style: levels of style
Figures of Speech

The concept of "levels of style" comes essentially from the Roman rhetorical tradition, in which style was typically divided into three broad categories: high or grand, middle, and low. Cicero developed a partition of styles according to rhetorical purposes, as shown below.

Roman Levels of Style
English Term
Latin Names
Greek Name
Rhetorical Purpose
High Style or Grand Style supra, magniloquens adros to move
Middle Style aequabile, mediocre mesos to please
Low or Plain Style infinum, humile ischnos to teach

More complex and sophisticated than the Roman levels of style are the categories of style from the Greek and Byzantine tradition, beginning with Hermogenes.

Isidore 2.17.1 ("humile"); Cicero .*

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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