De Inventione

De Inventione is a handbook for orators that Cicero composed when he was still a young man. Quintillian tells us that Cicero considered the work rendered obsolete by his later writings.[1] Originally four books in all, only two have survived into modern times. It is also credited with the first recorded use of the term "liberal arts" or artes liberales, though whether Cicero coined the term is unclear.[2][3] The text also defines the concept of dignitas: dignitas est alicuius honesta et cultu et honore et verecundia digna auctoritas.[4]


  1. Caplan, H. (1954). Introduction. Rhetorica ad Herennium. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  2. Kimball, Bruce. Orators and Philosophers. New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1995. p. 13
  3. Cicero. De Inventione. Book 1, Section 35
  4. Peter Garnsey (1970). Social status and legal privilege in the Roman Empire. Clarendon. pp. 224.

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