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Finally, the style of the Dialogue exhibits most astonishing resemblances to the other writings of Pliny.
That these statements are partly open to the gravest objections, partly of no argumentative validity whatever, can be easily shown. In the first place, Pliny was only 13 years old in 75 A. D., the dramatic date of the Dialogue, which fact renders his presence at the discussion in the house of Maternus an impossibility, not to mention the trifling circumstance that a boy, and be he never so precocious, would not have been capable of following the conversation with intelligence. For, unhistorical as the reported dialogue unquestionably is, the author, we must remember, represents it as having actually taken place in his own presence. Again, Aper and Secundus, the leading advocates of the period, are introduced to us as the teachers of the writer, to whom he was devotedly attached; Pliny, on the other hand, nowhere even alludes either to Aper or to Secundus, but on the contrary expressly informs us that he was a pupil of Quintilian and Nicetes Sacerdos ! 114
Still another argument against the Plinian authorship of the Dialogus must be found in the simple fact that Pliny himself strangely fails to claim the beautiful treatise as his own, it being not so much as even casually alluded to. The significance of this argumentum ex silentio will be apparent, when it is remembered that this vain author seizes every possible opportunity in his letters. to mention, for the benefit of an inquisitive posterity, all literary productions 115 that ever emanated from his busy and versatile pen, even down to the most trivial doggerels.
Regarding Pliny's style, finally, for it is tiresome and needless
114 I am sorry to observe that Hillscher, Fleck. Iahrb. Suppl. Vol. XVIII (1891) p. 415, again assumes but one rhetorician of this name, identifying him with the Nicetes mentioned by Seneca, Tacitus (c. 15 15 where see my note), Pliny, Philostratus, one Automedon in an epigram (Anth. Pal. X 23) and Hieronymus (to the year 32 B. C.: Nicetes et Hybreas et Theodorus et Plutio nobilissimi artis rhetoricae artis Graeci praeceptores habentur). If so, he must have been about 140 years old when Pliny came under his instruction! The elder Nicetes, mentioned by Tacitus, was probably born at the beginning of our era, his ȧkμý falling at the close of the reign of Tiberius (see Seneca). In that case, the above epigram refers to a younger namesake, Pliny's teacher, and the poet Automedon will remain a contemporary of Nerva as heretofore, the reign of Augustus, to which Hillscher assigns him, being out of the question.
115 For Pliny's numerous references to his own writings, see Teuffel § 340, 2-4.
to multiply objections 116 against the hypothesis under discussion,
The arguments advanced in favor of Quintilian 118 are substantially based upon the same observations and considerations as some of those just mentioned. They are, however, more numerous, more subtle and, as the non-Tacitean authorship of the Dialogue is ex hypothesi complacently regarded as indisputable, not without some shadow of probability.
Lipsius and his followers were, it seems, primarily lured into boldly declaring in favor of the great rhetorician, not so much by stylistic considerations as by the fact that Quintilian himself repeatedly 119 refers to a treatise, published but a few years before the Institutio, entitled de causis corruptae eloquentiae, for this title appeared to Lipsius, as we have seen, to harmonise so perfectly with the subject discussed in the extant Dialogue that he had no scruples in identifying it with the lost treatise of Quintilian. It is psychologically interesting, in this connection, to observe how completely a preconceived opinion was able to blind even so great a critic as Lipsius to the palpable fact that the very quotations from the 'de causis corruptae eloquentiae' are not only not found
116 See esp. Eckstein 1. c. I am not disposed to attach too much weight to the objection, based upon Pliny's omission of any reference to Messalla or Maternus, for these were doubtless long dead when the earliest extant letter was written (97 A.D.), and it is doubtful if the alleged poetic reputation of Maternus, alluded to only in the Dialogus, long survived him.
117 See Vogel p. 270 f.
118 Cp. Eckstein pp. 52-61 Vogel pp. 254-265 Gruenwald pp. 1-41 Kleiber pp. 80-90 Novák II pp. 185-228.
119 Cf. Quint. II 4, 41 f. V 12, 17-23 VI prooem. 3 VIII 3, 56–58. 6, 73–76.
in the Dialogue, but could not, from their very nature, have ever occurred in it, as they deal with the faults of "elocutio" proper, such as the kakónλov, hyperbole and the like. 120 But if so, we are put upon the horns of a dilemma, of which it would be hard to say which is the more absurd. For either Quintilian wrote a book 'de causis corruptae eloquentiae' and the Dialogus de oratoribus, but by some strange accident repeatedly referred to the former only, or else the two are identical, the author's citations being by an equally strange accident absent from the extant treatise 121 - which had no place for them anywhere!
The remaining arguments adduced in favor of Quintilian pertain to the matter and the form of the Dialogue, the treatise revealing, it is contended, so many elements in common with the Institutio Oratoria as to establish identity of authorship beyond question.
Now as regards the contents of the two works, there can be no possible doubt, as we may at once admit, that many and even striking points of resemblance exist, and they have been duly noted in the Commentary, 122 but this fact can in no sense justify the inference that has been drawn, for the following reasons:
(1) Similarity of subject matter necessarily leads to similarity in its presentation.
(2) Very many of the coincidences collected by the writers mentioned are not peculiar to Quintilian, but may be readily paralleled from other authors, notably Cicero, to whom both Quintilian and Tacitus are alike largely indebted. This is equally true of the numerous aesthetic criticisms of literary men, upon which undue stress has been laid, for here, if anywhere, the great rhetorician is almost wholly dependent upon earlier sources, not only in Greek, but to some extent even in Latin literature, where we certainly might have expected greater independence and originality.128 These judgments had in course of time become stereotyped and common property, so to speak.
120 Cp. Spalding (cited p. XV), Gruenwald pp. 41-49 and esp. the exhaustive discussion of A. Reuter, De Quintiliani libro qui fuit de causis corruptae eloquentiae, Diss. Breslau 1887 pp. 1-42.
121 It is amusing to find some early advocates of the Quintilian theory getting over this difficulty by supposing that the passages in question may possibly all have been miraculously accumulated in the lacuna after c. 35!
122 Cf. Index locorum s. v. Quintilianus.
123 See H. Usener, De Dionysii Halic. imitat. reliquiae 1889 H. Nettleship, Jour. of Phil. XVIII 225 ff. Peterson to Quintilian X Bk. pp. xxii-xxxix.
(3) Some utterances which happen to be found only in the Dialogue and Quintilian, so far as they might not have occurred independently to two writers like Tacitus and Quintilian, may well owe their existence in our treatise to the fact that the youthful author had heard them from the living lips of Quintilian, having either remembered them or taken them from lecture notes. 124
(4) There are unmistakable contradictions between the Dialogue and the Institutio. Cf. e. g. notes to c. 5 6 217 22 12 35 ext.
(5) In still other passages Quintilian seems to take direct issue with statements made in the Dialogue. Cf. e. g. c. 12 5 23 1.
(6) The political tone, which, as we have seen, is the same throughout the Dialogue and the historical writings of Tacitus, is wholly different in the work of the eulogist of Domitian.
(7) The chronological data of the life of Quintilian are absolutely incompatible with the theory under discussion. The writer of the Dialogue was a very young man in 75, but Quintilian nearly forty at that time. The author of the treatise tells us that in 75 he was still assiduously pursuing his forensic studies under the guidance of Aper and Secundus; Quintilian, on the other hand, is known to have been a pupil of Remmius Palaemon (schol. Iuv. VI 451) and especially of Domitius Afer, as he tells us himself (V 7, 7 X 1, 86). Aper is never mentioned, Secundus repeatedly (X 1, 120. 3, 12 XII 10, 11), but as an intimate friend and equal in age (aequalis), and when Secundus and Aper, accompanied by their young pupil, paid their visit at the house of Maternus, Quintilian had been for three years or more the occupant of a professorship of rhetoric established by Vespasian. 125
124 That his pupils were wont to take notes is not only intrinsically probable, but is expressly attested in a well-known passage of the Institutio, I prooem. 7: duo iam sub nomine meo libri ferebantur artis rhetoricae neque editi a me namque alterum sermonem per biduum habitum pueri, quibus id praestabatur, exceperant, alterum pluribus sane diebus, quantum notando consequi poterant, interceptum boni iuvenes sed nimium amantes mei temerario editionis honore vulgaverant. Wilamowitz's (?) statement cited by Reuter p. 63 "Tacitus' Dialog ist der Reflex der quintilianeischen Kritik in der Seele eines Historikers," though nicely put, is only partially true, as it implies too late a date for the composition of the treatise. On Tacitus as a pupil of Quintilian, see Liebert (cited note 33), Gruenwald pp. 49 ff. Walter p. 10 ff. and below, note 147.
125 These chronological objections alone are so completely subversive of the Quintilianean hypothesis, that its latest advocate, R. Novák, takes refuge in the gratuitous supposition that Quintilian intentionally concealed his identity;
(8) Regarding the stylistic coincidences, it has already been remarked (p. xv) that the mere fact that the authorship of Pliny no less than that of Quintilian has been based upon them, constitutes a clear reductio ad absurdum of the hypothesis itself.
But this is not all, for when we examine the congeries of illustrations collected in deadly parallel' columns, by the excessive zeal of Kleiber, Vogel, Gruenwald and Novák,126 we find that fully one-half are met with elsewhere, are in fact part of the common vocabulary of Latin or of the rhetorical vernacular of the time. Others present no analogies or coincidences that would be recognised as peculiar or significant by any one not bent upon proving a preconceived theory. In the case of a few phrases which Quintilian and the author of the Dialogue seem to share between them, it would be difficult, a similar idea once being given, to express it in dissimilar language.
Finally, amid many genuine parallelisms of diction, we at the same time come upon most striking stylistic divergences. Thus, to mention but a few instances, Tacitus is exceedingly fond of alliterative and synonymic collocations, Quintilian habitually and studiously avoids them, while constructions such as postquam with plup. ind., habere with gerundive, dum with the pres. ind. in orat. obl., liber='oratio,' and the omission of utrum, though common in the writings of Tacitus, never occur in Quintilian. 127
or, if he was not the author, then some one else was, Tacitus being considered by Novák as out of the question!!
126 The only independent value of Novák's treatise consists in his adducing a number of stylistic resemblances from the so-called Declamationes of PseudoQuintilian, hitherto overlooked. But when he calmly regards these rhetorical exercises as genuine productions of Quintilian and utilises them to prove the Quintilianean authorship of the Dialogue, he thereby at once forfeits all claims to further consideration, even if he had not also, throughout his treatise, intentionally suppressed the numerous parallelisms in the historical works of Tacitus, while even earlier writers, such as Cicero and Livy, are mentioned not more than 25 times in a list of over 350 alleged coincidences between the Dialogue on the one hand and Quintilian and the Declamationes on the other!
127 For other instances, see Weinkauff p. clvi and Vogel p. 255 f.