Quintilian

Quintilian

Quintilian was born in Calagurris (Tarraconensis) in Hispania (Spain) in about AD 35. His father sent him to Rome to study rhetoric early in the reign of Emperor Nero. He became an advocate before moving back to Spain where he practiced law.

In AD 68 Quintilian returned to Rome where he worked for Emperor Galba. After the assassination of Galba he opened a public school of rhetoric. Among his students were Pliny the Younger and Tacitus.

Emperor Vespasian made him a consul and hoped he would help create "an intelligent and responsible ruling class".

As well as publishing several books on oratory, Quintilian wrote a very influential book on education. It included the following passage: "Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion... He must be engaged in competition and should be allowed to believe himself successful more often than not, while he should be encouraged to do his best by such rewards as may appeal to his tender years... I disapprove of flogging - although it is the regular custom - because it is... an insult, as you will realise if you imagine its infliction at a later age."

Quintilian died in about AD 100

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Quintilian, On the Training of an Orator (c. AD 96)

Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion... He must be engaged in competition and should be allowed to believe himself successful more often than not, while he should be encouraged to do his best by such rewards as may appeal to his tender years... I disapprove of flogging - although it is the regular custom - because it is... an insult, as you will realise if you imagine its infliction at a later age.