CORNIFICIUS, the author of a work on rhetorical figures, and perhaps of a general treatise (ars, ), on the art of rhet oric (Quintilian, Instit., iii. 1. ix. 3.). He has been identi fied with the author of the four books of Rhetorica generally known as Auctor ad Herennium. The chief argument in favour of this identity is the fact that many passages quoted by Quin tilian from Cornificius are reproduced in the Rhetorica. But it seems improbable that the question of authorship will ever be satisfactorily settled. Internal indications point to the date of composition as 86-82 B.C., the period of Marian domination in Rome. The unknown author, as may be inferred from the treatise itself, did not write to make money, but to oblige his relative and friend Herennius. He expresses his contempt for the ordinary school rhetorician. Finally, he admits that rhetoric is not the highest accomplishment, and that philosophy is more deserving of attention.
The first and second books of the Rhetorica treat of inventio and forensic rhetoric; the third, of dispositio, pronuntiatio, me moria, deliberative and demonstrative rhetoric ; the fourth, of elo cutio. The chief aims of the author are conciseness and clearness. The work as a whole is considered very valuable. The question of the relation of Cicero's De inventione to the Rhetorica is a matter of much dispute.
best modern editions are by C. L. Kayser (I86o), in the Tauchnitz, and W. Friedrich 0880 in the Teubner edition of Cicero's works, and separately by F. Marx (1894) ; see also M. Wisen, De scholiis Rhetorices ad Herennium (19o5). Full references to authorities will be found in the articles by Brzoska in Pauly Wissowa, Realencyklopiidie (Igo') ; M. Schanz, Geschichte der romischen Litt., i. (2nd ed., pP. 387-394) ; and Teuffel-Schwabe, Hist. of Roman Lit. (Eng. trans., p. 162) ; see also Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, bk. iv. ch. 13.