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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the nature and purpose of analogies with music and the visual arts that recur in works of classical rhetoric, including Isocrates’s Evagoras, Cicero’s Orator and De oratore, and Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria. Terms such as decorum, ornatus (or ornament), evidentia, and numerus can be understood only in relationship to other, nonverbal arts. Analogies and distinctions reflect specific historical rivalries among the arts but also speak to a shared understanding of human cognition as embodied and externalized. Rhetorical theory articulates an account of human thought that aligns rhetoric, music, and the arts in opposition to philosophy, which is regarded as having separated mind and body. This theory of cognition provides the basis for later defenses of particular arts, such as Giuseppe Zarlino’s treatment of music and Giovan Pietro Bellori’s praise of painting, and helps account for the persistent importance of classical rhetoric in new or altered venues.

Keywords: Cicero, Quintilian, Isocrates, decorum, ornament, evidentia, nonverbal arts, philosophy, cognition

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