In "On the Ideal Orator" (De Oratore) Cicero - the greatest Roman orator and prosewriter of his day - gives his views on rhetoric, oratory and philosophy. Cast in the lively literary form of a dialogue, the work presents a daring view of the orator as the master of all language communcation, while still emphasizing his role at the heart of Roman society and politics. Cicero thus goes far beyond the rules of the standard manuals of the rhetoricians, whom he criticizes for their rigidity and narrowness. But in the age-old quarrel between the philosophers and the rhetoricians, he does not side with the philosophers either. His picture of the ideal orator consitutes Cicero's own, original synthesis between the two positions. This translation aims to be accessible as well as accurate. The translation is based on, and contributes to, the many advances in recent scholarship of "De Oratore" itself, as well as of the many aspects of ancient rhetoric, philosophy, and history relevant to the work. It reflects the many variations of Cicero's style, which are essential ingredients of the work, signalling irony, seriousness, arguments, and climaxes.
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