narrative diegema
The Progymnasmata   Previous Exercise All   Next Exercise

Telling narratives was one of the first exercises in a rhetorical education according to Quinitlian, and included students retelling a story from the end to the beginning, or from the middle backwards or forwards. From providing students an initial experience in expression, narrative exercises became the building blocks for the progymnasmata exercises that followed it (which required summaries, digressions, or narrations of various sorts) and principally for the narratio portion of a complete practice speech.

Directions for Composition

Sudents were to take a factual or fictional story from the poets or historians and retell it in their own words, attempting to be clear as to the facts:

  • Who did it
  • What was done
  • When it was done
  • Where it was done
  • How it was done
  • Why it was done
See Also

Sources: Ad Herennium 1.8.12-13; Quintilian 2.4.2, 2.4.15

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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