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Title: Philosophes et philosophèmes dans le livre 10 de l'Institution Oratoire de Quintilien
Author(s): AUBERT BAILLOT, Sophie
Volume: 77 Issue: 1 Date: 2018
In book 10 of his Institutio Oratoria, Quintilian analyses Greek and Latin authors from a stylistic point of view and his remarks on ancient philosophers, although brief and apparently superficial, are quite often original in comparison with Cicero’s views. He considers for example that Plato wrote under the influence of enthusiasm, he approaches Xenophon in a non-traditional way and he maintains that Stoic philosophers showed some rhetorical qualities which Cicero strongly denied to them. These apparent eccentricities stem from his personal readings of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman philosophers: several passages from book 10 reveal that Quintilian knew quite well the Epicurean theory of vision or the Stoic metaphor of digestion which illustrates an inner transformation of the self. He also happens to distort deliberately some famous philosophical concepts or formulas, such as Aristotle’s theory of hexis or Plato’s definition of rhetoric. By doing so, Quintilian aims at emphasising how he appropriates philosophical culture in an original way.