Exercise 1: Fable

For these posts, I will structure them much the same way every time. First, I shall list the “tasks” which the exercise focuses on. Second, I shall list what skills are learned during versus required to perform those tasks (this list should not be considered exhaustive, but rather basic). Third I shall add any notes of worth and explanations of finer points. Finally, I shall try my hand at performing the tasks listed and present the results thereof to you for critique.

Without further ado, here is the Fable (mythos).


For the Fable exercise there are three tasks which must be mastered before the student can move on to the next exercise. They are as follows:

  • Amplification: which focuses on turning implicit and indirect discourse into direct discourse.
  • Abbreviation: which focuses on cutting out all unnecessary words and phrases AND turning direct discourse into indirect or implicit discourse. In short, it focuses on the essentials of the core.
  • Creation: in which students make their own fable but must find a balance between too much information and not enough.


Silva Rhetoricæ has a very nice list of skills which I will be primarily using for this section of each subsequent posting. Of course, though, I will add to the list as I see fit and mark which skills are acquired during this exercise versus which ones are required “a priori.”

  • A Priori: Knowledge of grammatical figures (i.e. the grammar stage)
  • Acquired: Dramatic but suitable speaking style (Sermocinatio)
  • Acquired: Descriptions and portrays of characters (Ethopoeia)
  • Acquired: Vivid and lively general descriptions (Enargia)
  • Aposteriori: Personification (Prosopopoeia)
  • Aposteriori: Knowledge of virtue and Vvce (a priori by the Maxim exercise)
  • Aposteriori: Virtues of style (Aptum – a priori by the Narrative exercise)

Additional Material

Students performed these tasks primarily using Aesop’s Fables (or imitating them in the case of the creation task). However, the teachers judged them based on how well the students applied the above mentioned skills. The reasoning was that correct, repeated application of these skills implied mastery: and once they mastered them, the students were allowed to proceed to the next exercise.

Side note: not all fables have the morals stated after the narrative; some are stated before.

My Attempts (in progress)



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