In Latin rhetorical contexts, color was a well known metaphor, used to refer either to the orator's stylistic choices or to the general complexion of the whole speech (Cic. De orat. 3.96) or the specific characteristics of each of the three styles (Cic. De orat. 3.199) or even of each part of the speech (Quint. 12.10.71). In the second case, by contrast, color had the peculiar meaning of a possible point of view in the discussion of the case, as appears from its usage in Seneca's Controversiae. The term ductus was less well known. We meet it for the first time in the handbook of Consultus Fortunatianus (1.6-8, pp. 71ff. Calb. Mont.) and then again in the book on rhetoric in the encyclopaedia of Martianus Capella (470-72, pp. 165.3ff. Willis). Ductus referred to the speaker's intention of being open or not in pleading the entire case. Considering the section on ductus in the Five Books on Rhetoric written by George of Trebizond, this article corroborates the parallels between the theory of ductus as treated by Fortunatianus and Martianus Capella, the figuratae controversiae of Quintilian (9.2.65-69), and the σχηματισμ να of Greek authors.

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