Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus [Suetonius]
Latin (Imperial Era)
C. SVETONI TRANQVILII DE RHETORIBVS
 Rhetorica quoque apud nos perinde atque grammatica fere recepta est,
[The art of speaking too was received by us, and to some extent, the study of grammar thereafter,]
paulo etiam difficilius,
[and this came with somewhat more difficulty,]
quippe quam constet nonnunquam etiam prohibitam exerceri.
[as, in fact, it happened that, at times, it was not possible to be employed.]
Quod ne cui dubium sit vetus S. C. item censorium edictum subiiciam:
[Which, lest there be any old doubt about the senatorial decree, I will likewise mention the edict of the censors:]
C. Fannio Strabone M. Valerio Messala cons. M. Pomponius praetor senatum consuluit.
[In the consul years of Gaius Fannius Strabo and Marcus Valerius Messala, Marcus Pomponius the praetor convened the Senate.]
Quod verba facta sunt de philosophis et rhetoribus,
[Let's mark the words that were said about philosophers and orators,]
de ea re ita censuerunt,
[on which matter, people agreed about the following,]
ut N. Pomponius praetor animadiverteret
[when the praetor Naevius Pomponius paid heed,]
curaretque, ut si ei e re p. fideque sua videretur,
[and took care to see that if he could appear to serve the republic with his loyalty,]
uti Romae ne essent.
[that is, to make sure that these kind of people were not present in Rome.]
De eisdem interiecto tempore CN. Domitius Aenobarbus, L. Licinius Crassus censores ita edixerunt:
[In the interim, the censors Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Lucius Licinius Crassus so decreed about these very men:]
Renuntiatum est nobis,
["We have both officially announced,]
esse homines qui novum genus disciplinae instituerunt,
[there are people who have instructed a new field of discipline,]
ad quos inventus in ludum conveniat;
[to whom it befits to become a matter of mockery;]
eos sibi nomen imposuisse Latinos rhetoras;
[we've decreed to impose the title of Latin rhetors upon them;]
Maiores nostri, quae liberos suos discere et quos in ludos itare vellent, instituerunt.
[Our forefathers instructed how they wanted their books to teach and be prepared for schools.]
Haec nova, quae praeter consuetudinern ac morem maiorum fiunt,
[These new things, which went beyond the tradition and custom of the ancestors,]
neque placent neque recta videntur.
[neither became popular nor seemed to be appropriate.]
Quapropter et iis qui eos ludos habent,
[And wherefore, for those men who possess these kinds of schools,]
et iis qui eo venire consuerunt,
[and for those who are accustomed to frequent them,]
[it seems obligatory to make it]
ut ostenderemus nostram sententiam, nobis non placere.
[that I should reveal my opinion, that is, that I don't approve of them.]
Paulatim et ipsa utilis honestaque apparuit,
[And gradually, this appeared useful, and honest,]
multique eam et praesidii causa et gloriae appetiverunt.
[and many people sought this, in order to gain higher standing and glory.]
Cicero ad praeturam usque etiam Graece declamitavit,
[Even Cicero spoke rhetorically, in Greek, during his office as praetor,]
Latine vero senior quoque
[and in fact, as a older fellow, in Latin took]
et quidem cum consulibus Hirtio et Pansa,
[and indeed, in accompaniment with the consuls Hirtius and Pansa,]
quos discipulos et grandis praetextatos vocabat.
[whom he used to call his students, and greatly distinguished.]
CN. Pompeium quidam historici tradiderunt sub ipsum civile bellum,
[Certain historians say talk about Gnaeus Pompey, during the civil war itself,]
quo facilius C. Curioni promptissimo iuveni, causam Caesaris defendenti, contradiceret,
[whereby he spoke against only of the most educated young men around, Gaius Curio, who was Caesar's defense lawyer,]
repetisse declamandi consnetudinem;
[and he had invoked his practice of speaking rhetorically;]
M. Antonium, item Augustum ne Mutinensi quidem bello omisisse.
[in fact, in order, to not miss out on Mark Antony Antony, and Augustus too, during the war against Mutina.]
Nero Caesar primo imperii anno, publice quoque bis antea, declamavit.
[Nero Caesar, in the very first year of his reign as emperor, spoke as an orator, and also two years ago in the presence of the public.]
Plerique autem oratorum etiam declamationes ediderunt.
[And yet, most of the orators also gave rhetorical presentations too.]
Quare magno studio hominibus iniecto,
[Whereby, after a great passion fell upon people, ]
magna etiam professorum ac doctorum profluxit copia,
[a tremendous group of oratory teachers and instructors flooded forth too,]
[and there practice flourished so very much]
ut nonnulli ex infima fortuna in ordinem senatorium atque ad summos honores processerint.
[that some leapt from the worst lot in life all the way to the order of the Senate, as well as the greatest positions of power.]
Sed ratio docendi nec una omnibus, nec singulis eadero semper fuit,
[But the practice of teaching was not the same thing for all people, nor was it always called such for each and every individual,]
quando vario modo quisque discipulos exercuerunt.
[while each of them trained their students in a variety of ways.]
Nam et dicta praeclare per omnes figuras, per casus et apologos aliter atque aliter exponere, et narrationes cum breviter ac presse tum latius et uberius explicare consuerant;
[You see, they were accustomed to make speech distinguished through all kinds of rhetorical figures, to expound in one way or another through improvisation and defenses, and to lay out their anecdotes, both with brevity and gravity, and as widely and richly as possible;]
interdum Graecorum scripta convertere,
[at other times, to translate the writings of Greeks,]
ac illustres laudare vel vituperare;
[and to praise, or condemn, famous men;]
quaedam etiam ad usum communis vitae instituta turn utilia et necessaria, tum perniciosa et supervacanea ostendere;
[also to demonstrate specific knowledge for the good of life in the community, as useful and necessary, and at other times, as pernicious and beyond useless;]