [55]

Other times, the salutation appears to be intentionally elided as a sign of disrespect or superiority. Frederick rarely feels the need to greet his addressees formally. Even on an occasion when he needs to ask his vassals for help, at the council at Worms, Frederick uses the simple vocative “duces” (1506). The salutatio also may be replaced by a pithy statement. Frederick frequently begins his speeches with a sententia, as in the introduction to his address to Tortona:

Sero petit veniam, qui, dum valet usque, repugnat.
Sero rogat victus, quem victor sepe rogavit.

Gesta Frederici 424–425 [56]

Frederick is the only character in the Gesta Frederici who begins speeches in this way.

2. The Captatio Benivolentiae

The second part of the letter, the captatio benivolentiae, is designed to secure the good will of the addressee. The author of the Rationes dictandi writes:

Benivolentie captatio est quedam apposita verborum ordinatio recipientis animum conpetenter alliciens. Fit autem in epistola quinque modis. A persona videlicet mittentis, a persona recipientis, ab utraque simul, a rerum effectu, a negotio de quo agitur. [57]

Although he claims that there are five ways of securing good will, in fact the author lists only four. Using the first way, the addressor humbly mentions something about his own achievements or his duties or his motives. In the second the praises of the recipient are duly indicated. The third describes the relationship between the addressor and the addressee, for example propinquitas, dilectio, societas, familiaritas, dominium et servitus, paternitas et filiatio, et similia. [58] The fourth way stresses the future importance to the addressor of the matter at hand. This last kind of captatio benivolentiae can also be used in the conclusion of a letter.

The expression of servitus is most common method in the Gesta Frederici. In greeting Frederick the Romans use the first three methods:

Salve, rex venerande, tuo sit gloria regno,
Sit tibi vita, salus, perpes victoria, virtus!
Exultat populus Romanus te veniente
Et prestolatur tibi deservire paratus.

Gesta Frederici 616–619 [59]

First they wish that his reign have glory, and that he have health, victory, and virtue. Then they express their own happiness at his arrival and stress their willingness to serve.

When the Cremonans address Frederick they begin with similar wishes:

Imperii, Frederice, decus, victoria semper,
Laus et honor tibi sint, maneat tua gloria semper!
Hoc gens nostra cupit tibi tota mente fidelis,
Hoc Dominum precibus celestem poscimus omnes.

Gesta Frederici 1952–1955 [60]

The most elaborate captatio benivolentiae is addressed by Milan to Frederick, continuing from the speech whose salutation cited above:

Inclite dux regum, servator maxime legum,
Rex Romane tuo, salve, dignissime regno!
Te nostri cives dominum regemque salutant,
Adventu gaudentque tuo servire parati.
Semper Romano regi gens nostra fidelis
Extitit et regni semper dilexit honorem.
Nunc quoque mens eadem; si vis, opibusque virisque
Utere; dives opum multum divesque virorum
Et servire potens est nobile Mediolanum.
Nec fuit urbs regi dominove fidelior unquam,
[Illa] nec melior nec amantior hactenus equi.

Gesta Frederici 94–104 [61]

This captatio benivolentiae uses all of methods described in the handbooks. After the flattering salutation, they express joy at his arrival, promise fidelity and willingness to serve, and stress the future importance of their petitio to the addressee by offering wealth. This last point is reinforced by their self-praise; the abundance of resources in manpower and wealth will allow them to make good on their promise to help Frederick. Finally they reiterate with a hyperbolic statement of their own past services — no city was ever more faithful and friendly to a lord.

3. The Narratio

As in the ancient rhetoric, the narratio reports the facts to support the following petitio. The small amount of attention that this section normally receives in the arts of letter-writing reflects a relative derogation of the argumentative portion of the discourse. [62] Most of the artes agree that the facts should be reported briefly and clearly:

Narratio vero expositio est rerum gestarum vel ut potius se geri videbuntur. Quam profecto ad cause mittentis conmodum breviter et aperte flectere debemus. [63]

Geoffrey of Vinsauf saw this urgency of epistolary appeal, which necessitates a concise narration, as distinct from Ciceronian oratory, which had a timeless quality in its narrative. [64]

4. The petitio

The petitio, in which the request is made, ordinarily receives very little attention from authors of the artes dictaminis since the circumstances of different letters vary too much to allow for a general theory. [65] However the anonymous author of the Bolognese Rationes dictandi treats the petitio in greater detail and even categorizes letters according to nine kinds of petitio. This classification system provides important evidence of medieval awareness of illocutionary force in defining genre; unfortunately, as one of the few parts of the Rationes dictandi that was never accepted or imitated widely, it cannot be applied with confidence to the speeches in Medieval Latin epic. [66]
It was far more common to describe the petitio in terms of the arguments used to support it, thereby relegating the argumentative function to this section rather than to the narratio. Thomas of Capua refers to the four standard arguments used in classical rhetoric to support the petition: honestum, iustum, utile, and necessarium (honor, justice, expedience, and necessity). [67]

5. The Conclusio

The conclusion too is normally treated very briefly. The Rationes dictandi simply describes it as “oratio qua terminatur epistola” and then reiterates that the kind of captatio benivolentiae that relates the advantages that the addressee will gain or the disadvantages he will avoid if he agrees to the petitio. [68]

8. Praise and Blame in Deliberative Speeches

As I mentioned in the section on Demonstrative oratory, the topoi of laudatory and vituperative speeches were used very widely in the deliberative speeches of Medieval Latin epic. Already in antiquity, Quintilian noted that both praise and blame enter into legal and political oratory. [69] The epideictic character of such speeches in the Aeneid could only have been noted more by subsequent generations as the poem as a whole began to be interpreted as an extended laudatio of Aeneas in the Servian commentary tradition. [70]
As Craig Kallendorf has shown, this encomiastic element completely dominated the Latin epics composed in Renaissance Italy as praise of virtue and condemnation of vice came to be seen as a legitimate goal of poetry. This function was shared by history:

Indeed, the rhetorical principles of praise and blame crept into other disciplines as well; Giovanni Pontano, for example, argues in his Actius that both history and poetry use the epideictic genre and have praise in common… [71]

So it is not surprising to see similar goals in the historical epics of twelfth-century Italy which their authors claimed were written explicitly to glorify great people and cities. These overarching themes in the epics can be as important as the persuasive functions of the deliberative speeches in medieval Latin historical epic.

Praise and blame appear in the medieval Artes dictaminis as well. The section in the anonymous Rationes Dictandi devoted to the captatio benivolentiae naturally contains many topoi of praise. Yet it also contains prescriptions for letters that blame:

Si tamen casus obtulerit ut fiat epistola proemilialis, id est pro emulis vel adversariis, poterit quidem in ea captari benivolentia ab adversariorum persona, eo videlicet ordine quo Tullius in rhetoricis insinuat, quod utique fiet si eos in odium in invidiam in contentionem adducamus [72]

In a combative letters (epistola proemilialis) the goal of the introductory part of the letter is not to seek goodwill but rather to lead the recipient into hatred, jealousy, or contention (eos in odium in invidiam in contentionem). The author continues to list various ways of doing this:

In odium vero adducitur, si eorum facta turpia superba crudelia proferantur. In invidiam, si eorum usus arrogans et intolerabilis dicetur. In contentionem, si eorum ignavia et luxuria proferetur. [73]

These topoi of blame prescribed here all fall under the laus animi described in the Ad Herennium. This emphasis of character over physical and external traits reflects the ethical bias of medieval readers of epic. [74]

9. Diplomatic Speeches

Diplomatic speeches are uttered by kings, ambassadors, or representatives of one political entity to those of a different political entity. Their goals include requests for aid, offers of peace, self-defense in the face of accusations, requests for mercy after military defeat, and threats. They are among the most formal of the speeches in medieval Latin epic, as their occasion requires.
The Gesta Frederici contains twelve such speeches. Ten of these are addressed to Frederick. A typical example of a diplomatic speech is uttered by the Romans:

Salve, rex venerande, tuo sit gloria regno,
Sit tibi vita, salus, perpes victoria, virtus!
Exultat populus Romanus te veniente
Et prestolatur tibi deservire paratus.
Sed petit, ut veterem serves, dux inclite, morem,
Scilicet ut iures mox intraturus in urbem
Te servaturum populi decus, urbis honorem,
Iura senatorum, nam sic vetus exigit ordo.
Munera preterea Romane debita plebi,
que solet adveniens huc primum rex dare noster,
Postulat, ut tribuas, sicque ingrediaris in urbem
Letus, ut accipias populi gaudentis honorem
Servitiumque simul maius quam sumpseris umquam.

Gesta Frederici 616–628 [75]

The salutatio contains the respectful epithet venerande and a wish for glory, life, health, perpetual victory, and virtue in his realm. The following captatio benivolentiae (618–619) expresses the joy that Frederick’s arrival brings to the Romans and a promise of willingness to serve. The narratio is so brief as to be almost implied by the petitio (620–625). In asking Frederick to pledge that he will respect the honor and the privileges of the Roman Senate, they simply refer to the veterem morem as a narratio to support their request. Finally, the conclusio contains the promise of future benefit recommended by the Artes dictaminis, namely that they will offer honor to Frederick if he grants their request.

The Liber Maiorichinus contains seven diplomatic speeches. These tend to be addressed to equals.

10. The Cohortatio

Another genre of deliberative speech is the battlefield exhortation. Since epic poems regularly describe wars, they contain speeches addressed by a commander to his troops on the battlefield. The speech genre that occurred before or during battle with the goal of encouraging soldiers to fight was known in Greek as a parakletikos. [76] The historical works of Thucydides, Herodotus, Polybius, Livy, and Tacitus provide numerous prose examples. Highet has noted that, while the classical rhetoricians do not treat this speech genre prescriptively, they show an awareness of the genre. On the basis of usage in Cicero, Nepos, and Livy, Highet calls it the cohortatio. [77]
The formal structure is frequently visible. In the medieval versions, the salutatio and captatio benivolentiae are brief; they often refer to the bravery of the addressees since the goal of the speech is to encourage them to fight. Sometimes a narratio provides background information, but it may be omitted since the troops are usually aware of the circumstances they face. The course of action recommended in the petitio is described concisely because of the immediate nature of the occasion. The most common arguments of the petitio can be organized under the headings listed by Quintilian:

Iustum: our cause is just and the enemy is unjust, we have divine support
Honestum: death is preferable to dishonor; we must emulate the traditional bravery of our ancestors; it is glorious to die while fighting to save the homeland.
Utile: victory will bring great rewards.
Necessarium: defeat will have disastrous consequences, you are defending your homes, retreat means death.
Possibile: the foe is weak, we are strong; victory is certain; we have already accomplished deeds of bravery; now is the time to act. [78]

Often one argument will imply another; for example, the divine support of the iustum argument and the references to past glory of the honestum argument both imply that the victory will be possibile.

Highet lists nine cohortationes in the Aeneid, and Dominik counts eighteen in the Thebaid. However, some of the speeches identified by Dominik as cohortationes do not take place on the battlefield but rather in an assembly and are therefore more accurately categorized as deliberative speeches according to his taxonomy, or as persuasions according to mine. For example, Capaneus’ argument in favor of war in Book Three (Thebaid 3.607–618) takes place in an assembly at Argos after Amphiaraus and Melampus take the auspices and foretell disaster. The speech argues in favor of war and attacks those who oppose war, but it does not encourage troops and it does not take place on a battlefield so it is not a cohortatio. In this case the vituperation is directed at Amphiarius, who foretold that war would lead to disaster, much in the same way as Turnus berated Drances in the council scene in Book 11 of the Aeneid. [79]
This distinction between the cohortatio and the persuasion is important when comparing speeches of different characters since the expectations of the audience vary according to the occasion and genre of a given speech. For example, the lack of an exordium is unmarked in a battlefield cohortatio, but it could have special significance in a persuasive speech delivered in an assembly.
Dominik also posits a sub-category which he calls “non-combat exhortations.” [80] These take place during athletic competitions. Since their purpose is to motivate combatants to perform greater feats and they are delivered on the field of competition immediately proceeding and during the games, they are far closer to actual cohortationes and are justifiably treated together with them.
In his description of the speeches of the Aeneid, Highet discusses three cohortationes: the two famous speeches of encouragement uttered by Aeneas (1.198–207 and 2.348–354) and the long one of Turnus, in which he misinterprets the transformation of the ships (9.128–158). [81] This choice is understandable since Highet was interested in the use of speech to create character, and addressed various larger interpretive questions. Yet for the transmission of the cohortatio tradition to the Middle Ages, it is useful to examine some of the shorter, more formulaic speeches.
The most condensed cohortatio of the Aeneid is uttered by Turnus to the Rutulians before a battle against the Trojans:

quod uotis optastis adest, perfringere dextra.
in manibus Mars ipse uiris. nunc coniugis esto
quisque suae tectique memor, nunc magna referto
facta, patrum laudes. ultro occurramus ad undam
dum trepidi egressisque labant uestigia prima.
audentis Fortuna iuuat.

Aeneid 10.279–284 [82]

It reads like a list of the most common themes of the genre:

1. honestum/utile: That which you prayed for is here (279)
2. honestum/necessarium: Let each remember wife and home (280)
3. honestum: Recall the great deeds of your ancestors (281–282)
4. possibile: Let us meet them now while they still tremble (283)
5. iustum: Fortune favors those who dare (284)
Another well-known example is the speech Pallas addresses to the Arcadians who are beginning to turn and flee during a battle:

quo fugitis, socii? per uos et fortia facta,
per ducis Euandri nomen deuictaque bella
spemque meam, patriae quae nunc subit aemula laudi,
fidite ne pedibus. ferro rumpenda per hostis
est uia. qua globus ille uirum densissimus urget,
hac uos et Pallanta ducem patria alta reposcit.
numina nulla premunt, mortali urgemur ab hoste
mortales; totidem nobis animaeque manusque.
ecce maris magna claudit nos obice pontus,
deest iam terra fugae: pelagus Troiamne petamus?

Aeneid 10.369–378 [83]

This is a typical speech given in the middle of a battle to prevent flight, as the opening words (quo fugitis, 369) indicate. Pallas continues by referring to their past great deeds (fortia facta, 369) and makes an appeal to their ancestry and to patriotism (patria, 369 and again in 374). After telling them to make a path with their swords through fighting instead of attempting to find a path with their feet through flight, he provides a variant of the divine favor argument by telling them that mortals and not the gods oppose them (375). This is followed by a denial of a possible suggestion that enemy forces are superior (totidem…, 376) and a final necessarium argument pointing out that flight is impossible since the sea is at their backs. [84]

11. Cohortationes in the Twelfth-Century Latin Historical Epic of Italy

The Gesta Frederici contains eight cohortationes. Four are uttered by Frederick, one by the Brescian cavalry, and three by Milanese leaders to their troops. One of these speeches uttered by a Milanese leader is not strictly a combat exhortation, but it takes place during the rebuilding of Tortona. Because the reconstruction is an act of defiance against imperial rule and a military maneuver since Tortona’s walls acted as a defensive bulwark, I consider the speech to be a cohortatio.
The Liber Maiorichinus contains eight cohortationes, uttered by seven different speakers. Four of these represent another sub-genre of the cohortatio, the pre-battle sermon. Four of the nine speeches in the Liber Cumanus are cohortationes. There are three brief one-line shouts of encouragement and one longer pre-battle sermon. There are three cohortationes in the Gesta Roberti: one is a vituperative cohortatio uttered by the Byzantine commander Exaugustus (1.351–372), one is a no-nonsense address of Richard, who states that it is necessary to get back to work if the battle is not finished (2.248–251); and one is uttered by Robert Guiscard himself, who uses traditional topoi to express his crusading zeal (3.284–295).
The basic form of cohortatio appears in the Gesta Frederici when the Brescian infantry begin to turn in a battle against the Bergamasks (1179–1182). A cohortatio in such a context would have been expected not only because of the generic pressure exerted by ancient models but also because in medieval warfare, just as in ancient warfare, holding the line and refusing to turn and flee was necessary to ensure victory. So when the Brescian knights see the foot soldiers falling back they shout:

State viri, quid terga datis? Victoria nobis
Hic dabitur tociens alias certamine victis.
Nam fortuna favet, gladios Deus ipse ministrat.
En fugiunt hostes magna iam parte repulsi!

Gesta Frederici 1179–1182 [85]

Skipping the salutation, they come straight to the point, telling the infantry to stop and asking them why they flee. The familiar topoi are present: divine favor is described in a form similar to Turnus’ famous audentis fortuna iuvat. The first two words of the speech, state viri, are borrowed from the opening of a speech uttered by Volcens in Book Nine of the Aeneid (9.376), when he notices Nisus and Euryalus leaving the Latin camp. The next three words are very similar to those uttered in Book Eight of the Thebaid (8.654 quo terga datis) by Tydeus in a taunt when he invites the Thebans to avenge their fifty comrades whom he had slain. The short speech ends with a possibile argument suggesting that the battle is for the most part already won.

A much more elaborate cohortatio is uttered near the end of the Gesta Frederici. As the Milanese prepare to make their final stand against the raging Emperor, Oberto gives voice to one of the most emotional speeches of the poem:

“Nunc,” ait, “o cives, quorum clarissima toto
Facta sonant mundo, memores virtutis avite
Et decoris, vestras, precor, hic ostendite vires,
Et cum res poscit, votis exposcite pugnam.
Ecce ducis sevi concludimur undique telis,
Nec valet hinc nostrum nisi vi discedere quisquam.
Ergo, viri fortes, animos atque arma parate
Et gladiis reserate viam vestreque saluti
Consulite et bello patrios defendite fines!
Nec dubitet quisquam, dabitur victoria vobis.
Nam neque pro spoliis nec quod regnare velitis,
Set pro iusticia, pro rebus iure tuendis
Ecclesie, matris vestre, certamen initis.
Sit procul ergo metus, nullum mors terreat atra.
Erigat insignes spes et fiducia mentes.
Vos Deus et melior, michi credite, causa fovebit.
Quod si forte aliquis bello morietur in isto,
Vivet in eternum celesti sede locatus.”

Gesta Frederici 3271–3288 [86]

The opening word, nunc, evokes the possibile topos of “the time is now.” Turnus uses the same word to begin the final part of his cohortationes to the Rutulians (Aeneid 9.156) and at the beginning of successive phrases in his other cohortatio (Aeneid 10.281–282, see above; cf. Tydeus’s speech, Thebaid 3.360). In the next line Oberto makes a reference to past deeds (“clarissima toto / Facta sonant mundo,” Gesta Frederici 3271–3272), which constitutes a kind of captatio benivolentiae as well as an implicit possibile argument. Oberto then implores them to remember the virtus of their ancestors (cf. Aeneid 10.752). The following line (3273) contains more vocabulary typical of honestum arguments, decor and vires. Next, Oberto is given words borrowed from a cohortatio uttered by Lucan’s Pompey: votis deposcite pugnam (Bell. civ. 2.533), which in turn call to mind Turnus’ words from the speech analyzed above (quod uotis optastis adest, Aeneid 10.279). Next Oberto uses a necessarium argument when he explains that they are surrounded and can only fight their way out with swords (3275–3278), using vocabulary from the Thebaid (7.483: reserare viam) to express the same argument that Pallas made in his cohortatio. This is followed by a due reference to the fatherland (patrios fines, 3281) and a confident possibile expression (dabitur victoria vobis). A iustum argument is communicated unambiguously with the words iusticia and iure (3282). References to the church are followed by commands not to fear death and a final iustum argument of divine favor (Deus et melior…casa fovebit). Oberto finishes with the medieval equivalent of the eternal fame and glorious death promised to Roman soldiers by guaranteeing a heavenly reward to any who die in battle. This final element is somewhat out of place in the civic warfare of the twelfth-century Italian communes, but was extremely common in crusade literature.

12. Pre-Battle Sermons

As we have seen, divine favor was a common topos in both the ancient and medieval Latin cohortatio. It is also appropriate as a speech act since Oberto’s status as archbishop rendered his promise of heaven to those who die in battle valid as a commissive. Although it contains no preaching, Oberto’s speech resembles in this detail a sub-group of the cohortatio in the medieval Latin epic, the pre-battle sermon which was usually delivered by a bishop.
Sermon cohortationes are more consistent with the crusading spirit of the Liber Maiorichinus than with the civic pride and imperial ambition of the Gesta Frederici. The epic of the Pisan conquest of Majorca contains five such speeches.
Cardinal Boso delivers a sermon to encourage the Pisans in their fight against the Muslim army of Majorca. It is essentially an expansion on the traditional iustum theme of divine favor, yet the monotheistic Christian context makes the argument far more important. In the ancient heroic world, it was extremely useful to have the help of some of the gods as long as more powerful gods were not helping one’s enemies. Here, the inherent piety of the Pisan cause implies the topos of superior force since it will provide an army of angels to fight on their side (Liber Maiorichinus 2210–2248). The speech begins with reference to fatherland, parents, wives, and children. The next lines contrast pietas of the Pisans with the impietas of the enemy with great clarity (2213–2215). This iustum argument is reinforced throughout the speech with the repetition of the words pia and impia (2223, 2231, and 2234). There is also a minor vituperative component since the Cardinal asks them why they do not fight more bravely against the impious enemy (2213–2214). Christian symbols appear in a simile comparing the Muslim king to a lion who mistreats lambs as well as an exhortation to free their brothers from the Pharaoh’s chains (2215–2222). Next, they are told that those who die in this battle will be blessed (2225) will not suffer hell (2226); and will not be held responsible for their sins (2227). The superiority of the Pisan forces is guaranteed because the just cause will bring an army of angels to fight along their side (2234–2248). Christ’s gloria and potentia are both the cause and the result of the inevitable Pisan victory.

13. Vituperative Cohortationes

Some cohortationes contain a vituperative element. The vocabulary and topoi in these speeches often resemble those of vituperative persuasions. Yet the occasions differ since vituperative cohortationes take place on the battlefield whereas persuasions are uttered in assemblies. Vituperative cohortationes also resemble vituperationes proper, which may also be uttered on the battlefield. In this case the identity of the addressees differ: vituperationes are normally directed at members of enemy forces and vituperative cohortationes are directed at allies. The goals also differ since vituperationes are designed to diminish the confidence of the addressees and vituperative cohortationes, like vituperative persuasions, are intended to shame the addressees into fighting more bravely than the addressor implies they are currently doing.
The locus classicus of the vituperative cohortatio is Agamemnon’s speech in Book 8 of the Iliad where he chides the Argive warriors for cowardliness (8.228–231). The Greek commander claims that they are splendid on parade, are accustomed to boast at feasts, and love to eat and drink, but on the battlefield are no match for Hector alone.
In other speeches Agamemnon chides Odysseus for laziness (4.338–348) and tells Diomedes that he is far less of a warrior than his father Tydeus had been (4.370–400).
In the Aeneid, a vituperative cohortatio is uttered by Mnestheus to the Trojans after an aristeia of Turnus:

et Mnestheus: “quo deinde fugam, quo tenditis?” inquit.
“quos alios muros, quaeue ultra moenia habetis?
unus homo et uestris, o ciues, undique saeptus
aggeribus tantas strages impune per urbem
ediderit? iuuenum primos tot miserit Orco?
non infelicis patriae ueterumque deorum
et magni Aeneae, segnes, miseretque pudetque?”

Aeneid 9.781–787 [87]

He opens by asking where they flee and expressing “no place for flight” topos. Just as Agamemnon complained that his whole army is no match for Hector alone, Mnestheus expresses the unus homo topos to express his amazement that one man, Turnus, could kill so many while surrounded by hostile Trojans. The vituperative element is signaled by the words segnes, non…miseretque pudetque?, which appeal to the Trojans’ sense of shame and duty to fatherland, the gods, and their leader Aeneas.

In another vituperative cohortatio Tarchon expresses disgust at the Etruscans because of their inability to defeat Camilla:

quis metus, o numquam dolituri, o semper inertes
Tyrrheni, quae tanta animis ignauia uenit?
femina palantis agit atque haec agmina uertit!
quo ferrum quidue haec gerimus tela inrita dextris?
at non in Venerem segnes nocturnaque bella,
aut ubi curua choros indixit tibia Bacchi.
exspectate dapes et plenae pocula mensae
(hic amor, hoc studium) dum sacra secundus haruspex
nuntiet ac lucos uocet hostia pinguis in altos!

Aeneid 11.732–740 [88]

The opening sentence contains typical vituperative words metus, inertes, and ignavia. In terms similar to those used by Agamemnon to describe Mnestheus and Odysseus, the Etruscans are accused of preferring Bacchic feasts and choruses to battle

A final example is Juturna’s speech to the Rutulians in Book Twelve of the Aeneid:

non pudet, o Rutuli, pro cunctis talibus unam
obiectare animam? numerone an uiribus aequi
non sumus? en, omnes et Troes et Arcades hi sunt,
fatalisque manus, infensa Etruria Turno:
uix hostem, alterni si congrediamur, habemus.
ille quidem ad superos, quorum se deuouet aris,
succedet fama uiuusque per ora feretur;
nos patria amissa dominis parere superbis
cogemur, qui nunc lenti consedimus aruis.

Aeneid 12.229–237 [89]

Again the speech genre is signaled by the opening words, non pudet? In a variation on the unus homo theme, Juturna expresses embarrassment that a huge army should stake all on one life in a duel between Turnus and Aeneas. Her speech also contains topoi typical of all cohortationes, such as comments on the superior size of the army in comparison with that of the enemy, references to the patria, and a necessarium argument referring to the terrible consequences of defeat, in this case the compulsion to obey proud masters.

Further ancient examples of vituperative cohortatio can be found in the Thebaid: Dominik identifies three. [90] In the first, Chromis berates the Theban warriors during the attempted ambush of Tydeus (2.620–623). The short speech opens with the words unus vir and concentrates on this topos as Chromis expresses disbelief after Tydeus alone has killed so many Thebans and exhorts them to fight more bravely.
The second speech follows the pattern familiar from the Iliad. When the Theban warriors are slow to recover the body of Atys, Menoeceus launches on a tirade beginning with the word pudeat (8.600–605). This is followed by a negative comparison with the fathers of the addressees and questions about why they flee. Using traditional generic vocabulary, Menoecus calls the Thebans degeneres (8.602). [91] The speech is effective, since it inspires pudor in its addressees, which immediately spurs the Thebans to action (8.605–606).
More models appear in Lucan: Petrieius, who is angered that his men have made a truce with the enemy (4.212–223); Caesar, to his soldiers who wish to retire (5.319–364); and Scaeva, to his fleeing comrades (6.150–165).

14. Vituperative Cohortationes in Twelfth-Century Epic

These ancient vituperative cohortationes inspired many similar speeches in medieval Latin epic. I have described the topoi of this genre in detail because they appear frequently in medieval vituperative persuasions, yet there is one example of a vituperative cohortatio in the Gesta Roberti. When Exaugustus, the son of Basilius Bojoannes, who defeated the Normans, was sent to replace Michael Dokeianos, who had won no victory over Normans, he felt the need to inspire the troops with criticism:

Prudentia vestra virile
Condicione vigens, non vos permittat habere
Cor muliebre, viri. Quae vos ignavia semper
Cogit inire fugam? Memores estote priorum,
Quorum strenuitas totum sibi subdidit orbem.
Hector Achilleis fortissimus occidit armis.
Troia Michaenei ruit ignibus usta furoris.
Philippi quantus fuerit vigor, India novit;
Huius Alexander proles fortissima nonne
Fortia multorum subiecit regna Pelasgis?
Partibus occiduis Graecorum fama timori
Omnibus et mundi regionibus esse solebat.
Quae gens audito Graecorum nomine stare
Audebat campo? Vix oppida, castra, vel urbes
Reddebant tutos ab eorum viribus hostes.
State, precor, validi, memores virtutis avitae,
Degeneresque pedum non vos fiducia reddat.
Hosti adimit vires, qui stare viriliter audet.
Procurate sequi vestigia prima parentum,
Iam fuga displiceat; totus vos sentiat orbis
fortes esse viros. Non est ad bella timendus
Francorum populus, numeroque et viribus impar.
Gesta Roberti 1.352–372 [92]

The speech is constructed on the basis of the following ring structure:

You are strong. (351–353)
Why do you flee? (353–354)
Remember your ancestors. (354)
The Greeks carried out great deeds in the past. (355–365)
Remember your ancestors. (366)
Don’t flee. (367–370)
You are strong. (370–372)

The opening sentence recalls the famous taunt of Numanus in which he says the Trojan warriors are like women (Aeneid 9.598–620). Numanus communicates this idea by using the feminine form of the noun in place of the masculine form (Aeneid 9.617):

o uere Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges…

William of Apulia uses sound patterns in the opening sentence to express the same idea:

“Prudentia vestra virile
Condicione vigens, non vos permittat habere
Cor muliebre, viri. Quae vos ignavia semper
Cogit inire fugam?

Alliteration on v in the first sentence and anaphora on co- in three consecutive lines serve to emphasize virile and cor, and the antithesis of cor muliebre and viri.

Next, Exaugustus attributes their flight to ignavia and intensifies the traditional complaint with the word semper. He tells them to be mindful of their great ancestors and devotes several lines to describing the great deeds of Achilles and Alexander. He repeats memor is repeated in line 366, and then asks them not to flee in terms reminiscent of Pallas’ plea to the Arcadians (fidite ne pedibus, Aeneid 10.372):

Degeneresque pedum non vos fiducia reddat.

The speech ends with a comparison of the strength of the two armies taken from Juturna’s speech (numeroque et viribus impar, Aeneid 12.230):

The Gesta Frederici contains no such vituperative cohortatio but does provide an example of a cohortatio that utilizes vituperation of the enemy. While encouraging his own troops to fight more bravely, Frederick insults the Milanese who had earlier desired war and royal honors:

Tum primam ante aciem ductor sese arduus infert
Vociferans: “Pudeat vallo fossaque teneri
Effrenem populum, qui bella ciere solebat
Et paulo ante sibi regni poscebat honorem!
Quo vigor ille prior, quo tanta superbia cessit?
Nunc date vos equo, si qua est audacia, campo,
Nunc conferte manum, si qua est fiducia, bello!”

Gesta Frederici 2355–2361 [93]

The vituperative pudeat opens this speech, but this time it is directed at the enemy. The final anaphora on nunc is also typical of the genre. Another term associated with the genre is vulgus iners. These words are used by Lucan (Bell. civ. 5.365) and Statius (Theb. 5.120) to describe the behavior of troops immediately before cohortationes. They also occur immediately before this speech in the Gesta Frederici (2353). The occasion resembles that of Numanus’ diatribe against the Trojans who refused to leave their fortifications to meet the enemy on the field (Aeneid 9.598–620).

15. Persuasions

Highet calls speeches designed to persuade assemblies or individual people “political and legalistic speeches” when they are formal and “persuasions” when they are informal. Dominik rightly objects to the confusion caused by this classification system because Highet did not pay attention to the occasion of the speech. [94] Thus, Highet perversely calls the private speech of Anna to Dido in Book Four of the Aeneid “political and legalistic.” [95] However, Dominik further confuses the issue by labeling some such speeches “forensic” and others “deliberative,” even though in epic they do not defend or attack the past actions of other people in a courtroom. [96]
It is therefore preferable to group all such speeches under the larger Aristotelian heading of “deliberative speeches.” For speeches designed to convince members of the same political entity I use (with a modified application) Highet’s term “persuasions” since it reflects the Latin name suasoria, a term used in antiquity to describe rhetorical exercises in which a student was required to persuade a famous figure from the past to follow a particular course of action. Rather than defining genre by distinguishing between the “formal” and “informal”, i.e., the degree to which the speeches adhere to the five-part rhetorical model, I use the illocutionary force as my criterion.
These speeches are similar to diplomatic speeches in their formal structure. They differ in addressee, and, more importantly, their content is highly influenced by the epideictic tradition of demonstrative speech. They are directive rather than representative in illocutionary force since they are designed to provoke the addressee to some kind of action; nevertheless persuasions regularly used praise and blame to achieve this goal in the twelfth-century Latin historical epic.

16. Persuasions in the Gesta Frederici

The Gesta Frederici contains eight persuasions. Six are uttered by the fury Allecto with the goal of inciting the citizens of various cities to war, and two are uttered by political leaders with the intention of persuading citizens of their own cities to accept peace.
As an example of a persuasion in the Gesta Frederici I shall analyze Allecto’s first speech. Obviously modeled on Vergil’s fury, Allecto is introduced in the medieval epic with words borrowed from the Aeneid. The first speeches of the two versions of the fury have similar goals; both are designed to incite their addressee to war. Yet the persuasion in the medieval epic is not based closely on the Vergilian character’s speeches, but rather makes use of the tradition of the vituperative cohortatio. Addressing the young men of Milan, Allecto says:

Quo poterit bello iam vestra nitescere virtus?
Aut ubi militiam teneris discetis ab annis?
Insignes facient iuvenes muliebria segnes
Otia, venturas consumet inertia vires!
Pacis in hac feda requie torpebitis et nil
Laudari dignum vestro facietis in evo.
Vos patribus geniti, quorum preclara per orbem
Facta sonant, per quos sic gloria Mediolani
Crevit, ut in cunctis fieret celeberrima terris!
Quin igitur moveant animos exempla parentum,
Excutiant mentes maiorum facta iacentes,
Quos tulit in celum virtus et gloria belli.
Degener est, qui facta sequi detractat avorum!
Degener est, patrium quicumque relinquit honorem!

Gesta Frederici 2642–2655 [97]

This speech is far more vituperative than anything uttered by Vergil’s Allecto. It opens with the non pudet? theme using the thematic word virtus. Like Numanus in the Aeneid and Exaugustus in the Gesta Roberti, Allecto accuses the young men of womanly sloth (muliebria otia 2644–2645) and calls them segnes. More traditional vituperative vocabulary follows: Inertia is draining their vires, they are afflicted by torpor (2646).

The anaphora on degener (2654–2655) highlights the traditional contrast with glorious ancestors. Allecto urges them to follow the example of their fathers, whose deeds resound throughout the entire world, using more thematic words (gloria, honor patrium).

17. Persuasions in the Liber Maiorichinus

There are seven persuasions in the Liber Maiorichinus. Of these, two are addressed to Moorish kings. When the wise men of Majorca address their tyrannical king (863–882), their opening words resemble the polite formal exordia of diplomatic speeches. Yet this persuasion too contains a vituperative element: the wise men tell the king that he has acted wrongly and must make amends. Later, when the Ibizans address their king, their criticism is tinged with ridicule as they point out that his oath to stay and fight was rendered invalid by his wounds, so he should simply flee and save himself:
De iuramento nulla ratione teneri
te nuper facto fusi docuere cruores.
Sanus enim non est cui figunt spicula guttur
Ergo tui compos citius fac deditionem
Et te nobiscum pariter de funere serva.

Liber Maiorichinus 1503–1507 [98]

The vituperative element dominates.

The persuasions uttered by Christians in the Liber Maiorichinus also feature praise and blame. All five of them treat the desire of some members of the invading force to stop fighting and return home. This issue figures in the Iliad since the Greek forces, weary after nine years of war, frequently express the desire to abandon the siege of Troy to return home. The speeches in Book 2 of the Iliad provide topoi for such exchanges, first when Agamemnon tests the will of the Greeks to stay, and later when Thersites complains that Agamemnon had already won enough bronze and women through the efforts of soldiers such as Thersites and suggests that the Greeks should return home and abandon the siege of Troy. Odysseus responds contemptuously (Il. 2.246–269) and strikes him on the back and shoulders with his staff.
The exchange between Drances and Turnus in the assembly scene In Book Eleven of the Aeneid repeats these topoi and provides a Latin model for medieval epic debates. Drances has been compared to Thersites, the upstart who criticizes Agamemnon in Book 2 of the Iliad. [99] Both characters are low-born and cowardly, yet the situation is reversed since Drances is proven right: his argument is supported by the normative ideology of the poem since it would indeed have been wisest for the Rutulians and Latins to make peace immediately with the Trojans and grant Lavinia to Aeneas. Some of Drances’ arguments mirror those of Thersites; Drances blames Turnus for many deaths and implies that the common soldiers will fight and die so that Turnus alone can claim his personal prize, Lavinia:

scilicet ut Turno contingat regia coniunx,
nos animae uiles, inhumata infletaque turba,
sternamur campis.

Aeneid 11.371–373 [100]

Turnus’ response is swift and violent, consistent with his character. Attacking Drances for his cowardice, he praises himself by asserting his own bravery though past deeds and willingness to fight alone, and some topoi of the cohortatio—we are strong, we have allies, they are twice beaten.

In the Liber Maiorichinus as well, some of the troops wish to return home instead of continuing the campaign against Majorca. The narrator reports that some of the baser members of the fleet are foolishly arguing against the leaders expressing a desire to return:

Interea vulgus pelagi terrore solutum
Murmurat, et patrias exoptat turpiter horas,
Inque duces stultas temptans agitare querelas,
Hostibus ommissis, pariter remeare minatur.

Liber Maiorichinus 377–380 [101]

This introduction leaves no doubt as to the character of the protesters. They are terrified of the sea, they complain in a base manner (turpiter 378), and their arguments are foolish (stultas).

Fralmus of Lucca responds to the troops’ complaints with a vituperatio gentis (382–416) that is so detailed that it too resembles the speech of Numanus more than that of Turnus. First he mentions the good fortune they have had in gaining strength in the form of allies from Catalonia and southern France (382–389). Soon afterwards he launches into a violent vituperation of those who wished to return home.
The speech begins with the arguments that they have plenty of allies (386), and since they have neither conquered the enemy nor been conquered by the enemy (389–390), there is no reason to fear (Ut quid tanta tenet vestras turbatio mentes? 391). Like Odysseus, Fralmus develops the ancient vituperatio gentis into a criticism based on class; if they fear, it must be because the are peasants, more suited to plows than to weapons of war:

Hosque piget venisse quidem, qui rura solebant
Vertere, qui curvis incumbere semper aratris,
Cunctaque consumunt vertendo tempora glebas.
Et modo, cum nequeant sua semina tradere sulcis
Aut conculcato pedibus procumbere musto,
Nocte dieque moras istas casusque queruntur,
Inque domos migrare suas fortasse minantur.
Vile genus hominum, quorum miserabilis etas
Presenti populo nullam gerit utilitatem.
Semper agant semperque gemant, semperque susurrent,
Quos mores retinere suos infamia non est.
Nos bonitas clarumque decus seiungat ab illis.

Liber Maiorichinus 394–405 [102]

More traditional praise and blame vocabulary follows: honor (392), piget (394), infamia (404), bonitas (405), decus (405), and totus conspicit orbis (411).


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[ back ] 1. Cairns 1972:6. Aware of modern tendencies to limit the use of this term to entire works of literature or oratory, North 1973:353 explains that this approach to individual parts of narrative poetry dates back to antiquity.
[ back ] 2. Highet 1972:9–13 reviews the various approaches to classification of speech genres in Homeric epic.
[ back ] 3. Highet 1972:8.
[ back ] 4. Farrell 1997:140–141. The most important Roman sources for such discussions are Quintilian, who claimed that Lucan was more of a model for orators than for poets (Inst. 10.1.90) and P. Annius Florus who wrote a dialogue in the second centuy A.D. titled Vergilius orator an poeta.
[ back ] 5. Sullivan 1976:290–91.
[ back ] 6. Tasler 1972, Helzle 1996.
[ back ] 7. Reitz 1998:3.
[ back ] 8. Dominik 1994.
[ back ] 9. Newmyer 1995:143–144.
[ back ] 10. Hill 1996:29–30.
[ back ] 11. Dronke 1970.
[ back ] 12. Bakhtin 1986.
[ back ] 13. Aristotle Rhet 1.3 1358a36–1358b8. See also Lausberg 1960:§§59–65.
[ back ] 14. There are three kinds of causes which the speaker must treat: Epideictic, Deliberative, and Judicial. The epideictic kind is devoted to the praise or censure of some particular person. The deliberative consists in the discussion of policy and embraces persuasion and dissuasion. The judicial is based on legal controversy, and comprises criminal prosecution or civil suit, and defence. Ad. Her. 1.2.2. All Latin passages and English translations of the Rhetorica ad Herennium are from Caplan 1954.
[ back ] 15. Fingerle 1939, Highet 1972, Dominik 1994.
[ back ] 16. Dominik 1994:70n2 on Highet 1972:80.
[ back ] 17. Dominik 1994:70n3.
[ back ] 18. Dominik 1994:142.
[ back ] 19. See the section on the Petitio below.
[ back ] 20. Austin 1962:12–24, Searle 1976:1–23. Martin 1989 was one of the first classicists to apply speech-act theory to epic speech.
[ back ] 21. For a detailed discussion of the rhetoric of praise see Lausberg 1990:§§239–245 and Hardison 1962:24–36.
[ back ] 22. No shame have ye this second time to stay
cooped close within a rampart’s craven siege,
O Phrygians twice-vanquished? Is a wall
your sole defence from death? Are such the men
who ask our maids in marriage? Say what god,
what doting madness, rather, drove ye here
to Italy? This way ye will not find
the sons of Atreus nor the trickster tongue
of voluble Ulysses. Sturdy stock
are we; our softest new-born babes we dip
in chilling rivers, till they bear right well
the current’s bitter cold. Our slender lads
hunt night and day and rove the woods at large,
or for their merriment break stubborn steeds,
or bend the horn-tipped bow. Our manly prime
in willing labor lives, and is inured
to poverty and scantness; we subdue
our lands with rake and mattock, or in war
bid strong-walled cities tremble. Our whole life
is spent in use of iron; and we goad
the flanks of bullocks with a javelin’s end.
Nor doth old age, arriving late, impair
our brawny vigor, nor corrupt the soul
to frail decay. But over silvered brows
we bind the helmet. Our unfailing joy
is rapine, and to pile the plunder high.
But ye! your gowns-are saffron needlework
or Tyrian purple; ye love shameful ease,
or dancing revelry. Your tunics fiow
long-sleeved, and ye have soft caps ribbon-bound.
Aye, Phrygian girls are ye, not Phrygian men!
Hence to your hill of Dindymus! Go hear
the twy-mouthed piping ye have loved so long.
The timbrel, hark! the Berecynthian flute
calls you away, and Ida’s goddess calls.
Leave arms to men, true men! and quit the sword!
Latin quotations of the Aeneid are from Bucolics, Aeneid, and Georgics Of Vergil, ed. J. B. Greenough. (Boston, 1900). English translations are from Theodore C. Williams, The Aeneid of Virgil (Boston, 1908).
[ back ] 23. Death to wretched Milan!
Latin quotations of the Gesta Frederici are from Schmale-Ott 1965. English translations are my own, often influenced by the freer version of Carson 1994.
[ back ] 24. Since you pit yourself against our troops, you shall scarcely escape our thrusts unharmed!
Latin quotation of the Liber Maiorichinus are from Callisse 1904. English translations are my own.
[ back ] 25. You will not escape, wicked ones. Your end has come. Save your necks [if you can]!
Latin quotations of the Liber Cumanus are from Muratori 1724. English translations are my own.
[ back ] 26. According to Highet 1972:117, their purpose is “To throw the opponent off balance by ridicule and intimidation.”
[ back ] 27. Dominick 1994:151.
[ back ] 28. Parks 1990:45.
[ back ] 29. “I thought these too were men,” he said, “but now I believe they are lions!”
[ back ] 30. Go, four times defeated, go now, miserable men of Raymond!
We are neither defeated, like you, nor of the clan of Raymond!
[ back ] 31. None of your jeers and threats
Make us fear, (who are) under the King of Heaven.
We have come from the homeland under the highest prince, Christ,
On account of whose help we shall overcome the city of Balee.
He will grant that we conquer the servants of Satan with heavy chains
And he will give them to our swords to be killed.
Know, dogs, that the Count of the Pyrenees is uninjured,
And the time of your slaughter is near.
[ back ] 32. May Almighty God destroy you,
Who hold such perverse beliefs, and your gold!
In fact, your being undone by such a death is dearer
To us than all of the precious and best possessions of Balee.
[ back ] 33. That man
Used to carry bowls full of wine to tables
And was the one of the lowest waiters!
Latin quotations of the Gesta Roberti are from Mathieu 1961. English translations are my own.
[ back ] 34. You may not cross here, red-haired King!
You must change your course, Ruler of Teutonic fury!
The Adda does not allow foreign troops to tread here,
But defends our sacred nation from the enemy.
Go far from here and withdraw your rapacious army along with yourself!
Go far away and do not set foot on our shores!
Not without your own death or the loss of our blood
Will you violate the honor of the Milanese homeland!
[ back ] 35. Aeneid 10.644. The words immediately following both taunts are identical as well (talia vociferans, Gesta Frederici 2094 and Aeneid 10.651). In fact the content of Turnus’ taunt is different, but it is relevant for the interpretation of the taunt in the Gesta Frederici that the Turnus’ words are rendered meaningless by the fact that they are based on a false impression, i.e., that he is speaking to the real Aeneas, and of course by Aeneas’ actual martial superiority.
[ back ] 36. The phrase furoris Teutonici is borrowed from an unrelated context in Lucan (Pharsalia 1.255–256).
“uidimus et Martem Libyes cursumque furoris Teutonici.” Benson (1985) cites Boncompagno of Signa and other Italian authors on the identification of Germans with tyranny and furor.
[ back ] 37. Like the taunt of Numanus, it will be proven vain; yet it also resembles its ancient model in containing seeds of truth. The normative ideology of the Aeneid insists that the Trojans must merge with the native Italians, thereby suggesting that the Trojans do indeed lack some of the virtues of the native Italians. Frederick is foreign; unlike the Trojans of Aeneas, he will not get the chance to assimilate by joining with local virtue.
[ back ] 38. The deliberative consists in the discussion of policy and embraces persuasion and dissuasion.
[ back ] 39. Dominik 1994:74. Lausberg 1990:§62.2 defines the genus deliberatiuum as a political speech given before an assembly of the people gathered for deliberation, in which the speaker recommends or warns against an action belonging to the future.
[ back ] 40. Highet 1972:51, Dominik 1994:70. Highet follows the structure found in the Rhetorica ad Herennium and Cicero’s De Inventione, although he uses the following alternative terms, all of which were current in Roman rhetorical handbooks: 1. exordium, 2. narratio, 3. propositio 4. tractatio/argumentatio 5. refutatio 6. peroratio. Dominik actually follows the five-part structure described by Quintilian, which consists of: 1. prooemium (exordium), 2. narratio, 3. probatio, 4. refutatio, and 5. peroratio. Both of these approaches are justified since they reflect the dominant educational system during the lifetimes of the respective authors (Vergil and Statius). For a detailed description of the development of the classification system, see Lausberg 1990:§§120–189.
[ back ] 41. Dominik 1994:79.
[ back ] 42. Murphy 1971:3–4. See also Murphy 1974:225. Camargo 1991:22 puts the date for standardization at no later than 1140.
[ back ] 43. Camargo 1991:19. See also Shepherd 1999:3–32.
[ back ] 44. There are indeed three kinds of dictamen, defined by the ancients: namely, prose, metrical, and rhythmic. Prose, like Cassiodorus, metrical like Vergil and rhythmic like Primas. Thomas of Capua, Ars dictaminis in Rockinger 1961. See also Hugh of Bologna’s Rationes dictandi prosaice in Rockinger 1961:53–88.
[ back ] 45. Murphy 1971:xvi, Murphy 1974:225. The text of the anonymous Rationes dictandi can be found in Rockinger 1961:9–28.
[ back ] 46. Murphy 1996:631–633.
[ back ] 47. Murphy 1996:632, Camargo 1991:22. For a detailed grammatical treatment of the salutatio see Lanham 1975.
[ back ] 48. “The Salutation is an expression of greeting conveying a friendly sentiment not inconsistent with the social rank of the persons involved.” English translations of the Rationes dictandi are from Murphy 1971.
[ back ] 49. Highet 1972:53.
[ back ] 50. Highet 1972:60.
[ back ] 51. Murphy 1996:632 describes the proportion as typically “up to 60 percent.”
[ back ] 52. Camargo 1991:21.
[ back ] 53. Renowned leader of kings, greatest protector of the laws,
Roman king, most worthy of your kingship, greetings!
[ back ] 54. Pious king, whom the King of Heaven
Has established in great honor wishing that you rule over many cities…
[ back ] 55. The son of Roland, after he came to him
And greeted him, said “Most distinguished of counts…”
[ back ] 56. That person asks late for pardon who rejected it while strong.
He, whom the victor often asked, asks late after he is defeated.
[ back ] 57. Rockinger 1961:18. “The Securing of Goodwill (benivolentiae captatio) in a letter is a certain fit ordering of words effectively influencing the mind of the recipient. Now this may be secured in a letter in five ways: from the person sending the letter, or from the person receiving it, or by both at once, or from the effect of circumstances, or from the matter at hand.”
[ back ] 58. Rockinger 1961:18–19 “intimacy, affection, fellowship, familiarity, lordship and service, fatherly feeling and filial feeling, and the like.”
[ back ] 59. Greetings, venerable king, may there be glory in your kingdom!
May you have life, health, lating victory, and strength!
The Roman people rejoices at your arrival
And stands ready, prepared to serve you!
[ back ] 60. Frederick, may you always have the glory of empire, victory,
Praise, and honor! My your glory endure forever!
Our faithful people wishes this for you sincerely.
We all ask the Heavenly Lord for this in our prayers.”
[ back ] 61. Famous Ruler of Kings, greatest preserver of laws
Roman king, most worthy of your kingdom, greetings!
Our citizens salute you as lord and king,
And they rejoice in your arrival and are prepared to serve you.
Our people have always been faithful to the Roman king
And have always esteemed the honor of the kingdom
Now too our intention is the same; if you please, use our
Wealth and men; noble Milan has abundant wealth and men
And is capable of serving.
No city has ever been more faithful to king or lord,
Nor has any been better or more devoted to justice to this day.
[ back ] 62. Murphy 1974:225.
[ back ] 63. Rockinger 1961:19. “The Narration is the orderly account of the matter under discussion, or, even better, a presentation in such a way that the materials seem to present themselves. We should by all means run through such a Narration quickly and clearly for the advantage of the sender’s cause.” Murphy 1971:18, cf. Camargo 1991:23.
[ back ] 64. Cited in Shepherd 1999:12.
[ back ] 65. Murphy 1974:225.
[ back ] 66. The nine kinds of petitio listed in the Bolognese Rationes dictandiare: deprecativa (supplicatory), preceptiva (didactic), conminativa (menacing), exhortativa (exhortative), hortoria (hortatory) ammonitoria (admonitory), consulatoria (advisory), correptoria (reproving) and absoluta (direct). Rockinger 1961:21. For the lack of a standard classification of genres of letters, see Camargo 1991:21.
[ back ] 67. These arguments are described in Quintilian 3.8.22–25. See also Lausberg 1990:§§233–236 for their use as part of the status qualitatis employed in deliberative arguments. Thomas of Capua in his Ars dictaminis (Rockinger 1961:33) wrote: Petitio est oratio, per quam aliquid postulamus, quod sit iustum, utile et necessarium; unde Cato: ‘quod iustum est petito, vel quod videatur honestum.’ Si erit honestum, erit iustum et utile; necessarium autem erit, si evidens necessitas intercedat. Unde hic nota breviter, quod petitionis libellus, principi de more porrectus, ex sola narratione et petitione consistit vel ex sola petitione dumtaxat.
[ back ] 68. Rockinger 1961:21.
[ back ] 69. Inst. Or. 3.7.1–2.
[ back ] 70. For a descriptio of this tendency in the early Middle Ages, see Kallendorf 1989:4–8.
[ back ] 71. Kallendorf 1989:10.
[ back ] 72. Rockinger 1961:19. “If however the situation arises for a combative letter to be written, that is, for enemies or opponents, the goodwill could in fact be sought in it according to the persons of the adversaries, namely in that fashion which Cicero introduces in his Books of Rhetoric, this method should be used, by all means, if we would lead our opponents into hatred, jealousy, or contention.”
[ back ] 73. Rockinger 1961:19. “As a matter of fact, opponents are led into hatred if their disgraceful deeds are cited with cruel pride; into jealousy if their bearing is said to be insolent and insupportable; and into contention if their cowardice or debauchery is exposed.” Murphy evidently rejects the editor’s emendation of superbia to superba since he translates “if their disgraceful deeds are cited with cruel pride…” However, there are many similar examples of asyndeton in the text, so I translate “disgraceful, prideful, or cruel deeds are cited.”
[ back ] 74. Minnis and Scott 1988:12–36.
[ back ] 75. Greetings, venerable king, may there be glory in your kingdom
May you have life, health, lasting victory, and strength!
The Roman people rejoices at your arrival
And stands ready, prepared to serve you!
But we ask that you preserve the ancient custom, O famous leader,
Namely, that as soon as you enter the city
You swear that you will preserve the glory of the people, the honor of the city,
And the rights of the senators, for the ancient order requires this
It also demands the gifts owed to the Roman people
Which our king customarily gives us upon first arriving here.
In this way you may enter the city happilly
And may receive the honor of the rejoicing people
And greater devotion than you have ever received.
[ back ] 76. Dominik 1994:140.
[ back ] 77. Highet 1972:83.
[ back ] 78. For Quintilian’s description and the medieval use of these categories, see the section on the petitio above. Highet 1972:85 and Dominik 1994:140–141 discuss the use of these commonplaces in Vergil and Statius.
[ back ] 79. See Dominik 1994:147–148 for his discussion of Capaneus’ speech. Highet 1972:55–63 correctly identifies the exchange between Drances and Turnus as a political debate.
[ back ] 80. Dominik 1994:148–149.
[ back ] 81. Highet 1972:84–85.
[ back ] 82. Your prayer is come to pass,—that sword in hand
ye now may shatter them. The might of Mars
is in a true man’s blow. Remember well
each man his home and wife! Now call to mind
the glory and great deeds of all your sires!
Charge to yon river-bank, while yet they take
with weak and fearful steps their shoreward way!
Fortune will help the brave.
[ back ] 83. Whither, my men! O, by your own brave deeds,
O, by our lord Evander’s happy wars,
the proud hopes I had to make my name
a rival glory,—think not ye can fly!
Your swords alone can carve ye the safe way
straight through your foes. Where yonder warrior-throng
is fiercest, thickest, there and only there
your Country’s honor calls for men like you,
and for your captain Pallas. Nay, no gods
against us fight; we are but mortal men
pressed by a mortal foe. Not more than ours
the number of their lives or swords. Behold,
the barrier of yonder spreading sea
emprisons us, and for a craven flight
yon lands are all too small. Ha! Shall we steer
across the sea to Troy?
[ back ] 84. Most of these topoi are borrowed from the speech of Ajax, Iliad 15.733–741.
[ back ] 85. Stand firm, men, why do you turn your backs? Victory will be given
Here to us, who have been defeated in battle so many other times.
For fortune favors us, and God himself directs our swords
Behold, most of the enemy are already fleeing,
[ back ] 86. “Now,” he said “O citizens, whose most illustrious deeds
resound throughout the entire world, mindful of the valor and the decorum of your grandfathers
show, I pray, your strength here.
And when the situation demands it, demand a battle in your prayers.
Behold, we are hemmed in on all sides by the weapons of the savage leader
Nor is any one of us able to leave from here except by force.
Therefore, strong men, prepare your spirits and your arms
And clear a path with swords, provide for your salvation
And defend the borders of your country from war!
Nor should anyone doubt, victory will be given to us.
For you are entering this battle neither for plunder, nor because you wish to rule,
But for justice, for rightfully defending the Church, your mother.
So away with fear, let black death terrify no one.
Let hope and trust lift your distinguished minds
Believe me, God and the better cause favor you.
But if by chance anyone should die in the war,
He shall live in heaven forever.”
[ back ] 87. Cries Mnestheus, “Whither fly?
What open way is yonder or what wall?
Beyond these ramparts lost what stronger lie?
Shall one lone man here in your walls confined,
make havoc unavenged and feed the grave
with your best warriors? O cowards vile!
For your sad country and her ancient gods
and for renowned Aeneas, can ye feel
no pity and no shame?”
[ back ] 88. What terrors now,
Tuscan cowards, dead to noble rage,
have seized ye? or what laggard sloth and vile
unmans your hearts, that now a woman’s arm
pursues ye and this scattered host confounds?
Why dressed in steel, or to what purpose wear
your futile swords? Not slackly do ye join
the ranks of Venus in a midnight war;
or when fantastic pipes of Bacchus call
your dancing feet, right venturesome ye fly
to banquets and the flowing wine–what zeal,
what ardor then! Or if your flattering priest
begins the revel, and to lofty groves
fat flesh of victims bids ye haste away!
[ back ] 89. Will ye not blush, Rutulians, so to stake
one life for many heroes? Are we not
their match in might and numbers? O, behold
those Trojan sons of Heaven making league
with exiled Arcady; see Tuscan hordes
storming at Turnus. Yet we scarce could find
one foe apiece, forsooth, if we should dare
fight them with half our warriors. Of a truth
your champion brave shall to those gods ascend
before whose altars his great heart he vows;
and lips of men while yet on earth he stays
will spread his glory far. Ourselves, instead,
must crouch to haughty masters, and resign
this fatherland upon whose fruitful fields
we dwell at ease.
[ back ] 90. Dominik 1994:146–148.
[ back ] 91. The word degener appears in a vituperative cohortatio not noticed by Dominik. In an embedded speech within a speech, Thiodamus reports the words of Amphiaraus, who calls his addresses inertes and degeneres (Thebaid 10.206–211).
[ back ] 92. Men, the prudence
Which flourishes in your manly condition should not allow you
To have womanly hearts. What cowardice always forces you
To take flight? remember your ancestors,
Whose vigor subdued the entire world.
Hector was slain by the very strong arms of Achilles.
Troy fell, burnt by the fires of Mycenean fury.
India learned how great was the energy of Philip;
Did not his very strong son Alexander
Subject many strong kingdoms of to the Pelasgians?
The reputation of the Greeks used to give terror
To all of the Western parts and all of the regions of the world.
What people, having heard the name of the Greeks,
Dared to stand in the field? Scarcely towns, camps, or cities
Kept their enemies safe from their forces.
Stand firm, I pray, mindful of the valor of your ancestors.
Do not let trust placed in your feet not render you degenerate.
He who dares to stand bravely takes away force from the enemy.
Take care to follow the in the steps of your fathers.
Now let flight be displeasing; the entire world perceives
That you are strong men. The Frankish people are not to be feared,
Unequal to you both in number and in force.
[ back ] 93. Then the towering leader marched in front of the first rank
And shouted, “This unbridled people should be ashamed
To be held in by a wall and a trench, who was accustomed to rush to war
And a bit earlier was demanding for itself royal honor!
Where is that former energy, where has such great pride gone?
Now bring yourselves to the level field, if you have any courage,
Now bring your hand, if you have any confidence, to war!”
[ back ] 94. Dominik 1994:70n1.
[ back ] 95. Highet 1972:80.
[ back ] 96. Dominik 1994:71.
[ back ] 97. In which war can your valor now shine forth?
Where will you use the military discipline which you have been learning since you were children?
Womanly leisure will make distinguished youths lazy,
inactivity will consume your future strength!
You will become numb in this foul rest of peace,
And you will do nothing worthy of praise in your lifetimes.
You, who are born of fathers whose famous deeds resound
Throughout the world, through whom the glory of Milan
Has so grown that it became most famous in all lands!
Indeed, the example of your parents should move your spirits,
The deeds of your ancestors, should knock your minds out of this depondence
Forlor and the glory of war brought them to Heaven
Degenerate is he who refuses to follow the deeds of his ancestors!
Degenerate any man who abandons the honor of his fathers!
[ back ] 98. The blood pouring forth teaches you to hold
in no way the oath you recently swore.
For a person whose throat arrows pierce is not healthy
Therefore have self-control and make your surrender,
And save yourself from death along with us.
[ back ] 99. Horsfall 2003 ad 11.321–322 calls him “an orator in whom good sense coexists with a bad character.”
[ back ] 100. for, lo, that Turnus on his wedding day
may win a princess, our cheap, common lives–
we the mere mob, unwept, unsepulchred–
must be spilled forth in battle!
[ back ] 101. Meanwhile the rabble, undone by terror of the sea,
Muttered and disgracefully yearned for their home shores
trying to vex their leaders with foolish complaints
forgetting about the enemy, they threatened to return home.
[ back ] 102. They regret having come here, those who were accustomed to work
the soil, always bent over curved plows,
the spend all of their time turning clods of earth.
And now, when they are not able to put their seeds in furrows
Or to press down their trampled vintage with their feet
Night and day they complain about this delay and their misfortune.
And perhaps threaten to return to their homes.
Mean tribe of men, whose miserable generation
Offers no utilty to people now.
Always they plead, always they groan, always they murmer;
And to them it is not a disgrace to keep their habits.
Goodness and renowned honor distinguish us from them.
Cf. Numanus’ inclusion of plows among the hard steel implements to which the Italians are accustomed. Clearly farming is considered a symbol of, and not an impediment to, masculine fortitude in the Aeneid.