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In classical rhetoric, a peroration was the final part of a speech. It was one of the four or five traditional components in the dispositio of a speech.

The peroration had two main purposes: to remind the audience of the main points of the speech (recapitulatio) and to influence their emotions (affectus). The role of the peroration was defined by Greek writers on rhetoric, who called it epilogos; but it is most often associated with Roman orators, who made frequent use of emotional appeals. A famous example was the speech of Marcus Antonius Orator in defence of Aquillius, during which Antonius tore open the tunic of Aquillius to reveal his battle scars.[1]

In the first century B.C. it was common for two or more speakers to appear on each side in major court cases. In such cases it was considered a mark of honour to be asked to deliver the peroration.[2]


  1. ^ Cicero, De Oratore, 2.xlvii.194
  2. ^ Cicero, Brutus, 190

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