Suasoria

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The Latin poet Ovid enjoyed his suasoria.

Suasoria is an exercise in rhetoric; a form of declamation in which the student makes a speech which is the soliloquy of an historical figure debating how to proceed at a critical junction in their life.

Origin[edit]

The exercise was used in ancient Rome, where it was, with the controversia, the final stage of a course in rhetoric at an academy. One famous instance was recalled by Juvenal in the first of his Satires:[1]

Et nos ergo manum ferulæ subduximus: et nos
Consilium dedimus Syllæ privatus ut altum
Dormiret. Stulta est clementia cum tot ubique
Vatibus occurras perituræ parcere chartæ.
I too have felt the master's cane upon my hand. I too
have given Sulla advice to retire into a deep
sleep. No point in sparing paper which is doomed to
destruction as you meet all those 'bards' everywhere.

Here Juvenal recalls his speech advising the dictator Sulla to retire. Another Roman poet who recalled enjoying his suasoria was Ovid.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Susanna Morton Braund (1997). "Declamation and contestation in satire". Roman Eloquence: Rhetoric in Society and Literature. Routledge. p. 147. ISBN 9780415125444. 
  2. ^ "Education (Roman)". Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics 9. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912. p. 212.