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Orator (not to be confused with De Oratore), was written by Marcus Tullius Cicero in the latter part of the year 46 B.C. It is his last work on rhetoric, three years before his death. Describing rhetoric, Cicero addresses previous comments on the five canons of rhetoric: Inventio, Dispositio, Elocutio, Memoria, and Pronuntiatio. In this text, Cicero attempts to describe the perfect orator, in response to Marcus Junius Brutus’ request. Orator is the continuation of a debate between Brutus and Cicero, which originated in his text Brutus, written earlier in the same year.
The oldest partial text of Orator was recovered in the monastery of Mont Saint-Michel and now is located in the library at Avranches. Thirty-seven existing manuscripts have been discovered from this text. Another complete text was discovered in 1421, near Milan in the town of Lodi. These two texts vary considerably between the two manuscripts and modern translators rely on both.
In 46. B.C, when Cicero wrote Orator, many young Roman men revolted against the stylistic paradigms put forward by Cicero, and from most Roman traditions in general. Cicero writes in a defensive posture to this hostile audience.
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