refutation anaskeue
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The exercises in refutation is an attack on an opposite view, typically attacking the credibility of a myth or legend. It was a companion to the following exercise (confirmation). Both exercises corresponded directly to the parts of an oration,

From the time of Hermogenes, the refutation exercise preceded that of the confirmation (the opposite of how the confirmatio and refuatatio are ordered in the speech proper). One may surmise that this was due to the fact that it is easier to begin speaking by criticizing the weaknesses of an opposing argument.

The refutation exercise was paired with that of the confirmation exercise, and together comprised the thesis or theme exercise, in which one argued both sides of a question, or in utrumque partes.

Directions for Composition
Attack the credibility of a myth or legend employing these steps:

  1. Blame the teller of the story
  2. Give a summary of the story
  3. Attack it as being:
    • obscure
    • incredible
    • impossible
    • illogical
    • unfitting, and
    • unprofitable.

Apthonius gives the example of the story of Daphne and Apollo as being improbable.

Related Figures See Also

Sources: Quintilian 2.4.18-19

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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