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pro-gym-nas'-ma-ta from Gk. pro "before" and gymnasmata "exercises"

A set of rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations (gymnasmata or declamations). A crucial component of classical and renaissance rhetorical pedagogy. Many progymnasmata exercises correlate directly with the parts of a classical oration.

The 14 Progymnasmata

Similar progymnasmata are grouped together. The exercises are in general sequential.
  1. Fable
  2. Narrative

  3. Chreia
  4. Proverb

  5. Refutation
  6. Confirmation

  7. Commonplace

  8. Encomium
  9. Vituperation
  10. Comparison

  11. Impersonation
  12. Description

  13. Thesis or Theme
  14. Defend / Attack a Law

Related Figures

Connections to Other Parts of Rhetoric

Internet Resources

Online English translations of the progymnasmata of Aphthonius and of Libanius

Sources: Ad Alexandrum 1436a26; Theon; Aphthonius; Hermogenes; Quintilian ("primae exercitationes");


© 1996-2000, Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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