Eloquentia perfecta

In the 1599 Ratio Studiorum of the Society of Jesus- the official edition of the Ratio throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries- the First Rule of the Professor of Rhetoric specified the goal to be pursued in the final year of pre-university studies: Eloquentia perfecta. Seeking to clarify this succinct phrase the drafters indicated in the same First Rule that the three elements were included: praecepta dicendi, stylus et erudition, which might be paraphrased as “rules of persuasion, skill in Latin, and humanistic learning.” For a full understanding of these expressions one must review the historical roots from which this educational ideal slowly grew.

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