Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) (kwĭntĭlˈyən), c.A.D. 35–c.A.D. 95, Roman rhetorician, b. Calagurris (now Calahorra), Spain. He taught rhetoric at Rome (Pliny the Younger and possibly Tacitus were among his pupils) and, as a public teacher, was endowed with a salary by Vespasian, who also made him consul. His Institutio oratoria, a complete survey of rhetoric in 12 books, begins with a discussion of the education of the young and proceeds with the various principles of rhetoric. The last book deals with the life of the orator outside his profession, e.g., his morality and his deportment. The 10th book contains a list of great writers with brief but acute criticisms of their important works. Quintilian's style is among the most beautiful in his period; he succeeds in demonstrating what he sets out to inculcate—the necessity of good taste and moderation in rhetoric. He had great influence in antiquity and in the Renaissance. A number of declamations formerly assigned to him were falsely attributed.


See study by G. Kennedy (1970); M. Winterbottom ed., The Minor Declamations Ascribed to Quintilian (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Marcus Fabius Quintilianus). Born circa 35 A.D. in Callagurris, now Calahorra, Spain; died approximately 96 A.D. in Rome. Rhetorician of ancient Rome.

Only Quintilian’s work Institutio oratoria, in 12 books, is preserved in its entirety; it is one of the most valuable sources on ancient rhetoric and pedagogy. As far as literary criticism is concerned, the tenth book is the most important; in it Quintilian gives a survey of Greek and Roman poetry and prose by genres.


Quintiliani Institutionis oratoriae libri 12. Edited by L. Radermacher. Leipzig, 1959.
In Russian translation:
Dvenadtsat’ knig ritoricheskikh nastavlenii. parts 1–2. Translated by A. Nikol’skii. St. Petersburg, 1834.


Kuznetsova, T. I. “Literaturnaia kritika Kvintiliana.” In Ocherki po istorii rimskoi literaturnoi kritiki. Moscow, 1963. Pages 156–90.
Kennedy, G. Quintilian. New York [1969].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(i) According to Quintilian (10.3.31) scribi optime ceris, because it is easiest to correct on the wax tablet; nisi forte visus infirmior membranarum potius usum exiget.
Quintilian's great work Institutio oratoria, in 12 books, was published shortly before the end of his life.
Such an extreme view is a reflection of Sceptic theory, and the view of Quintilian is probably more representative of the thinking of grammarians and literary critics.
Quintilian excelled in literary criticism, Lucan in the epic form, Statius in poetry, Lucius Annaeus Seneca in rhetoric, and his son of the same name in tragedy.
Quintilian attributes to him the scheme summarised in 3.11.1-10, and this (as we shall see) is Model 1; moreover, he explicitly contrasts Cicero's adherence to Hermagoras' system in De Inventione with the variant schemes in the Partitiones and Topica (3.11.18-19).
Quintilian uses contextus in speaking of the order and connection of words (rerum ac verborum contextum sequi), of a series of connected words (verborum contextus), and of connected discourse (in contextu sermonis).(4) Cicero uses the word of an entire extended oration in a way that makes apparent the metaphorical foundations of such usages: in toto quasi contextu orationis, |in the whole fabric of the speech'.(5) The third sense of the substantive contextus given in Ainsworth's Thesaurus linguae Latinae is |The form and style of a continued discourse, a text or context' (2nd edn of 1746).
The first half of her study investigates various facets of the medieval concept of memory, illustrated by reference to Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Cicero, Jerome, Geoffrey de Vinsauf, Hugh of St Victor, Aquinas, Avicenna, Quintilian, Peter of Ravenna, Bradwardine, and many more.
Speaking of which, the concluding nursery on the card was won by Derby runner-up Main Sequence last season, and the two-year-old in the line-up who seems most likely to progress beyond handicaps is Godolphin's Quintilian, who was runner-up to subsequent Group 1 Gran Criterium winner Law Enforcement when last seen.
Here again the discussion is broadly based, placing Seneca first among ancient writers on style like Cicero, Quintilian, Demetrius, and Longinus, then drawing on the ideas of Erasmus, Melanchthon, Ramus, and Sturm.
The book is presented in three sections; the first gives the context of the woman and the time in which she lived; the second presents sources from Cicero, Catullus, Sallust, Quintilian, and Plutarch; the final offers the legacy of Clodia through Propertius, Tibullus, Ovid, and Martial.
For example, his opening essay on "Guillaume Dufay's Concept of Fauxbourdon" starts with familiar references to humanist rhetoric following Quintilian and moves on to an interesting interpretation of fauxbourdon as a symbolic image of unity (of the church, of faith, of the soul with God) expressed through harmonic parallelism.
The Latin writers Horace and Quintilian spoke of him as a serious poet, but only about 100 lines of his work have survived; it is not even certain that he used the triadic stanza (divided into strophe, antistrophe, and epode) that is supposed to be his invention.