After the death of Quintilian shortly before the end of the 1st Christian century, it was to be more than a thousand years before the next major development in the arts of discourse in the western world. And this was not to be a rhetorical development but a systematic oral refi nement of dialectical process based on Aristotle’s system of logic-the disputatio of the medieval university. 1

But over this vast ocean of time the Roman educational and rhetorical system did continue to fl ourish in various forms through barbarian invasions and enormous social changes. Roman rhetoric with its educational underpinnings outlived its own culture. The world changed, but the “system” did not. 2 Teachers taught in ways Quintilian would have recognized, though after a century or two no one would have recognized the sources of the process. When Christianity emerged as a major force it looked to Ciceronian principles to support its need for preaching. 3 When Charlemagne’s advisor, Alcuin, tried to convince his 8th century master of the need for deliberative rhetoric, he wrote a treatise based on Cicero’s De Inventione . 4

The old world of the Roman republic with its free Senate and effective orators had by Quintilian’s time long been submerged by autocratic emperors who kept all the trappings of the republic but swamped their societies with secret police and draconian laws to suppress free speech. 5 As we have seen, it had long been a truism of the history of rhetoric that rhetoric originated in, and fl ourished in, free societies. But by Quintilian’s time rhetoric had become so much a part of the warp and woof of Roman culture that even dictators could not destroy it and the educational system which supported it. Rhetoric was by then the standard opening to public success, and when the emperors began to use public money for schools, and sent the teachers along with the soldiers to Latinize the conquered lands from Britain to Persia, rhetoric then became the tool for upward mobility in the entire known world.