Online Encyclopedia

CORNIFICIUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 174 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
CORNIFICIUS, the author of a work on rhetorical figures, and perhaps of a general treatise (ars, rExvrt) on the art of rhetoric (Quintilian, Instil., iii. I. 21, ix. 3. 89). He has been identified with the author of the four books of Rhetorica dedicated to a certain Q. Herennius and generally known under the title of Auctor ad Herennium. The chief argument in favour of this identity is the fact that many passages quoted by Quintilian from Cornificius are reproduced in the Rhetorica. Jerome, Priscian and others attributed the work to Cicero (whose De inventione was called Rhetorica prima, the Auctor ad Herennium, Rhetorica secunda) , while the claims of L. Aelius Stilo, M. Antonius Gnipho, and Ateius Praetextatus to the authorship have been supported by modern scholars. But it seems improbable that the question of authorship will ever be satisfactorily settled. Internal indications point to the date of compositions as 86–82 n.c., the period of Marian domination in Rome. The unknown author, as may be inferred from the treatise itself, did not write to make money, but to oblige his relative and friend Herennius, for whose instruction he promises to supply other works on ( grammar, military matters and political administration. He newly invented pistons of Stoelzel and Bluemel patented in 1815. It was introduced into Great Britain and France about 1830. There were at first only two pistons—for a whole tone and for a half tone—from which there naturally resulted gaps in the chromatic scale of the instrument. The use of a combination of pistons (see BOMBARDON and VALVES) fails to give acoustically correct intervals, because the length of tubing thus thrown open is not of the theoretical length required to produce the interval. A tube about 4 ft. long, such as that of the Bb cornet, needs an additional length of about 3 in. to lower the pitch a semitone ; but, if this cornet has already been lowered one tone to the key of Ab, the length of tube has increased some 6 in., and the 3-in. semitone piston no longer adds sufficient tubing to produce a semitone of correct intona- tion. To the per- former falls the task of concealing the shortcomings of his instrument, and he therefore corrects the intonation by varying the lip ten- sion. At first the cornet was supplied expresses his .contempt for the ordinary school rhetorician, the hair-splitting dialecticians and their " sense of inability to speak, since they dare not even pronounce their own name for fear of expressing themselves ambiguously." Finally, he admits that rhetoric is not. the highest accomplishment, and that philosophy is far more deserving of attention. Politically, it is evident that he was a staunch supporter of the popular party. The first and second books of the Rhetorica treat of inventio and forensic rhetoric; the third, of dispositio, pronuntiatio, memoria, deliberative and demonstrative rhetoric; the fourth, of elocutio. The chief aims of the author are conciseness and clearness (breviter et dilucide scribere). In accordance with this, he ignores all rhetorical subtleties, the useless and irrelevant matter introduced by the Greeks to make the art appear more difficult of acquisition; where possible, he uses Roman terminology for technical terms, and supplies his own examples of the various rhetorical figures. The work as a whole is considered very valuable. The question of the relation of Cicero's De invention to the Rhetorica has been much discussed. Three views were held: that the Auctor copied from Cicero; that they were independent of each other, parallelisms being due to their having been taught by the same rhetorician at Rome; that Cicero made extracts from the Rhetorica, as well as from other authorities, in his usual eclectic fashion. The latest editor, F. Marx, puts forward the theory that Cicero and the Auctor have not produced original works, but have merely given the substance of two TEXvat (both emanating from the Rhodian school); that neither used the TEXvat. directly, but reproduced the revised version of the rhetoricians whose school they attended, the introductions alone being their own work; that the lectures on which the Ciceronfan treatise was based were delivered before the lectures attended by the Auctor. The best modern editions are by C. L. Kayser (186o), in the Tauchnitz, and W. Friedrich (1889), in the Teubner edition of Cicero's works, and separately by F. Marx (1894) ; see also De scholiis Rhetorices ad Herennium, by M. Wisen (1905). Full references to authorities will be found in the articles by Brzoska in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopadie (1901); M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litt., i. (2nd ed., pp: 387-394) ; and Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Lit. (Eng. trans., p. 162) see also Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, bk. iv. ch. 13.
End of Article: CORNIFICIUS
[back]
CORNICE (Fr. corniche, Ital. cornice)
[next]
CORNING

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.