In this paper I examine the application of the status-theory in some controversiae of Seneca the Elder's declamatory collection. The analysis of a number of significant examples shows that the declaimers not only perfectly mastered this complex rhetorical doctrine, but were also able to discuss some points of it and in case modify it, adapting the rules given by the rhetorical handbooks to the specific requirements of each single case. This leads us to the conclusion that the didactic value of the declamatory exercise never failed entirely, and in the rhetorical schools of the early imperial age it remained the fundamental instrument by which future orators learnt to put into practice the precepts transmitted in the rhetorical teaching, not only for the elocutio, but also and especially for the inventio.

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